US GP: Bridgestone Friday notes

Dramatic start to Indy but Michael's on top Michael Schumacher's dominance of Formula 1 continued today as the world champion led the time sheets for the first practice session by more than half a second. The first day of the United States Grand...

Dramatic start to Indy but Michael's on top

Michael Schumacher's dominance of Formula 1 continued today as the world champion led the time sheets for the first practice session by more than half a second. The first day of the United States Grand Prix began dramatically when Rubens Barrichello spun at the last corner of his first lap and collided heavily with the outer wall at the beginning of the start-finish straight, prompting a 20-minute stoppage. He took no further part in the practice.

In the afternoon, Michael built on his morning lead, ending the day with a 1:13.548. He was one of five Bridgestone drivers in the top ten. Jacques Villeneuve was 5th for Lucky Strike B.A.R. Honda, followed by Heinz-Harald Frentzen, who is standing in for Felipe Massa at Sauber Petronas for this race. Giancarlo Fisichella, who was second quickest in the morning for DHL Jordan Honda, finished in 7th place, and Nick Heidfeld was 9th.

Tyre Performance

Hisao Suganuma, technical manager of Bridgestone Motorsport:

"First of all, the cause of Rubens' accident this morning is still under investigation but it seems there was a loss of pressure in the left rear tyre. We are working with Ferrari to establish what caused this to happen. Overall, our tyres performed well today, although the track was very slippery especially on the in-field. Grip levels, even with our softer compound, were not high and although the track conditions improved in the afternoon there was still insufficient grip; that should improve as time goes on. I was pleased to see all our teams represented in the top ten but of course we do not know what fuel levels were being run so today's lap-times are a reference point only."

The Tyre Choice

One of the two dry weather specifications for Indianapolis is new while the other has been raced before. Bridgestone's four teams here (OrangeArrows will not run this weekend) also have three rain tyres to choose from - two intermediates and a normal wet specification.

Hisao Suganuma said: "Because the track was still damp at the start of the first session, both Jordan and both Sauber drivers made lap-times on intermediate tyres. Both dry weather specifications were run today and both seem to be worthy of being raced, although that will depend on how the track evolves between now and qualifying."

The Teams

Ross Brawn, technical director of Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro:

"The track conditions made the start of the session somewhat messy but we had a very good afternoon. We managed to try both types of tyre and have lots of good information. Obviously, we had only one car running today which could have limited what we could achieve but in fact we completed all the work we wanted to get through. The car is working quite well and it was a good Friday's work except for the problem with Rubens. Despite that, we will be able to make a decision on tyres for both cars this evening."

-bridgestone-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Michael Schumacher , Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Rubens Barrichello , Jacques Villeneuve , Ross Brawn , Felipe Massa
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , Jordan