Australian GP: Honda Friday notes

Fisichella Heads Honda Foursome Giancarlo fastest of Honda-powered quartet at Albert Park Giancarlo Fisichella (DHL Jordan Honda) finished ninth fastest to head the Honda quartet in today's free practice session for the Australian Grand Prix at...

Fisichella Heads Honda Foursome
Giancarlo fastest of Honda-powered quartet at Albert Park

Giancarlo Fisichella (DHL Jordan Honda) finished ninth fastest to head the Honda quartet in today's free practice session for the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park. Jacques Villenueve (Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda), who will start his 100th grand prix on Sunday, recorded the 12th fastest time, followed by Takuma Sato (Jordan Honda) in 13th fastest position. B.A.R Honda's Oliver Panis recorded the 18th fastest time overall.

Overcast conditions and rain didn't stop Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello from dominating proceedings in their 2001-spec Ferraris. The third and fourth fastest times were set by the Williams of Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya, with Sauber's Nick Heidfeld and Toyota's Mika Salo completing the top six positions.

Shuhei Nakamoto -- Race and Test Team Manager, Honda Racing Development
"Overall it has been an encouraging day and all four Honda-powered drivers managed to complete a good number of laps. Giancarlo experienced some kind of problem with the engine towards the end of the session but we don't know what it was and he shut it down before anything too nasty happened! The speed trap times for both teams are not very good because we're not yet in a position to run the engine to its maximum potential. However, it's great to see the cars back in action on the track and everybody working well together in Honda's partner teams."

Giancarlo Fisichella Position: 9th
"Not a bad start to the weekend at all. The first session, when I finished third in the timings, went very well. In the second session I tried some different set ups, concentrating mainly on race configuration. Sadly I stopped before the end because of a technical problem which was frustrating as I wanted to get more work done. If we qualify in the top eight tomorrow I think we will have done a good job."

Jacques Villeneuve Position: 12th
"12th position is not too bad for the first day. We've worked mainly with the race in mind and we're certainly looking better than last year. The car is a lot more driveable. We're not quick enough yet but this car is good to drive aggressively so I think we will be better off in qualifying. We should continue to get closer during the weekend. I love this track so I'm looking forward to the race on Sunday."

Takuma Sato Position: 13th
"I must say I am pretty happy with today! It was very exciting to have my first outing at a Grand Prix weekend and the first run on this circuit in Melbourne, and overall I am very pleased with how it went. The rainy spells meant we were able to try a variety of set ups which was very useful for me. I lost about ten minutes of running time towards the end of the second session due to a problem with my steering column, but otherwise things ran smoothly. There is still plenty of room to improve everywhere, but I didn't have any real problems with the car or with the circuit, so it is now just a question of working on the data with my engineers so that we can make improvements on my time for tomorrow."

Olivier Panis Position: 18th
"Despite the result on the time sheet, I feel good about the car. In damp conditions this morning I was the quickest at one point. When the track was drier I was using the different tyre and the car still felt competitive; my second sector was quick. We spent quite a lot of time making some alterations and I lost the chance to use my new set of tyres, so we didn't see the full potential. Generally, I'm feeling positive and I'm looking forward to qualifying tomorrow."

-honda-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Takuma Sato , Ralf Schumacher , Michael Schumacher , Olivier Panis , Jacques Villeneuve , Nick Heidfeld , Mika Salo , Shuhei Nakamoto
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , Williams , Jordan