Ferrari's Friday advantage Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro looks set to be the team to beat at this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix after another dominant performance by the Italian cars. On the day after his new two-year contract with the team was ...
Ferrari's Friday advantage
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro looks set to be the team to beat at this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix after another dominant performance by the Italian cars. On the day after his new two-year contract with the team was announced, Rubens Barrichello drove the fastest lap overall - 1:10.549 - followed very closely by his teammate Michael Schumacher. On what can be a demanding track on rubber, the Bridgestone tyres also worked well for Enrique Bernoldi, Olivier Panis and Takuma Sato who all made the top ten. The afternoon session saw a number of departures off the track making an already slippery surface even worse as dust and gravel was carried from the run-off areas.
In the morning session, all but one car in the top ten were on Bridgestone tyres, with the lap times very close and the Ferraris once again leading the times.
Hisao Suganuma, technical manager of Bridgestone Motorsport:
"A good start to the weekend for us with some promising performances. The time sheets did look very different between the first and second sessions but it is impossible to judge which was the more realistic in terms of race performance. The track conditions changed a lot from morning to afternoon and of course the teams use Friday to try different things. Overall, I am encouraged by today's results."
The Tyre Choice
One of the dry weather tyres Bridgestone has brought to Austria is a new specification developed for the low grip surface and the specific nature of the corners at the A1-Ring. The second specification was used by Michael Schumacher in one of his race victories this year.
Hisao Suganuma said: "As we expected, the track was slippery today - the surface is quite smooth here and because the circuit is rarely used it is dirty too. That said, I do not expect the grip levels to improve dramatically over the course of the weekend but as more rubber gets laid down the wear will improve. Our job now is to work out which is the most appropriate tyre to suit our teams' strategies."
Ross Brawn, technical director of Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro:
"It looked like a big performance difference between the tyres used in the first and second sessions. We were pleased with the Bridgestone tyres - they seem pretty good and consistent. The track got dirtier in the afternoon which made it difficult to do much useful work but the car is well balanced. We have made our final choice of tyre already as it was clear which one was better for us. It means that tomorrow we can concentrate on working with just one tyre."