It was anything but a typical Friday on the first day of running in Spa today. After fog delayed the morning session to 12.00noon and restricted it to 30 minutes, Olivier Panis' engine let go just as the session was coming to a close. The...
It was anything but a typical Friday on the first day of running in Spa today. After fog delayed the morning session to 12.00noon and restricted it to 30 minutes, Olivier Panis' engine let go just as the session was coming to a close. The revised track schedule gave the teams only 30 minutes between the two sessions so after Olivier's car was returned to the garage, it was a race against time to complete a full engine change. The team pulled out all the stops and were able to get the car back on track in a little over 40 minutes, which allowed Olivier to salvage some much-needed set-up time.
Jacques enjoyed a trouble-free morning session but was forced to sit out the first half of the second when a hydraulic fluid leak surfaced. He was back on track for the last 30 minutes to resume his set-up preparation for Sunday's race.
"The car feels good here. For the last two years the car hasn't been driveable at Spa but today it was very easy to drive. Unfortunately we're not quick enough but we we're still the fastest Bridgestone runner after Ferrari. The delay to the morning session affected everybody but then I lost quite a bit of time in the second session because of a hydraulic fluid leak. The car was quite well balanced though so we were able to pick up where we left off. I always enjoy driving here but it was easy to take Eau Rouge flat today; with traction control and high grip it's now the same for everybody. Hopefully we'll have a better day tomorrow and a little more set-up time."
"Obviously, it hasn't been a very good day today. As everybody saw, my engine let go at the end of the first session which cost me a lot of track time during the second session. Nevertheless, my first feeling was that the car was well-balanced before the problem occurred and I feel quite positive about tomorrow. We only have tomorrow morning to try to set up the car for qualifying so I have to work hard with the engineers this afternoon now to concentrate on that. I would like to thank my mechanics for a superb job today. They managed to change the engine in around 40 minutes but unfortunately, by that time, it was a bit late for us to do a great deal of useful set-up work."
David Richards, Team Principal
"We didn't get the best of starts to our weekend today. The revised track schedule made life difficult for all of the teams but then Olivier's engine problem and Jacques' hydraulic leak only compounded things for us. All credit to the mechanics, who turned around both cars in the minimum amount of time to allow us to achieve at least some of our set-up objectives for the day. With fog also predicted for tomorrow morning, we have to prepare ourselves for another limited free practice session ahead of qualifying."
Best lap time: 1:49.897 (23 laps)
Best lap time: 1:50.392 (20 laps)