B*A*R Honda's Chinese Grand Prix weekend got off to a positive start as F1 made its track debut at the brand new Shanghai International Circuit. B*A*R set the pace in both of today's free practice sessions with third driver Anthony Davidson ...
B*A*R Honda's Chinese Grand Prix weekend got off to a positive start as F1 made its track debut at the brand new Shanghai International Circuit. B*A*R set the pace in both of today's free practice sessions with third driver Anthony Davidson recording the first-ever fastest F1 lap at the track this afternoon, and team-mate Jenson Button ending the day right behind him in second.
There was disappointment for Takuma Sato however, who suffered an engine failure during his installation lap at the start of the second session and has therefore completed just 9 laps on what is a crucial first day of running at this new facility.
"It was a good day for us, and obviously I am really pleased to be fastest in both sessions. It's a good circuit and I got to grips with it quite quickly. Initially it was very dusty, so we had to work on the set-up to find more grip quite early on. Unfortunately, I had a high-speed spin on turn four at the beginning of the long run on my first set of tyres, so we had to quickly change our schedule slightly, but I am confident in our tyre choice for the race. We found a good balance in the car after that and so we are happy with our days' work today."
"I am reasonably happy with today's running and the work we have achieved for our race preparation. It's disappointing that we have been unable to get the information that we wanted from Taku's car or the tyre comparison from Anthony over the longer runs. However, the car seems to be working well here and I am enjoying the circuit. I think we'll have a very interesting race with some good overtaking opportunities. Despite the ups and downs of the day, I'm looking forward to hopefully extending our lead over Renault."
"It has been a very disappointing first day for me because we had an engine failure on the out-lap of the second session, which means I haven't had the opportunity to complete a timed lap and I will have to move back 10 places from my qualifying position tomorrow. On the positive side, the car is working well as far as we can see from the other two cars, which is very positive. Because this is a new track, we have lost crucial running time and we have a lot of work to do to prepare for tomorrow morning."
"Hopefully we can deliver a good qualifying position despite the penalty. The circuit was very dusty at the beginning of the day but towards the end it seems by the timesheets that everyone benefited as the grip level improved and the track rubbered-in. Our hosts have done a great job to provide this excellent facility and I certainly found the track very interesting."
David Richards, Team Principal:
"It is certainly a good start to the weekend being at the top of the timesheets in both sessions today. Taku's engine failure was disappointing for him, but I know that Honda are continually extending the boundaries of performance, and we must be prepared for the unexpected."
"Tomorrow will be very important, especially for Taku, as we learn more about how to get the best from the circuit and set ourselves up for Sunday's race. Overall, I am extremely impressed with this new addition to the F1 championship, and I would like to congratulate the organisers for providing such a spectacular setting for the first F1 race in China."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director:
"The first day's practice has been both good and bad for the team. The circuit conditions changing significantly throughout the day and having complained about low grip throughout the morning session, the drivers were very happy with the car balance by the end of the afternoon. Jenson was able to complete his full day's programme but we did have a number of minor problems on Anthony's car and so we were unable to complete part of his programme."
"Unfortunately we had an engine failure on Takuma's car which has penalised him in two ways. Firstly he lost all of the second session's running and we will be taking a 10-place penalty for the start of the race on Sunday. Nonetheless it is good to finish the first day at a new circuit at the top of the timesheets and although circuit conditions will continue to change, we are in a good position for the rest of the weekend."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:
"Obviously a mixed day - our latest engine spec has helped us to P1 and 2 but we have suffered an engine failure on Takuma's car. We have looked competitive in both sessions so I am optimistic for tomorrow."
Chassis: BAR Honda 006-04
Practice session 1: 1st, 1:35.369
Practice session 2: 1st, 1:33.289
Chassis: BAR Honda 006-05
Practice session 1: 6th, 1:36.475
Practice session 2: 2nd, 1:34.174
Chassis: BAR Honda 006-06
Practice session 1: 16th, 1:37.438
Practice session 2: no time