The ING Renault F1 Team completed a busy opening day of practice for the 2007 Chinese Grand Prix, in hot and humid conditions today in Shanghai. As is typical for the first day of the race weekend, the engineering focus was on comparing the ...
The ING Renault F1 Team completed a busy opening day of practice for the 2007 Chinese Grand Prix, in hot and humid conditions today in Shanghai. As is typical for the first day of the race weekend, the engineering focus was on comparing the behaviour and performance at this circuit of the two different Bridgestone tyre types, as well as on finding a competitive set-up compromise.
The sessions were not trouble-free, as Heikki Kovalainen stopped out on track in second practice with a fuel pressure warning, but the Finn was able to complete two more runs before the end of the day as the problem was quickly fixed. There is still work to do overnight to fine-tune the car balance, but the drivers are confident the team is in its usual position in terms of overall competitiveness.
Giancarlo Fisichella: P10
"This was a pretty typical Friday for me. The circuit was quite dirty this morning, and it took a while to clean up, but the conditions were quite good by the end of second practice. The car balance was inconsistent with poor overall grip, but we know the direction we need to work in tonight to improve the situation. In terms of the tyres, they were both quite similar on the short and long runs."
Heikki Kovalainen: P11
"I think we had a decent day, in spite of my problem during second practice. I lost a little bit of running time but thanks to the mechanics doing a great job, I squeezed in a couple more runs before the end of the session, which was important. This was my first time at the track, and it is quite enjoyable to drive, with a very smooth surface and some good kerbs you can attack."
"It is just a normal modern style circuit, and I think I got to grips with it pretty fast. So in the end, I did most of our normal programme, and we know where to work on overnight to improve our competitiveness. It will be close again tomorrow in qualifying, but I think we are in our normal position."
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer:
"This was a more difficult day than we had at the same point last week, and there is more work for us to do overnight. We are not yet 100% happy with the balance of the car, and that means we also have some room for improvement in terms of our overall performance."
"Our programme today was fairly standard, conducting tyre evaluations and looking at different aero packages to find the right compromise between the long straights, and grip through the infield section. Now we need to improve the balance, and give the drivers the set-up they need to approach qualifying with confidence."
Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Track Operations:
"Our objective on a Friday is always to make the most of the track conditions at their best, and to complete two trouble-free sessions. We didn't achieve that today after a problem with a fuel coupling meant Heikki lost fuel pressure, and stopped out on circuit."
"However, it was quickly fixed when the car got back to the garage, and the negative impact on his programme was therefore minimised. Aside from that, it was a normal day from the engine side, running at a circuit that we only visit once a year. The data we collected will allow us to fine-tune our settings for tomorrow's qualifying session and Sunday's race."
Free Practice 1: 1:38.217, 17 laps
Free Practice 2: 1:37.970, 32 laps
Free Practice 1: 1:38.551, 18 laps
Free Practice 2: 1:38.062, 21 laps