Overall it was a pretty miserable Friday for the F1 circus, as intermittent showers soaked the Nurburgring throughout the day. Even worse, a chill wind blew through the paddock, and the damp and freezing conditions made most people wish they were...
Overall it was a pretty miserable Friday for the F1 circus, as intermittent showers soaked the Nurburgring throughout the day. Even worse, a chill wind blew through the paddock, and the damp and freezing conditions made most people wish they were on a sunny beach somewhere else.
It was hoped that the move from September to May would find a break in the Nurburgring's infamously poor weather, but alas the forecast for the rest of the weekend is for more of the same.
The drivers were frustrated because they could get little real work done as the track was only dry for short periods. Even when it was wet the surface condition was changing all the time so they couldn't find out very much about how their cars reacted in the conditions. Jaguar Racing drivers Eddie Irvine and Johnny Herbert reported that overall, it was a pretty low-key day.
"It was pretty uneventful and there were no real problems," Irvine explained. "But I had another down on power engine, it seems. We're changing it for Saturday, so hopefully I'll get a good one. It seems to be a recurring thing, and I've had it pretty much every race this year."
"It was an average day," said Johnny. "At the start of the second session we found some improvement in the car's handling and by the end we had made a big step forward. We managed to dial out some of the understeer. I had to stop early due to a cracked exhaust which cost me one more run at the end. We're not as bad as it looks, because a lot of new tyres went on other cars. We'll see what progress if any has been made tomorrow. That will be the chance for us to find out."
Although a wet race can be a great leveller, and creates the potential for an unusual result, both drivers say dry conditions will probably suit the R1 better.
"I don't think it's that great in the rain," says Eddie. "I prefer dry races anyway."
Eddie had a terrible time here last year, spending an age in the pits when Ferrari lost one of his wheels in a crucial stop, but even 1999 winner Herbert would prefer the sun to shine on Sunday.
"I don't think it will make too much difference to our performance. We're still behind in the wet - the gap is probably bigger than it is in the dry. I don't think it will do us too much benefit, unless it's like last year and you do the right thing at the right time, and we benefit from that. You've got to be lucky, as it's a bit of a lottery. At least we know from last year roughly what the time is to change."
The team’s technical director Gary Anderson, is confident that the drivers will be higher up the field in qualifying. "We’re heading in the right direction,” he said. “We only need to find a few tenths to improve our position considerably as the times were extremely close today. Sixteenth and Seventeenth place may not look great, but tyre use and the fact that we all dodged showers a few times has played a big part in deciding positions today."