As the inaugural race on the streets of the Spanish port, the circuit was an unknown for the team, which meant that the main priority was to cover lots of miles and gather data on the new circuit. Weather conditions were ideal for both practice ...
As the inaugural race on the streets of the Spanish port, the circuit was an unknown for the team, which meant that the main priority was to cover lots of miles and gather data on the new circuit. Weather conditions were ideal for both practice sessions, but the track was quite dusty and took a long time to rubber-in, which made for a low-grip surface.
Both Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet completed busy programmes as they dialled the R28 into the circuit and got comfortable with the narrow confines of the track. Between them they covered 134 laps to round off a solid day's work and leave the team well prepared for a competitive showing in tomorrow's qualifying session.
"We kept to our programme today, which was to complete maximum mileage and verify our simulations. The circuit is both interesting and challenging, and the final sector is definitely my favourite and quite exciting from the cockpit. The initial results from today are encouraging, but we must now continue working hard to have a solid qualifying session tomorrow and ensure a good level of performance in the race."
"I was able to take advantage of the three hours of practice today to complete plenty of laps and gather lots of interesting data which will be useful for the rest of my weekend. I really like the track and it's a lot of fun in the car. The level of grip was poor, but we are used to this sort of thing on street circuits. I will now work with my engineers to optimise the set-up of the car so that we can have a good final free practice session tomorrow morning and approach qualifying in good shape."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering
"It has been interesting learning and adapting to this new circuit. During today's practice sessions we completed our programme of learning the circuit, the car and the tyres. As expected, the grip level was very low to begin with and developed through both sessions. It is difficult to understand too much about our situation relative to the others, but we had no significant problems, which is encouraging for the rest of the weekend."
Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Track Operations
"We covered lots of miles today, which was the aim because the priority was all about making the most of the track time available. We had to gather as much information and data as possible to improve the car and get ready for the qualifying session tomorrow. In terms of the engine, we concentrated mainly on optimising the gear ratios. Now we have to wait for the final practice session tomorrow morning to have a better idea of our relative performance level. Overall, though, today was trouble-free and encouraging."