Today's opening practice for the 2002 German Grand Prix was anything but a typical Friday as the teams took to the newly-modified Hockenheimring for the first time. Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda drivers Jacques Villeneuve and Olivier Panis had both ...
Today's opening practice for the 2002 German Grand Prix was anything but a typical Friday as the teams took to the newly-modified Hockenheimring for the first time. Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda drivers Jacques Villeneuve and Olivier Panis had both familiarised themselves with the revised layout on Thursday but today provided the first opportunity to cross-check their software simulations for the new circuit. Olivier adjusted to the changes almost immediately to end the day 12th, despite spending much of the afternoon in the garage after his BAR004 developed a gearbox problem. Jacques made steady improvement throughout the day and is looking for a more productive free-practice tomorrow morning in preparation for qualifying.
"I'm very pleased with the way things went for me this morning. The balance was good and I was happy with the car from the first lap, so I was able to post consistently quick times. It was a real shame that we had a gearbox problem in the second session because I was quite confident that I could have continued to improve. I had only done 3 laps so I lost most of the afternoon and didn't get the chance to do a back-to-back with the second tyre. Of course, we have Jacques' data to look at but every driver prefers to do his own back-to-back. Despite this problem though, I was still 12th at the end of the session so I'm feeling quite optimistic for tomorrow."
"Like many of the drivers I was very fond of the old track and this year, it feels just like a 'normal' circuit. However, I don't have too many complaints because I've adjusted to it well and have a very good base car to take forward into qualifying tomorrow."
"Like all of the drivers, we've spent most of the day adjusting to the new circuit and trying to get a good balance. I did plenty of laps and changed something with each run to improve the car. We're not there yet in terms of set-up but I've tried both of the tyres now and we should have a better session tomorrow morning once we've had the chance to look at the data."
"My first impressions of the new circuit were just as I anticipated. The old layout was very different but it's just like any other track now. There's one section that really concerns me - the short straight before the entrance to the stadium section where the wall comes back towards the track. Generally, it's a typical modern circuit and not as interesting to drive, but there should be a couple of good overtaking opportunities."
David Richards, Team Principal
"Well, what can you say about Fridays? You can rarely judge your true performance based on a day where everyone is carrying out such different programmes. For our part we lost half of Olivier's track time with a gearbox fault but looking at the way he started the day, I don't think that's going to hinder him this weekend. Tomorrow, both drivers will benefit from a more powerful Honda engine and, on this occasion, there are enough units for both drivers to run them in qualifying and the race on Sunday. Overall, today has been a good start to our weekend."
Best lap time: 1:17.954 (52 laps)
Best lap time: 1:17.482 (34 laps)