Japanese GP Benetton Friday notes

The Mild Seven Benetton Renault Sport team had a productive first day's practice at Suzuka ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix and their last race of the 2001 season. Jenson Button came home 11th-fastest with a best lap of 1m37.645s after...

The Mild Seven Benetton Renault Sport team had a productive first day's practice at Suzuka ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix and their last race of the 2001 season.

Jenson Button came home 11th-fastest with a best lap of 1m37.645s after completing 34 laps of the circuit and said that his engineers had made some positive changes to his B201 car, though his running time was cut short because of a fuel leak

"In this session we have made some major improvements with the brakes, which is good. This morning my car had a bit of understeer, but we sorted that out and afterwards the set-up was good.

"I think we have found the right tyre compound to use for the race," he added.

His team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella ended the day in 16th position on the timesheets with a best lap of 1m38.398s after completing a limited programme of 24 laps and said afterwards:

"We were in top ten before I had to stop running because of an engine problem. At the beginning of the session, the chassis was a little bit nervous at first, but we managed to improve it and find a good balance. I had just gone out on my second set of tyres when the engine problem occurred and I had to stop and the session was over for me."

The team's Director of Engineering Pat Symonds added that tyres would play a particularly important role this weekend, saying:

"The tyre choice here can often be difficult and it was important to have a trouble free session today. We managed a healthy number of laps, but unfortunately a problem with the water system on Giancarlo's car led to some engine damage, while Jenson had a fuel leak that did not allow him to do as many laps as he would have liked.

"However, we now understand much more about the tyres," he added, "and both drivers have gone some way to achieving a reasonable chassis balance."

The Mild Seven Benetton Renault Sport team will next be on track for Saturday's final practice sessions at 0900hrs local time, 0100 BST.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Jenson Button
Teams Benetton