Weak sunshine broke through the clouds during the final ten minutes of this afternoon's second practice session in Suzuka, allowing the Renault F1 Team to complete its only meaningful running of this opening day of practice. After completing...
Weak sunshine broke through the clouds during the final ten minutes of this afternoon's second practice session in Suzuka, allowing the Renault F1 Team to complete its only meaningful running of this opening day of practice.
After completing just a single installation lap each during the morning session, Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella completed five and eight laps respectively this afternoon in drying conditions at Suzuka. Both drivers were able to run with dry tyres, Fisichella finishing fastest and Alonso fourth, while Fisichella also completed a single run earlier in the afternoon on intermediate tyres -- also topping the times at that point of the session.
As always, though, the conclusions from Friday practice are incomplete -- and even more so after such a disrupted day. The competitive times of the two cars seem to be an initial confirmation of the Renault's hoped-for speed at this challenging track, but no more than that.
"The conditions meant we didn't do many laps today, but I think we are in good shape. The car felt good to drive on the intermediate tyres, and while we had a bit too much understeer on dry tyres at the end, the times were still competitive. It was a good feeling to be quickest on the track each time I ran today, so I am feeling very confident for the rest of the weekend.
"On the track, this was a normal Friday for me. We did very little running because of the conditions, but the R26 felt good, although there was a bit too much understeer everywhere. Off the track, I was surprised by the strong reaction to what I said yesterday in the press conference. I expressed very clearly that these were only my personal feelings, and that I completely understand and accept the team's decisions."
"Last night, I explained that to the team and to Fisi, and there is no problem. Every single person at Renault is fighting to the maximum to win the championship. I don't know what people see from the outside, but within the team, we have a fantastic atmosphere right now. And we are determined to come out on top."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering:
"Our programmes today were essentially condensed to ten minutes at the end of the second practice session. In that time, all we could really get were first impressions of how the car is performing. Those impressions were favourable, but we cannot deduce much more at this stage."
Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Operations:
"For the engine team, the drying conditions we saw today still give us the chance to fine-tune the parameters we need to optimise for this weekend. Both engines performed normally, without any problems, and while you can never complete your work when track conditions are changing all the time, we have been able to begin our programmes."
"Shanghai was a comparatively easy race for the engines owing to the wet conditions, and it meant that both our drivers only used around 80% of their allocated performance potential during the weekend. As a result, they come here with 120% of that potential available, and we full intend to put it to good use tomorrow and during the Grand Prix on Sunday."
Giancarlo Fisichella: 1st
8 laps total
Fernando Alonso: 4th
5 laps total