The ING Renault F1 Team enjoyed a trouble-free opening day of practice for the 2007 Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang International Circuit. Both drivers completed their full, planned technical programmes during the three hours of running permitted...
The ING Renault F1 Team enjoyed a trouble-free opening day of practice for the 2007 Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang International Circuit. Both drivers completed their full, planned technical programmes during the three hours of running permitted today, with a total of over 60 laps per car.
Track temperatures reached nearly 50Â°C today, meaning the main priority for the team was achieving a consistent balance, and confirming the tyre performance noted during testing last week.
Both drivers found the car inconsistent initially, but made progress working with their engineers to reach a more comfortable compromise by the end of the second practice session. Even so, grip levels were still low, a situation that will hopefully improve as the circuit rubbers in more through the weekend.
"It was a pretty normal Friday for me, and we managed to do a lot more running than in Australia, which is a good start. The balance of the car is not too bad, but we are lacking grip, and that marks the car nervous and inconsistent to drive."
"Of course, the hot conditions always mean grip levels are lower, but we made some decent progress today -- and hopefully that can continue tomorrow. Physically, it was tough out there today, especially as I have been suffering from the flu in the past couple of days. But by Sunday, I am confident everything will be OK."
"It was a really good Friday for me, especially compared to the first day of practice in Australia. After the test last week, it was good to complete another 60 laps today and get in tune with the circuit again. In terms of the car's handling, it was quite like the final day of the test: the balance wasn't too bad, and improved in line with the circuit conditions, just as it will have done for all the drivers."
"The heat makes life tough here, and it is going to be a long, hard race but I feel well prepared after the test. In terms of competitiveness, we don't really know where we stand at the moment, as we can't know what the other teams were doing. But the picture will become clearer tomorrow."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering:
"As the second practice session progressed, track conditions became much more like they were last week -- and accordingly, we reached the same relatively good compromise for the balance of the car, as we had achieved by the final day of the test. Just like the car, the tyres were behaving in the same manner too, and we can therefore be reasonably confident that the data we collected last week remains relevant for our work."
"It is always nice to see our drivers at the correct end of the timesheets, but it is relatively obvious that we were running lower fuel and new tyres at the right time of the session. There are no miracles in racing, and we will only be able to assess our true competitiveness after qualifying and the race."
Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Track Operations:
"300 km per car is our notional target for each of the new-format Friday sessions, and it was pleasing to achieve that target, after failing to do so in Australia. The test last week gave us a good baseline to work from, and means we are a little better prepared than would normally be the case. On the technical front, we had no problems and everything is working normally. We will hope to build on our good start to the weekend as we prepare for qualifying and the race."
Free Practice 1: 15th, 1:38.300, 26 laps
Free Practice 2: 2nd, 1:35.910, 36 laps
Free Practice 1: 14th, 1:38.143 , 24 laps
Free Practice 2: 3rd, 1:36.106, 37 laps