After a tough 24 hours, the team are lifted by a positive decision by the Stewards. As soon as the engineers saw Jérôme's car hit the wall yesterday, they knew we were in for a tough weekend. The nose mounting on his car was torn out of the safety cell and the only possibility was to build up a new chassis. Work went on into the early hours to prepare the car, the boys having done a fantastic job to get both cars properly prepared.
In FP3, the first job was to bed in the race brakes, as Montreal has a very high wear rate and it's important to have as much material available as possible, so after the normal installation lap the brake discs and pads were changed during the quiet period of the session before moving on to continue our evaluation programme as planned.
During the remaining part of the hour, Timo worked on aero and mechanical setup over a series of short runs while Jérôme's job was to evaluate tyre degradation over a longer run. They were classified 21st and 23rd in the session, with Jérôme only managing to get one short run on Options.
In Qualifying, both cars did two runs on Primes, with Timo setting 22nd fastest time but Jérôme, still not happy with the new chassis setup, did not manage to set a time within 107% of Alonso's fastest lap.
After the session, we requested that Jérôme be allowed to race, as he has consistently shown that he has the ability to lap very close to Timo's time, and that the chassis change overnight represented extenuating circumstances. The Stewards agreed with this view and he will be able to start the race tomorrow.
“Quite a tough day for us I think. We tried to concentrate on getting a setup for wet conditions as the forecast was strongly indicating rain and so our downforce level is more suitable for wet conditions than for dry. The predictions are still uncertain but we hope this will work in our favour. It will probably be quite difficult to turn it around tomorrow, but at least we have enough downforce to save the tyres. We just have to see what tomorrow brings.”
“It’s been a tough 24 hours since my crash yesterday - both for me and the team. Getting the car built overnight and running again was a huge task for the guys but only half the battle as we then had just this morning’s free practice session to try to arrive at a setup that would enable us to qualify. In the end it wasn’t enough and I’m just very disappointed for myself and the team to have missed out. The car felt completely different to yesterday and clearly Timo’s time is more representative of what we should have achieved in qualifying. I am very appreciative of the fact that the Stewards have permitted me to race and I’m now focusing on tomorrow.”
John Booth, Team Principal
“It was a long night for the team but in the end both cars were ready to run in time for Free Practice 3 this morning. Jérôme’s crew did a fantastic job to prepare his car to our usual standards, so all credit to them.
“With the disruptions in the session yesterday we devoted some of this morning’s Free Practice 3 session to preparing for the race and perhaps in hindsight we should have allocated further time to our qualifying setup.
We’ve seen quite a few varying weather forecasts over the last few days
“We’ve seen quite a few varying weather forecasts over the last few days and on Friday afternoon, when deciding on the ratios we would run for the rest of the weekend, we opted to use our high downforce rear wing as at the time weather forecasts for Saturday and Sunday indicated a chance of rain. Overnight these forecasts changed slightly to say the qualifying session would be dry so we knew it would always be tough for us in these conditions. As they always say you can never predict the weather and the latest forecasts are suggesting that the conditions may swing back in our favour.
“Despite the fact that Jérôme failed to qualify today we are grateful to the Stewards for permitting him to race, having considered that he did set a suitable lap time during a free practice session, that he has consistently met the criteria under Article 36.3 this season and the extent of the overnight repairs required by the damage incurred in Free Practice 2. After the disappointment of qualifying it is both a relief and a justifiable reward to the mechanics for their substantial efforts through the night. It will be a tough race for him having been so unhappy with the car this morning so we will spend the evening looking at what we can do to help him have a better race.”
Source: Marussia Virgin