Monaco, May/ 13/ 1999 1999 MONACO GRAND PRIX - FREE PRACTICE TEAMS SEEK BEST TYRE COMPROMISE In a closely- fought battle through the streets of Monte Carlo in the first session of timed practice for Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix, ...
Monaco, May/ 13/ 1999 1999 MONACO GRAND PRIX - FREE PRACTICE
TEAMS SEEK BEST TYRE COMPROMISE
In a closely- fought battle through the streets of Monte Carlo in the first session of timed practice for Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher has seized an early advantage. Recovering from a clash with the barriers this morning which left his Ferrari with suspension damage, the world championship leader edged out his McLaren rival Mika Hakkinen by 0.136 second. Today's times were almost three seconds slower than Hakkinen recorded on his way to taking pole position here one year ago. It is anticipated that speeds will increase when the Grand Prix cars and drivers, after a day's further preparation tomorrow (Friday), return to the track for Saturday's morning practice and the excitement of the 60 minutes of qualifying starting at 1pm (local time).
Yoshihiko Ichikawa, Bridgestone Motorsport Technical Manager: "Almost everybody has had an opportunity to try the Extra Soft tyre here today, but it has become clear that it generates a lot of understeer and could lead to the front tyres wearing excessively. All the drivers who also tried the Soft option reported that it gave a better balance. Nevertheless, it is evident that the Extra Soft allows a better lap time within a small window. This has obvious implications for qualifying on Saturday, by which time we anticipate that track conditions will have changed substantially, especially as regards the amount of rubber which has gone down.
Comments by an engineer from a team which used Extra Soft tyres: "As anticipated, it was difficult to find a good balance on the Extra Soft tyre. We had too much understeer and found it impossible to get good grip at the front. Even though we worked hard to fix this problem, we had also decided to try the Soft tyre. This improved the balance quite a lot, although it has to be said that by then we had already made several changes to the setup. We believe that some of the improvement in the balance was due to the change of tyre and some to the adjustments that we had made thanks to this morning's experience with the Extra Soft. If the Soft tyre shows itself to be more durable on Saturday morning, then it will be the logical choice for the race."
Comments by an engineer from a team which used Soft tyres: "We tried both types of tyre today with just one of our drivers, and in our case we believe that the Extra Soft is going to prove too fragile under race conditions. In fact the Soft tyre is working extremely well here at Monaco, while on our car it is very difficult to find a good balance on the Extra Soft."
TEMPERATURES AIR TRACK WEATHER Morning 21º-22º 24º-25º Overcast - dry Afternoon 21º-20º 27º-27º Overcast - dry