Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean took to the track for the first practice sessions of 2012 today, with variable weather affecting the opening day of the Australian Grand Prix weekend at Albert Park.
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director – Technical programme notes
We completed limited running due to the inclement weather; you learn little on a wet track and our forecast suggests dry days tomorrow and Sunday.
We ran with Pirelli’s full allocation of tyre types for this event; medium and
soft dry tyres, and intermediate and wet tyres.
We changed the steering rack on Kimi’s car and the rear suspension set-up on Romain’s car during the first session.
What we learned today:
The E20 worked well on high fuel loads in the dry conditions at the end of FP2
We have a solid baseline wet set-up.
Kimi Räikkönen, E20-03
Free practice 1: P9, 1:29.565, 8 laps
Free practice 2: P18, 1:34.275, 7 laps
Kimi: “We didn’t really learn much from today due to the weather, but it’s the same for everyone. We tried a different steering rack in the first session. It would have been fine to run, but we knew that the base system would be better. The setup we have now is working well, it may take a while before we get it perfect but we’ll make the best of it. Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow and we’ll be happier after qualifying. I didn’t push too hard today; if it’s dry tomorrow we’ll have a better idea of what we need to do.”
Romain Grosjean, E20-01
Free practice 1: P16, 1:30.515, 16 laps
Free practice 2: P14, 1:32.822, 11 laps
Romain: “We waited to be able to go out on slick tyres, as we expect it to be dry for the rest of the weekend; there’s no point taking any unnecessary risks. The E20 feels very good and I’m happy with the balance of the car. I’ve been learning the track this afternoon and I’ve been focusing on improving my lap times as the day went on. We had to be patient, but we managed to get some decent laps in at the end and these were valuable. It’s a fantastic track and the changing scenery as you drive through the park is incredible. I feel comfortable and confident in the car and am really looking forward to qualifying.”
James Allison, Technical Director: “It was a day dominated by the weather. At this time of year your cupboards are not overflowing with spare parts so it would be foolhardy to risk damaging anything unnecessarily. The rest of the weekend is predicted to be dry, so discretion was the better part of valour. This meant we stayed in the box for most of the day. When it did look sensible to venture out on track we did so with both drivers and the E20 looked solid in the second session with a high fuel load. We have a baseline steering set-up for Kimi which works, but we tried a different option at the start of FP1. He wasn’t convinced by it so we went back to our baseline. As the conditions were not conducive to running we didn’t miss an undue amount of track time. Romain’s rear suspension set-up was not working as it should in the first session. We were able to rectify it for the second, and he was immediately happy with the car.”