Rain and wind limit teams’ mileage
The Australian Grand Prix started today with intermittent rain and strong winds, maybe the most difficult conditions one could encounter when discovering a track for a new season of Formula 1. For this reason, teams have limited their running on track on both the first and the second free practice sessions.
Carlos Sainz was no exception, and if in the first practice day of 2015 the Scuderia Toro Rosso Spaniard was the most active driver with 73 laps, today he had to settle with only 19. In the morning he accomplished three installation laps as the team checked the systems of the STR11. In the second session, Carlos started to set his first times straight from the very beginning, always on intermediate tyres. He was in front all afternoon. The Spaniard even led the standings at some point with Fernando Alonso, who made his fastest lap in the first minutes of the session.
Track conditions remained always delicate and some cars even ran wide or crashed against the wall. Nevertheless, Carlos and his Toro Rosso went out on track at the last minute to make the most out of their intermediate Pirellis. He improved his time to 1’39’’694. Carlos set the fifth fastest time overall, 0,853 seconds away from the lap of the day made by Lewis Hamilton.
"Not the easiest of starts to the weekend. During this morning’s FP1 we faced a few issues that limited our running, but fortunately we didn’t miss much because the track was wet for most of the session. The weather has been a bit annoying throughout the day, but at least FP2 was much better in terms of reliability. This afternoon we were able to run as much as we wanted and recovered a bit of track time we had lost in the morning. The car felt good in the wet, it gave me confidence in case it rains tomorrow or on Sunday and I feel in good form out on track".
“After a difficult morning, truth is Free Practice 2 was really smooth. We were always among the fastest each time we hit the track, even when we headed out in the beginning with Nico Rosberg. The car is going well and this gives me confidence, I am feeling more relaxed. Maybe it would have been better to drive this morning when track was drier and clock the first laps on slick tyres, but it wasn’t possible. Tomorrow we should make up lost ground.
“We were very fortunate that Free Practice 1 wasn’t a normal session, we haven’t lost that much. Hadn’t it been that way, we would have lost many laps. So every cloud has a silver lining. Free Practice 3 will be chaotic. People will do many laps to prepare Qualifying and the race, we must be ready”.
“A straightforward adaptation to the new rules changes will be determinant this year. It will also be important to improve the car and put our efforts on the chassis side, because there won’t be any development coming from the engine. It will be important to improve the car and to a good first half of the season. It will also be important to do a good and consistent Championship, and to enjoy it. It will be a tough year, but I am sure it will be very nice”.
“Team-radio restrictions aren’t dangerous but very complicated. They’re making our life tougher. Now there are things in which we as drivers must think, and sometimes you remember ‘I forgot to do that thing’. It’s very complicated, now Formula 1 drivers will have even more merit than before. We are already using a wheel nobody understands, so imagine that on top of that you have to control all the switches. It won’t be easy, but we must adapt. No excuses”.
Phil Charles (Chief Race Engineer)
“First day back at school! I had been looking forward to this day for a while as I expected it would be the first time this year where we would really start to learn where we rank as it is so difficult to judge in winter testing. Unfortunately the famous four-seasons-in-a-day Melbourne weather meant that we didn’t really get to fill in all of those question marks in either session. Carlos had some problems in FP1 so we had to apologise to him after this morning’s session. On the positive side we managed to put those issues aside in FP2 and we managed three decent runs with him on intermediate tyres".
Tomorrow the last Free Practice session will begin at 04:00 (Spanish time) before heading to the Qualifying session. Tomorrow rain is less likely than today, even though meteorological forecasts don’t rule it out completely.