• Austrian Grand Prix

Who said what after Friday practice

ESPN Staff
June 20, 2014

ESPN brings you a round up of all the reaction to the opening two practice sessions in Spielberg

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Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel: "I think this morning we struggled a little bit, this afternoon it was better. We've seen that people struggled a bit to get the primes, the harder tyre, to work but it should be a different story tomorrow when it's a bit hotter. I think everyone is looking forward to a great weekend, we're not the favourites going into this weekend, we'd love to be but we're not quite there yet. Today was very productive, we seemed to make progress throughout the day, but if anything, the fact that this is our home Grand Prix is an extra motivation."

Daniel Ricciardo: "We learnt actually a hell of a lot today. We came in the morning with a few ideas and some worked, some didn't, as always on a Friday, it's never really a perfect Friday. But yeah, coming into P2 we tried a few more things and I feel we improved a lot from P1. We've still got a bit more I think in our pockets, but yeah, we gathered up enough information tonight to make progress for tomorrow. I don't think we're as quick as the Mercs, we didn't really expect to be, but hopefully we can be the next best again."

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton: "It didn't feel bad out there today considering this is a new track to me. Already after the first few laps I was feeling comfortable and always seemed to be finding time with new lines and improvements. To be as quick as I was considering others have already driven this track is a great feeling. It was very windy out there today, but we got a lot of running and we feel set for the race on Sunday.

"The high speed corners were working the rear tyres hard but they seemed to cope well. The feeling was good for both sets of tyres, even in the long runs, so if the car is like this for the race, I'm in a good place. The goal for tomorrow will be pole position but there is still a long straight up to turn two so anything can happen in the race."

Nico Rosberg : did a lot of laps today and on a new track every lap is important for the learning process, so I'm quite happy with that. In general it was a complicated day for me, so there is still some lap time to find compared to my teammate and there is a lot of work required from me tonight. My car is bouncing a lot down the straights and that continues into my braking zones, so it was difficult there. But I'm sure we can improve on that. It is really great to be back on this wonderful track again, thanks to Bernie and Mr. Mateschitz. Austria definitely needs an F1 race. There we so many fans out there already, which is great to see.

Toto Wolff: First of all, it is a fantastic feeling to be back racing in Austria. My compliments go to Dietrich Mateschitz on a fantastic facility, which is a great international showcase for our country. It feels like a home race for our team, too; for myself and Niki of course - but also because of the fantastic support we have seen from the passionate F1 fans here in Spielberg. I am sure we can expect an incredible atmosphere tomorrow and especially on Sunday.

"We had a good day out on track - the car is competitive and both drivers seemed pretty comfortable out there. But it wasn't a trouble-free day, with some small issues that cost us track time on both sides of the garage. It's always better to find these things on Friday than Sunday, of course. But we will be working hard to make sure there is no recurrence so we can get both cars to the chequered flag as safely and competitively as possible.

Paddy Lowe: "We covered the work we needed to do during first practice and, although the session was slightly disrupted by light rain showers, we managed to run the car at both high and low fuel levels. This is a great circuit and, as expected, is proving hard on brakes; similarly, the effective loss of downforce experienced from running at altitude meant lots of drivers were struggling to put together consistent laps.

"Nico and Lewis were both happy with the car today and able to set competitive times. Nico suffered a problem with the ERS system in P1 which we were able to fix for the afternoon. We then had to cut Lewis' afternoon session slightly short as a precaution after he experienced a different ERS issue. The weather forecast predicts dry conditions across the rest of the weekend, so we will be working tonight to prepare the cars accordingly for tomorrow and Sunday."

Ferrari

Fernando Alonso: "It's nice to be back racing here, the track has many changes of gradient and that always makes for enjoyable driving. In both sessions, Kimi and I were on different programmes and now we must put all the data together to choose which of the elements we tested have worked best. There were no surprises on the tyre front, the Supersoft seems quicker and will definitely be the tyre for qualifying, but for the race, it's impossible to establish now what the strategy will be. It was always cloudy today and there were even a few drops of rain, but the next days are meant to be sunny and so tyre behaviour could change. The good forecast means that anything is possible and hopefully that means the chance to put on a good show for the fans who were already here in large numbers today."

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Kimi Raikkonen: Today was particularly busy, which is normal when you go back to a track for the first time in many years. Despite the changeable weather reducing the amount of track time in the first session, we still managed to complete our programme, which today centred on analysing new aerodynamic parts brought for this race. Along with Fernando, we concentrated on different set-up tests, me on the front end and him on the rear, so as to compare the data from the second session. In the afternoon, I had a better feeling from the car, but for various reasons, including a lack of grip, traffic and the wind, I didn't manage to put together a good lap, or to improve in the final sector."

Pat Fry: "Coming back here after eleven years made for a bit more work on this first day on track. Kimi and Fernando did a total of 129 laps and even if this is one of the shortest tracks on the calendar, Spielberg presents a demanding series of drops and climbs and luckily, both our drivers are among the few to have driven here before. The cold track in the morning complicated the task of getting the Soft tyres up to temperature, but things went better on the Supersoft in the afternoon. Over the two sessions, we made various set-up changes to meet the demands of the different driving styles of our drivers and we did see a slight improvement. Of course, we can't say we're pleased with that, because we still need to find the perfect balance and therefore we will need to make the most of today's data to work on the handling of the car.

"Qualifying will be very close, especially because on such a short track, just a tenth of a second can win or lose you several places on the grid, so we will need to get a clean lap without traffic. As far as race pace is concerned, behind the Mercedes there's a group of cars all quite close together, doing very similar lap times, so a good grid position would mean not having to chase after the others."

Lotus

Romain Grosjean: "It was good to discover the circuit at the wheel of the E22 for the first time today. We have done a lot of work, completed 74 laps however it is fair to say that we have also struggled in the sessions. I wasn't happy with the handling and the set-up of the car but we will work hard to rectify the different areas that need working on. It was good to learn that the longer run pace was stronger, we just need to unlock that pace for qualifying tomorrow."

Pastor Maldonado: We have worked methodically today and as the track improved we found a bit more pace as the day went on. Unfortunately we have encountered a power unit related issue this afternoon that didn't allow us to entirely complete our programme the way we had planned. We must now investigate and solve any issues encountered today; analyse all the data in order to be ready for Saturday. I remain optimistic as we must push as hard as we can for qualifying tomorrow."

Alan Permane, trackside operations director: "Certainly our fastest times don't look great at the end of today as we struggled to get good one lap pace from both cars. Finding grip was a particular issue for both Pastor and Romain so we need to get to the bottom of that. Pastor experienced a power unit related issue in the afternoon and Romain didn't get a clear run on fresh tyres so there's scope for improvement in these areas. On heavier fuel and longer runs we look much more competitive, however, with Romain showing good pace in these conditions. Certainly, there's more to learn on our return to Spielberg and we hope for a better performance tomorrow."

McLaren

Kevin Magnussen: "This is a really cool track, with some nice corners and interesting changes in gradient. This is exactly the kind of place I like: fast corners and big braking zones. And, to be honest, our car didn't feel too bad through the high-speed stuff - there are still a few things we need to look at ahead of tomorrow's running, but it's been a positive day. We still need to look more closely at the results of today's aero tests - and we'll have a clearer idea of where we are by tomorrow - but the car felt good, so I'm positive.

"Turn Eight is a bit tricky - [to enter the pits] you have to stay right before the corner, which requires you to be slower at the apex, so we might have to have a look at that during the drivers' briefing tonight."

Jenson Button: "For us, it was a relatively productive day. We're still struggling with graining on the Supersoft tyre, as we did in Canada, but the Prime seemed good on both our short- and long-runs. Our aim will be to make progress and, at tracks that are less suited to our package, to not drop too much ground to the teams ahead of us. Eventually, it would be nice to be able to challenge the teams ahead of us in the constructors' fight.

"There will probably be a couple of talking points in the drivers' briefing tonight. The pit entry at Turn Eight is tricky; I tried to go round the outside of someone who was pitting, but I just went straight on because I was on the marbles. So that might need a little look. Additionally, the exit of Turn Eight needs looking at - it's seemingly quicker to run with all four wheels off the track, but it's a bit more dangerous because you run out of asphalt and have to get back on the track before it grasses over.

"Still, today was fun. It's always nice to go to a high-speed track like this - we don't have too many of them left any more - it's very relaxed, it's old-school, a good mix. We love the glamour of Monaco and the city races like Montreal and Singapore, but it's nice to have these old-school tracks, too."

Eric Boullier, racing director: "There's a real earthiness and authenticity to be found at a racetrack like this: Formula 1 certainly acquires an added dimension when you're racing at high-speed, surrounded by the mountains and the pine forests - and thousands of passionate fans.

"We had a busy programme for today, spending the morning gathering aero data in order to evaluate the new components we've brought to the track this weekend. The afternoon's session was more typical, with Jenson and Kevin running through their set-up and tyre-comparison work. Fortunately, we got plenty of laps under our belts today - now the engineers will sit down and start processing the data in order to maintain our momentum into tomorrow and Sunday."

Force India

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Nico Hulkenberg: "It's a fun track. Quite a short lap, but it flows nicely. It looks easier on paper because in reality it's quite challenging and technical in many areas. The morning session was very solid; I was happy with the car straight away and the performance was there. For some reason we struggled more this afternoon on both tyre compounds and I was not as comfortable in the car: so that is where we need to analyse things tonight. One explanation could be the wind, which picked up this afternoon, but we will look deep into the data to make sure we improve things for tomorrow."

Sergio Perez: "It was a good day. We followed our programme and managed to learn a lot about the way both tyre compounds behave over long runs. The track is very challenging and it doesn't offer many overtaking opportunities, so grid position will be crucial for a successful weekend. There are still good margins of improvement we can extract: getting everything out of the car and doing the necessary changes to use the tyres in the best way will be our main objectives for tonight."

Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Operating Officer: "It's been a busy day with both drivers having to learn a new track and an aero evaluation programme across both cars, which went to plan. Nico was happy with the car balance this morning, but the set-up direction we took in the afternoon, and the changing conditions, resulted in him struggling to find performance. The opposite was true with Sergio who made some progress in the afternoon, but it's fair to say we need to work hard tonight to optimise car balance on both sides of the garage. The long run pace was encouraging, but as always it's tricky to make comparisons. Hopefully the changes we make overnight will allow us to move closer to the sweet spot so that we are in good shape ahead of qualifying."

Sauber

Esteban Gutiérrez: "We had a good day. We used the time on track efficiently as we managed to get through our programme. From that point of view the sessions went well. Although, we still need to work more on the consistency of our lap times. The driveability of the car is also a factor, which is quite important during the long runs. This is our priority at the moment."

Adrian Sutil: "I was able to go through the second free practice without any incidents. In the morning I lost quite a lot of time on track due to a technical problem. However, I am satisfied with our programme today. As the track is very slippery, the car is unstable and, therefore, difficult to drive. With the expected higher temperatures tomorrow, I should have a better feeling as the grip level on track will be higher."

Giampaolo Dall'Ara, head of track engineering: "Technically the biggest issue this morning was a broken hose on Adrians' car, which needed to be changed and cost us quite some time. The afternoon went pretty much according to plan. We had to adapt Adrian's programme a little bit in order to give him a bit of time for set-up work, due to the time he lost this morning. However, overall workwise we accomplished everything . One of the aspects we have to look into is the fact that the ambient temperatures were colder today than we expect them to be for the next two days. Hence, we will need to make some adaptadations."

Toro Rosso

Jean-Eric Vergne: "I think it was a positive Friday and I'm happy with my car. We brought many new parts and updates here in Austria, which means we had a lot to test and understand today. I have to say that the situation looks good. We have to put all the data together overnight but I believe we have a good potential for improvement for FP3 and particularly for qualifying tomorrow"A

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Daniil Kvyat: I really enjoyed driving this track today, it's definitely among my favourites on the calendar, with heavy braking points, some fast and medium speed corners which are good fun. As for today's sessions, I was hoping for a better pace here but on the positive side I'm sure there is still a big margin of improvement. We have gone through a good programme today, so I'm confident we can have a strong remaining weekend."

Phil Charles, chief race engineer: "We have got some updates on the car and we went through a good programme to evaluate them all. We are pretty pleased with the results, even thou there is still some work to do, analyse everything overnight and improve further our performance tomorrow. It's very close where we are, the field is really tight but overall we are satisfied. Considering that this is a track where we haven't been to for a long time, generally our two drivers settled in very well and quickly. If we can tidy up just a little tiny bits we should look good tomorrow."

Williams

Valtteri Bottas: "It's a really nice track; I think it will become one of my favourites. It's an old-school track with some high speed sections and no room for mistakes. With long straights it should also make racing here interesting too. It's not an easy track to set the car up for as you face different issues with each corner, Turn One is an uphill right-hander and Turn Three is a downhill right-hander, both at different speeds, so we will have to analyse the data to find what works best for us. Qualifying will be very tight so it will come down to who can put the lap together best."

Felipe Massa: "It has been a good Friday. To return here and be where we are is encouraging. The balance of the car was good and the car behaviour was positive so we will be there fighting. It's not an easy track and so many things can happen as we have learnt today, so we have to be consistent. It's great to be up there with Ferrari but you can't ignore any of the teams behind you and we will be ready for anything.

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Rob Smedley, Head of Vehicle Performance: "We got through most of the work on the schedule today, and the team did a good job. We had set some fairly stringent priorities in terms of what tasks we wanted to achieve today, as we are treating this as a completely new track due to the length of time since we were last here racing.

"The car is reasonable on both new and scrubbed tyres and we are where we thought we would be in terms of pace. It's very close from the second quickest car backwards so we are going to work hard to make sure we go through the smallest details in order to improve further. I am really happy as everyone has done a great job and the drivers are also happy."

Marussia

Max Chilton: "Generally a very promising day for the Team, considering this is collectively our first visit to this circuit. I think we have been able to extract a lot of the potential of the car due to smooth running and we were able to get a nice long consistent race run. A positive start."

Jules Bianchi: "Overall we have ended the day with a lot of good information, which will be very useful in helping us to improve for tomorrow. I lost some time due to a radio problem, which kept me in the garage, but we started to recover quite well and I think there is more to come. This is a nice track and the early signs are that we can do well here as we have already showed some good promise versus the Saubers. I'm looking forward to the rest of the weekend."

John Booth, Team Principal "Overall we have made a good start to the weekend, given that today has been our first taste of the Austrian circuit. We came here with a reasonably ambitious programme, not only in terms of giving the drivers the opportunity to learn the track, but also with quite a few set-up test items aimed at trying to improve the package that we have on the car.

"We have pretty much ticked off all of the items we needed to achieve today, including obtaining some good long run data to work with. It is slightly frustrating that we lost track time with Jules due to a radio problem, however he still managed to achieve some good information, albeit not quite as much as Max. Both drivers are reasonably happy with the car balance-wise. We went very early with our use of the option tyre, mainly because we wanted to ensure maximum long run information, so there is more to come as confirmed by the drivers, who were not 100% happy with their laps."

Caterham

Kamui Kobayashi: : "We completed 24 laps in FP1 and even though a bit of rain did interrupt the session we were still able to work through the plan - obviously something that's really important normally, but even more so on a new track like this.

"It's a good circuit to drive on, particularly the double-left through five and six, and the last couple of corners onto the start / finish straight, but what we still don't know a lot about yet is how the tyres will behave when the track temps warm up. Today the weather was cooler than it's forecast to be for Saturday and Sunday so we'll have to do more work on that in FP3.

"In FP2 the car was immediately better after the setup changes we made over lunch, especially on braking. On the first run the traction had improved, the car had more grip and even though there was some understeer it was a good step from FP1.

"We went onto supersofts for the first performance run, and then the long run, starting on the same compound. I found six-tenths on that set in the performance run but it was a bit weird - the grip levels felt the same as the softs and even though I wasn't expecting a massive step, it was still a bit strange that there wasn't more grip. We'll look at that properly tonight and maybe increased track temperatures will help - we'll see tomorrow.

"We started the long run on supersofts and I was up to lap ten of that first stint when I started feeling the car pull right under braking. It didn't feel right so we boxed so the guys could take a look to see if there were any problems - there wasn't anything obvious, and the data didn't point to anything specific but we decided to end the session with about 15 minutes left so we could have proper inspection and avoid any issues on track."

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Marcus Ericsson: "FP1 obviously ended a lot earlier than we'd planned with an electrical system issue on lap nine. I came out of turn one and the car switched itself off, there was nothing I could do. When we got it back to the garage we found out the problem was related to the ERS-H control unit so that was fixed over lunch and we had the car ready again well before FP2.

"Until then I have to say I was enjoying the track. After the trackwalk we did yesterday with the engineers it was clear that the Red Bull Ring was going to be a really good challenge, and even after just eight laps I was enjoying myself! There wasn't a lot of grip, as usual in FP1, but I was starting to find a good rhythm and carried that through to FP2.

"After limited laps in FP1 we had more work to do in FP2 than normal so we started with a 13 lap run on the softs. I had some issues with traction and oversteer but the balance was ok, especially in the high speed corners so we made a couple of changes before heading out for the first run on the supersofts.

"My first run on that set was ok but I still had the same traction issues as we'd started with, and oversteer in the low and medium speed corners. I also had traffic in the last two corners on my fastest lap which cost me a chunk of time, but the main area we needed to look at was the oversteer that was hurting laptime, mainly mid-corner.

"We continued with the runplan and went onto the first long run of the weekend. I started on the softs and had pretty good deg on that set - they were holding up well, as were the supersofts which we went onto after a stop.

"Overall it was an ok afternoon, definitely better than the morning, but we have a lot to do tonight to sort out the oversteer and find more grip, but we've been pretty good at finding improvements from Friday to Saturday this year so the aim is to do so again here."

Cedrik Staudohar, Renault Sport F1 Track Support Leader: "All in all a pretty good day for us with a lot of data to analyse tonight. The main focus was to evaluate engine settings to compensate for the high altitude and prevent the turbo reaching its maximum speed and coming under undue pressure. We completed a couple of tests on track that will be beneficial for tomorrow when we expect the ambient temperatures to increase, and therefore the turbo rotation speed as well. On Kamui's car everything worked well but we had an issue on Marcus' car with the control unit for the ERS-H this morning, which caused the car to stop on track. We changed both the CU-H and the ES and were able to run without any further issues in the afternoon."

Pirelli

Paul Hembery, motorsport boss "We had a very green track today but despite that, wear and degradation has been low, particularly on the soft tyre. When it comes to the race, we'll probably end up in exactly the right place with the tyres: enough degradation to keep things interesting, but still with two pit stops for most drivers. So although it's effectively a new track, we believe the tyre choice here was very much the right one, similar to Canada. We've seen some notable differences in rear tyre usage between the teams, although we expect this to reduce tomorrow, once they have looked at the data from today. We too will be analysing the data tonight, in preparation for what should be a very close qualifying session given the shortness of the lap."

Renault

Remi Taffin, head of track operations: "An interesting first day at the Red Bull Ring. The running conducted confirmed our simulations: it's a very quick lap so the Power Units are under a lot of pressure. We peaked at over 300kph on the pit straight and then again on the three other straights - reaching these kinds of speeds four times in just over one minute places a lot of load through both the ICE and turbo.

"As expected the altitude also plays a role in engine management systems - at over 700m above sea level the turbocompressor is working harder to pump the same volume of oxygen to the ICE. We have everything under control but it does need to be monitored to ensure the turbo does not meet maximum rotational speed and be stressed even further. We expect the weather to be hotter tomorrow with less cloud cover which could increase the speeds further so we conducted some tests to fully understand this phenomenon and prevent any potential issue.

"Energy management is as predicted - pretty difficult with the lack of corners. The braking is not hard enough throughout the lap for the MGU-K to recharge the battery fully so we have to carefully watch the fuel consumption. Fortunately the consumption limit is not too critical here but we always try to minimize the fuel levels to lessen the overall weight of the cars. Aside from a couple of calibration issues with Pastor and then an ES problem with Marcus we've had a positive day and gathered a lot of information to study overnight. We are hopeful of further improvement tomorrow."

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