March 31, 2006
Melbourne, 31 March - Down under: this is what the English call Australia. In truth, from Italy these are Antipodes here in Melbourne, the setting for the third race of the season that will be run on Sunday. This is the longest trip of the year in terms of distance travelled but many of us left Italy on 5 March! As you may appreciate, there is some homesickness among us, despite that fact that Melbourne is a very pleasant city. It is no surprise that those who chose to take time out between the Grand Prixs of Malaysia and Australia arrived in the capital of Victoria last week.
It would be great to climb onto a plane home having collected the first win of the season. It would be fine compensation for the efforts on the track and those at Maranello following events on a daily basis.
Today's two hours of free practice bode well for the weekend, though it is too early to make predictions on the Friday. Both Michael and Felipe declared that they were satisfied with the handling of the 248 F1 that did not have any reliability problems. The only question mark concerns the time needed to get the tyres up to temperature, considering that the conditions are decidedly autumnal. Today we worked in a slightly different to normal, concentrating
mainly on the best set up of the car. We have clear ideas for the tyres. We will see what the weather is like tomorrow before deciding if it is worth trying the other set of tyres Bridgestone has supplied.
There was a downpour in the late afternoon but tomorrow, according to the forecast provided by our partners, Meteo France, rain is not expected.
I think that we can go for a slot on the front row, even though the opposition is tough. McLaren, Honda, Renault, Williams, BMW and ourselves: there are at least twelve cars that are, potentially, pole position hopefuls.
At least two of these will be disappointed, surprises aside. To find out how things go, the session will take place at 14 Melbourne time (5 in Italy and Central Europe).