The day got better as it went along for Scuderia Ferrari on Formula 1’s debut in India. The morning was spoilt when the engine failed on Fernando Alonso’s car which prevented the Spaniard from making the most of the first free practice session. There were no problems in the afternoon and the two 150º Italias ended the second session in first and third places with Felipe Massa ahead of his team-mate. The Brazilian completed 55 laps, while his Spanish team-mate has 38 to his name. Both men, and this was also done in the name of the Scuderia, joined many of their colleagues in carrying stickers on their helmets in memory of Marco Simoncelli and Dan Wheldon, who died recently in the two tragic accidents in Sepang and Las Vegas.
: “I lost almost the entire morning session because of an engine problem on my car, but fortunately I managed to make up for it in the afternoon, when I was able to run without any problems. Today’s priority was getting to know the circuit. Furthermore, given the condition of the track surface, I don’t think I lost out that much compared to the others. First impressions are positive: the car seems to behave well and we hope to continue down this route. I like the track, even if it is very dirty and if you go just the slightest bit off line it’s like driving on ice: this could create problems during overtaking moves on Sunday, but maybe by then the situation will have changed. It’s very nice that the track is wide in some corners and I think it will add to the spectacle, because it means you can take different lines and I think even qualifying should be very exciting, given the rather high average speed, especially through the final sector.”
: “It’s always nice to be in first place at the end of a day’s work, however we know that Friday’s results are all relative. Sure, it would be nice to move through the weekend in the same position, but that will be very difficult to achieve. Today, we concentrated on finding the best set-up on the car and on tyre behaviour on this new circuit. I like the track, it is very interesting and there are corners where driving skill can make the difference. In some places the actual track surface is very wide and so it will therefore be possible to take various different lines in the race, which could make overtaking easier. The car seems competitive, but we must wait and see what McLaren and Red Bull can do tomorrow, as they are still very strong. The tyres? Probably the Hards are too hard for this track and it would have been possible to run the same compounds we had in Korea in two weeks ago, because the track surface is very smooth.”
: “It was a very busy Friday, partly because of the work we had planned to carry out and also because of the difficulties we encountered in the first session of the day. In fact, an engine problem meant Fernando missed pretty much all of the morning practice so his work schedule had to be compressed into the afternoon to try and make up for the time lost this morning. That aside, we continued with the now usual parallel programmes: on the one hand looking for the best set-up for the car at this circuit and on the other, working to get a greater understanding of the latest aerodynamic updates, with the new car project in mind. Obviously, we tried to understand as much as possible about the tyre behaviour, but, because of the lack of time it was not possible to do many laps with a high fuel load. Two drivers in the top three? Friday’s result has virtually no significance and maybe that’s even more the case when there are even more unknown factors than usual, which was the case today. Never before, given we find ourselves at a brand new track, have we had so much data to analyse and so much work to do this afternoon and tonight to be as well prepared as possible for the rest of the weekend.”
First session: air 24/29 °C, track 28/35 °C. Sunny. Second session: air 31 °C, track 40/37 °C. Sunny.