FP1 objectives Pirelli tyre evaluation, assessment of new rear wing, cooling of engine, KERS and brakes
FP2 objectives Long run comparisons at race fuel, test of the DRS race mode and SC systems
Weather Overcast with occasional light rain
Temperatures Air: 16-17°C Track: 20-23°C
Adrian Sutil (car 14, VJM04/04)
FP1: 13th 1:29.314 (19 laps)
FP2: 17th 1:28.583 (31 laps)
It was not a bad day. We had quite a few new components on the car to test and the rear wing made a good difference. In the second session we put it all together with a few more sets of tyres, but we had a small issue with the floor and lost a little bit of running. It takes a good three to four laps to get the tyres working for us, on a hard tyre maybe longer, and at the beginning we suffered from understeer and front locking. It is important to look at the other drivers’ lap times now to see what they achieved with the different tyre compounds. I am getting to grips with operating the KERS and the rear wing and am confident in the system. I am aiming to qualify mid-table tomorrow – I think that is possible, so let’s see what we can do.
Paul Di Resta (car 15, VJM04/02)
FP1: Did not participate
FP2: 16th 1:28.376 (33 laps)
It was a good to have the opportunity to start my season today. We were able to complete our planned programme and the tyres performed better than I expected. Overall I felt quite comfortable with the new systems on the car, but until I get into a competitive situation it is still too early to say how we’ll do. We have another practice session in the morning, and so we’ll look at the data from today and work on the small issues we had and our programme for Qualifying. I am excited about tomorrow, but at the same time there is a job to be done and my focus is to achieve the best result I can for the team.
Nico Hülkenberg (car 15, VJM04/02)
FP1: 18th 1:31.002 (20 laps)
FP2: Did not participate
It was an interesting FP1 and I learnt a lot again about the tyres and the car. Driving with just one set of tyres was pretty difficult because I picked up a flat spot early on which distracted my further running. The rubber wore quite quickly and caused a lot of vibrations, which made it tough to run. But I got some good laps in and collected some good data for the engineers to look at. I am happy to have driven here in Melbourne again and to pick up some more experience and information for the team.
We had two objectives for the first practice session; for Nico to gather as much data on the prime tyre as possible and for Adrian to evaluate a new rear wing. Paul drove this circuit last year, so it’s not completely new for him. Over the course of the season Adrian and Paul will both share their car with Nico on a Friday, so we’re simply keeping things balanced. FP2 ran to programme, with long run comparisons at race fuel and a test of the DRS race mode and SC systems. It’s been a productive day and we are looking ahead to what will be a fascinating race weekend.