The final round of the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship got underway today at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Unusually for this desert-fronted country, rain fell in the mid morning, leaving the 5.554km track wet and very slippery. As a result the Force India F1 Team condensed most of its work into the dry ‘afternoon’ session, run in the twilight under the circuit’s state-of-the-art light system. The team completed a very solid day of work as it seeks to end the season with its highest-ever championship position, with Tonio sealing the 9th quickest time of the practice and Adrian the 13th.
Adrian Sutil (car 14, VJM03/03):
FP1: 14th 1:45.552 (20 laps)
FP2: 13th 1:42.535 (21 laps)
In the morning we didn’t do much running early on as the track was very slippery. The surface was still damp and the lack of rubber made it pretty difficult to do any meaningful work. When we did go out the first run went OK but for the second the tyres had already grained up and I started to have some problems with the brakes. Unfortunately they then came back in the afternoon and stayed for the whole session. We tried to solve the issue but every time I went out the car was pulling to one side under braking and was very inconsistent. At the moment we are looking into why this has happened and I’m sure we’ll sort it out for qualifying. I did at least have a good run on the soft tyre. We can always improve but at least we know there is more to come from us tomorrow.
Tonio Liuzzi (car 15, VJM03/02):
FP1: 15th 1:45.585 (14 laps)
FP2: 9th 1:42.203 (31 laps)
This morning was a bit unusual – clouds over Abu Dhabi isn’t something I’ve really seen before! The morning was OK, we tested some settings with the switchable rear wing, some of which worked and others that didn’t, but in the afternoon it was pretty good. We got on top of the SRW and could concentrate on getting through our programme. The balance was pretty good, and at the end of the day we’re not that far from where we wanted to be set-up wise. We got a good understanding of the supersoft and medium tyres and tried some different engine tuning and mapping work. We can be pretty proud of the step we made. The balance is good and we are in a strong position compared to the other teams.
Dominic Harlow, chief race engineer
Today’s programme involved some tests to understand the SRW and best wing level for this circuit, with an evaluation of a couple of developments of the blown diffuser in the afternoon session. The usual tyre comparisons were also carried out, with some useful data gathered. Tonio had quite a good day, but Adrian struggled with some brake glazing which we need to sort out. Otherwise I think that although things are close, we seem a little more competitive than Brazil and we will be aiming to qualify as well as possible as we know overtaking can be quite difficult here come the race.