United States GP – Friday lessons

A lot of work and many laps for the two F2012s on the first day of practice for the United States Grand Prix. On this fascinating Circuit of the Americas, on the outskirts of Austin, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa completed almost seven hundred kilometres – 678.468 to be precise – with the Spaniard completing 353.024 over 64 laps and the Brazilian doing 325.444 or 59 laps. Neither car suffered any technical problems.

Fernando Alonso: “It’s no surprise to see the two Red Bulls ahead of the field: in the last few races they have had the best package, therefore today’s result is logical. We know what are our strengths – team work and reliability – and we will make the most of them in the fight. The updates we have brought here seem to work, but we still need to look more closely at the data before having a definite answer. I am happy about this, but it’s also true that while we are making small steps forward with each passing race, so too are the others, so the distance between us remains unchanged. Would I be happy to be third again tomorrow afternoon? Sure, but this is only Friday and we have been in this position before and then on Saturday other cars have got ahead of us. The circuit? A nice surprise, even if we had an idea of what to expect from the simulator: it’s very demanding, especially the first sector which is very fast and where you can really feel the acceleration of a Formula 1 car. The track is very smooth and not at all porous: it reminds me a lot of Portimao in Portugal, so if it was to rain, it could be like driving on glass.”

Felipe Massa: “Today was given over above all to getting to know this new track: we did a lot of laps, mainly with this in mind. In the morning, the track was dirty and very slippery: I can’t remember ever driving on a surface that offered so little grip! Then the situation improved and we began to get a bit more confidence and find the right lines. I like the track a lot: it’s fun driving here and I think we will see a great show over the weekend. The tyres? Definitely hard! It will be important to work out how to get them up to temperature, especially as far as qualifying is concerned.”

Pat Fry: “We got through almost all our planned programme, which is always a good way to start a race weekend. We had some aerodynamic components to try and the first signs seem positive, but we will have to evaluate the data carefully, before making choices for qualifying and the race. The track is technically all encompassing and demanding, both for the drivers and the cars. Obviously, with a brand new track, the grip level on this first day was very low and the low temperature certainly didn’t help in this respect. Tyre degradation seems pretty light, even if we have really little data to work with. One of the areas we will have to work on extensively seems to be that of how quickly we manage to get the tyres to the best operating temperature, which will be crucial, especially for qualifying.”

First session Second session
Driver Pos. Time Laps Pos. Time Laps Chassis
F. Alonso 3rd 1.40.337 29 3rd 1.38.483 35 295
F. Massa 6th 1.40.966 26 6th 1.39.029 33 294

Weather
First session: air 12/16 °C, track 16/24 °C. Sunny
Second session: air 19/20 °C, track 30/31 °C. Sunny

United States GP – Alonso third and Massa sixth this afternoon in Texas
Austin, 16 November – It was a Red Bull one-two come the end of the second free practice session for the United States Grand Prix, the penultimate round of the Formula 1 World Championship. On the brand new Circuit of the Americas track, on the outskirts of Austin, Sebastian Vettel was fastest in 1.37.718, ahead of Mark Webber (1.38.475.) Third was Fernando Alonso who took his F2012 round in 1.38.483, while, in the other Ferrari, Felipe Massa was sixth in 1.39.09. The Brazilian never got a clean lap on the Medium tyres this afternoon, in a session devoted to comparing the Hard and Medium tyres Pirelli has selected for the Texan track. At the end, both Ferrari men did some practice starts and pit stops. Alonso was the only one of the two to do a long run with a full fuel load.

United States GP – Cold start
Austin, 16 November – Sebastian Vettel and his Red Bull were quickest in a time of 1.38.125, as Formula 1 made its debut at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas. The first ever practice was particularly busy as teams and drivers got a first-hand look at the track which was particularly slippery. Second fastest was Lewis Hamilton (1.39.543) in the McLaren, followed by Fernando Alonso who did a 1.40.337 in his Ferrari. In the other F2012, Felipe Massa was sixth, with a 1.40.966. As usual, the team spent the session comparing different aero configurations, splitting the task between the two cars, both using only the Pirelli Hard tyre. If the cold conditions continue, the key to tomorrow’s qualifying could well be the difficult task of getting the tyres up to temperature here in the USA.