The 2013 Formula 1 World Championship got off to a busy first day of testing for Scuderia Ferrari and the ten other teams at Melbourne’s Albert Park Circuit. Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa completed a total of 100 laps, 51 for the Spaniard and 49 for the Brazilian. Over the three hours of track action for the 22 drivers, the Ferrari men concentrated mainly on evaluating the Pirelli Medium and Supersoft tyres, as well as trying different set-ups aimed at getting the right balance on the F138.
Fernando Alonso: “Overall, this was a very productive Friday, as we did a lot of laps and got through an important initial analysis of the behaviour of the two types of Pirelli tyres available for this race. Our efforts were helped by particularly favourable weather with sunshine and summery temperatures. However, the weather is expected to change completely from tomorrow, with wind, rain and a significant drop in temperature, which could influence Sunday’s race. I’m not expecting any major surprises here, we already knew we were not the quickest and that was confirmed today. The car responds well, but we know there is still much to do if we want to fight with the very best”.
Felipe Massa: “All aspects of both sessions were positive, even if we are aware that much work still awaits us both this weekend and for the whole season ahead of us. In the second session, when I went out on the Supersofts, something did not work properly on the KERS and that cost me time, denying me the chance of doing a better lap. I am not surprised by the performance of our opponents and I expected Red Bull to be competitive right from the start”.
Pat Fry: “This morning we evaluated various aerodynamic configurations and worked on the set-up, while in the afternoon, we worked mainly on comparing the two compounds, which will be a key factor over the rest of the weekend. The degradation appeared to be particularly marked and in fact, it fell in line with our expectations and those of Pirelli. We got through today’s planned programme with both drivers, despite suffering a KERS failure on Felipe’s car during his run on the Supersofts, in the second free practice session. Now we need to analyse the data we have gathered very carefully, especially from the longer runs. We have much to do and a long evening ahead of us to be as well prepared as possible for tomorrow’s qualifying”.
|First session||Second session|
First session: air 21°C, track 32/34 °C. Sunny
Second session: air 21/22 °C, track 37/31 °C. Sunny.
Australian GP – A century on the first day
Albert Park, 15 March – That’s it, the first day of the 2013 Formula 1 season has now been and gone. At the end of the first three hours of free practice, despite track conditions that were very different to those encountered in the twelve days of testing in Spain, there were no major surprises on the Melbournian circuit.
For Scuderia Ferrari, it was a busy day, with a long job list to get through – the same for all the teams in fact. Friday in Australia provided the first opportunity to evaluate the Pirelli tyres in operating temperatures that are more or less the norm for the coming season. As expected, the degradation problems encountered in the cold in Barcelona were less of an issue in the warmer Australian autumn. Between them, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa completed a round century of laps; 51 for the Spaniard and 49 for the Brazilian, with the F138 running trouble-free throughout the day, apart from a minor KERS problem for Felipe this afternoon, which did not stop him getting through his programme.
The reigning world champion, Sebastian Vettel, dominated proceedings, topping the morning time sheet in the Red Bull ahead of the Prancing Horse duo of Felipe and Fernando and the afternoon classification ahead of his own team-mate Mark Webber and the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg. In between the German and the Spanish Ferrari man were the Lotus duo of fifth placed Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean in sixth. As expected, as a period of great stability in the technical regulations comes to an end, the competition at the front is very close, which makes tomorrow’s first 2013 qualifying a tantalising prospect. However, the much awaited single-lap shoot-out might not produce all the answers as the weather forecast is for a chance of a shower on Saturday afternoon, with wind and cooler climes for the rest of the weekend.
The first day of the season is always a time to work out who is driving where after the winter transfers and among the five rookies on the grid, the most we have seen in a few seasons, is a graduate of the Ferrari Driver Academy, as Jules Bianchi was at the wheel of a Marussia, posting the 19th fastest time this afternoon.
Australian GP – A busy Friday test
Albert Park, 15 March – Sebastian Vettel was quickest at the end of Friday in Melbourne, with a time of 1.25.908, having also been fastest in the morning, as the first round of the Formula 1 World Championship got underway. Second, was the other Red Bull of Mark Webber (1.26.172) followed by the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg (1.26.322.)
Fernando Alonso took his F138 to sixth in 1.26.748, completing 35 laps, while in the other Ferrari, Felipe Massa was eighth, doing 32 laps, the best being a 1.26.855. Both Ferrari men tried both compounds, the Medium and the Supersoft, brought here by Pirelli for the opening round, while also evaluating various set-ups.
Australian GP – An encouraging start
Melbourne, 15 March – Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso ended the first free practice session of the Australian Grand Prix and indeed of the season, in second and third places respectively in their Ferraris. As usual, during the first 90 minutes of track action, there was very little grip to be found on the semi-permanent Albert Park circuit. Sebastian Vettel was quickest for Red Bull in 1.27.211, with Massa doing 1.27.289 in his F138, while Alonso posted a 1.27.547. After concentrating on an evaluation of the new Medium Pirelli compound and testing different aero set-ups, the Scuderia ended the session with some pit stop practice.