Fernando Alonso: “We are on a learning curve, which is not unusual for the start of a championship and, to find out how competitive we are, as usual we will have to wait until Saturday and Sunday. Usually, Friday is a very confusing day, because everyone is working on their own programmes, but this year it’s even more the case because of all the new elements. Everything went well, with no reliability problems and we managed to do a fair number of laps, enough to get a good understanding of the tyres, which will be a very important factor here because of the high temperatures. The Hard compound seems to stand up better over a long run, but it’s still too early to talk about qualifying and race strategy. For now, the only thing one can be sure of is the need to do everything to perfection.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “This was definitely a positive day and I had a better feeling compared to Friday in Melbourne. I was more comfortable with the F14 T today and even if we had no problems whatsoever, we know there’s still a long way to go and a lot to do. Our programme concentrated on car set-up and on testing the compounds that Pirelli has brought here. The handling seemed to be good even if, as we found on the race simulation, we will have to pay very close attention to degradation, which is particularly high here. Now we will spend the evening carefully analysing all the data we gathered over the day, to try and work out how to improve.”
Pat Fry: “Although the Friday work hasn’t changed, the number of variables on which we need to concentrate has increased compared to previous years. Among the many parameters that require particular attention are the management systems of the new power unit, especially in terms of its reliability. That’s what we focused on this morning, while in the session just finished we went through the usual set-up work, trying to adapt the balance of the car to the characteristics of the Sepang track.
The tyres are harder than last year, but they still come under a lot of strain from lateral loads in the fast corners and so managing their degradation will be a key factor. Even if we are just a few thousandths off the top of the time sheet, as usual on Friday, it’s impossible to give any real assessment. The actual pecking order will only be seen tomorrow in qualifying.”