05 OCTOBER 2018
JAPANESE GP – FRIDAY PRACTICE
First Practice Session: 1:29.841 Position: 6 Laps: 30
Second Practice Session: 1:29.257 Position: 4, Laps: 32
“We have some work to do ahead of tomorrow as I wasn’t totally satisfied with the feeling in the car today. Both short and long runs didn’t feel ideal, it may look closer on paper but I know we can improve. I was running a different rear wing to Daniel which meant less downforce. If we can find a compromise between straight line speed and rear grip then it will put us in a stronger position for the rest of the weekend. Here in Suzuka you need to be confident in the grip in order to attack the corners. It’s only Friday so we have time to make the changes and find a good balance ahead of qualifying. I think we can get close to Ferrari and challenge during the race but Mercedes seem too far ahead at the moment.”
First Practice Session: 1:29.373 Position: 3, Laps: 32
Second Practice Session: 1:29.513 Position: 6, Laps: 27
“It was a pretty solid day and there are some promising signs. On the low fuel runs we can be better but I don’t think we’re looking too bad. My sector one was slow as I had traffic on my fast lap and we can be better there for sure. On the straight we still lose a bit to the front runners, even if we ran the same downforce, they have a bit more power so coming up to Turn 1 we already lose a bit. We gain a little bit back in the corners but I think tomorrow if it’s dry you will see a better sector one from us. The long runs seemed more consistent and I was happier with that. Qualifying here is important as it’s not easy to overtake and there could be rain tomorrow, although they said it would rain today and it didn’t, so I don’t really know what to expect. Max ran a smaller rear wing to me today and we had different downforce levels, on one lap there may not be that much difference but I seemed happier with the car on the long runs. Everything ran well and it’s been fun. It’s a really good circuit and with these fast cars, as you can see from my smile, it’s very enjoyable.”
One of the great things about the Japanese Grand Prix is the phenomenal dedication of the fans that pack the grandstands late into the night on Sunday, glued to every moment of the fascinating process that is pack down. Musing on the undeniable thrill of watching a man disassemble a hoarding we got to thinking about other elements of F1 that could provide added weekend value to fans. Here are our top five new fan-focused activities
1. Flight case roulette – A guessing game in which a team member has to guess at the content of that curious flight case that’s remained unopened since Melbourne. You know, the one that smells a bit like old dog bedding and is leaking something brown. Like a cross between Deal or No Deal and that bit in David Fincher’s serial killer movie Seven where a horrified Brad Pitt repeatedly screams “What’s in the box? What’s in the box?!” you know it’s not going to end well but you can’t take your eyes off it.
2. Scooter Grand Prix – Nothing says ‘Baby, I’m a Star’ like riding around the paddock on an electrified children’s toy while wearing designer sunglasses and a heavy pout. So, hey, let’s turn that frown upside down and get the drivers to do what they do best – by racing them. Additional entertainment value in seeing just how much aero performance Adrian can squeeze out of what essentially is a single plane.
3. Competitive pit box drying – Only in Formula 1 is it considered sane to send a man out into a soaking wet pit lane to attempt to dry a patch of concrete armed with nothing more than a hair dryer, while it’s still raining. Such futility would be truly heart-breaking… unless you can make it competitive. Fastest garage tech to pass the kitchen towel test gets to nominate his team manager for the next round.
4. Creative soundbite generation – Like ice dancing, synchronised swimming or that thing with the ribbon that is just weird, this would see F1 personnel judged on style, creativity, and degree of plausibility. No longer will the phrase ‘technical issue’ cut the sporting mustard. Welcome to a new world of ‘unexpected digital activation/analog control mechanism misalignment’ or in layman’s terms ‘the driver pressed the anti-stall’.
5. The 100-metre penalty sprint – Face it, no one really has any idea how many examples of which power unit element have been attached to which engine at any time or in some cases what those bits actually do, but what we do know is that in order to avoid the biggest drops come Sunday you’ve got to be at the pit lane exit well ahead of your rivals before the start of free practice in order to be the first to commit the offence and thus take your penalty first. So in order to make it a bit more interesting, teams taking a penalty will have to race to the pit exit, without a speed limit in place. Fair enough, we might need to reschedule some stuff to repair various bits of the pit lane and build up some new chassis but you know, anything’s more fun than FP1, right?