The action in the press conference, as Christian Horner and Martin Whitmarsh argued about the latest technical directive regarding blowing diffusers, comfortably overshadowed that on the track where only slivers of significant form emerged from the gloom of two rain-afflicted Friday practice sessions.
Intermediates were the tyres of choice for the field during both the morning and the afternoon and the timesheets - particularly those of the second free practice session - reflected only who was best placed in the dying seconds of the session to take fullest advantage of a drying track. That happened to be Felipe Massa in the afternoon, but nothing too much should be read into that.
Horner and Whitmarsh had some choice words for each other © sutton-images.com
On the few occasions in which it was on the track, the Red Bull appeared still to be by far the fastest car, Mark Webber heading the FP1 times and also lapping fastest when he was running in FP2. The combination of Michael Schumacher and Mercedes also appeared competitive in these conditions, as was the case in Canada a few weeks ago.
The current expectation is that both qualifying and the race will be held in dry conditions and only then will we know definitively what the effect of the latest ruling on off-throttle blown diffusers will be. That ruling was actually changed on the eve of FP2 after extensive consultations between FIA technical delegate Charlie Whiting and Renault Sport. This was at the centre of the heated post-practice discussion between Horner and Whitmarsh and of an animated pitlane conversation between Whitmarsh and Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali.