BAR Play Down Slow Start

BAR sporting director Gil de Ferran believes that his team have reason to be encouraged about their chances of a first points-scoring finish of the season in this weekend's French Grand Prix, despite their drivers not setting very competitive times on the opening day of practice

BAR Play Down Slow Start

Jenson Button and Takuma Sato's relatively lowly 12th and 14th fastest times in second free practice were explained by the team deciding to focus on long tyre runs rather than quick lap times - and that has left the team confident that their pace will improve dramatically on Saturday.

"Looking at the final timesheets, one could be forgiven for thinking that we are disappointed with today's result," said de Ferran. "However, the opposite is true since we are quite happy with today's outcome. 

"Once it became clear that rain was no longer a threat and track conditions were likely to remain reasonably consistent, we very much concentrated on doing longer runs, especially in the afternoon when the track was quickest.

"The Michelin tyres proved to be quite consistent during those long runs and we believe that we have made a step forward in our high-downforce configuration for this race.  We are hopeful of a good performance in qualifying tomorrow."

Both drivers were equally upbeat, and confident that the new aero package the team was running this weekend had proved to be the kind of step forward that they had hoped for.

Button said: "We've done some long runs, the car has been working well and the tyre work has been very consistent, so I'm happy with the package that we have for Magny Cours  

"We've still got a bit of work to do to get closer to the top of the timesheets for tomorrow but the baseline is there and I'm hoping we can look forward to a positive weekend here."

Sato added: "The car seems to have good balance, similar to the way we were running in North America, and the very different high-downforce aero package that we have for this race appears to be working well. Our data is showing very positive signs."

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