Friday team by team: Part 1

Autosport.com's Formula 1 editor Jonathan Noble gives a rundown of what was happening up and down the pit-lane during the first day's running on the brand new Shanghai International Circuit in China

Friday team by team: Part 1



An untypical day of minor difficulties for Ferrari as minor technical glitches and a struggle with understeer left Rubens Barrichello in fifth and Michael Schumacher eighth. Neither driver found a good balance and Schumacher was lucky to have a software problem stop his car right at the end of the first session.

RUBENS BARRICHELLO: "This place is superb, but I don't understand why there are not yet any Chinese F1 drivers because on the roads it is mad. They say Brazilians make good racing drivers because of our traffic, but here they should have much better ones than us."

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER: "This is a very challenging track. We still have to adapt our car to the demands of the track and it is not yet perfect. So there is still some work to be done. This morning I had a small problem with software at the end of the session, but I am confident we can have a good weekend."



Williams had looked ultra strong in first practice but failed to match that pace in the second session, as the returning Ralf Schumacher ended up seventh and Juan Pablo Montoya had a troubled second session with a spin and an on-track tussle with Bad Leinders to end up 14th.

RALF SCHUMACHER: "Everything ran smoothly today. Driving here is a lot of fun as it is something really new. There is still some work to do on the set-up and the tyre choice is not going to be too easy. All in all we expect a challenging but interesting weekend."

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: "I didn't manage to put a very fast time in because I had some traffic on new tyres. Still we had a pretty consistent run and the data we have collected should give us the right direction. I know there is definitely more in the car."



Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard spent much of the first practice session in the pits as the team focused on limiting the mileage of its Mercedes-Benz engines, but bounced back in style in the second session to end up third and fourth fastest overall. The MP4-19B was running with its more traditional narrow nose again after using the wide version for its low-downforce front wing at Monza.

KIMI RAIKKONEN: "We did what we meant to do today and the car's performance is good, so I'm pretty satisfied. Our tyres seemed to be working well, which is crucial. Obviously we had an idea of set-up before we arrived and whilst we did make a few changes we should be in good shape."

DAVID COULTHARD: "It was a good day today. We completed our tyre evaluation and the pre-planned programme, but as always we should not read too much into the times. You have to be careful with your rear tyres here because you generate a lot of mechanical grip coming out of the slow corners. All in all it's an impressive facility and I'm looking forward to the rest of the weekend."



Renault has been heaped with attention following the arrival of Jacques Villeneuve, but its first day was generally disappointing as the former world champion ended up 15th overall - two places behind team-mate Fernando Alonso who struggled for grip on the slippery surface.

FERNANDO ALONSO: "It was a tricky day today. I was still trying different lines at the end of the session and I can still find time all the way around the lap. The tyre choice will be quite hard as well, because the circuit was changing all the time and it was difficult to get a clear idea of which type was the best. But we did a lot of laps and collected plenty of data."

JACQUES VILLENEUVE: "Today was all about getting to the limit for me: the circuit is new for me, like all the other drivers, but I am still learning about the R24 as well. Everything was going pretty well by the end of the day and I was setting consistent times, but I still need to work out how to get the best out of a new set of tyres for a single flying lap. That is one of the areas I need to concentrate on before qualifying tomorrow."



A day of mixed fortunes for the new-look BAR team, with Anthony Davidson and Jenson Button topping the timesheets, while Takuma Sato was left on the sidelines following a spectacular engine failure on his first lap of the afternoon session. The Japanese ace will lose 10 grid places after qualifying on Saturday.

ANTHONY DAVIDSON: "It was a good day for us, and obviously I am really pleased to be fastest in both sessions. Initially it was very dusty, so we had to work on the set-up to find more grip quite early on. Unfortunately I had a high-speed spin at Turn Four at the beginning of the long run on my first set of tyres. I am confident in our tyre choice for the race though."

JENSON BUTTON: "I am reasonably happy with today's running and the work we have achieved for our race preparation. It's disappointing that we have been unable to get the information that we wanted from Taku's car or the tyre comparison from Anthony over the longer runs. However, the car seems to be working well here and I am enjoying the circuit."

TAKUMA SATO: "It has been a very disappointing first day for me because we had an engine failure on the out-lap of the second session, which means I haven't had the opportunity to complete a timed lap and I will have to move back 10 places from my qualifying position tomorrow. On the positive side, the car is working well as far as we can see from the other two cars, which is very positive."

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