The first day of the 2019 Formula 1 season track action, here in Melbourne, is finally done ad dusted! Here are our team’s reactions after Free Practice 1 and 2.
Daniil Kvyat (STR14-03, Car 26)
“Both free practice sessions today went well, we managed to run through our programmes and complete quite a few laps, which is important around this circuit. The car felt good, I think we maximised our time on track and we just need to look into what we want to change overnight. I think there are still steps we can make to improve the car for tomorrow, so we’ll try to work on that tonight.”
Alex Albon (STR14-02, Car 23)
“I’m still getting used to the timetable of an F1 weekend as well as to the car and the track. This circuit isn’t easy, but I think our pace looks good so far and I’m slowly building up confidence. I took it a bit easier after the spin in FP1 and once I got back up to speed we went on with the programme, trying a few more things on the car. Timesheet apart, we’re looking pretty strong in a very tight midfield and now it’s up to us to do our homework tonight to improve tomorrow.”
Jonathan Eddolls (Chief Race Engineer):
“After a long winter away from the track, it’s fantastic to be back for a race weekend again. Melbourne is always a busy one because you want to do as many laps as possible. With a new car and one new driver, we wanted to spend as much time as possible on the track in FP1. The track evolution is massive here, so it’s often quite hard to learn from test items so, being mindful of this, we hadn’t planned to do too much testing in the session. Alex spent the session acclimatising himself with the car and track. Having underestimated the loss of grip with the tyres coming up in temperature, he had a spin towards the end of the session - on such a track it’s easy to hit the wall, so we elected to give the car a thorough check, which meant his session was only a little bit cut short.
“FP2 was a busy session, focussing on the two types of tyres over the short runs and then the long runs. Dany’s session was quite smooth, but I think it’s fair to say we didn’t fully get the most out of the option tyre, so there’s more time to come from him. As for Alex, on his first timed lap in Turn 11, due to a little glitch, he had to abort his flying lap. The tyres don’t perform as well after the first timed lap, so Alex’s time isn’t representative. It’s massively tight in the midfield and only a couple of tenths of a second can make a big difference on the timesheets, so our focus tonight will be to analyse the data and to fine tune the car balance. Our long runs look fairly reasonable, and even though it’s still early days, we’re quite happy with our pace. All of us and the drivers need to get everything together tomorrow to extract every bit of performance for a good result in Qualifying.”
Toyoharu Tanabe (Honda F1 Technical Director):
“Finally we took to the track for the first race weekend of the season. Winter testing went quite smoothly for us and that continued in today’s two free practice sessions.”