Fernando Alonso admitted his McLaren-Honda Formula 1 Team made the most of the available time during the first free practice session to get some testing done that was aimed towards their 2017 challenger at the Yas Marina Circuit on Friday.
With the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix set to take place at dusk on Sunday, the conditions in FP1 on Friday did not represent what will face drivers on race day, so the team decided to take the opportunity to try and experiment on track with one eye on next year.
“As a team, we need to take every opportunity we can to test things on the track for next year,” said Alonso. “We need to learn and understand as much as we can about configurations or philosophies that we can put into next year’s car.
“And today was a day when we could really improve our understanding – particularly in FP1, which isn’t really representative of the conditions we’ll find in either qualifying or the race, so it made sense to experiment a little.”
The team turned their focus to this weekend during second practice, and Alonso finished just outside the top ten in eleventh, just ahead of team-mate Jenson Button.
“In FP2, we had our only opportunity to learn about the tyres in similar conditions to those we’ll experience in the race – at night, and with cooler track temperatures,” said Alonso. “It’s been a positive start to the weekend – let’s hope we can maintain that momentum into the race.”