Mercedes’ James Allison: “Overall the car seems strong”

Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team - Lewis Hamilton - FP1, Australia. Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Newly appointed Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team Technical Director James Allison, was pleased with the squads performance on the first day of the new season in Australia, which ran without problem for the current world champions, who led the way once again.

Driver Lewis Hamilton topped the times in both practice sessions by half a second on Friday, whilst new recruit Valtteri Bottas finished second behind his team-mate in FP1, and third during the afternoon’s running.

“It always seems like a bit of a cliché to say that we were pleased to get through our programme smoothly. However, in the first practice sessions of a new season – particularly under new regulations like these – it’s especially important to achieve that and also to leave the car intact for Saturday.

“On both counts, I think we can say that today was a smooth day.”

The Brackley based team got through a strict schedule of work on Friday, and Allison was pleased with how that went, especially in terms of how strong both drivers looked on their long run pace.

It is still difficult to know how they truly compare over one lap at this stage of proceedings, that will become more apparent on Saturday, but Allison is confident of a positive outcome for Mercedes on race day.

“Our programme focused on trying out the various tyre compounds that we have available this weekend to see what kind of pace and degradation we can expect from them.

“We also worked to ensure the car has a reasonable balance with race fuel and lower fuel. Our long run pace looked decent but it’s harder to tell where we stand at this stage in terms of single lap pace. We’ll find out tomorrow.

“Overall the car seems strong, so we’re looking forward to seeing what we can do with it.