Even with an interrupted Free Practice 1, McLaren F1 Team‘s Eric Boullier thought that the team’s Friday running was productive, and was pleased that both drivers returned with positive feedback about the cars.
McLaren drivers Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne finished eighth and tenth fastest respectively in both practice sessions. Their morning running was interrupted by an exhaust issue on Alonso’s car, but Boullier confirmed that the problem was quickly addressed, allowing them to continue with their programme for the day.
Conditions are forecast to change drastically for qualifying, with heavy rain predicted to be falling at the same time as the session, but Boullier says that all the team can do in circumstances such as this is maximize what they already know about the car from Friday’s dry practice. Alonso and Vandoorne provided a solid amount of information for the team to analyse going into the rest of the weekend.
“Today has been a productive day of running, and for the first time in more representative conditions,” he commented. “Track temperatures were much higher than they were on any day during testing, which has meant we’ve been able to test certain set-up parameters that we couldn’t in Barcelona.
“Although we had a slightly interrupted start to the day with a couple of initial teething problems with bodywork around the exhaust, these were quickly addressed and both drivers got out on track for some valuable mileage in the second half of the session.
“This afternoon ran much more smoothly, and we were able to collect a lot of useful data on the behaviour of the car in various scenarios, that will stand us in good stead for the rest of the weekend.
“Both drivers have provided positive feedback about the car and we have some solid information that our engineers are now busy analysing. Now, we look ahead to our first qualifying session of the year.
“Ironically, the weather conditions look like they’ll change again, but we’ll maximise what we already know and keep pushing to make progress through each session. It’s great to be back in Melbourne and we’re all very happy to be racing again.”