The first two practice sessions of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix were full of incidents with both sessions being suspended with red flags being waved, with the shorter now one hour practice sessions meaning that it was difficult for all of the drivers to get into a rhythm.
Andrea Stella, the Executive Director of Racing at the McLaren F1 Team, referenced that the shorter practice sessions mean that running programs have to be condensed and all of the teams have to be efficient to complete all of their programs. It was an incident packed day with all the paddock suffering issues with the radio and red flags and yellow flags plaguing the session.
“The new format of shorter sessions on Friday means we need to be very efficient to get through the programme and do all of the laps in the plan. Today we almost achieved that, but missed out because of red flags, yellow flags and VSC interruptions. There were also problems with radio and video comms that affected the entire paddock.”
Despite these misfortunes it was still a relatively productive day for McLaren but there are still improvements to be made before qualifying commences on Saturday afternoon. The midfield as always is very closely contested and Stella wants to see how the order evolves as the season goes on. Qualifying will be crucial at a track where passing is difficult so it is imperative to have a good saturday.
“Despite these issues, it was a productive day. It’s pretty clear that there are some areas in which we have to improve before qualifying. The midfield pack seems to be very tight, and it will be interesting to see how the competitive position evolves. As usual, we’ve got to be at our best to do well in qualifying and put ourselves in a good position to score good points on Sunday.”