A Friday like so many others here in Suzuka, the scene of the first two free practice sessions for the Japanese Grand Prix: Fernando Alonso completed 54 laps at the wheel of his F2012, while in the other Ferrari, Felipe Massa did 56, on a day given over to a careful analysis of various aerodynamic configurations and an evaluation of the small updates brought to the fascinating Japanese track. Both compounds brought here by Pirelli – the hard and the soft – were tested and at least from what could be seen today, their consistency in terms of performance will be severely tested.
“This was a reasonably good day. I like driving at Suzuka because it’s a very nice track which I love coming to race at and which, with its characteristics and its fast Esses, reminds me a lot of Spa. Overall, the feeling is good and I don’t think the high temperatures can constitute a problem for the tyres. We have done a lot of races in hot conditions, and not that long ago either, given that Singapore was only a fortnight ago and just like we did there, we will have to learn to manage them, which indeed will be the case for everyone. It’s hard to say if we can be as competitive here as in Silverstone: that was three months ago and we don’t know exactly how our rivals’ cars have evolved compared to how much progress we have made. We will have to wait until tomorrow, because usually on Saturday the pack gets jumbled up. As for the small updates we have brought here, there’s not much to say and we will have to spend more time looking at their behaviour.”
“Generally a positive day, during which we managed to get through everything on the programme. As usual on Friday, we tried both Pirelli compounds. It’s hard to say precisely where we are: what is certain is that many of our rivals seem to be competitive, but as usual, we must wait until tomorrow to get a clearer picture of the situation. In the afternoon, we did a fairly long run at the end of which we saw quite high tyre degradation. It won’t be easy to decide what will be the best strategy. I’d describe the balance of the car as average: even if we didn’t match the pace of the others, there is still a lot we can do to improve and we must also take into account the fact that the track changes a lot from one day to the next. I hope that tomorrow the results will come, because we have the potential to do well.”
“I’d say this was a Friday like so many others, in which we worked a lot on the comparison between the two types of tyre Pirelli has brought here, as well as validating some updates and various aerodynamic configurations aimed at this track. We acquired a lot of data from both drivers, who fortunately were able to complete the planned programme without any problems whatsoever. Now it’s down to we engineers to analyse it and make the best decisions for the rest of the weekend. Honestly, it’s hard to say where we are compared to our main competitors, both in terms of where we might be in qualifying and as far as our race pace is concerned.”