"Smooth progress in both sessions"
Silverstone, Friday July 8
Strong winds made progress difficult during the first day of practice for Sunday’s British Grand Prix. The weather became gusty during the afternoon session, with both Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso reporting that it was difficult to balance their cars due to the winds.
Jenson had a minor engine data issue in FP2 – it halted set-up progress while his engineers and mechanics worked to identify the problem, but, once he’d fitted the Option tyre at the end of the session, he was able to record some useful lap-times.
FERNANDO ALONSO, MP4-31-02
|FP1||10th||1m33.527s (+1.873s)||22 laps|
|FP2||6th||1m33.040s (+1.380s)||31 laps|
"Everything feels okay with this weekend’s PU upgrade – hopefully, the engineers can look at the numbers to validate the improvements and check reliability for the rest of the weekend. I know Jenson had some trouble in FP2, so we need to avoid any reliability issues in order to score some points on Sunday
"We've regularly been performing well on Fridays, but we still to extract more performance from the car on Saturdays. Still, we’ve managed to get into Q3 for the past couple of races, so we’ll try and repeat that again tomorrow.
"It’s very windy out there, and there’s more wind and rain forecast for tomorrow, so it could be difficult for everyone."
JENSON BUTTON, MP4-31-03
|FP1||12th||1m34.132s (+2.478s)||24 laps|
|FP2||9th||1m33.763s (+2.103s)||20 laps|
"I had a tricky afternoon session: I did one lap on the Prime tyre at the start of the session, then had a problem and had to sit in the garage for half an hour, then went out and completed one lap, had another problem, and was only able to get out on the Option tyre at the very end.
"Hopefully the problems we encountered today will be resolved by tomorrow and we can get some running in – fortunately, it appears to be more about number-crunching on the laptops than anything else, so we should be able to get back on track.
"Nonetheless, it still looks like it’ll be difficult to get into Q3 tomorrow, but if we get a clear morning session, I think that would help improve our fortunes for qualifying.
"Fernando found some good pace today – so tomorrow my car will hopefully be fitted with new components, we’ll get some positive running under our belts, and we’ll look a bit more competitive, too."
ERIC BOULLIER - Racing director, McLaren-Honda
"It was a fairly routine Friday for both drivers, albeit one made trickier by the extremely blustery conditions that affected the track throughout the day.
"Fernando made smooth progress through both sessions, but Jenson was delayed at the start of the FP2 while his mechanics investigated the source of some irregular engine data.
"Finally, it’s great to see so many enthusiastic fans packing out the grandstands on the first day of the race weekend. It’s always inspiring and motivating to see how popular the sport is here in the UK, and it really gives the whole team a boost to see that level of support."
YUSUKE HASEGAWA - Honda R&D head of F1 project & executive chief engineer
"Silverstone is a track that tests all aspects of the car, therefore it is still too early to confirm if our engine update has taken full effect. Both Fernando and Jenson struggled with the gusty winds and the low grip track, which destabilised the cars and made them difficult to drive. However, even though Jenson was limited in FP2 running due to engine data issues, our day’s results were surprisingly encouraging, and we think we are heading in the right direction overall.
"Not surprisingly, we are expecting a rainy Saturday and Sunday, but we are hoping that we can reach Q3 without relying on changing conditions as we did at the Austrian GP"