"A positive day – but improvement needed"
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Friday June 10
Both Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso ran competitively throughout both of today’s free practice sessions ahead of Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix.
Jenson finished the day seventh overall, despite losing track-time in the morning, and having his mechanics undertake a power unit change between sessions. Fernando was briefly sidelined by a suspected hydraulics leak – which turned out to be a false alarm – before ending the day 11th fastest.
FERNANDO ALONSO, MP4-31-04
|FP1||10th||1m16.663s (+1.908s)||18 laps|
|FP2||11th||1m15.450s (+1.238s)||40 laps|
“It’s been a good Friday. We were able to try a few interesting things, including all three tyre compounds, which will for sure be the most interesting element this weekend.
“Tomorrow, I think that perhaps qualifying 11th will be the best starting position for the race, as you’ll be the fastest runner free to choose your starting compound. I reckon starting the race on the Ultrasoft might not be ideal.
“Everything worked well today, including the new turbo from Honda. However, we didn’t have too much grip, and need to look at improving our traction out of corners.
“Now we have collected all the data from both cars, we need to find the direction for tomorrow.”
JENSON BUTTON, MP4-31-03
|FP1||12th||1m16.788s (+2.033s)||8 laps|
|FP2||7th||1m15.213s (+1.001s)||35 laps|
“We had several different issues in FP1 – it was a very unlucky morning. We changed the power unit between FP1 and FP2 – we were a little late out this afternoon, but the guys did a pretty amazing job to build the car up. After that, we had no issues with how the engine was running – but we’ll look at the data tonight to understand if we should continue with the engine we took out this morning, or stay with the one we fitted for this afternoon.
“In FP2, I was able to do a reasonable amount of running. The car feels good and is enjoyable to drive, but there are some set-up issues to resolve, which we’ll do tonight.
“It’s been a positive day, but there’s still improvement needed – if I was another half-tenth quicker, I’d be fourth overall, and if I was two tenths slower, I’d be 11th – so we really need to maximise everything we have for the rest of the weekend.”
ERIC BOULLIER - Racing director, McLaren-Honda
“While it’s extremely positive to finish the day showing encouraging pace – particularly after suffering a succession of issues throughout the morning’s session – we’re fully aware that, on a Friday, all teams are running different programmes, so we should keep our expectations in check.
“In the morning, we chose to briefly suspend Fernando’s running after identifying what we initially thought was a hydraulics leak. Happily, closer inspection seemed to confirm that it was a simple overflow. On the other side of the garage, Jenson reported a couple of issues during his early runs, then was stopped at the end of the session by an oil leak, which smoked heavily when the car was fired-up.
“With the power unit changed during the lunchbreak, he ran without problem this afternoon – immediately setting good times despite missing out on much useful running earlier in the day.
“We’ll comprehensively analyse all today’s data ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying session.”
YUSUKE HASEGAWA - Honda R&D head of F1 project & executive chief engineer
“Today”s FP1 and FP2 were focused on confirming the functionality and the effectiveness of the new turbo that has been introduced to both cars for this weekend’s Canadian GP. So far, the results have been positive for us.
“As for the total package, the team had a few niggly issues during FP1 which included an oil leak on Jenson’s car, but overall the car has been well-balanced and it has been a good first day of running.
“As for Jenson’s power unit situation, we will continue to investigate the cause and see whether the oil leak has affected any of the other components.”