2017 British Grand Prix – Free Practice

British Grand Prix 2017

Silverstone Circuit, Friday 14 July

Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne made the most of a cold and blustery first day’s practice at Silverstone to end the day ninth and 16th respectively.

The drivers ran mixed programmes in order to maximise learning around this tricky circuit, where finding the optimal balance between straight-line and cornering speed is a difficult balancing act.

Both drivers and engineers felt satisfied with the results of today’s programme, and will work to refine the cars for qualifying tomorrow.


FERNANDO ALONSO, McLaren Honda driver, MCL32-05

 FP1 1m30.993s (+1.887s)20 laps 8th
 FP2 1m31.238s (+1.742s)16 laps 9th 

“I’m pretty happy with how my day went. We’ve got several options we need to look at now, to choose the best one for tomorrow, but we’ve mainly been concentrating on race pace because we know that we’ll start from the back [with a 5-place ESS penalty].

“As we know, the lap-times are not that significant on a Friday. For the last couple of races we’ve been between 8th and 12th position, so we have to wait and see what happens tomorrow.

“The main issue here is choosing what level of downforce you want to have. Depending on how much power you have, you take some wing off to be fast in the corners and defend yourself on the straights, or if you have little power and you want to be reasonably okay on the straights you have to use the smallest wing you have. It’s difficult to judge.”


STOFFEL VANDOORNE, McLaren Honda driver, MCL32-04

 FP1 1m31.041s (+1.935s) 27 laps 10th 
 FP2 1m30.782s (+2.286s)31 laps 16th 

“Today has actually been a pretty good start to our weekend. Given that this is a long circuit, with a lot of high-speed corners, I think our car has been performing well – I felt pretty comfortable out there.

“As usual, the times in the midfield are very close, so it’ll be the tiniest details that will make a difference during qualifying tomorrow. At the moment, we’re still exploring the car’s limits – particularly in the Becketts section of the lap. I think both Fernando and I had a moment during that part of the lap – just losing the rear on the entry of the final section.

“Fernando and I have been trying a lot of different downforce configurations throughout today’s sessions. Now I think we have a very good idea of what we should run tomorrow – we’ve done a lot of learning on that front.”


ERIC BOULLIER, McLaren Honda Racing Director

“First and foremost, it’s fantastic to see Formula 1 performing in front of another packed British crowd. After the successful event in London on Wednesday, it’s incredibly uplifting to see tens of thousands of supporters in the grandstands and at the side of the track watching today’s sessions.

“I think we can feel pretty satisfied with what we achieved today. The entire team has done a fantastic job to make sure that our car is well balanced and comfortable to drive around this extremely demanding and tricky circuit.

“It’s still going to be a tough weekend for us – it’s a power-limited track, and we have to contend with a grid penalty on Fernando’s side of the garage, but it’s been a positive start.

“I hope we can achieve something this weekend to justify the spirit and enthusiasm of our tireless fans and supporters.”


YUSUKE HASEGAWA, Honda R&D Co. Ltd Head of F1 Project & Chief Engineer 

“The British Grand Prix weekend kicked off today in front of a great crowd of knowledgeable and enthusiastic fans – despite the chilly British weather!

“We were able to finish the first day without any major issues and both drivers completed their programmes.

“Although this is only the first day, we have a good feeling after the sessions and I think we’re in a good position for tomorrow’s qualifying. Of course, we have the notoriously unpredictable weather to contend with, but we will prepare as best we can to give the drivers a good package.

“Silverstone is also the first of two home grands prix for the McLaren Honda team this season, and so I’m sure our drivers will do their best for the crowd in qualifying tomorrow.”