Shanghai International Circuit, Friday 7 April
Today was an unusual day in Shanghai, with a heavily disrupted first session owing to mist and intermittent showers, which meant the medical helicopter was grounded, unable to operate its usual service in the event of an incident.
Both drivers completed only one installation lap followed by one short run each – Fernando four laps on Intermediates, and Stoffel three laps on Wets, but neither was able to commit to any conclusive running.
The team will return to the track tomorrow morning in an effort to recoup the lost running time, in advance of qualifying in the afternoon.
FERNANDO ALONSO, McLaren-Honda driver, MCL32-03
|FP1||1m53.520s (+3.029s)||5 laps||7th|
“It’s good to see the fans in the grandstands and how much they enjoy Formula 1, but it’s a shame that we didn’t put any laps in for them in FP2, and very few in FP1. Hopefully we can give them a good show tomorrow and Sunday.
“I know this track well, I know the tyres, I know the car, so I don’t mind going straight into qualifying. Should we need wet tyres or dry tyres, I have all the data on my hard disk already!”
STOFFEL VANDOORNE, McLaren-Honda driver, MCL32-01
|FP1||1m57.445s (+6.954s)||4 laps||12th|
“Well, it wasn’t a very exciting day for any of us. Nobody wants to wait in the car or hang about in the garage, so it’s a shame I only got one run in FP1 today, in wet conditions. There will be a lot for me to catch up with tomorrow. Hopefully, conditions will be better and we’ll be able to get some decent running.
“It’s true we have some new bits on the car and we would’ve preferred to spend more time on track to evaluate them, but it’s the same for everyone, after all.
“From my side, for sure, it’s the first time I’ve driven here so catching up will be one of our key tasks tomorrow. We’ll try to make the most of it.”
ERIC BOULLIER, McLaren-Honda Racing Director
“Well, what can I say? In FP1 Fernando drove five laps, and Stoffel four. In FP2 no-one drove any laps at all, and the session was aborted even before it was due to end.
“That was the correct decision, disappointing as it must have been for the small number of spectators who had braved the rain and mist to visit the circuit today, because you can’t race if the available vision is too poor to allow a helicopter to be deployed safely. That’s an absolute, because the safety of our drivers is paramount.
“However, we know we’re in the entertainment business, and, together, we all hope to be able to put on a better show tomorrow, with plenty of on-track action, when the weather is forecast to be rather better.”
YUSUKE HASEGAWA, Honda R&D Co. Ltd Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer
“Obviously it was very frustrating that we were unable to do any significant running today, but the safety of our drivers is the absolute priority.
“It was also particularly disappointing for the fans who braved the rain to come out and support us. All we can do is hope for better weather tomorrow, for us and for them.
“In terms of where we are, we were only able to do a total of nine laps, so we didn’t really learn a lot. Hopefully we’ll have better conditions and more track time tomorrow so we can gather all-important data for qualifying and the race. We also still have a lot of work to do on set-up and understanding the tyres. Tomorrow will be a busy day for the whole team.
“In addition to everything else today, this is Stoffel’s first time to race here, so it was a missed opportunity for him to understand the track. However, we’re sure he won’t let that hold him back this weekend.”