Honda has problems with graining
The Honda Racing F1 Team began its on-track preparations for the final Grand Prix of the year in Sao Paulo today, with the team’s RA108 cars completing 129 laps of the 4.309km (2.677-mile) Autódromo José Carlos Pace in Interlagos.
The team completed its usual Friday homework during the two 1.5-hour practice sessions with the cool temperatures and dark rain clouds resulting in occasional light showers.
Rubens Barrichello had a smooth build-up to his home Grand Prix and is sporting a new design on his crash helmet for this weekend in the colours of ex-Formula One driver Ingo Hoffmann. The Brazilian is a long-standing friend of Rubens, ever since he gave him his first crash helmet when Rubens was just seven years old.
The only unscheduled stoppage today came midway through the opening session when an electrical problem brought Jenson’s running to an early conclusion after 13 laps, after setting a fastest lap just 0.090s slower than his team-mate.
After finishing today’s second session with Rubens in 16th position and Jenson in 18th place, the drivers and engineers will examine the data gathered today to see if further progress can be made with the set-up of the RA108 prior to tomorrow’s qualifying session.
Free Practice 1: 28 laps 01:13.676 P14
Free Practice 2: 39 laps 01:13.221 P16
How does it feel to be back in action at your home track today?
“It’s a real pleasure for me to be racing at Interlagos this weekend, especially in front of the Brazilian fans and my family. We had two straightforward practice sessions with no real issues today however, as we expected, the car is lacking performance. We will do our best to maximise the data that we were able to achieve today but it will be a big ask to progress into Q2 tomorrow.”
Free Practice 1: 13 laps 01:13.766 P15
Free Practice 2: 49 laps 01:13.341 P18
What progress were you able to make during practice today?
"It's been a busy day and the conditions have provided some challenges with light rain in both sessions. Our main focus was trying to get the option tyres to work. Everyone seems to be having a problem with graining on the options so we tried various things to improve their performance over one lap and the long runs. I had an electrical problem this morning which cost me some time and set-up work, however with the information that we gathered this afternoon, we have plenty of data to help us move forward before tomorrow."
Steve Clark, Head of Race & Test Engineering:
How were the track conditions on the first day of running at Interlagos?
“It has been quite cold today, along with intermittent bouts of light rain, so the weather has certainly impacted upon the programme. The level of grip has been variable and the track did not evolve through the day as we would usually expect. The tyres were also graining and this combination of factors means we have to be very careful analysing the changes we have made to the car during the two sessions. The forecast is for hotter conditions on Sunday and that is likely to improve the performance of the tyres.”