A lot of work and many laps for the two Ferrari F2012s on the first day of practice for the United States Grand Prix. On the fascinating Circuit of the Americas, on the outskirts of Austin, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa completed almost seven hundred kilometres – 678.468 to be precise – with the Spaniard completing 353.024 over 64 laps and the Brazilian doing 325.444 or 59 laps.
“It’s no surprise to see the two Red Bulls ahead of the field: in the last few races they have had the best package, therefore today’s result is logical. We know what are our strengths – team work and reliability – and we will make the most of them in the fight. The updates we have brought here seem to work, but we still need to look more closely at the data before having a definite answer. I am happy about this, but it’s also true that while we are making small steps forward with each passing race, so too are the others, so the distance between us remains unchanged. Would I be happy to be third again tomorrow afternoon? Sure, but this is only Friday and we have been in this position before and then on Saturday other cars have got ahead of us. The circuit? A nice surprise, even if we had an idea of what to expect from the simulator: it’s very demanding, especially the first sector which is very fast and where you can really feel the acceleration of a Formula 1 car. The track is very smooth and not at all porous: it reminds me a lot of Portimao in Portugal, so if it was to rain, it could be like driving on glass.”
“Today was given over above all to getting to know this new track: we did a lot of laps, mainly with this in mind. In the morning, the track was dirty and very slippery: I can’t remember ever driving on a surface that offered so little grip! Then the situation improved and we began to get a bit more confidence and find the right lines. I like the track a lot: it’s fun driving here and I think we will see a great show over the weekend. The tyres? Definitely hard! It will be important to work out how to get them up to temperature, especially as far as qualifying is concerned.”
Pat Fry, Technical director:
“We got through almost all our planned programme, which is always a good way to start a race weekend. We had some aerodynamic components to try and the first signs seem positive, but we will have to evaluate the data carefully, before making choices for qualifying and the race. The track is technically all encompassing and demanding, both for the drivers and the cars. Obviously, with a brand new track, the grip level on this first day was very low and the low temperature certainly didn’t help in this respect. Tyre degradation seems pretty light, even if we have really little data to work with. One of the areas we will have to work on extensively seems to be that of how quickly we manage to get the tyres to the best operating temperature, which will be crucial, especially for qualifying.”