The Force India Formula One Team's Canadian Grand Prix challenge started in earnest today with two one and a half hour practice sessions at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. The 4.361km track on the outside of Montreal is typically low on grip on the event's first day due to underuse over the racing season, and today was no exception as cars slithered off the track, unable to find traction or grip on the 'green' surface.
Heavy rain before the start of the morning session added to the challenge, and after an initial installation lap and short run to bed in new brake material, both drivers waited until a dry line cleared before switching over to dry tyres for a final run. Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil were evenly matched over the practice, recording the 15th and 16th fastest times respectively.
In the dry afternoon session Giancarlo and Adrian were able to complete longer runs to check the balance of the car and evaluate the two tyre options available here this weekend. With grip still low and tyre graining somewhat of an issue for both drivers, the duo concentrated on completing the programme to gather as much information as possible. Giancarlo posted the 14th quickest time and Adrian the 18th.
Adrian Sutil: "Today was an average day, working through our programme of tyre evaluation and waiting for the track improvement. This morning was very wet and then in the last 10 minutes it seemed to dry up and was OK so we could use the dry tyres. There is a lot of work to do as I'm not 100% happy with the car balance at the moment. It could be the tyres and the graining, but there is still some room for improvement so we need to make sure to fix it for tomorrow."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "An fairly typical day here in Canada. As usual on the first day, the grip is not so good. I think it is a problem for every driver around here, particularly with the low level of downforce we run at the track. We need to improve in a few areas still and there was some graining with the tyres, but I think we can find some more tomorrow."
Mike Gascoyne, chief technical officer: "A productive day with both cars with no mechanical issues. We worked through the evaluation of the two tyre specs and some set-up options. The track here is always very dirty and cleans up a lot on the first day, but we still experienced quite a lot of graining with the tyres, especially on the longer runs but overall there were no real problems and it was a useful first day for us."