The Force India Formula One Team's 2008 French Grand Prix got underway today at a cloudy and chillier than usual Magny-Cours circuit in the heart of rural Burgundy. The weekend kicked off with two 90 minute practice sessions, in which the team concentrated on establishing a baseline set up and comparing the Bridgestone Potenza tyre compounds available.
Adrian Sutil completed just 13 laps in the cooler morning session as a result of an issue with his brakes. Rather than risk further damage, the team chose to end the session early and change the brake calipers for the afternoon. Adrian went on to put in 33 laps of the 4.411km track in the second practice, however reported a lack of grip in the warmer temperatures of the afternoon.
Giancarlo Fisichella meanwhile completed his programme, with 27 laps in the morning and 42 in the afternoon. With a best lap of 1:17.394, the Italian was 18th fastest in the second session, just over 1.5secs from the fastest time of the afternoon.
Adrian Sutil (car 20): "Overall it was such not a great day as we had a few small technical problems today. The main issue was with the brakes and then the tyres overheating. I was struggling under braking, and this morning I lost a lot of the session. In the afternoon the track was slower as the temperature increased and it was difficult to get the tyres to work well again, but now we have found the problem and can get it fixed for tomorrow."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "We went through the scheduled programme today and made some steps forward, but we are still relatively far away from the others and have some work to do. The grip level was quite poor in both sessions and we had some understeer in the high speed corners. We also compared the tyres and the softer compound works OK, but it will still be a difficult weekend."
Mike Gascoyne, chief technical officer: "A pretty typical first day doing our normal programme of set up work and tyre evaluation. Adrian struggled a bit with the car under braking all day and we will need to work on this tomorrow. We nevertheless managed to complete our programme with no major issues. The tyre position looks fairly clear now and we have established a fair set-up, so overall a reasonable first day for us."