Australian GP: Friday Team Quotes

Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren): “We arrived in Australia fully aware that we’d be facing a tough start to the season. But we adhered to a disciplined programme today, focusing on tyre durability work, and weren’t swayed by a desire to post flattering times. Equally, we’re now focusing on implementing the performance steps we’ve planned for the next few races. Overall, then, we’ve made good progress recently but are well aware that we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”

Norbert Haug (McLaren): “After the winter tests, we knew that we would have a difficult start into the season. While our car has improved since the Barcelona test, we still have a lot of work to do.”

Luca Baldisserri (Ferrari): “The first Friday of the season always throws up some surprises and that is even more than usual the case this year, given the numerous rule changes. Today, we did a lot of running and had no technical problems: reliability will be one of the dominant themes of the championship and it will be vital to try and pick up points every time.

“In these three hours of free practice, we saw that our performance over a long run seems to be very consistent but we have to see how to improve outright performance for tomorrow’s qualifying.”

Ross Brawn (Brawn GP): “The circuit at Albert Park is very different to the tracks that we used for our limited pre-season testing programme so our focus today has been on setting the car up to suit the conditions that we have here and the preferences of our drivers.

“Track conditions improved considerably in the second session however we are clearly not alone in finding the experience of running slightly later in the day less favourable than anticipated. It is a useful indication of what we may find when the race runs at a similar time on Sunday. The car performed well and we are pleased with the day’s work experiencing only minor issues which are to be expected with our limited testing mileage. A good start to the weekend.”

Willy Rampf (BMW Sauber): “At last the new season has started! We did not have any technical problems today, KERS also worked without any difficulties. We were able to complete our full programme. The focus was the set-up work for the race, but so far we are not satisfied with this. The decisive factor will be to use the tyre performance perfectly for both specifications. We will concentrate on this in the third practice.”

Christian Horner (Red Bull): “After the off-track activities of the last couple of days, it was good to get the weekend under way. There were a couple of issues in the first session – a hydraulics leak with Sebastian and a driveshaft problem with Mark limited our run-time.

“In the second session both drivers showed good pace and we worked through our programme. Unfortunately Sebastian had a small off, which ended his day early, but both drivers seem comfortable in the car and their pace was respectable.”

Dieter Gass (Toyota): “It was a reasonable day for us. The track evolution was different compared to previous years but that was probably connected to the later start for practice. As usual it was dirty to begin with so that affected the grip and then in the second session it seemed the track began to drop off at one stage.

“The biggest issue we have to follow up is the tyres because the behaviour is not quite as we expected, but apart from that it was a pretty smooth day with both cars. We didn’t have any significant issues so we completed quite a lot of laps and got through our full programme of looking at set-up and studying the tyres. It is only Friday so it’s not easy to judge relative performance but we are looking quite competitive, even though we will focus on improving our long-run performance before the race.”

Simon Roberts (Force India): “It’s been a promising start to the weekend today. I’ve been really pleased with the team and the overall performance. We managed to get everything we needed to completed and, apart from a couple of niggles in the first session – really just early season teething problems – it was a good team showing.”