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Free Practice 1 and 2 for Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix got underway in cool and overcast conditions in Montreal today, making the Marussia F1 Team's start to the weekend somewhat heated by comparison.
As rain clouds loomed ominously overhead this morning, the aero programme designed to evaluate the Canada specification front and rear wing package was condensed into a fast-paced series of in and out laps to facilitate flap adjustments and nose changes in order to gather as much data as possible whilst the track remained dry. A red flag midway through the session hampered the team's efforts thereafter and when running finally resumed, it was all about dodging the intermittent rain. This the engineers managed well and the full programme was completed, with only the Soft compound Pirelli P-Zero tyres being utilised during the morning - the Supersoft being deferred to the afternoon session.
This afternoon, with the benefit of the data collected in FP1, the team were able to get to work on a more typical set-up programme of qualifying simulations and long run work to gather tyre degradation data with which to hone the strategy. Timo achieved 40 laps of running using the two dry tyre compounds. Charles had a more frustrating time of it when he experienced braking issues and was forced to sit out a large part of the session while the brakes were changed.
Timo Glock: "It has been a difficult start in Montreal for us today. The performance of the car was not perfect. We tried to evaluate some downforce levels in P1, but in general it was a bit difficult as the track was very green this morning to start. In FP2 we tried some set-up changes again. I made a little mistake in turn 1, when I had a bit of a spin. In general I think it is not our strongest track here, but we have to try to get on the top of the problems. Brake instability is still a problem here. The other teams are looking quite strong so I think we have a difficult weekend in front of us. Now we have to work hard overnight to get the car in better shape and see what we can do tomorrow."
Charles Pic: "A difficult start to the weekend at a track that is new for me. In those circumstances you hope for more consistent conditions than we experienced, but we kept our focus and completed our full evaluation programme, which was positive. This afternoon, in drier conditions, we had a problem with the brakes, so we had to change them. The team worked very hard to ensure I could get back out on track for the last ten minutes of the session, so thanks to them for that. We hope for a dry track for the rest of the weekend so we can start to make up some of what we lost today."
John Booth, Team Principal: "It has been a very interesting start to the weekend, with the weather and related incidents keeping the drivers and the engineers on their toes. We obviously have a new lower downforce aero package for this race, so the pressure was on this morning to get those evaluations completed before the weather hampered our efforts. We gathered all the data we needed though and that was more important than the story reflected by the timesheets and we are now equipped to make the right decisions for the rest of the weekend, including how best to operate the tyres. This afternoon the weather brightened up at first and we were able to start putting the data to work in getting a better picture of how we are looking. Somewhat frustratingly for Charles the brakes on his car had a loss of performance. This is not uncommon at this track but we felt the best option was to change the brakes and he lost track time as a result. In the dry conditions forecast for the rest of the weekend we hope to see some improvement."
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