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The 2012 FIA Formula 1 World Championship resumed today as the cars ran for the first time since the sport's summer sojourn in the opening free practice for Sunday's Formula 1 Shell Belgian Grand Prix.
The weather conditions were typical Spa specification, with both free practice sessions dominated by a wet track, constant downpours and the Pirelli P-Zero Wet tyres. The air temperature was a very cool 11?C at its lowest and the track never rose above 14?C.
The team's objectives for today were to put a variety of updated components through their paces 'in the field' to gather important data. These included a modified rear and front wing as well as new exhausts. Some of that work was completed, although the conditions proved a real headache for the engineers. Nonetheless, as both Timo and Charles took to the track in the dying minutes of this afternoon's session in still very wet conditions, Charles was able to improve such that he took the top spot on the timesheet.
The experience in the wet here will be useful; although the forecast is for dry weather over the next two days, Spa has its own microclimate that has provided notoriously unpredictable before.
Charles Pic: "It feels great to be back racing again after the long break. We have brought some new developments here to Spa with us, which we hope will prove to be another positive step forward. Today we had big plans for testing those on the track, but the conditions have proved frustrating for everyone as there has been very little let-up in the rain. This is not unusual for Spa though, so we have to look forward to what are expected to be two dry days remaining, when we should have a better chance to see the signs from our new components. On the positive side it is very nice to end the afternoon session in P1 on the timesheets. Unusual circumstances of course, but nice to see."
Timo Glock: "It has been so wet today that we have been able to do very little in the way of meaningful running. We have some experience of the wet tyres and some data for our new parts, but that is about it. We just have to hope that the forecast is correct and we really can look forward to some dry running for the next two days as it is very important for our new developments. It is good to be back on track though after the summer break."
John Booth, Team Principal: "Whilst there is nothing unusual about rain at Spa, it is a little more frustrating today as we have brought our latest round of developments here and were desperate for a dry interlude to put them through their paces. This has not transpired and it has been raining pretty constantly all day, and actually rather cold. We have achieved a small amount of relevant data, but in some respects we'll be starting from scratch in FP3 tomorrow on what is forecast to be a dry day. We ended the first part of the season having made some really positive strides and we are hoping that our latest updates provide us with a continuation of that progress. It's just a shame that we have to wait until tomorrow to see the first signs of that."
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