Glorious weather conditions greeted the team at the Shanghai International Circuit this morning and prevailed throughout the day to give the team ideal conditions for the three hours of free practice available to the drivers. The team made the most of both sessions to run through its usual free practice programme, which included set- up work and tyre assessment.
Having completed a total of 129 laps between them, Fernando and Nelson have made good progress and will look to complete their preparations tomorrow morning ahead of the all-important qualifying session.
Fernando Alonso: We were able to complete our programme without any problems and we now have lots of interesting data, which will allow us to approach the rest of the weekend positively. We still have some things to improve, but we have clearly made progress today.
Nelson Piquet: I gained a lot from the three hours of practice available today. I did a lot of laps and collected some interesting data that I'm now going to examine with my engineers. The balance of the car can still be improved, but I'm sure that this is something we can work on tomorrow during the final free practice session.
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: We ran our usual Friday program today. Nelson quickly got on top of learning the circuit and did some useful testing work. Our evaluation of the tyres shows them to be very similar, but the balance of the car is not yet where we want it to be.
Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Track Operations: We completed more than 300 kilometres between our two cars, which is a good effort and we are happy with that. Like Fuji, Shanghai is a circuit that we know and where we already have lots of data, but we still had lots of parameters to examine and so we completed a busy programme with both drivers. Everything went well and we now have lots of information to analyse this evening, so it has been an encouraging first day of practice, not only because of our positions in the sessions.