After winter testing featured rain and below average temperatures, the first round of the World Championship, which got underway today at Sakhir, took place in hot and sunny conditions. Therefore, the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro work programme over the three hours of free practice, focussed almost entirely on assessing the behaviour of the F10 and the two types of tyre brought here by Bridgestone, in conditions very different to those experienced during the fifteen days of testing.
Stefano Domenicali: We had set ourselves an agenda based on preparation for Sunday's race and we are pleased with what we have seen so far. Even more so than in the past, it is difficult to get an idea of the pecking order on Friday, because the fuel levels of the cars during these three hours of running can vary quite considerably. Now, we must try and prepare as well as possible for tomorrow's qualifying, which will be difficult and closely contested for a variety of reasons, without losing sight of the fact that the points are only handed out on Sunday afternoon.
Fernando Alonso: A slightly different Friday to usual for me, as it was the first one with my new team. We concentrated mainly on comparing the two types of tyre, so as to be as well prepared as possible for the race on Sunday, trying to get a car that performs consistently over a long run. Obviously, with such high temperatures, tyre degradation was more rapid, especially with the rears. From what we could see, the indications we got from testing have been confirmed, with four teams that you could describe as favourites, although there could yet be a few surprises, Force India for example. The new track is not bad: it is fun, even if there are a few too many bumps which I hadn't spotted when I inspected it by bicycle.
Felipe Massa: We worked a lot on finding the right balance on the car in race trim and on comparing the two types of tyre, running with various fuel levels, although never going for a quick time. I am quite happy with what we have seen today, even if it is difficult to get an accurate picture of how competitive we are compared to the others. We will definitely face stiff competition from many teams, but we were preparing as well as possible for Sunday's race and tomorrow morning, we will work on qualifying. I've got a bit of a temperature today, but I feel 100% for this start to the season.
Chris Dyer: We are reasonably pleased with the work done today. We had a very busy programme and we got through just about all of it: the only problem was a loss of air from a tyre on Alonso's car which interrupted his long run. We picked up a lot of data which we will use to decide on set-up and strategy for the rest of the weekend. It's hard to say where we are compared to the other teams in terms of performance and we will only find that out tomorrow afternoon. The new part of the circuit is rather narrow and at some points the surface is very bumpy, but it does not present any particular problems for the car.