• Suzuka, Friday – Ross: “Not the smoothest of Fridays for us today”

The opening day of practice for the Japanese Grand Prix saw Michael and Nico complete 33 laps and 37 laps respectively during the two 90-minute sessions.

Both drivers evaluated development items this morning, before conducting race preparation this afternoon.

Nico experienced a precautionary engine shut-off at the end of P1 because of an oil pressure problem. The engine, which had completed nearly 2000 km, was changed in the break for another unit from his allocation.

Michael went off the track at Turn 13 in the second session, bringing his day to an end 15 minutes earlier than planned.

For Ross, “that wasn’t the smoothest of Fridays for us today. After an oil pressure problem this morning, we changed the engine in Nico’s car over the break which took us into the afternoon session, and then ran through a slightly compressed tyre comparison and race evaluation programme. With Michael, we decided to do a fairly major set-up change before the second session which cost us running time.

Towards the end of the session, it appears that Michael put a tyre on the dirt going into Turn 13 and lost control the car. While it’s not an ideal start to the weekend, we were able to collect a lot of data and complete some important set-up changes, so we will work on those tonight to be in better shape tomorrow.”

“It was a Friday with some interruptions for our team” commented Norbert. “Nico lost some practice time at the beginning of the second session following an engine change, which was necessary after an oil pressure problem at the very end of the first session.

With nearly 2000 km, this engine was approaching the end of its life-cycle. Michael was one of quite a few drivers who left the road under braking at Turn 13, which happened towards the end of the second session with only minor damage to the car. Today we found a baseline set up for qualifying and the race which will be refined in tomorrow morning’s free practice session.