We ran a standard Friday programme today, although the warm, dry conditions were obviously very different to what is currently forecast for Sunday. However, today’s runs showed that we can be satisfied with our pace on one lap and the longer runs. So far, we’re on track – but we will continue to work hard to further improve and make sure we are prepared for all possible conditions. Finally, I’d like to say a word for the Japanese fans: Suzuka is one of the temples for our sport and it’s fantastic to see the welcome they give us every year. I hope we can now deliver a race on Sunday that will reward their passion for Formula One.
Suzuka is a fantastic circuit and a big challenge for both the drivers and the engineers, so it was great to get down to work today and start adjusting the car to the circuit’s characteristics. We saw plenty of incidents, which reflects the demanding nature of the track, and we were learning our way with the tyres to begin with. We ran our standard programme, using the prime in P1 and then both tyre types in the second session, but the car balance still needs tuning as both drivers are suffering with some understeer. We also lost some time with red flags in the second session, which meant the afternoon was a little slow to get going. All credit to the mechanics, who had a busy programme after we took both engines out in the garage between the two sessions and managed to get out in the afternoon on time. The weather forecast still suggests tomorrow will be dry but there is obviously some uncertainty for Sunday, depending on how the typhoon turns in the coming hours. We will monitor this closely as the weekend develops.