Sauber:- Adrian Sutil, P1 – 1:40.652, 15th; P2 – 1:36.962, 15th
“Today in the morning we were able to test different set-ups for the car, and that was ok. The medium and soft tyres are a good choice for this track. The second practice session was interesting because of the lower temperatures, which will probably be similar during qualifying tomorrow. In general, the grip was good. Because of the lower temperatures, the tyres are not over-heating, but the track is a challenge for the rear tyres. However, it is good that we have cooler temperatures, which should also be a benefit for the race. In the evening we could do our short runs with the medium and soft tyres. Later in the second practice session the engine switched off and I had to park the car in Turn 4. Because of this we missed doing the long runs. We tried to head out again, but there was no time left.”
Esteban Gutierrez, P2 – 1:36.975, 16th
“Overall the balance of the car is pretty much there where we want it to be, and this is a good sign. The feeling of the car is quite good and I am satisfied with the balance. We still have some work to do with the gear shift. At the moment we are missing quite a lot of straight-line speed on high fuel. However, in the corners the car does not feel too far off. We have to work on the fine-tuning and we need to get a better understanding of the track temperature, as this is very different in comparison to how it was in Melbourne and Sepang. It is a different kind of warming up of the tyres.”
Giedo van der Garde, P1 – 1:40.913, 18th
“The session was not too bad. It’s been a while since I was in a car – the last race I did was in Brazil and since then I have not been in a car. I was struggling a bit at the beginning, as the car is completely different to last year. The way of driving, the feeling in the car, the sitting position, the steering wheel are all different.
“Nevertheless, I improved from lap to lap. With the second set of tyres I was still able to improve a lot. I am quite pleased how the session went, taking into consideration that this is also the first time I have driven the car with the new engine. I am happy so far. I hope we can work with the feedback. It was a nice warm up for next week, when I will have one full day of testing. Today I just did 20 laps. Hopefully during the test we can do more work and improve the car.“
Giampaolo Dall’Ara , Sauber head of track engineering
“In FP1 for the first time we had Giedo van der Garde in the car. He did a very good job, particularly considering he drove the car for the very first time. He gave some valuable feedback for the set-up of the car, which was also good. The session itself went pretty faultlessly, however, with the temperatures much higher than expected in qualifying and during the night race, it was not of much significance. With Esteban in FP2 we tried both compounds first on low and then on high fuel. Adrian was forced to stop out on the track with an empty battery, a problem we know how to solve. We cannot be happy with the performance, so we have quite a lot of work to do.“
Caterham:- Marcus Ericsson, P1 – 1:42.711, 22nd; P2 – 1:39.136, 22nd
“FP1 was okay – we started with a rear wing change to look at some data from that, and then got stuck into the full programme that was used mainly to prepare for the race. Throughout the session we kept improving the driveability of the power unit, and balance-wise we started with too much oversteer in the high speed corner, and understeer in the lows, but we made a couple of changes to the ride height and a few other mechanical set-up changes, and by the end of the session we were heading in the right direction.
“For FP2 we made a few more changes to the set-up and the initial feeling was that there was more grip overall, especially in the high speed sections where the balance was okay, but I was having power issues throughout most of the first run which meant I wasn’t really able to push. The power was coming in and out in a way that wasn’t really predictable, so I didn’t know what was going to happen when I got on the throttle coming out of each corner – unfortunately I didn’t get one lap without that issue so the final lap times really weren’t a clear guide to where we are performance-wise, but we’ll look at that in detail tonight.
“We finished with a long run which started on the softs. The degradation levels were pretty good but with the same power issue I wasn’t really able to push. With about five minutes left of the session I was told to stop the car as we had a power unit problem. Renault will look at that and thankfully it happened at the end of the session. Overall the main thing is we’ve finally had a better Friday and that means we’re in a better position after FP1 and FP2 than we’ve been all season. We have a lot to do tonight, but I’m feeling better about the rest of the weekend than I did in Australia or last week in Malaysia, so now the aim is to build on the mileage we put in today and make some real progress tomorrow.”
Kamui Kobayashi, P2 – 1:38.257, 21st
“After sitting out FP1 I was keen to get back in the car, especially with the better reliability we had in the first session which will help us much more over the rest of the weekend. The car felt okay but we had understeer in both the low and high speed turns so we tried a different front anti-roll bar for run two and there was a small improvement, but there was more front locking so I couldn’t really attack into the braking zones.
“On the softs the car felt better, but it was very snappy on power. On my first quick lap on the softs I had traffic and I had to lift for yellows in turn four, and then again the next time I went for a quick lap so I think with a clean run there was quite a few tenths left in the car, but we didn’t have a chance to improve that as we went onto the long run for the final stint, starting on the mediums. That went okay and we finished Friday with a good number of laps for the first time for me this year. The normal long Friday night is now ahead and I’m sure we’ll make some progress tomorrow.”
Robin Frijns, P1 – 1:42.417, 21st
“It was good to get my first FP1 done, and especially good for the team that we had our first problem-free first practice session of the season. Thirty-five laps is exactly what we’d targeted and we completed a programme that was all about preparing for Sunday, working with Renault on the power unit and not really looking at times.
“The car felt better balanced than the last time I drove it here in Bahrain in the pre-season test, and it’s clear that Renault have made a lot of progress since then – we showed in last week’s race in Malaysia that our race pace is strong and I think the work we’ve done today will help us build on that in Sunday’s race. There’s clearly performance to come from optimising the set-up and more work with Renault, but I’ve done my bit today and I’m happy with what we did.
“I’m back in the car again on Tuesday for the first day of the test when we’re working with Pirelli, and if we can have similar reliability then I think we can make some more good progress.”
Marussia:- Jules Bianchi, P1 – 1:40.889, 17th; P2 – 1:37.800, 19th
“I think we saw promising signs from our running today which suggest that we have made some good progress with understanding our package a little more since Malaysia. The run on the soft tyre looked good so we look forward to exploring the performance of the car a little more tomorrow. Of course, we did have to end the day early to look at the brake disc problem that Max experienced, but a good start and some things to look forward to over the rest of the weekend I hope.”
Max Chilton, P1 – 1:41.794, 20th; P2 – 1:38.247, 20th
“It was not the straightforward day of practice and preparation we had targeted but we were making good progress nonetheless and things were looking quite promising in the early part of the second session in particular. We were just getting started on the long run work when I felt something let go on the front left and it threw me into a spin. It felt like a brake disc failure and this is in fact what happened, so it’s something we need to look into very carefully this evening. It’s interesting to be back here after pre-season testing at this circuit but obviously the floodlights give a different dimension to the action. I do like the night races.”
John Booth, Marussia team principal
“This morning’s programme was mainly devoted to trying to improve the overall car control system mapping, looking at both the interaction of the power unit and the other chassis side systems. While we were not particularly focused on outright lap times, we were relatively pleased with our overall performance in the session. The same is true of our reliability this morning and for the early part of the second session. The work we completed in FP1 allowed us to fine tune some more mapping for FP2 and at the start of this evening’s session both drivers were much happier with the cars. The short runs in FP2 passed off without incident and we can be relatively pleased with the performance as neither lap was perfect. At the start of Max’s long high fuel run he stopped on track after a large lock-up. When the car arrived back at the garage our suspicions were confirmed as a brake disc failure. Having looked at the problem more closely, we decided to bring the day to an early conclusion in order to focus on investigating the cause.”