By the end of Friday practice for the Spanish Grand Prix, Scuderia Ferrari has accumulated plenty of data to analyse and the conclusions so far are that the car performs well over a single lap, while there is still room for improvement in other areas, including race pace.
FP1. In the first session that began at 14 CEST, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz tested some aero updates, starting out on Hard tyres with which they set times of 1’22”746 and 1’23”177 respectively. They both then pitted and switched to the Softs. On this compound the Monegasque posted a best time of 1’19”828 while the Spaniard did a 1’19”907, which put them first and second on the time sheet. In the last 20 minutes, they ran with a heavier fuel load. Leclerc and Sainz completed 26 laps each.
FP2. The cars were back on track at 17 for the second free practice session, Charles and Carlos started off on the Medium tyre to complete their evaluation of all the Pirelli compounds available in Barcelona. In the middle part of the session, both F1-75s were running the Soft tyre with which the Monegasque posted a 1’19’670, to top the timesheet and the Spaniard did a 1’19”990, good enough for fourth. In the final half-hour of track time, they focused on long runs in race trim with a heavier fuel load and it was here that it seems there is still some work to do. Leclerc completed 29 laps, two fewer than Sainz.
The team and drivers face a busy evening to work out how to make the most of the F1-75’s potential. They will analyse all the data to seek a set-up that will be competitive for both tomorrow’s qualifying at 16 CEST and Sunday’s Grand Prix that gets underway at 15 CEST.
‘Our qualifying runs don’t look bad, but we have some work to do, in particular on our race pace and on tyre management. The stints we did on the Soft compound felt better than those on the Mediums. Tonight, we will analyse our latest data to find where we can improve on this track, as the conditions are very different to the last time we were here during winter testing.’
‘A bit of a tricky FP2 compared to a positive FP1, as we struggled a bit with tyres and balance after the changes we made. We need to look at it and find the correct adjustments for tomorrow, but we’ve got plenty of data and I’m sure we’ll find a more comfortable set-up. It seems like there is a lot of degradation with the heat, which could be crucial for the race, so we’ll also keep an eye on that. I’m very impressed with the number of fans in the grandstands today. It’s fantastic to see all these people supporting us and their good vibes are a huge motivation!’