Autódromo José Carlos Pace, Friday 10 November
McLaren Honda kicked off its Brazilian Grand Prix weekend in warm sunshine after the threat of afternoon rain subsided.
Neither driver was completely happy with the balance and drivability of their MCL32s, each ending the day with a degree of head-scratching after the car proved reluctant to fall into its regular sweet-spot.
Fernando encountered a small PU issue at the start of the afternoon session, choosing to stop in the pit-lane as a precaution. The issue was promptly resolved by his mechanics with minimal delay to his run-plan.
Armed with plenty of data, our engineers will chew through the numbers this evening in a bid to get us back on track for tomorrow.
FERNANDO ALONSO, McLaren Honda driver, MCL32-05
|FP1||1m10.476s (+1.274s)||24 laps||10th|
|FP2||1m10.655s (+1.140s)||31 laps||10th|
“Today was more difficult than we’d expected. We had some problems in the first session, then a PU pressure issue in the second session. We lost some valuable track time, and in the end we didn’t manage to complete our programme. We tried to carry out the priority items on our run-plan, and we’re more or less happy with the outcome.
“There’s still a little more to come from the car tomorrow – some tuning on the set-up – so we’ll see what we can do. Times are very close here, and if it stays dry making it into Q3 is going to be tight. We’ll have more chance if it rains.”
STOFFEL VANDOORNE, McLaren Honda driver, MCL32-04
|FP1||1m10.402s (+1.200s)||26 laps||8th|
|FP2||1m10.902s (+1.387s)||38 laps||13th|
“Today was a very positive day. FP1 was my first session driving here at Interlagos. We’ve brought a new upgraded aero package for my car this weekend so we started FP1 learning about and understanding that, which generally went very well.
“FP2 was maybe a little bit more difficult – we tried some different settings and made some changes that weren’t necessarily in the right direction. However, our long-run performance was extremely positive – one of our strongest of the year so far I would say.
“Everything is looking good for the race. We still need to put everything together tomorrow, but a good qualifying would put us in a strong position for Sunday.”
ERIC BOULLIER, McLaren Honda Racing Director
“With the threat of wet weather hanging over the afternoon, we were keen to press on with our Friday programme just in case the rains fell during one of the sessions.
“Happily, we were able to run all day without the weather closing in, and rattled through a busy and intensive session as we continue to trial components and ideas that we can take forward onto next year’s car.
“Neither Fernando nor Stoffel ended the day really completely with the balance of their car, so we’ve got a bit of work to do tonight to get a consistent handle on the car’s sweet-spot. Fernando, too, had a small issue in FP2 that delayed his progress.
“On the face of it, this wasn’t a bad day, but there’s definitely a little bit more to come from us.”
YUSUKE HASEGAWA, Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer
“Despite the rain forecast for Friday, we finished both practice sessions with dry conditions. Overall, it was a smooth day and we completed our scheduled programmes.
“From the PU point of view, although we found a small issue with Fernando’s car during FP2, we managed to fix it quickly, thanks to a great job from our mechanics. Other than this, we were able to finish all the sessions without any major concerns.
“We will continue to proceed with our set-up in tomorrow's FP3 session, as we think there are more improvements to find from both cars.
“Tomorrow’s running could be tricky, due to the high temperatures and sudden rain. We will remain focused on qualifying, as this is the circuit where we would look to get both cars into Q3.”