Pierre Gasly: “We had a very good day of practice finishing P4 and P7 in the two sessions. I have a really good feeling with the car and I’m happy with the setup direction we took between FP1 and FP2. We managed to get the car where I wanted it to be so I’m satisfied with that. Tomorrow will be slightly different conditions, so we need to make sure we can achieve similar performance by anticipating all of these changes to get the car in a similar position for the next two days. I really enjoy driving on this track as it’s quite particular; it has fast, high-speed corners which is what I like in a circuit.”
Daniil Kvyat: “It was a normal Friday where we completed our programme and managed to do the laps we wanted. There’s a couple of corners where I can improve and then things should be fine.”
Guillaume Dezoteux (Head of Vehicle Performance): “The very cold temperatures were a bit of a shock for all of us coming from Mexico. Both free practice sessions have been very productive, the drivers and engineers were able to complete their programmes and find a reasonable balance in these conditions. The track felt very bumpy this year and we had to adapt our setup from our initial expectations.
“In terms of our run plans, while Daniil tested some new aero parts during FP1, Pierre was more focused on getting his balance right and completed the morning with some sustainable laps on high fuel. Both cars tested the new prototype tyre, which will be the 2020 Pirelli specification.
“As for FP2, both cars started on the 2020 prototype tyre again before going into a more conventional run plan. The drivers were able to close good laps on the soft tyre, confirming the good performance shown in the morning. The long runs were more difficult in terms of consistency and Daniil had to stop for a tyre change after spinning in T19, where he flat-spotted his tyres. Our race pace looks okay but we need to analyse all the data to see where we rank.
“Once again, the midfield looks very tight and we will need to optimise everything tomorrow to maintain this competitiveness. We have gathered good data today for the engineers to analyse. The target is clear: we will do our best to qualify as high up the grid as possible and Q3 should be achievable for both cars.”
Toyoharu Tanabe (Honda F1 Technical Director): “Early this morning, the air temperature was below zero, just like a day of winter testing. This made life tough for the guys working in the garage. However, from a PU point of view, adjusting the settings to achieve the optimal running temperature is actually easier in cold conditions than in hot ones. Other than that, we went through our usual Friday programme, which proceeded in a straightforward manner for all four cars. Warmer conditions are forecast for tomorrow, therefore we will change our PU and cooling settings to be prepared for that.”