FIA F1 | 2015 Formula 1 World Championship – Austrian F1 Grand Prix
Written and Images by - Jarrod Moore
Free Practice Session 1 and 2 (FP1 & FP2)
Mercedes AMG officially confirmedWith the sound of fighter jets and helicopters buzzing overhead, it was Red Bull that struck first with Daniil Kvyat the first to exit pit lane in the first free practice session (FP1). It was a slow and awkward start for a number of drivers with Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel all exiting the session early with issues.
By the second free session (FP2), Hamilton was back out and pushing on with Nico Rosberg setting the pace up front. Jenson Button and Alonso continued to sit in the pits for long periods of time with the engineers for both cars scrambled around behind the Honda powered McLaren’s.
With the chequered flag waving at the end of FP2, it was a Ferrari was on top of the leader board instead of a Mercedes-AMG silver arrow.
Vettel had taken his Ferrari to the top of the table in specular style setting a 1:10.600 mid way through the hour and a half practice session.
Toward the end of the session, he was forced to retire with a ‘glitch’ in the gearbox. Vettel didn’t seem concerned when asked if a gearbox change was necessary, he responded, “It is just a glitch, an issue with the sensors and will be fixed with little drama.”
Ferrari has said they want to place more focus on their one lap pace in a bid to be on the front row for Sunday’s race. Recent conversations around the paddock have suggested this is their plan, take the lead and hold off the Mercedes of Hamilton and Rosberg.
By the end of the FP2, Rosberg on hard tyres was eleven one hundredths of a second behind the Ferrari and was unable to better his time of 1:10.011 on the super soft tyres.
Hamilton seemed relatively relaxed in fifth at the end of the session saying, “I’m happy with it, on the lap I was on, I was fourth-tenths up on Nico [Rosberg], there isn’t much to change”.
2015 Formula 1 Championship News
The relationship between Red Bull and engine supplier Renault continues to be strained with Daniel Ricciardo receiving a ten place grid penalty after the team had to change his engine.
The complexity of their relationship hasn’t been helped with talk that Ferrari has offered engines to the team. Helmet Marko Red Bull’s motorsport advisor has been quoted saying “That is an option for us” although it has not been confirmed if the engines were offered by Ferrari’s Sergio Marchionne or not.
Even if a Ferrari engine deal is on the table, Red Bull is contractually obliged to use Renault engines till the end of the championship in 2016.
Alonso and Button may get the opportunity to vent their engine frustrations towards the President of Honda when he arrives to meet McLaren’s team owner Ron Dennis before qualifying tomorrow afternoon. Button and Alonso may have to get in line though as it is rumoured that the two top men haven’t even met.
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