Pre-Spain analysis - dry running key for car development 07 May 2010
While the weather forecasts suggest that there will be rain at some stage during the Spanish Grand Prix in Catalunya - and similar conditions have helped to make the recent Australian, Malaysian and Chinese races nail-bitingly exciting, both McLarens Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton say that they would really prefer dry weather for practice, qualifying and the race. And for purely practical reasons - so many of the teams have brought along heavily revised aerodynamic packages, that they are all eager to learn exactly where they stand relative to one another.
"It's important we have a dry weekend," Button said on Thursday. "If it's wet and we have a good race, it's great and we get some good points. But we need to know where we are, to work with the car we have and with the new parts we have. It's an important race for us, for everyone, this weekend, to know where they stand in comparison to others.
"We want to get the best result we can, but it is important for us for the rest of the year to know if we're going in the right direction with the car. I don't think it will tell us who is going to be at the front for the rest of the year, but for development purposes it's important for everyone to know where they are.
"The thing we have to take away from the first four races is that we haven't had the quickest car. I would say Red Bull have had the quickest car, they have been quickest in qualifying - although I think our car was quick in the wet in China and it has been in other races as well. But over the whole weekend we haven't had the quickest car but we've come away with the most points, so we've had a good four races. Now though we have to start working on improving the car so we can challenge the Red Bulls. You cannot go through a whole season and not put it on pole and the front row, and still win the championship."
Hamilton would also like it to stay dry.
Red Bull and Ferrari are going to be quick here but we think McLaren will be the best its been so far this weekend. But we need to be able to establish clearly what our future plans are this weekend, and if its dry itll make that easier, to see the points where we need to improve.
Hamilton also made it clear that he doesnt intend to change his driving style per se, despite suggesting after China that he would try to take the easy way adopted by his team mate, having made life hard for himself recently.
By that I meant some of our decision making my side of the garage hasnt been so sharp, he said. Im not changing my driving approach. Im not going to stop pushing really hard. Im going to do that the whole year!
Elsewhere, Christian Klien will get back behind the wheel of a Formula One car for the first time since the 2006 Italian Grand Prix when he tests in this mornings first practice session for HRT as part of his new deal as test and reserve driver.
I was never really away, the Austrian said cheerfully. I have spent the past three years as test and reserve driver and I was always ready to jump in. At Honda and BMW Sauber I sat in all briefings, I was on the radio, had to stay in perfect shape and I was involved in all technical developments. Of course I was always in the FIA drivers briefing as I could have been called upon any moment. Last autumn somebody congratulated me as I had just reached my 100th Grand Prix as a driver. I was quite surprised myself.
My goal was always to be back in F1. There were attractive contracts in other series which I did not sign because of that. I took full risk and it may have looked like defeat to some people after the winter break. But I was always positive that new opportunities would arise. There is definitely plenty to do for me at HRT. (Team principal) Colin Kolles never beat around the bush that he wanted an F1 experienced and still hungry driver. I would like to thank team owner Jose Ramon Carabante and Colin Kolles for their trust in me. I am proud to start working for the team at their home Grand Prix.
Paul di Resta will likewise stand in for Adrian Sutil this morning at Force India.