Driver reaction - Jerez Day One

The drivers have their say on the first day back behind the wheel

By William Esler.   Last Updated: 05/02/13 7:01pm

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The drivers have their say after the first day of testing in 2013 where Jenson Button topped the times, while Mercedes were literally on fire.

Red Bull

Mark Webber: "It was pretty good. As Adrian said at the launch, there haven't been big changes to the regulations this year and the car is an evolution of the one we finished with last season, so there were no big surprises. I think most of the drivers will sit back tonight and think today's times were pretty competitive.

"It was actually like a Friday practice session in some regards. We started understanding the tyres and there were a lot of positives.There's a bit of housekeeping we have to get on top of but, other than that, it's been encouraging. The car feels similar to last year's, so the main difference is the tyres. With these tyres you're always on your toes. It was good that we had consistent temperatures today, so we got a lot of information and feedback to analyse, which is all good. Generally though, the car feels pretty good, so I'm happy."


Felipe Massa: "I would say the difference compared to last year is huge, it is on a different planet. This year is much more balanced and I felt a good direction from the rear of the car as well. There is a still lot to do, a lot to understand the right direction to make the car ready for the first race."


Jenson Button: "We finally got out there and did some laps. We had our issue in the morning which was disappointing but that is what happens in testing when everything is new. The afternoon was good, I had a good feeling with the car and felt at home immediately. There is a nice feeling with the car, it feels very similar to what it did in the simulator which is great which means when we develop the car we can use the simulator and not just the track.

"It is better to have it (failures) now rather than later in testing or when we are focusing on set up and have all the parts to do set up work when you want the car to be running smoothly and reliably. Hopefully we won't have this issue again and can concentrate on developing the car."


Romain Grosjean: "The feeling is good from the E21; it feels very similar to the E20 from behind the wheel, even if it does look different from the outside. Once again Enstone has produced a car that is quick from the very first lap. We spent a little bit more time than ideal in the garage today, but that's normal in testing. I'm happy we completed 54 laps, and even happier that all of them were quick.

"We now have a good idea of the new tyres and we'll have some challenges from them; the grip level is there but performance does fall away with graining. That said, Jerez is a very specific track in this regard. The speed came easy today and we didn't respond to the other cars going faster in the afternoon. We should go even better tomorrow."


Nico Rosberg: "At the start of winter testing, you often encounter small issues because the car you're running is a brand new design. We had an electrical problem this morning and, once we had found the root cause, chose to modify the parts to make sure it didn't happen again.

"Of course, at this time of year all you want to do is spend time in the car and get a feeling for how it's working, but these hiccups are just part of the game. During the laps I completed this morning, I had a good feeling with the car and it felt solid.

Force India

Paul di Resta: "A positive first day and we managed to cover lots of laps - so that's the most important thing. I felt very comfortable all day and we managed to get through the programme as we focussed on collecting aero data and understanding how well the car correlates with our simulation tools at the factory.

"We also started trying to learn as much about the tyres as possible so that we can carry that into tomorrow and optimise the set-up. The new compounds are quite different with the new construction and I've already felt a difference with the balance of the car in the low and high speed parts of the lap."


Pastor Maldonado: "We had no problems today and the car felt very consistent so we were able to learn a lot, which will be useful for the FW35 development. We planned to run the FW34 to enable us to have a reliable car to test the new tyres with and also try some different set-ups. It's great to finally be back on track after what felt like a long winter and I'm confident we can achieve a lot this week."

Toro Rosso

Daniel Ricciardo: "It's good to be back behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car. It was a long day to complete 70 laps, however, the main thing is that the car was reliable, which is a positive aspect and we got through our work schedule for the day.

"You cannot look at car performance on the first day, when reliability and comfort are more important and, on that front, my seat and driving position were good. So this was a day of tasks that were relatively simple, but also important."


Giedo van der Garde: "First it's great to be back at work and I'm pleased with how day one on track has gone. We completed a very decent number of laps today without any major issues and I was pretty comfortable in the car straight away.

"Day one is all about making sure everything in the car works as it's supposed to and apart from a couple of minor issues with the floor we didn't really have to make any changes to the car straight out of the box. We also ran through a number of procedures that are new to me, particularly starts as we didn't do too many of those last year, but the main thing for me is the tyres. They definitely feel different to what I ran in the Friday sessions I did in 2012 and that's going to be a focus for us in the tests, to get as much as we can out of them.

"It's obviously far too early to make any judgements on the performance levels we can expect from the 2013 package but compared to the car I drove in Brazil it feels like we've made some good progress over the winter. Tomorrow will be more of the same for us - running through more procedures and a few setup options across the range of tyres we have available here and hopefully getting as many laps in as possible."


Max Chilton: "This afternoon's problem aside, I'm really happy with the start we have made to our 2013 campaign. With a new car there is always the potential for something to crop up and cut short the programme, but for the morning period everything went according to plan, which is just the start we needed. I'm sure the Team will get on top of the suspension issue very quickly so we can all pick up where we left off and start putting some more miles on what is obviously a very promising package."

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