THE FINAL COUNTDOWN.
Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi
Friday 28 November 2015
STEVENS │ Chassis 02 FP1 P19 1:48.836 19 laps │ FP2 P19 1:46.450 35 laps
MERHI │ Chassis 03 FP1 P20 1:49.888 20 laps │ FP2 P20 1:47.022 27 laps
The season finale got underway at Yas Marina Circuit today with the first of the Free Practice sessions for Sunday’s 2015 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Roberto Merhi was back in the hot seat for the first time since the Russian Grand Prix early last month, and he spent the early part of the first session acclimatising to what, for him, is a new circuit, before progressing the day’s tyre evaluation and race set-up programme. Will Stevens, meanwhile, is racing at Yas Marina for the second time in his career this weekend, having made his F1 debut here 12 months ago. He ended the day as the lead Manor driver in 19th, with Roberto in 20th.
John Booth, Team Principal
“We’ve made a positive start to the season finale, with a solid day of running achieved on both sides of the garage, which enabled us to complete our programme. There’s a little bit of fine-tuning to do with the set-up, to cure some graining we’re experiencing on the front tyres, but all in all I think we’re in pretty good shape at this stage of the weekend. It has been good to welcome Roberto back to the car here and he has made good progress with acclimatising to what is a new track for him. He has certainly come back with the bit between his teeth. For Will, who has prior knowledge of this circuit, he has made good use of that experience and was quickly up to speed, ending the day with a significantly improved margin to the cars ahead. We’re looking forward to our final qualifying session of the season.”
Roberto Merhi #98
“It’s fantastic to be back in the car again; I’ve really missed the racing. Today was my first taste of the Yas Marina Circuit and it’s great. The track was a little bit green today maybe, but I’m sure it will improve as the weekend continues. I experienced quite high tyre degradation on the longer runs, but tonight we’ll be working on set-up and I’m sure we’ll have a solution for tomorrow. I’m looking forward to my first qualifying since Sochi, and of course the race.”
Will Stevens #28
“It’s been a really good Friday, with plenty of work completed. I love the circuit and it has special memories for me, having made my debut here last season. We need to work on the set-up a little more, to improve some issues with tyre degradation on the option tyre on longer runs. We’ll look at that some more this evening, but last year the track came up quite a lot, so hopefully the graining we’re seeing on the front tyre will be easier to manage in the race.”