By Alex Kapadia
The Formula One teams struggled to get to grips with their tyres strategy during yesterday’s opening qualifying sessions for the Turkish Grand Prix.
Many of the drivers revealed they couldn’t get their tyres working properly, while Jenson Button admitted his hopes of improving his chances in Sunday’s race rest on working out how to get more out of the tyres.
He said: “This is a circuit where you don’t pick up more grip through the weekend, so we’ve got to hope we can make these tyres work and I don’t think we are doing that at the moment.”
Hirohide Hamashima, director of motorsport tyre development for Bridgestone, said after Friday’s qualifying sessions were mainly about track condition.
He said: ““Istanbul Park is a fabulous track, but it is not used very much during the year. This means it starts the weekend dirty and it takes time before rubber is laid on the surface to allow our tyres to work well.
“In the second session this improvement did not happen as much as we would expect and we are working to understand why this could be. Certainly, it was relatively windy today and this has an impact on the current generation F1 cars.
“Today we heard a lot of talk about lack of grip and graining, however that is usual for a Friday. Here we generally see one of the greatest track weekend evolutions of the season so tomorrow will be interesting.”
However, everything could change today when the teams battle it out for the grid positions.
Mr Hamashima added: “This weekend looks to be a little difficult in terms of making predictions and the data from today shows there is still work to be done on set-up for teams, but also that the track is changing.
“Interestingly, we saw some big differences in car balance dependant on which compound was used, which is not something we have experienced to this extent so far this season.
“Track temperature is important here. If it gets hotter than today we expect the hard tyre to give more grip than the soft. If it gets cooler, we expect the soft tyre to offer better grip than the hard.
“Today was in the middle in terms of temperature, so grip levels and lap times were very similar between the compounds.”