NICO ROSBERG/No.16 Williams pulled off a fast lap on his last run around the track during the first of two ninety-minute practice sessions Friday at Albert Park in Melbourne for the 2009 Formula 1 ING Australian Grand Prix. His fast lap was 1:26.687.
It was Williams 1-2 in the session, with KAZUKI NAKAJIMA second in No.17.
Third was KIMI RAIKKONEN/No.4 Ferrari, who led most of the session. RUBENS BARRICHELLO/No.23 Brawn GP was fourth, after briefly topping the session. Fifth was HEIKKI KOVALAINEN/No.2 McLaren.
The 2008 F1 World Champion, LEWIS HAMILTON/No.1 McLaren was sixteenth after running as high as fifteenth.
Both the Red Bull drivers, local lad MARK WEBBER/No.14 and his new teammate, SEBASTIAN VETTEL/No.15 had problems with their ECU and the team isn’t sure if it can be resolved before the next session at 4:30 PM local time. Webber turned seven laps before the car wouldn’t start, and Vettel only managed four laps before he coasted into Turn Six and was pushed behind the barrier.
It was overcast, breezy and cool. The Bridgestone tire engineers check the track and ambient temperature every fifteen minutes whilst Formula One cars are on track. Prior to the session, the track was 70 degrees F/21 degrees C and ambient temperature was 64 degrees F/18C. The track temperature warmed up to 93F/34C as the sun slowly appeared, but it never got any warmer outside. The wind seemed breezier than 3.3 mph.
Most cars went out initially and then pulled in and waited for much of the first half hour. The eerie sound of silence was unnerving. It seemed odd considering that there is no more testing for the rest of the season and the only ‘development’ or working out of problems comes during practice. The majority of the drivers who first went out drove up pit lane in fits and starts, before exiting the pit lane – no doubt practice starts.
All 20 drivers went on course.
Thursday the FIA Scrutineers found all 20 F1cars to be in conformity. Right after the deadline for Tech, three teams – Ferrari, Red Bull and Renault – filed appeals against Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams regarding the diffusers. A Steward’s hearing was immediately convened. The protests were denied and just as quickly, it would seem, appeals were filed. The appeals fee, $6,000 Euros each, had already been received as of Friday morning.
Some have raised the question about the timing of the Court of Appeals process. Since it was evident for some time that there was going to be disputes over the diffusers, some felt that the Court of Appeals should have been at the ready for the anticipated appeals. In reality, convening a Court of Appeals is a time-consuming task. It’s a legal process involving the bringing in of judges from around the world, who can’t just hop a plane on a few hours notice. Case dossiers have to be prepared and the relevant evidence gathered in advance. One of the judges is JOHN CASSIDY from the United States, who is a partner with former Secretary of State JIM BAKER in Baker Botts.
FRIDAY PRACTICE ONE
SUTIL/Force India F1
FISICHELLA/Force India F1