The first two Free Practice sessions for Sunday's inaugural Korean Grand Prix got underway today at the brand new Korean International Circuit in Yeongam. Following extensive preparation on the simulator and an on-foot reconnaissance lap on arrival at the track yesterday, today's
sessions provided the drivers with their first opportunity to properly gauge the circuit characteristics and conditions at the wheel of their VR-01 race cars.
Jerome D'Ambrosio was at the wheel of car 25 for the first session as part of his evaluation role. Running alongside Timo Glock, he conducted an aero evaluation programme and provided important feedback on how the track was bedding in. He completed a total of 17 laps. Timo's first day of running got off to a good start and he quickly got up to speed, ending the morning session within half a second of the established teams and ahead of the Lotus cars. He posted 20 laps.
This afternoon, Lucas took to the new track for the first time and began his familiarisation and setup work, completing 29 laps. As usual both he and Timo tried both types of tyre and suffered some graining issues, especially on the Option tyre. Timo completed a further 26 laps.
Timo Glock, Race Driver #24
"I really like the new track. It is technically very interesting and it has a bit of everything you need as a racing driver - long straights, hairpins where you can overtake, a very narrow final sector all mixed up into one exciting lap. Once again we were unlucky on the Option tyre but the Prime tyre was not too bad. We lost some time due to traffic but overall not a bad first day."
Lucas di Grassi, Race Driver #25
"My first session at the Korean International Circuit went well and I really like the track. I started my programme this afternoon and got up to speed quite quickly. We still have some upgrades to run on the car tomorrow, by which time I will be even more familiar with the track, so I think we can make good progress again tomorrow."
Jerome D'Ambrosio, Reserve Driver
"It has been good for me to sample the new track here for the first time. It was really dirty at the beginning, but it cleaned up a lot during the course of the whole session and because of that each lap was getting better and better. I did a lot of laps but because the track was so dirty I got the opportunity to try some new things such as practice starts, which I didn't do before. I am learning all the time and this is the main aim for me for these four days of running I am doing with Virgin Racing."
John Booth, Team Principal
"A promising first day here at the new Korean International Circuit. All three drivers got up to speed quickly and both cars ran very reliably, enabling us to complete plenty of laps. The track grip improved dramatically through the day, which makes assessing setup changes more difficult, but it's the same situation for everyone. The track is a challenging one which the drivers seem to enjoy driving, so we are very pleased to be racing here in Korea and we are looking forward to the weekend ahead."