Mark Webber has admitted the lack of reliability shown by both Red Bull Racing entries on the opening day of his home grand prix is causing him a bigger Melbourne headache than the leg that he broke at the end of last year.
Both the Australian and new team-mate Sebastian Vettel ran into problems with their RB5-Renaults, with the German failing to complete either free practice session and Webber being delayed in the first by driveshaft gremlins. Although he bounced back in the later, evening, session - claiming fourth place to split the cars running diffusers against which Red Bull protested Thursday - Webber admitted that he was slightly concerned by the issues that cropped up.
"The amount of [problems] is a surprise," he acknowledged at the end of the day, "Obviously Sebastian also had a few today as well, so that was quite a few for the amount of laps we did. It only takes a small niggle to be a show-stopper on Sunday, so we want to make sure that they're not there. Of course, winter testing doesn't go without its problems, but we were a bit surprised by some of the problems."
Fourth fastest in the twilight session - and on the day as a whole - provided some succour for the team, which had been encouraged by Vettel's pace in the pre-season, but Webber confessed that he did not expect to remain at the sharp end when it came to the business of qualifying on Saturday.
"Other people will go faster, I think," he noted, "Today was pretty good - we did a few laps around [the fastest one] as well but, as the other guys said, we are chipping away on the car and trying to improve it.
"We were dealing a little bit with the wind as well, and all the normal things that you have on a track like this on a Friday, so it wasn't too bad a lap. I was a bit little surprised to be there to be honest, but we will see what fuel loads people run tomorrow."
Amidst the start of track action in Albert Park, and the diffuser row that erupted on Thursday, Webber's health problems suddenly took a back seat, but the usually super-fit Aussie admitted that he was coping well with the leg he broke while adventure racing in November.
"My leg was snapped in half, so it takes a while to recover," he pointed out, "It has surprised me just how long, but the guys say that's exactly how much time it needs. I've had good people around me and I've had very, very good advice at crucial times - to get the right decisions made at the right time, to get the other surgery done and go from there - which was very, very important for me because we didn't have much time.
"Luckily, it doesn't give me much grief in the car. The biggest challenge is walking up and down this pit-lane, but I'm okay with it. I just have to rest it each evening as best as I can. I'll be fine after the first few races and, come Shanghai, I should be pretty good."