Despite countless hours spent trying to predict conditions at the new Istanbul Park circuit, and another two on track in Friday free practice at the Turkish facility, both Michelin and Bridgestone admit that there is more work to be done before final tyre choices can be made for the rest of the weekend.

Michelin teams dominated the final timesheet, with Toyota's Ricardo Zonta leading the way from the three McLaren entries and Jenson Button's BAR in the top five. The best Bridgestone could manage was 13th, courtesy of Michael Schumacher, as both Ferraris complained of grip problems. The Scuderia's technical director, Ross Brawn, also revealed that the team was having to use older spec compounds - similar to those which failed to generate sufficient first lap temperatures - following Bridgestone's factory-based decision on which rubber would be most suitable for the circuit.

"Being a new circuit, there has been virtually no other running on this track, so the surface is really quite dirty," Bridgestone Motorsport technical manager Hisao Suganuma explained, "Combined with the smooth surface, this meant that conditions were slippery today.

"Taking this into consideration, our teams did their main tyre evaluations in the afternoon session. It was quite difficult to make a fair comparison, and now we need to check which tyres will be the best choice over a race distance. We know this circuit is quite tough on the tyres, especially the right front, so the wear performance will be one of the main evaluation points this evening.

"We are also expecting some track improvement over the weekend however and, although it is difficult to know how much improvement we will see, we shall need to take this into consideration when making our recommendations to the teams."

Michelin appeared to have less to worry about, with motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier suggesting that either of its chosen compounds could be advantageous.

"The two tyre compounds we have brought to this race are quite different, but that isn't reflected in their performance," he said, "The 'prime' is clearly fast and very durable, but the softer 'option' tyre might well be used in Sunday's race too. Until we have completed today's analysis, however, it is too soon to draw any firm conclusions.

"Fridays are often relatively uneventful in Formula One terms, but that certainly wasn't the case today as our partners got to grips with an unfamiliar track. It was interesting to watch drivers experimenting with different lines and teams tackling the myriad problems a new circuit can throw up. Lap times were a little faster than we anticipated, but our pre-race simulations have been very effective and, as in Budapest three weeks ago, our partners appear to be in excellent shape as they gear up for qualifying."

 

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