Paul Hembery: “The teams have quite a lot of data on the medium and supersoft already from Singapore, but this circuit is a completely different proposition. The lateral energy loadings in particular are much higher, which makes the process of reading the wear and degradation rates accurately on differing fuel loads absolutely essential when it comes to formulating a strategy. The track was very ‘green’ at the start of free practice this morning but this is what we expected and it got quicker as more rubber was laid down.
“Despite the slippery surface the teams didn’t encounter much graining and there were no big surprises generally speaking, which allowed everybody to get on with their programmes as anticipated. We’re seeing a time difference of about a second between the two compounds at the moment, although we would expect this to come down a bit tomorrow. So there is plenty of scope to formulate some interesting strategies, but the big question mark will be surrounding the weather and safety cars.
“Some uncertain weather is expected over the remainder of the weekend and Korea also has quite a high safety car probability, which can obviously change the complexion of the race. Under these variable circumstances, it’s always best to have as much information under your belt as possible, which is why the work done in free practice is so important.”