12:00 – 14:00: BRIEFING
The period between the third free practice and qualifying is probably the most intense time in the entire grand prix weekend. In just two hours, mechanics must prepare the car by replacing several parts (brake material, exhaust, etc.) not only for the afternoon session but also for the upcoming race, because as soon as qualifying gets under way, teams cannot work on the cars anymore. Meanwhile, engineers cannot afford the luxury to take a break either, as they are bombarded with data they have to crunch and process.
“15 minutes after FP3 we have a debrief on the first floor of one of our trucks, and it is very important to extract the right information out of all the people – driver, performance engineer, tyre engineer, aerodynamicists, system control engineer, reliability engineer, chief mechanic, engine engineers, and senior management.
“In this short time you need to decide the set-up for qualifying and race, you debrief the drivers, you make sure they understand what we are expecting for temperatures not only in qualifying but also on race day. From the engineering side, you also have to understand quickly how the tyres were working, how they are going to work, fine tuning ballast on the car.
“Thankfully, Nico and Sergio are both at that level where they're still young and very keen, but they've got enough experience to know what's needed and what's important. They had different strengths when they came to the team. What they've both been very good at, from an engineering point of view, is to learn from each other.”