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Free Practice uncovered - Lotus go the extra mile - Extended information from the practice press release

Published by Christine

Heikki locks a wheel during Friday practice at the Nürburgring
Credit: Team Lotus

Free Practice is not the most relevant of sessions throughout a Grand Prix weekend, and given the tyre restrictions, we've seen less and less running as the year goes on. However, the teams are still out there doing something, and it'd be nice if we knew what they were doing on, and how they compare.

Lotus have taken a new and unusual approach to the post-practice press release format, and made it slightly more interesting than the norm. Rather than some soundbytes from each driver and a chosen team member, the Free Practice press release from Lotus contains a lot more information. Starting with a track map, and then some rather sponsor-heavy statistic snippets, we soon get to a runplan, detailing what each driver has done through the entire session.

For example, here's what Karun Chandhok had on the agenda for FP2.

Karun Chandhok - FP2 Runplan
Time StartTime EndDetail
14001411Run 1 - 7 laps
14111420Adjustments - brake balance
14201437Run 2 - 8 laps
14371445Adjustments - front wing flap
14451455Run 3 - 5 laps
14551503Adjustments - rear brake blanking
15041530Run 4 - 14 laps

It's an unprecedented amount of information, and whilst sometimes it goes too far - I'm not sure we need to know about wing mirror adjustments - it's great to know whether a driver worked on long runs, or shorter stints, and which direction the adjustments are going in.

The information doesn't come out until after the session, so it can't be used in a live context, but it certainly makes post-practice analysis a little easier. The press releases are not very accessible, though, and given the information is collected, I can't imagine it would be hard for a team to take the extra step and present the notes in a more fan-friendly fashion.

If only other teams were similarly transparent about their processes on a Friday, then we might start moving away from the "Friday times are meaningless" situation.