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Fri: Force India, McLaren, Williams, Manor

Fernando Alonso managed a few laps despite an engine change in between sessions, while Valtteri Bottas decided to save tyres in FP2.

Nico Hulkenberg: “We didn’t learn a huge amount today, although we did complete a couple of useful runs on the intermediate tyres this afternoon. Of course, if it’s dry on Saturday and Sunday, the work we’ve done today is not going to be particularly useful. It’s the same situation for everybody because we are all missing the dry tyre information we need to help us prepare for the weekend. However, we have run on the hard and medium compounds at other races and we’ve already got a good understanding of those tyres. If the weather does improve tomorrow we will probably run a bit more than usual in FP3 to try and make up for the lack of mileage today.”

Sergio Perez: “It was wet all day and so we didn’t do a lot of laps, which means we are going into the weekend with quite a few question marks. We need to try and answer them tomorrow in final practice, but it’s the same situation for everybody and we just have to make the best of it. At the moment we expect it to be dry tomorrow, but in Japan you never know for sure. If the rain does come back I think we’ve done enough learning today to have a good direction for our wet weather set-up.”

McLaren
Jenson Button: “We had very limited running today, mainly just conducting systems checks and making sure the aero worked properly in the wet. In the afternoon, we did some PU work, too. The balance needs a bit of work, but we think it’s going to be dry for the rest of the weekend anyway. I was glad to see a lot of cars out there today – there were a lot of fans sat out in the pouring rain, so at least they got to see a bit of a show.”

Fernando Alonso: “This wasn’t too much of an important day – the conditions for tomorrow and Sunday look to be dry, so today’s running probably wasn’t too representative. Nevertheless, we ran some reliability tests in order to try to understand the problems we experienced in Singapore. Now those checks are done, we’ll maximise our efforts ahead of FP3 tomorrow – that’ll be the only opportunity we’ll have before qualifying to push hard on a dry track. The support here this weekend has been fantastic. Suzuka is the home grand prix for Honda, and this is the best place in the world for fans. We have such a lot of support, so hopefully we can give them something back on Sunday.”

Williams
Felipe Massa: “Both sessions were very wet today which meant we did little running. We worked on the set-up and how to improve our wet running, which seemed to go well. It wasn’t the most useful of days but hopefully tomorrow is dry and we can start our programme for the weekend and prepare for the race.”

Valtteri Bottas: “It has been a tricky day for testing anything really. FP1 was productive though and we have found some improvements in the car performance in the changeable conditions. We wanted to save tyres in case it rains throughout the rest of the weekend and so chose to sit out of the final session. There is a lot of work to do tomorrow, but if it stays dry we will have a busy FP3 and can have a strong weekend.”

Manor
Will Stevens: “There isn’t too much to say about today’s running. It was frustrating that the weather intervened to the extent that it did; 9 laps doesn’t translate into a great deal of information and we haven’t really started to dial in the car at all to suit this track. It was great to see the fans out in force however. They seem pretty unruffled by the rain, so I hope they’ll get to see a little more action tomorrow.”

Alexander Rossi: “It is what it is in terms of the weather, so although it’s disappointing that I wasn’t able to get my teeth into the programme, it’s the same story up and down the pit lane. Hopefully there are a few breaks on the horizon during the rest of the weekend, and we’ll look to tonight to work through a few possible scenarios to prepare for tomorrow.”

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