• Japanese Grand Prix - FP2

Rosberg concerned about tyre wear for Mercedes

ESPN Staff
October 5, 2012 « Alonso has good feeling after Friday practice | Grosjean confident car can improve »
Nico Rosberg was 11th quickest in FP2 having lost a lot of time at the start of the session © Sutton Images

Nico Rosberg admitted that a lack of running during Friday practice has left him concerned about Mercedes' tyre wear at Suzuka.

Mercedes has traditionally struggled to look after its rear tyres since Pirelli became the tyre supplier in 2011, but had been hoping that a new exhaust upgrade introduced in Singapore would help with its tyre management. However, after stopping at the end of FP1, Rosberg required an engine change that saw him limited to just 19 laps in the second session and he admitted that meant there was still a lot of work to be done to get a set-up that will look after the tyres.

"We had a tricky day," Rosberg said. "At the end of the first practice session, the oil pressure sensor told me the system was low on pressure so I switched off the engine. It was coming to the end of its life, so we changed it during lunch to avoid any risks, but it cost some running time this afternoon. We are still not where we want to be in terms of performance and we will have to learn some lessons overnight, in order to make sure we have our tyre management under control."

With Pirelli bringing the hard and the soft compounds to Suzuka, Paul Hembery also admitted the tyres would be marginal for some teams.

"This year we're more likely to see two stops, depending also on outside factors such as safety cars and weather conditions," he said. "We've got a lot of data to look at now, but we would expect the performance gap between the two compounds to be in the region of 1.0-1.2 seconds. There is no doubt that Suzuka will be extremely demanding for the tyres, but with the right tyre management skills and race strategies, there will be plenty of opportunity for some outstanding performances."