13 September 2012 – JRM Racing finished the first day of practice for the Six Hours of Sao Paulo as the fastest petrol car and the highest classified privateer team. The #22 HPD-ARX 03a driven by David Brabham, Karun Chandhok and Peter Dumbreck recorded a time of 1:24.265, putting it fourth overall and just 0.3secs from the #1 Audi of Fassler, Lotterer and Treluyer. Over the two 90 minute sessions the crew completed 77 laps running through a programme of tyre evaluation, set up and circuit familiarization. Peter, who last raced at Interlagos two years ago in GT1, set the quickest time of the day in the second 90-minute practice session.
Peter opened the running for the #22 in FP1, completing 12 laps with a best time of 1:26.440. This was to be the team’s quickest time of the morning as the rain arrived shortly after. David took over for another 14 laps – his first outing at Interlagos since competing in 1994 Brazilian Grand Prix with Simtek. Karun completed the session with a 13 lap run, taking the team’s total lap count over the practice to 40.
Karun then opened FP2 with 12 laps before David took over for a further 15 laps. Peter then brought running to a close, setting the team’s fastest time of the day in the dying minutes of the session.
First free practice session:
Second free practice session:
40 laps completed
Fastest lap: 1:26.440 (PD) +2.070secs
37 laps completed
Fastest lap: 1:24.265 (PD) +1.060secs
David Brabham:
After a long time away it was good to come back to Interlagos and drive the circuit again. It’s genuinely a very cool track. Balance wise we are getting there and we made some good improvements throughout both sessions. I think we can be somewhat pleased with what we have achieved today. There are still some key areas we are working on, but with the information we gathered we have plenty to build on for tomorrow.
Karun Chandhok:
Today was about learning the circuit as I have never driven here before. It started drizzling at the start of the second session when I was out, but it was useful to get some data in all types of conditions. We concentrated more on race preparation and we got plenty of information and ideas to study overnight. The traffic doesn’t seem as bad as I thought. With fewer cars it isn’t so bad, except in the very narrow mid sector. We didn’t set out to get a quick time and we know that the other teams are going to come back strong tomorrow, but for now I’d say it’s been a good day.
Peter Dumbreck:
We spent a lot of time on old tyres to test the tyre durability but at the end of the day I got a run on low fuel and new tyres, which was a big step forward. I was quite happy with the car today. Things can still be improved but we could do some reasonable laps. We shouldn’t count on anything for tomorrow as there is still work to do and we know that Strakka and Rebellion will come back stronger, but it was a solid day that sets us up well for the weekend.
Nigel Stepney, team manager and chief engineer:
Today we concentrated more on preparation for the race; getting information on the tyre behaviour over longer distances and fine-tuning the set up. It was also about getting the drivers up to speed; Karun has never been here before and David hasn’t driven the track in several years. It was a productive day overall – we got a lot of very valuable information. While it’s great to see our name up there as the best of the petrol and privateer cars we know that the competition won’t sleep so we will keep focused for tomorrow.

Formula One

(Reuters) – Professor Sid Watkins, the Formula One doctor who tended to Ayrton Senna after his fatal crash at Imola in 1994 and who saved the lives of countless others through his work on safety, has died at the age of 84.

As word spread around Formula One of his death late on Wednesday, confirmed by a source close to the family, tributes poured in from drivers and all whose lives were touched by the wise-cracking neurosurgeon with a love of cigars and whisky.

They included Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, who suffered a huge crash on the same San Marino Grand Prix weekend that claimed the lives of Senna and Austrian Roland Ratzenberger.

“It was Sid Watkins that saved my life in Imola 94. great guy to be with, always happy…tks for everything u have done for us drivers. RIP,” Barrichello said on Twitter to 1.7 million followers.

“RIP Prof. Sid Watkins. Sad news for us who stay behind,” said Senna’s nephew Bruno, who now races for the same Williams team that triple champion Ayrton was with when he crashed on a sunny afternoon in May 1, 1994.

Senna remains the last driver fatality in a Formula One race and much of the credit for the survival of others can be laid at the door of Watkins, known simply as ‘Prof’ by paddock regulars and ‘Sid’ by closer friends.

Northern Ireland’s Martin Donnelly, Finland’s double champion Mika Hakkinen, Austrian Gerhard Berger and F1 team founder Frank Williams all owed much to his quick response and care after life-threatening accidents.

Triple champions Jackie Stewart, another safety pioneer before Watkins came along, and Austria’s Niki Lauda counted him as a friend.

“Today the world of motor racing lost one of it’s true greats,” said McLaren chairman and former team principal Ron Dennis, whose cars took Senna to all of his titles, in a statement.

“No he wasn’t a driver. No he wasn’t an engineer. No, he wasn’t a designer. He was a doctor and it’s probably fair to say that he did more than anyone, over many years, to make Formula One as safe as it is today.

“Many drivers and ex-drivers owe their lives to his careful and expert work, which resulted in the massive advances in safety levels that today’s drivers possibly take for granted.”

Watkins was brought in to the sport by Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone in 1978, shortly before the death of Swedish great Ronnie Peterson at Monza in September of that year.

The Briton worked closely with former International Automobile Federation head Max Mosley to improve track and car safety, stepping down as medical officer only in 2004 but continuing to play a role at the governing body as first president of its foundation.

In his book ‘Life at the Limit: Triumph and Tragedy in Formula One” Watkins wrote of Senna’s final days and how distraught the Brazilian was at Ratzenberger’s death in qualifying.

Advising Senna not to race, he added: “In fact, why don’t you give it up altogether? What else do you need to do? You have been world champion three times, you are obviously the quickest driver. Give it up and let’s go fishing”.

Senna’s reply, the last words he spoke to Watkins, was simple: “Sid, there are certain things over which we have no control. I cannot quit, I have to go on.