Schumacher on top

Michael Schumacher, Monaco GP 2004

Michael Schumacher, Monaco GP 2004 

 © The Cahier Archive


Michael Schumacher (1st, 1:14.741): "It was an entertaining and interesting session as we have come to expect in Monaco. We worked well throughout the day, improving the car all the time as can be seen from the fact I was quickest at the end of both sessions. I think qualifying here will be very close so, although this is a positive sign, I don't think today means so much and we will only see the real picture on Saturday. I like the new pits as they are a big step forward in terms of safety, for the drivers and everyone working there."

Rubens Barrichello (3rd, 1:15.319): "I had a big problem with the set-up this morning, but now we have made a very good improvement. As usual we concentrated more on the race than on qualifying. I have a bit of a cold, so I was not so comfortable in the car as it was hot and my breathing was difficult. The team did a superb job to improve the car and I am looking forward to Saturday."

Jean Todt, Team Principal: "Here we are at the Monaco Grand Prix, a race that takes place on a track and against a backdrop that is unique in our sport. We should congratulate the organisers who have done a really good job with the new garages and pit lane, which make life much easier for the teams. As usual, the first day of the race weekend was spent evaluating the two types of tyre at our disposal. Here there is another parameter that has to be taken into account when analysing the data needed to make that choice, because the time gap to qualifying is over a day. For our part, we have sufficient data to give us a clear picture of what we can expect from our Bridgestone tyres. There is nothing to stop us thinking we will be competitive, but we know qualifying, which is more important here than elsewhere, will be very close. Grid position on a track where overtaking is almost impossible will play a key role in the final result."

Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "It was a typical first day at Monaco, where it is not so easy to follow what is going on at the track. We got through our programme for the day and now we have all the data we need to analyse this evening and make the most important decision, which is to choose what type of tyre to use for the rest of the weekend. The drivers are both happy with their cars and our set-up seems reasonable. The new pits are a big step forward and made it easier for us to operate and the organisers should be congratulated on what they have done in what we know our difficult conditions."


Juan Pablo Montoya (10th, 1:16.097): "I exploited as much as I could today's free practice sessions, evaluating tyres and also trying different aero parts. We need to work more on the set-up, because it's not ideal yet but above all I believe we are still not quick enough. The new pits are a great improvement even if they have a very unusual configuration, and they provide a more suitable and safer working environment for all the teams."

Ralf Schumacher (12th, 1:16.556): "The engine problem I had at the beginning of today's first session undermined all my plans for this weekend, of course. Adding to the penalty that I will have to start ten places further back on the grid, I have also lost a lot of valuable time for setting up the car. This means we have a lot of work ahead of us for Saturday's practice. This is not an ideal situation, but I'll make the best of it."

Sam Michael, Chief Operations Engineer: "We have had a difficult first day here in Monaco. Juan tried various set-up changes for the race and we also evaluated some different brake cooling options on both cars, we now have a good choice for the race. After missing the first session, Ralf concentrated on long runs for the race set up in the afternoon session."

Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "There was a defect on Ralf's car engine right at the beginning of the first Free Practice session, shown by telemetry data as well as oil samples. We need to strip it down to understand what the exact reason was. The engine is now being taken immediately to the factory in Munich and we expect to know by Friday the outcome of the analysis. For the second Free Practice session we put a new engine in Ralf's car, which will automatically drop him 10 places on the starting grid. He has spent the second session trying to catch up with the set-up work. On Juan Pablo's car everything ran smoothly concerning the engine."


Kimi Raikkonen (5th, 1:15.479): "A good practice session where we went through most of our planned programme. Like David I had a problem with the power steering which caused some interruption to the second session. The circuit has been resurfaced, so it's not as bumpy as it used to be. The car seems to suit the tight circuit design here in Monaco, so hopefully we can fight for good positions if everything keeps going well."

David Coulthard (11th, 1:16.229): "I always look forward to driving around the Monaco circuit. As we had to do some repairs to our power steering system, we couldn't do as many laps as we would have liked in the second session. Otherwise it looks like our pace is reasonable. It's brilliant to be able to attack the corners. and as this is a real drivers' circuit I enjoy it so much more than many others."

Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "As a result of the tight corners Monte Carlo is a circuit that requires a car to have greater steering travel. Unfortunately the modification which we introduced to achieve this caused some seal failures which certainly interrupted both drivers' second practice sessions. Alternative components will be manufactured by Saturday which should resolve this small problem. Apart from this, both cars have performed well but of course David was not able to run in the latter and ?grippier' part of the second session."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Until now everything doesn't look too bad as we were running in race trim today. However what that means, we will only find out on Saturday which is the important day."


Jarno Trulli (4th, 1:15.472): "I had a normal Friday, working to set up the car and complete our programme. We accomplished a lot, and improved the handling, although there is still work to do in this area. We know the car is quick here, and now have to find a set-up we are completely happy with. I am glad to have come through the day without any problems, and feel optimistic for the rest of the weekend."

Fernando Alonso (9th, 1:15.701): "Our priority today was choosing the tyres, and we did this without any problems. The car balance is OK at the moment - we don't have any big problems, just some areas to carry on tuning. I am happy with our speed at the moment, and am looking forward to Saturday."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "It is always nice to complete the first day at Monaco without any damage, but the nature of this circuit means that, as usual, we are left with more questions than answers this evening. Having said that, on a circuit not conducive to finding a good balance, the drivers were reasonably happy today. Our times look competitive, and the tyre choice to be made is clear."

Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "A trouble-free first day, during which we had the dual objectives of completing sizeable programmes and coming through the first two sessions without incident. We achieved both of these, and have done enough to work to collect the data we wanted while making a competitive start to the weekend. The constantly evolving track conditions make ultimate lap times difficult to judge, but there is no reason to think we will not be among the front runners once more this weekend."


Anthony Davidson (2nd, 1:15.141): "I've had a really positive debut here today and I'm very pleased with our performance. It's a fairly tough circuit generally - and quite daunting for the first few laps - but I was really looking forward to getting out there. It's one of those circuits that really moves you as a driver and perhaps more than any other circuit I would really love to be driving here for the rest of the weekend. I'll settle for the fact that I've done a race distance here today to help prepare for what I'm sure will be a great race for Jenson and Taku."

Jenson Button (6th, 1:15.520): "I think we should feel very happy with what we have achieved today and we're certainly looking good for a strong weekend. We have run three cars with mo major problems and achieved everything we needed to, particularly with Anthony who has done a great job today. We still have a lot of work to do to go through all the data we have acquired from all three cars. As we all know, qualifying well is crucial here and we have to ensure that tomorrow morning's sessions give us the maximum preparation for that. Generally though I think it will be a very interesting weekend."

Takuma Sato (7th, 1:15.664): "I'm very pleased from a personal point of view and the team has made a good start to the weekend. All three cars were the top performers in my opinion and we all made good progress towards the race. So I am very happy with our performance today and I enjoy driving here in Monaco. It is a very encouraging start and obviously we now need to concentrate on the performance and tyres for tomorrow because qualifying is so important here."

David Richards, Team Principal: "It's always very comforting to put the first day of free practice in Monaco behind you without any problems and with a solid set of times. Both Jenson and Taku must be reassured by their competitive pace and the knowledge that there is still more to come. Anthony Davidson, on only his first visit to Monaco, was clearly the star of the day."

Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director: "We've had a successful first day with all three cars completing full programmes without any significant problems or incidents. The high level of traffic here, made worse than usual by the addition of the third cars, has made it quite difficult to achieve consistent laps for tyre evaluation. The circuit was very dusty this morning and we have made only small set-up changes as the track conditions have improved. The performance of the car seems to be quite good today although we have to do more work in order to maximise first lap performance for qualifying on Saturday."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "Although it is only the first day I think that the times we have done today can allow us to be very optimistic for the remainder of the weekend. After Barcelona it is important that we get our momentum back and try to get one of the guys on the podium."


Giancarlo Fisichella (14th, 1:16.748): "Things could be good, but our problem today was the rear tyres graining quite badly. Ironically, in view of what our experience has been so far this year, the tyres were good on the first lap, but grained after that."

Felipe Massa (17th, 1:17.422): "We worked hard today on gathering data to make the right tyre choice. On a long run the balance of the car was not too bad. I had some graining on the rears, but you expect that here when the track is still green, and I'm sure the track will be better on Saturday. Unfortunately on my quick lap I made a mistake at Ste Devote and locked the front wheels, so I lost some time there."

Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "We learned a lot in regard to setting up the cars and making our tyre choice. Now we have to analyse the data thoroughly, so that we can make the apposite decisions for Saturday and Sunday."


Christian Klien (20th, 1:17.988): "This was a completely new track for me today and I am pleased with how it is going. I had a good morning session and I was getting quicker as I spent more time out there. The street circuit is very different to the other tracks but I like this challenge. As I started to work on tyre comparisons this afternoon an engine electrical box failed and it in turn affected my hydraulics. This caused me to hit the barriers at corner three which was not ideal but looking at the car I am fortunate that there was not more damaged caused considering the lack of run-offs. The team are now looking at the car to assess the damage but I know that the team are in a good position to ensure that my R5 is back up and running for Saturday qualifying."

Bjorn Wirdheim (24th, No Time): "I could have done with some more running time out there but I managed to complete at least some of my programme before there was a wheel speed related problem that caused me to stop this morning. We got the car back out this morning and then this afternoon after running wide at corner ten I hit the barriers and damaged my rear right suspension and front right suspension. The team are working on this now but I would have liked to had kept the car on track and completed more miles."

Mark Webber (25th, No Time): "Not the start to the weekend that I had anticipated or hoped for. I had my usual test programme to work through today but unfortunately I suffered a loss of engine oil pressure and had to come to an immediate stop on the track. The car caught on fire and I was forced to act quickly to try and limit the damage to the chassis and engine. The damage, despite my efforts was extensive enough for me to miss out on the second session. The team are working flat out to repair the car and at this stage the engine appears to be ok. However, until I get back out on track and actually put some miles on the car we won't really know. I would have liked to have completed more mileage today but that's the way it goes and we will be back out on Saturday ready for qualifying."

Mark Gillan, Head of Vehicle Performance: "It's been a busy day for us in the garage today but we are learning a lot. Mark, Christian and Bjorn have all done a good job but as always with Monaco there are a few surprises and we had some interesting ones today. Before Mark's running came to a premature end he was doing some good laps and I am very pleased with Christian's progress considering this is his first time here. He suffered and electrical problem which caused his incident so we will be working on repairing the car over the next day. Bjorn completed some good laps this morning but had a driver error this afternoon which cut short his running. Overall we have has limited running but that is what can happen here in Monaco. We will be working hard to ensure that we are prepared for Saturday to make the most of the morning practices."


Ricardo Zonta (8th, 1:15.690): "It has been quite difficult to choose the right tyre compound for this track based on this morning's sessions. However, we did an extensive tyre comparison and at the end of the session we found a good solution for us. The course does not forgive any driving mistakes, so I am happy that we were able to finish the day without incident. In the process, we have collected a good amount of data. Overall, it was not an easy start to the weekend, but satisfying nevertheless."

Cristiano Da Matta (13th, 1:16.743): "I think we can be quite content by what we have seen from today's practice sessions. The car balance is reasonable and our areas of weakness are pretty much the same that we have faced at other tracks this year. The car is bouncing a little bit too much over the bumps and we also have a lack of overall grip. We completed a good number of laps and been able to conduct a productive tyre evaluation. For me, the tyre choice for the weekend is clear."

Olivier Panis (15th, 1:17.007): "We have had a trouble-free and solid first day with a lot of hard work from the team. It is not easy to carry out a series of consistent laps in Monaco free practice because the tight nature of the track means that you often come across traffic, especially with 24 cars participating in the Friday session. I experienced this again today when doing my new tyre runs, but the results from all three cars were generally positive. We will use tomorrow's free day to look more closely into the areas we need to improve when we resume on Saturday morning."

Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "The drivers worked through their normal Friday programme of set-up improvements and tyre selection. Comparing prime and option, our choice is very clear. In the first session, all three drivers suffered from the same handling problem with a loose rear of the car, but we were able to improve this during the second session, so we made some progress. The TF104 has again proved itself to be reliable and the drivers also performed faultlessly. All-in-all a very productive opening day."


Giorgio Pantano (16th, 1:17.309): "I'm quite happy today. We did quite good work but there is more to gain with the car and also from me. By Saturday I am sure we can improve the car, the lap time, and also my performance. We will try, as always, to do our maximum and continue to close the gap to the front teams. It would be good if we can find a way to score some points in this race."

Timo Glock (18th, 1:17.756): "Free practice was not too bad and it's good that I concentrated on keeping the car on the track. It was a little bit difficult as the circuit is new to me and it's a special track. After the first 10 or 15 laps I found a good rhythm for doing a long run but after that I was a little bit late on the brakes coming into the first corner and drove into the escape road. I did what I usually would to spin the car back but the engine stalled and that was the end of the first session for me - I lost about 20 minutes. The second session was positive and we found a good set-up for long runs. It was not a bad day at all and I'm satisfied with my first experience of Monaco."

Nick Heidfeld (19th, 1:17.873): "I suffered a bit with brakes throughout the day but otherwise we had no technical problems. We are not quite there yet with the balance of the car, it's not bad here but I'm sure we can improve it. My lap times reflect my slightly different programme to the other two drivers and I was reasonably satisfied with how today went."

James Robinson, Director of Race and Test Engineering: "Today was a usual first day in Monaco ? it's all about putting laps in, getting the drivers familiar with the track again, and helping them find a rhythm here. Part of the key to success is getting the rhythm, as once the driver is in the groove the lap time tends to come a little bit more easily. It was a fault-free day technically, which is good. We stayed away from the barriers and all three cars came back in one piece, obviously a plus point. Timo had a spin this morning which cost him a little bit of track time as the engine stalled and he couldn't continue. At the end of the day it's good that we are splitting Saubers and Jaguars. We are looking forward to Saturday when there will be more grip out there and we can make more use of the excellent soft Bridgestone tyres."

Eddie Jordan, Team Principal:


Gianmaria Bruni (21th, 1:18.822): "It was generally a good day for us and we improved steadily, which is what I wanted to do, as this is my first time here in a race car. It's a funny circuit, with the speed you do through the tunnel and the closeness of the walls and the barriers. I'm very happy with the work the mechanics and the engineers did today. I wasn't able to get a clear lap on my last run, which should have been my fastest, so I wasn't quite able to realise the full potential of the car, but we still did some solid work, which we can build on tomorrow."

Zsolt Baumgartner (22th, 1:18.829): "I was pleased to get into a good rhythm pretty much straightaway. I have driven here in F3000, but this place is very different in an F1 car - the speed is just so much higher and the track is very narrow. I made a small mistake in the first session and touched the barrier with the right rear wheel of the car. Fortunately, there wasn't too much damage, and although we lost some time in the garage while repairs were made, by the end of the second session we had made up the time and finished everything we had planned. I didn't set the best time I could have today because it's difficult to get a clear lap around here with all the traffic, but that's just the way Monaco is."

Bas Leinders (23rd, 1:20.370): "Monaco is always a tricky place because the guardrail is very close, but happily, we had another day without any major problems testing a few things the team wanted to have a look at this weekend. We tried something a little different in the set-up this afternoon, and, as the time indicates, it didn't work here at Monaco. The data we gathered, however, will be of use later in the season. Special thanks should go to the guys for all their efforts today. The improvements that have been made here in the Monaco circuit are excellent, but it's still a difficult place to work."

Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "All three Minardi drivers put in a solid performance today, working through their full technical programme in preparation for Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix. To have finished up less than a second from Nick Heidfeld's Jordan is about as good as we can expect at the moment. All in all, it was a solid day's work by the whole team."

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