JUNE 11, 2004
CANADIAN GP - FRIDAY - PRACTICE SESSION 2 REPORT
Takuma on top
Takuma Sato set the fastest time of the second session in Montreal but just failed to meet Michael Schumacher's best time of the morning session. The BAR-Honda driver was three-tenths faster than Fernando Alonso of Renault who just edged out Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen although there were the inevitable suspicions that the McLaren team is running its cars light to make a good impression, given that the cars have not been quick at all this year.
Rubens Barrichello was fifth fastest in his Ferrari ahead of the Toyotas of Ricardo Zonta and Cristiano da Matta. Jenson Button was eighth fastest ahead of David Coulthard and Giancarlo Fisichella although very few conclusions can be drawn from any of this as the times on Friday mean almost nothing in the overall scheme of things. There was however a huge Friday crowd in Montreal, evidence that the Canadians are not worried by Schumacher domination nor by the fact that Jacques Villeneuve is not racing this year.
Michael Schumacher (3rd, 1:14.535): "It was a normal Friday session, except that I made slight contact with the wall which meant that I had to abort one run. I just got a bit off line, with the result that I ran out of room to get through the corner. Fortunately it did not cause too much damage. Otherwise, we have done all our "homework" and I am happy with the results we have seen so far. However, it is clear that this is going to be a very tough and closely fought weekend."
Rubens Barrichello (5th, 1:14.705): "We got through a good workload in these two hours of free practice and I am quite happy with the car, having tried various set-ups. I think we will be able to be competitive tomorrow in qualifying and even more so for the race on Sunday."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "It is always a pleasure coming to Montreal, where, every time we are greeted with great warmth and passion. We managed to get through all our planned programme today, which centred on finding the best set-up as well as the usual comparison of the two types of tyre at our disposal. Once again, it has to be said that Bridgestone has done an excellent job. At a track which is very hard on engines - we have a new specification 053 here - the performance of the fuel and lubricants is crucial and here too, Shell have proved to be a great help."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "It was a very productive day for us with the cars being reasonably well balanced. We are happy with the data we have gathered regarding the brakes, as both drivers put in some excellent runs on heavy fuel loads, so that we can make a decision as to brake configuration for tomorrow. As for tyre choice, both specifications of tyre we have here are very similar, which simplifies the task of making the right choice for the rest of the weekend."
Ralf Schumacher (14th, 1:15.803): "I must admit I wasn't expecting such a Friday at all. Both of my practice sessions were hampered by several problems, not only was I not happy with the brakes, but ?also making the tyre choice and finding the right set-up have been very difficult. There's still quite a lot of work ahead of us."
Juan Pablo Montoya (20th, 1:16.564): "This was obviously not the ideal way to start a race weekend. I only managed to complete six laps in the second Free Practice session, which meant I couldn't work a lot on my car. Even if I had very little running in the afternoon, I can say that the balance had improved from the morning session, but there is obviously much more work to do. I am sure we'll manage to catch up tomorrow morning and hopefully get in good shape for qualifying."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "Obviously today was not a very good day for us as we did not go through our programme as we would have liked. On Juan's car we had a fuel leak, and on Ralf's car we were struggling with the brakes. But we will work tonight with the data, make our tyre choice and will continue with the race set-up work tomorrow morning."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "In today's Free Practice, only the first session proved productive for our drivers. In the afternoon session Juan Pablo experienced a fuel leak which forced him back to the garage. It took so long to fix the problem that he could not go back on track. Ralf was complaining about some brake problems, which forced him off the ideal line several times. Because of all these reasons, a considerable part of the set-up work needs to be completed in Saturday's practice sessions."
Kimi Raikkonen (4th, 1:14.581): "We completed our programme and worked a lot on finding the right tyres. This track is so unforgiving, and in the second session I went over a kerb a bit too hard, which damaged the floor of my car. The team had to repair it and did a great job in completing this in time for me to do my last run - only one lap less than scheduled."
David Coulthard (9th, 1:15.164): "We spent most of today's two sessions on evaluating and comparing our tyres and finding a good balance for the car. The circuit conditions were obviously evolving throughout the day which makes things a bit more tricky, but we have had a good and productive start to our Canadian Grand Prix weekend."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A trouble-free start to our weekend. We gathered a lot of useful data, which will allow us to make a suitable tyre choice for Sunday's race, which is a challenge considering the changing track conditions."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "We completed our planned Friday's race preparation programme and evaluated the different tyre options. We found a reasonable basis for the race, but what really counts is tomorrow's Qualifying and Sunday's race, which we will continue to work for."
Fernando Alonso (2nd, 1:14.426): "It was a normal Friday for me: I had to try the two types of tyres, and try and improve the car balance as much as possible. The track was very dirty at the start of the day, although things improved later on as cars laid down some rubber. We still have plenty of work to do to improve my feeling with the car - we haven't got enough grip, and there is time to be found in the car, with the improving track conditions, but I can also improve some more as well."
Jarno Trulli (11th, 1:15.492): "I had a difficult time today. It seemed like each time I left the garage to do a run, I had a problem with the car that made things more difficult. We didn't complete the mileage we had wanted to during the two sessions, and we still have lots of work left to do tomorrow."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "This was not an easy day. Track conditions were very poor to start with, and we lost the ability to complete a tyre comparison on Jarno's car after he suffered a steering problem. Fernando conducted a reasonable tyre test, but even this was compromised by traffic on some of his laps, and therefore the tyre choice is not immediately obvious. We still have work to do on the balance of the cars, which is normal for a Friday, but we also have the normal Montreal brake problems to contend with. All in all, there is a lot to do tonight."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "A traditional Friday session from our point of view. Even more so than usual, today's times make it difficult to get a good idea of how competitive our rivals are, and who might be quick on Sunday. On the engine side, we concentrate on our usual preparatory programmes and we believe the engine is well suited to the demands of this circuit. The other point worth noting is that lap times are significantly faster than last year, which will certainly have an impact on how the race is approached."
Takuma Sato (1st, 1:14.086): "We have had a good day today and I'm very pleased about the result we had today. The circuit had much less grip in the morning but the afternoon improved a lot, so we were able to do a competitive run this afternoon. Generally we had good pace and the improvement that the new engine brings is very promising for the rest of the weekend. This circuit is quite tough on the brakes but we're not experiencing any issues so far and we don't feel we have anything to worry about."
Jenson Button (8th, 1:15.152): "We haven't really been able to find a good balance today, which is disappointing because the car is looking very encouraging. As soon as I turned into the corners I had quite a lot of understeer, so I had no confidence in the car because it just felt loose at the back. We have a lot of work to do tonight with the tyre options and to decide how to get the best result in qualifying. But we're not just here to qualify well; we're looking for a good race result. So it's a little bit disappointing that we're slightly off-track, but it's nothing that can't be overcome overnight and we should have a more positive day tomorrow. The Ferraris are looking very consistent again so I think we have a fight on our hands, but that's what we're here for."
Anthony Davidson (12th, 1:15.513): "My track debut in Canada hasn't been quite as positive as in the races to date. I acclimatised to the track quite well and had a good morning, despite the fact that the track conditions weren't great as it was very dirty out there at first. I was second to the Ferraris again which I'm quite pleased about, but then this afternoon, I lost the second half of the session when my rears locked up at turn six and I hit the Armco - quite hard actually! It is disappointing that I haven't been able to complete my programme today and make a bigger contribution to what I'm sure will be another exciting weekend for the team."
David Richards, Team Principal: "It's always wonderful to come to Montreal as the teams receive such a warm welcome from the well-informed and enthusiastic Canadian fans. The track however always starts rather dirty and thus the first day of running can be a little confusing. Nonetheless, Taku posting the fastest time at the end of the day is an encouraging start to the weekend and an indication of what could lie ahead."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director: "This circuit requires much less downforce than the rest of the races so far this season, so the drivers are having to get used to lower than usual grip and stability on a track which always starts off with very low grip. We improved the car with set-up changes between the two sessions and Takuma finished the day fastest, but Jenson is not as happy as Takuma with his car balance. Anthony had a good day until he went off when he locked up and spun off at turn 6, hitting the wall quite hard. However we have been able to complete the majority of our tyre work today and so we have enough information to consider for tomorrow. We are looking forward to finding a good balance on both cars tomorrow, on a circuit where we know we will be strong."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "Overall we have had a good day, even if it was not our best Friday. The car is working well here and I am optimistic for the rest of the weekend."
Giancarlo Fisichella (10th, 1:15.293): "I'm happy today. We are much closer than normal to the red cars, having made some small but successful changes to the set-up after the morning session. The balance was getting better all the time, and though we still need to improve it a bit I'm quite pleased and am feeling quietly optimistic for qualifying and the race."
Felipe Massa (16th, 1:16.119): "This morning I hit the wall hard in the last corner and needed to have some work done on the suspension. This afternoon I lost the edge from my set of new tyres, first of all because Ralf went off the track right in front of me, and then because I came across Davidson's crashed BAR under the yellow flags and had to slow down to avoid a penalty. Considering that, I'm really pleased how well the car went without the benefit of fresh tyres."
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "Despite of the drivers' fights with the kerbs both were able to achieve sound set-ups as we focused on brake and tyre work in preparation for the race."
Mark Webber (15th, 1:15.926): "I had hoped to complete more laps in today's session and complete my test programme but my car suffered from what appears to be a hydraulic problem in the second session which the guys are still working on. My running was curtailed as the team worked on the car but from the running that I did do, the R5 generally felt well-balanced. This is a good track and I like racing here, so I can't wait to get back out tomorrow and put some more miles on the clock."
Christian Klien (21st, 1:16.815): "The circuit is really good fun and I enjoyed driving it this morning. It's really flat and it feels like a street circuit thanks to all the close walls. The track was initially quite green this morning but the grip improved very quickly and by this afternoon it was good. I have achieved a good balance on my car today and I am pleased with the set-up. I did quite a lot of work on tyres and also worked on some aero pieces so I did a good few laps. Michelin have done a good job and the tyres are working well around here. I am looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow and really pushing the R5."
Bjorn Wirdheim (24th, 1:19.260): "I had a frustrating day on track as I was unable to complete my test programme and unable to help the team as much as I would have liked. I completed my installation lap this morning but we quickly noticed a fuel leak and so returned to the garage. The team did a good job to turn the car around but then there were some problems with the hyraulic system which limited my running for the remainder of the day. I did manage to complete some tyre comparison work however and this should support Mark and Christian in their tyre decision."
Mark Gillan, Head of Vehicle Performance: "I would have liked to have seen us complete more laps than we did today but we encountered a few issues with the R5 and these affected our times and amount of running. Mark started off well this morning and was starting to work on tyre comparisons when he stopped with a suspected hydaulic failure, although we are still investigating this and will know more when we have the data back. Christian had a good day and was enjoying his time on track. He started with circuit familiarisation and then progressed on to tyre comparison and aero work. He did a good number of laps and is happy with the general balance round here. Björn's day was not quite so productive as there was an initial fuel leak that we repaired and then there were some hydraulic related problems, which all reduced his track running time. All in all however, the R5 seemed well balanced here and the grip was better in the afternoon. We will be looking to get much more running completed tomorrow so we will be working hard tonight to be in shape for tomorrow and the rest of the weekend."
Ricardo Zonta (6th, 1:14.871): "We made good progress between the first and second sessions. We found a tyre that performs quite well over one lap and also consistently for the race. The lap time that I achieved over the long run was encouraging. I have been suffering from flu this week and I occasionally felt a bit bad in the car during the session today, so to see the positive end result of our efforts is very rewarding. We improved the braking a lot from one session to the next, and also how the car handles the kerbs, which is important at Montreal. Overall, it has been a strong first day."
Cristiano da Matta (7th, 1:15.146): "I was very disappointed with the car in the first practice session this morning, but we modified a few things on the set-up during the break. The second session ran very smoothly and looking at the final results, it was probably our most successful practice of the season so far, especially with the fuel load we were carrying today. Tomorrow will be the key indicator though, because it seems to be a bit of a strange classification with a mix-up all the way through the field. It was a good start for us, but let's not get too excited right now. We just have to keep working and see what happens."
Olivier Panis (13th, 1:15.538): "Unfortunately the Grand Prix weekend did not start in such a positive way for me and I am not so happy with the two practice sessions. All day I was not really confident with my car. Additionally I was held up by traffic. I think that there are some drivers on the grid who should use their mirrors more often in order to avoid traffic problems. Tonight we have still some work ahead of us. We need to check the data carefully to find a good set-up compromise for tomorrow."
Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "A useful first day of running without any major problems. We carried out our normal programme including tyre evaluations. In general the balance of the car is reasonably good although Olivier is a little less happy than the other two drivers. Overall the TF104 looks quite competitive, perhaps the most competitive that it has looked so far this year. We now have to analyse the data to see which of the two types of tyre we will choose for the rest of the weekend."
Nick Heidfeld (18th, 1:16.508): "In the first session we had some little problems with the brakes but we made some changes and it was much better for the afternoon session. Having worked hard on old tyres we now need to look at our set-up in new tyres for qualifying. The circuit seems to be a lot more bumpy than last year, which means we have a lot of "bottoming" where the floor of the car touches the ground so we need to work on this tonight if we are to see improvements for tomorrow."
Timo Glock (19th, 1:16.524): "I spent my first 10 or 20 laps learning the track and I found it a little bit difficult because although it's not like Monaco, it's similar to Albert Park in Melbourne, with walls really close to the track. So I needed the first 10 laps to find the right rhythm. There was a lot of work on the car between sessions on the engine and gearbox which delayed our start in the afternoon a little but it was not too much of a problem. I had a good long run for the tyres but at the end every time I did a fast lap I was caught up in traffic so I think I probably could have been a bit faster on my lap time. Overall it was a good practice day."
James Robinson, Director of Race and Test Engineering: "This circuit is very hard on brakes. A number of cars out there looked like they took fuel out towards the end of the session but we were very determined to do our homework on brakes. We need to have a strong finish here and that means having brakes that we can race with - that was our focus."
Eddie Jordan, Team Principal: (Regarding Giorgio Pantano) "A personal matter has arisen which demanded Giorgio's attention away from the circuit today so unfortunately he has not been able to take part in free practice. The team is supporting him in every way it can and we hope that he will back as soon as possible."
Gianmaria Bruni (17th, 1:16.235): "We searched a bit to find a good chassis set-up and definitely went in the right direction on this. I'm happy with the work we did and am looking forward to tomorrow. I'd like to thank the guys for their efforts, and Bridgestone, for the tyres they provided us with today. I have to say, I think this is a very nice circuit. It's a little bit like Monza, with the chicanes and the late braking into the hairpins - it's a good challenge."
Zsolt Baumgartner (22nd, 1:16.981): "I'm happy that we're much closer to the big guys here. It's just a shame that I encountered some traffic on my last run this afternoon, as it prevented me from setting a faster time. I think we had a good day, though, as it was important to stay on the track and learn as much as possible about it. It's a fast circuit and we definitely found a lot of time as we got used to it. Hopefully, we can improve again tomorrow."
Bas Leinders (23rd, 1:17.697): "Unfortunately, I was not able to run this morning as a small software problem stopped my car on the circuit. It was easily repaired once the car was back in the garage, and I was then able to take part in the second session, which I was happy to complete without any problems. I got into a rhythm quite quickly once I got going and was still able to carry out some useful test work for the team. I like the track very much. It has its own special character, and it's always nice to experience something out of the ordinary. All things considered, I'm happy with our performance today."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "I'm very pleased with today's outcome, especially as Gimmi's best lap time would have seen him in sixth position on the grid for last year's race. All three drivers did a great job, especially considering that none of them had seen this track before, except on television, and Bas suffered the added disadvantage of losing the entire morning session due to a car stoppage on his out lap. It was particularly pleasing to see all three drivers mixing it with the Jordans and Jaguars in what turned out to be Minardi's best Friday performance this season."
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