AUGUST 13, 2004
HUNGARIAN GP - FRIDAY - PRACTICE SESSION 2 REPORT
Raikkonen heads the time sheets
McLaren star Kimi Raikkonen set the fastest time of Friday testing in Budapest with a best lap of 1m20.884s, just over a tenth of a second faster than Michael Schumacher's Ferrari. The World Champion was two-tenths of a second faster than Juan Pablo Montoya in his Williams-BMW.
David Coulthard was fourth fastest in the second McLaren with Olivier Panis confirming the potential of the Toyota with the fifth best time, which was a fraction faster than the BAR-Honda of Takuma Sato. The top 10 was completed by the second Williams of Antonio Pizzonia, Jenson Button's BAR, Rubens Barrichello in the second Ferrari and Fernando Alonso in his Renault.
Mark Webber was 11th quickest in his Jaguar, making it seven different cars in the top 11 places.
The session featured a few off track moments but no major incidents apart from a spin by Gianmaria Bruni who ended up being able to do only four laps.
Michael Schumacher (2nd, 1:21.009): "It was a good Friday session and I am happy with the work we achieved and how things are going in general. I feel quite confident for the rest of the weekend. I experienced no problems with the car. Some of our competitors look quick, but as usual on a Friday it is hard to assess their performance without knowing exactly what programme they were running."
Rubens Barrichello (9th, 1:21.712): "I had a bit of an odd day, because I was running very well on worn tyres and the car felt good. However, on new tyres I encountered traffic and I flat spotted a front tyre which meant I was not really able to push for a quick time on new tyres. So it is difficult to know where I stand, even though I am happy with the car and think it is looking good for the rest of the weekend."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "After a break of almost three weeks, Formula 1 is back here in Budapest, with much cooler temperatures than we have experienced in the past at the Hungarian track. Today's programme followed the usual pattern, with the team concentrating on finding the best set-up and on evaluating the two types of tyre available to us. We had a trouble-free day and are satisfied with the work achieved. Last year, we were off the pace at this circuit and, along with Bridgestone, we have worked very hard to improve on that situation. The result of the two hours of free practice indicates that we are on the right track. Our approach to this race is the same as ever, even though we know the fight for the Constructors' title could be decided here in Budapest. We are not putting ourselves under any pressure over this, as a look at the classification shows we are in a pretty comfortable position."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "Today has given us the first picture of what to expect and I think we can be very competitive here. We did some good long runs to evaluate the tyres. Now we must study the data and listen to the drivers' comments to make our decisions. Rubens flat spotted one set of tyres this afternoon, so did not get as much running as we had hoped for, but I think we still have enough information between the two cars in order to make our decisions. The drivers are fairly happy with the cars. Now we must see how the track develops over the weekend and try and anticipate what kind of track conditions we can expect for Sunday."
Juan Pablo Montoya (3rd, 1:21.185): "We have made good use of today's practice and my lap time was okay by the end of the session. But there's still quite a lot of work ahead of us, because we know there's more in the car. The track was very dirty at the beginning of Free Practice and there was no grip at all, but conditions improved throughout the session and they were acceptable towards the end. However the balance of the FW26 wasn't ideal under cornering and on the bumpy sections. We need now to address this and get the car in good shape for tomorrow."
Antonio Pizzonia (7th, 1:21.574): "Today it has been a learning day for me, as it was my first time on this track in a F1 car and I basically spent my time learning the circuit. I am quite happy the way we went through our programme and the results show that it was a productive session. We have collected good data and tyre choice seems pretty clear to us, at the moment, even if we know the track is going to improve a lot. I am fairly pleased with my day but still I know there's more to come from me. We will work hard with the engineers this afternoon and then I'll go back to the hotel tonight and sleep on it and consider where I can still improve. I am sure tomorrow I'll be even better prepared."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "We have gone through our normal programme with evaluation of tyres and brakes. The track was lot cleaner than in previous years due to the new vacuum cleaner used, but still low grip to start with. We also concentrated on the start procedure with both drivers. In conclusion, we have had a good first day here and all the new parts we have brought to the car are working well. Although it is always a bit risky to bring new parts straight to a race, we have had a lot of confidence in the wind tunnel correlation to the track which enables us to do this."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "The first day of practice with the modified car ran positively smoothly and we made good use of our time. Now it is important that we also manage to set up the carduring the 90 minutes of tomorrow morning's practice sessions. Also the improvement we have made during the shakedown in Silverstone in order to improve our starting procedure showed itself to work well today."
Kimi Raikkonen (1st, 1:20.884): "A positive start to the weekend. We completed our pre-planned programme without any problems. As always we were busy evaluating tyres, and I believe we have a good picture of what we are going to do. The car handled well straight away which is always an advantage. However, it's early days and we need to see what happens tomorrow, but for sure it's better to be first on a Friday than 10th."
David Coulthard (4th, 1:21.203): "An encouraging start, but obviously we have to wait and see how the weekend develops. However, we had a good chance to evaluate the set up and tyres, so a good day's work, The past has shown that it's very difficult to overtake at this circuit, so a strong starting position is important, and I think we are going in the right direction."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "With the Hungaroring not hosting many motorsports events it's inevitable that the first day's practice sees the lap times steadily decrease as the track gets cleaner and cleaner. This complicates the tyre choice process for both the engineers and the drivers. However our own running has been encouraging so far, and now that we have made our tyre choice we will concentrate on further optimising the cars."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Today we have been fast and consistent and are continuously going in the right direction with the development of the MP4-19B. This circuit makes it challenging to find the right set-up, so now we have to see what our efforts are worth in tomorrow's qualifying and the race on Sunday."
Fernando Alonso (10th, 1:21.948): "Track conditions today were very poor, and it was therefore difficult to learn very much for the rest of the weekend: I certainly think we will have a more interesting programme tomorrow. But having said that, on a Friday, your aim is always to be confident in the tyres you will choose, and after these two sessions, we are. The car was very under-steery today, particularly because the front tyres were graining, but that is normal here in Hungary on a Friday. We will be able to sort this out in the next sessions."
Jarno Trulli (17th, 1:22.788): "The car balance changed a lot between the two types of tyre that I ran today, and so it was hard to make much progress on the set-up side. The car was quite inconsistent this morning and then the scenario changed completely for the afternoon, which explains my position in the times. Whatever our performance today may suggest, though, I think we can be competitive this weekend. Let's see what happens tomorrow."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "One often reads in the Friday press releases that teams have learnt much for the race and that not too much should be read into the lap-times. While these statements may seem evasive, it is a fact that the Friday sessions are the foundations of our race weekend, and only a disciplined approach pays dividends. This is especially true in Hungary. At this track we can reasonably expect the brake wear measured on Friday to double by the time we get to the race. Similarly, when it comes to the tyres, not only will the wear rate approximately halve by Sunday, but the way the tyres perform will change as the circuit cleans up and acquires a coating of rubber. We would expect any graining on Friday to disappear by the race, and in contrast the rear tyre temperatures will significantly increase as grip levels rise. This means that an under-steering, front-limited car on Friday will transition to a well-balanced, or even over-steering, race car by Sunday. The way the circuit cleans up here in Hungary is very dependent on the prevailing winds. Last year, conditions evolved very little during the weekend, and the times set in the Heathrow test session were not bettered until qualifying. This year, the organisers removed four tonnes of sand from the track before practice, but it is likely that the winds we have seen today will be re-depositing this back on the circuit all the time."
Takuma Sato (6th, 1:21.364): "I'm happy with our performance today and I think this is a good indication of how strong we will be this weekend. I haven't driven the new circuit before as the track was changed for last year when I wasn't racing, so I had some acclimatisation to do this morning. The car is very strong though and I think we should be on similar pace as we were in Germany three weeks ago. I have come back from the three week break feeling physically and mentally relaxed and I'm really looking forward to the weekend."
Jenson Button (8th, 1:21.685): "I'm really pleased to be back on track after the three week break. I'm focusing purely on the Hungarian Grand Prix, which promises to be a very exciting race for us, not least because the weather is throwing up some surprises. As is always the case here, the track conditions were very dusty this morning and Anthony did most of the running in the second session. This afternoon gave us a better opportunity to evaluate the tyres and start to work on set-up. The car is looking strong though and we now have to continue working towards our objective of a podium here this weekend."
Anthony Davidson (12th, 1:22.356): "I had a very good morning session and was pleased to be up there with the Ferraris. The track started to clean up this afternoon and we could have improved a lot, but I struck the inside kerb at turn five a bit too hard and had to come in, which lost me track time and the chance of a better lap. It was nice to come to a circuit where I have raced before but unfortunately we couldn't do a quick lap on new tyres. I'm happy with the tyre choice for Jenson and Taku and believe we should have a good chance of a strong result this weekend."
David Richards, Team Principal: "It is great to get back to the business of racing, and have everyone focused on our results on the track. It was clearly important to maintain the momentum that we had in Hockenheim, and I am really pleased that the team has picked up where they left off three weeks ago. Today we have completed all the tasks we had set out in our programme, all three drivers have had a good day, and we have put ourselves in a strong position for the rest of the weekend. We will see tomorrow exactly where we are versus the competition, but the key thing is that today has dispelled any notion that we might get distracted from the task in hand."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director: "As usual the track was very dusty to start with and this showed up with poor rear grip and traction, particularly over the bumps. The circuit improves greatly through the sessions with the result that lap time comparisons are difficult to make. We made some set-up changes over the lunch break, which combined with the improvement in the circuit made the cars considerably better in the second session. We completed all our planned running without problems and generally we are happy with the performance of the car and now have enough information to make our tyre choice for tomorrow."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "In total our three drivers have completed well over a race distance today so we have got back into things well after the break. The grid is very close and I think the battle for pole will be very tough tomorrow - several drivers seem to have a good chance including Taku and Jenson."
Giancarlo Fisichella (16th, 1:22.743): "Generally we lacked grip today. It was windy at times and the conditions were from lap to lap inconsistent, and understeer was our problem. That's why I went off in Turn Four, I ran wide and then got on to the gravel. Luckily the car wasn't damaged. On long runs we weren't so bad, but we have some set-up work to do."
Felipe Massa (22nd, 1:23.188): "It was not an easy day! The car was pretty loose both this morning and this afternoon, and I had a lot of understeer. That caught me out in Turn Four this afternoon, just like Giancarlo, but it's just the first day, and the track is still very green."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "Our main problem today was lack of grip. As a consequence, this was effecting the car balance quite a lot with understeer in the beginning moving to oversteer. Due to the layout of the track with many directional changes any handling problem is magnified. Our main area to improve the performance is therefore to find a more consistent balance."
Mark Webber (11th, 1:21.999): "Apart from a minor issue this morning with my heat shields, I have had a really good day. The car is feeling very well balanced around here and I am enjoying driving the car. I spent most of today working on tyres, and I am really pleased with the amount of laps that I completed and amount of data that was have gathered. Michelin have done a good job in preparing for this race and we are pleased with how the tyres are working with the R5. I am already looking forward to tomorrow."
Bjorn Wirdheim (13th, 1:22.559): "I like this track and I feel very comfortable here. I had two really productive sessions today which have allowed me to compete 46-laps. I was spending my time focusing on tyre preparation and some engine endurance work. This worked really well and we have some good data to look at. I am pleased with my lap times here and hope that the team can continue with their point-scoring this weekend. The car is certainly performing well and is looking good on track".
Christian Klien (20th, 1:23.003): "I don't know this track so well but I am doing my best to get up to speed as quickly as possible. In my first session I made a minor mistake going into corner nine and ended up in the gravel, not ideal, but there was no damage to the car. My second session was pretty good although I did lock heavily at one stage and this cost me some time. I am generally pleased though with my two sessions as I completed my programme and the car is feeling good, the balance in particular is working well for me. I am now focusing on tomorrow as I need to spend some more time on track ahead of qualifying."
Mark Gillan, Head of Vehicle Performance: "Our sessions on track have been very productive today. All three drivers have managed to complete their programmes with only a couple of minor distractions. Mark's heat-shields were touching his exhaust so it created some smoke while he was on track. We pulled him in and fixed this without delay. He was then back out for the end of the session and going into his second session he did 33-laps. Again Bjorn and Christian had two good sessions and they both enjoyed being out on track with the R5. Christian went off track once and lost a little time in the second session when he locked heavily. All in all though, I am really pleased with how we have progressed today and the car is looking good on track. The balance is particularly good and we will be working on our tyre choice tonight after gathering a lot of data today. Our focus is now on tomorrow and of course race-set-up for Sunday."
Olivier Panis (5th, 1:21.352): "The weekend has started off in a very positive way. We had two productive sessions without any problems. I am working with a new team on my car from this weekend, but the fact that I know all the guys has been a big help. Now we need to concentrate on tomorrow in order to try to keep our current pace."
Ricardo Zonta (18th, 1:22.808): "It was a quite comprehensive day for me with many things to do. On my final run with new tyres, I unfortunately made a mistake in the last corner so that my best lap time of the day was actually done on old tyres. Generally, I felt very comfortable driving one of the race cars in practice for the first time. Essentially, the job of all three drivers is the same on a Friday, carrying out long runs and comparing Michelin tyres. The only difference is that as race driver, I now have two more sessions to improve the set-up, so I am looking forward to tomorrow."
Ryan Briscoe (21st, 1:23.170): "Today was my first experience of being a part of the race team and I really enjoyed it. I am happy with the general result and with the work that we have achieved. It was quite difficult to reacquaint myself with the track in the first session, as the grip level was very low, so I just took it easy and was gradually getting more and more confident. Unfortunately we had a water leak at the end of my second long run, which meant that I had to finish early this afternoon. That was a little frustrating because I had not run on new tyres during the session and I was looking forward to putting in a competitive time. Although I was driving the standard TF104 chassis today, I had the B-spec aero package, which is a definite improvement to the whole package."
Tsutomu Tomita, Team Principal: "Not a bad opening day for us. Olivier enjoyed two trouble-free sessions and he was able to set some competitive lap times, although he is still not totally happy with the balance of the car. Similarly, Ricardo had small problems with the balance and also made a mistake on his new tyre run. Ryan did a good job on his first time driving in Friday practice, but a water leak meant that he was unable to complete his final two runs on new rubber. The changes we have made over the last two races show that we are moving forward and are in reasonable shape for the rest of the weekend. Incidentally, I have read reports in the media incorrectly claiming that Norbert Kreyer has been fired from Toyota Motorsport. This is untrue. As part of our recent technical restructure, we reached an agreement which will see him remain part of the company until the end of December this year. This agreement was reached after negotiation initiated by Norbert at his request."
Nick Heidfeld (14th, 1:22.651): "It was a good day for us because we didn't have any technical problems and that allowed us to do a lot of laps. It was also very productive for us in terms of trying various things on the car. Plus, in terms of our positions on the timing charts it's a better Friday for us."
Timo Glock (15th, 1:22.697): "First practice was quite good for me, and I learnt the track fairly quickly. I did some tyre comparisons and it was interesting to see the difference between the two sessions as the feel was completely different in the afternoon, which makes it a little bit difficult to choose the right tyre. We will have to look at the information and discuss with the other drivers' feedback. The last run was good for me although I lost time at the first corner braking zone, other than that the lap time was okay and I was satisfied that we all did a good job."
Giorgio Pantano (19th, 1:22.937): "This afternoon we found our tyre comparison work a little bit strange given the changing grip conditions. We need to understand why this was so we can decide the limits of our car and tyre package at this track and which way to go for the race."
James Robinson, Director of Race and Test Engineering: "It's great to be back racing - after a three week break you tend to miss it so it's really good to be back on top of that, we had a good, solid start to our first day. We have two very strong tyre choices from Bridgestone and it's difficult to know which of them to go with as they both offer great performance. We had no mechanical problems at all and completed a good reliable day's homework. We also saw a solid days work from Timo, this being his first experience of this unique track."
Bas Leinders (23rd, 1:25.339): "For me, today showed that I can improve every time I am able to go out in a Formula One car, and that is reflected in my lap times. I pushed very hard straightaway on my early runs this morning, despite the track being dirty. Working with my engineer, we were successful in dialling out a heavy oversteer during the first session, and then we concentrated mostly on tyre comparisons during the second session. I'm sure I could have achieved my best time of the day on my last run, but I allowed myself to get a little too close to Mark Webber, and was slowed up as a result. I could have been in the 1 minute 24 second-bracket if not for that. I must thank the team, who worked even harder than usual today, as we covered a lot of laps and made many changes. It has been an excellent day and we have got through a good deal of useful work."
Zsolt Baumgartner (24th, 1:25.450): "I'm satisfied even if we still have to find the perfect chassis set- up for tomorrow. Bas did a very good job today. He has tested new parts, which proved to be successful. It is very important that tomorrow we find the correct set-up for both the qualifying session and the race. I hope to be able to get close to the Jordans, as to reduce the gap to them is something I really like! If we are able to get ahead of them here in Hungary, that would be fantastic. I was really excited to be able to drive in front of so many Hungarian fans here today, all supporting me at my home race. I hope to be able to do a really good job for them over the next few days."
Gianmaria Bruni (25th, 1:26.365): "It was okay at the beginning, but then we changed the car for the second session compared with how we started the morning. Unfortunately, I made a mistake at turn 11 on my first run of the afternoon and the car became stuck in the gravel, so that was the day finished. It's really a pity, but we will aim to improve tomorrow."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "It has been a case of mixed fortunes during the first day of the Hungarian Grand Prix, which is an important event for the team, as it is Zsolt's 'home' race. While the morning session went smoothly enough, Gimmi failed to return to the garage on his first run of the afternoon, and Zsolt, sadly, lost time on what should have been his fastest run of the day due to traffic. Bas, on the other hand, had an excellent day, completing his full technical programme and setting the fastest time of the Minardi drivers. We now look forward to making further progress tomorrow."