MARCH 19, 2005
MALAYSIAN GP - SATURDAY - TEAM QUOTES
Michael Schumacher (12th, 1:34.072): "Naturally, I am not happy with the way things went. Yesterday and after the first 45 minutes of today's practice, the situation seemed better, but already in the last free practice, we begun to understand that we would be struggling. It's clear that, on a quick lap, with new tyres, our performance is not at the same level as our rivals, but we know that over a distance things are different, as indeed we saw yesterday. And that's what counts, isn't it? So I still expect to be competitive in tomorrow's race, while I don't think things will change significantly in second qualifying. It's a very long and tough race and our aim is to finish in the points, if not on the podium."
Rubens Barrichello (14th, 1:34.162): "To be honest, I am very disappointed because this morning we were looking better than in qualifying when I just did not have enough grip. It was a bit of a struggle. However, the balance of the car was okay and I think my tyre choice will mean that I will be much stronger than this in the race on Sunday."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "It was a very difficult qualifying for us and we are unhappy with the result. We reckoned we would be competitive in the race, but we were also aware that, at the moment, our package is not sufficiently competitive over a single timed lap. I do not expect tomorrow morning's qualifying to significantly shake up today's order and so we can expect a very tough race, complicated by not starting from the front row, with all the risks that can entail. One thing is certain: we will tackle the race with maximum determination, with the aim of bringing home as many points as possible."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "Obviously, this was a disappointing session for us. Tomorrow, we have the second session on the same set of tyres and with the fuel load with which we will start the race. We are hopeful that we will be able to recover at least some of the ground we have lost today. Both drivers are happy with their car balance and we will be trying to go well in the race, knowing that we can bank on consistency in performance and a good race pace."
Jenson Button (9th, 1:33.616): "The car felt good but I haven't had any running on new tyres today, which meant it was difficult to get a real feel for the car in qualifying set-up. We also had a problem with the engine this morning and I wasn't able to get out in second practice. Despite that, the lap was OK and I'm reasonably happy. I lost of a bit of time in the last sector but we're close enough to be able to get some of that back tomorrow. I'm sure we can do a better job in the morning and look forward to a more positive race."
Anthony Davidson (15th, 1:34.866): "It's been a tough but exciting day for me. When I had the final confirmation that I would be driving this morning, I was packing my bags ready to go home! This is probably the toughest race challenge I've ever been faced with, and although I know the car very well, I'm still learning the track because I had limited running on the Friday here last year. It's always tough being the first car out and I wanted to take it a bit steady and keep the car on track. Overall I'm pleased with my performance under the circumstances and I'm confident that there's more to come in tomorrow's final qualifying run."
Takuma Sato: "I am obviously extremely disappointed that I have had to retire from the Malaysian Grand Prix - a race that I have prepared extremely hard for. Having discussed my condition with the medical staff and the team, I accept their advice that it is not sensible for me to take part in such a physically demanding race. I would like to take this opportunity to wish my team-mate Anthony Davidson well as he steps in for me for the rest of the weekend. I have now been advised to get plenty of rest and look forward to getting well again in time to be back in the car in Bahrain."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director: "We are reasonably pleased with our qualifying results, given the fact that Jenson lost the whole of the second practice session today while we sought to rectify an engine oil leak and Anthony stepped into the car at short notice with only two short sessions to adjust to the circuit and had the significant disadvantage of running first this afternoon. Both drivers are happy with the car set-up and clearly could have gone quicker this afternoon. The nature of the aggregate qualifying time will make it more of a challenge to improve our positions in Sunday's session but we are confident that the cars and tyres will work well in tomorrow's race."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "It's been a busy day! It's a shame for Taku that he had to pull out, but Anthony was able to get some good track time in free practice after being called into action this morning. Unfortunately we lost the second free practice session on Jenson's car with an engine oil leak. In the first qualifying run, Anthony had to deal with different circuit conditions from this morning, and Jenson's lap time suffered from having missed a session. We'll do our best to have a better second qualifying session tomorrow."
Fernando Alonso (1st, 1:32.582): "The car was quite difficult to drive yesterday, but the engineers did a really good job last night; this morning, the car was quick and easy to drive again. There was more grip than I had been expecting for my timed lap, and the car was well balanced, although I lost some time on the exit of Turn 6. It's good to have a small gap ahead of tomorrow's qualifying session, which I think will be a difficult challenge. But I am optimistic for the race."
Giancarlo Fisichella (3rd, 1:32.765): "I am pleased to finish third this afternoon: the car was understeering a bit on the timed lap, and I made some small mistakes, but I think that I can still fight for the podium tomorrow, and maybe the win. We learned yesterday that the R25 has the potential to be competitive on high fuel loads, and I hope we can confirm this result tomorrow morning, in order to fight strongly in the race."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "It was a satisfying day: Fernando's lap for provisional pole seemed very clean, and he thinks he could have got more out of the car. Giancarlo lost time this morning when he spun, but recovered well in qualifying. The cars are much better balanced than yesterday after hard work from the drivers and their engineers last night. Michelin has supplied tyres with an impressive level of grip on the first lap, and even more impressive consistency on the long runs in extreme conditions. We are happy with our potential on higher fuel loads tomorrow but in my opinion, the key to tomorrow's race will be to correctly manage rear tyre wear over the full distance."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "The results of first qualifying give us real reason for satisfaction. This was the first 'real' qualifying session of the season, to be held in equal conditions, and it is reassuring to see the cars are performing well, after our strong performance in race conditions in Melbourne. On the engine side, we have suffered no problems, and the good top speeds show we have found a good aero-engine balance. However, the very small gaps in today's session mean that this result is far from definitive: I think we may see the order change tomorrow morning, before we get a more representative idea of everybody's competitiveness in the race itself."
Mark Webber (6th, 1:33.204): "I am fairly happy with my lap today. This circuit has been good to me in the past, so hopefully we can get a good grid position tomorrow and then run to the flag and collect a positive result. After a frustrating day yesterday when I didn't get any running in the afternoon, it's good to get into the top six today. Also it looks like Michelin are doing a better job than the opposition at the moment so we think we should have a good race tomorrow on our tyres."
Nick Heidfeld (8th, 1:33.464): "I am quite pleased with my qualifying lap. The balance of my car wasn't ideal in a couple of corners and I lost a little bit of time there, but the track was still dirty when I went out, so all in all it was a pretty good lap. I am also pleased I was faster than Michael's Ferrari, especially because we ran under exactly the same track conditions. I have a good feeling about tomorrow's qualifying and race since I completed some good long runs yesterday and we had a productive Free Practice this morning. The new aerodynamic parts we have brought out here seem to be a good improvement."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "We have had a reasonable day today. We have made some more aerodynamic improvements to the FW27. However, everything in Formula One is relative to your competitors and we are still pushing hard to improve. The race is going to be interesting, in particular on the cooling side because the temperatures are so hot. Tyre degradation and wear management will be a key factor to a successful race tomorrow."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "Both the drivers had an ordinary lap with no major problems. Considering our current performance, their positions meet our expectations. It will be interesting to see the comparison between all competitors in the second qualifying tomorrow, with full tanks. Technically it all worked well."
Kimi Raikkonen (4th, 1:32.839): "Obviously we would prefer to be on the front row, but there is still another qualifying session. We are not far away from the leaders and the car feels good, so let's see what we can do tomorrow. It's obviously hot driving the car but it's not too much of a problem as I get used to it."
Juan Pablo Montoya (7th, 1:33.333): "My lap was OK to begin with, but then the rear of the car just started to slide on the entry into the corners and it became difficult. I didn't finish the last part of the lap as well as I would have liked which cost some more time especially at turn 14 when I understeered into the corner. We changed the tyre pressure slightly before this session so that might be the cause. However so far so good. We will see what we can do to improve our starting position in tomorrow's qualifying."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Single lap qualifying without fuel doesn't play to the cars' ability to be kind to its Michelin tyres. Hopefully we will improve our grid positions tomorrow morning and put ourselves in with the chance of strong race."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A good basis for tomorrow's qualifying and the race. Kimi's lap was clean and good. The two and half tenth gap can be closed. Juan Pablo was at one point a little over the limit and lost half a second when he went wide over one of the kerbs. In race trim we should look better, and we are looking forward to tomorrow."
Felipe Massa (13th, 1:33.151): "I wouldn't say mine was a perfect lap, but at the maximum I only lost two-tenths of a second in Turns 7 and 8. The balance was fine, but we just weren't fast enough. But our car is more consistent in the race, so I am optimistic for Sunday afternoon."
Jacques Villeneuve (16th, 1:34.887): "The car was a lot better this afternoon, but we had plenty of problems in practice this morning and that wasn't the best way to prepare for first qualifying. It would have been nice to get a better run beforehand, but the tyres were working pretty well this afternoon and that helped the performance of the car."
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "After our good result yesterday we expected better today, to be honest. Now we must concentrate on our race preparation, and choosing the right strategy for what we all know will be a very tough race."
Christian Klien (10th, 1:33.724): "The day was quite positive for us because practice went well. I worked really hard with my engineer and we did a good job, got a good balance on the car and then had a really good lap time at the end of the second session. I was really confident about qualifying but I was expecting a little bit more grip and I made a little mistake in the first corner and lost four tenths. The rest of the lap was quite reasonable and the car was good but overall I'm not that happy with the lap. We still have second qualifying tomorrow and hopefully we can gain a little time and maybe some positions then."
David Coulthard (11th, 1:33.809): "Temperatures were up at least ten degrees since this morning so we tried to make adjustments accordingly. Balance was down a little bit, and it was a bit of a tentative lap really. We're limited in what we can do tomorrow really, we can put some more fuel and we can make an aero adjustment, maybe a little bit on pressures and that's it. Balance has just made things difficult here. If we look at a reasonable trend on the tyres during the race then I think we can hold position but obviously not qualifying that well is not good."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "I think 10th and 11th is respectable but we have got the potential to go better. Neither driver is happy with the lap that they did. Christian went a little bit wide on turn one and lost a few tenths but he recovered well for the rest of his lap and David lost a little bit of time at the end of the lap. There were no problems reported as such although the balance did change from this morning's sessions and we had to deal with a higher track temperature this afternoon. We're in good shape with the tyres and overall I think we're in the ballpark. Tomorrow will be an interesting second half and we will see if we can move forward."
Jarno Trulli (2nd, 1:32.672): "It almost goes without saying that I am very happy with this result. This morning, we worked very well on the set-up of the car and on the tyres. We are showing a strong performance this weekend. I am a little bit more optimistic for tomorrow's race than I was in Australia because we have some new parts on the car here. In fact we will update the car at almost race from now on. I must pass my thanks to the team and especially my crew for this result today."
Ralf Schumacher (5th, 1:33.106): "Except for the first sector, during which I experienced too much understeer in my car and lost several tenths, I think I had a very decent lap. Also Jarno did a very good job. It is just a pity that a Renault got slightly in front and grabbed provisional pole! I am extremely confident for tomorrow's qualifying and race and I am looking to better my result from today. Panasonic Toyota Racing is looking competitive here in Sepang."
Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "Firstly I would like to say what an excellent job everyone in the race team and in Cologne has done over the winter to get us where we are this weekend. This was the first real dry qualifying session of the season after rain disrupted play in Australia. We have been able to show the full potential of the TF105 over the last two days. The Michelin tyres are working very well and we have no problems going into tomorrow. Ralf unfortunately had too much understeer at the start of his lap, but he was able to match Jarno over the last two sectors. Two cars in the top five is an exceptionally positive start for the team. We need to look carefully at our strategy for second qualifying tomorrow morning to try and take pole and subsequently endeavour to win the race. The top step of the podium must be our aim for tomorrow."
Narain Karthikeyan (17th, 1:37.806): "It was a conservative lap as we are trying to save the Bridgestone tyres for tomorrow as much as possible, as the heat here will be hard on them during the race. It was not the best lap I could have done on this circuit but it was ok in the end."
Tiago Monteiro (18th, 1:37.856): "I made two little mistakes that cost me maybe two tenths but otherwise I am pleased with my lap time. I was very close to Narain and I am sure we are going to be close all year long. Besides I am feeling much better than in Melbourne where I had a pretty bad cold and now I am up to the fight."
Trevor Carlin, Sporting Director: "Today's first qualifying session was a steady performance by both drivers. Under the circumstances of an unknown track for Tiago and Narain and the hot weather conditions, we qualified where we expected to be."
Patrick Friesacher (19th, 1:39.268): "I'm generally happy with the car today, although the balance in the quick corners wasn't quite as good as it might have been, as I had more oversteer than in free practice this morning. I think we have to work a little bit on that, but overall, my qualifying lap was not bad. We certainly improved from yesterday, and I want to say thanks again to the guys for doing another great job."
Christijan Albers (20th, 1:40.432): "Quite simply, my out lap this afternoon was just too slow, and the tyres were not at their optimum for the qualifying run, the result being that I just wasn't able to put the lap together. This may be good for conserving tyres, but it's not good for qualifying. The positive news, however, is that we made some progress overnight, and I think we've now got a good race set-up. We'll see what we can do in final qualifying tomorrow morning."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "On a positive note, today's qualifying performance saw Minardi less than a second off its last year's best qualifying time here at SIC. My thanks go to the entire team, including those at the factory in Faenza, for the splendid way in which they have worked to improve this car, and to both drivers, for a job well done. I just hope that the unexpected additional workload involved in improving the old car does not delay the introduction of the Minardi Cosworth PS05, planned for Imola. It was also very gratifying, at the end of today's qualifying session, to see four former Minardi drivers occupying the top six positions."
SATURDAY PRESS CONFERENCE
RED BULL CHANGES TACK
SATURDAY TEAM QUOTES
QUALIFYING 1 RESULTS
PRACTICE 4 RESULTS
CHINESE TO RESCUE FIAT AUTO?
PRACTICE 3 RESULTS
MEANWHILE IN GOSSIPVILLE F1
EXCLUSIVE: TAKUMA SATO OUT OF SEPANG