APRIL 1, 2005
BAHRAIN GP - FRIDAY - TEAM QUOTES
Michael Schumacher (5th, 1:32.431): "It was really nice to be driving the new car for the first time at a race meeting. It felt very good. We ran through our entire planned programme and everything went very smoothly. Although we obviously did not get as much data as we had hoped for, because of Rubens' problem, I did enough laps to have a good idea in which direction to work, in terms of tyre choice and car set-up. It was a trouble-free day and so a pleasing debut for the new car and an encouraging start to the weekend."
Rubens Barrichello (24th, No Time): "At the end of the first session, I had a gearbox problem, which meant I could not run in the afternoon. It's a shame, because the two timed laps I did showed that the car was well balanced. Now, we will have to study Michael's data from the second hour. From what I could see, bringing along the F2005 means we have made a step forward."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "It is always a special feeling to see a new car make its official debut at a Grand Prix weekend. I am rather cautious when it comes to making an initial assessment. On the one hand, Michael had a good day, allowing us to get a deeper understanding of how the car functions in race conditions. The performance of the car-tyre package leads us to believe that it has an encouraging potential, thanks to the great amount of work carried out by the team and our partners - first and foremost Bridgestone. On the other hand, there is Rubens' gearbox problem, which prevented him from running in the second hour of practice. We are currently analysing the cause of the problem. In general, it is too early to have a clear picture and we will have to wait until tomorrow and Sunday for that, at a Grand Prix characterised by very high temperatures, although these conditions are the same for everyone. As usual on a Friday, the results are hard to understand. We don't know our competitors' programmes and in some cases, they benefit from running a third car."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "We had a problem with the gearbox on Rubens' car and due to the lack of parts, we will have to repair it for tomorrow. Michael's car ran well and he and the engineers made good progress during the sessions. The new car seems nice and consistent and is doing everything we expected from it. Therefore, that is cause for satisfaction. We have a lot of tyre data to study tonight, comparing lap times and wear rates, so that we can make our tyre choice for the rest of the weekend. Everything seems to be going well with the car, including its cooling, which is pleasing given the high ambient temperatures here."
Jenson Button (9th, 1:33.037): "The track conditions were typically dirty so we didn't get much running this morning. This afternoon we worked through our usual programme and completed all of our test items focusing on tyre work and long run performance. We still have some work to do with the data but generally I'm pleased that we have made a generally good start to the weekend."
Takuma Sato (12th, 1:33.205): "It is good to be back in the car again after I was forced to miss the Malaysian Grand Prix. However, it has not been the best start to the Bahrain weekend for us. We had a gearbox problem this morning so I missed most of the session. Once we could get started on our programme, I experienced a rear stability problem because of the low grip and spun, then the engine cut out during the anti-stall. Despite our problems we did complete two tyre comparisons so we can carry that progress through to tomorrow."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director: "It was rather a mixed day for the team with Jenson's day going to plan but Takuma losing his run in the first session with a gear shift problem and then losing much of the second session when he stopped after a spin when his engine stalled while he tried to pull away. We were able to recover the car in time for him to complete a short run at the end of the session. Although we are reasonably happy with our pace we still need to work on the set up overnight to improve the handling."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "Overall we have had a productive day and learnt a lot. Taku unfortunately didn't manage as much running as we would have liked because of the engine stall but Jenson managed a full programme."
Fernando Alonso (2nd, 1:31.969): "I have no worries after the opening day: the car balance was pretty good, and we seemed quite quick. However, we must be cautious with our choices here: we have only raced at this track once, and the conditions on Friday are very different to those we will meet in the Grand Prix. The circuit today was still quite low grip, but it should improve through the rest of the weekend."
Giancarlo Fisichella (7th, 1:32.708): "My day went quite well: there is still work to do on the balance, because the car had some oversteer during the sessions today, but the other aspects of the handling seem to be working well. It was hot out there on track, but now we have come through Malaysia, I don't think the conditions will be a problem for the drivers in the race."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Our programmes both ran very smoothly today, which means we have good quality data to work with this evening. We completed more laps than usual in order to get a better handle on the tyre choice, which should help us with our analysis. The car balance was reasonable straight away today but, as always, we still have some room for improvement before tomorrow."
Nick Heidfeld (11th, 1:33.152): "My morning session was compromised by a minor drive shaft boot problem. However I wasn't happy with the balance of my car and we made some minor adjustments during the afternoon session, which improved it. The balance is still not ideal but we are going in the right direction. Also, as usual on a Friday it's important to collect some good tyre information and I think that we achieved that."
Mark Webber (15th, 1:33.563): "Unlike last year on Friday, the track was quite quick today and we completed our working programme. Still, we have to find more pace since we are not as strong as we think we can be. We also need to pick the right tyre, which we'll do later on together with our Michelin engineers."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "We had a productive day today to determine cooling levels for the engine and brakes for Sunday's race. We also completed a good tyre comparison which give us enough information to make the compound choice with Michelin. As in Malaysia, the new parts that we have brought to the car appear to be working well."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "The temperatures in Bahrain are very close to what we experienced in Sepang with air temperatures of 38 degrees and the track reached 54 degrees. This means that this weekend cooling is of paramount importance. During today's practice sessions, both our drivers have been focusing on doing long runs in order to evaluate the two tyre compounds."
Alexander Wurz (1st, 1:30.695): "Today was my first time driving the MP4-20 and although this was not in the usual testing circumstances it was nevertheless a great experience, and the car felt really good. My role today has been primarily to gather the data during my 33 laps over the course of the two sessions, so that we can select which Michelin tyres will be used over the rest of the weekend. Although I do not have the experience in the car and my first session was interrupted early on due to a minor software glitch I still feel I will be able to contribute valuable input from today's running."
Pedro de la Rosa (4th, 1:32.333): "Today was problem free for me and I am happy with the set-up of the car. The times today are not always a true reflection of the situation, however I feel we can be competitive as we clearly have the pace, and I am looking forward to seeing how the rest of the weekend evolves."
Kimi Raikkonen (8th, 1:32.988): "We completed our programme today as planned, and I am happy with the set up of the car, it is not quite perfect yet but this should be improved by tomorrow. It was very hot out there today with temperatures on track reaching 52 degrees Celsius which makes it rather challenging and the selection of the right Michelin tyres even more important to the whole weekend."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A trouble free practice today, where the team completed the planned programme. What today's performance actually means in comparison to the competition we will only find out in tomorrow's and Sunday's qualifying sessions and in the race."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Alex, Pedro and Kimi ran different programmes today evaluating tyres and preparing for the race. All three drivers performed well with their times naturally not comparable due to the different programmes they were running."
Felipe Massa (17th, 1:33.726): "We worked purely on setting the car up today, and considering our strategy in relation to others', I am encouraged. We are closer than it looks from the lap times, and much stronger than we were in Sepang."
Jacques Villeneuve (20th, 1:34.300): "The car feels much better than it did in Malaysia and I did a lot more laps with it working properly than I was able to there. I know that we can work further on it to keep improving throughout the weekend."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "Today we concerned ourselves wholly with race preparation and tyre evaluation, and did not therefore do low-fuel runs. We have amassed a lot of data for analysis before we make our tyre choice for the remainder of the weekend, and so far we are satisfied with our programme."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (3rd, 1:32.319): "We finally finished a complete session as we did a lot of laps, which is good for the team. This morning I had to learn the circuit as it is my first time in Bahrain. The track was quite sandy and dirty which made it a bit difficult. Then later this afternoon we had new tyres but I could not go too quickly as there was a lot of traffic. But after that we improved a lot and the lap times improved."
Christian Klien (13th, 1:33.436): "The session was pretty o.k. The car seems well suited to the track. We did a tyre comparison between soft and hard compounds today and it is quite clear what to take. I think the session was successful but it was very difficult to drive off line. We finished our full programme, so I think it was a good day overall. But for tomorrow we are a little bit further behind than in the first two races so we have to start from there and see what we can do to get better."
David Coulthard (16th, 1:33.708): "I had a trouble free day with no problems on the car while working to finding the set up and making the tyre choice, which seams pretty clear cut. As usual lap times on Friday do not mean very much but I think we still have some work to up our pace."
Gunther Steiner, Technical Director: "We had a good session this afternoon - no real problems. We did several laps and learned about the tyres choice - which is a clear decision. I think we are a little bit off the pace compared to Australia. This morning we had a small throttle problem on Tonio's car on his last run, but we were able to sort it out immediately."
Jarno Trulli (6th, 1:32.595): "It was quite a typical Friday trying different set-ups on the car and comparing the two Michelin compounds for the weekend. We still have some work to do this afternoon and in tomorrow's sessions because I am not extremely happy with the balance of the car. I had a lot of oversteer in the car today, so we have to keep working to cure that. It is honestly too early to make any concrete predictions for this Bahrain GP."
Ralf Schumacher (10th, 1:33.077): "It was a difficult day for everybody with little grip all around the circuit, as was evident from the number of people locking up and spinning throughout the day. We had no technical problems on my car so we could complete the programme, but we still have some work to do to find the right set-up and it will not be particularly easy to select the best tyre."
Ricardo Zonta (14th, 1:33.443): "I think we had a good opening practice session this morning, in which we were able to complete everything on our task list, including set-up and balance changes to the car. The all-important second practice proved to be somewhat troublesome after a gearbox problem kept me in the garage for most of the session. We therefore could not compare the Michelin tyres as planned, so we effectively lost our third car advantage today."
Dieter Gass, Chief Race Engineer: "Unfortunately, Ricardo suffered a gearbox problem in the second session today which meant that he was unable to complete the scheduled long runs to compare the two Michelin tyre compounds. This could have been slightly problematic for us today, but we managed to go through the programme with both Jarno and Ralf, so we feel that the data we have collected will give us a clear direction. We will obviously continue to make improvements in tomorrow's two practice sessions, but at the moment, the cars appear to be as competitive as in Malaysia, which bodes well for the rest of the weekend."
Narain Karthikeyan (18th, 1:33.981): "I really like the circuit here in Bahrain as it suits my style of driving. We have tried some different new parts in the car; they were small changes but they have already made a significant difference. I have been pretty quick so I am happy with my performance today."
Robert Doornbos (19th, 1:34.222): "Today was a good day. I have really enjoyed driving on this challenging circuit. The whole team seems to be working very well here and we are definitely more competitive than in Malaysia. Bridgestone has found a good tyre for the weekend, so everything looks positive at the moment. It is a pity I cannot drive tomorrow."
Tiago Monteiro (21st, 1:34.727): "It is very interesting to go to new tracks as you always have so much to learn and try in a limited amount of time. I am happy with the changes we have made today and the information we have been able to gather for the rest of the weekend. Bridgestone is doing a very good job here and I am pretty confident for tomorrow."
Trevor Carlin, Sporting Director: "We are very pleased with the way today has gone. We have been through quite a lot of work as the three cars had three different programmes. We have got a reasonable balanced car for Saturday's qualifying and we are very happy with the performance of the whole team in general."
Patrick Friesacher (22nd, 1:35.325): "We made some worthwhile improvements to the car during the day, and I'm now feeling comfortable with the chassis set-up. I'm sure there is still a margin for improvement, though, and if all were to go well tomorrow, I think it could be possible to get into the 1 minute 34-second bracket."
Christijan Albers (23rd, 1:36.094): "I think we have the car working quite well at the moment, although we need to make some small adjustments for Saturday's single, flying-lap runs. We'll do that overnight, and then continue with our programme tomorrow. Overall, it has been a positive first day."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "It was an uneventful, but productive day for Minardi. Both drivers completed their full technical programmes in preparation for Sunday's race, which should be the last for the Minardi Cosworth PS04B. The team looks forward to continuing its technical programme tomorrow, concentrating particularly on reliability this weekend. Both Christijan and Patrick had their first experience of driving at this magnificent track today, and acquitted themselves well in the warm conditions."