MAY 7, 2005
SPANISH GP - SATURDAY - TEAM QUOTES
Michael Schumacher (7th, 1:15.398): "It was a reasonable performance in this qualifying session. I was looking strong in the first sector, but then lost about four tenths in the last two. If we look at my pace this morning, it is obvious we have made up some ground this afternoon, closing the gap to the others. Whatever happens in final qualifying, this is not the ideal position on the grid. So we will have to rely on our race performance. I am much happier with that and I think we are much more competitive in race trim. It is fair to say, we are still struggling with our single lap performance."
Rubens Barrichello (9th, 1:15.746): "Obviously, I'm a bit disappointed that we had to change the engine on my car before this qualifying session. The car seemed to be difficult to drive over the one quick lap even though the balance of the car was quite good. The situation was not helped by the fact I made my run in the early part of the session. I think the car is good in race trim, although of course I will be losing ten places on the grid, which will make life difficult. It is a similar situation to Imola in some ways, in that we seem to struggle in qualifying, but on old tyres in the race, I am sure we will be much stronger."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "We expected qualifying to turn out like this, so we are not really surprised. However, the negative surprise was Rubens' engine failure, which meant we had to change it, thus losing the driver ten places on the starting grid. We know what are our strong and our weak points and it is clear that in tomorrow's qualifying, we will not be able to do much to move up the order. But if Michael can stay pretty much where he is at the moment, then we have a fighting chance, given that reliability and consistency of performance of the various car-engine-tyre packages will play a key role. So far this season, our performance levels in the races have come from both ends of the spectrum, so it is hard to make predictions about what might happen in the race."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "Neither of our cars seemed to be perfectly balanced in qualifying, which I think is down to changing track conditions since this morning. Michael was very strong on the first half of his lap and then got too much understeer in the second half and it was a similar situation for Rubens. So, it was rather a disappointing session, but in terms of time we are not too far off the front runners and I think we will have a very good race pace. As for the problem which led us to change the engine in Rubens' car, it is not one we have seen before, so we will be investigating further to discover the cause."
Fernando Alonso (2nd, 1:14.811): "It was a special qualifying session for me, to be competing in front of all the fans and see their support around the lap today. In the car, I made a couple of small mistakes on my timed lap, so I am pleased to be in the top three for tomorrow morning and, probably, the race. There was a little more grip out there than I had expected, so I am encouraged because the car has the potential to be faster. But it has felt good all weekend, and I think we are set up well for tomorrow in second qualifying and the race, when I will be able to attack even more."
Giancarlo Fisichella (8th, 1:15.601): "I did a clean lap, maybe a little conservative, but the important thing for me was to make up positions and get into the top eight. I think things will be better tomorrow morning - Heidfeld will lose positions with his penalty, and Michael (Schumacher) is only two tenths ahead of me, so I hope I can climb up into the top six in qualifying. For the race, we have a good pace in longer runs and a good set-up for tomorrow afternoon. The podium is a long way to go from eighth, but I certainly think I can score a good points finish."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Giancarlo did a solid lap but paid the penalty of his early running slot, especially as the first sector seemed very slippery early in the session. Fernando performed well, although a small mistake in turn 10 cost him a certain provisional pole. All in all, the team had a good session, building on our strong work earlier in the weekend. Looking ahead to tomorrow afternoon, tyre preservation will be a key factor to the teams' race pace: the forecast predicts hot conditions similar to today, and I believe we may see more differences in the tyre performance between teams than so far this year. From our point of view, we are very pleased with the performance of the compounds Michelin offered us here in Barcelona."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "This morning's practice session suggested that all the ingredients were there for an exciting and extremely close qualifying session, and that is exactly how things turned out. Qualifying saw some fairly large differences in performance within the teams, ours included - although Giancarlo undoubtedly suffered from his early running slot and the difficulty of not having a reliable target lap-time to aim for. We are among our expected competitors, McLaren and Toyota, at the front of the grid, and Fisico has made a good first step to recovering his position. It was a surprise to see Ferrari apparently struggle for pace over a single lap, although we had seen signs earlier in the weekend that this might be the case, but it would be a brave decision to write them off on the basis of qualifying alone. On the technical side, we have had an incident-free weekend, and have been able to prepare well for the race ahead."
Nick Heidfeld (5th, 1:15.038): "I am happy with my lap today, although I didn't push flat out knowing that I will have to start my race from the back. With regards to the set-up of my car, it was much better in qualifying compared to this morning's free practice sessions. Since we have known that I will have to start from the back we have concentrated even more on race set-up and I am quite confident that we have the potential for a strong race tomorrow. We are going to try our best on Sunday but it's not going to be easy starting from the back."
Mark Webber (6th, 1:15.042): "I had a pretty clean lap notwithstanding that this place is incredibly sensitive to the wind. Anyway, it's the same for everyone else. I didn't have any running at all yesterday, due to the engine issue and of course I would have preferred to have put a few more laps under my belt in order to get better prepared for the race, but that's what I've got and 6th is not too bad. Since they laid the new tarmac, this is a different Barcelona circuit to what we were used to in the past. It's pretty good and a lot easier on the tyres compared to what we had before."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was a good qualifying session for the team. The whole team had a lot of work to manufacture and bring all the new parts to the circuit and fit these components in time for this morning's sessions, all of which are working well. Obviously due to the engine changes Nick will have to go to the back of the grid on Sunday, but we will do the best for him with a good race strategy. Meanwhile Mark's strategy for tomorrow's second qualifying will be to maintain his position with a higher fuel load."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "It was an exciting first qualifying with tight gaps between the drivers at the top. Both our drivers put in a good lap. However, Nick knows already that he is going to start from the back due to the fact that he changed engines. Mark has to try and maintain his good position in tomorrow's qualifying when different fuel loads are deployed. The engines, which were built in Munich on Friday were fitted in both cars during the night and we have experienced no problems since Free Practice."
Kimi Raikkonen (3rd, 1:14.819): "A pretty good result considering that we started quite early in the session. I'm upset as I made a mistake at Turn Two by going wide and I lost probably around half a second - without that we would have been quickest. However it's tomorrow where it really counts and I can't wait. The car has been working well and we have the pace so with a strong lap we should be in with a chance of a good starting position."
Juan Pablo Montoya (12th, 1:15.902): "It's always a disadvantage to be one of the first cars out on the track as the conditions will improve throughout the session. My engineer actually said earlier today that we would be lucky to be in the top ten. It was my first run on new tyres and the circuit had changed from this morning, particularly the direction of the wind and I had a lot of understeer. However there is another qualifying session in the morning and I think we will be in a good position for the race. I'm feeling fine and have experienced no problem with my shoulder and am looking forward to the rest of the weekend."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A qualifying session which was made more difficult for the drivers as a result of their starting positions. However Kimi did a good job and one small mistake cost him pole position. It's so close at the front and we have every opportunity to attack for pole position tomorrow. Juan Pablo's lap took place when the circuit was at its worst and being the first one out, he was also a little cautious - but we are confident that he will also move up the grid tomorrow."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A thrilling first qualifying session with three teams within just 0.024 seconds. To be first on the track was not an ideal basis for Juan Pablo as he experienced the most difficult track conditions. Kimi ran a bit wide in turn two which cost him some time, but the rest of the lap was amazing. We have a good basis for tomorrow."
Felipe Massa (11th, 1:15.863): "I had a good lap and the balance was okay, a bit of understeer here and some oversteer there, probably because of the wind, but nothing too bad. With a similar performance in tomorrow's final qualifying I think we can do a good job in the race."
Jacques Villeneuve (14th, 1:16.794): "The balance of the car was not too bad this afternoon, so really I expected to be faster. Sometimes this season it's been a problem for me getting the best out of the tyres over a single lap, but the gap was quite big today. The car felt okay but that grip situation seemed to be a little bit extreme here, so I'm mystified."
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "After the significant improvement we made in Imola we expected more here. But Felipe has the potential to start the race in the first five rows so therefore it should be possible to score more points."
David Coulthard (10th, 1:15.795): "I was a bit too cautious in the final sector of my lap, so I think I could have got another half second out of the car. We have done a slightly better job in qualifying here than we did in Imola, but I think we still need to get more out of the car's potential. That is the only way for us to move forward. Having said that, I am reasonably comfortable with the race balance for tomorrow."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (13th, 1:16.288): "Qualifying did not go too well for me. I had a problem with the brakes at turn 10. We changed something on the brakes before the session and it obviously did not do the job. Also, I locked the car in the hairpin and went straight otherwise the car was not too bad. But I think it will be very difficult for us tomorrow, in terms of moving up the grid. We will have to wait and see how the race pans out."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "Today David drove a good lap and, as we can see, the grid is very tight. He lost a bit of time in the 2nd sector but the car looks good so I'm sure we can make up for it tomorrow. Tonio lost time in the middle sector after he braked into turn 10, but that is all part of learning process. I'm sure he'll respond tomorow."
Gunther Steiner, Technical Director: "Well I think that we did reasonably ok in the first qualifying session. David's qualifying was as expected and we will now work with on the strategy for tomorrow. Tonio had some problems with his brakes which where fitted new for this session, but they were inconsistent and therefore it was a challenge to find the right braking point. Apart from this the car is ok and we will, as always, be fighting for points."
Jarno Trulli (1st, 1:14.795): "I'm delighted to be on provisional pole, and especially so because this is the first time Panasonic Toyota Racing has managed the feat. My lap was nice and clear but I must say I'm surprised to have taken such a perfect result. I was struggling to find grip this morning, but in the end things went much better in qualifying. I have no doubt that the race will be hard tomorrow as the front of the grid is so tight, but we will do our very best to convert this result into pole position tomorrow morning. Then I will give everything I have in the race."
Ralf Schumacher (4th, 1:14.870): "I'm happy with my lap, which was good and clear. Perhaps I was a bit too cautious in the windy final sector, but to finish so close to the front is great news. I ended up only 75 thousandths of a second off pole, so I can't complain! In the end, it could have gone either way but even though I am not on provisional pole I am still confident looking ahead to tomorrow. The performance is there, the car is there, the tyres are there and I'm very confident with the car on race fuel. So now I will look to capitalise on this good start in the race. Tomorrow's another day and that's what counts."
Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "It was an excellent lap from Jarno and it's great that Toyota is going into Sunday on top of the timesheets for the first time. Ralf was a bit disappointed because he was quick this morning and could have taken pole himself. But in the end he was very close, so we're happy with first and fourth. Barcelona is very much an aerodynamic circuit. We've been working very hard on our aero package and we had some updates for this race. It was a good job from everyone in the factory and now we've repaid them with provisional pole. We've been strong here all weekend, but we've still only done half the job. Now we have to look to try and convert that into a strong performance tomorrow. Rest assured we will be doing everything we can to get both cars onto the front row and to convert that into Toyota's first ever race win."
Tsutomu Tomita, Team Principal: "It's a historic moment for Panasonic Toyota Racing to go into Sunday on the top of the timesheets for the first time in only our 4th year in the sport. Both drivers did a great job and now we must try and capitalise on that tomorrow."
Narain Karthikeyan (15th, 1:18.557): "It has not been my quickest lap since the beginning of the weekend but I am nevertheless still satisfied. It was a bit difficult to warm up the tyres, but then the car balance was ok. The race tomorrow will be very exciting, as all drivers know the Circuit de Catalunya quite well and I hope we will finish the race in a good position."
Tiago Monteiro (16th, 1:19.040): "The car was different to drive compared to this morning as the track temperature was warmer, but I did a good lap. I am sure that we have chosen the right Bridgestone tyres and the right car set-up for tomorrow's race. Now we have to put together the different bits that we have learnt and see where we can improve."
Trevor Carlin, Sporting Director: "After yesterday's testing, we made our tyre choice for the race on Sunday. We knew we would not have the ultimate pace in qualifying but we are pretty confident we will have a good pace tomorrow and build on our steady qualifying performance. We are also very pleased for our engine partner, Toyota, for finishing first in today's qualifying session."
Christijan Albers (17th, 1:19.563): "It was a reasonable qualifying lap, even though we had some understeer. It is also a satisfying result, as we had some bad luck yesterday and this morning. Everyone is working really hard, and we are definitely going in the right direction - I think we will have a good car for the race."
Patrick Friesacher (18th, 1:20.306): "I'm not so happy with qualifying, as I was more than a second quicker in free practice this morning. I had more understeer for this afternoon's run and there just wasn't enough grip, so I couldn't really push the car hard in the way I would have liked. We'll have to see if we can improve tomorrow."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "Christijan and Patrick may have qualified P17 and P18 in this afternoon's session, but the team takes encouragement from a number of factors. As usual, both drivers have been pushing hard, and Christijan's performance this afternoon saw him just four-tenths of a second off the time set by Monteiro's Jordan. We also continue to be highly impressed by the new car's straight-line speed in practice and qualifying, which is thanks to the excellent performance of the Cosworth TJ2005 engine. In fairness, this also indicates we are in the early stages of the PS05's aero development. There is no doubt, however, that the team's engineers and technicians are getting to grips with the new car. In addition, we have been able to try some new components this weekend, with promising initial results, and that process will continue during upcoming races. All told, we are satisfied with the progress made so far, and will aim to keep the momentum going tomorrow for final qualifying and the race."