MAY 28, 2005
EUROPEAN GP - SATURDAY - TEAM QUOTES
Rubens Barrichello (7th, 1:31.249): "This morning, I did not feel we were very competitive, but my qualifying lap was quite good, even if it could have been a bit better. But at least the balance of the car seems good. We definitely look better than last weekend, so now we must wait and see how our strategy plays out tomorrow afternoon."
Michael Schumacher (10th, 1:31.585): "I want to congratulate Nick on his first F1 pole. It was a super lap and he deserves it. On my qualifying lap, I had a bit of understeer, especially in Turn 10 and lost some tenths there. As usual so far this season, I am looking forward to the race when we should be more competitive than today. It is hard for me to predict what we can expect tomorrow, because there have been times over this weekend when things did not look too promising. But the same can be said of Monaco and we had great race pace there, so I just plan to push hard and see what happens, trying to pick up as many points as possible."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "Once again in this session, we had to tackle the usual problem that has been with us for a while now, that's to say the fact we are not totally competitive over the single lap. Looking at the session overall, there is still the unknown factor of how much fuel the others had on board, given that we have gone back to the old qualifying format we saw last year. We are sure we will be more competitive in the race and now we have to see what strategies the teams have adopted and the answer will come tomorrow afternoon. What is certain is that, as usual, we will do our utmost to get the best possible result with both cars."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "We were not in a strong position to challenge for qualifying, but I think we have a good race set-up and we have a nicely consistent tyre for tomorrow. This will be an important factor as the forecast is for very high temperatures. In this afternoon's hotter conditions, the car did not react quite as well as in the morning, but within the scope of changes we are allowed to make for the race, we can compensate for that for tomorrow. Unlike Monaco, there is potential to get something out of a good race strategy and of course it is possible to overtake at this track. So, I am optimistic that we can do something good in the race. We have to hope that both drivers make good starts and then as things settle down, wait and see if the race comes to us."
Jenson Button (13th, 1:32.594): "It's not very much fun being one of the first cars out for the session. There was very little grip and the balance was not what we expected at all. It's a shame because in free practice this morning the car felt pretty good. We have to look now at what we can do for tomorrow but I am confident that we can make up some ground and be strong in the race."
Takuma Sato (16th, 1:32.926): "The track conditions were totally different to how they were when we finished free practice, so it was a very difficult qualifying session. I was the first car out on track and it was quite windy with a lot of dust on the circuit, which made it very slippery. I had very low grip which caused me to slide and run wide before the back straight, which cost me a lot of time. Apart from that, the car is performing well and we hope that we have a good package for the race tomorrow, which I'm looking forward to as I think we can be strong."
Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "We had good morning practice sessions, during which we were able to improve both cars from yesterday. Being first and second to qualify unfortunately hurt us more than we were predicting, with both cars suffering from excessive understeer due to the change in track conditions. Even though we are starting further back than we would have liked, we are still confident about our race pace and very much looking forward to tomorrow."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "Being first and second out makes it tough, but we were hoping for better starting positions. We expect to be stronger over the race distance."
Fernando Alonso (6th, 1:31.056): "I did a good lap, the car balance was reasonable and we have had no problems today, so I am pleased. It was a little bit surprising to end up sixth after being among the fastest cars in practice this morning, especially as our day has run smoothly, so I think the difference between myself and pole is probably down to some different strategies. I am still confident for tomorrow, and we believe in the choices we have made. I will certainly be aiming for the podium."
Giancarlo Fisichella (9th, 1:31.566): "There was much less grip on the circuit this afternoon than in practice this morning, and I found it difficult to feel completely comfortable with the car, so I am not totally pleased with the lap. In light of that, I don't think ninth is too bad a position, especially as I had to run early in the session. I think we have a good car for the race conditions tomorrow, so now we need to see how the strategies work out, and make the most of our pace in the race."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "We are in lower positions than we had expected on the grid, and it is probable that this ties in with some differences in our strategy relative to a number of our competitors. We feel that the R25 will be strong right through the race, though, and therefore should probably not be too disappointed with our qualifying positions. I think a podium finish is well within our reach tomorrow."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "The grid for tomorrow's race has a slightly unusual look to it, although we think it is likely that some of this will be down to differences in strategy that will only play out at the end of the opening stint of the race. Certainly, the large gaps between drivers, of six or seven tenths, indicate that there is probably quite a difference in fuel load between certain cars, especially as the order is very different to that we saw in practice this morning. From our point of view, we have had a trouble-free day, and now need to maintain our conviction in the choices we have made and see what tomorrow's race brings."
Nick Heidfeld (1st, 1:30.081): "It is fantastic to get my first pole position in Formula One after so many years, and it is even more to have achieved it here at my home Grand Prix in front of my supporters. There is not much more one could ask for. I didn't do too much running yesterday and I was a bit concerned this would affect my performance today, but obviously we made the right tyre choice. This good result today shows Monaco was not a one-off and we are obviously working in the right direction. I am very much looking forward to the race."
Mark Webber (3rd, 1:30.368): "Thanks to everyone at WilliamsF1 and BMW who did an outstanding job again coming here well prepared on a circuit which is pretty different from Monaco where we succeeded last week. Again, being among the top three feels great. It will be a tough race tomorrow and we will see how our tyres behave, since we didn't have much time yesterday to do our homework. We need a good start of course and we have a good strategy."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "We obviously have had a good qualifying session and both drivers and the team have recovered well from yesterday. It's a credit to the engineers to get the right set-up, tyre choice and strategy with not much information. We are confident of a strong showing in the race and have no issues on reliability and the brake and engine cooling is under control. Now we are looking forward to a strong race tomorrow."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "Today's qualifying result is great success for both drivers and all technicians. Yesterday we were not been able to achieve sufficient mileage and collect enough data to make our tyre choice. However, at least for qualifying, the decision was the right one. We'd like to congratulate Nick to the first pole position of his F1 career."
Kimi Raikkonen (2nd, 1:30.197): "I am pretty happy with my result as we have a strong position by starting from the front row. The track conditions during the qualifying session were not as good as in the morning. I know I have a good race car and our strategy should be good. Our performance and lap times throughout both practice days were consistent. However it is difficult to say where we are compared to the other teams in terms of fuel load. As long as I get a good start in the race we should be looking good to challenge for a win."
Juan Pablo Montoya (5th, 1:30.890): "It was a not a bad lap, but I was suffering from low grip throughout, and I made a slight mistake in the high speed chicane which lost me three tenths of a second. As a result I qualified lower than expected, which is disappointing. After practice this morning we made some improvements to the set up of the car, and we have a strong strategy, so I am optimistic for a good race tomorrow."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "We are of course delighted to be on the front row and feel that our speed off the line coupled with our strategy should give Kimi every opportunity to have a strong race. Juan Pablo's fifth place position puts him on the clean side of the grid giving him a small but important advantage over the cars to the right of him. Whilst his lap was not perfect his race pace will be strong. The whole team looks forward to another sunny day at the Nurburgring."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "An exciting qualifying which saw Kimi finishing second with less than two tenths from pole position. His front row position and Juan Pablo's fifth place are a solid basis to perform well tomorrow, when we will see how the different strategies will influence the race. Congratulations to Nick Heidfeld on his first career pole position."
Felipe Massa (11th, 1:32.205): "I was very happy with my lap today. It was a good one, no mistakes, and the balance of the car was reasonable. It's very good to be in front of the Red Bulls and the BARs and we seem to be good in comparison to them, so now I hope that I will make good start and can stay ahead. Starting 11th we have a chance to fight for points, and that's exactly what I'll be doing."
Jacques Villeneuve (15th, 1:32.891): "I knew that the car would be difficult on new tyres so our plan all along was to concentrate on the race set-up, and in particular being as strong as possible in the second half which is the one that really matters. I think I'm in reasonable shape for tomorrow."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "After a difficult time this morning we made good progress with both cars for qualifying. Felipe achieved our target position for him, while Jacques' 15th place reflects his fuel load. Overall we are satisfied, especially as we are ahead of our prime opposition."
David Coulthard (12th, 1:32.553): "We're struggling a bit here. In Monte Carlo we had the advantage of knowing the circuit very well; but we'll do what we can. The track conditions had changed since the morning. It seemed dirtier following the Porsche Supercup race and the track temperature had increased. I think it got up to 47° C, which can affect the car's balance. We dropped some aero out of the car after this morning's practice, but I still had some over-steer and locked up in to the hairpin. It's always a compromise when you have fuel on board and such high temperatures. I don't think we could have done anymore than be in front of the two BARs."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (14th, 1:32.642): "The balance of the car felt very good until the last section when I had a problem braking in to the chicane. The rear locked and I lost a huge amount of time there, which killed my qualifying session a little. I'm disappointed, until that point we'd done a very good lap."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "David had the handicap of running early in the session, but he built time through the lap and had an excellent last sector, which put him in front of both BAR cars. He'll start from a credible 12th position tomorrow. Tonio had the benefit of running slightly later but, unfortunately, he made a small mistake when he ran a little deep into the chicane and lost his time advantage. However, to finish one tenth of a second behind David is very respectable and it'll be interesting to see how things pan out tomorrow with the teams' different strategies."
Gunther Steiner, Technical Director: "There was nothing unexpected today. It was a very predictable qualifying and we hope to pick up some points with our strategy tomorrow. We can still finish in the points, it'll be difficult of course, but we will fight for it."
Jarno Trulli (4th, 1:30.700): "That was a good lap so I'm very happy. I pushed as hard as I could, made no errors and got everything out of the car. I put in some work yesterday and today on the balance of the car, and it felt very good during qualifying. We are also confident with our strategy for the race, so now I hope to be able to keep that form going and do a good race. It's good to have so much sun and hot weather here at the Nurburgring. The weather here is often a big factor in the race and while there could be thunderstorms we hope it stays good. It's great to have so many of the team here supporting us and it would be wonderful to get a good result so we can dedicate it to the whole team."
Ralf Schumacher (8th, 1:31.392): "We would have liked to have been a bit further forward but I had quite a bit of understeer and low grip generally, so that's why the lap time slipped away from me. I have been struggling all weekend to find a good balance. But it worked well on Jarno's car so we'll have to look at the data overnight and see the difference. Of course every race is important but with so many fans, team members and people from the factory here we'll do our best to convert this into a good result tomorrow. We'll have to see what the weather does, but we'll certainly be aiming for a good points finish and if possible the podium."
Dieter Gass, Chief Race Engineer: "I think we can be very pleased with the qualifying today. Jarno did another very good lap and Ralf is in a good position too. Ralf reported too much understeer, so overnight we'll look at the data to understand why. But other than that we had no problems. I think we have made the proper tyre choice for the race. That means we can look forward to tomorrow afternoon. We are confident about our race strategy so we'll see how it pans out. Hopefully we can bring a good result home for all the supporters who will be here to cheer us on."
Tiago Monteiro (17th, 1:35.047): "I am very happy with my qualifying lap, which was very clean with no mistake. I felt confident in the car so I was able to push really hard. We have made some changes with my engineers after the two sessions this morning and it was very helpful. I am now looking forward to driving tomorrow and I hope we will be able to finish the race and maybe be in the points."
Narain Karthikeyan (19th, 1:36.192): "I was the third driver to go in qualifying this afternoon so the circuit was still very dusty. Moreover, the track temperature was very high, I think it was close to 50°C, therefore my car was quite difficult to drive. I have also made a small mistake, which cost me some time. Now we will focus on improving the car for my first race in Nurburgring tomorrow."
Trevor Carlin, Sporting Director: "It was a mixed qualifying for us today. Tiago Monteiro did a superb job and qualified the car in 17th position. His lap was very clean and probably his best in qualifying this season so far. Narain's lap was a bit scrappy. He had to go out very early which may have hampered him a little bit. However I am sure he will progress through the race."
Patrick Friesacher (18th, 1:35.954): "Generally, I was quite happy with my lap. We were struggling a little bit this morning with one or two small problems on the car, but we made some changes, which enabled me to find a good balance. I think we're in a good position for tomorrow's race."
Christijan Albers (20th, 1:36.239): "The fuel load we were carrying this afternoon meant the car had a little bit more understeer than I would have liked for the qualifying run. As a result, I ran wide in one spot and lost a little bit of time there. Even so, it was not a bad run, and I think we have a good strategy for tomorrow. We should have a good pace in the race."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "Once again, we feel encouraged by today's times, especially considering the fuel loads in both cars for tomorrow's race. Indeed, all weekend, we have been exchanging lap times with our nearest rival, Jordan, and are pleasingly close to Sauber and Red Bull Racing. If we are able to split the Jordans at a circuit we really didn't expect would suit our new car, and bearing in mind there is still a huge amount of development potential in the PS05, it bodes very well for the upcoming North American races, as well for the rest of the season."
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