AUGUST 20, 2005
TURKISH GP - SATURDAY - TEAM QUOTES
Selected team quotes:
Rubens Barrichello (11th, 1:29.369): "Even though we adopted a conservative approach to qualifying, I was fighting with a lack of grip from the car. I am confident the tyres will be good for the race, however, in qualifying we had some graining issues, which cost me time in the final sector where I had too much understeer. My lap was on the limit of what I could do and for tomorrow I think eleventh place means I can have a good race especially as the car seems to perform better when the tyres are worn than when they are completely new. It's a shame for Michael that he went off."
Michael Schumacher (20th, No Time): "We have been uncompetitive all weekend so far, therefore I had not expected to qualify very well: maybe around seventh place, which would not have been too bad for tomorrow's race. Even though we should really be looking for race wins, we could at least have been fighting for points. But, I went off the track and this is the result. We had expected Turn 9 to be difficult as the wind had picked up and I thought I had taken this into account, but obviously not enough. In the race, all I can do is push hard and try and do my best. It is still important for us to do as well as possible here, to help our chances in qualifying at Monza. After our performance in Hockenheim and Budapest, this weekend is clearly a step backwards."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "We were ready for a difficult qualifying session, but the result was worse than we had expected. Michael spun in the second sector and did not complete his timed lap, while Rubens could do no better than eleventh. The main problem we have had this weekend is the one we have been carrying around since the start of the season, namely a considerable lack of grip, which makes itself most felt in qualifying. Given the situation, we will now change the engine in Michael's car. We can expect a tough race tomorrow and in many ways it will be a step into the unknown, from reliability to tyre wear. Honestly, I think the most we can hope for is to get our cars home in the points."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "After our performance this morning, we adopted a more conservative strategy. Even so, Rubens was unable to lap as quickly as we had expected. I think Michael might just have scraped into a top six position if he had not gone off, which with the fuel load he was carrying and an expected consistent performance in the race, could have been a good place to be. The track conditions did not change very much from the morning, but there was a lot of dust on the track from people going off all over the place."
Jenson Button (13th, 1:30.063): "It was a very disappointing qualifying lap because in practice today we didn't have any issues with the high-speed corner but we could see that other teams were struggling with the rear end quite a bit. It's a shame because we have been quick here so far this weekend. But all is not lost. I will start from P13 on the grid tomorrow and I'm sure that we can still do something very positive from there."
Takuma Sato (14th, 1:30.175): "After such a positive start to this Grand Prix, it's a shame to have such a disappointing qualifying session. Unfortunately, in turn 8 my car bottomed a lot creating understeer and I ran wide. I feel sorry for the team because we were all hopeful of better things today. All I can do from here is stay positive and do the best job I possibly can to make good progress through the field tomorrow. As for the incident with Mark Webber, we had a radio interference problem and the team were unable to tell me his position on the track."
Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "It is fair to say that we are disappointed with our qualifying result. Both drivers have been running very well throughout the weekend, always at the sharp end of the timesheets, so we were obviously hoping for good grid positions. Nevertheless, the fact that the cars have been running competitively still bodes well for the race tomorrow."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "Obviously the session today was not ideal but the car has been good so far this weekend. We will have to work hard to collect more points in the race tomorrow."
Giancarlo Fisichella (2nd, 1:27.039): "It is great to be on the front row for tomorrow's race. We have worked hard this weekend to get a good set-up on the car, and the team has done a great job, which you can see from the grid positions. The only problem with my lap was when I came up on Barrichello at the end - we were very close through turns 12 and 13, and it disrupted my concentration, costing me a couple of tenths. Everything else went well though, so I am very positive for tomorrow."
Fernando Alonso (3rd, 1:27.050): "The conditions were much windier this afternoon than we had in practice, and we saw that it was a difficult qualifying session for all the drivers as lots of people went off. In that situation, you have to take the gamble of either taking some risks, or being conservative: I pushed hard and came through OK, so it is great to be third, on the clean side of the grid. The wind actually surprised me a little bit down the back straight - it was a strong tailwind, and I braked at my normal point but missed the apex, which cost me some time. We have both cars in the top three and I will go into the race with the aim of trying to beat Kimi."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "To have both cars within the top three on the grid is a very pleasing team result. It was not easy to get the tyres working well over a single lap this afternoon, but both drivers did a very good job on their out-laps and got the most out of the car. Giancarlo was unfortunate to be delayed by Barrichello at the end of his lap, which certainly cost him a couple of tenths, while without a mistake after being caught out by the wind in sector 3, Fernando might have been on pole. But we have good grid positions, a good strategy: the stage is set for strong performances from both drivers."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "We have heard the drivers telling us that this was a demanding circuit since the beginning of the weekend, and this afternoon's qualifying session was the proof. This was undoubtedly the most incident-filled session of the year, and both Giancarlo and Fernando did well to complete clean, competitive laps. The front two rows crystallise neatly the battle we will be fighting tomorrow, against McLaren, and the slightest of errors will be severely punished. Of course, tomorrow's race will be long and hot - and demanding for the engines, on a circuit where overtaking is possible. So far, the RS25 has performed faultlessly and both cars have shown competitive top speeds. We are confident that we have the tools at our disposal to take the fight to McLaren."
Nick Heidfeld (6th, 1:27.929): "My qualifying lap was ok. As usual, it's difficult to find all the grip on the first lap but I am quite satisfied with this result, especially if I look at the rest of the weekend when I had some small, annoying problems in nearly every session. At least qualifying went all right! It looks like we are in better shape than we have been in the last few races, which is the most important thing. We are making progress and hopefully we will collect some points tomorrow."
Mark Webber (7th, 1:27.944): "As with qualifying these days, we won't really know our performance until the race but we look pretty reasonable here. Obviously BAR didn't have any communications, or Takuma didn't know what was happening. He did a very slow lap, then an even slower in-lap, which compromised my qualifying but that's how it goes. That was a really important corner and it probably compromised my lap by about three tenths of a second. We're still up there though."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was a good qualifying session for the team on this new circuit. It is such a great track, a real drivers' circuit, which is what we could see from the differences in qualifying. It is likely that we will see some good racing here tomorrow. We are okay on tyres, brakes and cooling."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "Since we are at a completely new circuit, we saw a lot more errors in qualifying than usual. Our drivers didn't make any mistakes, but Mark was held up by Sato. His result might have been even better if this hadn't of happened. We are, however, satisfied with sixth and seventh positions as they show an improvement."
Kimi Raikkonen (1st, 1:26.797): "I'm pleased to claim the first pole position for Formula 1 in Turkey. The lap was good but not perfect, and I lost a little bit of time in the last sector, but I knew I had some time in hand. We had made some changes to the car overnight and everything worked really well during practice this morning, so we knew we would have a strong chance for pole if everything went well. The circuit is great - it's so different from many of the others - especially with the ups and downs. It will be a tough race tomorrow, but I am really looking forward to it. We have a lot to fight for and hopefully we will be able to get the results we need and also put on a good show for the many Turkish spectators who will experience Formula 1 live for the first time."
Juan Pablo Montoya (4th, 1:27.352): "My qualifying lap was OK, but I know my time would have been so much better if I had done it later in the session. The car is working well and I have been strong in all sessions so far this weekend. The track is great and good fun to drive particularly when you have a competitive package and everything just comes together. There is no reason why I can't be strong in the race."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "We are obviously proud to be able to claim the first ever Formula One pole position in Turkey. Kimi did a good lap and considering that Juan Pablo had to set his time early in the session fourth place is a satisfactory outcome. It will be an interesting race tomorrow and we believe we have a strong package, which combined with what we hope to prove a winning strategy, will help to achieve the results we require at this stage of the Championship."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A great qualifying result with Kimi's pole position and a good job from Juan Pablo with fourth place on the grid who had to do his qualifying lap in the early stages of today's session when track conditions were still bad. Kimi and his team did a perfect job claiming their fifth pole position this season on this new race track which is very challenging in terms of chassis, engine, tyres and drivers. Our basis for the race and the strategy should be good. Hopefully Kimi will use the advantage of his pole position perfectly as the first corner will be crucial as you can't see the entrance approaching it. The session was quite turbulent and proved how demanding the layout of the Istanbul racepark is."
Felipe Massa (8th, 1:28.419): "There was a lot of sand on the track so it would have been very easy to make a mistake, but I managed not to and had a good lap. Starting in the top eight is always very good for us, and I won't deny the possibility that we can score some more points tomorrow. It's going to be a tough race, because this is physically a hard track, but we can do well.
"I have six races left for Sauber before I leave, and I am really determined to do my best for the team to thank everyone here for all their efforts for me during my time here."
Jacques Villeneuve (18th, No Time): "The track was very slippery, a lot more than this morning, and I just pushed too hard. My lap was faster than I thought up until I spun. Turn 8 is a real challenge, and the car got away from me there. I probably should have pushed a little bit less, I guess."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "Jacques was competitive in the first sector on his qualifying lap, but overall the grip level was poor this afternoon and unfortunately he spun in Turn 8. Felipe did a fine lap and given the poor track conditions was able to achieve a very good eighth place in difficult circumstances.
"As any new track, we have used our computer simulation programme to evaluate initial circuit characteristics and requirements; until track data became available from Friday practice sessions. The team has done a great job to find a well-balanced C24."
Christian Klien (10th, 1:28.963): "That was a difficult lap. It's hard to judge what the conditions are going to be like when you're second out on the track, but the balance of the car felt good and I was able to push quite hard. I didn't make any mistakes during qualifying, which is really important here as the track's so demanding."
David Coulthard (12th, 1:29.764): "We were lucky to get away with twelfth there! It's difficult to know what to expect when you're driving on new tyres; we ran on a new set this morning and were actually slower than we had been on scrubbed ones. As a result, I was cautious at the beginning of the qualifying lap when the grip levels were a little unpredictable. As the lap progressed, I began to push a bit more, but ran wide at Turn eight and nine due to dust that my tyres had picked up on that part of the track. It's a challenging circuit that's for sure. There are lots of difficult corners, but the trickiest thing is the bumps. When the car unloads over those, things get pretty interesting!"
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "Considering we went out first and second for today's qualifying session, I think it's a good result to have Christian in tenth and David 12th. Both have good strategies in place for the race and, as we showed competitive pace in our longer runs this morning, I think we can look forward to an interesting afternoon tomorrow."
Jarno Trulli (5th, 1:27.501): "That was another good lap because we have been struggling to finalise the set-up on my car this weekend. I was not at all happy with the balance this morning, so I changed the set-up completely for qualifying. That meant I went into qualifying without knowing how the car would behave. It was a bit windier than before so the car was a bit more nervous and that made qualifying more difficult than usual. But it worked pretty well, so that was another good performance from myself and the team. My target tomorrow is to score points and maybe even push for a podium."
Ralf Schumacher (9th, 1:28.594): "That could have been a very good lap but I obviously lost quite a bit of time in Turn Nine. Perhaps I was trying a bit too hard, but apart from that the grip was there and my lap was going well. Nonetheless we're still in reasonable shape to come away with a good result tomorrow. Jarno's in a really good position, it's slightly more difficult for me again but it's quite possible for both of us to score points. We'll see how possible it is to overtake tomorrow, but another strong points finish is what we are after."
Dieter Gass, Chief Race Engineer: "I think we can be quite satisfied with our positions for tomorrow's race. This morning we struggled to get the tyres to work. It obviously went a bit better in the afternoon with the higher temperatures. But Jarno once again delivered for the team with a fine qualifying lap. It is a pity that Ralf had a small off in Turn Nine, otherwise we could have taken over the third row. But both drivers are still in a good position for a strong race performance tomorrow. They're both on the clean side of the grid, so our realistic target is two strong points finishes. It will be very difficult to fight for a podium but we will try anyway."
Tiago Monteiro (15th, 1:30.710): "The whole weekend has been pretty good for me so far. This morning, we were very close to the front runners, especially the other Bridgestone drivers. I had a clean good qualifying lap and pushed really hard. It is going to be a long race tomorrow; especially on a new circuit where we do not really know how the tyres will behave over 58 laps; but it will be the same for everyone. I am really excited about tomorrow."
Narain Karthikeyan (19th, No Time): "We had some engine issues this morning in free practice and I have not been able to complete any running. It is really a pity, as I would have needed more laps to continue learning the track and doing more work on the car set-up. Our strategy had then to be adapted which explains why I only did an installation lap to ensure everything was ok and to save fuel and tyres. I hope I will have a better day tomorrow."
Adrian Burgess, Sporting Director: "Tiago had a very good lap and we would like to congratulate him on his 15th position. Narain did not complete his flying lap due to the engine changes we had to do this morning. We opted to only do an installation lap and prepare everything for tomorrow's Grand Prix. It is going to be an exciting race where anything could happen and hopefully, we will be there at the end to pick up whatever is on offer."
Christijan Albers (16th, 1:32.186): "We did a lot of work on the car, and it was more stable in the qualifying run than we'd managed this morning, when the rear was quite nervous. I was happy with that and with the fact we gained some grip. The only real issue in qualifying related to a gear-shifting problem, which cost me quite a bit of time. That said, the car is definitely going in the right direction, and although it will be a tough race tomorrow, I think we'll be all right."
Robert Doornbos (17th, No Time): "It was obviously a disappointing qualifying for me. I was hoping for a very good run, because although we had a difficult tyre choice to make this morning, I think we found a good set-up for the race and things looked promising. As a result, there was something to look forward to in qualifying, but even on the out lap, I knew the car was not how it should be, and that there was a problem with the brakes. They suggested over the radio that I just carry on and try to complete the lap, but the problem got worse and worse, and the car was very slow on the straights, just like the handbrake was still on. I really hope I can have some better luck tomorrow and do something special in the race."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "It was an interesting start to qualifying, with Robert's spectacular incident at the entrance to the pit lane. Sadly, a brake pressure problem had left him with no choice but to abort his flying lap. Christijan, on the other hand, with a substantial fuel load on board and what we believe is the correct choice of tyres for tomorrow's race, put in a steady performance, and will benefit from the strategy as the event progresses. Throughout this morning's practice sessions, everything went pretty much according to plan."