BELGIAN GP - FRIDAY - TEAM QUOTES

Fernando Alonso, Belgian GP 2005

Fernando Alonso, Belgian GP 2005 

 © The Cahier Archive

Selected team quotes

Ferrari

Michael Schumacher (4th, No Time): "This morning we did not look that competitive, but this afternoon we never got the chance to find out the real situation in terms of how we compare with the others. It was just too wet to go out. I think we would have needed a boat propeller to power our way round the track! The forecast is for more rain and if that is the case on Sunday, I can see us having to start the race behind the Safety Car. Maybe our tifosi have done too good a job with their rain dance!"

Rubens Barrichello (5th, No Time): "Even though I like driving in the wet, this afternoon there was just too much water on track and it was impossible to drive a Formula 1 car in these conditions. I hope it will not rain as much over the next two days..."

Jean Todt, Team Principal: "Rain was the main story of the day, making it impossible for this afternoon's free practice to run in the normal way. In the first hour, our two drivers did just one run each when the track was still damp. Therefore it is difficult to know what is the true situation. According to the weather forecast, the next two days could be similar to this afternoon. We will have to wait and see just when the rain will fall and how heavily. It has been a very long time since we have seen a race in the rain. In the past, the Ferrari-Bridgestone package was very competitive on a wet track. Naturally, we hope that is still the case."

Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "We only had one short run in the dry this morning with each of our drivers, when our car seemed reasonably well balanced, apart from a bit too much understeer. We made adjustments to deal with this, but of course we have not been able to check them to see if they have worked or not. Apparently, this mixed weather is what we can expect for the rest of the weekend, so hopefully we will have an opportunity to see how good the Ferrari-Bridgestone package is in the wet."

BAR-Honda

Jenson Button (6th, No Time): "We've been here many times before so today's weather is hardly surprising. The only good thing is that everyone is in the same boat. We'll obviously do what work we can with the little data we gathered this morning and then start tomorrow with better conditions I hope."

Takuma Sato (7th, No Time): "There is little to say about today because of the weather. I did only a few laps at the end of the morning session in drying conditions, but my first impression is that our package should be quite good. We will just have two very busy sessions tomorrow."

Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "Obviously it was far too wet for any of the drivers to venture out on track this afternoon. Tomorrow morning will be a challenge as we try to compress the work from all four practice sessions into one and a half hours before making our dry tyre choice at mid-day. The weather forecast for tomorrow is for more of the same conditions, so things could get very interesting here this weekend!"

Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "The upgraded engine worked fine in the few laps we completed. As usual in Spa, we need to be ready for all kinds of weather conditions!"

Renault

Fernando Alonso (3rd, No Time):

Giancarlo Fisichella (8th, No Time):

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering:

Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager:

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director:

Williams-BMW

Mark Webber (9th, No Time): "It was a frustrating day because we didn't get much information at all, as we only did two timed laps in the morning session. You never know what you are going to get weather-wise here - you just cannot predict. A lot of the teams opted to do more mileage in the second session but in the end the rain was too heavy to run. We now hope we can get some good running in the morning tomorrow and get ready for qualifying and the race."

Antonio Pizzonia (10th, No Time): "It's nice to be back in the cockpit of the FW27 in Spa, my favourite track. Unfortunately I had a small accident this morning, which didn't cost us any laps and didn't really affect our programme. Still, it's not the way you would like to start a GP weekend. The mechanics did a great job to fix everything quickly. In the second session it rained heavily so we didn't go out on track but it was the same for most of the teams. This means we have a few extra laps to do tomorrow and we just have to try to get the most out of it."

Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was a day of mixed weather, which is normal for Spa. This morning we got some limited running on a slightly damp track in order to check ride height, tyre pressures and top speed. In the second session it was too wet to run. Due to the fact in both the sessions the track was wet, the dry tyre compound choice is delayed to Saturday at 12 o'clock."

Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "This afternoon's heavy rain might help the prosperous nature in Spa but in these conditions it is impossible to drive an F1 car properly. It is a shame for the spectators, but it is force majeur. Now it's important to make the most out of tomorrow's practice sessions in order to get the set-up right."

McLaren-Mercedes

Kimi Raikkonen (11th, No Time): "I did one run at the end of the first session, but the conditions on the drying track were not ideal. However the car felt good straight away, and we will just have to wait and see what the weather does tomorrow. I like Spa and this is an important weekend me and the team, and we will just continue to focus on winning the race - whether it's wet or dry."

Juan Pablo Montoya (12th, No Time): "I didn't get the chance to run in the dry today when I had to sit out the first practice as the team had to do a precautionary engine change on my car. The second session was obviously very wet from the beginning so it was no use doing any running. At least Alex got a decent amount of laps done in the first session so we will really have to rely on his feedback. I look forward to tomorrow when the weather hopefully will be dry, but as this is Spa you never know."

Alexander Wurz (22nd, No Time): "I did two runs in the first session this morning when the track was drying. It was still slippery at certain parts and you really had to concentrate driving on the limit in these conditions, but basically the car felt good. Still we have to continue our dry Michelin tyre evaluation tomorrow as we couldn't gain enough data today, but we made some progress."

Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Whilst we had limited running in the first session it was enough to confirm our continued competitiveness. Clearly running in the extreme conditions that we experienced this afternoon would not have been wise. I'm sure this will be a weekend where the accuracy of our weather forecasting will play a significant role in the outcome of the race."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Alex had a difficult task working on the race set-up as the track never really got dry during the first session. That was the reason for Kimi only doing one run on the drying track, which nevertheless saw him emerge fastest from the first session. We had to change Juan Pablo's engine in the morning as a precautionary step to eliminate a suspected problem with the camshaft surface treatment."

Sauber-Petronas

Jacques Villeneuve (13th, No Time): "My car felt good this morning in the few laps that I did, but we weren't really pushing hard. I have to say that I like the changes that they have made to the Bus Stop chicane since I was last here in 2003, it's much better."

Felipe Massa (14th, No Time): "At least I did some laps this morning, but you had to be careful because La Source and the Bus Stop were still wet, and it was tricky elsewhere too. You didn't want to get off line anywhere. Due to the weather this afternoon everything is open for tomorrow, so we just have to wait and see what that brings."

Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "We were not able to draw any conclusions today, after doing only 16 laps between Felipe and Jacques this morning. This afternoon the conditions were far too wet for there to be any point in running. You never want to do any more laps than you have to in such uncertain circumstances. As a result of the rain the tyre decision has been delayed until noon tomorrow, so we will concentrate on making our comparison in the morning's practice sessions. Effectively, everything just moves back a day but it's the same for everyone so there is no problem. We might even see some interesting performances in qualifying as a result."

Red Bull-Cosworth

Vitantonio Liuzzi (1st, No Time): "Everything was pretty good this morning and we were able to test different tyres as the track got drier and drier. We started on full wets, then went to intermediates and then to slicks. The track was in good condition so we could test the tyres and give feedback to the other cars. I had a good first run on the slick tyres, the car felt very balanced and I had good pace. I hit a small puddle on one of the later laps, locked the front brakes and got out of shape a little. That was a shame as we'd been strong and had set some quick lap times. In the second session, the weather seemed good enough to go back out. Things were okay through Eau Rouge, but then there was this huge pool of water. The car lost contact with the ground and, as I had a lot of speed, I went off into the guardrail."

David Coulthard (15th, No Time): "Wet conditions are always difficult, but are especially so in Spa due to the length of the track. There tends to be a lot of aquaplaning here as there's a lot of standing water and that's obviously what Tonio suffered with today. It's even more difficult here when you're running in traffic. There are so many trees, the spray doesn't dissipate and you have difficultly seeing the circuit, which can be pretty horrible. We just did an installation lap this morning. This is the second race with this engine and we're restricted on mileage. We thought it might be drier this afternoon and wanted to save our laps, obviously now we would have preferred to have done more this morning - but hindsight is a wonderful thing."

Christian Klien (16th, No Time): "Unfortunately we couldn't drive much today, we just did an installation lap this morning to check the car. There was so much rain in the second session; it didn't make any sense to go out. Tonio aquaplaned on the water and when that happens you're just a passenger. We haven't been able to work on the set up of the car much today, so have a lot of work to do tomorrow."

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "It wasn't raining too hard in the pits at the start of the second practice session, and two or three other cars went out before Tonio. Everything seemed fine when he went through Eau Rouge and then, literally by the time he'd got to the top of the hill, the rain was pouring down and there was a big puddle of water on the circuit's new surface. Tonio aquaplaned and was just a passenger. The accident was not his fault; he was just very unlucky and a victim of the unpredictable Spa weather. Fortunately Tonio completed a lot of laps for us this morning in both wet and dry conditions in order to evaluate our tyre choice."

Toyota

Jarno Trulli (17th, No Time): "We were expecting this to be a wet weekend, and the weather forecast is still bad so it's likely to be a tough weekend because we haven't done much wet testing this year. Spa is the best circuit in the world, and the most fun to drive, but the intensity of the rain can vary hugely so that can have a big impact on circuit conditions. Still, it will be the same for everyone. Last year I took pole in the wet here so we'll be hoping for a positive result."

Ralf Schumacher (18th, No Time): "Unfortunately weather like that means that this will be a hard weekend for all the teams. Obviously it makes it very difficult to pick which dry tyre to run - if we ever get a chance to run on dries this weekend. It makes tomorrow busier, too. We'll have to go out in the wet eventually. There have been no wet races yet this year and at Toyota we haven't done much testing in the wet either. So we'll have to wait and see how it works out."

Ricardo Zonta (23rd, No Time): "It's a pity we missed out on this afternoon's session because Spa is always a fun place to drive. But this morning the circuit started out damp, so we had a chance to try out the shallow wets. The balance changes when you switch to dry tyres so at least we are able to learn something about that in case we need to use it in the race. Spa is always a good fun place to drive in any conditions and today gave us a typical mixture of weather."

Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "That was a reasonably typical Spa wet day with difficult conditions which would have been dangerous to run in. Our weather forecast predicted that it would be wet for the afternoon so we did a reasonable amount of running in the first session. Ricardo was able to run both on shallow wets and dry tyres and conduct some evaluations, while both race drivers also had a run in the dry so at least we have some information for the tyre choice tonight."

Jordan-Toyota

Tiago Monteiro (19th, No Time): "It is quite difficult to describe how the car was feeling considering the small number of laps we have completed today. This morning we just checked if the car was ok and wanted to do our complete normal Friday programme but the track conditions did not allow us to do this. The tyre choice for the rest of the weekend will therefore not be an easy one. However, I am pretty confident we will make a good choice."

Narain Karthikeyan (20th, No Time): "This morning I was running the EJ15B car for the first time during a Grand Prix weekend and it was problem free. I did a good job but the circuit conditions were constantly changing. I cannot say much about the afternoon, except that a boat would have been better than an F1 car."

Nicolas Kiesa (24th, No Time): "It was quite difficult this morning as I was one of the first to go out in half dry, half wet conditions and also because I have not driven here for three years. I had therefore to get used to the circuit and its difficult conditions. But all in all, we had a pretty good practice and I have to say that from the start, the car felt very good. The best thing about the car was even though the circuit was getting dryer and dryer, its behaviour did not change. It was very nice and I felt confident to push it harder. We have managed to test some tyres and we have a half-decent evaluation. If I was a race driver, I would have a 85% idea of which tyres we should use and this despite the fact we did not run in the second practice."

Adrian Burgess, Sporting Director: "Everything went ok this morning but we could not do a lot of work because of the weather conditions. We did our tyre blanket comparison this afternoon and all the tyre blankets worked perfectly well. We will wait until tomorrow to see what the weather brings."

Minardi-Cosworth

Robert Doornbos (2nd, No Time): "I did a rain dance this morning, because I had a very good race in the wet last year when I won in F3000, but I didn't expect this much rain. I'm sorry for the fans, and particularly the Dutch supporters, as it would have been great to get some running in this afternoon, but it was just too wet. I went out and saw that Tonio, my team mate from last year, had had a big moment at the end of the straight - there was just too much water. We've had a quiet day, so let's hope tomorrow we can do some more running."

Christijan Albers (21st, No Time): "After we saw how the track was this morning, we decided to change our programme and convert to one long run close to the end of session, when hopefully, conditions would be at their best. It turned out to be a good strategy. The car was working really well, and right from the beginning of the run, I was able to able to push hard. It's a shame the second session was rained out, but if the work we did today is any indication, then I think we can be hopeful of a good qualifying performance tomorrow."

Enrico Toccacelo (25th, No Time): "I'm a little disappointed, as I made a mistake after just two laps when I braked, locked the rear wheels and spun, ending the session there. It's a shame, because I was really looking forward to testing here. Unfortunately, the rain fell heavily in the second session and there wasn't a chance to do any further testing."

Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "In a rain-affected Spa-Francorchamps, we started this morning's session on a damp, but drying, track. Sadly, Enrico was caught out and had a close encounter with the famous Spa barriers. In terms of Christijan and Robert, they developed their cars and set very respectable times. They were hoping to improve in the second session, but after Robert's installation lap, it was clear the track was too wet to continue, so we'll now have to wait until tomorrow."

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