MALAYSIAN GP - FRIDAY - TEAM QUOTES
Fernando Alonso (3rd, 1:35.806): "We did our job today and the R26 seems competitive. Sepang is a great circuit to drive, one of my favourites, and I was very happy to be out there this afternoon. The heat is really difficult - not just in the car, but in the garage when you stop and there is no ventilation while you are in the car. We have made the usual modifications, but as a driver, you just need to be ready for it, and well prepared. The car is easy to drive here, but we still need more grip and some small changes to the balance. But I think we have a good starting point for the rest of the weekend."
Giancarlo Fisichella (6th, 1:36.182): "I didn't put a clean lap together on new tyres today, but the car was very consistent indeed on the long run this afternoon. We made some adjustments during the second session, and we have got more to do tonight, but we are definitely moving in the right direction. The car is very stable in the high speed corners, but we need to eliminate a little oversteer in the slower parts. Overall, though, the Renault is consistent and quick here. I am happy this afternoon."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "We once again limited our running owing to the increased mileage required in the new qualifying session. We fully achieved our objectives for the day, with both R26 chassis enjoying a consistent handling balance from the first run onwards. The engines and tyres are both performing well in the very hot conditions."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "Engine builders like nothing more than trouble-free days at the track, and that's exactly what we experienced in Sepang. The RS26 V8 is running well, and as usual, our Friday programme consisted of fine-tuning the mapping, and ensuring the engines were coping with the demands of the high temperatures. We obtained the answers we wanted, and have experienced no incidents during the day. It has been a solid start to the weekend."
Kimi Raikkonen (5th, 1:36.132): "I am happy with the set up of the car and we managed to complete our programme today despite the small problem this morning with the data logging, where the team decided to cancel my run, whilst there was nothing wrong with the car. The Michelin tyres are working well and I think we look strong compared to our main rivals but we will have to see what happens tomorrow."
Juan Pablo Montoya (14th, 1:37.463): "I am pretty happy with the car this weekend. This morning we completed one run to see how the car felt and this was pretty good. This afternoon we concentrated on the race set up. There is still a little bit of work to do tomorrow with understanding the car a little better, but the whole package has improved from last weekend. Despite stalling at the end of the grid in the second session and a spin later on we managed to complete our programme and we will see if we have done enough in qualifying tomorrow."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A relatively uneventful first day of practice and the team now looks forward to tomorrow's qualifying session."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A normal Friday practice session where we completed out planned programme and made good progress with the set up of the cars for the weekend."
Felipe Massa (4th, 1:35.924): "I think it went very well. We worked for the race by doing quite a few long runs. The car went well both with used and new tyres and I am very pleased with our race pace. In my opinion we have a good car for the race. Qualifying will of course be a bit difficult for me because I have to pay the price for the engine change, but considering the pace we had during the long run, I think we're in good shape for a good result on Sunday."
Michael Schumacher (7th, 1:36.617): "In general we're pleased with the way things went during free practice. Towards the end of the session we managed to improve the balance of the car. As far as times are concerned, apart from what the third drivers do, who do a different job compared to the others, I think that the situation is quite clear. I could have been a bit quicker with my new tyres when I went out on my first run, but I lost a lot of time in a corner of the third sector. The consistency of the Bridgestone tyres looks pretty good, which of course is very important. The actual time recorded is of less importance at this stage because the times improve as the weekend progresses. I reckon that we're competitive and that, like in Bahrain, here in Malaysia we can fight for pole position and for a win on Sunday."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "I am happy to be here in Malaysia, a country which in recent years I have really learnt to love and that I find fascinating. As usual, Friday is mainly for comparing the two kinds of Bridgestone tyres we have available. Today this work was done mainly by Felipe, because, unfortunately, he had to fit a fresh engine on his car. The track results seem to have confirmed the considerable potential that was shown by the cars and the Bridgestone tyres in Bahrain and during the winter testing. We're competitive in race trim and we count on looking good in qualifying tomorrow as well in that I think that, as on the Sakhir circuit last week, it's going to be a close battle for pole. As usual here in Malaysia the weather conditions are tough for the cars, the drivers and for the people working in the pits."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "I'd say that it was a good day during which we made a really extensive assessment of the two Bridgestone tyres we had available. The overall balance of the 248F1 is very good. There are a couple of details we need to sort out but we've got plenty of time to do it. The drivers were quite happy with the cars that looked very consistent."
Jarno Trulli (11th, 1:37.317): "We spent the two sessions trying to collect more data on our new package. Our grip level is not yet there and although we look slightly more competitive than in Bahrain we still have work to do. Our challenge is to get the car and tyres working together. For that we need to carry out a detailed analysis, but of course there has been no chance to test since Bahrain so we will have to continue that work this weekend. I am sure we have not seen the true potential of our car yet. We understand the problem but the solution is not straightforward. We are obviously looking to have a better race than we had in Bahrain but the important thing for us is to spend these early race weekends getting to the root of the problem."
Ralf Schumacher (17th, 1:37.695): "Today we completed more running than usual because we are still trying to find out how to make the most of our package. We've been struggling for grip and the Bahrain weekend showed us we still have a way to go. But today the car felt much better and the grip level has increased quite a lot. The traction and the tyres seem to be working better with this track surface and the heat. I was caught in traffic on my last run so we could have further improved our time. Our aim this weekend has to be to collect information for future races but we have already collected some useful data. So that's an encouraging start."
Dieter Gass, Chief Race Engineer: "Today we made a step forward from what we saw in Bahrain. We've done a lot of work on the tyre and the set-up and we've collected some good information, especially from the tyres. For tomorrow we will try to improve the set-up of the cars. We did more running than we normally do because we saved some mileage last weekend which we can use here to get the maximum information possible. Given all that, we have plenty of information with which to make the tyre choice. It's still a bit early to say how much the conditions here will affect our performance. But given that we have struggled to get temperature into the tyres the higher track temperature should help us."
Alexander Wurz (2nd, 1:35.388): "We had two very interesting sessions and I choose the word interesting because they were not straightforward. We will have to analyse our data as well as the information from Bridgestone. But it will not be straightforward for the competition on tyre choice either and as a consequence, not straightforward on chassis balance. For us, at the end of the day, I think my long runs looked good and I hope I have prepared a good car for the team for Saturday and Sunday."
Mark Webber (20th, 1:38.081): "I only did three fast laps today, but we have collected a plenty of data with Alex's car. His programme went well which is good for the team. Now we'll go through the data this afternoon and we'll take it from there. The car isn't quite perfect, but addressing this is our job for now."
Nico Rosberg (21st, 1:38.205): "Even though I have never driven on this circuit before, it was easier to learn this track than it was in Bahrain. It's my second race weekend in Formula One, but already I feel adapting to the tracks is easier. The car felt quite good and it has been a positive day in general. We just need to make some changes in the car's balance for tomorrow."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "Today was very productive in terms of set-up on Alex's car and generating data to help with the selection of the right tyre compound for the race. All of the cooling in respect of the engine, gearbox and brakes looks fine and we are encouraged by the lap times. Mark completed a short run and checked the balance was okay and Nico's car, we scheduled to do two runs, but we had a problem with a fuel pipe which restricted him to one run. Now we will prepare the car for tomorrow's qualifying when we expect to be competing as a front runner."
Bernard Ferguson, Cosworth: "Most of today's running was focused on the T-car with Alex Wurz. Engine temperatures are always a concern at this circuit, so it was good to get some long runs in to get an idea .of stabilised values. There were no major engine problems"
Anthony Davidson (1st, 1:35.041): "Obviously I'm pleased to end Friday at the top of the timesheets for the second race in a row. It hasn't been quite as straightforward a day as we hoped, due to the problem I had with the rears locking. This caused me to spin and lose a lot of time in the second session. Overall I think we ended the day in better shape and have some good information to work with to improve the car."
Jenson Button (8th, 1:36.661): "A pretty straightforward day for us in terms of our set-up and tyre programme. There's still a lot more to come from the car and some work to be done to nail the set-up, as Anthony's problem demonstrated. Hopefully we can solve our problems for tomorrow."
Rubens Barrichello (10th, 1:37.270): "We still have some work to do on the braking - I'm still struggling with that a little from Bahrain. There's still a lot of work to do on the set-up but it was positive to see where Anthony ended up today."
Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "We are happy to have Anthony at the top of the timesheets again, however all three drivers are not entirely pleased with the car, so there is definitely some room for improvement. Despite the fact that the third car running was curtailed, we gathered a lot of data and hopefully will put this to good use tomorrow."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "We had a very straightforward day with the engine today. We do not anticipate any problems due to the high temperatures and humidity, despite the fact that this will be the second race weekend's mileage conducted on both engines. We will analyse the data gathered today and work towards achieving a strong qualifying position tomorrow."
David Coulthard (16th, 1:37.603): "A normal Friday really. Restrictions apply to the overall mileage, even though it's a fresh engine so we didn't do so many laps today. It's much harder on tyres here than in Bahrain and, as we were trying to save tyres for tomorrow's qualifying and the race, we only used one set today. Therefore it was really just a balance evaluation day. The balance seems a little bit better than it was at the last race, so I'm optimistic as to what tomorrow can bring."
Christian Klien (23rd, 1:38.644): "I only used one set of tyres today. They were graining a lot which caused a lot of understeer. It wasn't really such a good day for me. We have to look at the data tonight and see what we can improve for tomorrow. One thing I can say - it's bloody hot in the car! We only did a few laps today and then the heat's not so bad. It's during the race that you start to get really hot, it begins in your body and then moves up to your head. Last year during the race, I had to open the visor of my racing helmet a little to try and get some air in!"
Robert Doornbos (25th, 1:39.105): "We had a busy programme this morning, which was when we did all our tyre testing. It's really important here to chose the right ones. This morning we were gathering data and doing long runs, which was different to the programme I followed in Bahrain last week. It's all good experience and I'm loving it."
Jacques Villeneuve (9th, 1:37.045): "It was a pretty good start for us today. To be honest, much better than I expected. The balance of the F1.06 was really good, which is very important so early in the weekend. I had a completely troublefree day and it was fun to drive with the high level of grip available."
Nick Heidfeld (12th, 1:37.418): "Our first day of practice was fine, so I'm quite happy. This afternoon it wasn't necessary for me to do a lot of running, because the balance of the car felt good straight away. Sepang is a circuit I really enjoy, driving is so much fun here."
Robert Kubica (13th, 1:37.457): "We gathered plenty of data today, especially this afternoon when we did some race simulation, and obviously that is the most important thing on a Friday. Sepang is quite a difficult circuit, with a lot of long corners with different lines, but I think after five laps I felt quite familiar with it."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "This first practice day went as expected. Robert did 59 laps and most of the set-up work, and as in Bahrain he did a good job. The only problem we had all day was a slight glitch with the clutch as he was leaving the pits on his last stint this afternoon. We now need to make our tyre decision and to work on set-up for Saturday, and thanks to our reliability today we have plenty of data to enable us to optimise the cars."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director Chassis: "Today we concentrated completely on tyre evaluation. Robert was doing the long-runs, so we were able to collect a lot of data which we now have to analyse in order to make the best decision for qualifying and the race."
Giorgio Mondini (22nd, 1:38.256): "It was great, absolutely fantastic, but my neck let go toward the end of the second session. I did a good run, and I wanted to do a better one - and to be honest, I believe we could have gone even faster - but my neck just couldn't handle it anymore. No amount of training can prepare you for those kinds of loads. I mean, it's fine, it's fine, it's fine, and then - bang - it just lets go, and it's impossible to recover from that. But the team is just amazing, especially my engineers. They really make things easier, because they take time to explain everything. Overall, I think I did a good job. I can go to sleep tonight knowing I helped the team."
Christijan Albers (24th, 1:38.918): "This morning, we were a little bit off the pace, but the team did some good work during the break and we managed to come a little bit closer to the rest of the field. I think there's still room to improve, but we made some big steps and put up reasonable times in the second session. We have to see where we can make further gains, and hopefully have a good race."
Tiago Monteiro (26th, 1:39.416): "It went OK, generally, because I think we improved the car. At least we're going in the right direction, I think. I had limited running in the morning session, so I wasn't able to gather as much information about the tyres as I would have liked. As a result, I was dealing with a little bit of understeer at the beginning of the second session and we had to spend some valuable time getting on top of that. But at least the T-Car put in a lot of laps, so we should have some good information to analyse from that."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (15th, 1:37.590): "I am very happy with today's work. This morning we did not do too many laps, just enough to get the hang of the track. Until today, I had only done one day's running last year, as Red Bull Racing's third driver and I like the track. This afternoon, we established quite a good car set-up with which to run in tomorrow's qualifying. The car is responding well. The heat does not bother me too much, but I tell you, it's like getting a sauna free of charge out there today!"
Neel Jani (18th, 1:37.831): "Today was the first time I have driven a Formula 1 car at this track, having raced here in A1. But it still took some getting used to, as you brake much later in the F1 car. I tried the different tyre compounds and I think we have decided on the right one for the race. I am feeling more at home in the car here than I did in Bahrain, because, even without doing too many laps, I think I have got a better understanding of the tyres. My lap time was quite good at the end, so I'm happy with today."
Scott Speed (19th, 1:37.926): "It's my first time here and I like the flowing nature of the track: a bit like Spa was, which means you can experiment with various different lines through the corners and a lot of high speed corners that feed into each other. I now feel I know the track, but I reckon it must be difficult to pass here. I had some problems at the back of the car, but we definitely made progress through the day and I am quite happy with our race pace. I'm not worried about the heat and I'm sure I'm one of the fitter guys in the paddock."
Laurent Mekies, Chief Engineer: "Today's work focussed on things like tyre evaluation and fuel loads. Fortunately, Neel managed to do a proper tyre comparison and that data will be useful for the two race cars and both race drivers also got to try both types of Michelin tyre. Sunday's conditions should be similar to this afternoon's so I think we have the right data. So far, cooling seems fine, coming from Bahrain which is much tougher on brakes."
Takuma Sato (27th, 1:41.549): "It was another solid day for the team and we did not encounter any problems. We completed our planned programme, which included an intensive tyre test, and so we have been able to collect some very valuable data to help us decide our set up for tomorrow. It has been a very good start to the weekend and I am pleased with what we have been able to accomplish today."
Yuji Ide (28th, 1:43.164): "I am pleased to have completed more running today however during both practice sessions the car suffered from understeer. We tested two different Bridgestone tyres as part of our programme and our choice during this afternoon only increased the balance problem I had, so we need to find out the cause and solve it as soon as possible. I want to qualify as well as I can tomorrow and be able to finish the race on Sunday."
Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "I am quite happy with today's practice sessions as both cars ran with relatively few problems. We completed our programme for both cars and for the first time we tried a new construction Bridgestone tyre which both drivers were quite satisfied with. Yuji still has a big understeer problem, but we shall run a new front wing on his car tomorrow and hope that this will be rectified. The team will now study our data from today and work on our set up for tomorrow - but on the whole it has been a successful day."