SAN MARINO GP - FRIDAY - TEAM QUOTES
Fernando Alonso (1st, 1:25.043): "As usual on the Friday, the grip levels were quite bad. That makes the car inconsistent to drive, and we began working on the set-up to try and improve things. We are not there yet, and we are suffering from too much understeer at the moment. I think we are quick as well but as always, the times on Friday don't mean too much. If we can make some good changes tonight, though, I think we will be a in a strong situation for the race."
Giancarlo Fisichella (6th, 1:25.991): "I had a difficult day to be honest. The balance of the car is not good and the grip is very low on the track. The main problem is in the chicanes where the handling is inconsistent, which means you cannot attack them with any confidence. We have a lot of work to do tonight, to reach our normal level of performance."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "In very low grip conditions such as we experienced today, it is perfectly understandable that neither driver is particularly happy with the balance of the car at the moment. We made some limited changes to the set-up in the second session and we seem to be going in the right direction, so we will continue to study the data overnight to solve the problems. All things considered, our relative competitiveness seems to be where we would expect."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "We had another normal day of Friday practice today. For the engine team, that means calibrating the engine mapping and control systems, which we did without incident. The weather conditions were perfect, contrary to some forecasts, and we hope they will stay that way for the rest of the weekend. It was pleasing to see both cars in a strong position after having done very little running, and Giancarlo's B spec engine is performing in line with our expectations. This has been a solid start, that we will look to build from in tomorrow morning's final practice session."
Juan Pablo Montoya (9th, 1:26.334): "So far so good, and we achieved everything we needed. I did two short runs just to check the balance and then a long run to evaluate our Michelin tyres and all went well. I was stuck in traffic on what was meant to be a fast run, but that is life. We have a couple of new things here which seem to be working and the car feels good. I'm not too keen on the new chicane, but overall I'm quite pleased."
Kimi Raikkonen (12th, 1:26.500): "Everything went well, so it's a good start to the weekend. We spent our time working on the set-up and evaluating our Michelin tyres, and I'm pretty confident. The weather is a bit warmer than normal at Imola, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the weekend. I think we have a good package, and we should be able to do well."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Two uneventful but productive practice sessions where we conserved our equipment but still gained a lot of information which we will evaluate overnight. Both Juan Pablo and Kimi went through their planned programmes, and we are definitely heading in the right direction."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "We concentrated on going through our planned programme, and we are quite happy with the lap times so far."
Michael Schumacher (2nd, 1:25.371): "We are happy with the work done today, which has left me in a positive mood. I see no reason to be pessimistic, even though that doesn't mean we were slow at the previous races. We have made progress in various areas and even if they are only minor things, all put together they have produced a good step forward. The whole package is working better and therefore the car is quicker. I think we can fight for pole tomorrow and I even believe we can be in the hunt for the win on Sunday. I say it again, I am optimistic."
Felipe Massa (5th, 1:25.879): "All in all, I am happy with what we achieved today. In the morning, we struggled a bit to find the best set-up, however we improved the car in the afternoon. I used the same set of tyres throughout the two hours to prepare as well as possible for the race. I think we now have a good starting point for the rest of the weekend. I am happy to be here at Imola for the first time as a Ferrari driver and hope to give the fans something to cheer about."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "We are happy to be here in Imola in front of so many Ferrari fans, including those members of the Scuderia Ferrari Club, who have their own grandstand and gave Michael and Felipe a really warm welcome when the drivers went to greet them between the two sessions. As for the work on track, it was the usual Friday, dedicated to evaluating the two types of tyre and setting up the cars. From what we could see and allowing for the usual factors relating to fuel loads and tyre usage for the other teams, we can say that the 248 F1-Bridgestone tyre combination seems to be competitive. Now we have to work on making a further step forward for qualifying and the race."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "A good day's work. The progress we saw at the Barcelona test has been confirmed in these two hours of practice and the new aerodynamic package seems to be working particularly well, as does the engine. The engine was an area where we experienced some difficulties in the last two races, but now we are back to normal. We compared the two types of tyre supplied by Bridgestone and now we have to look at the data to make the right choice. Both types seemed up to the task, which is a sign that we have also made progress on this front."
Jarno Trulli (7th, 1:26.029): "I haven't had much fortune in the first three races, but I am more confident about this weekend. At last week's Barcelona test we took a different direction with set-up. That led to a big step forward, and today the handling of the car was pretty close to how I like it. We had to do more laps than usual because of Ralf's problems but we look good so far. We have some small steps on the car here and Bridgestone have brought some new tyres so that should give us a chance to get closer to the top teams. Historically Imola has never been a good track for Toyota, but I'm confident we can turn that record around."
Ralf Schumacher (22nd, 1:27.639): "Today was obviously not the perfect way to start the weekend. But Jarno showed that we have good potential here so I still have strong hopes. We saw in Melbourne that we can now get much more out of our package. We've made further improvements during testing so we hope to continue that progress here. We are making steps forward but we are still behind the top teams so we should aim for another strong finish in the points. That would be a good result as we continue our upward momentum."
Dieter Gass, Chief Race Engineer: "That was a day of mixed emotions for us. Some of the Imola track has been resurfaced so the grip was lacking early in the session but the modification to the Variante Alta is good. We had a very positive day with Jarno, who was happy with his car's balance. He was able to complete his programme of set-up and tyre evaluation, even though he struggled with traffic on his last run. Unfortunately we lost most of Ralf's running because he had some electronic problems so we have less data than usual for the tyre choice. We have an aero update here and overall this was a promising start to the weekend."
Alexander Wurz (8th, 1:26.328): "We completed a busy test programme today, so now we have to sit down and carefully analyse what did what and how it should translate to the race cars. My role is purely to evaluate our options and I spent all my time conducting long runs, which is why we do not appear higher up in the timing results, but this doesn't worry me at all. We just have to pull our whole package together a bit tighter and then we will be competitive."
Nico Rosberg (17th, 1:26.989): "I think today's sessions went well and Alex did a good job again to find the right set-up, so I immediately had quite a good balance when I first went out. We divided my activity in two runs so I had a bit of time to look at data comparisons. All in all, the performance felt quite good today."
Mark Webber (19th, 1:27.157): "I had a few laps at the end of the session to help with the tyre selections - not as many laps as you might like, but I'll make up for it tomorrow. The balance feels about right and we have lots of good information from Alex to look through tonight."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "We had a productive day with Alex's car today and we went through the whole programme, particularly checking tyres. The tyre choice will be difficult, but we have plenty of data to go through to assist the engineers with this. Alex also tried a couple of different mechanical set-ups specific to the Imola circuit. We did two runs with Nico's car to give him more track time and one run with Mark's car to check the balance, so it was normal activity for a Friday."
Simon Corbyn, Cosworth: "All three CA2006 engines ran without problems today. As usual for Friday, Alex completed the bulk of the running and evaluated the effect of some engine map changes. The data will be checked tonight prior to finalising Mark & Nico's engine plans for Saturday & Sunday."
Anthony Davidson (4th, 1:25.699): "We've made a good start to the weekend, collecting plenty of data from our extensive tyre evaluation work. The track conditions were very slippery this morning due to the asphalt around the new chicane but that improved this afternoon and I think we have got some good running under our belts."
Jenson Button (11th, 1:26.427): "We worked through our usual Friday programme and as usual have a lot of information to work with as a result of Anthony's running. We'll be taking a good look at the data tonight to assess how our developments for this race will suit us for the rest of the weekend and there is still some way to go with the set-up. Generally, a reasonably good start."
Rubens Barrichello (13th, 1:26.653): "There was traffic everywhere today which made clean runs very difficult, however I had a generally problem-free day with the brakes working much better for me. We have some work to do on the balance yet but so far so good and let's see what tomorrow brings."
Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "We have had a reasonably good first day with Anthony getting good clean runs to compare tyres in practice one and two. As a result we have some very good data on this front. On the other hand there is still some room for improvement as far as the car balance is concerned, since all three drivers are unhappy with similar issues. Hopefully we can address some of these overnight and be in a strong position for qualifying tomorrow."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "We had a trouble-free day with the new specification engine and we were able to gather a lot of data to analyse in preparation for tomorrow's strategy decisions. Generally a good start to the weekend."
Robert Doornbos (16th, 1:26.917): "That wasn't such a good Friday for us to be honest. Normally we have a better day, but we struggled with the set up this morning. The car was very unbalanced, so it was quite difficult to do the tyre work and the set up at the same time, but we made the best of it this morning. This afternoon we did some long runs, which were consistent and we have a clear decision on tyres for the weekend. It's a very particular circuit to get the right set up right here, and hopefully things will improve over the weekend."
David Coulthard (20th, 1:27.503): "I don't think we're suddenly going to take a big step forward here, but we're starting to get a better understanding of the car. Inevitably that will help with future development. I honestly don't know where we are in the field at the moment - tomorrow will tell."
Christian Klien (24th, 1:27.990): "I went out in the first session for just a few laps. The car felt not too bad overall, although there was some understeer. I had problems with the brake balance and, as a result, the rears kept locking up. I wasn't able to adjust the balance from the cockpit, so that's why I was off the pace. In the second session, after we'd made some changes to the brake balance, the car felt better."
Robert Kubica (3rd, 1:25.421): "This is my first ever Formula One practice in Europe. I already knew Imola, but they have changed the chicane and re-asphalted some corners. Where the grip level was poor the car was very unstable. We have worked to choose the best tyres, mainly concentrating on doing long runs to see the degradation, and I think we have done two really good sessions. I think it was a good Friday and I think the team will be happy with my driving and our job with the guys."
Nick Heidfeld (10th, 1:26.387): "I only did a few laps to get familiar with the track. The Variante Alta chicane has changed, and some parts have new tarmac where the surface of the track is very slippery. I also had to deal with a nervous car. Physically I don't feel very well today, something with my stomach doesn't seem right."
Jacques Villeneuve (15th, 1:26.797): "The track is very slippery, but it is not looking too bad. I think we can work on the car and be competitive. The major problem is we are lacking grip at the moment. They have changed just one chicane and the asphalt in a few places, but that is the same for everyone. At the end of the day the story for me is we are just low on grip."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "It was a good practice day. Robert had a very heavy workload, especially as he was comparing the different tyre compounds over long runs. With this data we have a solid basis to decide on the tyres and the set-up for both racing cars. Nick and Jacques carried out their planned programmes as well. We were able to complete all of this with no technical problems."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director Chassis: "We are happy with the first day. We have new aerodynamic parts for the cars and were able to collect a lot of data from these. We are now going to concentrate on fine tuning the set-up of the cars for the race."
Christijan Albers (14th, 1:26.783): "I think we had a reasonable day, but I'm not really surprised, to be honest, because I know what we're capable of when we're on our game. We are a serious team, and we made the most of our Friday programme today. I also think that tomorrow, when we go for qualifying, we'll be able to find even more time."
Tiago Monteiro (21st, 1:27.544): "I'm a bit frustrated today. We lost a lot of time with the old tyres, which was the set programme, but we shouldn't have. I did 75% of my day's practice on tyres that obviously didn't work, and that led us in the wrong direction in terms of set-up, as well as the way I had to drive the car. So naturally, I wasn't too happy about that. But then, when we put the new tyres on, it was like driving a completely different car and I gained two seconds right away. Thankfully, we have one more hour of practice tomorrow morning before qualifying to optimise the set-up with the new tyres, so I'm confident we can be a lot quicker."
Giorgio Mondini (26th, 1:28.833): "This morning, I found the car difficult to drive, because it did not match my set-up preferences. But this afternoon, we made some changes that improved the handling quite a lot. The new spec front wing was much better but unfortunately, I broke it on a kerb, so we went back to the old one and I wasn't able to improve on my times. But I felt good in the car, and I think the team did a great job to keep moving up the time sheets. Christijan's fast lap, in particular, was excellent, so I think the engineers were able to get some good data."
Andy Stevenson, Team Manager: "We had a very productive test at Silverstone last week, where we ran the new aero parts for this weekend. Christijan arrived feeling very upbeat about the whole thing, and he's managed to put some very good laps together. He was consistently quick all the way through the session and then just steadily climbed up the table. Actually, if you take all the 3rd drivers out of the equation, we were 11th quickest today. So I think that puts us in a good position for the remainder of the weekend."
Dominic Harlow, Chief Race and Test Engineer: "We had a couple of very productive sessions today, just working through the programme we'd planned for our car updates. We also seem to have a good direction on the tyres we've selected for this weekend. Now it's just a question of siting down and going through the data to see how we can improve again tomorrow. I think we can probably increase Tiago's pace a bit more and move him closer to Christijan's time. Giorgio's obviously given us a lot of feedback from his tyre work today, so we're quite pleased with the work we've put in."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (18th, 1:27.128): "Not bad for a first day. The car was consistent in the long run and we have a good balance for the race. Tomorrow morning, we will have to work hard on our set up for qualifying, as that has been our weak point so far this season. Here in Imola, where overtaking is difficult, it is important to have a good grid position. To start further forward in this our home race is important to show all the Italians that we are here as an Italian team a real Italian team. The kerbs are always a problem at this circuit, but the car is not so bad, apart from the last chicane where we struggle a bit. All in all, the first two hours have been good and I am confident we can improve."
Scott Speed (23rd, 1:27.719): "It's really hard to tell what our real performance level is at the moment. It's hard to compare with the others. The balance of our car is not too horrible. I think we are pretty close to where we need to be. It's the usual compromise on set-up here to deal with the kerbs, but our car is handling them quite well, although I don't know how we stand down the straightaways right now."
Neel Jani (25th, 1:28.361): "My programme in the first session was completely different to the other two guys, so as to get some extra information, but it didn't really work out and the car was very difficult to drive. When I spun, I was going 2 kilometres quicker than on the previous lap, but it was obviously 2 kilometres too much! This afternoon, we again tried a completely different set-up and it worked much better and it helped us with our tyre choice."
Takuma Sato (27th, 1:29.870): "We had a good day and were able to learn a number of useful things by varying our programme. It was interesting testing the two Bridgestone tyre options and we have collected important data. The car is unstable on the kerbs and bumps, so it is a bit difficult to drive. But I think that we improved throughout the sessions and we will just continue to work hard to prepare ourselves for tomorrow."
Yuji Ide (28th, 1:31.042): "After the Australian Grand Prix I was not happy with my past results, so I had an important meeting with the engineers in UK before we came to Imola. I am glad we had this particular meeting since I feel that the car is working much better for me and I think that I will be able to show a better performance than during the past races. I was able to have a clear run today and I am feeling more confident about the Qualifying session tomorrow. I won't be able to make up too many places, but I am hoping that it may be my best qualifying and starting position so far."
Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "I think Yuji is getting used to handling the car and starting to feel more comfortable with it. It is good to see him growing in confidence and getting used to his F1 surroundings. I know that there are a lot of things we need to improve and our performances are far from the top level, however, we are taking very good steps forward. As I always say, we want to improve the team and performance step-by-step. I am looking forward to the Qualifying tomorrow."