EUROPEAN GP - FRIDAY - TEAM QUOTES
Fernando Alonso (2nd, 1:33.579): "We had our normal Friday: systems checks in the morning, then some runs to get a feel for the tyres and try and improve the balance. The grip level was very low, as is quite usual for a Friday. That makes the car a bit inconsistent to drive but we will make some changes tonight and, as the circuit grip improves tomorrow, I am sure things will come together. The pace looks quite good but the times are very close, and we need to do more running to get a clearer picture of who our rivals will be."
Giancarlo Fisichella (9th, 1:34.030): "The low grip was the main difficulty with the car today, but we still managed to make some good changes on the set-up: some worked, some didn't, but we collected plenty of information to analyse tonight. The consistency was good when I did a longer run this afternoon, so we need to look at how to find first lap performance tomorrow, and to improve the balance of the car to feel completely confident. So far, though, it doesn't look too bad."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "We were rather surprised at the poor grip levels we encountered today, which were lower than expected. In spite of this though, we completed some good tests and collected the data we need to improve the car set-up overnight. The balance was as normal in low grip conditions, that's to say unpredictable, but we are clear on what we need to do to improve the situation tomorrow. The Michelin tyres are working well, but we can see even from the Friday times that there are a number of cars which are very close in performance."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "The Nurburgring is a track we know well in this configuration, but not one at which we test outside the race weekend. As a result, our Friday programme was composed of the usual tuning to adapt the engine to the circuit's demands, putting information we learned last week during testing in Silverstone to good use. Fernando is running the B specification evolution engine for the first time this weekend, and it performed without any problems today, just like Fisico's similar unit which is on its second race weekend. Our positions at the end of the day seem encouraging, but we will treat them with our usual caution, given the numerous variables that make it difficult to draw any firm conclusions from the Friday times."
Kimi Raikkonen (13th, 1:34.536): "We have completed our programme as planned and have a good idea on which Michelin tyres we are going to select. The car's balance has not been great today and we have suffered a little from understeer but we are confident that we will find a solution and see further improvement in tomorrow's session."
Juan Pablo Montoya (17th, 1:34.968): "We struggled a little bit throughout both sessions with a lack of grip which tended to make the car too understeery, but even so we made progress throughout the session. Otherwise we are comfortable that we will be more competitive tomorrow going into qualifying and the race."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "An uneventful Friday practice. The grip levels today were very low making it difficult for both drivers to set-up their cars. Tomorrow should be a different story."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "We focused on running our planned programme and our times in race trim look not too bad."
Michael Schumacher (3rd, 1:33.619): "We had a good day and I am reasonably happy with the car. We are more or less where we expected to be. Looking at the times, the situation seems quite good. I opted for just one type of tyre for this first day of free practice, working only on this and the choice seemed to be the best one. Our main rivals also seem very strong, so I think it will be a very close fight. We are confident and from what we have seen, we are also competitive here. If we can put all the pieces of the jigsaw together then we can fight for the win."
Felipe Massa (14th, 1:34.546): "As usual, today was spent mainly comparing the two types of tyre Bridgestone has brought here for us and on finding the best set-up on the 248 F1. Michael and I split the work load, each trying a different type of tyre. Overall, I am reasonably happy with the way things went this afternoon and we now have a lot of data to study. We know we have a good potential and we have to try and improve the car for qualifying and most of all, for the race."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "At the risk of sounding repetitive, I have to say this was just the usual Friday during which the team worked on the comparison of the two types of tyre brought here by Bridgestone and on defining the best settings on the car for the race. We acquired some interesting data, which will now be evaluated by the engineers to make all the necessary choices for the rest of the Grand Prix. From what we have seen so far, we can say that our chassis, engine and Bridgestone tyre package, should allow us to be competitive."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "Getting the car balanced was a bit tricky at first, but I think both race engineers did a good job with their drivers to improve the situation, to the extent that, come the end of the second hour, both Michael and Felipe were happy. The two drivers used different tyre types so as to get as much data as possible to work with from this afternoon onwards. Basically, the cars seem to be competitive and we are confident for the rest of the weekend."
Ralf Schumacher (6th, 1:33.883): "It was good to be back at the Nurburgring and the weather here was surprisingly good considering how this region is always so unpredictable. Overall, today's preparations went relatively well. We finished our planned programme of set-up and tyre work on my car. We are still searching for grip and pushing to get more out of our package, and although the tyre performance is improving, it is difficult to say on Friday how the weekend will unfold."
Jarno Trulli (28th, No Time): "This is like our home race because it is close to the factory, so we have hopes to perform even better because we have a lot of supporters and employees cheering us on. The practice sessions today turned out to be quite difficult because we had some issues with my car and therefore I could only complete a few laps. We could not solve the problem during practice in time for me to go out and do some meaningful running, but the team will take the car apart completely to find the source of this concern."
Dieter Gass, Chief Race Engineer: "Unfortunately it was a difficult day for us as we had some vibrations on both cars in the first session, and the vibrations resumed on Jarno's car in the afternoon. We changed a lot of items on the car, yet the vibrations were still present. We will have to evaluate this issue even further in detail in preparation for tomorrow. This makes our tyre choice particularly difficult, which is already challenging at this track. Although Ralf finished his entire programme, we hope to gain better information during tomorrow's practice session before heading into qualifying."
Alexander Wurz (1st, 1:32.675): "This morning it was quite slippery and very dusty, resulting in low grip levels, but the circuit conditions improved and changed rapidly throughout the whole two sessions, which makes the set- up work quite difficult. Nevertheless, the more rubber went down, the better our package functioned, so I think that will play into our hands. I was pleased with my performance, especially with the first lap of the long runs, where I was really quick, and in the end I was the fastest overall! With regard to tyres, I am happy with the choice we have brought here from testing, but the better the choice to bring to the race weekend, the more difficult it is now to choose between the two compounds - it will be a very tight decision."
Nico Rosberg (11th, 1:34.215): "Today went quite alright. I put more laps than usual under my belt, and even if I know this track very well, having extra running time is helpful as driving here in a Formula One car is very different to my previous experience on this track. We have learnt several things from Alex and all three of us have tried a few variables on the set-up, which proved positive."
Mark Webber (16th, 1:34.825): "The pace is obviously there, we look okay here, but I am not happy with the car at the moment, so we have some more work to do tonight on the balance of the car and the tyre comparisons and get ourselves ready for tomorrow."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "Today was productive, working on race set-up and choosing tyres. Alex did his usual job of thoroughly checking the tyre performance of the two Bridgestones available here. Both look good, so it'll be a difficult choice for the race. Alex also went through checks of the cooling systems and brakes without any problems. We did more running with Mark and Nico to give them extra track time, which will benefit them by the end of the weekend. Both drivers tried some planned set-up changes, so we'll pool all that data tonight and look at the direction we should take for the remainder of the weekend. So far everything is going to plan."
Simon Corbyn, Cosworth: "Alex completed a solid Friday programme with his CA2006 Series 2 engine. He experienced no engine problems and it is good to see the Cosworth-powered Williams top the timesheets again. Mark and Nico also had no issues and completed their programmes as planned."
Anthony Davidson (5th, 1:33.870): "We've had an uninterrupted day today and covered a lot of laps. The car was reliable and we've managed to find a good balance for short runs in the morning and long runs this afternoon. We have gathered a lot of data to look at from the long runs regarding the tyre decision and generally we are happy with our day's work."
Jenson Button (7th, 1:33.920): "We've had a pretty straightforward Friday in terms of what we've been working on - set-up and tyre choices. As usual Anthony has been doing much of the running to enable Rubens and I to preserve our cars for the race. This is always a very strange circuit to get a good balance on because of the camber changes but the car is working reasonably well. There are a few balance issues that we need to solve and it's just very low grip out there, that's the biggest issue. I guess we will see how we can improve on that for tomorrow."
Rubens Barrichello (15th, 1:34.631): "The day was trouble free in the sense that the car worked okay. The car feels very limited with both front and rear grip to be honest. We're not worried about the performance on new tyres, we just have to keep working for the race, which is our main target."
Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "We have had quite a productive Friday with all three cars. Anthony ran non-stop and as a result we have a lot of tyre data to go through tonight. We also elected to run both Jenson and Rubens during both sessions, giving us an opportunity to evaluate the race cars earlier. Looking at the day as a whole, we are reasonably fast but there is room for improvement on the car balance front. We shall see what tomorrow brings."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "A pretty standard Friday for us with no particular problems. We are on the second race weekend for the engines in both race cars and therefore focused most of the running around Anthony today."
Robert Doornbos (4th, 1:33.799): "I raced on this track in Formula 3 and F3000 and in both series had a podium finish. I was with Christian Horner's team when I raced in F3000 and almost won the race, until the last couple of laps. I eventually came second. I haven't done any Formula One testing here, but the track obviously suits me well. I went round here in the RS4 yesterday doing taxi rides for guests, so maybe that gave me a chance to learn the racing lines a little! I'm glad to have been in the top five in both sessions, so I'm happy."
Christian Klien (18th, 1:35.066): "That wasn't exciting today. We did some balance work this afternoon, but I'm still not happy. There's potential in the car, but the balance is definitely something we'll have to think more about overnight."
David Coulthard (19th, 1:35.241): "I think we're likely to stay where we are for the next two races, but this time last year we really struggled on Thursday in Germany and yet on Sunday we had one of our best races ever in terms of competitiveness. It wasn't just that we got fourth place, but we were actually within five or sixth tenths of the quickest time, so I've got an open mind ahead of the weekend. Although it's pretty difficult today, with track evolution and things like that, things will change."
Robert Kubica (8th, 1:33.991): "They were good sessions and we concentrated mainly on longer distance runs to see how the tyres would perform in the race, as we struggled a lot in Imola. We wanted to see which are the best tyres. The choice was not easy, but we did lots of laps and have lots of data. We were not really looking for the lap times, but regards the pace I think we are consistent. It could be better, but we are not looking that bad compared to the other third drivers. We have to improve quite a lot of things."
Nick Heidfeld (20th, 1:35.308): "Although we had no technical issues, I was not happy with the balance of my car. The rear was very nervous. However, we have practiced today, we now have the information and the data, and for tomorrow we have to improve the car."
Jacques Villeneuve (24th, 1:35.688): "I am not that sure how things really are because on the last run there was a lot of traffic and I did not do a proper lap. The car is sliding a lot so we need to work hard on the set-up. Actually it was not too bad. It is nothing to worry about yet, but for now the cars are not that competitive. Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): Robert completed the programme we had scheduled for him, and his times were fine. Neither Nick nor Jacques were satisfied with the set-up of their cars. We now have to compare the data collected from all three cars before tomorrow's practice and qualifying, and make any changes that are necessary."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director Chassis: "We are not satisfied with our performance today, and on top of that we only managed to complete parts of our race preparation. The balance of the cars is not right yet, so we still have a lot of work to do. Tomorrow we have to concentrate on set-up work and tyre evaluation."
Adrian Sutil (10th, 1:34.179): "That felt really good, and it was getting better and better all the time. In the beginning, we struggled with low grip, but we just kept improving the car until it felt right. The tyres got better, as well, by the end. I couldn't see my lap times, but I just did my job as I normally do, trying to push the maximum out of the car and, yeah, it was a good lap. The car certainly has some potential. It helps that this is one of my favourite tracks, for sure, but to be in the top 10 on my first Friday is unbelievable. Like I said, it felt really good, and I can't wait to do it again."
Christijan Albers (12th, 1:34.472): "We struggled this morning a little bit, testing different tyre compounds. I was having a hard time finding the right set-up, but the team did a great job over the lunch break to fine tune the car and get it ready for the second session. Bridgestone also gave us a great set of tyres, and I think we can make further gains tomorrow, because if you look at the times set by our third car and by my car, we can put together a solid race strategy. But it was the same thing heading into Saturday in Imola, so let's just hope we have some good luck in qualifying. But it's great to be there, in 12th place, ahead of Raikkonen. The nicest part is that we weren't playing any games with the fuel loads; we just did our jobs and came by some honest-to-goodness speed. It's nice for our fans, and hopefully we can go even a little bit quicker tomorrow and give them a good reason to be optimistic for the race."
Tiago Monteiro (25th, 1:35.902): "Once again, we struggled a bit with our tyre choice. It's good to see that the car has potential - that's very positive, very motivating for the team. I just need to find out what we're doing wrong with the #18 car. There's something, obviously, that we're doing wrong, or maybe I'm doing wrong. There's something wrong with the set-up on my car somewhere, so we'll work hard with our engineers to find out what it is and hopefully be on the pace tomorrow."
Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "We are improving, and the times don't lie. This is a fact. Adrian did a very impressive job for us today, but I have to say that I was perhaps the only one who wasn't surprised. I helped him to become a Mercedes junior driver and I know his potential. If he continues in this way, he will have a good future in F1."
Dominic Harlow, Chief Race Engineer: "It was quite a normal Friday with regard to our programme. We concentrated on the tyres with the third car, and we're very pleased with the job Adrian did for us. We also did some set-up work early on with the race drivers, who then did their normal tyre comparison in the second session. We certainly got some clear results from the tyre data, so I don't think our choices are going to be too difficult from that aspect. We'll all do our homework tonight to improve the performance even more tomorrow and hope for the best."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (21st, 1:35.406): "This morning we did little more than just some installation work, but this afternoon we made some progress. I am pretty happy with the handling and we made some good progress on the set- up front. But tomorrow's qualifying will be difficult for us; Nurburgring is not an easy track, but I'm still positive because overall the car was not too bad and I think we are making a little progress generally."
Neel Jani (22nd, 1:35.479): "On my last lap, my time was up by about four tenths, until I was blocked for a couple of corners by Montagny. So the fact it was looking better means I think the general performance is not too bad. As usual at the 'Ring we are fighting with lack of grip and too much understeer and although my work is over for the weekend, I think the data we got today means we can move forward tomorrow. Of course, the problem is so will everyone else!"
Scott Speed (23rd, 1:35.669): "It's difficult to say where we are today. The track is still quite dirty so it is hard to judge where we are in terms of our pace, although you don't have to look too closely to see it's not looking too good, although we did get over the worst of the problem early in the afternoon session."
Takuma Sato (26th, 1:36.255): "We completed our planned programme with no problems, which is a good start to the weekend. We have a further aero update for this race which worked well and has improved the balance of the car. We struggled with low grip at the beginning, but towards the end of the sessions both the grip and balance improved. Obviously looking at our lap times we will continue working to step up our pace, but overall it was a good day for the team."
Franck Montagny (27th, 1:36.665): "My morning session was not too bad, but unfortunately I had a hydraulic problem in the afternoon and made a small mistake on my fastest lap. Overall there was nothing to worry about and I think that the car was getting a little bit better as the track improved. The car was not as slow as I had expected so I was pleasantly surprised! I have spent today getting used to the car and team and I believe that tomorrow will be another good day."
Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "It is very regretful that Yuji is not driving with SAF1 Team in this Grand Prix, but Franck Montagny has shown a good performance today and he has provided some valuable information and feedback to the team on the car. Takuma also did a good run today; he tested some different tyre and car setups. Today was very meaningful day and I believe we have made a small but important step forward."