Giorgio Mondini, United States GP 2006

Giorgio Mondini, United States GP 2006 

 © The Cahier Archive


Giancarlo Fisichella (3rd, 1:12.933): "This was one of the best Friday sessions of the season so far for me. The R26 felt comfortable to drive straight away, and as we made set-up changes it got better and better. The balance is quite good, and we know we are moving in the right direction. We have understood how the tyres are working as well, so it all looks encouraging for tomorrow."

Fernando Alonso (9th, 1:13.474): "This was a normal Friday for me. The grip levels are quite low at the moment, but that was the only major problem and the balance of the car feels OK. Friday is all about understanding the tyre behaviour and what direction you need to go in with set-up, which we have done. The circuit grip will improve as we run more, so the track should come to us a little bit, and I am confident for the rest of the weekend."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "We had a useful Friday. When the cars began running, they already had a reasonable balance and the changes we made during the afternoon helped improve both the driveability and grip. We have begun to get a picture of the tyre behaviour, and there were no problems in any area. All in all, a good, solid start to the weekend."

Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "As we have become used to seeing during the first half of the season, the amount of running we conduct on Friday is dictated by constraints of engine life and tyre usage. This is doubly true at Indianapolis, where the extended period of time spent at full throttle offers the engines a considerable challenge. So we ran a normal programme, finalising the mapping of Giancarlo's brand new V8 unit and Fernando's race-old engine, while the chassis engineers worked to tune the chassis behaviour. Everything ran smoothly, and we have collected our usual data for overnight analysis."


Kimi Raikkonen (10th, 1:13.554): "A good start to the weekend and we completed our planned programme. As always on a Friday we didn't do a lot of running to conserve our engine and tyres. There is still some way to go before our car is perfect, but that is what practice is all about. We will look at the data overnight and then continue our work tomorrow morning. The fans seem to be out in force today which is great for all of us here in Indianapolis."

Juan Pablo Montoya (15th, 1:13.825): "It's nice to be back in the USA, and we all want to put on a good show, especially for the American fans. We completed our planned limited programme with no problems. I only did six timed laps, so it's hard to judge where we are compared to the rest of the field, but we will see tomorrow. The balance is not too bad, but the car seems to bounce a bit, and as a result we are losing traction. However we will look at the data and make the appropriate changes."

Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Everybody in the team is pleased to be back in the USA and is looking forward to the weekend. We completed our planned practice programme and experienced no problems."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "We ran our planned programme today working on the race set-up and concentrating on Michelin tyre evaluation. Everything is looking OK. Watching the German team entering the semi finals of the football World Cup was great - well done. The weekend started on a very positive note."


Felipe Massa (4th, 1:13.264): "It was a good day's work. The car and Bridgestone tyres all worked very well. We have to study the data carefully, but I feel I can say this is the best first day we have had over a Grand Prix weekend for quite some time. I worked a lot on checking the consistency of the tyres, doing some long runs which produced encouraging results. All in all, I am confident for qualifying tomorrow and Sunday's race."

Michael Schumacher (6th, 1:13.346): "I am happy with what we have seen on track today. The situation looks pretty good, which means we can tackle the rest of the weekend with confidence. Let's say I had more problems trying to watch the quarter finals on television than I did in the cockpit of my Ferrari...When I went off the track this morning, maybe I was still thinking a bit too much about the grass on the football pitch! I am very happy that Germany beat Argentina. It's a great result. Now I hope that Italy also wins, then we can all concentrate on our main objective which is to win the race on Sunday."

Jean Todt, Team Principal: "We are very happy to be back here in Indianapolis, a temple of motor sport on a world scale, which last year staged a race that, for reasons we are well aware of, was rather strange. It was good to see the warm welcome with which the American public greeted Ferrari. This country is the number one market for our company, with a legend built up around it even without the backing of Formula 1, which is so important in other countries. As for the technical side, we went through our usual Friday routine, concentrating mainly on finding the best set up for the cars and checking the consistency of performance of our tyres. Friday is always too soon to make predictions, but from what we have seen, here more than elsewhere tyre performance will be crucial, both in terms of first lap performance and in their consistency over the longer distance. It is up to our engineers and our friends at Bridgestone to do a good job of analysing the data we acquired today."

Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "It's been a useful day. We worked well, without seeing any problems on the cars, which seemed quite well balanced right from the start. Also the Bridgestone tyres worked well from the outset. We had a bit of graining, but that could be down to the condition of the track, which is still dirty and has little rubber on it. All in all, a good start to the weekend."


Jarno Trulli (23rd, 1:14.449): "It was a difficult day due to some problems with the sensors on my car. We also had a lot of graining on our tyres and I had some understeer. We tried to put in a long run in order to understand that better but it has been a disrupted day's work for us. It's hard to predict how we will get on here because it's another track where we do no testing. But while we still have some work to do on reliability, our car is improving with every race. If we get the right conditions and we can get the most out of our tyres then we can expect to be competitive."

Ralf Schumacher (27th, 1:15.063): "The circuit was very slippery today and unfortunately we couldn't complete our programme of work because we had a lot of vibrations on our car. We tried to rectify the problem but it returned towards the end of the second session. So that meant we were unable to put in a lot of laps today and tonight we will need to double-check what is causing the issue. At one point Sato lost a piece of bodywork from his Super Aguri in front of me and I was hit but it doesn't seem to have caused any damage. Now we have to look to tackle these problems for the rest of the weekend."

Dieter Gass, Chief Race Engineer: "We had a number of different problems on the two cars so it was a difficult day's work for us. Nonetheless we still managed to achieve most today's planned programme although we have not been able to complete our tyre evaluation as we would have liked. Now we have to look at the data we do have and decide on what changes to make for tomorrow. After Jarno's good result in Canada last week we should achieve a similar performance here. So we expect to be competitive in qualifying and the race."


Mark Webber (12th, 1:13.691): "The session seemed okay, but obviously we will have to go through everything tonight. I haven't really had a look at what other people are doing relative to ourselves. The balance isn't too bad, but we still have to find some grip and we will look at this later. The programme ran faultlessly, Alex did his bit, as did the race drivers, so not a bad day for us."

Alexander Wurz (19th, 1:14.050): "I went through all of our programme and I think I delivered everything I was required to find out. If you study our programme it is pretty clear what we did, so I am actually reasonably happy with the progress we have made in terms of preparing us for the race. Looking at the way the track is going with our tyres, I think we could end up in a good position for the race."

Nico Rosberg (24th, 1:14.562): "The main target for me today was learning this track and I got on pretty well with it. We made some changes throughout the session which moved us in the right direction and the car improved. Driving through the bank of the Speedway is interesting, but I am not sure I would enjoy driving an entire race round an oval!"

Sam Michael, Technical Director: "We had a really productive day in terms of set-up and checking the tyres for Sunday. On Alex's car, we spent the whole day on full race set-up, doing long runs to make sure the tyre is solid for the race. Now Bridgestone will check the tyres carefully to make sure there are no issues caused by the extreme demands of the banking here round the Indy circuit. All the normal systems - cooling, brakes etc - are running fine. Now we will work on the qualifying set-up for tomorrow."

Sean O'Mahony, Cosworth: "After carrying out further checks on Nico's engine from Montreal we found some distortion which could have been caused by the race crash. Therefore we decided to change the engine for this weekend. There were no issues with the fresh engine today, we also had no problems with the engines in Mark's and Alex's cars."


Anthony Davidson (1st, 1:12.013): "It's been a very good day today. We had a very conclusive tyre test so my work is done on that side of things and Michelin have some positive results all round. We also had a trouble free day. I feel much more at home in the car this weekend than I did in Canada and I think everybody in the team has done a great job to make such a good start to the weekend. It's early days yet so we'll see how the rest of the weekend goes, but I'm pleased with the work we have done today."

Jenson Button (8th, 1:13.397): "Today has been a positive day and we've made a few changes which have worked out well for us, so overall a good start to the weekend. It's looking better than Montreal did at this stage, thankfully, and it's nice to have a car that feels normal underneath me. We have something we can really work with and keep improving through the rest of the weekend so fingers crossed for tomorrow and the race."

Rubens Barrichello (18th, 1:14.011): "It's been a good Friday, although I don't yet have a good balance on the car. We seem to be a little more competitive than in Canada and I want this to be a much better weekend for us so we'll just keep working hard towards the race on Sunday and see how things go from here."

Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "This has been quite a good Friday. We were able to complete all the planned running without any major issues and improve the cars throughout the day. It is also nice to have Anthony finish on top of the timesheets again, however there is still a lot of work to do prior to race day. An encouraging start nevertheless. It's good to be back in action at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - a circuit which the whole team enjoys very much and we look forward to putting on a great race for the local crowd."

Red Bull-Ferrari

Christian Klien (20th, 1:14.084): "There's no need to be rude about my lack of height... There's a very long straight in Indy, which is good fun, but the infield is a little slow to drive. I did two runs in the second session and the circuit had very low grip. It was quite difficult to get the balance right and the car had some understeer, so we'll have to look at what we can do to improve it for tomorrow. I hope we can do a good race for the fans here; last year was a bit of a disaster. But, Michelin is looking after the fans really well and I think they've bought a good tyre here, so we should see a very good race on Sunday."

David Coulthard (25th, 1:14.676): "Do I look like a man who eats fries?... I'm not sure how much of the programme Robert was able to get through before he stopped. Without the tyre comparison info, we've basically got a fifty-fifty chance of getting it right, but at the moment it's looking quite clear which one we should opt for. We might have lost a little bit of info regarding the car's set-up, which is one of the things you use the third car for. Other than that, there's not a great deal to say about the session. We had some oversteer and in trying to balance it out we took out more and more front flap to try and cam it down, but I think we went a little over the top."

Robert Doornbos (26th, 1:14.839): "Full fat regular, maximum all the way, that's my motto... It didn't work out too well this morning, as we struggled with the set up of the car. We did our homework in between sessions and I worked with the engineers to try and improve the car, which was important for the long runs in the afternoon. In the second session we started the first long run, but after a couple of laps we had a gear box failure so it was a very short Friday for me. I hope it's the first and the last!"


Robert Kubica (2nd, 1:12.809): "This morning we had some problems with the set up but this afternoon it was much better. I have done three long runs with the main goal to see how the tyres would perform and what the degradation would be. We have a good pace, some things to resolve still but it was much better than this morning."

Nick Heidfeld (13th, 1:13.725): "In the first session I didn't do a timed lap, and for the afternoon we made a change to the car. Unfortunately the positive result was not shown in the lap times because I was stuck in traffic on my second outing. I tried to find a clear lap by dropping back, but even this didn't work."

Jacques Villeneuve (16th, 1:13.857): "The car is competitive but the track is a little bit slippery. We need to work on the set up a little bit, but I think we should be all right for the rest of the weekend."

Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "It was a successful first practice day without technical problems. What Robert discovered for the set-up in the first session was transferred to the other cars for the second session. Jacques and Nick continued this set-up work in the second free practice, while Robert concentrated on tyre evaluation over long runs. The only unknown quantity for the weekend remains the weather. For Saturday thunder and lightning is predicted, but we do not have a lot of experience of these conditions on this track or our tyres."

Willy Rampf, Technical Director Chassis: "As usual Robert was concentrating on tyre evaluation. The long runs brought us very good results, which makes our decision easy. Jacques and Nick have been working on set up, which here at Indianapolis is always a special challenge. The infield is pretty much like Monaco, while the long straight reminds us of Monza. We will have to find a compromise to decide on a set up that is okay for both these characteristics."


Giorgio Mondini (5th, 1:13.327): "It was a good morning, and an excellent afternoon. We were able to do even more than what we planned to do, actually, and ran a full programme without any problems. We improved the car in each session and the balance kept getting better with every run. The last three sets of tyres were aimed at improving our pace, and we found a dramatic difference in performance. I don't think the progression came from me driving faster; it was purely the progression of the car. We found about a second between the first and last runs of the day, which is great. We worked in the right direction and tyres are working well. Overall it was a very good day. The guys did an excellent job setting up the car, and it was very nice to drive."

Tiago Monteiro (7th, 1:13.387): "It looks very good on the timesheet, doesn't it? We ran through our normal Friday programme, working calmly, without too much pressure and not worrying about the times. We worked in the direction we wanted, and when we found the set-up we wanted, we switched to new tyres, which can go either way - sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. This time, the balance was amazing on new tyres. It felt like a different car; there was so much grip. I only had one lap on the new ones, as opposed to 20 laps on the old set, so obviously I haven't used them as I should, and to be honest, I think there's still more to come out of them. The whole team did a great job today and it looks encouraging for tomorrow. Once again, we need to keep cool, and work hard tonight to qualify well tomorrow."

Christijan Albers (21st, 1:14.169): "I think we had a reasonable day. We just had some bad luck at the end of the session with traffic and I couldn't put in a good lap, so it's difficult to say how the car is. But I think everything is moving in the right direction and tomorrow we should be able to improve by a lot."

Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "We are trying to improve race by race, and obviously we're getting a little bit closer. Today was the first time we've been in the top 5 and also the first time we've had two drivers in the top 10, so the progress is clear, especially considering the kind of fuel loads we were on. It looks promising for tomorrow, but we will have to work hard to achieve these results in qualifying, and not just in practice."

Dominic Harlow, Chief Race Engineer: "We found some better track conditions for the first two sessions here than we were expecting and that enabled us to get on with a lot of work, particularly on our third car. We carried out all of our normal tyre evaluations and Giorgio put in a very productive 66 laps over the course of the day. He also put in a very good time at the end, which is quite encouraging. The two race cars had trouble-free days dialling in their set-ups. Christijan had a little bit of traffic there at the end of the day, which prevented him from being up with the other two drivers, but we're fairly positive with that and looking forward to tomorrow's qualifying."

Toro Rosso-Cosworth

Scott Speed (11th, 1:13.688): "There aren't so many corners here, but it's proving to be a complicated circuit as the car handles quite badly, as we have to take off all the aerodynamics to get speed down the straight. So it's very important to get the mechanical balance right as that's what you are relying on in the infield. The track is a bit dirty today so finding the right balance is difficult. We have entry instability and we have mid-corner understeer."

Vitantonio Liuzzi (14th, 1:13.735): "This is my first time at this circuit so I'm sure there is still a lot to come. The car seems to behave pretty well and we tried a lot of things for the race. I am quite happy with the way it's handling. Basically we had two good sessions and covered a lot of work. Sorry, got to go - Italy's playing!"

Neel Jani (17th, 1:13.946): "I am very happy with the way today went as we seem to have really good pace, even when staying on just one set of tyres this morning. In the afternoon, we did a race simulation and even in this situation I had really good lap times and the car felt good too. We did not need to make major changes, just adapting it to the changing grip levels."

Super Aguri-Honda

Takuma Sato (22th, 1:14.391): "It was certainly one of our better days so far this season. I am very pleased that we seem to be competitive here. We still found it hard to find the right set-up today and I was struggling through the infield section as we had an oversteer balance issue. But we had good straight-line speed which is vital for this circuit and we made good progress throughout both sessions, so it was a good day."

Takuma Sato (28th, 1:15.120): "I would like to thank everyone in the team for their hard work during the sessions today. As the Canadian Grand Prix was only one week ago I came to Indianapolis with my confidence high. I had a very good day today. We completed our very important tyre comparison and I think that we have collected very good data for the team."

Franck Montagny (29th, No Time): "It was not a good testing day for me. This morning was quite good and everything worked okay, but we went out a bit early which affected the tyres. So after this it was very hard to find something good for the set-up of the car and we also had a small electrical problem towards the end of the session. I then made a mistake into turn 4 at the beginning of the second session. The car was very pointy and I spun and finished the session there, so overall it was not a good day."

Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "I am quite happy with our performance on our first Friday in Indianapolis. Taku did a great job today and set a very good time. Sakon also collected a lot of data for the team following his longer runs and is improving with every session. It is a pity that Franck made a small mistake at the beginning of this afternoon's session, but overall the team has had a good day, so we are looking forward to tomorrow."