GERMAN GP - FRIDAY - TEAM QUOTES
Giancarlo Fisichella (11th, 1:17.672): "This was one of those days when it is hard to work out how our pace compares to that of our rivals: we look quite far down the times, but that is not the real situation I don't think. I had traffic on my quick laps, but the car balance feels stable and we have a first idea of how the tyres are performing. We did things a bit differently today because of the rain but we got the usual results from our programme, so everything is looking normal for tomorrow."
Fernando Alonso (15th, 1:18.082): "This is quite a short lap, and there seemed to be a lot of traffic out there today. My timed laps were all compromised a little bit by this, and the conditions were difficult as well with a slippery, low-grip track surface. The most important thing, though, was to recognise that the conditions today were quite different to what we expect for the rest of the weekend. So my main goal was to get used to the circuit, and not become confused with set-up. The R26 is handling normally, and the situation looks OK at the moment."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "The conditions were difficult for the drivers today. Even once the midday rain had disappeared, the track was left in an unusual condition and we didn't seem to find a clear bit of it for the drivers at any point. However, both Giancarlo and Fernando reported that the car is handling normally, and we have got a first idea of how the Michelin tyres are performing. We will continue our work tomorrow."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "Although the rain during the early afternoon meant we had to slightly modify the tyre and chassis programmes, it changed very little from the engine side. As always, the two Friday sessions were spent collecting data and confirming our initial engine settings. We collected useful information and the evening will be spent analysing it, and adjusting the mapping, gear ratios and other parameters to suit. The RS26 has continued to perform without incident, and we look forward to continuing the weekend in the same fashion."
Kimi Raikkonen (4th, 1:17.040): "We completed our normal Friday programme, despite the earlier rain, working on Michelin tyre selection and race set-up. The car feels good and the tyres seem to be working well, so I am pleased."
Pedro de la Rosa (8th, 1:17.516): "A positive beginning to the weekend. When it started to rain I was worried that we would not be able to do enough running on dry tyres, but with the track not really getting wet we were able to continue our programme, with some useful results. The car feels quick and we are satisfied with the times we set."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A trouble free but positive second practice session. We now look forward to the rest of the weekend."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A good start to the Mercedes-Benz home Grand Prix weekend. We have worked on our programme today during the second free practice session and completed our running as originally planned. Our work focused on optimizing the race set up."
Michael Schumacher (2nd, 1:16.502): "At the moment, the situation seems pretty good, but we have to bear in mind that other teams have carried out difference work programmes in terms of tyres today, which also explains the difference in the times. The weather reduced the track time at our disposal. Now we must study the data gathered carefully to get a realistic idea of the pecking order, but I think we have not yet seen the true potential of some of the teams."
Felipe Massa (5th, 1:17.205): "It was a good day. Even though we did not run much, I immediately felt the car was well balanced and the Bridgestone tyres worked well. Therefore, I am happy with what we achieved today, while knowing we still have a lot to do. All in all, we can say we have started this race weekend a bit better than on some other occasions and so I am feeling optimistic."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "A bit of a short day today. In the first hour, we left it to other drivers, especially the test drivers, to clean up the track and in the second, we were waiting for the track to dry out after the light rain. This meant the work programme had to be compressed into the final half hour, in terms of working on the set-up of the car and on evaluating the behaviour of the Bridgestone tyres. Obviously, it is much too early to draw any conclusions, but there are no apparent reasons why our package should not be competitive, as has been the case in the last few races. We have to wait for qualifying to see if our package is good enough to beat our rivals and even more importantly in the race itself."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "The weather shortened the time available to us in the second hour of free practice which is why we only have a snapshot of the situation rather than a full picture. All the same, initial indications seem good. Obviously, the track is still very dirty and there's not much grip, but that will change over the weekend. The car is well balanced and quite quick. In conclusion, a pretty good first day."
Jarno Trulli (12th, 1:17.844): "Today was a relatively good day for me. Especially now that I have signed my contract with the team, I am very happy that we can look forward and concentrate on developing our progress even further. The practice sessions today went as normal, even though it threatened to rain during the second session. We have already worked on the tyres for this race at the last test to get a feeling how they would perform at this track. But we should encounter warmer temperatures tomorrow and this will give us a better insight as to how well we can perform here over the weekend."
Ralf Schumacher (13th, 1:17.895): "It's always nice to come to Hockenheim because I enjoy the atmosphere and feel at home. Today was a pretty successful day of work on tyres and set-up for the weekend. In the few laps that I went out for, everything was looking good. We made it through both practice sessions without problems, even though we were working under time pressure due to the rain. We collected all the data we needed, so we will have to see what tyre choice will be made. Our progress has been improving and I believe our package still has the potential to compete at the front of the pack on Sunday."
Dieter Gass, Chief Race Engineer: "The weather turned out to be a challenge today especially during the second session. We could not go out as much as we wanted to work on the tyres, but are looking to take advantage of the third practice session tomorrow to collect some more data for comparison. Both cars have a small aerodynamic update and Jarno will be driving with the latest specification engine. Tyres will play a very important role on the performance here, but we will have to look at the data before making the final tyre choice. Tomorrow will tell us more about what we can expect, but I believe that we can anticipate similar results as we had in Magny Cours."
Mark Webber (7th, 1:17.344): "Weather conditions didn't allow us to get as much running as we might have liked today. We would ideally have had a bit more running this afternoon when the track dried up, but ultimately we only managed to get one run in at the end of the session in the conditions that represent what we expect in the race. That said, we've got plenty of information to look at from Alex's car, and we will do more running tomorrow morning anyway, despite the potentially cooler track conditions which don't tend to represent what we usually expect in the race."
Alexander Wurz (16th, 1:18.164): "I had a very good day and I'm really happy. The morning session went totally according to plan with our tyre evaluation. I was pleased to achieve a 1.16.3 on a colder, greener morning track and this afternoon we focused on long runs. The first run was on intermediate tyres and then I did a very long run on one of the potential race tyres, which was consistent and allowed me to push. I'm almost sure I was the heaviest car out there, so all in all, I am delighted with how today has gone."
Nico Rosberg (28th, No Time): "Today was a disappointing day for me, I guess, with basically no driving at all. After I crashed this morning, the mechanics worked flat out on my car to repair the damage but could not fix it in time for me to go out in the second session. It's a pity, but I will compensate with some extra running in tomorrow's practice session."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "Alex had a good morning doing the tyre comparisons and he completed two sets of long runs in the afternoon session on intermediate tyres and one of the race compounds, so he spent the second session with race fuel loads and his long run times look good. Nico had an accident this morning when he made a mistake under braking for turn two and although everyone worked hard, we couldn't finish the repairs in time to get him out for second practice. Mark did one run in the second session to check his car balance. We have had a productive day and have plenty of data to look through tonight."
Chris Jilbert, Cosworth: "There we no issues today with either of the CA2006 Series 6 engines as they start their second race duty following the Magny-Cours GP. Nico's engine was checked for damage following his crash during the first session and all appears well. Alex also enjoyed a trouble free day."
Anthony Davidson (6th, 1:17.294): "A difficult day here at Hockenheim. The weather conditions made it hard work for everyone in the second session then when it started to dry out we had to quickly do our tyre programme. It was a little bit scrappy for everybody but thankfully there was just enough time to choose the tyre that we think will work well for the rest of the weekend. The first session went well for me. I had a nice balance and I think our long run pace looks really good so I'm confident for a good race here."
Rubens Barrichello (9th, 1:17.519): "We weren't able to complete all the running we had planned but I think we are looking a little more competitive than we were at the last race. However, it's only Friday. There's a long way to go yet and it's too early to draw any firm conclusions. At this stage though I'm feeling good about the car and I hope this will continue through the rest of the weekend."
Jenson Button (10th, 1:17.542): "Generally a good start to the weekend. The rain shower made life a little bit difficult but apart from that the car is working well so far. We'll just have to wait and see how the rest of the weekend pans out."
Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "Despite the changing weather and less running than we had originally planned, we were able to gather a lot of information about the performance of our car and tyres today. We are quite satisfied with our results so far, as we look reasonably competitive on short and long runs. I envisage a long night ahead looking at all the data and hopefully making decisions that will further improve our performance tomorrow."
Robert Doornbos (3rd, 1:16.549): "It's special to be back here in Hockenheim. It was where I raced my first Formula One race for Minardi and it's good to see so many Dutch fans here. It was a bit tricky this morning due to all the different weather forecasts we were getting for the afternoon, but we managed to complete all the dry running that we needed to, although it was quite tight in the end. I think we look quite competitive here. It's good for me to finish third fastest, and I hope we continue to run well throughout the weekend."
Christian Klien (17th, 1:18.223): "I just did an installation lap this morning. We waited around half an hour before starting the second practice session, while we waited for the rain to clear. I then did two runs, which were okay. I was pretty happy with the balance, perhaps there was a little too much understeer, but we can fix that for tomorrow. It was a good session and hopefully we'll improve further tomorrow."
David Coulthard (20th, 1:18.616): "A normal Friday really. We ran in the morning session, in case it was wet for the entire second practice. That meant the tyres weren't fresh for the second practice, which lost us a little bit of performance, but there's not much more to add at the moment. We'll have to see where we are tomorrow, when everyone's running in qualifying mode."
Robert Kubica (1st, 1:16.225): "This morning we couldnít get the right information as the car was not really balanced. We then decided to go in one direction, which was really good. I was surprised as we were not looking for quick lap times but we were much quicker than this morning and everything is now positive. Fortunately the weather allowed us to re-test the tyres and now we have a better vision of which to choose."
Nick Heidfeld (21st, 1:18.636): "Because we knew there was a risk of rain in the second session today, we drove more laps than usual in the morning free practice. Apart from that, there was nothing special and we had a troublefree first day here in Germany."
Jacques Villeneuve (24th, 1:19.113): "I am personally having a hard time making the front work properly. There is a lot of understeer, which is destroying the tyres, so we need to work on the carís set up tonight. The morning was okay for me then the afternoon did not go very well. I am not that competitive at the moment, but at other tracks I have been slow on Friday on old tyres and then been good on Saturday on new ones."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "As usual Robert did the lionís share of the work. We were not happy with the result of the first session, as the carís set-up did not suite the tyres. After a few changes the second session was a lot better. The improvements are obvious in our best time of the day, and also the results from the long runs were positive. The light rain at the beginning of the second session cost us a few minutes of track time. At the end of the day we are happy with the results and had no technical problems."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director Chassis: "The rain showers this afternoon didnít make life easier for us, however, we were still able to gather a lot of valuable information. As Robert was unhappy with the balance of the car this morning, we made some set-up changes which improved the handling significantly. He was then able to concentrate on tyre comparison work and with this data we should be in a good position to make the right decision. Nick and Jacques focused on set-up work so they have a solid base to work on for tomorrow."
Markus Winkelhock (14th, 1:17.962): "It was a good day, from my point of view. We lost a little bit of time at the beginning of the second session because the weather didn't suit the programme we had, but by the end of it I managed to test two sets of tyres, so it wasn't too bad. On the first set, I made a mistake - I missed a gear twice on one lap - so I lost a lot of time. But with the second set of tyres, I didn't have that problem, and I was able to drive quite a good lap. It's great that I was able to put in a good time - any time you can finish ahead of Alonso, it's OK! But you never know what kind of programmes the other teams are running. The most important thing is that I was able to help the team choose the correct tyres for qualifying tomorrow and the race, so I'm happy with the job I did today."
Christijan Albers (22nd, 1:18.643): "It was a bad day for me, to be honest. My engine blew up in the morning, which limited my running and got me a ten-position grid penalty, so that's insult on top of injury. Then, in the afternoon, our session was shortened by rain and I was held up by traffic when I did finally go out. But hey, tomorrow is a new day. I'm thankful to have a lot of fans here supporting me and I will do my best to give them a good performance."
Tiago Monteiro (23rd, 1:18.991): "It was a bit of a disappointing day, as we didn't get as much running as we would have liked. We were delayed in the second session by the rain, but also with some problems on the car we had to sort out. We had a lot planned for today, and it's a shame we weren't able to run through the whole programme. The positive thing is that we're not fighting with a hundred different problems; we're only struggling with one problem, which is understeer, so it's easier to deal with. And given the fact that we only ran on one set of tyres all day, the times aren't too bad. I would have like to have tried a few more things, but that's the way it is. At least we have a good idea of how to address the problem tomorrow, so hopefully we'll solve it in morning practice and have a good qualifying session."
Johnny Herbert, Sporting Relations Manager: "It was one of those horrible sessions with poor weather at the beginning of it, so it reduced a little bit of the running and sort of greened up the track again. But I think Markus did a good job for us as he went through the tyre programme, and on the limited running he was able to give us a lot of feedback. Christijan and Tiago did a good job as well, just going through their respective programmes. Listening to them, they seem to have a good idea about what needs to be changed for tomorrow, so I think that ultimately, it was a positive day."
James Key, Technical Director: "We had a reasonably productive morning, I would say. Markus did a good job with the car, especially considering it's been some time since he'd last driven it. But he got back into the groove fairly quickly and continued to improve all morning. This afternoon was obviously complicated by the wet start, which kind of halved the time we had to get going and run through our intended programme. Christijan had his engine issue in the first session, so he only really got half a session today, which is a shame. But we ran quite a few new parts on the car and learned a bit about them, so we know what we're going to be able to carry through to tomorrow. We also have a good direction with respect to tyres, thanks to Markus' feedback. Another positive area is the main aero upgrades tested on the T-car last week and brought here seem to be fine and we're going to have them on both race cars tomorrow."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (18th, 1:18.366): "It was reasonable day and in the morning we just did a couple of laps to check everything was okay. In the second session, we worked more towards the race, running heavier fuel loads. Generally it was a positive session, apart from having a lot of graining on the tyres. But we gathered a lot of good data for us to work on tonight."
Neel Jani (19th, 1:18.460): "This morning I got through my entire programme and it went well. In the afternoon we did a long run and I think we have found the right tyre in terms of consistency, but I was struggling to get a good lap time in the first two laps. But after that, the tyres were really good."
Scott Speed (25th, 1:19.232): "I don't think our car is too bad, although our pace did not seem great today. I had a big difficulty in warming up the tyres and also I had a big lock up, which caught me off guard and flat spotted a tyre, so I had to deal with a lot of vibration. It's hard to say after just a handful of laps how this track will suit our car and we will know more after qualifying. Even without many laps we have a pretty decent understanding of our car and at least the tyre choice looks fairly straightforward and we still have an hour tomorrow to work on that."
Takuma Sato (26th, 1:19.365): "It was a very good initial day with the SA06 for us. It was really the first test after the shakedown last week and the car ran well during the first session and also at the beginning of the second. Unfortunately we had a hydraulic problem which meant that we were unable to finish the complete programme for today, but I think it is just a minor problem, just one of those you always encounter when running a new car for the first time. The SA06 shows a very good manner and is performing well, so I am happy with the progress that we have made today."
Sakon Yamamoto (27th, No Time): "I am obviously disappointed with how my first race weekend day ended, but I am very happy that I was able to recognise the SA06's potential. It is a real progression from the SA05 and I must thank the team for all their hard work and for producing a good car for us. This morning was really a shakedown and we started to work through our programme, but unfortunately we couldn't try different set-ups during the afternoon because of a hydraulic problem. I still had a good feeling from the car, so I'm not worried and am thinking very positively about tomorrow and my first Qualifying with the SAF1 Team."
Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "I am reasonably happy with our performance today and from this weekend I think that our true 2006 season can begin. Today was really another shakedown test for us and we naturally had a few minor problems. Taku seems happy with the SA06's handling so far and with new tyres maybe we can be even quicker than we were today - we will see tomorrow. It was a good start for the SA06 and a good performance by the team for a first day of a Grand Prix weekend with a new car."