TURKISH GP - FRIDAY - TEAM QUOTES
Fernando Alonso (12th, 1:29.741): "It was a pretty normal Friday for me: we tried the tyres, did some laps to get comfortable with the circuit again and started to think about the set-up changes for the rest of the weekend. Obviously, we struggled with bad tyre graining after the first few laps, but the car initially felt competitive so I think we can be fighting for pole tomorrow, when the track rubbers in. Overall, we have learned some useful information today, and I am confident the car will be quick for the rest of the weekend."
Giancarlo Fisichella (18th, 1:30.504): "I had the same bad tyre graining as Fernando after the first timed laps - except I also hit traffic when I was on the quickest laps at the start of the run. So I think the times make it look like we are a bit off the pace today, but Friday is never a reliable indicator of how things will shape up for the rest of the weekend. We need to work hard overnight to improve, but I am confident we can be back in our normal positions tomorrow afternoon."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "We found last year that the primary limiting factor on performance was tyre graining, and that is the case once again today. On a circuit such as this where there are relatively few traction events, the front tyres are heavily loaded - and the cars also tend to slide a lot in the corners. That is a perfect combination for provoking graining, and we knew we had to get a handle on it today to avoid compromising our race on Sunday. We therefore took the decision to run the cars with very heavy fuel loads to provoke a worst-case scenario - and, as the times showed, the graining was severe. Those factors explain our poor performance, but today's lessons will help us during the rest of the weekend. I am sure we can get the car back to the front tomorrow."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "Friday is always a working day, with each team going about its programme diligently and focusing on finding the best chassis and engine set-ups. That was what we did today and, as always, the final timesheets should be taken with a pinch of salt. On the engine front, our drivers remain out of step in their usage, with Giancarlo using a new unit here and Fernando re-using his V8 from Hungary. Giancarlo's engine includes a number of developments that will feature in the next specification upgrade that will debut in Monza, and they performed without incident today. Overall, we have completed our usual solid Friday preparations, and look forward to a competitive weekend."
Kimi Raikkonen (8th, 1:29.042): "A strong start to the weekend. We were evaluating our Michelin tyres and got some good data. I really like this track and am looking forward to the rest of the weekend. The car feels good, and we could have gone a lot quicker, which is always a good feeling to have after a Friday's work."
Pedro de la Rosa (9th, 1:29.112): "Both sessions were good for us for us and Kimi and I ran a parallel Michelin tyre evaluation programme. We are now absolutely sure which compound we will choose. I really enjoyed today's practice on this track with its flowing and fast layout. It is really fun to drive, except turn eight which is rather bumpy."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A productive practice day where we experienced no problems."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Kimi and Pedro went through their planned Michelin tyre evaluation programme and didn't put new ones on in the afternoon. The times looked OK. Both drivers are using fresh engines incorporating some improvements."
Felipe Massa (2nd, 1:28.164): "All in all a positive day. We have worked a lot on tyre choice for the race and we have ended up with a pretty clear picture of the situation. First impressions are that the car is well balanced. I am happy about that and I am confident that we can be competitive. Yes, it's only Friday but at least everything is in place for me to feel this way."
Michael Schumacher (6th, 1:28.819): "Today, I have at last been able to find out how demanding this track is. Last year we were here with a package that was absolutely not competitive, while today the situation is completely different and driving the 248 F1 on this track is really good fun. I am quite satisfied with the way things went: the fact that I set my fastest time at the end of the session and therefore on used tyres is certainly a good sign. I am confident and hope to continue on this path tomorrow and Sunday. Clearly the heat seems to suit us and our tyres."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "After a three week gap without racing, the final rush of the championship gets underway here in Turkey. Last year, we were in serious difficulties at this circuit but today the situation seems to have improved. With the usual provisos one has to take into account on Fridays, we can say that with the car-engine-Bridgestone tyre package we have at our disposal, we seem to be quite competitive. Today, as usual we have worked on tyre choice and on fine tuning the car set-up. We are well aware how important is this Turkish weekend in terms of the fight for the two titles."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "It was a good day. We got through some useful work with both drivers and we have a reasonably clear picture as far as the tyres are concerned. Obviously, we have to take into account how the track conditions will have changed by Sunday. The cars, fitted with new turning vanes and air intakes on the rear brakes, ran trouble-free and seemed to be well balanced. All things considered, we can be satisfied and can be reasonably confident about the outcome of the rest of the weekend."
Ralf Schumacher (5th, 1:28.614): "Turkey is a very nice country and we have again been well received in Istanbul. There is lots of interest in F1 around the city so it is a good place to come to race. Today we made it through our programme of tyre and set-up work as we hoped so that was a painless day. The car felt good today too so we should be reasonably happy with that. With this year's cars Turn 8 is a little easier than last year but it is still a very fast corner. We were competitive at the last few races before the August break and we have an improved aerodynamic package here so we hope to show a strong performance over the weekend."
Jarno Trulli (15th, 1:30.006): "It feels good to be back on track after our short August break. Istanbul is a nice city and the facilities at the circuit are outstanding so I enjoy coming here. After the cold and wet conditions we saw in Budapest I'm glad to see it's hot and sunny here. That should be good for us because our car has always performed well in these conditions. Today showed that we still have work to do on set-up, but we have quite a few aerodynamic improvements this weekend so we expect to edge closer to the pace of the top teams. We have been steadily improving our performance so if we can stay reliable we can hope for a good finish."
Dieter Gass, Chief Race Engineer: "That was a positive Friday for us. We had no major issues throughout the day and we were able to finish all the work we had planned. We made it through our tyre programme and we already have a pretty clear idea about which direction we will take. Nevertheless we will check everything and go through all the data again tonight. We have a new aerodynamic package here, featuring a new front wing and a new floor. The car was working well today so we will hope to take advantage of that as the weekend progresses. At the moment it looks like we are in good shape for the race."
Alexander Wurz (19th, 1:30.509): "We had a problem-free day today and managed our full programmes in both the first and second sessions. We will now have to analyse the data carefully because it's not obvious which tyre to select. Our engineering meeting will be a very interesting process because the circuit changed with all the variables from wind conditions, the surface cleaning up and the rubber being laid down, so I have no doubt that making the right tyre choice will be the key factor this weekend."
Mark Webber (21st, 1:30.775): "It was an interesting Friday and we got through everything we needed to, so we have all the information we require to make our tyre comparisons. It would be good to find some extra pace, but we have seen this before where we are not topping the times on Fridays, but it's a different situation on Saturdays. Alex did a lot of good race work for us, so we have plenty of homework tonight. I am looking forward to seeing how tomorrow will turn out."
Nico Rosberg (23rd, 1:31.015): "I think it was a pretty good practice session which I spent getting the car and myself prepared for the track and by the end of the hour, it felt really good, I was really happy with the car. The next decision is to look through everything and make our tyre choice."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "We ran a standard programme on Alex's car today, checking race set-up for Sunday and going through the two tyre choices as well as checking cooling and brakes. On the two race cars, we have tried a couple of different set-ups and now we will concentrate on finalising our tyre choice and getting the cars prepared for qualifying tomorrow."
Chris Jilbert, Cosworth: "Today was a straight-forward, trouble-free day for Cosworth in Istanbul, with all three cars completing their respective programmes as planned. As no grid penalty will be incurred, we elected to carry out a precautionary engine change in Mark's car before the event following the discovery of slight oil leak."
Jenson Button (3rd, 1:28.506): "I'm pleased with the way today has gone. So we'll sit down with Michelin this evening and discuss which is the better tyre option for the weekend. I had a small mechanical problem at the start of this afternoon's session, which cost me some time when we had to take the floor off, but everything is okay. The changes that we've made over the day have been positive so I'm happy with where we are at the moment."
Anthony Davidson (4th, 1:28.598): "It is my first time here at Istanbul Park so it was really nice to finally drive the circuit. It's quite tough physically as well as technically challenging. It was important to get a good balance for the first lap and also the long runs today, which we were focusing on. The failure in the first session was a shame because I was going really well up until then and setting some really quick laps. Overall the car felt good all day and we have some good data to work on for tomorrow and Sunday."
Rubens Barrichello (10th, 1:29.214): "A pretty straightforward day for us today although this morning I had a few set-up issues. This afternoon the car felt a little better and I'm quite pleased with the balance of the car now. There is some work to do to improve but generally I think we are moving in the right direction."
Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "It has been a normal day for us, achieving lots of laps with all three cars and with lots of data to go through tonight. Anthony had an unusual and unexpected failure this morning, the cause of which we are still investigating. Otherwise we spent most of the day making small set-up changes in an effort to adapt our car to the demands of this circuit. Overall a good start to the weekend, with nothing major to report."
Robert Doornbos (7th, 1:28.848): "It's a great circuit here and Turkey's a great place to be. We were unfortunate today as the car had some problems, meaning we lost track time and weren't that competitive. But, most importantly, we have an answer on the tyres, which is what we're here for so that's good. I had a bit of an incident towards the end of the session. Everyone's trying to put in good laps, I was on a good time and ended up in a bit of a 'chicken' game with Alonso. It was a case of 'who's going to brake latest', but that's all there was to it."
Christian Klien (22nd, 1:30.889): "The second session was a lot more exciting as I did three runs, rather than just one installation lap! The track is nice to drive here and I like it a lot. We were a little off with the car balance for our first run, which meant there was a lot of oversteer, but we changed the set up and it was better by the end. We suffered quite a lot of graining today, but that should improve tomorrow and we'll keep on working hard for a good result."
David Coulthard (28th, 1:31.540): "I had a spin exiting Turn six and my tyres needed rebalancing as a result, so my second session finished early. The track's pretty bumpy, which is similar to last year and Turn eight is as challenging as we thought it would be. But, that said, it's one corner, it doesn't make or break the lap as you've all the other corners to negotiate too, but it's certainly challenging."
Sebastian Vettel (1st, 1:28.091): "I am surprised at this result. It has been difficult for me as I didn't know the circuit and have had only one proper Formula 1 test. However, I felt very comfortable, I was able to deliver some information and on top of it all it was great! What happens in the fast corners is just indescribable. My second session was a lot quicker, and on top of that I learnt two Formula 1 lessons on my first day. In the first session I forgot to press the pit lane speed limiter, which is going to be expensive, and after the second session the system chose me for a drug test."
Robert Kubica (17th, 1:30.502): "I didn't do a lot of driving, as I only did five timed laps. This has given us some idea about the best set-up, which we have to improve on, and me some idea about this track. We will have to see how we go tomorrow, as we still have the third free practice to work on the car before qualifying. The track is new to me and I like it, but would have liked to do a few more laps."
Nick Heidfeld (27th, 1:31.526): "I really like driving here. Corner eight is a great corner and has remained so even with this year's V8 engines. I imagine it can be flat in qualifying. Sometimes new track surfaces change a lot after their first winter and develop a lot of bumps, but this one hasn't changed since 2005."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "It was a good first practice day for our team with a flawless performance from Sebastian Vettel, who is only 19 years old and had his first Formula One drive on a GP weekend. He completed his entire programme with no mistakes and laid a good basis for the set-up work for the cars. Setting the fastest lap today was not on the agenda, but it is the icing on the cake. Nick and Robert also completed their programmes as scheduled."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director Chassis: "It was a problem free first practice day. Today we concentrated on set-up work and we have to take into account changing track conditions when planning the continuation of this work tomorrow. Compliments to Sebastian who completed his programme on his first day as a Friday driver with no mistakes."
Giorgio Mondini (11th, 1:29.719): "It was a very good session from my point of view. We ran through the program without any problems. I trained very hard during my absence from the team, so my fitness was good, even with the counter-clockwise track and the high loads in Turn 8. It`s difficult to say how much the car has improved since the last time I drove it, because each track is different, but it certainly got better between this morning and the afternoon. The team did a great job, and we're moving in a good direction with regard to tyre choice."
Tiago Monteiro (26th, 1:31.519): "Today was alright, considering we stayed on the same set of tyres all day. We didn't want to waste a new set, preferring instead to keep them for tomorrow. By the time we wrapped up, this afternoon, my tyres were very well worn. Fortunately, we managed to find a pretty good balance toward the end, and that's the main thing, really. Every time we went in some direction that didn't work, I came back in, and the team made the appropriate corrections to get us back on the right track. My engineers and mechanics did a terrific job today, so hopefully that will pay off tomorrow with continued improvements."
Christijan Albers (29th, 1:32.102): "It's very difficult to explain how frustrated I feel right now.This is the third time in a row that we've had a really bad Friday. Midland and Toyota have to push hard together as a team, to look at the data and analyse what's going on, because in Formula 1, we can't afford to have these kinds of failures."
Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "Unfortunately, Christijan suffered his third engine failure in a row today, so that will make it difficult for him to fight for positions on Sunday. But we have had setbacks before, and we persevered - it's the only thing one can do in a situation like this. On the positive side, both Tiago and Giorgio had productive sessions, so hopefully we can continue moving forward with another strong qualifying performance tomorrow."
Johnny Herbert, Sporting Relations Manager: "Giorgio did another good job for us today. He stuck to his programme and was able to give us good information with respect to tyres and set-up. Christijan, unfortunately, had another problem that necessitated an engine change for tomorrow, which isn't very good - he's had a few too many recently. It's been difficult for him and for the whole team to accept, but we'll be up for the fight tomorrow. He's got a strong enough character and he'll do a good job from the back of the grid, as he has before. Tiago, by comparison, had a rather uneventful day, just running through his programme in an efficient manner. All in all, it's been a constructive day, just terribly unfortunate for Christijan."
Dominic Harlow, Chief Race Engineer: "It was good to be back on track today and, technically, it was quite an interesting session. I think we learned a fair amount of what we had set out to do. We're disappointed for Christijan, obviously, with the engine change, but nonetheless, we're pleased with the results from our third car and with Tiago's work, as well. We're fairly positive going into tomorrow and should be able to improve things in time for qualifying."
Neel Jani (13th, 1:29.858): "I think it could be a tough weekend for us as we need to find more pace. My lap times don't mean much as my quick ones always seemed to involve a lot of traffic. We got through the programme but I think we might struggle a bit on this track."
Scott Speed (14th, 1:29.890): "Well, that was not looking so bad was it!? In fact it is looking good for us. Why? Because this track seems to suit our car very well. I feel very good in myself too. Like a lot of circuits this season, this is the first time I have driven this track in an F1 car and this is a difficult one to learn. I expect Suzuka to be toughest, but this is number 2 on the list. It is hard, especially the long left hander at Turn 8. It's pretty much going to be flat and it's a bit insane, although I don't feel it's dangerous, because there is so much space, but you really need to believe in what you're doing there."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (20th, 1:30.551): "This was a reasonably good Friday. Tyre performance is critical here and this morning I destroyed my front right tyre and that affected our running especially towards the end of the session. But the car is responding well to the set-up changes we have made and I think we can make some progress tomorrow morning."
Franck Montagny (16th, 1:30.491): "First of all 'thanks' to the mechanics because I know that the car arrived late and that they worked overnight to prepare it. Unfortunately this morning we had problems so we could not set up the car correctly and this afternoon we had a lot of work to do on the tyres. To start with I was not too happy about the set-up of the car as it was very nervous, but we didn't really have time to work on it, so we did a good job considering that. Two hours running is always a little bit too short, but I'm happy to be back driving with the team and to give some information and feedback that I hope will be useful for the weekend."
Takuma Sato (24th, 1:31.091): "It was a very important day for us; to shakedown the SA06. We did not encounter any major problems, which is great. Franck completed a respectable amount of running with a few set-up changes and collected valuable tyre data. I was relying on that as I did not run in the first session, as we had planned. During the second session we ran the normal installation lap to check that everything was okay and then ran through our planned programme. The car seems to be working well and if everything is okay when we look at the SA06's data tonight, we will continue to update the car tomorrow."
Sakon Yamamoto (25th, 1:31.316): "Today was a good start for this race weekend for me. It was the first time for me to drive the circuit but I was able to learn the layout quickly this morning. During this afternoon's session we worked on improving our set-up and I am happy with the result so I think that we are ready for tomorrow."
Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "I am very happy with the debut of the third SA06. Franck did a very good job today. During the afternoon session he set a competitive time and provided us with a good amount of data from the new car. Both Takuma and Sakon set times above the Midland's, so overall it has been a good day for the team."