TURKISH GP - SATURDAY - TEAM QUOTES

Ralf Schumacher, Turkish GP 2006

Ralf Schumacher, Turkish GP 2006 

 © The Cahier Archive

Renault

Fernando Alonso (3rd, 1:27.321): "Third position was a good result for me today. We knew that we would not have enough to beat the Ferrari package over one timed lap, but we do believe in the consistency of the Michelin tyres and what they can bring us in the race. Our preparations have been focused on the race since yesterday morning, so it is a good result for us to be high up in qualifying. I think it will be an exciting start to the race and that we will see a group of cars running together in the opening laps. But we also know that the most important thing tomorrow will be to finish, to bring home points in both championships."

Giancarlo Fisichella (4th, 1:27.564): "We knew all weekend that Ferrari would be quick, and that it would be a tough battle to get on to the front row, but we are in the next best position. The car felt much better today on the other type of Michelin tyre, it was easy to drive and the performance was consistent on longer runs. We know that it will be a tough race tomorrow, but we will be fighting all the way."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Things went pretty much to plan for us. We chose to switch to the other specification of tyre after our problems yesterday, and that has undoubtedly been confirmed as the correct decision. Making that change gave the car a good, driveable balance that we managed to fine tune during practice this morning, while our running on older tyres confirmed that the tyres will be consistent in tomorrow's race. Ferrari have been very quick all weekend, and certainly were in qualifying as well. I think they seem to have an advantage on the first lap, but we have seen the balance of power switch overnight already this season. Starting from the second row, we are in the right position to race them hard for the win."

Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "I think we can consider this to be a strong team performance, with ourselves and Ferrari standing out as the two teams who have managed to get their drivers performing equally at the front of the grid. We are clearly the challengers for tomorrow's race, but starting from the second row means we will be in a straight fight with the Ferraris from the opening laps. Both engines appeared to perform normally throughout qualifying. Giancarlo felt his unit might have been a little down on power, but we could not see anything on the telemetry during the session. Of course, we will be looking at the data closely this evening to make sure. Now, we need to wait and see how the different race strategies unfold..."

McLaren-Mercedes

Kimi Raikkonen (8th, 1:27.866): "The times are very close today so even a small improvement could have made a big difference in where we qualified. I think we had expected to be slightly higher up, but I will move one place on the grid to seventh, and as we have seen many times before anything is possible. The car is handling quite well, and you never know what strategy the others are using, so all we can do now is to wait for the race tomorrow."

Pedro de la Rosa (12th, 1:27.897): "Not qualifying inside the top ten obviously allows us to be a bit more flexible with the strategy, so it's not all bad. I will also move up one position on the grid due to Ralf's engine change. On my flying laps in the second session I hit traffic which affected my times. I'm sure that we have made the right decision with regards to our Michelin tyres. The car was working well, and I look forward to the race."

Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "We have a good race strategy which should give both drivers every opportunity to achieve strong finishing positions in the race tomorrow. Kimi and Pedro are both pleased with the handling of their cars, so we look forward to a competitive Turkish Grand Prix."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "From the first Michelin runner Fernando Alonso in third to Kimi in eighth there is a little bit more than half a second. In the race tomorrow we will build on our strategy and our race speed. Starting from seventh and 11th is not ideal, but our aim is still to finish as the best Michelin team."

Ferrari

Felipe Massa (1st, 1:26.907): "A fantastic day for me and to get my first F1 pole is an emotional moment. I can look back and think how much I have had to fight to achieve this. I am emotional and happy and hope to get many more poles in my career. I want to thank the team for having given me a fantastic car, but thank you also to my father: without him I would probably not be here in Formula 1. Tomorrow I will drive my race thinking about mine and the team's objectives in both championships. We know we have a great package while the Bridgestone tyres are consistent and perform well over a long run."

Michael Schumacher (2nd, 1:27.284): "Getting myself on the front row is definitely not something I can complain about, but today I definitely did not deliver a great qualifying performance, failing to get all the potential out of the car. I aborted my first run on new tyres in Q3 after I ran wide at Turn 1 and I also made a mistake on my second run when in any case, I took a slightly more cautious approach to the lap, knowing I only had one set of tyres left and that it would be better to be second or third rather than not managing to do a reasonable time. It's better to be safe than sorry. I am very happy for Felipe on getting the first pole of his career. He drove an exceptional lap and I have to say I don't think I could have beaten him, even if I had not made any mistakes. We can be optimistic about the race as, from what we have seen so far, everything is in place for us to do well."

Jean Todt, Team Principal: "A great qualifying for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro who will occupy the whole front row of the grid tomorrow afternoon. I am very happy for Felipe for his first ever pole position. Our package, with the support of exceptional partners like Bridgestone and Shell once again showed itself to be very competitive today. Taking into account the consistency of the performance of the tyres in race trim, there is every indication we can do well tomorrow. As usual, to have a clear picture of the situation we need to clear up the usual unknowns of strategy and how the tyres will react as the track gets more and more rubber down, without forgetting crucial factors like reliability. The answers to these questions will have to wait until tomorrow afternoon."

Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "Naturally I am very happy with this result. The 248 F1 ran very well, thanks also to the support of our partners, first and foremost Bridgestone and Shell. The tyres have proved very consistent over a long run and that will be an important factor tomorrow. Felipe did a fantastic job: first he managed to do a great time on his first run and then he managed to improve on his second one. As for Michael, he made a mistake on his first lap with new tyres in Q3 and then tackled the second attempt with a bit of caution, but still managed to take second place. There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the race, but we know we still have a very difficult task ahead of us."

Toyota

Ralf Schumacher (5th, 1:27.569): "Our objective was to make the top five in qualifying so that was a good session for us. The car felt good and we did as well as we could have expected. It's obviously a pity to drop back ten places due to our precautionary engine change. Given that penalty we are on a very good strategy and I believe we are in a strong position to gain ground tomorrow. We've been competitive all weekend so we are confident with our pace and it is possible to overtake here. Last year I had a busy race and I expect more of the same tomorrow. Our target is to make the points with both cars and I believe it is possible. If we can make a good start then we will be in good shape."

Jarno Trulli (13th, 1:27.973): "That was a difficult day's work for me. I hoped to make it into Q3 but it was hard to find a good balance today. Still, I remain confident for the race because I have made a conservative tyre choice and I was quick and consistent both this morning and yesterday. I'm thinking more about the race than qualifying and I hope that risk will pay off tomorrow. It will still be a hard race and the start will be crucial here because the first corner is downhill and very tight. But if we can make it through unscathed then we should have a good chance to progress. We have been steadily getting more competitive and edging closer to the top teams so if we can stay reliable I believe with the race pace we have we can do well and challenge for a strong finish."

Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis: "In terms of our grid position for tomorrow that is obviously one of our lowest results of the season but we understand the reasons for that. We changed Ralf's engine as a precaution yesterday evening, preferring to accept the ten-place penalty rather than risk a failure this weekend. So that meant we had to adapt his strategy accordingly. He did well to go fifth quickest in Q3 but he will start 15th tomorrow. We have a different strategy for Jarno, who had a different day. He struggled for grip, and that is why he missed out on the top ten. Still, this is a circuit where we can hope to make up ground in the race. We knew that this would be a hard track for tyres but it is clear that the Bridgestone tyres we have are well suited to its demands. We will be starting lower down the grid than we expected but we remain confident that our strategy can bring both cars home in the points tomorrow."

Williams-Cosworth

Mark Webber (10th, 1:29.436): "Qualifying ended up okay. We made it into Q3 even if we finished 10 th in the end. To try and move our pace on, we had to use a new set of tyres in the last session which means I won't have them for the start of the race tomorrow, so it could be a tough day ahead, but we'll see."

Nico Rosberg (15th, 1:28.386): "I was pretty happy with my car in this morning's Free Practice. For qualifying we made quite a few set-up changes to find some more pace and moved towards Mark's set-up, but I didn't feel comfortable or confident with the car. My final position is disappointing, but I am sure the race will be better because we are looking good from a tyre perspective."

Sam Michael, Technical Director: "In relation to qualifying, Mark did a good job to get the car into the top ten and Nico made it into Q2. Tyres tomorrow will play a big part in the race, so we will work hard on the remaining parts of our strategy tonight and look to score some points. We had no problems today in terms of the car, all the systems functioned well."

Chris Jilbert, Cosworth: "An uneventful day for Cosworth with no engine related problems during the course of the practice and qualifying sessions in Turkey. It'll be interesting to see if the evolving track conditions work in our favour tomorrow."

Honda

Jenson Button (7th, 1:27.790): "I was obviously hoping for something more from qualifying today, although we have been struggling a little bit in the last sector here - on the long straight and the three very slow corners at the end. That's where we have been losing out to Alonso. On the positive side we have been looking good on the long runs, as we demonstrated on Friday and this morning. So it's looking like we could be better off in the race, in which case P6 on the grid isn't so bad."

Rubens Barrichello (14th, 1:28.257): "Unfortunately I didn't have a good balance with the car for the whole qualifying session today. It was quite strange because the car felt much better this morning throughout practice, so we have to look at that and see what has happened. So that was my qualifying today but we know that the car has a good race pace, plus we can choose our fuel level from here, so I am hopeful that we can have a decent race tomorrow and I can fight my way through the field."

Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "We certainly would have preferred to be a bit further up. In the case of Rubens we just couldn't get the balance to his liking on new tyres. Jenson did a great job in Q2, but we haven't been particularly fast in the last sector all weekend and unfortunately that cost Jenson a few places on the grid. However, both cars have been very competitive and consistent on long runs and used tyres, which bodes well for the race."

Red Bull-Ferrari

Christian Klien (11th, 1:27.852): "I'm very happy about the qualifying result. I think I'll start tomorrow in P10 due to another driver's engine change. Every time I went out on new tyres today I improved. We changed the front wing a little, as there was some understeer when we tried to push harder and by the end I had quite good balance. I think we got everything out of the car that we could. My team did a good job and supported me well, and hopefully we can have a good race from this position tomorrow."

David Coulthard (17th, 1:29.136): "Under normal conditions, I think I would have made it through to the next session today. My first run was a little bit messy, but on my second, a Super Aguri went off the circuit in Turn eight in front of me, so I had to lift off. As a result I dropped half a second and couldn't win it back through the rest of the lap. I tried to push again on the next lap, but by then my tyres had lost performance, it's just one of things unfortunately."

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "It was unfortunate for David to be delayed by Sato who went off in front of him at Turn eight. He was looking as if he would have comfortably made the cut to the second session. Christian optimised his car's set up and did a good job. He was unfortunate to narrowly miss out on getting through to the final session. We are now in a position to pick our strategy for tomorrow and will be pushing hard for points finishes."

Sauber-BMW

Nick Heidfeld (6th, 1:27.785): "I am a little bit surprised that everything went so well. Our performance in Hungary was, in my opinion, due to exceptional circumstances. If we compare today's result to the races prior to then the improvement is an enormous step forward. It shows the guys in Munich and Hinwil worked really well during the summer break, and here we have some more aerodynamic improvements including a modified front wing. Nevertheless I am realistic and think it is going to be harder for us in the race, but our goals are points."

Robert Kubica (9th, 1:28.167): "It was a good qualifying as we have both cars in the top ten. We struggled with the set up this morning and had understeer, but suddenly in qualifying it became oversteer. It went from one side to the other and unfortunately the car was really difficult to drive. However, I managed pretty well to push on one lap and I shall see what happens tomorrow. The conditions are changing and we should have more rubber on the track, which should help to make the rear more stable."

Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "That was the best qualifying result our young team has achieved so far. Tomorrow we presume we will start from fifth and eighth, which is an excellent position to be in for the race. In all three sections of qualifying Nick's performance was very strong, and Robert, in only his second qualifying, did an impressive job."

Willy Rampf, Technical Director Chassis: "It was a very good and exciting qualifying. The result is confirmation of the ability of both drivers and the quality of the car set up. Istanbul Park is a very challenging track on which we have to find the best compromise for our set-up, and the good work Sebastian Vettel did on his debut as a Friday driver contributed to this. We are ready for high temperatures during the race so we should be well prepeared. We are very much looking forward to starting from these promising positions."

MF1-Toyota

Christijan Albers (16th, 1:28.639): "Today was much better. We made a lot of progress since yesterday, which was a bad day for both Midland and Toyota, and I think we did a fantastic job of making the most of our time on the track today. So many thanks to the team and Toyota for their efforts, and let's push hard to do a good result tomorrow."

Tiago Monteiro (20th, 1:29.901): "I think we made the right choice for the race. Obviously, it's not ideal for qualifying, but we need to look beyond that and concentrate on going well over a race distance. At the end of the day, that's where you score your points, and that's what we're aiming for. With that in mind, we're reasonably satisfied with our performance today."

Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "We still have a lot of work to do, but it must be said that both drivers did a very good job today. The difference between Christijan's time and Rosberg's Williams is minuscule, and better than one of the Red Bulls and both Toro Rossos. So clearly we have made some progress. Tiago is on a strategy that plays to his strength of finishing races, which is a sensible way for him to go. I think it was one of our best qualifying results so far."

Johnny Herbert, Sporting Relations Manager: "It was a very good result for us today. Tiago had a few handling problems, which may have prevented him from putting together the best possible lap, but that's the way it goes sometimes. I think he's happy with the set-up he's got for the race, so we'll see how that plays out. Christijan did a cracking job to get through to the second round again, ahead of our immediate competition. I think he wrung every bit of speed he could out of the car, so well done to him. Tomorrow is going to be a hard-fought race, I think, among a very tight field. So I think it will be down to strategy and maintaining a consistently strong pace over 58 laps, and I think we've got a car that can do that. Hopefully, it will allow us to be in with a chance for points at the finish."

Dominic Harlow, Chief Race Engineer: "At the start of the qualifying session, we found that the increased track and ambient temperatures had caused the circuit to drop off a little bit, with a little bit more oversteer on the early runs. I don't think the starting grid will necessarily reflect the true pace of our cars. We just kept looking more and more competitive as the day progressed, particularly Christijan in the second session. Our programme this morning indicates that we've got good tyres for the race, and we think it's going to bode well for a strong performance tomorrow. We're looking forward to it."

Toro Rosso-Cosworth

Scott Speed (18th, 1:29.158): "I am not too happy with this result as for some reason there was a big difference between our pace in practice and qualifying. But the car is still really good and I expect us to have a better race pace. We have good top end speed though and the car is good in the top speed corners. Turn 8 is really special, where you pull 5Gs laterally. It hurts but I love it!"

Vitantonio Liuzzi (19th, 1:29.250): "A shit qualifying for me which did not go as I had expected. Specifically on my car we seem to have a problem that we cannot solve, which has made things worse. I am disappointed because I thought that this weekend we could have been in the top fifteen on the grid."

Super Aguri-Honda

Sakon Yamamoto (21st, 1:30.607): "This morning we continued with our car set-up plans from yesterday and progressed with the new tyre options. The car balance changed between FP3 and Qualifying, mainly due to the track conditions, and so we had to adjust our set-up again during Qualifying. We were unable to find a set-up that would give us a good lap time in the short amount of running that we had, so our times were much slower than those in the morning. However, I am looking forward to tomorrow and to hopefully finishing my first race with the team in the SA06."

Takuma Sato (22nd, 1:30.850): "It is a disappointing result. We had a new front suspension on my car today and this morning we made good progress during the session with only a small issue towards the end. In Qualifying, however, we had a major chassis related problem which caused me to struggle with the handling and I therefore could not set a good lap time. I have a good feeling from the SA06 from this morning's session, so I hope that we can have a good race tomorrow."

Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "The complete version of the SA06 is showing potential but we have not had enough time to set-up the car and you can see this from our Qualifying times today. Takuma was progressing well in the car this morning, but unfortunately experienced a significant chassis problem during the Qualifying session. Sakon has done a consistently good job and made no mistakes so far this weekend. He has been improving with every session and I hope that he will be able to finish the race tomorrow."