Michael Schumacher, Italian GP 2006

Michael Schumacher, Italian GP 2006 

 Â© The Cahier Archive


Fernando Alonso (8th, 1:24.577): "We ran a lot here last week, so today was all about checking off some specific jobs for the race, and testing the tyres. The Michelins seem very consistent, and the performance was right there from the first lap too. The times suggest we are not so quick, especially compared to Ferrari, but this is Friday and we know how much things can change through the weekend. I had a bit too much understeer today that meant I couldn't attack the corners as I wanted to, but we will dial this out overnight and I am confident the car will feel good tomorrow. I think we have made a good start to the weekend, and we now need to build on this."

Giancarlo Fisichella (15th, 1:25.160): "Last week's test meant we could do a lot of preparation for the race, and today was just about checking the car really. We were conservative in the way we ran the car, especially for me as my engine has already done a hard race in Turkey. The car balance isn't perfect yet and we have some understeer, but we did our programme, did the tests we wanted to and now need to study the data overnight. The performance wasn't fantastic today, but I am not worried for the rest of the weekend."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "We have become used to talking about running a 'normal' Friday of tyre evaluation and minor set-up changes on the opening day of each Grand Prix this year. However, Monza puts us in a unique position as we tested here just last week for three days, and completed over 3500 km. As a result, our Friday programme did not need to be as extensive as usual, and we only ran in the second practice session to get confirmation of the tyre performance and check the car over. Both Michelin tyres look very consistent and although we have some fine-tuning to do on the car balance, the drivers were happy with the handling. We have made a solid start to our weekend, and expect to see our relative performance increase tomorrow."

Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "This is a circuit where every hundredth of a second counts under heavy braking, and in the high speed corners which dictate the car's speed on the long straights that follow. As a result, today was about testing a number of discrete variables on both the car and engine, and collecting the results we needed. Both engines performed well, including Fernando's new D specification, and the chassis team has obtained good results from its work. We will combine the different elements overnight, and expect to see our optimum package come together tomorrow. As always, the key to success will be finding the right compromise between performance and reliability. A non-finish would be catastrophic for our championship chances, and this is uppermost in our minds at the most demanding engine circuit of the season."


Pedro de la Rosa (5th, 1:23.970): "We completed our planned programme and gained additional data. I was testing here last week for a few days, so we already had a good basis. It's always challenging to find the right set-up here at Monza as you need to find a compromise between low downforce on the straights and enough grip through the fast corners and chicanes."

Kimi Raikkonen (6th, 1:24.034): "A good start to the weekend. We checked our race set-up and evaluated the Michelin tyres and are very confident about what direction we are going to take. I like this track, and we will get a clearer picture of what is possible tomorrow."

Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A straightforward practice day where we experienced no problems and completed the planned programme."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Following last week's test here we focused on further developing our race set-up and are happy with the progress we made."


Michael Schumacher (2nd, 1:23.138): "It's a bit too early to make any snap judgments. It is only Friday and usually, we see that things can change quickly during the weekend. I would say we had a normal day. The times are slower compared with last week and that is down to the fact the track is not as rubbered-in. Having the same engine that I used in the last grand prix is not a disadvantage compared to my main rival. We have simulated the situation in testing and there were no problems. Of course I want to win, but I don't think the gap we saw today will stay like this through the weekend. However, as usual I will give it my all!"

Felipe Massa (3rd, 1:23.182): "Generally a positive day. We worked on confirming what we had seen in testing at this track last week and we are competitive. Again today, the car was very stable and performed consistently and equally good was the performance of the Bridgestone tyres. It all means I can be confident for the rest of the weekend which is a very important one in terms of our chances in both championships."

Jean Todt, Team Principal: "Here we are at Monza for our second home Grand Prix after the one at Imola. There are four races remaining to the end of the season and our aim is very clear, even if we know it will be very hard to achieve. Today we did not do as much running as usual, as we tested here for three days last week. We are happy to be racing in front of our fans, especially those members of the Scuderia Ferrari Club, here from all over Italy, watching today from a grandstand reserved for them at the Parabolica. Tomorrow and Sunday, in this same grandstand will be our staff, which will give us a further motivation - not that any more is needed - to do our best to secure the result we want so much."

Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "After the good results obtained from last week's test, we ran a reduced programme compared to a usual Friday. The main tasks were to check out the cars and tyres and let the drivers get used to the track conditions again. We picked up where we left off at this track last Thursday and so I am confident for the next two days. The only problem was a loss of pressure in the left rear tyre on Michael's car, but it is just a minor inconvenience."


Jarno Trulli (12th, 1:25.027): "We did not do as much running as usual today because we already had some data collected from our test here last week. The conditions were similar today so that made it a relatively straightforward Friday. The car is well balanced and we have no major problems so far. Toyota has made a huge improvement at recent races with the performance of the car. The team has worked hard with development and they are still pushing. Last week's test was promising so I expect to have a good weekend."

Ralf Schumacher (17th, 1:25.316): "It was good for me to do quite a few laps today because I had to cut short my test here last week due to a stomach problem. I have now recovered from that and today was a normal day of practice. We still have some work to do on the car but we collected most of the data that we needed for the weekend. The test also went quite well for us so we will hope to produce a strong performance here over the next two days. We continue to improve our pace and we are all determined to convert that into a good result."

Dieter Gass, Chief Race Engineer: "Because we tested here last week we didn't do as much running today as we usually do on a Friday. Of course Ralf missed out on running at the test because he was ill so it was good for him to do more laps today. But the main target was to confirm our test results and get some information on how the tyres are working. There are always small changes to the track between the test and the race weekend but the conditions are similar so far and we have a clear picture about our tyre choice. As usual at Monza we are running a specialised aerodynamic package for the low downforce requirements of the circuit, incorporating new front and rear wings. The car seems to be working well so far and it was good that we didn't have any issues. Now we need to look at our data and try to improve our performance for the rest of the weekend."


Alexander Wurz (4th, 1:23.414): "Obviously we had quite a lot of knowledge from the test here last week, nevertheless we still went through a more or less normal Friday procedure today, which is mainly tyre comparison. I am pretty confident about which way we will be going with tyre choice and we also managed to find a good balance on the car. Now we just need to analyse today's work compared to what we found at the test. Otherwise I think I've prepared the car quite well for the race drivers in terms of brakes, balance and how to manage the car on a high fuel load."

Nico Rosberg (13th, 1:25.040): "I had a good session today, we tried a few things out, some of which worked, some didn't, but all of this will help with our preparation for the rest of the weekend alongside what we found here at the test last week. We spent some time looking at the best balance between wing level and top speed. I was also very happy with the tyres today and the Bridgestones are performing well here at Monza. With what I learnt today and all the data gathered from Alex, we will spent tonight putting all the pieces together for tomorrow."

Mark Webber (20th, 1:25.500): "It all went well today and we had a good standard Friday and managed to run through our programme without any problems. We will plug all of what we have learnt together tonight in preparation for tomorrow."

Sam Michael, Technical Director: "We had slightly less than a normal Friday schedule because of all the testing that we did here last week, so in the afternoon session we revised our programme on Alex's car to concentrate on grip levels on new tyres. In the rest of the practice sessions we did normal runs to check our race performance. Everything is fine, cooling is ok and both the tyres that Bridgestone brought here look strong."

Mike Janes, Cosworth: "As one would expect after testing here for three days last week, today's engine program was mainly focussed on allowing Alex lap time to carry out the preparatory work for Saturday and Sunday. Although Mark carries his engine over from Istanbul, both he and Nico have the latest performance specification of CA2006 engine which will afford them the most aggressive duty Cosworth has brought to an event this year, the culmination of both extensive dyno and recent track testing. There were no issues with any of the engines we ran today."


Anthony Davidson (19th, 1:25.356): "Whilst today's problems are obviously disappointing, the positives are that we know the car is competitive here and we have plenty of data from three days' testing here last week. Had this been any other race track we would be really struggling data-wise going into tomorrow but at least we have a good baseline and the car was feeling good. We will have to wait for the outcome of the investigations to talk about how we might fare for the rest of the weekend."

Rubens Barrichello (28th, No Time):

Jenson Button (29th, No Time):

Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "Obviousy we had a difficult day with, unusually, two failures occurring very early on in the life of each engine in Anthony's car. Since they were totally unexpected, we elected not to run the race cars until we could gain a better understanding of what was causing them. Needless to say this has not been the best start to the weekend for us as we collected very little data today about cars and tyres, however thankfully we were testing here a week ago so the set-up of the car and tyre choice are more dialled-in than they would otherwise be. We look forward to a better day tomorrow."

Red Bull-Ferrari

Christian Klien (14th, 1:25.108): "I was very happy with the sessions today. It's a high-speed circuit here in Monza, which is a lot fun to drive and I like it. I did two runs today and, as we were testing here for two days last week, the set up was already quite good. We knew what we had before starting and it worked out well. The car was balanced nicely and I could improve my lap times in the second run. The tyres were working well too, so a good day so far."

David Coulthard (18th, 1:25.318): "A normal Friday I think. Nothing particularly extraordinary happened so there's nothing really to report. It's a circuit with very high-speed straights and we don't have very good straight line speed so, on the face of it, it's not that well suited to our car."

Robert Doornbos (25th, 1:26.058): "I wasn't testing here last week so that was the first time that I'd driven the circuit this year. It's good fun, but it was a disappointing day today. I just couldn't get it together. I struggled with the set-up and the tyres, and I think it could be a tough weekend to be honest."


Sebastian Vettel (1st, 1:22.631): "This morning it wasnít too easy for me as since the test here I have been driving Formula 3, but the step up from Formula 3 to Formula 1 is easier than the other way round. I really enjoy driving this car as it is just fantastic. Apart from the joy of what I am doing and quick lap times, the most important aspect of my job is to provide the team and the race drivers with valuable information."

Nick Heidfeld (7th, 1:24.330): "So far so good. We didnít have any problems and the tyres we got for Monza from Michelin worked. Our test here was good. The low downforce aero package works. Between the test and the race weekend we made some modifications and we havenít had any surprises yet."

Robert Kubica (9th, 1:24.813): "In the first free practice I did just a couple of laps to check the heat in the tyres and that everything was okay. This afternoon I continued with the same set of tyres, and we are quite positive the tyres are working well, at least for me. We have some data from the third car, but it is good I have done some driving so feel safe with our choice. Everyone is trying to keep a low profile so we will see tomorrow where we end up."

Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "It was a good Friday for the team. Sebastian drove the car under different technical conditions and collected a lot of data for the race set up. This was the second Friday on duty for Sebastian, and it was a solid performance demonstrating that even at his young age he is capable of handling this job. Nick and Robert were both satisfied, and we had no technical problems on any of the three cars."

Willy Rampf, Technical Director Chassis: "Following last weekís Monza test, our carís set-up was quite good from the start of the day, so we concentrated on fine tuning the carís balance. Sebastian did a good job again and gave us a lot of data and information, which will help us make the right decisions for the race. It was a productive day and a good start to the weekend."


Christijan Albers (11th, 1:24.985): "I don't know how realistic the times were today, because in practice, you can never be sure what the other teams are doing. We just ran through our normal Friday programme and we'll see where we stand tomorrow. But at least everything is working well: the engine feels strong and there were no mechanical issues to speak of. So, in that respect, it was OK, but we still have a lot of work to do. We have some set-up issues to sort out, and the car is still quite difficult to drive. But, as usual, we will find a way to improve from today to tomorrow, so I'm not overly concerned."

Tiago Monteiro (16th, 1:25.277): "I'd have to say it was a pretty productive day from my point of view, and I think we're going in the right direction. We didn't look out of place all day, and I think we'll be even better as the weekend progresses. I was blocked on my last lap of the afternoon on new tyres, so we couldn't get a proper reference time. But considering the split times, it would have been a pretty nice lap, so that gives us a good measure of confidence heading into tomorrow."

Giorgio Mondini (21st, 1:25.586): "Today was not a good day for me, to say the least. I encountered technical problems in the morning that reduced my running time, and that pushed back our whole programme. I was able to run later on, but not at 100%, so I really feel that my times were not indicative of what we're capable of. Hopefully, I was able to provide the engineers with enough data to give Tiago and Christian a good chance in qualifying tomorrow."

Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "It was a normal day's work for us. We had some problems with Giorgio's car, but nothing too serious. Monza is not an ideal circuit for our car, to be honest - we could use a bit more top speed - but all of the drivers did a solid job, and we are in a good position to prepare for qualifying."

Johnny Herbert, Sporting Relations Manager: "We went through a good, albeit condensed, programme that moved us in a good direction for tomorrow. The guys think the balance can be improved even further, which is positive, actually, because it gives them something to work on tonight. The fact that Christijan was 11th today is also encouraging, because we feel that we can improve that little bit more in qualifying."

Dominic Harlow, Chief Race Engineer: "As we expected, it was a quiet morning, followed by a little more work in the afternoon. The circuit conditions are not quite at the level we had at last week's test, but we think we found a good baseline with the race drivers. Unfortunately, Giorgio had a problem this morning, which was a bit of a one-off, really. We fixed it as quickly as we could and tried to get as much of his normal programme done as possible under the circumstances. We'll build on what we've learned, fine-tuning set-ups and such, and hopefully build on it tomorrow."

Toro Rosso-Cosworth

Vitantonio Liuzzi (22nd, 1:25.707): "Everything is fine with the car, which is what we could expect as we tested here for three days last week. But to be honest, there is still some more work to do in tomorrow's free practice to be in the best possible shape for qualifying and the race. But I think we are on the right track."

Scott Speed (23rd, 1:25.755): "I think the car feels better today than it did last week when I was here testing for a day and a half. It feels generally more stable. That improvement comes mainly from the tyres. The balance of the car seems fine to me, it feels better than last week, but until I've had a good chance to look at all the data, I'm not sure where we stand."

Neel Jani (24th, 1:25.878): "I struggled a little bit more with grip than at last week's test, but generally things went well. In the afternoon, I did the usual simulation runs in race trim: I think I had enough fuel on board to drive home to Switzerland and back! I did not have grip on my first two timed laps, but the other two drivers did not have this, so maybe it was something in the settings on my car. But the long run went well."

Super Aguri-Honda

Franck Montagny (10th, 1:24.943): "We had a lot of problems today unfortunately. This morning I could only do a few laps, which is quite frustrating when I come to the circuit and I only run for 2 hours over the whole weekend. In the afternoon we also had a little problem on the car which did not allow us to complete our programme but we could complete our tyre programme. I'm quite happy with the lap time and for the team because this is the first time the car is in this position and I believe the race will be okay. But still I have a little bit of frustration because I would like to do some more laps, more running and more testing, but I'm quite happy because the guys did a good job today."

Takuma Sato (26th, 1:26.118): "The team has done a lot of work since the last Monza test and it was good to see how the car had improved today. As a team we encountered a few problems, but I had a quite trouble free day and completed our required programme. It was very good to see the running of the third car, which has collected important data from the tyres and has shown very good performance and what the car can do. Obviously we will continue to work on improving the set-up for even better performance tomorrow."

Sakon Yamamoto (27th, 1:26.705): "Today we completed a good amount of running in preparation for tomorrow. We did not encounter any major issues until the end of the second session when I had a small transmission problem and I missed the last 20 minutes of running, which was a bit of a shame. But until then we could try a lot of things and we were improving all the time. Franck did a good job I think, so we're going to look at all of the data now and prepare for tomorrow."

Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "Today is my birthday and Franck produced a good top 10 finish! Taku also completed a good test session today, and although Sakon's car had a problem towards the end of the afternoon, the car is basically performing well and so I believe that tomorrow we will see a big improvement in the team."