BRAZILIAN GP - FRIDAY - TEAM QUOTES
Fernando Alonso (10th, 1:13.820): "The grip levels were very low today, and the track was getting better and better as the session went on. That means it's difficult to draw too many conclusions about the set-up or the performance of the car, and we will have to work well this evening to anticipate how the circuit will change for tomorrow and the race. So what counts today is the basic feeling, and it was good, with no problems at all in either session. The Michelin tyres were working well, and the car was pretty comfortable to drive. So I am feeling happy, and confident for the rest of the weekend."
Giancarlo Fisichella (12th, 1:14.053): "With difficult track conditions today, it was hard to put together the best lap straight away on new tyres. There is some work to do on the car balance as I had too much oversteer, especially in the second sector, but we improved the situation during practice - and we will hope to take another step forward for tomorrow. We will look hard at the tyre choice tonight because that will be an important factor for the rest of the weekend, but I think we are in a good position."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "In spite of what's at stake this weekend, we had a very normal Friday, running our usual programme evaluating the two types of Michelin tyre we have brought to this race. There does not appear to be a big difference between them at the moment, and we will study the data tonight to select the right tyre for the race. Both cars were suffering from some oversteer today, but we took a step in the right direction during the session and will improve further overnight. The engines performed without incident, so all in all, it was a typical Friday made up of solid race preparation."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "As we have become used to saying this year, this was a normal Friday for the team. This morning, we chose to swap Fernando's original engine for a unit of the same specification that was installed in the spare car, because the latest results of our dyno testing in Viry indicated it offered us the optimum performance-reliability compromise. This unit functioned faultlessly today, as did the E specification engine in Giancarlo's car. On the engine side, we did plenty of laps and have the data we needed to conduct our usual approval processes, and fine-tune the mapping of the V8's. As always, much of the day was devoted to fine-tuning the chassis set-up, which is particularly important at such a tricky circuit. We made solid progress, and will continue in the same direction tomorrow."
Kimi Raikkonen (9th, 1:13.803): "We made some progress on our set up work and tyre evaluation, however we still have a little work to do tomorrow, but everything looks fine so far."
Pedro de la Rosa (11th, 1:13.926): "Basically we finished the planned programme for today, and with my fresh engine I could do more laps than usual on a Friday. This gave us some extra information on the tyres. I am happy with the progress that we made today."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A good and solid performance. So far so good."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "We achieved good and consistent times under simulated race conditions during today's free practice. Everything went okay."
Michael Schumacher (6th, 1:13.713): "Of course, I am well aware this is my last Grand Prix, but once I am in the car, it feels no different to any other. I am here with my family and my closest friends which makes me happy. I would like to thank BMW-Sauber for their nice gesture. On the technical front, first impressions are good: the car and the Bridgestones seem to be working well. The situation seems pretty close and from our side we are happy with the work we have done today. Our aim is clearly to try and win the Constructors' championship and that will require a one-two finish."
Felipe Massa (17th, 1:14.561): "We worked a lot on car set-up, which was not quite right at the start of the session, especially in terms of grip. Towards the end, we managed to improve, which makes me reasonably confident for tomorrow. My yellow and green race suit? It's a tribute to my country and I must say I am very happy to have my first race in a Ferrari in Brazil wearing our national colours."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "This is a special Friday, because even if we are trying not to think about it too much, we are well aware that this is the first day of Michael's final race weekend as a driver. Furthermore this is the final Grand Prix of what has been a very tough season, featuring moments of joy but also disappointment. It is still hard to put behind us thoughts about Michael's retirement in Suzuka, which compromised our chances of victory in both championships, especially the Drivers' one. Here our target is very clear, namely to get a one-two, which we know is an ambitious goal but one that is achievable. All our efforts and those of our technical partners, first and foremost Bridgestone and Shell, are concentrated on this task. Then we will see how things turn out depending on the race result."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "Fundamentally, it was a Friday pretty much like any other, at least on the technical front. The track was very dirty and all it needed was to go very slightly off the ideal line to record a much slower lap time. The cars seem reasonably well balanced and the performance of the Bridgestone tyres is also looking good."
Jarno Trulli (4th, 1:13.483): "That was a good Friday practice session for us. You always notice the bumps on the first day at Interlagos but we had no problems and we were able to make it through our programme of tyre and set-up work. We have been looking competitive so we are confident heading into tomorrow and the race. After our double points finish at Suzuka we are only one point away from BMW in the constructors' championship with one race to go. Every position is crucial for the team so the most important thing for this weekend is to push as hard as possible to try and move up to fifth place. Our pace has improved a lot this year. Now we have one more chance for points at this last race and we will do our best to take it."
Ralf Schumacher (7th, 1:13.765): "This circuit has always been difficult due to the bumps and today was no different. Today's sessions went okay and we had no real problems. We completed all our programmes as planned but now we have to sit together and make our tyre choice, which will be difficult. This is a challenging circuit for cars and drivers but I think our package should be good here. Our speed has been strong at recent races and we were quick at Suzuka a fortnight ago. So the trend has clearly been in the right direction and we hope that can continue here. Our target for the weekend is to take fifth place in the constructors' championship and I think that would be a just reward after all the hard work the team has put in this season."
Dieter Gass, Chief Race Engineer: "So far things have gone well for us here at Interlagos. Today we had no technical problems so we were able to complete everything we had planned. Obviously the main focus was tyres and we have some interesting data which we will now have to analyse. We will certainly continue to evaluate the tyre choice tomorrow morning. We have also been working hard at riding the bumps, which are always an issue here. We put in more laps than usual this morning because it's a short track and we had mileage available. It was dirty early on but the track surface improved as the day went on. We look competitive so we will keep on working hard and keep focused on coming away with the points we need on Sunday."
Alexander Wurz (1st, 1:12.547): "It's the end, no more Friday driver role for me! I'm really pleased that I had such a good last lap. In fact, if I can squeeze some laps like that out of the car next year, where there are no mistakes and everything was fine, I will be very happy. The work we did today was good; we completed our usual tyre tests as well as some set-up comparisons and brake work. Now we need to get our heads together with our engineers to make sure we have a good package for tomorrow's qualifying and the race on Sunday."
Mark Webber (19th, 1:14.839): "We went through our usual Friday programme and I had a few laps in the afternoon session to get a feel for the car on this track. We did some wing comparisons here and there and checked a few things out so we have lots of data to look through tonight from Alex's running."
Nico Rosberg (23rd, 1:15.124): "This afternoon was my first outing at Interlagos. It's not too hard a track to learn and I found my rhythm pretty quickly. It's definitely a nice track, good fun and enjoyable to drive. We based today's sessions on tyre tests and we definitely achieved some good results and the Bridgestones are looking strong here. We also did some aero comparisons to see what the optimum set-up will be and have some very good results there too. It was a good job from Alex to be quickest in the second session and I hope we can keep the pace going over the weekend."
Patrick Head, Director of Engineering: "We have done some good homework for the race, running both tyres, which both look like possible race tyres, but we'll be going through the data and making a decision on that tonight. We didn't have any mechanical problems and Alex came out well among the Friday drivers, which is good for him. Nico had to learn the track, as he was driving here for the first time. As a team today we gathered useful data."
Chris Jilbert, Cosworth: "In what is likely to be Cosworth's final Friday practice session in Formula One for the foreseeable future, all three CA2006 V8 engines ran flawlessly today, allowing WilliamsF1 to complete their programme as planned. It's going to be an emotional weekend for Cosworth, but it's great to be topping the time sheets today."
Anthony Davidson (2nd, 1:12.653): "A nice end to the season for me. The car was feeling really good all the way through today, particularly on the long runs which is promising for the race. The track continued improving all through the day and as the temperature warmed up it suited our car more and more, so hopefully the weather will continue to get better through the weekend. We had a bit of traffic on my last run which was a shame as the times could have been quicker but that's Friday driving for you. Reliability has again been excellent so we have a lot positives to take forward into the rest of the weekend."
Jenson Button (5th, 1:13.485): "We have made improvements throughout the day as we've tried various set-up options. The balance was better this afternoon as the track improved and our pace seems encouraging. We had a few problems with traffic, particularly in the afternoon session, but it didn't impact on the running too much. Anthony was able to cover a lot of laps so we will have plenty of information to look through tonight."
Rubens Barrichello (13th, 1:14.434): "I had a few issues with the set-up of the car to begin with but we made improvements this afternoon. The car has been quite slow on the straights which we need to look into tonight to find the reason. We got some useful work done today but there is still a lot of work to be done as I am not completely satisfied with the car."
Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "A good clean day for us. Anthony, Rubens and Jenson completed all the planned running and we have the required data for us to make all the key decisions for tomorrow. Anthony and Jenson are happy with the car balance but Rubens' car needs a little more tuning. The weather is unusually cold but should get warmer over the weekend. Hopefully we can keep improving and be in a strong position for qualifying tomorrow. Since this is the last Friday of the season, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Anthony for his invaluable contribution, effort and focus all year."
Michael Ammermuller (14th, 1:14.436): "I feel a little sad as that was the last Friday test I'll do this year. I'd love to do some testing for the team next year, hopefully I'll be able to. It's great to drive here, although there are a lot of left- hand corners, which can pull on the neck quite a lot. There are also a lot of bumps in the track, often under braking, but everyone faces the same problem."
David Coulthard (24th, 1:15.214): "A normal Friday practice. Nothing to report."
Robert Doornbos (28th, 1:16.251): "A pretty quiet day really. We just did one lap this morning and this afternoon our planned programme was cut short due to a suspected engine problem, which is now being investigated further. I ended up sitting on the side of the track watching the others drive - but we'll make up for it tomorrow and on Sunday. The circuit's good to drive here."
Sebastian Vettel (3rd, 1:12.870): "It was a good Friday. Although rain was predicted, it stayed dry which was an advantage and meant that in both sessions we were able do our preparation work well. I did a lot of laps and collected a lot of data. I like the track very much. It is very bumpy but a lot of fun to drive on."
Robert Kubica (16th, 1:14.510): "I have done just a few laps. The track is quite nice to drive, but there is not a lot of grip and it is a bit bumpy. However, it is the same for everybody. For me everything is okay and it is just a normal Friday, although I did spin after going on a white line, which I think was still a bit wet from this morning."
Nick Heidfeld (18th, 1:14.793): "Normally I really like driving in Interlagos, but today I found it pretty difficult because the balance of my car is not right yet. The car isnít behaving consistently, but on the other hand the lap times where consistent, and that is positive."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "We are satisfied with the first day of practice. Sebastian had a big programme, which especially contained the tyre comparisons, and completed 62 laps. He is happy with both the set up and the performance of the car. Nick and Robert havenít done any long runs so far, but tomorrow they will profit from Sebastianís set up work. There were one or two spins, but we had no technical problems. The most successful driver of all time is retiring, he did a lot for the sport and because of him, especially in Germany, F1 is very popular. As a thank you to Michael Schumacher we have Thanks Michael and Danke Michael on the rear wings of our cars."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director Chassis: "The last Friday practice session of the 2006 season went absolutely according to plan. Interlagos is known for extreme improvements in the grip level, so we have to have these changing conditions in mind when looking at the data from Sebastianís tyre comparison. With Nick and Robert we waited until the end of the session in order to find best track conditions to get the right information for the carís balance."
Tiago Monteiro (15th, 1:14.468): "I think today was a good performance for the whole team. Considering how much fuel we had on board it was really promising. We managed to find good car balance having made improvements throughout the afternoon session, earlier the car had been pretty difficult to handle but the set-up now suits my style of driving. It could rain tonight and we may have a different track tomorrow. We will keep our eyes open for changing conditions but its always very positive to have a start to the weekend like this."
Ernesto Viso (20th, 1:14.972): "I was very excited to be at the Brazilian Grand Prix as a third driver especially with the Spyker MF1 Team and I think we did a good job. It's basically my first ever time in F1 and at this track and I think we made a lot of good progress with the set-up and the tyre programme. I hope we can communicate over the winter and with some support maybe look at expanding my F1 experience next year."
Christijan Albers (22nd, 1:15.086): "It was quite a useful day as I think we know what tyres we will choose for tomorrow. It is a short track so we encountered quite a lot of traffic but it doesn't matter as its only a Friday. We will see how it goes tomorrow but at this time it doesn't look too bad."
Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "The day seemed to go how we expected. It will be interesting to see whether the weather changes as it could play a very important role over the weekend. I think with the progress we have made recently that we stand a good chance of being in the right place to maximise our performance this weekend. I was happy to see Ernesto Viso in the 3rd car and I think he handled his responsibilities very well and we will make good use of the vital information he provided. I am looking forward to see whether our performance improvement continues through qualifying and the race."
Dominic Harlow, Chief Race Engineer: "Today was quite a normal Friday but that's not to say it was necessarily very good. We still have a lot of work to do with the set-up of the cars. The bumps and the generally fairly low grip have caused a lot of problems for the drivers. I think we are going in the right direction with tyres looking towards qualifying tomorrow and the race. We had a lot of fun working with Ernesto and he did a great job for us today."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (25th, 1:15.737): "A difficult day on a difficult track. It was a bit damp at the start of practice and we adjusted the set- up bit by bit as it dried. We concentrated on working towards the race and from what we have seen so far, I think we will have a tough time on Sunday. We expect to improve our performance tomorrow by trying various changes to the car. The engine restrictor does not help us with the many changes of gradient here."
Scott Speed (26th, 1:15.855): "Another new track for me. It's very tight and right now it is also very slippery. So going for a full lap without missing a braking point or sliding out off line has been very difficult. Of course I had heard about how bumpy this place is and the fact that it's an anti-clockwise track, but after the first two hours I'm feeling fine physically. In terms of car performance, it felt on the edge everywhere and although the track condition will improve it will always be tough for us as we usually struggle on this type of circuit. A difficult end to the season I think."
Neel Jani (27th, 1:15.868): "Being the third driver all year for this team has been a very nice experience. Never in my racing life have I learnt so much in one year, about set-up, tyres and so on. I have enjoyed it even though there have been some frustrating moments. Life goes on and my next aim is to actually race in F1. The team got better and better during the year and I think now they are working well together. Here at the track, I had a good morning, but in the afternoon I had a broken exhaust."
Franck Montagny (8th, 1:13.792): "This is my last day with SUPER AGURI, so it is quite a special day. I was happy with the car during the final session and we finished 8th fastest. We completed two tyre tests in the afternoon because we had a problem this morning with the steering rack which caused us to cancel our first session. I think it's good because a top 10 finish shows everyone that the team is getting better and better. But there is a little bit of sadness because the guys here have been very good to me and I would like to thank them and Aguri for my great time with the team."
Takuma Sato (21st, 1:15.023): "It was a good start to the weekend. We made good progress during both sessions and we felt comfortable with that. Interlagos is a bumpy track and always challenging for the drivers and demanding for the car set-up, but our car seems to be working well. I believe that we can carry over today's progress to tomorrow."
Sakon Yamamoto (29th, 1:18.321): "It was not really a successful day for me because even though we had no issues this morning at the beginning of FP2 the car soon had a problem. This took a long time to fix and then we could only complete two timed laps, which is too short to determine good car balance. We haven't collected a lot of data from my car, so we shall have to work hard to prepare for tomorrow."
Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "I am happy with today's practice sessions. Franck set another good time for us and finished in the top 10. He has done a great job for my team and I would like to thank him for his contribution this year. Taku also did a good job today; it is a shame that Sakon had some problems with his car, but overall Franck collected a good amount of data and so it is looking positive for tomorrow."