Canadian GP - Friday - Team Quotes
Fernando Alonso (1st, 1:16.550): "A good start to our weekend at a challenging circuit. In the first session we limited our running slightly as the track was very dirty and only used one set of tyres, but still emerged fastest. The second session was spent on tyre evaluation and also looking at the brakes and we have made some good progress. I don't think we will dominate like we did at the last race in Monaco and the track conditions here means that it's very hard to estimate where our competition is, but so far so good."
Lewis Hamilton (3rd, 1:17.307): "Today was the first time I had the opportunity to drive at the Montreal circuit and I really enjoyed myself. We had done a lot of work back in the UK with our simulation programme and also I have watched a few of the past races here but you can't beat the real thing. We worked on set-up, tyre evaluation and also looking at the brakes as this circuit is notoriously hard on the brakes. There were no problems and it looks like we are in good shape."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A troublefree start to our Canadian Grand Prix weekend. The team has worked hard since Monaco on finding further improvements and so far it looks like we could have a competitive weekend. As always on a Friday both drivers focused on general set-up work and tyre evaluation but we also did some work with the brakes as these are a key factor at this particular circuit."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A positive first day which saw us improve step by step. Fernando was fastest in both sessions whilst Lewis ended up second and third respectively, so it looks like both drivers and the technical guys found a good basis for tomorrow's qualifying."
Giancarlo Fisichella (8th, 1:18.130): "I think this was a good first day for us, and the performance seems quite good. Everybody could see that the track was very dirty and low grip today, so it wasn't easy to work on the balance as the conditions were changing all the time. But we made some good improvements, and the car felt good by the end of the second session. My feeling with the car is similar to the low downforce test we did at Paul Ricard, and the handling is much more consistent, which confirms the step forward we made in Monaco. In terms of the tyres, we had a lot of graining on the soft tyre, and even some on the hard compound. That will lessen as the grip improves, but it will still be quite tough to find the right race strategy, I think. Thank you once again to the guys at the factory for all their hard work, because I can feel that the car is improving each weekend. We have made a good start, and I hope we will be able to race with BMW, who are our main rivals this weekend."
Heikki Kovalainen (22nd, 1:20.519): "It was disappointing to hit the wall this afternoon and lose running time in the second session, but this is a demanding circuit where one small mistake can cost you a lot. Apart from that small error, though, I think it was quite a good start to the weekend. The car balance felt pretty good this morning: the handling was neutral, and I could attack the braking zones well. My timed lap wasn't perfect, but the package felt quite competitive. In terms of the second session, there isn't much to say: I had one run on old tyres, then went out on the softer tyre but I made a mistake in turn 7, ran wide on the exit and hit the wall quite hard. It damaged the suspension, but also punctured the rear tyre, which meant I couldn't make it back to the pits. I did enough laps today to learn the circuit, and the challenge now will be to find the right set-up in the final session, and get comfortable using both types of tyre."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Montreal is an arduous circuit in many respects, and particularly for the brakes and tyres. Our work today therefore concentrated on running with high fuel loads to see the real potential of the two tyre compounds, and how our brakes are standing up to the challenges of this circuit. Giancarlo enjoyed a very satisfying day on circuit that we know he enjoys, and our first analysis of the times suggests that the progress we saw in Monaco seems to be continuing here. Unfortunately, Heikki's afternoon was spoiled when he understeered into the wall at turn 7, which brought his work to an early end."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "As we are unable to test at this circuit before the race, our Friday programmes for both cars were full and busy, focusing on tuning engine mapping, analysing top speeds and selecting gear ratios. That was reflected by the fact that Giancarlo completed a significant number of laps, almost completing a full race distance during the day. The low grip conditions also meant we saw a number of cars hit the wall, and unfortunately, Heikki's was among them. That left us with a little less data than we had hoped for, but it won't penalise us. In terms of relative performance, it is always hard to judge on Friday, especially given the unusual programmes that teams sometimes run at this circuit. But I think Giancarlo's times in particular were encouraging, with good top speeds for both drivers, and we will hope to see this confirmed tomorrow."
Felipe Massa (2nd, 1:17.090): "We got through a lot of work during these three hours of free practice, trying various different set-ups on the car. At the end, on new tyres, I managed to post a competitive time, which is encouraging for the rest of the weekend. The track surface was very slippery, especially this morning and that made working on the car difficult. We improved it a lot over the three hours but there is still much to do. I think we can fight for pole, but we will only get a good idea of where we stand compared to the others tomorrow, when we will all be in the same situation in terms of fuel load and tyres. Strategy choices will also play a vital role given that, at least from what we have seen today, tyre degradation is quite significant."
Kimi Raikkonen (4th, 1:17.515): "It is difficult to get a clear picture of the situation because the track was really slippery today, more so than we could have expected. But the grip level improved a bit in the afternoon. We got through our planned programme and now we have to study the data to work out how to improve our performance and find the best balance for the car, taking into account that the condition of the track surface should improve over the course of the weekend."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "It was rather a complicated day today. This morning the track was virtually free of any grip whatsoever and we struggled to find the right settings on the F2007. Then, bit by bit as the track rubbered in, the situation improved and we can say we now understand in which direction we need to move forward. Both Kimi and Felipe are reasonably happy with the work achieved today. The pecking order seems to be more or less the same as we have seen to date this season: it's very close and it takes very little to make the balance swing one way or the other."
Rubens Barrichello (7th, 1:18.108): "The team did a great job working to improve the car over the day so I am happy with that. The balance of the car is not yet where I want it to be, however looking at the degradation of the tyres and seeing how we performed this afternoon, we can be positive and work towards a better day tomorrow."
Jenson Button (13th, 1:18.474): "We completed all of the work that we planned for today, with both Rubens and I covering a lot of laps which gives us valuable data to work with overnight. It has been a reasonable start to the weekend and although we have some work to do to improve our long-run pace, overall it was a good day."
Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director: "We achieved our planned programme today and completed plenty of running but we have had some problems finding a good long run balance on the option tyre. We suspect this has been the case for some of the other teams also. We have seen quite a significant track evolution between the two sessions, and if the conditions develop as we expect them to, then the track should be more suited to the softer tyre. Our long run pace on the hard tyres was pretty competitive compared to those teams closest to us."
Nick Heidfeld (5th, 1:17.827): "In the morning especially the track had extremely little grip, which made the car very difficult to drive. We then did some set-up changes for the second session, but I'm still not a hundred per cent happy. I didn't get either of the two tyre specs to work properly - neither on a single lap nor on a long run. Shortly before the end of the second session I hit the wall with the right hand side of the car at the exit of turn 4. It felt pretty hard. I am surprised the car wasn't damaged. Also in the afternoon I went straight on in the chicane because of three guys going very slowly in order to create gaps for a clear lap. That's not a very clever thing to do on a part of the track where one approaches at 300 kph."
Robert Kubica (12th, 1:18.399): "This morning we missed some running because of a fuel leak. After that the car has been quite difficult to drive. At the beginning of this afternoon's running I had brake problems, and I made a mistake because of this. I went wide on one corner, spun and fortunately didn't hit the wall that hard so was able to continue. We have done some running, which is good, so we now have to wait to see which way to go with the set-up, because certainly what we have at the moment is not the best."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "Nick completed his programme without any technical problems. In the morning session he concentrated on the set-up, in the afternoon on race preparation. Our focus was also on the brake performance. Robert lost precious time in the morning due to a leak in the fuel system, which could not be repaired during the first practice session. Therefore, in the second session he worked on a reduced programme. But all in all we can be satisfied with the first impressions we got today."
Jarno Trulli (18th, 1:18.895): "My day was cut short because we suffered a problem with my front right suspension early in the second session. We missed most of the afternoon and it happened again when we went out at the end. That is unfortunate and we will have to investigate the issue tonight. It also means I have had only a very short time to work on set-up changes. I've had problems with the rear of the car and I've struggled with high rear tyre wear so I have a lot of work ahead to catch up tomorrow. Still, after two races with nothing to show we will push as hard as we can to bounce back. I have a new helmet dedicated to my friend Danilo De Luca who has just won cycling's Giro D'Italia so I will hope that helps bring me better fortunes."
Ralf Schumacher (19th, 1:19.331): "That was a difficult afternoon for us due to the problems we have had. When Jarno had the first problem with his suspension we both stopped running for 45 minutes as a precaution. At the end of the session we went out but when it happened again we had to stop running. The car didn't feel too bad for the first half of the session but we could not show our full potential. We've had a frustrating run lately but we will keep hoping for an improvement this weekend. I'm looking forward to a better day tomorrow."
Dieter Gass, Chief Race Engineer: "Obviously that was not a good afternoon for us. We have an issue on the front suspension of Jarno's car which is clearly related to this circuit. We have now identified the front upright as the problem area. We have no changes on the parts here and they have been tested and run throughout the season so far. So we need to look into that and understand what has happened. As a precaution we kept Ralf in the garage. This problem has overshadowed all our running today and we are lacking a lot of the information that we were looking for. This morning went quite well but the circuit was obviously in more representative conditions after it rubbered in this afternoon. Now we need to sit down and change tomorrow's run plan to see how we can make the best out of the weekend."
Mark Webber (9th, 1:18.181): "It wasn't too bad today. Understanding the tyres that Bridgestone has bought here has been the biggest challenge for everyone today, I think. They're what we'll be doing our homework on tonight, and making sure we've got everything set up to get the best from them. There were a few incidents today on track, with people brushing walls and things, so it'll be an interesting race on Sunday."
David Coulthard (11th, 1:18.316): "We put in a lot of laps today, which is obviously a big improvement over Friday in Monaco. The tyres are our main focus here, so now it's a case of looking through the data and making our decisions for tomorrow."
Nico Rosberg (6th, 1:17.992): "It was quite difficult out there today, especially concerning tyre choice, but we tried a few things and made some progress. We just have to wait and see, really, but all in all I think it was an okay Friday for us."
Alexander Wurz (17th, 1:18.871): "We didn't have two perfect sessions today, but nevertheless I think we generated enough data to optimise our package for tomorrow. I did my tyre comparison very early in the second session under yellow flags when the circuit wasn't so great, but I just need to stay calm and use what we learnt today to get the best out of tomorrow."
Kazuki Nakajima: "Obviously it was my first time on the track this morning and it was really green and slippery to begin with, so it was not easy to set a good time, but I think I learnt my way round quickly and then tried some downforce variations in order to generate some data. I was happy with what we did today even though I did make one little mistake. We didn't look very quick in the morning, but as often seems to be the case, we will improve relatively as the track cleans up over the weekend."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "Today we worked through the usual Friday programme, concentrating on set up and particularly brakes as these are important in Canada. Kazuki and Alex started off the programme in the morning, checking the two tyres and Nico took over from Kazuki for the afternoon session and worked on a couple of different set-up items as well as checking brakes on a couple of long runs. We had a pneumatic leak on Nico's car which lost him some track time this afternoon and on Alex's car we also had a small problem with a fastener on the suspension we had to check, but otherwise everything ran to plan."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (14th, 1:18.493): "In one way I am happy because the car went well and feels well balanced so I had high hopes. But on the other hand things didn't go well as I had to stop in both sessions with a broken gearbox. This is without a doubt the main problem we have to sort out this weekend. At the end of the day, we suffered because we were unable to do many laps, especially in the form of a long run, but in any case I am optimistic because I was still able to see the potential of the car."
Scott Speed (16th, 1:18.602): "The track was very slippery today, but that's always the case here and on top of that, we are running very low downforce so I think that when the track develops some grip it will benefit us. At the end of the session, for some reason I don't understand, Mark did the most strange thing I have seen since I've been in Formula 1. I haven't been brake tested like that since my karting days. I'll be interested to see what Mark has to say about that!"
Christijan Albers (20th, 1:19.453): "It was a hard day today, but it was good all the same. We are getting closer with the set-up and I am getting more comfortable in the car as we found something in the set-up. We will see tomorrow for Qualifying, it's maybe too early to make predictions, but hopefully we will continue along this line to get stronger and stronger from now on."
Adrian Sutil (21st, 1:19.662): "It was a difficult day as the track was very dirty at the beginning of the day and I had a lot of oversteer. It was just in the last 20 minutes that we started to get a good set-up and improve the balance and I could start to drive with some more confidence and push. It was very difficult to find the right set-up as conditions changed and the brake set-up was different to all the other circuits I have driven on. The softer tyre also started to grain very quickly but in the end we found something that will help. We still have some work to do tomorrow, when hopefully we will have a better day."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "We had a reasonable day with both cars. The track conditions in the morning session were quite difficult but as they improved during the second session, the general balance of both cars got better. We are still struggling with the rear tyres going off, but towards the end of the day it became less of an issue. Christijan is reasonably happy with his car and steadily improved the balance throughout the session, but Adrian struggled slightly. Both could have improved their times fairly significantly but for a couple of mistakes on their last runs, but overall we are fairly competitive with the group in front and hopefully will be in the same or a better position than we were in Monaco."
Takuma Sato (10th, 1:18.309): "It was an encouraging day. At the beginning we struggled a lot with grip and tyre behaviour as the track was green and dusty, so it was difficult to get a good lead from the car because it was sliding a lot. The track improved quickly so by the end of the first session we had a good idea of which way we should go on car set-up. In the afternoon we built up our programme step by step and by the end of the session I believe we were in a comfortable position. However, we still have quite a lot of work to do overnight and hopefully the weather and track conditions remain the same for tomorrow."
Anthony Davidson (15th, 1:18.545): "So it was an interesting day with the track changing dramatically from the first session to where we ended up this afternoon. The track was very dusty to begin with and everyone was struggling for grip. We found a good balance in the car from early on and just waited for the track to come to us, which it did towards the end of the first session and in session two. Overall, I'm very happy with today's work."
Graham Taylor, Sporting Director: "Satisfied. The drivers did a good job, the engineers ran through their structured plan and we obtained a lot of information, but I think that overnight we need to unlock exactly how we are going to manage the Bridgestone Potenza tyres over this weekend."