Belgian GP 2007
SEPTEMBER 14, 2007
Friday Team Quotes
Fernando Alonso (1st, 1:46.654): "A good start to the weekend, with all our set-up work completed and with some positive results. The car feels good to drive round here, but as always there is still room for improvement. We have a good idea of where we are and where we can improve, so it should be a close fight all weekend."
Lewis Hamilton (2nd, 1:46.765): "Today we completed all our work without any problems. I love this circuit, so really enjoyed driving round here and just seeing what the MP4-22 could do. The balance of the car on this technical circuit is good, but I struggled to get a clear lap all session until the very end. That being said I could really feel a definite improvement in our overall performance since we tested here back in July."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "It's good to be focusing on the track action with two problem free practice sessions today, where we managed to complete all our race preparation work. We will have to continue to optimise the car's performance as the circuit cleans and the grip levels improve, but absolutely everyone in the team is fully committed and focused towards winning here this weekend."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "We went through our planned programme, and the form we showed during testing here was confirmed. Both Fernando and Lewis were fast and posted consistent lap times; our goal is to continue like that."
Giancarlo Fisichella (7th, 1:48.086): "This was a good day for us. We got a good answer comparing the two types of Bridgestone tyre, and in terms of the car's handling and set-up, our situation is getting better and better. There is still some work to do tonight after we have analysed the data, but I think we can say "so far, so good" at this point."
Heikki Kovalainen (10th, 1:48.567): "We got a lot done today, working on the set-up and comparing the two tyres. The timesheets didn't reflect the car's full potential, because I had traffic on my quickest lap at the end of the session, and I think there is more to come from the set-up as well as I work with my engineers this evening. I think we made a good start to our programme, and we can continue in the same way tomorrow."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "We had two very good practice sessions today. The Spa-Francorchamps circuit has some unusual demands, and we looked at these while building on the work we did at the test here back in July. The cars are running well, the balance is almost there and the tyres are performing as expected. All in all, it was a useful day."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "Although Monza is often talked about as the definitive test of a Formula 1 engine, the demands of Spa are not to be underestimated. The duty cycle is almost as severe as we saw last week, and the challenge of Eau Rouge must also be negotiated 44 times during the race, with the unusual vertical g loadings it imposes on the engine and particularly its lubrication. In this context, our July test was very useful, as we had not previously run the V8 engine at this circuit, and we built upon our conclusions during practice today. On Friday evening, we are used to saying that the timesheets mean little, but this is even more true at a circuit where the fuel mass penalty is so high - and where relatively small differences in fuel load therefore make a large difference to lap-time. We are happy with the work we did today, though, and the car and engine both ran reliably and competitively."
Felipe Massa (3rd, 1:46.953): "Despite losing time this morning, in the end we can call this a good day. We did some useful work on set-up and on the balance of the car and on a comparison of the two types of Bridgestone tyre available to us. From what we could see, we are working in the right direction. Now, we have to analyse the data very carefully to be as well prepared as possible for tomorrow's qualifying and for Sunday's race."
Kimi Raikkonen (4th, 1:47.166): "Satisfied with the way thing went this morning, but a bit less happy about the afternoon would sum up my day. This morning the car balance was very good, while we struggled a bit in the second session to find the right settings. We need to get the package we have to work better."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "Overall, this Friday has not thrown up anything different to any other first days of practice at the previous Grands Prix. We are struggling a little to do a good time on the first lap on new tyres, but our consistency in terms of performance over a long run is encouraging. We carried out the usual Friday tasks, comparing various aerodynamic and set-up options, as well as looking at the performance of the Bridgestone tyres."
Jenson Button (14th, 1:48.919): "I completed the programme but we are not quick enough and it seems the car is not where we need it to be to suit the demands of this circuit. We did expect this to be honest; the test here in July indicated that there was work to be done. We will now have to look at the data and see where we can bring improvements to the car ahead of tomorrow."
Rubens Barrichello (15th, 1:49.364): "I spent both sessions analysing the tyre options, rear wings and running through the usual Friday set-up programme. I got the job done in terms of running through all the items but we are not quick enough and I'm still having problems in some of the corners. We have a lot of work to do before qualifying."
Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director: "Both test sessions ran faultlessly and we achieved our planned program. On this track, where aerodynamic efficiency is very important, we expect to have a more difficult challenge than in Monza. We prepared for the race with heavy fuel in the second session, using both prime and option tyres. Our pace is consistent but not fast enough. We now have to analyse all the data from today to come up with the best possible compromise for tomorrow."
Robert Kubica (9th, 1:48.279): "The day was okay. We did a lot of running, but unfortunately again the grip level is quite poor. Now we have to analyse why the car feels different today than in the test. The conditions for the test were similar but with some rain, which should have been an advantage today, but it was not the case."
Nick Heidfeld (11th, 1:48.606): "We had no technical problems, but I'm not satisfied with my car's balance yet, although I think this is also down to the fact I didn't attend the test here. Friday's practice times are always difficult to interpret. I feel our team will also be the third strongest here. Spa is a very nice track. However, after the change from the V10 to the V8 engines you can go Eau Rouge and Blanchimont flat out without a problem, so the circuit has lost its ultimate thrill."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "Spa is a very demanding track, in every respect. As usual, we concentrated fully on race preparation and started working on the set-up of the cars. We then completed the long-runs with the two tyre specifications and also tested different aero configurations. It was indeed a very comprehensive programme today, which we were able to complete without any technical problems."
Jarno Trulli (5th, 1:47.491): "Today went quite well and I am pretty happy. We basically concentrated on set-up work and tyre performance. I think we are looking quite strong for this weekend, and it was good to set some competitive lap times this afternoon. I love this circuit. It is the best in the world so I am very motivated to get a good result here. It has everything a driver wants from a track, you are challenged everywhere and there is every different type of corner. I am pushing as hard as possible to score some points because we have been close in the last few races but always had problems. I always find myself in a good mood here at Spa so I hope for the rest of the weekend we can continue to do a good job."
Ralf Schumacher (6th, 1:47.946): "We went through all our planned programme and had no reliability issues, which is a positive thing. We already had a good idea of set-up from our test here earlier this year but of course the conditions were not exactly the same today. We expected to be reasonably strong here after our test earlier in the year and this seems to be the case, judging by today's lap times. I am relatively happy with the pace we showed. Qualifying has been very close in the last few races with only one or two 10ths making a big difference so we will work hard to optimise our car in time for qualifying. I am optimistic about our chances and hopefully we can fight for a strong result in qualifying and then the race."
Dieter Gass, Chief Race Engineer: "It was a positive day for us. We ran through our programme of set-up and tyre work very smoothly, and our lap times were quite encouraging. From the test here in July we had a good base line set-up already so we just needed a bit more fine tuning to adapt to the conditions here and get the most out of our package, which we did with steady progress through the two sessions. We also got quite a good picture of how the soft and medium tyres behave. Both cars did a lot of miles today without any significant technical problems. As usual, it is only a Friday and people are running different programmes so we will have to wait and see. However, I hope we can keep the momentum going for the rest of the weekend."
Mark Webber (8th, 1:48.271): "The first session wasn't easy for us, but in the second we got the balance of the car closer to where it had been at the test, so it was bit better. The car isn't too bad to drive here, but we need to be faster."
David Coulthard (13th, 1:48.883): "There was a problem with the differential pressure which caused a hydraulic failure in the second session. I lost power steering and the gearbox in Eau Rouge and had to park the car. It's disappointing, as it's not the first time we've had issues and we need to get laps in to get comfortable with the set up of the car ahead of tomorrow."
Nico Rosberg (12th, 1:48.840): "We had a very difficult test here in July but we have brought some improvements to the car and they seem to be working better. However, it was not the best day for us today as we tried to find some more pace. Unlike the last few races, however, the tyre choice seems to be pretty clear, so we can concentrate on other matters. We definitely have some hard work to do tomorrow morning to try and find a bit more for qualifying."
Alexander Wurz (16th, 1:49.393): "It was a pretty tough day today and everything seemed to be difficult with the car and its setup options. We had a similar set of issues here at the Spa test, so we will have to work hard to change this. That said, the last few things we tried at the end of the day seemed to offer a better direction, so I hope we can undo these knots and make some progress tomorrow."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "We ran through all of our programme today, although much of the work on systems we completed at the recent Spa test anyway. We have a lot of work to do here overnight as we are not as competitive as we have been in recent races, but we will see a clearer picture tomorrow. Our focus will be to get as much performance as we can out of the cars tonight."
Sebastian Vettel (18th, 1:49.720): "I did not test here for BMW in the summer, so this is my first time here in a Formula 1 car and the circuit seems very different to the way it did when I last raced here in Formula 3 and World Series. This is a bit faster! I like the track: Eau Rouge is very nice but my favourite is the double left, Pouhon at Turns 10 and 11. We did a lot of laps today so I think this was a good day. Unfortunately, Tonio was unable to contribute much data because of the problem on his car. As usual, it is hard to have a clear picture as we don't know what fuel loads the others were running."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (22nd, 1:50.865): "I started the morning with problems with the balance on the car and big understeer in the medium and slow speed corner. We had this situation for my first three runs. Then the session ended when the front locked up in corner 8, which put me off the track. At the start of the second session, it felt like I was in a completely different car as it had gone the opposite way to the morning, with the car feeling very light in the rear, but much more driveable. I had a strong first run, but on my out lap for my second run, I had to stop because of a problem with the rear end of the car, which we are investigating."
Sakon Yamamoto (17th, 1:49.697): "This was my first day driving at Spa and I really enjoyed it. This circuit is quite fast after the hairpin so you shouldn't push in just one corner, instead try to drive very smoothly and get into a rhythm. I think you can really see our improvement here from the last test with the A-spec car, there is a real difference. We still have to discuss our programme tomorrow, but we will try to keep going forward as much as we can."
Adrian Sutil (20th, 1:50.399): "It was again a hard day. I found it difficult to get a good balance - the car is quite difficult to set up, with either big oversteer or understeer. When I went off on the entry of turn seven I had some oversteer and I just lost it. It was not a big incident but I could not go on in the session."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "In general it was a very productive day spoiled at the end by a silly mistake by Adrian on his in lap, but overall the B-spec car is much more competitive here as we expected. Both drivers look very good over a long run and on new tyres and we have to build on this tomorrow. We now have a step forward and I think there is a good chance that we may make it into Q2 tomorrow."
Takuma Sato (19th, 1:50.168): "We struggled to find a good balance today. It's so different from our last visit here at the test over a month ago. We didn't maximise or make the most of the tyres for the short or long runs, so I think we need to work quite hard overnight. We collected very valuable data, but we couldn't do as many laps as we wanted as our running was quite restricted. I hope that we can improve our performance for us to be able to have a better day tomorrow."
Anthony Davidson (21st, 1:50.542): "It's been a difficult day. We seem to have two extremes in the car and we can't find the balance at all. It was a very 'undriveable' car. It's a tough situation and it's going to take a lot of work tonight to improve the car for tomorrow. Hopefully in Qualifying set-up the car will be a lot easier to drive, but so far it's been a 'testing' day for everyone."
Graham Taylor, Sporting Director: "It's nice to be back in Spa, but Spa's not being very nice to us today. Neither driver is happy with the balance of their car. We've tried different options of set-up and certainly we haven't found the sweet spot yet. We are going to have to do a lot of work tonight to try and find that. I don't think there is a balanced car in there, but we will have to take the best compromise we can come up with and look forward to a more competitive car tomorrow."