Brazilian GP 2007
OCTOBER 19, 2007
Friday Team Quotes
Lewis Hamilton (1st, 1:12.767): "I enjoyed finally getting out on this amazing track, it was just a shame that the conditions were not great this morning, and we couldn't really do as much running as we would have preferred. However, it was good to get a feel for the track, and we made reasonable progress on the set-up work and tyre comparison despite the cold conditions."
Fernando Alonso (2nd, 1:12.889): "The session this afternoon was far better than this morning. We did not expect it to stay wet for the rest of the weekend so took the decision not to do any running in the morning as we wouldn't achieve any conclusive results on set-up and tyre comparison work. Also there is a new track surface here and as a result it was very slippery. However by this afternoon the track had dried out, and it was clear that the conditions were improving. I am looking forward to a competitive weekend."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A positive afternoon session with both drivers setting consistent times and working through the planned programme. Unfortunately the morning session was dominated by the poor weather and we restricted the running accordingly. Despite topping the timesheets, today has not been perfect for us as we made a mistake in this morning's session and used one set of tyres too many on Lewis's car. This was unfortunate and clearly did not provide any advantage. However we must now wait on the Stewards' decision later this afternoon."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "The times are very close, with Lewis and Fernando being quickest on a drying track in the second session. The wet conditions in the morning session prevented us from any useful running, so it is too early to say exactly where we are compared to our competitors."
Giancarlo Fisichella (5th, 1:13.549): "I think we are in good shape after our first day of work here. The circuit was improving all the time this afternoon, but we made good progress with the set-up as well, and I think we were quite competitive. They have done a fantastic job with the resurfacing work, and the circuit is much better to drive now. The grip level was a bit low in the wet, but this afternoon it felt very good. Now we need to work hard overnight so we can build from this promising start to the weekend."
Heikki Kovalainen (12th, 1:13.879): "We got a lot done today in spite of the tricky conditions, and the basic balance of the car seems good. I need to find a little more pace from the car but I think we have some good directions for our work this evening, so we can do it. I learned the circuit quickly and I must say that I am really enjoying driving it, it is a fun track with a good mix of corners and gradient. I am looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow."
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer: "With a wet track this morning, and a slowly drying circuit in the afternoon, we had to adapt our running programme to suit the conditions today. The main thing was to get both drivers comfortable with the soft and super-soft tyres we are using this weekend, which we managed to do without any problems. Given the wet weather this morning, we decided to use the session to resolve a small problem with Giancarlo's race chassis, to avoid any disruption to our qualifying preparation tomorrow morning. We did so successfully, and he then did a very good job to run so competitively this afternoon. Heikki learned the track quickly, and ran strongly in both wet and dry conditions. The car seems to be performing well here, and we have made a promising start to the weekend."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "As is normal in Interlagos, with such a short lap-time, the field is very closely spaced and the competition in qualifying will be particularly intense. On the engine side, we could not learn much in the wet this morning, and that meant we had a busy afternoon as we tried to complete our normal preparatory work in the space of a single session. The engines performed well, the cars' speeds are competitive, and we had no technical issues at all. More than ever this weekend, it will be important to get every little detail right in our preparation, and we have made a good start on that today."
Felipe Massa (3rd, 1:13.075): "The day was affected by the weather conditions, with a wet track in the morning that dried progressively during the afternoon. I consider that the new track surface is an improvement and I think they have done a really good job with it. Obviously, the track was still slippery today so it is difficult to make a judgment about tyre performance."
Kimi Raikkonen (4th, 1:13.112): "As usual on Friday, it is difficult to understand exactly where we stand compared to the others. That was probably even more the case today given the track conditions. This morning in the wet, we just checked that the car was okay and then in the afternoon, especially the first part of the session, the track still had some damp patches. Then, when conditions improved, we came up against a bit of traffic. We are reasonably happy with the way today went, but there is still a lot of room for improvement on the car."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "This morning's rain limited our planned work schedule. In the first session all we did was check that both cars were running fine and then in the second one, as the track began to dry out, we were able to run a first comparison between the two types of tyre available and also try some setting changes on the cars. Especially in the early stages of the second session there was only one usable line as the rest of the track was still very damp, which complicated things a bit. Overall the situation is what we had expected: as we have often seen throughout the whole season is that we and our main rivals are very closely matched."
Rubens Barrichello (13th, 1:13.892): "We have had two good practice sessions today despite changing track conditions and we were able to work on improving the car in the wet and dry. On my last run this afternoon, I got caught in traffic which was unfortunate as I felt that I could have achieved a little more from the car. Overall we have made a positive start which gives me reason to be optimistic for the rest of the weekend. With regard to the new asphalt at Interlagos, it is much improved and less bumpy than before."
Jenson Button (14th, 1:14.095): "With a wet session this morning and a drying track this afternoon, we had to work through various different set-ups today. I struggled with a lack of grip in the second session and the tyres were also graining, so we still have some work to do to find the optimum dry set-up and improve the balance of the car. We were able to achieve a good number of laps though so we have plenty of data to work with."
Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director: "The first session this morning was wet throughout which allowed us to work on car balance in those conditions. Both drivers reported that the new track surface was definitely less bumpy than in the past. The second session began on a damp track but very soon we could switch to the dry tyres and begin our set-up work. As expected we experienced some graining with the option tyre, while the prime tyre was very consistent. If the conditions stay dry for the remainder of the weekend we expect the track to rubber-in, making life easier with the option tyre."
Robert Kubica (6th, 1:13.587): "This morning we didn't run because of the weather. Our predictions said there would be no rain and for this afternoon we were hoping that the track would dry out. This is what it did and at the end it was nearly completely dry. We did quite a lot of tyre evaluation as they are pretty soft and there is a lot of graining, and it is very difficult to do something against graining. They have done a very good job on re-surfacing the track. There are no bumps at all, and the track is very smooth. Normally when you put new tarmac down the bumps stay, but that is not the case here. It has made it easier to drive on, as the bumps were upsetting the balance of the car, but as before it is a nice track to drive on."
Nick Heidfeld (10th, 1:13.785): "In the afternoon I did many laps, 44 in total, and the car felt pretty good. We did a lot of comparisons and now have a good amount of information about the tyres. The softer compound tends to grain. The new tarmac is a clear improvement."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "Because we don't expect rain on Saturday or Sunday, we didn't do any running this morning as it didn't make any sense to send the cars out. In the second session we did the tyre evaluation with both cars. Now we will look into the data to make our tyre choice for qualifying and the race. Because of the changing track conditions the lap times were improving all the time, and this makes the data comparison very interesting. We had no technical problems."
Ralf Schumacher (11th, 1:13.829): "It was an exciting day of practice because we had every kind of track condition, starting off wet and then ending up dry. But everything went well today so we can be happy with what we have achieved. The organisers have done a really good job with the new tarmac - it's very smooth and there are no more bumps. This is my last race for Toyota and I'm pushing as hard as I can for a decent result both for myself and for the team. We were competitive at the last race and even though we didn't finish it was enjoyable. So we can hope for more of the same here and aim to finish off the season on a high note."
Jarno Trulli (16th, 1:14.179): "From the start of the first session the car wasn't as I wanted it so that was a difficult day for me. We will have to look into why that is because it seems we have a few problems. It is not really a question of balance but it is more that we haven't been able to make the tyres work properly. So it has not been a particularly good day. The new track surface is very good so they have done a good job. The bumps which were always a problem at this track in the past have been removed and it is a big improvement. It's been a long time since my last result so I am determined to go home happy on Sunday. For that we need to score some points."
Dieter Gass, Chief Race Engineer: "That was quite a difficult Friday today because of the weather. With the new tarmac we would love to have had two dry sessions to be able to assess the tyre behaviour. But with less than one session of dry running we had to try and squeeze everything into one hour, which was impossible. So we ran different programmes on the two cars, trying to maximise the information we could collect. We now obviously need to look into the data and decide what we're going to do for tomorrow. The new tarmac has significantly reduced the bumps but it is still difficult to say how the tyre behaviour will change over the weekend. We are expecting dry weather and now we must work hard for qualifying and the race."
David Coulthard (9th, 1:13.706): "That was a normal Friday practice today, as we ran through the programme ahead of qualifying. Obviously the conditions were pretty variable, which made running a bit more difficult, but the track was much smoother than it has been previously, as a result of the resurfacing that's been done here."
Mark Webber (20th, 1:14.543): "The car was reliable. The track was very greasy in the first session, so we didn't do too much running then, but we were able to put in some more laps this afternoon. We were learning about the tyres on the new asphalt and, tonight, the biggest thing that we need to look into is managing the tyres. I think everyone will have the same situation, so we need to work hard this evening to work out what's going to happen tomorrow and on Sunday."
Nico Rosberg (7th, 1:13.655): "It was a pretty good day for us, especially in the wet, but you always need to be careful with Friday's times. We didn't show our true potential, but that's probably the same for everyone today. We had a dry track in the afternoon and we now know that the tyre choice is going to be difficult. We tried a few directions on the set-up; we didn't get it quite perfect, but we know how to get it right for tomorrow's qualifying."
Kazuki Nakajima (8th, 1:13.664): "It was good for my first day, especially the afternoon session. My lap time was quite close to Nico's and that was one target for the weekend. We had some balance problems, but I think that is the same for everyone here. The track is really good fun to drive and it's not giving my neck any problems. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's qualifying session now."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was a wet morning which meant we had a busy afternoon going through the two dry tyre compares on both cars, but we worked our way through the programme. We didn't experience any mechanical problems on either car. Kazuki did a good job on his first day as a Formula One race driver and he'll be aiming to repeat the performance again tomorrow."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (15th, 1:14.152): "This is not one of my favourite circuits, but for sure it is a great one to drive with all the changes of gradient and the banked corners and a mix of high and low speed turns. Overall it is a good track with a great history which is what makes it special. As far as my day is concerned there were a few problems when it came to finding the right balance on the car, due to the changing conditions, with wet conditions at first, gradually getting dryer. Overall, we still have a bit of work to do on set-up, but we got some useful information to work with, although I think in terms of tyres it is going to be difficult as the "softer ones seem to suffer with the new tarmac surface. Hopefully the weather will decide what it wants to do: either completely dry or completely wet would be a help for everybody!"
Sebastian Vettel (17th, 1:14.409): "This is one of the best tracks of the year and fun to drive. The new surface seems to be quite grippy, which can also be seen comparing this year's lap times to last year. The new surface has eased the bumps a little bit, but towards the end of the session as it dried, you could see the marks where the cars are bottoming and it seems to be in the same places as last year. In terms of our performance, the wet conditions this morning made for a difficult day. But, even if we did not get enough time in the dry today, we tried to get data on both tyre specifications which seem to be rather on the soft side, so we will have to see how the situation evolves tomorrow."
Adrian Sutil (21st, 1:15.095): "We haven't changed anything on the car since China so it was a normal Friday practice day getting to learn the circuit. The track is very good to drive with some tricky parts, but it's not that difficult to learn so I felt very comfortable quite quickly. In the afternoon we waited until the track was dry and although it was not perfect conditions, we could still do set up work on the car and try out the tyres available here this weekend. The softer tyres seemed to grain very quickly on the second and third laps, but I hope there will be an improvement tomorrow."
Sakon Yamamoto (22nd, 1:15.715): "Today we had fairly changeable weather conditions with small showers in the morning and the track conditions were very wet. In the afternoon the track was slightly better and we could run with dry tyres to compare the soft and super soft options here. The general feeling was okay, but the lap time was not good so I will try to keep working and there is more to come tomorrow."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "A fairly useful first day. Obviously in the morning the conditions were very wet so Adrian just familiarised himself with the circuit. In the drier afternoon session we managed to evaluate both sets of dry tyres and had no real issues. We know there is more performance to come in the car."
Takuma Sato (18th, 1:14.431): "It was a busy but not an easy day. We evaluated the different downforce levels with the new rear wing and worked through the tyre test, but we experienced so many different conditions that it was not possible to complete the tyre programme. We need to analyse the data tonight to improve our performance and also hope for more stable conditions tomorrow."
Anthony Davidson (19th, 1:14.477): "It was an interesting day with changeable conditions. The car was okay in the rain this morning, but then as the track dried throughout the second session it was difficult to get a good time out of it. I am disappointed with where we have ended up on the time sheets; I feel that we are struggling with pace compared to our competitors and so we have a lot of work to do overnight before tomorrow's Qualifying."
Graham Taylor, Sporting Director: "The changeable weather conditions and new track surface meant that there was a great deal to cover today. We managed to split the programme and gained a lot of information from both free practice sessions, however we made a mistake this morning with Taku's tyres and are not satisfied with where we are at the end of the day. Even though the new parts that we have brought to this circuit seem to be working well there is a lot work to be done overnight."