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British GP 2012

JULY 6, 2012

Friday Team Quotes

Kamui Kobayashi, British GP 2012
© The Cahier Archive

Red Bull-Renault

Sebastian Vettel (13th, 1:59.476): "If there's too much standing water on track we can't go out, as we aquaplane pretty quickly. I think Senna went off and it shows how quickly it can happen. It's a real shame for the fans sitting in the grandstands waiting for the cars to come out. I feel for them. We got in a bit of running in the end, but for us it's not so useful, as you can't really try anything in these conditions. I think weather will be the most important factor in determining the rest of the weekend. Hopefully it gets a bit better tomorrow so we can get ready for qualifying."

Mark Webber (23rd, No Time): "It's a real shame for the fans today. All the drivers and everyone in the teams are thinking of them because it wasn't the best day for action, but obviously we have to have an eye on the tyres for the rest of the weekend. There's a good chance we might need them, so we had to be careful with how many laps we did. You've got to take your hat off to the spectators and the support that they showed in absolutely awful conditions. I just really hope that a lot of them are back tomorrow because we have no choice but to get on with it then!"


Lewis Hamilton (1st, 1:56.345): "I had some fun out there today! I got to do a good few laps too, which was good, because I was concerned that the fans wouldn't get to see much action. There were so many of them out there today. I can't remember seeing so many people at a racetrack on a Friday before - it was incredible. British Formula 1 fans are the best in the world! I would like to have gone out and done even more laps - but we simply didn't have enough tyres to do that. Perhaps that's something we can look at for the future. There was a lot of standing water out there, and tons of aquaplaning. That's to be expected when there's heavy rain, of course, but I have to say that there doesn't seem to be that much drainage around the circuit. You're aquaplaning almost all the time, to be honest, so you need to be very in tune with your senses or you're very likely to lose control. I think the drivers can probably make more of a difference in the wet than we can in the dry, so I'm really looking forward to the rest of the weekend, which looks likely to stay chilly and wet."

Jenson Button (6th, 1:57.948): "We learned a few things today - but mainly that it's often wet at Silverstone and the fans always come out in force even when it's chucking it down! Seriously, though, I'm glad we were finally able to do some running as it hasn't been the nicest of days for them. It was very tricky out there - there was lots of standing water. You wouldn't want to be racing wheel-to-wheel in those conditions, as you wouldn't see the puddles until it was too late. I think we learned throughout the day where the biggest rivers on the circuit were situated - one of the biggest is along the Hangar Straight just before Stowe. You're travelling at 290km/h [180mph] and you hit a river that gives you wheelspin - at that speed - and when that happens your car can snap out of control very easily. When you're driving alone, it's not so bad, because you can pick your way around and lift off whenever necessary, but in the race you can't do that. So, pretty obviously, I hope there won't be as much standing water around on Sunday."

Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "At the end of a free practice day on which it barely stopped raining even for a minute, it's a relief to be able to point to two fully intact Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 cars, with all their wings and appendages still attached! It was extremely slippery out there today; nonetheless, despite our having to limit our running in order to conserve enough wet-weather tyres for the rest of the weekend, both our drivers did an excellent job in the appalling conditions, getting through some useful wet-weather development work without mishap. Moreover, with wet weather forecast for much of tomorrow and Sunday, today's successful research represents an important baseline from which we can focus our developmental strategy with a view to competing for ultimate honours in the 2012 Santander British Grand Prix."


Fernando Alonso (10th, 1:59.015): "There's very little I can say this afternoon, or at least even less than usual for a Friday. We did very few laps because of the rain and the fact that, with the number of sets of rain tyres limited by the regulations, there was no sense in doing more running. Rather, it was better to save tyres, given that the forecast is definitely not encouraging, as it is meant to rain all weekend. In other circumstances, if the rest of the weekend was meant to be dry maybe, then we could have done more running, but in these conditions, as I said, that really wasn't the case. In the wet, the car seems okay, but it's practically impossible to say where we are compared to the others. Tomorrow morning, let's hope we can at least do a few laps in the dry so as to least have a rough idea of the behaviour of the Soft and Hard compounds that Pirelli has brought here. The off track moment towards the end? The car was aquaplaning and it got away from me. A shame about the front wing and now we must see if we can repair it."

Felipe Massa (15th, 2:00.565): "The weather made this a difficult day. It rained all the time and upset our workload therefore we decided therefore to do only a little running to save tyres for tomorrow and Sunday. Obviously this meant we were not able to test the way we wanted, especially when it came to the small updates we have brought to this Grand Prix. I did only three timed laps, so it's impossible to say anything about how the F2012 is behaving on this track. Tomorrow, regardless of the conditions, we will try and do more laps to be as well prepared as possible for qualifying and the race. We will try and do what we can."

Pat Fry: "Let's say that today it would have been more interesting to compare tortellini with tagliatelle - or maybe Parma ham and Jamon Serrano, rather than spending three hours on the pit wall not even managing to complete a dozen timed laps! Joking apart, honestly it wasn't worth doing much running, because the number of sets of rain tyre per driver is very limited and also because we did not want to risk the cars in such difficult track conditions, with so much surface water. So the real off key moment of the day was Fernando's off track excursion right on his "in" lap at the end of FP2, which resulted in a broken front wing: now we will try and repair it for the rest of the weekend. We feel very sorry for the many spectators in the grandstands: unfortunately, this was the reality of the situation and we could not do many laps just for the sake of it. We had a few updates, nothing revolutionary, to try but obviously, we could not do much in these conditions. So we tried to do what we could, for example some practice starts, putting off until tomorrow the task of preparing for qualifying and the race. Certainly, if the rain was to continue to play its part, then we will have to be clever in managing the situation as well as possible. We continue to push on the development of the F2012, because now that we have significantly reduced the gap to the best, compared to where we were at the start of the season, it becomes increasingly difficult to make progress: the pace and effectiveness of the updates will be the key to the rest of the season."

Mercedes GP

Michael Schumacher (3rd, 1:56.545): "There are still things to be learned on days like these and the positive about today's rain was that it is also forecast for tomorrow and Sunday. This meant that we were able to use today to prepare for the race, primarily on the wet tyres. We also tried the intermediates briefly but they were no faster in these conditions. The rain was constant, which allowed us to at least complete some parts of our programme. There was a lot of standing water, but it was hard to spot from the cockpit, which meant that the drivers had to be very vigilant. Today's sessions went okay and, in any case, we know that at this circuit, with its particular characteristics, rain offers us good chances and opportunities."

Nico Rosberg (4th, 1:56.567): "In general, it was a good and productive day for us. We improved the set-up during the break which helped as we were quicker in the afternoon. It's very unusual that the weather forecast for the whole weekend is wet, and we didn't run that much to save our limited wet tyres. The conditions were really quite tricky out there with all the puddles, and it was very difficult to find the right limit. I hope we can continue to make progress tomorrow."

Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "A very British 'summer' day here at Silverstone, and we must say a big thank you to the fans who have braved the unpleasant conditions to be here for their fantastic support today. In such poor track conditions, often we won't persevere with trying to achieve much running, but it was important for us to find a good balance and set-up on the wet tyres today as these conditions are expected to remain for the weekend. From that perspective it was a reasonable day, and the cars seem to be well-balanced. We'll see what tomorrow brings."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "First of all I have to say that the heroes of today were the spectators. It was impressive to see them sitting out there in the pouring rain and lots of them cheering instead of letting the weather get them down. Especially because it was quite a challenge for everybody to reach the circuit after huge traffic jams this morning - this was like Silverstone in the good old days! On track, we did not see a lot of running in the wet conditions. Some aquaplaning accidents showed how treacherous the conditions were so it was a very good job from Michael and Nico to bring their cars back in one piece after the sessions. Performance-wise it is difficult to judge our level of competitiveness after barely 20 laps for both cars during the two sessions in changing conditions. Our lap times did not look too bad, so it was a positive result on a difficult Friday, which most likely will not be followed by better conditions tomorrow or on Sunday. But that's Silverstone, just the way we all know it."


Kimi Raikkonen (8th, 1:58.897): "It was wet. It's a shame we don't have more wet tyres to be able to get more track time, but if it's going to rain for the whole weekend then everybody tries to save their allocation. We were able to test certain things so it wasn't a total waste of time. It was interesting to see the new section of the track; it's only a few corners so it doesn't make too much difference to a lap. Hopefully tomorrow the weather will be a bit better. Even if it is wet again, everyone will go out in practice and in qualifying so we should see a drier line emerge. When there are only a couple of cars running this doesn't happen and there's much more chance of aquaplaning, but with everyone out there it should be much better."

Romain Grosjean (21st, No Time): "It wasn't the busiest day ever due to the weather conditions but still FP1 went well. The car looks to be good and consistent. We tested a few new aero parts which have worked pretty well. I also learnt that the old part of the circuit has a bit more grip than the new part. At the end of FP1 this morning it was incredibly wet and the same conditions at the start of FP2 so we had to wait and be patient. I would have liked to have more track time but due to the regulations on tyres we didn't want to use up all our wet tyre allocation as more rain is expected on Saturday and Sunday. We looked at putting inters on but it wasn't dry enough so we couldn't really do many laps this afternoon. The conditions were a shame for the fans out there who came to watch us today, but we always appreciate their support."

James Allison, Technical Director: "It's never too much fun in conditions like we saw today as it is always a big dilemma about whether to risk the car to learn about what it is like to run in the conditions. We haven't done a lot of wet weather running this year so it was useful for us to establish that the car behaves well in these conditions, especially as it may well be wet in the race. We were able to validate that all the wings are doing what they are supposed to do, even when the car is wet, and we did that with both drivers. Our pace in the morning showed that we don't have any problems in these conditions. We were also able to conduct some pit stop practices which went well. Tomorrow and qualifying should be interesting."

Force India-Mercedes

Nico Hulkenberg (9th, 1:58.943): "A very limited programme today to avoid running on such a wet track with a high risk of aquaplaning. The only time we felt we could learn anything was in the final half hour of the afternoon session so we remained in the garage for most of the day. The forecast for the rest of the weekend looks very mixed so I think we have a challenging weekend ahead of us."

Paul di Resta (11th, 1:59.429): "Very difficult conditions today, but sometimes you get weather like this. So we had to be patient and choose our moments because the track conditions were so poor with lots of rivers running across the circuit. We didn't really change the car all day, so we will start with the same set-up tomorrow morning. I certainly feel for the fans who missed out on seeing much action today, but it was great to see so many people come along on a Friday."

Jules Bianchi: "It's a shame about the weather today. I only did the install lap and that was it. The conditions were so wet that there was no value in doing more laps and there was very little we could learn."

Jakob Andreasen, Chief Engineer: "A frustrating day for all the teams due to the wet weather, which kept us in the garage for most of the day. It's a shame for the fans, who turned out in huge numbers, but with the high risk of aquaplaning it was sensible not to take any risks until we felt the conditions allowed us to do meaningful running. We ran on the wet tyres with Jules, Paul and Nico, and did one run on the intermediates with Paul. There were some aero developments on the car today, but it was very difficult to learn much in such tricky conditions."


Kamui Kobayashi (2nd, 1:56.474): "In wet conditions our car is quite okay, but it is difficult if not impossible to guess how it would be on a dry track here. However, the conditions are the same for everybody, so we can't complain about that. Obviously we couldn't evaluate the new parts as we had planned. In the end I took a set of intermediate tyres, but only to get a feeling for them. It was definitely too wet for them. Generally the circuit tends to develop little rivers here and there, and even on the straights you have to be very careful not to lose the car by aquaplaning. It seems we will be having a wet weekend and this might not be the worst thing for us."

Sergio Perez (5th, 1:57.493): "I found the day very boring. There wasn't much we could do and it was impossible to complete our test programme. However, we did some running on the wet track and our car seems to be good in these conditions."

Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering: "This is not the Friday we were hoping for definitely from the weather side, although the forecast proved reliable! We had to adapt our programme a little bit. Nevertheless we decided to run because it looks like the weekend is going to be pretty unsettled, so it is good to prepare for qualifying and racing in these conditions. The cars were okay, with no major problems, and we are quite happy so far. The biggest challenge from now on is what the weather will do. For the weekend we have three sets of full wet tyres per car. We used one of those today, but the lack of running was not related to the tyres themselves as in these conditions they do not deteriorate. The biggest problem was at some points it was not safe to stay on the track because there was just too much water."

Toro Rosso-Ferrari

Jean-Eric Vergne (14th, 1:59.854): "Today's practice was useful for us to get used to the very wet conditions and what direction we should be going in with the car in terms of set-up for what looks like being a very wet weekend. The times mean nothing, because the conditions were changing a lot and on my final run, the rain intensified. We had wanted to do more on the Intermediates, but the track surface was never dry enough to use them. There was not much we could in terms of improving the car, although we did make some set up changes over the course of the two sessions, even if it is hard to evaluate as the water level on the circuit was always different. The rain certainly makes the performance more even through the field, so I am expecting to have a more competitive time than in recent races."

Daniel Ricciardo (22nd, No Time): "It looks as though the rain is going to continue for much of the weekend, so today's running was valuable, even if this afternoon, it was too wet to do many laps. The morning session went quite well, running only on the Extreme tyre and that gave me the confidence in the car in these conditions to feel good about tomorrow. We also did a little bit of set-up work but we did not change much, because, in these conditions most of the time comes from yourself. In the afternoon, we did fit Intermediates, but only for a couple of "in" and "out" laps. The rain definitely evens out the performance gaps between the cars, so I'd be happy to have the rest of the weekend run in the wet."

Laurent Mekies, Chief Engineer: "We are facing a completely wet race weekend, so today it was important to get a feel for the car in these conditions. There was also a strategic element to take into account, as we were obviously thinking of saving the Extreme rain tyres in case they are required for qualifying and the race, because each driver is only allocated three sets of these per weekend. Therefore it's a trade off between doing some proper work on the car and saving the tyres. Whatever happens, the next two days should be a great show for the fans who have packed the grandstands despite the bad weather, as we have seen how hard it is to keep the cars on track at this high speed circuit and in these conditions. We only had a few laps to get a picture of how the car is performing and what to do to make it faster. We ran most of the day with the Extreme tyre on both cars and all we did with the Intermediates was a couple of launches."


Pastor Maldonado (12th, 1:59.472): "We didn't get chance to do a lot of running today but everybody is in the same situation. We didn't try too many things with the set-up today but we used the time to see how the track conditions were. There was a lot of aquaplaning, but the car feels quite good despite not getting the chance to run on a wet set-up. If it's like this all weekend, we'll just need to make some decisions tomorrow ahead of qualifying."

Bruno Senna (17th, 2:01.099): "Unfortunately we didn't have a very productive day in the end. The weather was poor weather with puddles on the track during second practice. On my second run, I aquaplaned on some deep water at the high speed Becketts section of the track and from that point was I a passenger until the car hit the wall. It was quite a heavy accident but I am ok. There is a lot of damage to the car but the Williams team will, I'm sure, do a great job of getting it back into shape for tomorrow."

Valtteri Bottas: "It was really wet this morning with a lot of water running across the track, meaning that the tyres were aquaplaning a little bit. The conditions were not easy but I think it was good overall. We got a little bit of direction with the car balance as it is looking like there will be rain all weekend. We made the most of the chance we had today by doing a few flying laps, but the weather was just getting worse."

Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: "Unfortunately for everyone, and especially the spectators, the weather conditions were very poor today with constant rain throughout both sessions. As the forecast predicts both a wet qualifying and race we decided to run more than we would typically do in these challenging conditions in order to set the car up and get the drivers' feedback ahead of the weekend. In FP2 Bruno aquaplaned off the circuit on full wet tyres damaging the front and rear wings and suspension. The mechanics are now busy rebuilding the car and we'll be ready for FP3."


Heikki Kovalainen (7th, 1:58.580): "I think that's the wettest day we've had in F1 for quite a while and that cut short the amount of running we could do today. It was pretty treacherous out there in both sessions, more so in the afternoon when I was getting wheelspin at the end of the straight and when it's like that it's not worth risking the car, particularly when we have quite a lot of new parts on it that we need to take a look at as much as we can this weekend. As it was so wet I can't really say how much of an improvement we've made here, but this morning the car felt pretty well balanced as soon as I started to push a bit, so if it's raining like this on Sunday at least we know we have a decent setup to race with."

Vitaly Petrov (18th, 2:01.348): "This morning Heikki and I were running comparisons between the new exhaust layout and rear bodywork so my first taste of the new parts was in FP2 when it was even slippier out on track. Even with conditions like that we still got through a few laps and the car felt good - pretty stable, good traction and a good base for us to work from tomorrow. It would be good for everyone if it is more dry tomorrow but even if it's not we'll just have to get on with it. I like the rain so for me it's not a problem."

Mark Smith, Technical Director: "It is obviously a shame for the fans and the teams alike that we had such limited running today, but the conditions were so bad in both sessions that the risk of accidents was too high for us to run any more than we did today. Despite that we were able to complete a number of useful tests this morning, running comparisons between the new upgrades we have brought here with the package we raced in Valencia. That gives us a relatively decent amount of data to go through to understand what sort of gains we have made, but the initial numbers are encouraging."

Thierry Salvi, Renault: "Silverstone is a power circuit, one where the drivers should spend up to 64% of the lap on full throttle in qualifying. Obviously the weather conditions today meant that the challenges for us on the engine side change, and we have to work very closely with the team's engineers to decide what gear ratios will give us maximum performance in what could be a dry qualifying session, but a wet race. Today we have also been working with the team on optimising engine performance with the updates that have been brought to this race. The main area of focus for us is the revised exhausts, a version of which were first tried at the test in Mugello but which have been revised and refined since that test and require a series of new engine maps that help the driver optimise all the performance characteristics of the engine around this circuit. The immediate feedback we have had from both drivers is positive so, despite the weather today, this has been another good day for us and the whole team."


Narain Karthikeyan (20th, 2:04.774): "Today we faced typical English weather; it was a complete wash out and, as a result, we didn't complete any meaningful running. The new part of the track, which is made up of turns 1 to 5, is new to me because I didn't race here last year so we need to make sure that we get some running in before qualifying. Hopefully tomorrow we'll have the chance to do these miles to head into qualifying better prepared, where I'll be aiming to back up my good performance in Valencia."

Pedro de la Rosa (24th, No Time): "This morning we ran in wet conditions and tested everything we wanted to do, so in the second session we didn't feel the need to take a risk since the conditions weren't the best and, besides, we've only got three sets of extreme wet tyres for the entire weekend. That's why we decided not to come out. Ahead of tomorrow's qualifying, if we face the same conditions, the important thing is to complete a clean lap, with no traffic, and not much water on track. Today we acclimatised to Silverstone in wet conditions and that was the objective."

Dani Clos: "I'm very happy to have driven the F112 again and because we completed a good session despite the rain. We drew some positive conclusions and, personally, I enjoyed it inside the car. The most important thing is that I've continued to rack up some miles in a Formula 1 car and did so in different conditions. I improved with every lap, whilst the track got worst. The team did a great job and I'm very satisfied."

Luis Perez-Sala, Team Principal: "It's been a complicated day because the track was very wet and, for us it was not easy at all because we really suffer in these conditions. Dani got into the car for the second time and did a good job. Narain also did a good job in the afternoon as he returned to his car and felt comfortable immediately at a track where he didn't race last year. Pedro didn't run in the afternoon but his laps in the morning were enough for what they wanted to test on the car so we could say it was mission accomplished and now we must think about tomorrow."


Timo Glock (16th, 2:00.820): "It has been a bit of an unusual Friday for everyone today due to the weather conditions. The day started very wet, so we didn't get much running in FP1. It rained again during FP2 but we squeezed a longer run in towards the end when it stopped. However, it was very difficult to drive with the track condition and there was a lot of aquaplaning. I think we still have a bit of pace to find in the wet and tomorrow is likely to be quite unpredictable, so it will be difficult to find the right set-up choice."

Charles Pic (19th, 2:03.719): "It was a slightly frustrating day in respect of the fact that it was very important to get some engine calibration runs with the new exhaust system. These are normally things we can work through quite quickly but in today's conditions it was much harder to do all the required runs. This information is crucial for the rest of the weekend though. It was good at the end of FP2 to get a run on the Extreme Wet tyre, which I haven't had much experience of all year, so this will help us prepare for the rest of the weekend with the weather we are likely to get."

John Booth, Team Principal: "Coming into the weekend with both cars carrying the full upgrade package, we were obviously looking for dry weather to allow us to optimise the set-up to the new aero developments. The weather has made it difficult to get any meaningful comparison data and because of the wet weather we have also had to be quite prudent with the number of laps we attempted. Both drivers have done an excellent job in difficult circumstances, as have the team, and the day was approached with their usual display of calm professionalism. It is obviously very difficult to judge the full potential of the upgrade, however the early signs are that we do not appear to have any reliability or performance issues."