Chinese GP 2007
OCTOBER 5, 2007
Friday Team Quotes
Fernando Alonso (2nd, 1:36.613): "A very close practice session, with no problems throughout. As usual we worked on our set-up in the morning and made some good progress there, and then in the afternoon we concentrated on the tyre comparison. It is good to be back in China as I like this circuit. I expect it should be a very interesting weekend with the top four cars being very competitive here."
Lewis Hamilton (4th, 1:36.876): "Both sessions went pretty smoothly, and I was able to get a good handle on this circuit, the sixth new one for me this year and completed the planned programme for today. It is a nice track, and the car felt good to drive. I am looking forward to the rest of the weekend where I expect that we have every chance for another strong result."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A trouble free two sessions, where we made good progress on the set up of the cars. The times have been close and consistent, so we will have to look to see where we may be able to gain an advantage over our main competitiors over night. However we are happy with the performance so far and expect to be competitive all weekend."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "As usual the first four are close together. Today we have done what had been planned, and the basis for a good result is there."
Giancarlo Fisichella (10th, 1:37.970): "This was a pretty typical Friday for me. The circuit was quite dirty this morning, and it took a while to clean up, but the conditions were quite good by the end of second practice. The car balance was inconsistent with poor overall grip, but we know the direction we need to work in tonight to improve the situation. In terms of the tyres, they were both quite similar on the short and long runs."
Heikki Kovalainen (11th, 1:38.062): "I think we had a decent day, in spite of my problem during second practice. I lost a little bit of running time but thanks to the mechanics doing a great job, I squeezed in a couple more runs before the end of the session, which was important. This was my first time at the track, and it is quite enjoyable to drive, with a very smooth surface and some good kerbs you can attack. It is just a normal modern style circuit, and I think I got to grips with it pretty fast. So in the end, I did most of our normal programme, and we know where to work on overnight to improve our competitiveness. It will be close again tomorrow in qualifying, but I think we are in our normal position."
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer: "This was a more difficult day than we had at the same point last week, and there is more work for us to do overnight. We are not yet 100% happy with the balance of the car, and that means we also have some room for improvement in terms of our overall performance. Our programme today was fairly standard, conducting tyre evaluations and looking at different aero packages to find the right compromise between the long straights, and grip through the infield section. Now we need to improve the balance, and give the drivers the set-up they need to approach qualifying with confidence."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "Our objective on a Friday is always to make the most of the track conditions at their best, and to complete two trouble-free sessions. We didn't achieve that today after a problem with a fuel coupling meant Heikki lost fuel pressure, and stopped out on circuit. However, it was quickly fixed when the car got back to the garage, and the negative impact on his programme was therefore minimised. Aside from that, it was a normal day from the engine side, running at a circuit that we only visit once a year. The data we collected will allow us to fine-tune our settings for tomorrow's qualifying session and Sunday's race."
Kimi Raikkonen (1st, 1:36.607): "A good day, even if the Friday results have to be considered for what they are, given that we do not know what our main rivals are up to. The car quickly proved to be well balanced, but there is still room to improve the handling. The track was very slippery, but luckily, there are plenty of escape roads that any mistakes don't cost a driver anything. I'm expecting a very close fight tomorrow."
Felipe Massa (3rd, 1:36.630): "We are all very close, given that both in the morning and in the afternoon, the first four in the order were all within around two tenths. I am happy with the first day of free practice and I hope to continue in the same way for the rest of the weekend. We worked a lot on set-up and I think we are on the right track. The track was very dirty and slippery, but it improved over the course of the day."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "Not much to say about this Friday. We went through the usual preparation programme, trying various different set-up changes on the two cars and comparing the performance of the two types of Bridgestone tyre available to us. Track conditions were rather difficult and the surface really was very slippery. It is incredibly close, as indeed has been the case throughout the championship. It will be the details that make the difference, giving either ourselves or our main rivals the edge."
Jenson Button (12th, 1:38.205): "Today's running was positive with a good number of laps covered. We were able to get a sound understanding of both the prime and option tyres and the car is working reasonably well. We tried a few different set-ups over the two sessions and have a lot of information to go through this evening to prepare for the rest of the weekend."
Rubens Barrichello (13th, 1:38.304): "This has been a better Friday for me than at the last two races so I am pleased with our day. The car was well balanced for the long runs and the pace seems reasonable for this stage of the weekend. I am still using the spare car since changing chassis before qualifying in Japan and I have been happier with that. Overall a positive start to the weekend and actually better than we expected here in Shanghai."
Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director: "We conducted our usual race preparation by a long run comparison of both types of tyre. By the end of the day we had found a good balance on both compounds. Using that data we will work out the best strategy for Sunday's race."
Robert Kubica (14th, 1:38.379): "My day was slightly better than Nick's as I had fewer problems. However, we have to work very hard on the set up and the balance of the car as we are a bit disappointed about how the car behaves. At least in the second session I had a good top speed, which we were missing in the first practice."
Nick Heidfeld (15th, 1:38.388): "Of course I'm disappointed because I was not able to do a lot of driving today. In both the sessions I had an hydraulic leak which meant a gearbox change. The mechanics did a great job, but the track conditions were also changing and, therefore, making any sensible comparisons impossible."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "Today we concentrated on the race set-up. But we had to do our programme with only one car because Nick's gearbox had to be changed twice due to hydraulic problems. Because of this the mechanics had a lot of work to do, and in both sessions they had a race against the clock to get the car out again. Now we have to check the data and to get the best set-up possible because we have not been able to achieve this yet."
Jarno Trulli (5th, 1:37.151): "Today went smoothly and we got through our usual programme of tyre testing and set-up. Our long run pace was consistent but we still have some problems with balance. So we need to work a little more on the data in order to find more grip and speed. We've had a poor run of form but now we must forget everything and concentrate on this weekend. It's frustrating not to have scored points for such a long time so that remains the aim for this weekend and we will continue to push as hard as possible."
Ralf Schumacher (7th, 1:37.524): "The sessions went without any problems and we were able to test everything that we had planned. The track conditions were quite slippery but overall I am happy with our progress. This is my second last race for Toyota but that does not mean that my motivation is any way affected. It's been a hard year but the whole team remains focused on the job in hand. We will continue to push until the end of the season. I just want to finish off the last two races with as much success as possible and hopefully bring home the best possible result."
Dieter Gass, Chief Race Engineer: "That was a positive day for us. In the afternoon session we tried out a different floor which completely changed the car behaviour in the direction that we wanted. It's not a new floor design but it has a different characteristic that suits this circuit better. So we are pleased that the switch paid off. We have good pace on the long runs as well. Jarno put in a consistent long run and Ralf was also consistent although that was masked on the timesheets by traffic. We made it through our programme without any issues and the tyres behaved much as expected, with not a particularly large difference between them. So we are in good shape and given this form it is just a pity that we have a wet forecast for Sunday."
Mark Webber (6th, 1:37.450): "That was a good Friday running today. We got through our schedule okay and the car was reliable. We're going to run through a few things tonight to see if we can get a bit more consistency but, apart from that, it was a good P2. P1 wasn't that great for us - but P2 was much better and it's something strong for us to work with tonight.
"Away from today's events, I would just like to make it clear that, although I criticised Hamilton's driving in yesterday's FIA Press Conference, at no time have I made any official complaint about anyone's driving following Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix."
David Coulthard (8th, 1:37.617): "We ran through our programme well today and balance-wise we're looking okay. We had a good tyre evaluation, so we're not overly concerned by the choices we have to make for tomorrow. Our times were competitive, but, to be honest, irrespective of where we are on Fridays, if you look at Saturday's qualifying times, it's been quite similar throughout the year with McLaren, Ferrari, BMW and then Red Bull with Renault, Toyota and Williams. I think it will be similar tomorrow."
Nico Rosberg (9th, 1:37.646): "It took me a few laps to get used to this track again, mainly because it felt very different from last year on our current tyres. Over the two sessions, we found some interesting results in terms of tyres and wing level. We tried a few other things and really made good progress with the set-up. We still need to improve for tomorrow, but all in all we had a positive day and I have a good outlook for tomorrow."
Alexander Wurz (16th, 1:38.531): "I only ran in the second session today and I started on used tyres to find my rhythm - which was not difficult, to be honest. However, the circuit conditions were quite strange today and I don't think the tyres were working properly yet. That said, it was the same for everyone, so we tried a few set-up changes in order to try and improve the car balance."
Kazuki Nakajima: "It was the first time for me on this circuit and even though it's not an easy track, I enjoyed it. The first long corner is fun, and it is then followed by plenty of corners with high lateral loads that make the tyres work hard. The track was quite green and dirty to start with, but it was okay at the end and we had a consistent run. We tried a few things for set-up and completed the programme. In summary, we had a good session this morning and I got a lot of laps under my belt, which was good both for my experience and for the team. The lap times we set at the end of the morning were reasonable, so I am quite happy with my work today."
Patrick Head, Director of Engineering: "We conducted a normal Friday programme with no mechanical problems and we are still working on how to generate performance from the tyres. Both tyres are very hard and so far we haven't been quicker on the option, but I am sure by tomorrow it will be the quicker tyre. We will be working hard to get the cars well prepared for qualifying tomorrow."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (18th, 1:39.065): "A decent Friday as we covered a high mileage without any problems. We have a clear picture as far as tyres are concerned. On new rubber we could not get the most out of the tyres so our times on both prime and option were not quite as good as they should have been but we already have a good idea of what to run in the qualifying and the race. Overall, a positive day, but we still need to improve as our lap times are a long way off the pace, although you never know what fuel loads the others are running."
Sebastian Vettel (21st, 1:39.404): "As is often the case on a Friday, the track was quite green this morning, which made life difficult, but this afternoon, things improved as more rubber went down. However, looking at where we are in the order today, we cannot be happy and there is a lot we have to do to improve. So the first job will be to analyse the runs and hopefully make a step forward tomorrow morning."
Adrian Sutil (19th, 1:39.224): "At the beginning of the day, the track was nearly undriveable and it was very difficult just to stay on track. By the end of the day it was much better and I think we can expect a further improvement tomorrow. We did long runs on both the hard and soft tyre option, and found that the balance was definitely better on the softer tyres. On a new soft option, the runs were quite good, but with the hard tyre we just don't seem to be able to make them work at the moment and I think we need to wait until the track gets a bit more grip. Overall it was a normal good day though and I am quite happy going into the weekend from this basis."
Sakon Yamamoto (22nd, 1:40.051): "Today we didn't have any problems and could get through our programme and, importantly, could collect a lot of data. In the afternoon we tried out both types of tyres, but unfortunately at the end of the second session when we had a new set of tyres we couldn't make the most of them and improve our times. We have to investigate why now so we can try and go forward tomorrow."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "It was a reasonably productive day on both cars. Adrian started to learn the circuit, although it was very difficult in the low grip conditions. The track did improve slightly towards the end of the day, but overall we look competitive with the group in front as in the previous races. We now have to work a little bit harder to find that bit of performance for tomorrow."
Anthony Davidson (17th, 1:38.975): "I enjoyed today. The circuit was nice and dry and the car had good balance. We worked on our race pace towards the end of the second session and I am pretty happy with where we are, so I am looking forward to Qualifying tomorrow."
Takuma Sato (20th, 1:39.360): "I think that it was a reasonable day. I had a bit of traffic on my quick run, but I believe that we have collected a fair amount of data from an aero back-to-back evaluation and also a few long runs on both tyres, which was encouraging. We have quite a lot of information to go through this evening which will hopefully allow us to improve on our performance tomorrow."
Graham Taylor, Sporting Director: "It was a normal Friday. Both cars managed to run through their programmes satisfactorily and we gathered our usual data. We need to ensure that we optimise our performance for tomorrow and the long range weather forecast could make it changeable for Sunday, so we need to keep that in the back of our minds."