Hungarian GP 2008
AUGUST 1, 2008
Friday Team Quotes
Kimi Raikkonen (5th, 1:21.009): "We worked on various set-up options for the car. I also tried the new engine cover, but it is hard to assess it in any detail. The situation is not too bad, the car handles better, but our main rivals seem to be still a little bit quicker than us, even if there is the usual question mark over any difference in the fuel loads. There is still room for improvement and we will concentrate all our efforts on this in preparing for qualifying and the race."
Felipe Massa (6th, 1:21.010): "It's hard to say exactly where we are compared to the opposition, but clearly they are very quick. I did not feel too comfortable on the softest tyre while on the harder one, which I used first, the situation was much better. As usual on the first day at the Hungaroring, it is difficult to understand how the tyres are behaving because you always get a lot of graining, while the situation changes bit by bit as more rubber goes down on the track surface. We know in which direction we have to work and we will do all we can to bring home a good result. It will be tough, but I am confident all the same."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "We come here off the back of two rather difficult races and our target here has to be to extract the full potential of our package and then try to secure the best possible result. Friday's results always have to be looked at with caution, especially at a track like the Hungaroring, which is always very dirty on the first day. Clearly we are up against some very strong opposition on a track where, historically, we have usually struggled a bit, but I am confident we can have a good race."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "Friday's results are always difficult to evaluate as one doesn't know what fuel loads the other teams are running and this is even more the case here in Budapest where the tyres show signs of a lot of graining on the first day. In fact, only the performance over the first lap can be considered a valid indication, before waiting several laps before the tyres clean up again and one can return to showing an acceptable pace. We got through all our planned programme and the new parts we have brought here seem to be working in the right direction. Now we have to analyse the date to be as well prepared as possible for the rest of the weekend."
Nick Heidfeld (7th, 1:21.138): "In the beginning it wasn't good at all. I guess many drivers had trouble with graining, so I don't think I was the only one. But I found the balance of my car really poor. We made several changes during both sessions, but they didn't lead to the progress we wanted. For the very last outing we then made major changes and luckily this proved to be a step in the right direction. I'm happy we tried this because we now know a lot more."
Robert Kubica (8th, 1:21.363): "We did the usual Friday programme. We evaluated the tyre compounds and worked on the car's set-up in order to find out how the car and the tyres behave on this track. We will now analyse today's data and prepare for Saturday."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "It was a productive first day of practice. As usual we concentrated on race preparation. The focus was on the tyre selection. In Budapest the two softest tyre compounds will be used. Now we are going to analyse the data we have collected. This will be the base for our race strategy."
Nelson Piquet (2nd, 1:20.748): "Our free practice programme went well and we have made progress. The car was reacting well to the different set-up solutions that we tried and so I am quite satisfied with the day's work. The track changed a lot during the day and it's quite a demanding place with lots of corners, but I enjoyed driving the circuit and I hope things continue like this tomorrow."
Fernando Alonso (4th, 1:20.928): "It was a typical day of practice with a lot of laps covered and lots of data to analyse this evening to be ready for tomorrow. Overall we improved the car and we are moving in the right direction. We still have a few things to improve, but if we can make the most of the final free practice session tomorrow morning, we should be able to approach qualifying in good shape."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "It was a very productive first day here in Hungary. On this circuit, where qualifying is particularly important, it's no secret that our fuel load was slightly lower than normal, but even so we look competitive. Our main focus was to understand the tyres and in particular the effect of graining. All in all it was a successful day for us."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "This is a track we know well and so our main focus today was to concentrate on the setup of the cars. There were not any problems which allowed us to make good progress with our programme and the results from the first day of practice are rather encouraging. It's difficult to know exactly where we are relative to our competitors because the impact of carrying fuel here is significant, but it was important to complete our programme, which we have done."
Nico Rosberg (10th, 1:21.581): "We didn't start the day quite the way we wanted and had to make several changes throughout the sessions in order to find the best direction for us. We definitely went the right way with the changes, and have made some good progress with the car. Tyre-wise, we have yet to make our decision. It's not immediately clear which option to go for, but we'll analyse that tonight. Once again, the competition is looking quite strong, especially the Renaults."
Kazuki Nakajima (14th, 1:21.902): "Our pace wasn't where we wanted it to be in the morning session, so we made a few changes in the break between sessions. The changes worked better for us as we certainly found some more pace in the afternoon. We still have some work to do this evening to make sure we get the best from the car tomorrow. I also know that I have to do some work to improve my pace as well."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "A busy day for the team during which we worked through a number of set-up changes on both cars throughout the course of practice. The main area that we have to focus on here is qualifying. It's almost impossible to overtake around the Hungaroring, so a good qualifying position is key to a successful result on Sunday. The drivers and engineers will now spend tonight working through the set-up to get more performance out of the car."
Mark Webber (12th, 1:21.733): "We've got some work to do tonight to try and work out where we can find some more pace in the car. We had a good run in terms of laps completed, but it would always be nice to be a bit quicker. We'll be back tomorrow and will do our best."
David Coulthard (13th, 1:21.837): "A normal Friday for us today, making our tyre comparisons and getting used to the conditions. I think it's going to be very tight again in the mid-group, but we'll see how tomorrow goes."
Jarno Trulli (9th, 1:21.505): "As usual here in Hungary it was a difficult Friday because of the dusty circuit. It was hard to draw clear conclusions because there was tyre graining that affected the car's performance and general balance. So we concentrated on finding out what kind of behaviour we can expect from the tyres. I hope we can have another strong weekend because I like this track, the car has been competitive recently and we are looking to score more points."
Timo Glock (11th, 1:21.662): "The morning went well for me on the dirty track surface and we had no problems with the car. In the second session the track changed, there was a bit more grip and the car started to be a bit trickier to drive but overall this was not a bad first day. Hopefully we can continue with this speed. If I can qualify well and we can have the race pace we had in Hockenheim then a points finish should be possible. After my accident in the last race I've completely recovered. I tested at Jerez last week without problems, I passed a further medical check yesterday and I felt fine driving the car today."
Dieter Gass, Chief Race Engineer: "Today's sessions went very smoothly and we were able to get through a lot of work on aerodynamics and set-up. We had no problems on the cars so that was a positive day for us. Obviously here you always have to be very careful with the circuit evolution, because the track starts dirty and then picks up a lot of rubber. This needs to be taken into account when we do our analysis tonight. The option tyre seemed better suited to the track compared to Friday last year and we can be pleased with what we have achieved today."
Sebastien Bourdais (15th, 1:21.955): "Not too bad today. This morning was the first time I have driven here since the track configuration was changed, so I was finding out what it's like in a Formula 1 car. That went okay. This afternoon it was the usual programme of evaluating the tyres with different fuel loads. The track rubbered in quite a lot towards the end and as I did low fuel runs earlier in the session, this did not show in our later lap times. I was struggling a bit on the Option, which I had expected. As this track changes a lot, if you don't have a major problem with the car, it's best to leave it alone and see what happens on the second day. Otherwise, you make changes to the car which are not appropriate for the Saturday conditions. You have to be patient!"
Sebastian Vettel (20th, 1:22.945): "I had hydraulic problems in both sessions. A shame because I lost a lot of track time and Friday's work is very important. I hardly ran at all and therefore we are lacking information which will be a handicap for the rest of the weekend. Obviously, this means the data from the other car will be twice as important as usual. I will try and learn from Sebastien, but relying on your team-mate is never as good as finding your own way around the track. Hopefully I can catch up a bit tomorrow morning."
Jenson Button (16th, 1:22.150): "Overall we had a good day today which enabled us to further understand the new rear suspension that we will be racing for the first time this weekend. We made some positive changes after the morning session to improve the car as I was not happy with the balance when we had very low grip at both ends. The changes ensured that the car was a lot more responsive this afternoon and an improvement over how it has felt for much of this season. Our long run pace is looking okay but we have further work to do over one lap as the balance is not quite there yet."
Rubens Barrichello (19th, 1:22.448): "It has been a challenging day today, which we expected as we continue the set-up work with our revised rear suspension and new aero parts. Once the track had improved this morning, we worked on getting the right balance on the car and conditioning the tyres. Unfortunately we struggled with understeer and we need to look at the data closely this evening to confirm our direction before qualifying as the lack of overtaking opportunities here makes it important to get a good grid slot."
Steve Clark, Head of Race & Test Engineering: "This is always a demanding circuit for the brakes and engine due to the high ambient temperatures and low average speed. We also need to be mindful of the fact that we are expecting an equally hot weekend in Valencia in three weeks time, therefore engine management will be particularly important here. The nature of this circuit calls for the Bridgestone soft and super soft tyre compounds with which we will need to maintain a balance to prevent graining and overheating. Beyond that the heat will make this a tough race for the drivers, however ours are well prepared for these conditions. We have introduced some significant mechanical developments to the car this weekend as well as the final stage of our mid-season aerodynamic upgrade. Whilst we have a tangible improvement in terms of stability and improved grip in the high-speed corners, the developments have produced some significantly different characteristics and we are still developing the set-up of the car around these. We have some way to go to achieve the optimum balance and this is reflected in the timesheets today."
Giancarlo Fisichella (17th, 1:22.197): "The upshift is better with the new gearbox and obviously a good step forward, but unfortunately for us we are not going to use it tomorrow and Sunday. We are struggling with the grip level at the moment as there is a lot of inconsistency and the balance is not quite there. Over the day the track conditions did improve a lot and the last 10 to 15 minutes of the second session were much better. Let's see for tomorrow and how it improves again as we use it more."
Adrian Sutil (18th, 1:22.358): "Quite a good day today, the gearbox did a good job and we didn't have any issues at all. The car balance was still difficult as the track is not yet at its best so it was hard to find a good set-up. On my last run I had some traffic and couldn't really get the maximum out of it but I have a good feeling all the same. I think we are on the right track and the car is behaving well with no problems. I hope we can translate this into a good performance tomorrow in qualifying."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "It was good to use the seamless shift box on both cars today and we ran without any problems. We also ran some updated parts for the high downforce configuration and didn't have any mechanical issues, we are just trying to understand the tyres. Obviously the track evolves throughout the day and the event, and was very dirty to start with, which caused a lot of graining on the tyres. Overall we got through our whole programme of work and I think we can have a good weekend. For tomorrow we'll be reverting back to the standard gearbox configuration as it's the fourth race of this box's cycle but we'll be using the seamless shift in Valencia."
Lewis Hamilton (1st, 1:20.554): "The track was very dusty this morning so we took our time before starting our run programme. Once again, the car felt good even though I encountered quite a lot of traffic during both sessions. This afternoon, I also got to try the revised aero package for the first time - it definitely seemed to make the car better balanced, which is very encouraging."
Heikki Kovalainen (3rd, 1:20.760): "Another positive day for us. The car started the day pretty strongly but we were able to keep improving it throughout both sessions. This afternoon, I was able to find a particularly good balance and focused on conserving the tyres rather than going for a lap time. I had a little bit of graining, but things look very promising for tomorrow."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Today we ran two more-or-less trouble-free sessions, save for a few traffic issues this morning which aren't unusual on this circuit. Having said that, those traffic issues weren't sufficient to disrupt our programme unduly. The aero package we've developed for this race appears to have delivered the predicted results, and the performance of the car is encouraging so far."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A good and constructive start to the weekend. We simulated race conditions and both Lewis and Heikki posted fast and consistent lap times. With more rubber on the asphalt, the conditions will change tomorrow - so it is too early to judge precisely where we are compared to the competition."