Malaysian GP 2008
MARCH 21, 2008
Friday Team Quotes
Felipe Massa (2nd, 1:35.206): "I am very happy with these two sessions. The car proved to be very quick and consistent on both types of tyre. It's a shame I was unable to get the most out of the second set of soft tyres, when I found myself behind Hamilton who was going slowly. We are working in the right direction for qualifying and the race."
Kimi Raikkonen (3rd, 1:35.428): "This morning I lost time because of a communication problem within the team, but we made up for it in the second session. The car seems to be going well and I am pleased with the work we have done. I worked mainly on the harder tyres, but I think that even with the softs, from what we have seen, we can be competitive. It is always difficult to say where we are compared to our rivals, but I think we can face the rest of the weekend with confidence."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "The start of this weekend is reasonably positive. Kimi and Felipe reckoned they were happy with the way the cars went, both over a single lap and on a longer run, with both types of tyre. From what we have seen and considering all the usual Friday unknown quantities, I think we will be competitive in qualifying and in the race."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "This morning we got our lines of communication mixed up between the garage and the pit wall, which left Kimi stuck out on the track without fuel, but in the afternoon, we were able to get more done, without any technical problems whatsoever. Both drivers found good settings on their cars and we got a lot of data on the behaviour of the two types of tyre. Now we must prepare very carefully for qualifying, because we know how important it is to start from the front. All in all, we are satisfied with the way the first day has gone here in Sepang."
Robert Kubica (8th, 1:36.671): "After I had lost quite some time in the morning session due to a gearbox problem, we mainly concentrated on evaluating different downforce configurations and comparing the tyres in the afternoon. We now have a lot of data available, which we have to analyse and understand in order to make the right decisions for the rest of the weekend. We haven't had much time yet to work on the set-up of the car, so there is more to come."
Nick Heidfeld (13th, 1:37.106): "I'm quite happy with the Friday sessions. The car's balance here is initially better than it was on Friday in Melbourne, although it is not really good yet. I hope we manage to find a couple of set-up improvements for Saturday, just like we did in Australia. Although the track has been resurfaced, it has a quite good grip level which is not always the case. A big question mark is the weather. Precise predictions for rain are difficult here. I don't have anything against normal rain, the opposite is the case. But even I don't wish for a tropical downpour here for the race. If this happens you just don't see anything and have too much aquaplaning."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "We concentrated on the race preparation today and collected a lot of data concerning the tyres. We also tested different aerodynamic configurations. Now we will analyse the data. On Robert's car we measured a gearbox pressure that was too high. There was a risk of damaging the cooling system, therefore we decided to change the rear end to enable Robert to continue the session. Compliments to the mechanics, who did a great job. We had a dry first day of practice, but we expect some rain for the remainder of the weekend."
Fernando Alonso (14th, 1:37.328): "It was hot today for the first day of work and I had a problem with my gearbox this afternoon which disturbed my programme a bit, but we still managed to continue and finished this first day with some interesting data in view of the qualifying session tomorrow. We will try and analyse that this evening in order to make the most of the last practice session tomorrow. To improve our performance level in qualifying is always our objective and we are working hard on this area."
Nelson Piquet (15th, 1:37.331): "I did a lot of laps today and I was able to complete the planned programme which has really made a big difference. The fact that I know the circuit also helps and I have learned a lot and feel comfortable. I hope that things continue like this until Sunday as I was happy with the behaviour of the car. There is still a lot to do, but overall the result of this first day is most encouraging."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Fernando experienced a gearbox problem and he was unable to use second gear, which is quite a penalty around Sepang. In view of the new gearbox regulations, we decided that, even though this was a test gearbox, we would leave it on and continue running to see what happened. Before the end of the session the gearbox failed completely. Nelson had a solid day learning the circuit, and his early performance was very good. However, our emphasis today was to develop both him and the car, and so we chose to use the tyres in a way that would give us optimum learning, as opposed to optimum lap times."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "The first session went well for us, even if it was slightly shortened because of a red flag. In the second session Fernando had a problem with the gearbox, but we still managed to continue. Nelson had a busy programme, but we managed to complete it which is encouraging. As usual we should not place too much importance on the hierarchy that we saw today as this is only Friday. In terms of the engine, everything went well and we don't have any particular worries. We have recorded lots of information that we must now make the most of ahead of the qualifying session tomorrow."
Kazuki Nakajima (10th, 1:36.838): "It was quite hot today! Of course it was a shame to miss some track time this morning with the problem we had, but nevertheless, I still managed to record fifteen timed laps in the last 30 minutes of the morning session, so I didn't miss out on much. We still have to address a few things on the car tomorrow in terms of the set-up, but it improved throughout the second session and towards the end of the 90 minutes, I was starting to find a better balance."
Nico Rosberg (12th, 1:36.908): "The track is quite different here now because of the new asphalt, so in many ways I think everyone is starting from zero. From our point of view, it was a good step forward over Australia to get a full day of track running today. Performance-wise, the car seems pretty good straight out of the box here and I am pretty happy with what we achieved. We tried plenty of things just to see what was what, but the track ramped up a lot in the second session in particular, so it will make the set-up call quite difficult, but I am pretty satisfied with our work today."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "We had a productive day's running and ran through all of our programme on both cars, checking cooling and the two different tyres to decide how we will use them in the strategy on Sunday. In the first session we had a clutch release bearing problem on Kazuki's car. The mechanics did a really good job and turned this around quickly to minimise the time lost. We'll look at the data now and see what additional set-up changes we will consider for tomorrow on top of those we tried today."
Mark Webber (16th, 1:37.346): "We lost some running in the first session due to an engine failure. The second session went better and we got quite a few laps in, so we've got some good data to go through tonight. We still need to find more pace though."
David Coulthard (22nd, No Time):
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "It's frustrating for David that he wasn't able to take part in the second practice session, due to a suspected track rod issue, which is very much a one off. In order to ensure that his car is fully checked over we decided to use the time sensibly this afternoon and he will resume driving duties tomorrow. Mark ran to a solid programme this afternoon and seems reasonably happy with the balance of his car, so we look forward to tomorrow."
Jarno Trulli (6th, 1:36.493): "In general that was a smooth day and I'm pleased with how things went. We still have some problems to solve on the car to be more competitive but we made some changes between P1 and P2 and that made a big difference. It looked better and we made a good step. Obviously it is still Friday so it is difficult to judge. But we normally perform pretty well here so I'm confident that we can bounce back after the disappointment of Melbourne. The only problem is that the rain can be very heavy and this weekend's forecast is mixed. I would prefer a dry race but we will have to deal with whatever weather comes our way."
Timo Glock (17th, 1:37.512): "The car doesn't feel too bad but I haven't yet got the most out of the tyres on the first lap. I'm also sliding a bit too much overall. I'm not sure what the problem is so we will have to look into that overnight. Thankfully I have no lasting effects from last week's crash and my hand feels fine. Our pace was strong last week and I have confidence in the new car but we still have to work to improve. We are in a tight group of teams so we have to get everything right to come away with a strong result."
Dieter Gass, Chief Race Engineer: "This is the kind of Friday I really like. We went through our programme without any issues on both cars. We also had a very good exchange of information between the cars on the set-up work and we gained some interesting results which we were able to transfer from one car to the other. We collected all the tyre data that we wanted and Jarno had a very good long run at the end of the session. Timo is still struggling to get the best out of the tyres on the first lap but I'm sure with a careful check on the data tonight we will improve that. The circuit improved a lot through the day but the new track surface has not made a big difference. Now we will look to build on this strong start over the rest of the weekend."
Sebastian Vettel (5th, 1:36.474): "Lap times don't always tell the full story, but I think we can be happy with the afternoon, when we did quite a lot of laps. Unfortunately, this morning we had a brake problem, but in the end it did not cost us too much time and we were able to continue with our programme in the afternoon. We spent most of the time fine-tuning the car and finding the right balance, sorting out tyre choice. It has been a good day and we have got plenty of data to study for tomorrow."
Sebastien Bourdais (21st, No Time): "This circuit is very nice and very fast, a really good track. However there wasn't much grip so it was difficult to get a full understanding of the situation. Then it was a case of moving forward step by step, waiting for the track to come to us. Unfortunately, this afternoon, we had a gearbox problem right at the start, after a ratio change and this error on our part broke the engine. The car seemed not too bad this morning and we were planning to see how it felt on different tyres this afternoon, but it was not to be."
Jenson Button (4th, 1:36.037): "The track here at Sepang has been completely resurfaced since last year, so it was important to see how much of a difference this has made. We also ran through the usual tyre evaluation and set-up work and we have completed a lot of running, which is good. All in all, a very valuable day of testing in preparation for the weekend. We have made good progress over the day and I'm happy with the car and the balance, which is positive. It's always difficult to know where we stand on a Friday versus the rest of the field but I'm hopeful that we can continue to improve the car through this evening and tomorrow."
Rubens Barrichello (11th, 1:36.879): "I was quite happy with the set-up of the car on old tyres this afternoon and we achieved some good work on the long run pace. However, I am still struggling with the set-up on new tyres so we need to look at the data overnight and improve on that for tomorrow. We had a good weekend in Melbourne but it is important to keep our feet on the ground and continue to work as hard as possible. The car is very driveable and providing we get the set-up right for qualifying tomorrow, we are aiming to make it into the top twelve. If we can achieve that, then I am confident we can have a good race from there."
Steve Clark, Head of Race & Test Engineering: "We came to Malaysia expecting very high temperatures but in fact we have not yet seen the exceptionally hot weather we experienced in Melbourne. For the car it is the temperature that is critical for reliability; the driver has another issue - that of very high humidity, which is more difficult than heat alone since the body's cooling is less effective. Dehydration is a real issue during the race and they have to work hard at managing their fluid intake. The heat and the severity of the newly resurfaced track are proving a challenge for the tyres and we are seeing both fronts and rears overheating. So far the results look quite encouraging. The balance of the car is not yet where we want it to be so we can still improve. However the pace is quite encouraging, particularly on race fuel loads. Whilst it is perhaps optimistic at this stage in the car's development, we hope to be challenging for a place in the final qualifying session tomorrow."
Takuma Sato (19th, 1:39.021): "It was another good Friday practice. Under the restricted mileage situation we achieved most of the running we wanted. We had a little overheating issue, but we solved the problem on every outing and made steady progress. The car was starting to grip towards the end and we tried a few different set-ups. We come away from today with another good understanding of the car and hopefully we can work on improving our speed tomorrow morning before Qualifying."
Anthony Davidson (20th, 1:39.361): "It was a much more productive day today compared with any of the sessions in Melbourne. The car ran reliably and we got some constructive tyre work done between me and Takuma and I am relatively happy with where we ended up balance-wise on the car. I worked well with my new engineer, Richard, who did a good job, as did all the car crew today."
Graham Taylor, Sporting Director: "A wide range of analysis has been conducted today, with neither driver particularly happy at the start with the balance, but our work continues. I believe that we are all lamenting the lack of winter testing and it is really hitting home now."
Giancarlo Fisichella (9th, 1:36.756): "We made a big improvement from the morning to the afternoon session. This morning there was a lot of understeer and then oversteer - it was really inconsistent but we made a big step forward and the balance was a lot better in the second session. It was more consistent and comfortable. Unfortunately when I was doing my new tyre run Glock was going very slowly in the middle of the last corner so I lost three tenths. It wasn't acceptable, but thankfully it wasn't the qualifying session."
Adrian Sutil (18th, 1:37.614): "This morning we had a problem with the engine and then the second session in the afternoon was not so good. Again we had problems with the new tyres - I don't know if it was the car or the pressures, but we just can't get a time out of the softer tyres. We have to look at this and improve for tomorrow as I am not happy with today."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "A useful day. A difficult first session with low grip and both cars having a lot of oversteer and an engine failure on Adrian's car, which limited his running. We were however able to analyse the reasons in the break and improve for the second session. The long runs looked very good and we were able to gather all the data we need. Once again we proved we have a competitive car in that midfield pack and we just have to get everything right for tomorrow to make sure we can now get the best out of qualifying."
Lewis Hamilton (1st, 1:35.055): "I am pretty happy with today's results as the car showed consistent pace throughout the session and good overall speed. Unfortunately the morning session was not perfect as I had a slight problem on the car right at the end, but this didn't really have any effect on our planned programme of tyre evaluation and race set up work."
Heikki Kovalainen (7th, 1:36.512): "That was a good, steady start to the weekend. The car feels pretty comfortable to drive round here, and we made good progress on the set up for the race. The track surface had only recently been relayed, and as a result it was constantly evolving throughout the two sessions. The conditions here are always very extreme with the heat and humidity, but this had no effect on the cars performance, and I am pretty happy so far with how everything has gone."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "With these back to back races at the start of the season, it is often difficult to keep up the momentum of our relentless development pace; subsequently both drivers were evaluating several new parts on top of the set up and tyre evaluation work that is customary during the Friday sessions. Despite the small gearshift problem on Lewis's car this morning we are pretty comfortable with the performance of the MP4-23 here. Obviously there is always room to improve and the engineers will be working hard this evening to find those extra tenths, but overall we are reasonably happy."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "We did, as originally planned, a lot of laps today and Lewis, Heikki and their teams found a good set up and achieved quick and consistent lap times on both types of tyres. However this will probably be of little help for tomorrow's qualifying and Sunday's Grand Prix as the weather forecast is predicting rain, but we should be well equipped in those circumstances, too."