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Spanish GP 2008

APRIL 25, 2008

Friday Team Quotes

Nelson Piquet, Spanish GP 2008
© The Cahier Archive


Kimi Raikkonen (1st, 1:21.935): "I am pleased with this first day of testing. We did the work we needed to do and had no problems, this being probably the most positive thing. The balance of the car is good, even if there is always room to improve and its handling was also good on both types of tyre. As usual on Friday, it is hard to judge where we are up against our rivals and I think we can expect a very close fight. The new nose? We wouldn't use it if it didn't give us a little something extra!"

Felipe Massa (5th, 1:22.229): "This was a good day. From what we have seen, I think we will be competitive this weekend and we are working in the right direction. Track conditions will improve over the next couple of days. Today, it was a bit on the limit and it was easy to make mistakes. In fact, when I spun this morning, I flat spotted the left rear tyre and that's why I didn't do many laps in the first session, as it wasn't worth using a new set of tyres. I could have posted a quicker time in the afternoon, but I had some traffic on my first flying lap on soft tyres. It's my birthday today and I would love to give myself a nice present on Sunday."

Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "Today's two sessions were slightly different to usual for Scuderia Ferrari, given that last week it took part in a four day long test session at this track. This meant today's program revolved around confirming the ideas on set-up developed from the test and on a comparison of the two types of tyre Bridgestone has brought here, in terms of their performance over a single lap and on a long run. All in all, we can be satisfied with the way these three hours of free practice have gone. We got through our planned work load without any technical problems. We can be cautiously confident about the rest of the weekend, well aware that we are up against some stiff opposition."

Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "We had a good starting point thanks to the work carried out here last week, so we worked mainly on confirming the results from that test. We had no technical problems, which meant we got through all our programme. It is always difficult to make predictions based on what you can see on a Friday, but I think we can be reasonably optimistic about the rest of the weekend."

BMW Sauber

Robert Kubica (12th, 1:22.788): "It was very important for me to do a lot of laps. I did not have the chance to prepare for this GP during last week's test as I worked with the 2009 tyres then. However, during today's programme we did a lot of set up changes and evaluated the tyres. We now have to look at the data and will prepare for tomorrow."

Nick Heidfeld (13th, 1:23.130): "From my point of view this first day of practice was okay. We had no noteworthy problems, we tried and tested everything as planned. Regarding the car's balance it is not perfect yet, but I think we can improve it for tomorrow."

Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "Although we tested here last week, there is still enough work to do, particularly because the weather conditions were perfect today. As always on Fridays, we totally concentrated on race preparation, in particular on the tyre performance on long-runs. The two drivers ran different programmes. We now have a good basis on which we can build up."


Nelson Piquet (2nd, 1:22.019): "I am happy with the day's work. The car felt good, we have tried lots of different settings and we have made good progress with the evaluation of the tyres. I covered a lot of laps and completed my programme. We therefore have lots of data which we will look at this evening so that we can continue progressing and be in the best possible condition for qualifying."

Fernando Alonso (3rd, 1:22.032): "This first day of running allowed us to finish the work we began in testing last week. We have therefore tried different configurations and have been able to collect lots of information. But the conditions on the track were very different to those we had last week, with more wind and much less grip, and you had to get used to it. I am satisfied with my day's work and the results that we have registered. However, we still need to improve here tomorrow to ensure a good qualifying session because that will determine our race on Sunday."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "In spite of the poor weather at the recent test, we were still able to complete a lot of work, which meant that we could run a slightly different programme today. While it is always nice to see the cars near the top of the timesheets, we have to keep in mind that this is Friday, and does not necessarily represent the complete picture. However, we have moved forward with the modifications that are on the car this weekend."

Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "It's still difficult to know with certainty what our position is in the pack. We have certainly made progress, but the gaps between the teams are small and we don't know exactly which teams really attacked today and what their real potential is. But it is important that we were able to complete our programme without any difficulties today, and both of our drivers did well to adapt to the changeable track conditions. We completed lots of laps, and so we have a lot of valuable information which is encouraging at this stage of the weekend."


Kazuki Nakajima (4th, 1:22.172): "It was a good day for us today. We tried some different set-ups options in both sessions and have found a good direction to take us into qualifying. We will be doing some more work this evening, but we are well prepared for tomorrow."

Nico Rosberg (7th, 1:22.266): "In the morning we tried something that really didn't work out so we had to change back for the afternoon session. The car felt a lot better straight away, but we still have a few balance issues that we need to try to sort out as it doesn't feel so great on the track. Circuit conditions have changed a lot since we tested here last week, so we have to have another look at the set-up before tomorrow."

Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was a good afternoon session after we struggled slightly this morning. We tried something new on Nico's car but it didn't quite work out as we had wanted it to so we reverted back to the original plan for the second session, during which everything was fine. The engineers and drivers worked through the usual programme today, including preparing the two tyres and working out the best one for the race. We experienced no reliability issues at all and we'll now work on our qualifying set-up for tomorrow."

Red Bull-Renault

Mark Webber (6th, 1:22.238): "It was a good day for us, carrying on from where we left off at the test. We are running with all the new aero parts we tested last week and they are all working in the right direction. We had a small problem in the first session but the afternoon was faultless for us. We got through all our programme which was aimed mainly at preparation for Sunday's race. I am quite happy with the car and we will do a bit more work tomorrow morning. I am sure it will be very difficult but I think we can make it through to Q3 tomorrow afternoon."

David Coulthard (8th, 1:22.289): "We ran a normal Friday programme today. While we have a lot more experience of the track because of last week's testing here, it doesn't actually matter what you achieve in a test day because the track conditions are only relevant to that day - so we're trying to find a balance as always. Testing the tyres last week gave us some information, but it's warmer than at the test, which means the properties of the tyre are different, the humidity is different, so the downforce is different. You get less horsepower on a warm day because there is less oxygen to burn so there are many factors which affect the way the car feels."


Jarno Trulli (14th, 1:23.224): "Today was a bit of a struggle for us. It was windy out there and that helped make the car hard to set up. So we will have to go through the data and try to understand where we can improve for tomorrow. My test here last week was disrupted by the weather but overall it looked promising so I'm confident that we can keep moving forwards. Our results this year show we have a strong car and like most teams we have a new package here. Now we need to keep doing our job well throughout the weekend to get a good result."

Timo Glock (20th, 1:23.883): "It was hard work out there today. The car went well at last week's test but the track feels completely different now and there is a general lack of grip. It is the same for everyone but it was a struggle to find the right balance for most of the day until we made a change for the last run. That was an improvement but now we will have to work hard to find the right direction for tomorrow and the race."

Dieter Gass, Chief Race Engineer: "That was a difficult day. We struggled a bit to find the right balance for the car, which is disappointing after having tested here last week. Conditions have changed since then and there is less grip but we will now have to look at the data from today and last week and make improvements for tomorrow. Nevertheless I don't think it is as bad as the timesheets show today. There are some cars around us which can give us a good reference so I'm not too concerned about the car's performance."

Toro Rosso-Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel (18th, 1:23.661): "Even though I know the track and the circuit, I haven't tested here since February and conditions were obviously very different today. It was quite a productive day but there is still a lot of room for improvement. We identified various areas to work on and the good thing is that in the afternoon we made progress with that and moved on from the morning, even if from the outside, you cannot see the improvement in terms of pace. I am not sure where we are in terms of the order, but this is definitely going to be a tough weekend. But of course we will continue working tomorrow and keep fighting."

Sebastien Bourdais (19th, 1:23.684): "The conditions are very different to our last test here in February and our main job today was to try and make the most of the package we have got. Our potential is not strong enough to be a mid-field contender at the moment, as everyone has made big steps forward with their newer cars. The wind moved around from the morning to the afternoon, affecting the balance of the car. But overall, I think we made a step forward from the morning. It's going to be tough and now we will see where we are in qualifying when we take the fuel out, which makes the car a different animal. If things go well, maybe we can get through to Q2."


Jenson Button (15th, 1:23.263): "Today was really important as I didn't get any testing mileage last week due to the bad weather we had here on the final day, so it was good to get some laps in with the new developments on the car. We haven't found the best set-up yet as I was struggling with the balance today, but I'm confident that we will find the improvements tomorrow. After the test last week, our expectations were to be challenging for a place in the final part of qualifying and the top ten. We achieved this in Bahrain and given the improvements made to the car I hope we have taken enough of a step forward to do this again."

Rubens Barrichello (17th, 1:23.415): "We've had a tough day today and the main challenge has been to get the car working in the same way that it did at the test last week. The balance and feel of the car was completely different today, so we had to really work around the set-up trying to rediscover the feeling we had from the test. We have a lot of work to do tonight in terms of studying the data to understand where the issues lie. I felt very confident after the test, and although there is an improvement in the car here, we still have work to do to achieve our expectations of progressing to the third session of qualifying. It's going to be difficult but not impossible."

Steve Clark, Head of Race & Test Engineering: "We tested the new package here last week and have incorporated elements of this into our race weekend specification. The track conditions are completely different today compared to the end of the test and our task for the remainder of the weekend is to tune the car to find a good balance for qualifying and the race. The only real indication of the step forward that we have made will be in qualifying tomorrow when we will know whether we have moved forward in relation to our competitors. As always, the main challenge is getting the best out of the car for qualifying and the race. We test frequently here at Barcelona, however track and weather conditions change and finding a good balance is crucial to achieving the optimum laptime. We have been making steady progress so far, but with the field being so tight this year, even getting through the first qualifying session requires maximum focus. Our target will be to get both cars into the top ten."

Super Aguri-Honda

Takuma Sato (21st, 1:25.110): "It is nice to be back behind the wheel in Barcelona again because I have not been here since the race last year where we scored our first point. This weekend started during a difficult time for the team and I am proud of the way everyone has pulled together. Looking at performance, it is also very hard. We completed the usual Friday programme, trying to improve the set-up of the car, but we are some way off the pace. We shall try very hard to improve things for tomorrow and I know that everyone is giving 100%."

Anthony Davidson (22nd, 1:25.163): "It has been a difficult week; mentally tough for all of us in the team, but we are pushing on. The balance of the car did not feel too far away today, so I am happy about that. Unfortunately I had a problem with my brakes in the second session and it felt like the rears were working too much compared to the fronts, with a very long pedal. If we can sort that out, then I am looking forward to being back in the car and to Qualifying tomorrow."

Graham Taylor, Sporting Director: "We're happy to be back in Barcelona where we scored our very first point last year. We did not make much progress during the morning's Free Practice session, however we completed some good runs during FP2 which yielded both an improved understanding of both the car and the tyres. I'd like to thank everyone involved with the team for their steadfastness and resolve during difficult times."

Force India-Ferrari

Giancarlo Fisichella (9th, 1:22.383): "The car balance in the afternoon was especially good. In the morning we had a lot of understeer, but there was a big difference between today and the test. Today there was in general much less grip, more understeer and wheelspin, so this morning I was struggling a little bit. In the afternoon I was happier and we went in the right direction. It's too early to say definitively but it doesn't look too bad."

Adrian Sutil (10th, 1:22.548): "Today was not bad. I think we started quite well, although the track conditions were very different to testing. We just lost a lot of grip from last week so this morning was OK, but this afternoon was even better. We put on some new tyres and did some new tyre runs in the second session and the balance was very good. I was quite happy, but then later on the wind increased and although the longer runs were not bad, I was not happy with the balance. On the last run of the day it was not as I expected: the wind just changed and I couldn't really react to it so the last runs could have been better for sure, but overall it was an improvement over the last three races. Step by step we are getting better."

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "Another productive day for us with no major mechanical issues on the car. The circuit had a lot less grip than the test last week as we expected, but we worked through our programme of evaluating both sets of tyres and set-up work. Conditions in the second session were quite tricky as the wind got up and the track temperature increased, but overall I think we are a lot more competitive than we expected to be, so we should look to have a very strong weekend."


Lewis Hamilton (11th, 1:22.685): "We struggled with the balance of the car throughout both sessions today. There was too much oversteer and we tried a lot of different things to improve but didn't make the progress we wanted. We will look at the information overnight, and I am confident we will find the improvements needed. As is often the case we ran with heavy race fuel loads throughout the long runs in both sessions so the times don't really mean that much. Tomorrow is when it counts and I am looking forward to getting some more running under my belt."

Heikki Kovalainen (16th, 1:23.264): "A disappointing day for me unfortunately. I managed to do a bit of running in the first session, but the time was cut short when a problem developed with the gear box oil pump and the guys had to change the gearbox between sessions. Then in the second practice all of a sudden I lost all power when the engine switched off and was told to pull over, and that was the end of that. We will have a good look at the car overnight to understand what caused the problem in the second session and then start a new day tomorrow. There is still time left and a lot can happen."

Martin Whitmarsh, Chief Executive Officer: "An unsatisfactory start to Heikki's Spanish Grand Prix weekend. Following the gearbox oil pump failure in the first session we lost some time as we had to change the rear of the car. Then in his second run in the second session the systems lost control of the engine throttle and the safety system activated and stopped the engine. The engine did come back to life but we stopped as a precaution. We will now establish what caused this problem as there are a number of theories at the moment. Lewis suffered from oversteer throughout, and we will look at all the data overnight to find a solution. As is normal on a Friday both drivers ran with heavy fuel loads on the long runs, but there is no doubt that our competition looks strong."