Honda F1 website
Honda website

Belgian GP 2012

AUGUST 31, 2012

Friday Team Quotes

Red Bull-Renault

Sebastian Vettel (15th, No Time): "It's a shame when there's so much water, as we'd love to go out on track more, but you can't. It's a shame for fans around the track - it's quite windy and probably not so nice out on the grandstands. Hopefully they can come back tomorrow with dry clothes and we'll have some sunshine ‘ that's the forecast anyway! You can't race in these conditions, as the tyres can't get rid of the water."

Mark Webber: "It's a shame because we love Spa and it would be nice to do some more laps, but in the end you can't really learn much in these conditions. We got some info from FP1, but you can't race when there's so much standing water on track and you probably wouldn't qualify in this, so in the end we just put the car to bed tonight and come back tomorrow."


Lewis Hamilton (14th, No Time): "It's been incredibly wet today - there were lots of rivers running across the track and lots of aquaplaning, so you had to be very wary out there. There's no real benefit to be gained from pushing the car, but there are always things we can learn, so we did a couple of installation laps to check the effects of the upgrades we've brought to this race and see how the tyres switch on in the wet.It's going to be challenging tomorrow, but everyone is in the same boat ‘ no joke intended! If it dries out, the track will be green in the morning, so you'll be setting the car up during a couple of runs in FP3. Nevertheless, it's great to be back out on track. A Formula 1 car would be fun to drive even if it were snowing, so I just enjoyed every little bit of lap I had."

Jenson Button (16th, No Time): "We did a couple of installation laps, but that was about it. The weather was better during the morning session because you were able to do a couple of laps with only a little bit of aquaplaning. This afternoon was extremely wet ‘ the only reason we ran in FP2 was to do out-laps and in-laps in order to practise our starts. For most of the lap, you're not really pushing ‘ then, halfway down the Kemmel straight, it suddenly gets wetter. It's a different type of asphalt, which doesn't drain as well. As soon as you hit that, you feel the car slow down and then it starts to spin its wheels. Hopefully, the worst conditions have blown over and we can get down to business tomorrow. It's been such a long break that we just want to get out there and enjoy ourselves."

Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "It's hardly surprising to be here in Spa and find that the weather is cold, wet and misty. Unfortunately, that means that Formula 1's much anticipated return after the summer break has been effectively pushed back by 24 hours because none of the drivers were able to set representative times out there today. Despite the limited running, we were able to conduct a little bit of useful work, evaluating the performance of our aerodynamic upgrades and looking at tyre performance. With the field so closely covered, even the tiniest scrap of data can be useful. Finally, while today didn't offer much to the many thousands of Formula 1 fans who loyally packed the grandstands and hillsides of Spa-Francorchamps, it's worth remembering that McLaren's past reverberates around this mighty circuit. Yesterday would have been the 75th birthday of our founder, Bruce McLaren, who scored McLaren's first-ever grand prix victory at this circuit back in 1968. In many ways, the McLaren story is interwoven with Spa's post-war history, and it's fantastic to be here again this weekend to continue that legacy."


Fernando Alonso (3rd, 2:50.497):

Felipe Massa (17th, No Time):

Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal:

Pat Fry:

Mercedes GP

Nico Rosberg (11th, No Time): "Although it was raining hard, we learned a little about the behaviour of the car today. We collected some data for the starts, balance and tyre temperatures as you can always learn something in the rain. The weather conditions were very special out there but it wasn't dangerous as long as you went slowly where the big puddles were. We expect it to be dry on Sunday so that's why we didn't risk going out too often today."

Michael Schumacher (12th, No Time): "Coming to Spa this year is very special for me, especially with the honour of being awarded the honorary citizenship of Spa on Thursday, and I look forward to a stunning race weekend. Unfortunately the weather today did not allow us to do much more than just basic work as there was too much rain coming down in both sessions. There was a lot of aquaplaning, even when just cautiously cruising around the circuit which sometimes you did not see or expect at all, so proper driving was not possible. But we have a lot of basic data from Spa and we know what to expect. Tomorrow's practice will nevertheless be very important, especially as the weather is supposed to be much better. I look forward to going out on this beautiful track again tomorrow."

Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "There was a limited amount of work that we could achieve today given the conditions, especially as the forecast for Saturday and Sunday looks better. However we did learn some things which could be useful so it was not a complete washout of a day. It's a shame for the fans here that they weren't able to see more track action and thanks to those who stuck it out till the end. It's a special weekend for us with Michael reaching the impressive total of 300 Grand Prix starts, and it's a great pleasure for me to have worked alongside him for almost all of them!"

Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "There is not much to say about this first day after the summer break when heavy rain prevented everybody from any meaningful running. The forecast predicts a dry circuit tomorrow, so Spa will possibly be the fourth race in a row with different conditions on Friday than for the remainder of the event. This means again a great challenge for all teams to get the set-up right during the one hour practice session tomorrow morning."


Romain Grosjean: "It's a big shame we couldn't do much running today as it was so wet. I was really looking forward to trying the famous 'Device' for the first time, but I guess I'll have to wait. The weather should be better tomorrow, so we'll have a busy time getting two days of evaluation into one session and then going straight into qualifying. The E20 has been strong at every circuit so far this year, so I'm sure it will be pretty good around this track in any case."

Kimi Raikkonen: "There's not much to say about today. It was too wet to run and there was little point as the forecast is for better conditions over the next two days. I'm looking forward to driving the circuit in the dry. It's a shame that we haven't been able to evaluate our new developments as it would have been interesting to see how they perform here. Tomorrow is another day, let's see what happens."

James Allison, Technical Director: "The forecast for the next two days is for dry and warmer weather so running today was not very useful in terms of preparing for qualifying or the race. Today's rain also prevented us from seeing how the 'Device' would perform in the expected race conditions. With discretion being the better part of valour we will conduct P3 tomorrow with a conventional aero package rather than attempting to squeeze Friday's intended evaluation into the precious final practice session. On the plus side we learned today that the cars are working fine and we're happy to end the day with no damage from running in these difficult conditions."

Paul di Resta (4th, 2:51.333): "Not much to say after a day when we spent most of our time in the garage waiting for the rain to stop. There were a few moments when the rain eased up this morning, so I managed to do some laps on the wet tyres, but it was very tricky and there were some very wet parts of the track. We did a few runs to check over the car, but there was a limited amount we could learn today. You have to feel for the fans who didn't see much action. I hope they didn't get too wet."

Nico Hulkenberg (9th, 2:59.125): "It was just one of those days in Spa - the sort of weather you often experience here. It was wet when we woke up and the rain stayed with us all day. It was cold, too, and quite chilly in the car. We did a limited programme because there was no point taking the risk on such a wet track. We think it will be dry tomorrow, but at least we have some experience and data from the wet conditions because you never know what the weather will do in Spa."

Jakob Andreasen, Chief Engineer: We were expecting a wet day so the priority was to try and make the best of very difficult conditions and to be ready in case there was a break in the weather. When the rain eased up during the morning, both drivers went out and got a feel for the car in these conditions. Having completed some wet baseline runs, they now have some knowledge to draw upon in case the rain returns later in the weekend. If anything the showers were heavier this afternoon so we chose to remain in the garage for most of the session. Both drivers did some exploration laps and practice starts before the chequered flag came out."


Kamui Kobayashi (7th, 2:53.232): "I feel very sorry for the spectators here in the grandstands. We did some running in the first session, but in the afternoon we basically stayed in the garage. There wasn't anything to learn out there and it is obviously pretty easy to damage the car in these conditions. I can't say much except: Welcome to Spa - and welcome back to reality. I didn't see a drop of rain for the five weeks I have just spent in Tokyo and Hawaii."

Sergio Perez (10th, 3:12.901): "Unfortunately for all of us the conditions today didn't allow for any proper driving to kick off the second part of the season. It is such a shame for the brave spectators. I believe the fans in Spa really love Formula 1 and today we left them disappointed. I hope we can make up for this tomorrow and on Sunday and put on a good show."

Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering: "Other than to praise the accuracy of the weather service, which was so precise, there is not much to say about today. We prioritised a bit more running in the morning as the conditions were looking worse for the afternoon. I can't even say we were able to learn anything for the race, as the forecast for the next couple of days is for dry conditions. We just got our basic homework done, with start practice and systems checks."

Toro Rosso-Ferrari

Daniel Ricciardo (2nd, 2:49.750):"The morning session went pretty well and right from the start, we had a good feel for the car in the wet. In fact, it's been like that before when we have had wet race weekends and the car gives us confidence in these conditions immediately. We were able to do some good lap times and even with all the rain, it was nice to be out on this great track."

Jean-Eric Vergne (8th, 2:58.232):"This morning, as is usually the case in the rain, the car performed very well on the Extreme tyres. There were no problems and our lap times for me and Daniel were respectable. However, this afternoon, the rain was really too heavy to do anything worthwhile, so we only went out right at the end to do a practice start off the grid."

Laurent Mekies, Chief Engineer:"A wet day from start to finish and we only really ran the cars in the morning on the extreme wet tyres, because the conditions in the afternoon were too bad. It was the same situation for everyone and it means that tomorrow morning's free practice session will be very busy, as we try and cram in all the work required in preparation for qualifying and the race. Understanding the behaviour of the Medium and Hard tyres will as usual be a key factor, while we will also want to evaluate the few updates we brought here to Spa. The forecast is for the rest of the weekend to be dry, so now we can put today behind us and concentrate on preparing as well as possible for the race."


Pastor Maldonado (5th, 2:51.660): "It was quite a frustrating day, not being able to get much running, but it's the same for everyone and we will all just be thinking about tomorrow now. It looks like it's going to be dry so we need to be ready for that and do the best we can."

Bruno Senna (18th, No Time): "It wasn't too much of a useful day for the team, as we didn't have much running in the morning or the afternoon. We've done some good technical work trying to get the car ready for tomorrow and for the race. We didn't take any risk though as there was no need, but hopefully tomorrow will be dry and we can do some more laps to prepare for qualifying."

Valtteri Bottas: "It was very slippery out there today in difficult conditions. Visibility was poor when it was raining and when there were cars in front, but we still got a good amount of laps in and managed to do some practice starts from the pit box. I am continuing to learn and if it is going to rain anymore this weekend, the team have some useful data."

Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: "The poor weather completely dominated both of today's sessions with all the running being performed on the full wet tyre. Pastor felt that his balance in FP1, particularly at the start of the session was very good and his laptimes reflected this, being extremely competitive. Valtteri also did a good job in FP1. With conditions worsening in FP2 we only ran both Pastor and Bruno at the end of the session in order to optimise the car for the race starts. The weather looks much better for the weekend and there is a lot of work to do in FP3 ahead of both qualifying and the race."


Heikki Kovalainen (13th, No Time):"It's obviously good to be back to racing but a shame it had to start with weather like this. Spa's notorious for its weather but I can't remember seeing it rain this hard for a long time so after today there's really not a lot to say after most of Friday was washed out. It looks like tomorrow should be dry so I think we'll be able to get more laps done in FP3 but with the weather in Spa you can never tell."

Vitaly Petrov (18th, No Time):"First it's really good to get the season started again and it was great to come to Spa, catch up with the team and get back into the car. Even though the weather was clearly very bad in FP1 we managed to complete a good percentage of the runplan and the car felt pretty well balanced from the first few laps. In FP2 we were monitoring the weather throughout the session and as it progressed the rain fell harder than ever so we decided not to risk running. I made the strategy call to stay as warm as possible in the motorhome, wearing two jumpers and a couple of jackets and keeping as far away from the rain as possible!"

Mark Smith, Technical Director:"While we have had quite a few wet session this season we have not had a Friday this bad for quite some time. When the conditions are as wet as they were for both FP1 and FP2 it is not worth sending the drivers out as we do not generate enough data to make it worth it, and the obvious risk is that they have an accident. While it is disappointing for us and the fans that we have had such limited running today we were still able to complete part of the programme this morning and all the teams are in the same situation, so we have not lost ground. Despite that we will need to have a busy FP3 to prepare the cars for quali and Sunday's race so I hope we can make up some time tomorrow."

Thierry Salvi, Renault:"Despite the weather today Spa-Francorchamps is my favourite circuit of the year and it's a track that's particularly tough on engines. It is the longest lap of any track we race on and when it's dry almost 70% of the lap is spent at full throttle with the engines working predominantly in the upper ends of the rev limit, around 16,000rpm on average around the entire lap. As power sensitivity is very important in Spa, as much as it is in Monza, we have put new engines in both cars for this weekend. In addition to Spa being a circuit that rewards outright power, we also have a few other challenges to deal with. The hairpins at La Source and Stavelot are heavy braking zones so we are looking closely at perfecting the driveability of the engines on the entry and exit to these two corners. This is particularly important as the slower corners actually dictate the upper speeds reached and this leads us neatly on to one of the other main areas we've been looking at today - how to make sure we can maximise outright pace. Top speed is partly determined by the ratios we use in seventh gear and with Spa's two long straights in mind selecting the right ratios for seventh gear is crucial. It looks like it will be dry tomorrow so the engines will be at full throttle for around 25secs on the first of the two straights, from the exit of La Source to Les Combes, and we need to make sure they are not on the limit too early or too late so the drivers can attack where possible, or defend. The same is true for the second main straight from Blanchimont through to the Bus Stop chicane, where the engine will hit maximum speed, over 330kph with DRS open. This is an interesting challenge as we also have to take into account the effect wind can have on top speed, but with today's weather we have obviously been held back so if it's dry tomorrow we will have a lot of work to do in FP3. That's the same for everyone as the weather affects us all and it should mean we have not lost any time compared to the cars around us."


Narain Karthikeyan: Today I was unable to do any laps as the conditions were terrible, but you can't fight against these things so the best thing is to focus on tomorrow. No rain is anticipated so we will work on making up for lost time from the very start and to get some feel for the car. It will be an intense session but I'm really looking forward to going out on track."

Pedro de la Rosa: "I was surprised by the large amount of rain that poured down during both sessions. We anticipated the morning session to be less wet and that's why we made the most of it to complete our only run. We only did a few laps mainly to confirm that the car and the systems worked well, so in the afternoon, with the track in even worse conditions, we decided not to go out as it didn't contribute anything to us. It's been almost a month since we drove the car and the positive side was that I was able to get rid of the rust and get a feel for the car. For tomorrow we have an extra set of dry tyres and as today we were unable to test with a full deposit, that will be a priority."

Dani Clos: "Once again I got the opportunity to get into the F112 and it was fantastic. However the session wasn't easy because of the conditions we faced. The track was very wet and the objective was to make sure that there were no problems with the car's systems and assess the balance. In that sense everything went well and I felt very comfortable so I'm very happy with the job we did."

Luis Perez-Sala, Team Principal: "Coming from summer today was a bit of a shock. We expected rain but perhaps not like today, but Spa is quite unique. We weren't able to take much away from the day, but at least we were able to check that everything worked well. Dani had another chance to run and that's always positive. In the afternoon we considered that it wasn't worth going out, especially as the forecast for tomorrow and Sunday is dry. Tomorrow we can't lose any time but we're all in the same situation."


Charles Pic (1st, 2:49.354): "It feels great to be back racing again after the long break. We have brought some new developments here to Spa with us, which we hope will prove to be another positive step forward. Today we had big plans for testing those on the track, but the conditions have proved frustrating for everyone as there has been very little let-up in the rain. This is not unusual for Spa though, so we have to look forward to what are expected to be two dry days remaining, when we should have a better chance to see the signs from our new components. On the positive side it is very nice to end the afternoon session in P1 on the timesheets. Unusual circumstances of course, but nice to see."

Timo Glock (6th, 2:52.076): "It has been so wet today that we have been able to do very little in the way of meaningful running. We have some experience of the wet tyres and some data for our new parts, but that is about it. We just have to hope that the forecast is correct and we really can look forward to some dry running for the next two days as it is very important for our new developments. It is good to be back on track though after the summer break."

John Booth, Team Principal: "Whilst there is nothing unusual about rain at Spa, it is a little more frustrating today as we have brought our latest round of developments here and were desperate for a dry interlude to put them through their paces. This has not transpired and it has been raining pretty constantly all day, and actually rather cold. We have achieved a small amount of relevant data, but in some respects we'll be starting from scratch in FP3 tomorrow on what is forecast to be a dry day. We ended the first part of the season having made some really positive strides and we are hoping that our latest updates provide us with a continuation of that progress. It's just a shame that we have to wait until tomorrow to see the first signs of that."