Brazilian GP 2005

SEPTEMBER 23, 2005

Friday Team Quotes

Felipe Massa, Jacques Villeneuve, Brazilian GP 2005
© The Cahier Archive

Selected team quotes


Rubens Barrichello (5th, 1:13.088): "To be honest, I was quite happy with the way the car went this afternoon, as we improved it quite a bit from the morning session. It behaved a little bit better than we had expected and we seem to be a bit more competitive than over the past couple of weekends, especially in race trim. Now we have to wait and see what the weather does tomorrow as that could be an important factor for the next two days."

Michael Schumacher (8th, 1:13.205): "As usual, it is difficult to know after today's practice what the true situation is and we will find that out after studying the data in terms of qualifying and the race. On the plus side we made progress from the morning to the afternoon. As usual here, the bumpy and slippery nature of the track makes the car quite uncomfortable to drive and it can feel unbalanced and twitchy. But I get the feeling we might be in slightly better shape than we have been recently."

Jean Todt, Team Principal: "It has been a normal Friday, with work centred on finding the best set-up on the cars and comparing the two types of tyre that Bridgestone has brought here for us. It is difficult to make predictions about the rest of the weekend. We know we can improve but we don't know how much room for improvement the other teams could have. And as usual, the other unknown factors are fuel loads and tyres."

Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "No major problems over the two hours of free practice. The car was a bit difficult to drive over the bumps to begin with, but the engineers came up with some good changes to deal with that. As usual, we managed to carry out a full assessment of both types of Bridgestone tyre. The softer one is faster over the first lap, but it grains a bit more. Tonight we will look at all the wear figures to decide which tyre to use. In general terms, the car is not bad."


Jenson Button (17th, 1:14.189): "Today has been a pretty tough day for us. We've done all our tyre work and know pretty much where we are with the tyres but at the moment we're just not quick enough. There's a lot of work to do tonight to move the car forward. The biggest issue is that it feels like there is quite low grip on the circuit. We struggled a little with grip levels in both sessions and the balance isn't perfect either, however we can work with the car tonight and try to improve it for tomorrow."

Takuma Sato (20th, 1:14.584): "The car performed well today. In the second session we concentrated on the race situation and we also compared the two tyre options to help our choice this evening. All of our programme was completed and although we need to work on improving our pace for tomorrow, it was generally a good day."

Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "We've run through our usual Friday programme today, spending the majority of time evaluating tyres and set-ups. Everything went smoothly and we collected lots of data which will be carefully analysed tonight prior to us making our tyre choice. The car and engine are performing well, nevertheless there is still some work to do tomorrow to improve the car balance."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "Both cars ran well today so we were able to collect a lot of data which we will analyse this evening. We had a good test last week in preparation for this race and we hope to find a good set-up for this track."


Giancarlo Fisichella (10th, 1:13.518): "I think it was a pretty good day for us. We still need to improve the overall grip because it was difficult to put in a clean lap today, as the car balance was a little bit inconsistent. But I think a lot of it was down to the track conditions, and they were the same for everybody today. Apart from that, though, we seem to have good consistency and I think we are quite competitive here, maybe more than in the recent races."

Fernando Alonso (11th, 1:13.545): "It was a bit confusing today really: we were quick in the first session, and then this afternoon, there were quite a lot of people in front of us. The track conditions were not very good, so we didn't make many changes to the set-up - we just concentrated on doing long runs on the tyres to understand our choice, and we will wait for the grip levels to improve tomorrow, which will definitely help the car balance. The tyre choice is quite close, because Michelin have brought two excellent tyres, so we will have to look closely at the data to make our final validation. But overall, I still have lots of confidence for the rest of the weekend, and I am sure we can be quick."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "We ran through our normal Friday programme today, evaluating the tyres on short and long runs to inform our choice this evening. We are happy with the car's performance, and the new developments are all working well. As is usual, we don't yet have a perfect balance on the car, but we will tweak that tomorrow morning to get it to the drivers' liking. Generally, a good, solid start to the weekend."

Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "The first task for the engine team today was to check the sound operation of our new engines, which all went smoothly. We have introduced the D-spec for this weekend, and so far we have had no incidents to report while we worked to tune it to the demands of this circuit and its location at comparatively high altitude. As always, our afternoon programme focused almost entirely on tyre work, conducting two long runs with each car to assess the durability of the tyres. We have collected plenty of information, and it will now be down to us to make the best possible use of it through the rest of the weekend."


Mark Webber (12th, 1:13.650): "It was quite a tough day for us. Interlagos is always a demanding circuit for the car because of the bumpy nature of the track. We have got a lot of work to do tonight in order to improve our balance, because we need to find some more pace for the long runs."

Antonio Pizzonia (13th, 1:13.828): "The positive aspect is that today we went through everything we had planned to do, especially in regard to the tyre comparison. Talking about the car, at the moment it's very difficult to drive, but I am sure most of the other drivers are experiencing similar problems, so it's the same for everyone."

Sam Michael, Technical Director: "We have had a good practice session going through our normal programme with checking brakes, tyres and cooling for the race. We have collected data on both tyre compounds for our decision tonight. Brazil is different to all other tracks, in particular with the lower air density which influences a lot of things. There is a chance of rain which could cause set-up changes. In the event of a wet race everyone will benefit from their recent experience in Spa. We had no mechanical problems today."

Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "Our drivers went through their scheduled programmes. Neither driver is completely satisfied with his car yet. From the data we have collected today, we will work on improving the set-up for tomorrow and we will make our tyre choice. We experienced no engine problems in today's sessions."


Alexander Wurz (1st, 1:12.083): "The nature of this circuit means that you have to cope with a bumpy and extremely dusty track which makes my work quite difficult as I have to adapt to the rapid and continuous change in conditions. Consequently tyre choice on what I would describe as being the trickiest of all circuits is extremely challenging. However, I'm quite confident that with our car and the experience of the team we will work out the optimum package for the qualifying and the race."

Juan Pablo Montoya (2nd, 1:12.694): "I didn't do an awful lot of running in the first session as the track was rather dusty but we were able to set quite good lap times, I think. However today is not really about lap times but about finding a strong balance and set-up, and I believe we are going in the right direction. We still have some improvements to make particularly as the balance of the car is still not 100% but our Michelin tyres seem to be working well, and we have a pretty clear indication of our tyre choice already."

Kimi Raikkonen (6th, 1:13.172): "An OK day where we worked through our programme, so a positive start to the weekend. Obviously the track was quite dusty to start with, so I didn't do any real running in the first session. We still have some work to do to find the perfect set-up, but I'm confident that we will improve further during tomorrow's two practice sessions. Everybody in the team wants to leave Brazil with important points, and we are working hard to achieve this."

Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "An uneventful first day of practice here at the challenging Interlagos circuit. We obtained a lot of information and will continue our work tomorrow when track conditions hopefully will be less dusty."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A positive Friday's practice where we covered a lot of mileage which should be a good basis for qualifying and the race. Alex's long runs provided us with good data in respect of tyre comparison and race set-up"


Felipe Massa (4th, 1:12.710): "I lost some valuable track time with a gearbox downshift problem this morning, but we went out straight away this afternoon and I was happy with the car. The balance was good and it was strong in the infield section. The track surface was very dirty today and it would have been easy to make mistakes, so I'm quite happy with the lap that I did and we'll see what happens tomorrow. I'm feeling pretty confident."

Jacques Villeneuve (7th, 1:13.202): "I think I know in my own mind about tyre choice, but we still need to discuss it fully. The car seems to be acceptably fast in a straight line, but I was struggling in the corners. I think we'll be lucky to be this fast relative to everyone else tomorrow."

Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "This is certainly not an easy track on which to find a suitable set-up because of the compromises it demands. We tested both qualifying and race set-ups, with different fuel levels. Most of all it will not be easy to make the tyre choice."

Red Bull-Cosworth

David Coulthard (15th, 1:14.006): "It was difficult today. I was struggling with entry stability and the car lacked overall grip and balance. I'm pretty surprised actually, as I didn't expect things to be so difficult here, but now we've got a challenge to get on top of things. We know the tyres well and have used them in previous Grands Prix, but it seems more difficult to achieve a good balance with them here. It's due to a combination of things I think, such as the track conditions and temperatures, but it means we're going to struggle a bit this weekend. I could be wrong mind! An alternative quote is that everything's great and I can't wait till tomorrow!"

Vitantonio Liuzzi (16th, 1:14.141): "That was not so easy. We had a problem in the first session when we had a puncture. That made things more difficult as we had to adapt our programme, which had been pretty aggressive and couldn't push so hard. In the second session, we had good long runs; we weren't going for fast lap times, but were concentrating on making sure we had the right tyres for the weekend. I'm pretty happy about the handling of the car. It's a difficult circuit here because the long straight is uphill and you need a lot of power; if the balance of the car isn't good, you'll struggle. But, I think we found a good base today and David and Christian will have to work on the car's handling before the qualifying session tomorrow."

Christian Klien (22nd, 1:14.698): "The first free practice was pretty good. I was quick on both types of tyres and had good balance in the car. However, in the second practice, I lost the rear of the car and spun. It was a strange spin as I went on to the brakes as I normally do, but think I hit a bump or something. I just lost the rear, spun and went backwards into the tyre wall."

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "The practice times were quite mixed today with Brazilian drivers in third, fourth and fifth position and other cars out of their normal places. As a result it's pretty hard to gauge where we are overall from those two sessions, but we've identified some handling characteristics we need to work on. Christian's okay after his accident, but we need to fully understand what happened. His car sustained rear end suspension damage, but will be fully repaired ahead of tomorrow's final two practice sessions."


Ricardo Zonta (3rd, 1:12.706): "The Interlagos circuit is not as bumpy as it used to be, but you certainly feel the bumps in the medium-fast corners which can throw the car off line. As usual here the asphalt was very dirty in the morning, so the grip level was very low. That meant that it was impossible to push hard and very difficult to draw any conclusions with tyres. It improved in the afternoon so we have some data to work with. We could have gone quicker but I hit traffic on my runs with new tyres."

Jarno Trulli (9th, 1:13.493): "I enjoy driving here because Interlagos is a technical circuit, but there was not much grip out there today. This was one of the two races I did for Toyota last year and even with the old car we went pretty well, finishing just outside the points. We would obviously like to do better this time but this weekend could still be decided by the weather. Rain remains a possibility so that will be the determining factor for our decisions for qualifying and the race."

Ralf Schumacher (18th, 1:14.427): "We had no particular problems as we completed our usual programme of work today, but it was a struggle to find any grip because it was so slippery. The track was pretty dirty this morning but it improved during the day so we will have to look carefully at the data tonight. We will be hoping for another strong points finish on Sunday so that we can close the gap to Ferrari in the constructors' championship."

Dieter Gass, Chief Race Engineer: "That was quite a typical Friday practice session for us. We tried to get as much data as possible about the tyres from Ricardo. The choice doesn't seem to be straightforward so we will really have to look carefully at the data tonight. Apart from that we had no real problems. Ralf is not yet happy because he was struggling to find grip while Jarno was more satisfied. Unfortunately Ricardo couldn't find a clear lap on new tyres or he would have gone even quicker."


Tiago Monteiro (21st, 1:14.671): "It was a good first trouble-free day I guess. We had no issues at all. We tried different car set- ups to suit the very bumpy track. We have to find a compromise between the bumps and the downforce. It's still not ideal but we have two more free practice sessions tomorrow to improve the balance of the car. We are not too far from the front runners so as a whole it was a positive day."

Nicolas Kiesa (23rd, 1:15.094): "It went pretty well today considering the fact that the last time I drove here at Interlagos was in F3000 in 2002 and my physical condition was not good enough at that time. I was wondering how it was going to be driving a Formula One car and I was glad to see that it was not a problem. I struggled a little bit to find a good car balance as the track surface is very bumpy and dirty. I have tested different types of Bridgestone tyres and now we have to make our choice for tomorrow."

Narain Karthikeyan (24th, 1:15.187): "We had a reasonable opening day at Interlagos today. I think we have found the right tyres. Unfortunately on my flying lap, I had a car in front of me so my last sector was a bit slow. But apart from the traffic, I am relatively satisfied with the balance of my car. The circuit was very green at the beginning but it improved considerably in the afternoon."

Adrian Burgess, Sporting Director: "Today was not a bad day. The three cars were reliable and we were able to gather a lot of data on the tyres and chassis changes we have performed today. I think we know which way we will go regarding the choice of tyres for the rest of the weekend. Tiago's laps were ok, Narain did not really have a flying lap on his new tyres as he had a lot of traffic problems. The circuit is relatively short so it can be quite busy when the 24 cars are out. Nicolas completed a great number of laps, which will give us a lot of useful information. The times were all relatively close so now we will wait and see what tomorrow will bring."


Robert Doornbos (14th, 1:13.922): "It's great to be able to celebrate my birthday with the Minardi team today. Everybody said ?happy birthday' this morning, which was fun, and to conclude the day like this was terrific. I was quick and able to get a good lap. I like this circuit a lot, and it was a great team effort as well. I have a new No 1 Mechanic on my car for this race, Ignazio Sanzone, and he was understandably a little bit nervous at the start of the day, but did a terrific job, along with all of the guys. I think we're going to have a good birthday party tonight."

Christijan Albers (19th, 1:14.563): "I think it was quite a hard day today because this is my first time in Brazil and I didn't do so much running this morning - only three flying laps. Then we started to go well at the beginning of the second session and were able to do a considerable amount of work. The car balance was good and we could turn consistent laps. When we did our new-tyre run, though, there was just too much traffic, so it wasn't possible to set a really good time. We'll just press on with our work tomorrow."

Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "To be ahead of three Red Bulls, both BARs, a Toyota and three Jordans can't be a bad birthday present for any racing driver! Both Minardi drivers did a solid job today on a track where, given our modest expectations, we've always performed well. We look forward to continuing this progress through the weekend."