Brazilian GP 2005

SEPTEMBER 24, 2005

Saturday Team Quotes

Selected team quotes


Michael Schumacher (7th, 1:12.976): "I am not happy with my lap this afternoon. It started well, but towards the middle section I began to lose grip and I think this was because the tyre pressures went up higher than we wanted, causing me to slide around. But, looking at the data, it seems it was not just down to the pressures, so the track must have been more slippery than in the morning, which can be seen from looking at the other drivers' times. When I saw my lap time, I expected to be much further back on the grid, so this is not such a bad result at the end of the day."

Rubens Barrichello (10th, 1:13.183): "I am very disappointed because this morning the car was set up very well. But this afternoon, the car was bottoming pretty much all the time and because of this I lost about 5 km/h going down the straight and it was even difficult to steer. Now, the engineers are checking what was the problem. I am really disappointed, because I think I could have done around a 1'12"1 which would have put me on the first or second row."

Jean Todt, Team Principal: "After this morning's free practice we were hoping for a better result than this, but the result over one flying lap this afternoon did not come up to our expectations. In fact, both our drivers found that their cars did not perform as well as they had done in the morning. However, I believe we will see a closely contested race on a track where overtaking is possible, especially on the main straight. Of course, it's not possible to make any more definitive predictions because of the usual unknowns surrounding the different fuel levels, consistency of tyre performance and reliability."

Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "Michael's performance was pretty good given his position early in the running order. We are therefore reasonably happy with his performance. Unfortunately, we had some problems with Rubens' car, which was not as good in the afternoon as it had been in the morning. Now we will have to investigate to see why that happened and hope we can have a good race. It's a shame, as Rubens could have been in a much stronger qualifying position."


Jenson Button (4th, 1:12.696): "I'm pleased with our fourth position today, although we expected a little bit more to be honest. In low-speed corners the car was working well but we had a bit of oversteer in the high-speed corners which meant that I had to get off the throttle in turn 11, the quick left-hander, which made me lose a bit of time. I was two tenths down on Montoya but the wind was so gusty and I could see that I was losing tenth after tenth as I came down the straight. The second row of the grid isn't a bad place to be given our strategy so we'll wait and see what happens tomorrow. I'm optimistic that we can get a good result from here."

Takuma Sato (19th, No Time): "Another difficult day for me. We were hoping to carry the momentum from yesterday over into today's free practice but we had problems in both sessions which meant that I had very little running. As a result, I didn't get the opportunity to put in a new tyre run, which is a big shame because I don't know how the car behaves on new tyres. For qualifying we decided to complete only an installation lap so that we can maximise the opportunities for the race tomorrow. Obviously I had to start from the back of the grid anyway, so we approached our strategy with that in mind. I am confident that we have a strong package and, as always, I will be fighting hard for a good result."

Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "We are happy that Jenson will start from the second row, even though this wasn't the smoothest qualifying session for our team. Taku's qualifying and race strategy was, in many ways, determined by his penalty from Spa, however the problems he had during the morning sessions curtailed his race preparation running. Nevertheless, we are hopeful of a good result from him since we have a good indication from the little running he completed. Jenson had a very good morning session and the car seemed much improved from yesterday. His last session gave us hope that perhaps a front row grid slot was achievable but unfortunately we ended up with a little too much oversteer in his car. However, we are very much looking forward to the race tomorrow."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "Jenson had a strong lap and will start tomorrow's race from a good grid position. I hope he can translate that into a good result. We changed Takuma's engine before qualifying and he now has the Suzuka specification one race early. He didn't attack qualifying because of his race strategy, and although he will start from the back of the grid, I hope that will help him to make good progress through the field."


Fernando Alonso (1st, 1:11.988): "So far so good, I think. But this is only the starting point, we know tomorrow is a long race with 71 laps, so I will try and finish the job. The team has done a fantastic job in the past few weeks to carry on developing the car and engine, and this is the result: it is working well, and Fisi and I are on the front two rows. At the last few races we were not able to fight with McLaren, but here I think we have a better chance. Looking ahead, we are aiming to get on the podium at every one of the last races - not just here. But if we can do it tomorrow, then it will be very good for the championship!"

Giancarlo Fisichella (3rd, 1:12.558): "Honestly, I didn't expect to be here: the circuit conditions were not so good at the start of the session, and the grip levels were definitely a bit low. Here in Interlagos, this really hurts you in the second sector, and that's where I lost some time to the others. Our target for the last races has been to be in the top three, and to carry on scoring lots of points. I am optimistic for tomorrow, because we have a good pace on the long runs, so I think Fernando and I can get a strong result for both championships."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Both drivers did a fabulous job this afternoon. It is always hard to assess the penalty associated with running first in qualifying, when track conditions are not at their best, but Giancarlo judged his lap perfectly: he took the right risks and set an excellent time. It is great for Fernando to take pole, and it puts him in the driving seat for tomorrow afternoon. The other source of satisfaction is our pace on the long runs, which looked very good on Friday. I have no doubt we can have a very good race tomorrow."

Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "We could see from our running so far this weekend that things would be very close in qualifying - as indeed they always are at a circuit where the overall lap time is among the shortest of the year. The battle between Renault and McLaren is tight, and the tiniest of mistakes carries a heavy penalty in this sort of situation. This afternoon, our drivers performed perfectly: Fisico put in a remarkable lap to take third position, and Fernando's performance was equally strong. I think we are in for a very exciting race tomorrow afternoon, as neither team has any obvious weaknesses. We are confident that we have the potential to perform very well indeed."


Mark Webber (14th, 1:13.538): "It's been a tough weekend so far and we've got a long race ahead of us tomorrow. We'll see how our strategy is paying out even if I am sure most of the opposition is on a similar strategy. There's no further change we can do to our car now so we have to look for a solid race tomorrow."

Antonio Pizzonia (15th, 1:13.581): "My qualifying position could have been better today if I hadn't made a small mistake in the middle sector, which cost me two or three tenths. Usually here at Interlagos grid positions are very close and a couple of tenths can mean a few positions. Anyway, I think we have a good car for the race and a good strategy and having the opportunity to race in front of my home crowd is a big boost for me."

Sam Michael, Technical Director: "After this morning's practice session we thought we could have both cars further up the grid. We will look forward to challenging as strongly as we can and our target is to score points. We will see what strategy everyone else has adopted as tomorrow's race unfolds. Our information is that the weather is likely stay as it is today and our tyre choice is fine."

Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "This qualifying result is more than disappointing. Unlike the other teams, we were not close to our best lap times from free practice. In a normal race, it would be very tough to get any points from these grid positions. Both engines ran troublefree."


Juan Pablo Montoya (2nd, 1:12.145): "An OK lap until the last corner really. I put the throttle down and all of a sudden there was just no grip, and this probably cost me about two tenths of a second. It's frustrating, but that is what happens at this track where the conditions are changing continuously. However, I'm really confident for the race as during practice this morning we found a strong set-up and our package should be working really well, but I would have liked to be on pole though."

Kimi Raikkonen (5th, 1:12.781): "That was a shame. I came into the first corner and simply locked up and lost about 0.7 seconds. I pushed hard for the rest of the lap, but that sort of thing does upset your rhythm a bit. However, I did what I could to make up for the mistake, and I believe that without that I could have been on pole tomorrow. I now focus on the race where anything is possible. We will just go for it and do what we can. Our strategy should be strong so we will see."

Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A great performance from Juan Pablo. Kimi made a mistake which makes things a bit more of a challenge. However, our race strategy should unfold in such a way that it will not be too much of a penalty. Clearly the most important thing now for both Juan Pablo and Kimi is to have clean and strong opening laps to tomorrow's race."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Kimi went for it and lost seven tenths at the first corner, so instead of a possible first row it's now the third- but it definitely could have been worse. Juan Pablo did a great job going out early, when track conditions were far from ideal, achieving second position. Taking into account our strategy second and fifth place are still a good basis to fight for victory tomorrow."


Felipe Massa (9th, 1:13.151): "I'm disappointed with my lap. Compared to this morning the balance of the car was not quite so good, and that lost me some crucial time not just in the Senna S. I had understeer there, and in Turn Nine I had understeer again which suddenly became snap oversteer on the exit. I think I lost a couple of places as a result. But we have good race pace and I am still starting in the top 10 so it's not too bad, but I had hoped for more today."

Jacques Villeneuve (12th, 1:13.372): "Considering the strategy we have chosen for the race, I'm really happy with my lap this afternoon. It was clean and quick. The only concern is that my car seems to be some way down on straight-line speed compared to Felipe's, which is odd since we had a similar aero set-up. We need to check the data to see if there is anything amiss on the car."

Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "We chose different strategies for Felipe and Jacques, to give ourselves different options if it rains tomorrow. Felipe was not at all happy with his lap, as he knows it could have been quicker. Jacques delivered the performance we expected of him; he did a very strong lap. We now hope that we can score points by starting from eighth and 11th places."

Red Bull-Cosworth

Christian Klien (6th, 1:12.889): "I had a really perfect qualifying lap. I was right on the edge and had good balance in the car. Things felt good this morning and we built on that by making a few changes after the day's final practice, and before the start of qualifying. I fought hard throughout the qualifying lap and got a good result at the end of it. I have to thank the team. My car was pretty damaged after yesterday's crash, but they repaired it quickly, meaning we could get back on with our practice programme this morning."

David Coulthard (16th, 1:13.844): "We've been struggling a bit this weekend. We trimmed the wing this morning to try and achieve more speed, which is just one of the compromises we've had to make. I was suffering with understeer on my qualifying lap, which meant I lost some time on the tight turns. But, I think we've got a reasonable fuel load ahead of tomorrow's race and we've done the best we can with the tools on offer, so now it's just a question of seeing what the race brings."

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "It was an excellent lap by Christian, who secured one of our best grid positions of the year. It was a very aggressive lap with no mistakes and he has a good strategy for tomorrow. Unfortunately, David wasn't happy with his car's balance, which cost him quite a bit of time in the middle sector. But, it's a very physical circuit here, and David should have a good chance to recover places during tomorrow's race."


Jarno Trulli (8th, 1:13.041): "Our engine has been very reliable this year but this morning we had a pneumatic problem which we couldn't risk, so we had a precautionary change of engines. It's a pity that we will lose ten places as a penalty because we were going well this morning and we could have gone well again. The car was well balanced and the lap went well considering our fuel load and the fact that I had to go out relatively early because I had an accident in the last race. But tomorrow will now be very tough for me. Still, we will try our best to race hard and see what we can bring home. This is not the easiest circuit for overtaking but anything can happen."

Ralf Schumacher (11th, 1:13.285): "That was a tough lap because I had a lot of understeer out there and it made it impossible to push as hard as I would have liked. The car had been going much better this morning and we will have to investigate exactly what changed between the two sessions. Overall it makes tomorrow a very hard proposition but we will do our best to improve our fortunes after what has been a very difficult weekend so far."

Dieter Gass, Chief Race Engineer: "That was obviously a disappointing qualifying result for us. Jarno did a good lap, but he is penalised ten places because of this morning's precautionary engine change so he'll be 18th on the grid tomorrow. Ralf had a lot of understeer in his lap, so he lost a lot of time from the lap time he was able to produce this morning. We don't understand yet what changed so we will have to look carefully at the data. Of course it will now be hard to get two cars into the points tomorrow but it's a long race and we never know what might happen."


Tiago Monteiro (13th, 1:13.387): "I pushed really hard and had a great lap. I love this track and since yesterday we have been improving the car. In Free Practice this morning, we were quite close from the front runners, 1.3 seconds was the closest we have been since the beginning of the season. It was also my fastest lap of the weekend so I think it was perfect timing. The Bridgestone tyres warmed up very quickly and it was an advantage for my qualifying lap. We can see that with some work and evolution, the EJ15B gets better and better all the time. Now we need to keep on developing it."

Narain Karthikeyan (17th, 1:14.520): "I think I had a relatively nice and clean lap. It was really good to go out later in the session as the track was cleaner. I am satisfied with the balance of my car and I am very confident on our tyre choice. We have a good strategy for tomorrow's race so hopefully we will be able to have a good race, and maybe if the weather plays in our favour, we could be lucky to score a point."

Adrian Burgess, Sporting Director: "It was a good qualifying session for us. Both drivers have been working very hard this weekend and we were able to make some good gains. We think we have two good strategies so we will see what we can do tomorrow. I hope we will have a good race from where we start."


Christijan Albers (18th, 1:14.763): "I was happy to bring the car home in qualifying, as we had some oversteer in one or two of the quick corners that made it quite tricky. We actually set a good time today for this car considering our race strategy, so it looks positive for tomorrow."

Robert Doornbos (20th, No Time): "From hero to zero - yesterday I was laughing, but today, nothing. I was driving on the limit in the qualifying run, and the car was a bit nervous because of the strategy we're running tomorrow. As a result, I spun, and I'm sorry for the guys because they pushed really hard right up to the last minute in order to fix a problem they found with the gearbox. I couldn't make the best of today, but we'll see what we can do tomorrow."

Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "Today didn't turn out quite the way we would have liked; however, we feel we have made the right choice regarding both fuel and tyres for tomorrow's Brazilian Grand Prix, and we look forward to a better race."