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Italian GP 2011


Friday Team Quotes

Michael Schumacher, Italian GP 2011
© The Cahier Archive

Red Bull-Renault

Sebastian Vettel (1st, 1:24.010): "It was an interesting day. It's a track that traditionally doesn't suit us, but we were happy with the car today. McLaren look very quick in particular and the ones to beat this weekend, but it's very difficult to judge on a Friday as so many factors are involved. We had no problems today, so we're satisfied."

Mark Webber (6th, 1:24.468): "That was pretty good. We've got a lot to go through regarding downforce and gear ratios, it's a pretty tricky venue in that regard. The two different tyre compounds are behaving pretty well, we did most of our work in P2 on the option tyre. We re-adjusted a few things following the camber setting guidelines for this race. Set-up here can be interesting, as it's a compromise between grip for corning and straight-line speed. Seb and I ran different programmes today, so we'll put that info together tonight."


Lewis Hamilton (2nd, 1:24.048): "We spent today working on wing set-ups - it looked like some teams may have been running lower downforce than us - but once we used DRS we were looking pretty good. It's interesting to see the different downforce levels - some teams are faster along the straights - but we're faster through the middle sector. It's always a compromise, but our long-run pace doesn't look at all bad. We were pretty strong in both sessions and, on heavier fuel, I think we're slightly stronger than the Ferraris. At the end of P2, the Red Bulls were looking pretty strong, but I'm pretty sure they weren't on the same fuel load as us, which is encouraging. Jenson and I are both running the same wing set-up as each other, and I feel really happy with it. We'll make some small changes overnight, but I think we can challenge the Red Bulls this weekend. The car is going really well, and we're continuing to make small improvements, but it's going to be a hard race."

Jenson Button (7th, 1:24.508):"Some of the things we tried on my car throughout the day worked better than others, so we're not really where I feel we ought to be yet, and we haven't yet determined what downforce level to run. I don't yet feel totally at one with the car, but we're working on it. In fact, I think there's going to be quite a lot of data to look over tonight before we choose a direction for the rest of the weekend. Otherwise, there's a fresh surface on quite a lot of the circuit, so there's quite a bit of sliding about, which is tough on the tyres, particularly over a long run."

Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "Monza is always a very challenging circuit: obviously, you want to be as fast as you possibly can along the straights, but it's actually a very delicate trade-off between drag and downforce through the corners. You don't want to damage the tyres too much by running too little wing and allowing the car to slide excessively - but if you run too much, you risk struggling along the straights. To make it even harder, we need to further balance the set-up for an end-of-straight speed with and without DRS, and, furthermore, to optimise the car for more extensive use of DRS during qualifying. Consequently, today was very much about analysing our downforce levels to ensure that both Lewis and Jenson felt comfortable with the car, and that our engineers were happy with our pace. There's still some more work to be done, but we're encouraged by our initial pace today and feel confident that we can make good progress before tomorrow's sessions. Lewis was particularly happy with his car's balance today, Jenson perhaps a little less so. Nonetheless, we're comfortable with both drivers' pace and we're looking forward to another encouragingly constructive day tomorrow."


Felipe Massa (4th, 1:24.366): "I would say it's been a good day, especially because we managed to do everything on our programme. We have understood which direction to go in from the point of view of our aerodynamic configuration and set-up. Now, we must try and optimise the car both for qualifying and, especially for the race. The difference between the Soft and the Medium? It's simple, the first is quickest over a lap. On this track, tyre degradation does not seem to be so high, compared to other circuits therefore I don't think there will be many pit stops. However, we have seen different directions taken in terms of aerodynamic downforce: to understand who has made the right choice, we will have to wait for qualifying and even more so for the race."

Fernando Alonso (5th, 1:24.433): "Racing at Monza is always exciting, especially if you are a Ferrari driver. The warmth of the fans is amazing and you can feel it. However, from a technical point of view, today was just a Friday like any other: we worked a lot on comparing different aerodynamic solutions as well as on evaluating different set-up choices on the car. Now we must put everything together and try and make the right choices. Honestly, I think we lack a bit of performance compared to the best, even if there are still the same unknowns relating to Fridays, especially those linked to fuel loads. However, we have to be realistic: the car is more or less the one we had in Spa, apart from specific updates to cope with the fact this track requires low aerodynamic downforce. Sure, it would be nice to repeat last year's performance, but we know that will be very difficult. You can't create a miracle in two weeks, but we will do our utmost to give the fans something to cheer about. What is my motivation like for this final part of the season? I am a very competitive person and I don't like losing. It's true, this year that's happened quite often, but there are still targets that are within our grasp, for example, second place in the Drivers' championship: Webber is not that far ahead."

Pat Fry: "Monza is a circuit that is part of history, one of those tracks that has maintained, almost unchanged, the technical characteristics that have characterised it from the very beginning and it is therefore pretty much unique on the calendar, especially in terms of aerodynamics. As a consequence, there is no other track where it is so important to find the best compromise between the need for a good level of aerodynamic downforce to tackle the chicanes and maximum top speed. We tried various configurations on the cars today and we got through the plan we had set out previously without any problems, which is always important. However, now comes the more difficult task, that of analysing the raft of data we have gathered and making the right choices and that is the job we will tackle this evening and tomorrow morning. From what we saw today, McLaren looks very strong, Red Bull as usual is very competitive and Mercedes is also going well because of its speed. We still need to improve a bit, having already made some progress from one session to the next. We will be trying our hardest to succeed."

Mercedes GP

Michael Schumacher (3rd, 1:24.347): "It's always a special feeling to be here in Monza. It began yesterday when I did my lap of the circuit, saw the tifosi and enjoyed the particular atmosphere of this track. Then going out in the car today, it's nice to feel what comes across from the fans - it reminds me of being at my home races. In terms of the character of the circuit, we are usually good on braking and traction, and there are not so many of the medium and high-speed corners in which we have not been so strong this year. It certainly looks good in terms of my position today, and I'm pleased with that; but we will only find out tomorrow what it is really worth."

Nico Rosberg (22nd, 1:29.184): "I didn't have an ideal session this afternoon as we had some issues, particularly with the KERS problem at the start of the session. However by the end of the day, we have learned quite a lot for the race, and importantly I was able to get used to the track. Monza is a very different circuit from many others with the high speed sectors and low downforce corners and it takes a bit of time to find your rhythm here."

Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "We had two very solid practice sessions today and achieved some good work. We had a small problem with Nico's car this afternoon which required the KERS pack to be changed, and the team did a good job to get him out again so quickly. I'm pleased with our progress over the course of the day, and we're looking forward to a good weekend at this very special race track."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A constructive first day for us here on this classical race track in the beautiful Parco di Monza. Nico had a KERS problem at the beginning of the second session which cost him 10 laps compared to Michael, who completed 39 laps this afternoon including race simulations and one option run on a lower fuel load. The lap times during our race simulation runs looked consistent. Tomorrow, and on Sunday, we can build on the decent base we have found today."


Bruno Senna (10th, 1:25.325): Bruno: "Today was a lot more straightforward than on the Friday in Spa, and I managed many more laps, which is absolutely crucial for me. We had been working steadily to ensure that we came away on a Friday with signs of progression, and I think it's clear we're going forward. I'm beginning to understand the car better, and I believe I'm moving in the right direction but there's still scope to improve tomorrow. There's definitely more to take from the car, and Saturday is a crucial day in which to prove that. I'm really loving being out on-track and looking forward to what awaits me over the weekend."

Vitaly Petrov (11th, 1:25.450): "The practice sessions went ok today, principally because on paper we achieved everything we set out to do. That's always reason for satisfaction, but naturally we are looking to up our game in terms of lap time because we know there's more to squeeze out of the car this weekend. We've put together a bespoke Monza low-downforce set-up which we are confident could reap rewards come Sunday. Our spirits are up and we hope to translate that into a constructive next two days."


Rubens Barrichello (15th, 1:26.202): "We weren't fast enough today unfortunately. We need to work hard tonight to see what we can do this weekend."

Pastor Maldonado (16th, 1:26.353): "It was a hard day and it's been very hot. We completed our programme so that is positive but we need to work hard to get a good balance for qualifying and the race."

Sam Michael, Technical Director: "Today we evaluated different rear wing levels over long runs to set our level correctly for the race. With high temperatures predicted all weekend, we also had to check all the cooling systems onboard. Both the medium and soft tyres are working well, but there is some blistering evident that we'll have to manage during the race."

Force India-Mercedes

Adrian Sutil (12th, 1:25.496): "Two straightforward sessions for me. The car had a bit of oversteer this morning, especially in Parabolica, but the general feeling was pretty good straightaway. In the afternoon I felt quite happy with the aero balance but we will need to explore all the options this evening to make sure we make the right call on the downforce levels for the race. We didn't look especially competitive on the timesheets today so it's clear we need to think hard about how we approach tomorrow. In terms of tyres, things look okay. I did long runs on both the medium and soft compounds and they both lasted quite well, so should not cause us any worries."

Paul di Resta (13th, 1:25.683): "Monza is not the easiest of tracks to get up to speed on. There are so many big stops on the brakes and it took me a while to find my rhythm this afternoon. Otherwise it was a typical Friday session without any dramas. We obviously concentrated on trying to find the best aero balance and worked on the stability of the car under braking. What we have is a good baseline and not too far away, but once we've been through all the data we should have a better idea of where we can improve for tomorrow. It's also clear that we need to find some speed overnight because the times around the middle of the pack are very close."

Nico Hulkenberg: "It always takes a while to adjust to the low downforce levels, but to be honest I felt comfortable from the start of the session. The car was pretty stable and we didn't have to work too much on the balance. Like everyone we used the first session to experiment with different wing levels to see the effect on laptime. As for the tyres, I only ran one set of the mediums and felt very positive because they held on quite well and the degradation levels were not too bad."

Dominic Harlow, Chief Race Engineer: "A high test demand on our free practice programme today in Monza. We needed to evaluate tyre performance for a slightly modified soft tyre against the medium, set wing level for the first Monza event with DRS and set our cooling and brake systems for the weekend. We also had suspension developments to compare along with some set-up work. We were able to complete the programme successfully and now have to trawl through the data this evening for the configuration we wish to take into qualifying. The resurfacing since last year seems to have reduced grip a bit in the final sector, but with ideal weather conditions I'm sure we can expect a little track improvement tomorrow and Sunday."


Sergio Perez (8th, 1:25.097): "For me this was a very positive day. Actually it was better than I expected, which is good news. When I was on new soft tyres the track was a bit dirty, so this makes me hope I can improve in qualifying. My car feels well balanced, especially with the soft tyres, and also on long runs."

Kamui Kobayashi (9th, 1:25.182): "Having stable weather and track conditions was very useful today, and enabled us to do proper set-up work in both sessions. For me the car isn't perfect yet, but I can see that we have the potential to improve the balance and the lap time. I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering: "In the first practice session it was important to us to let the drivers do a good mileage on the medium compound tyres so they can get used to the low downforce level. Of course in the morning we also did the usual systems checks, and started to work on the cars' set-up. For the second 90 minutes session we obviously had the tyre comparison on the list. Again we did a lot of mileage, and we now feel well prepared for the race. Apart from Kamui having to stop on track with a transmission problem at the end, everything went smoothly today."

Toro Rosso-Ferrari

Jaime Alguersuari (14th, 1:25.758): "I am very happy to be back racing at Monza which is a great track, with plenty of high speed sections and heavy braking to make it exciting. In both sessions today, I got a good feeling from the car and I think we are continuing to show good form, with some improvement when running in qualifying trim. The whole team did a good job today and there is more potential to come out of the car tomorrow and on Sunday. If we continue to work well through the weekend, I think we can be fighting on level terms with Force India and Sauber again on Sunday. We experienced the two DRS zones for the first time today and you can see from comparing the top speeds with and without the system, that it makes a huge difference to top speed, so it will be the key to overtaking in the race, although it will be less important in qualifying. There is quite a difference between the two Pirelli compounds, while degradation is not that bad and I think we can get more out of the Softs tomorrow."

Sebastien Buemi (17th, 1:26.347): "This morning went well, as we tried out various things on the car to see how it felt around Monza, so overall it was a positive session. However, the afternoon was less successful as I only managed a handful of laps. I made a mistake and hit the wall, so I am sorry for giving the team a lot of work now to repair the damage. But, as they say, tomorrow is another day and this evening I will be working hard with the engineers to see what we can do for the rest of the weekend. In terms of tyres, not much to say and I only ran with the Prime so far. The DRS worked well and running the car in the Monza-specific low downforce configuration was interesting and enjoyable."

Laurent Mekies, Chief Engineer: "Monza free practice is different compared to the other tracks, in that we have done very track-specific work today, to deal with the fact this is where we run the lowest downforce of the entire year. For everyone, this means running different wings, front and rear, so the first job is to see if they perform as expected. We did that and then worked on finding the right compromise between having good speed down the long straights and having sufficient downforce for the corners. We now have plenty of data to study to find the best solution for tomorrow and the rest of the weekend. We also evaluated different set-ups on both cars and even though we lost track time with Sebastien in the afternoon, we will be able to apply what we learn from Jaime's data to Seb's car for tomorrow. There do not appear to be any particular issues with the tyres, although our only long run so far was done on the Options this afternoon. From what we have seen today, it should be an interesting race on Sunday with the possibility of more than one strategy being applied."


Jarno Trulli (18th, 1:28.559): "That was a trouble free Friday afternoon for me but honestly I'm not all that happy with the balance of the car at the moment. There's quite a lot of understeer on turn-in and through the exit of the corners and we need to work on dialling that out to find more speed. There's definitely more to come and we've shown all season we can take good steps forward from Friday to Saturday, so I think we'll be ok tomorrow."

Heikki Kovalainen (19th, 1:28.605): "That wasn't too bad but we can definitely improve. This morning's session was brought to an early end with a sensor issue on the gearbox and I was given the instruction to pull over when the engine temperatures started rising. This afternoon we worked on both sets of tyres and I think the softs are ok but we weren't really able to get the best out the mediums which gave us some areas to work on tonight on improving overall grip."

KLarun Chandhok: "I'm pretty pleased with the performance this morning. The car felt OK from the first laps and it was good to get some more time under my belt in the cockpit. Friday mornings are always pretty limited running, particularly when the track's got that light covering of dust on it, but today I was focusing on some aero evaluation and we got through that program so I think I did ok today."

Riad Asmat, Chief Executive Officer: "That was not one of our best Fridays. Despite completing a pretty decent number of laps we struggled to find grip on both cars all day so the main challenge now is for the engineers to work through the data that we have accumulated and improve our speed tomorrow. We know we can increase performance levels in all areas for FP3, qualifying and the race, and that is the focus now for the remaining sessions."

Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "That was a bit of a difficult Friday for us. It started well this morning with Karun doing a good job running through an aero evaluation program and it was good for him to have a full session in the dry. For the race drivers, the main problem today was getting heat into the harder tyres and I think we may find that improves with increasing the downforce levels tomorrow. Both Jarno and Heikki were reporting that they could not find enough grip and as that is linked to both tyre performance and the downforce package the goal is to solve that for tomorrow and unlock the speed we know is in the car for qualifying."

Thierry Salvi, Renault: "This morning we worked with Karun on engine mapping and he did a good job for us collecting a lot of data we can use on both race cars this weekend. The chassis he was in, which reverted to Jarno for the afternoon session, completed decent mileage throughout both sessions, but this afternoon we struggled a bit with Jarno in the car, and we need to spend some time this evening to make sure we can progress for FP3 and qualifying."


Vitantonio Liuzzi (21st, 1:29.162): "It was a pretty good first day in Monza, just how I wanted to get my home grand prix underway. This track suits our car better than others because there aren't any high speed corners where a lack of downforce tends to cost us. So we've closed the gap quite a bit with our main rivals. We did some set-up work in the morning and worked on understanding the soft tyres in the afternoon so, overall, we got some valid information. I think we have a good balance on lung runs but need to work on our single lap pace tomorrow morning. Everybody did a good job today and I think we can have a good weekend but we must keep on working hard."

Daniel Ricciardo (24th, 1:29.841): "It was a pretty good first day in Monza, just how I wanted to get my home grand prix underway. This track suits our car better than others because there aren't any high speed corners where a lack of downforce tends to cost us. So we've closed the gap quite a bit with our main rivals. We did some set-up work in the morning and worked on understanding the soft tyres in the afternoon so, overall, we got some valid information. I think we have a good balance on lung runs but need to work on our single lap pace tomorrow morning. Everybody did a good job today and I think we can have a good weekend but we must keep on working hard."

Colin Kolles, Team Principal: "It is Friday practice but the sessions have not been as productive as the drivers and team were hoping for. We gathered some good data in the morning and worked on the tyres. Liuzzi has had a good run in the afternoon session, but we had to change the alternator on Ricciardo's car and he could not push as hard as he should have. It is a pity we could not have a second full proper sessions and enough running time to test our whole programme."


Timo Glock (20th, 1:28.804): "Not one of our best Fridays. I think we struggled quite a lot in FP1 with some technical and sensor problems and we couldn't really complete the programme this morning. I was just hanging around for 45 minutes in the pits and I couldn't run, so that left a lot of work to be done in the afternoon. In FP2 we put the car quite quickly in a good direction and I felt quite comfortable. It's a bit difficult against the top guys here - they are quicker and the top speed difference can be quite big, so we have to look into that for tomorrow and try and make the car better and quicker. It's still early to talk about the upgrade as we have to study the data, but I hope for a smooth Saturday."

Jerome d'Ambrosio (23rd, 1:29.622): "It has been a smooth Friday apart from the issue with the engine. Today wasn't so much about me but more about the other car and the upgrade, which doesn't look too bad. Now we have to study all the new data and wait until tomorrow, but for the moment it's encouraging. In general my day today was very useful, getting ready for the race on Sunday. Tomorrow I hope we can continue to work like we did today."

John Booth, Team Principal: "The morning session was more than a little frustrating! Due to the unique demands of Monza on downforce level and our revised rear aero package, both cars had essential data to collect in P1. Although the issue with Jerome's engine lost him some track time, fortunately he had collected much of the data that we needed on the various options for the low-downforce package. With Timo, a sensor problem on the new exhaust meant that essential logging runs took a little longer than they should have. Over the break, both sets of crews did a fantastic job to change Jerome's engine and also resolve many of the early teething problems we had on Timo's car to allow both drivers to run a full session in P2. Overall, we're fairly pleased with the data collected in FP2 and we are happy with the performance and reliability of the revised package. We will now apply it to both cars overnight and look forward to continue working with the upgrade in FP3."