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Italian GP 2014


Friday Team Quotes

Fernando Alonso, Italian GP 2014
© The Cahier Archive

Red Bull-Renault

Sebastian Vettel (7th, 1:26.762): "It was quite slippery out on track; this year's cars are down on grip and we have minimum down force in Monza. It was a good day for us, we didn't have any problems and were able to do a lot of laps and test some things. It's important to get Friday right in order to be able to build on that for the rest of the weekend. The tyres mean it should be a one stop race on Sunday, but we will see. I think some struggled to get them to work; there's not so much different between the medium and hard tyres here. I think tomorrow should be better, as it should be warmer and the track will start rubbering in a bit. I felt a bit more in charge of the car today."

Daniel Ricciardo (10th, 1:26.992): "We didn't get much running this morning due to an engine issue, but it was okay and we recovered well in the afternoon. The track's always fun here, for a track with so few corners it's very challenging and with the low downforce braking it's very difficult. Obviously we want to be a bit further up, but I think we can chip away at it tomorrow, the Mercedes will be quick, but if we can sneak into the top 5 in qualifying then we'll have a good crack at the race. Getting temperature into the tyres is tricky, especially for the first timed lap."

Mercedes GP

Nico Rosberg (1st, 1:26.225): "It seems that we are quick on one lap but on the long run the others were very fast. I didn't feel 100 per cent confident in the car, so I can't be happy with today and I have a lot of work to do tonight with the boys. It's really great to be back on such a traditional track here at Monza with all the history. Now being here with this quick Silver Arrow makes it very special for me. The fans are very enthusiastic as always and also very kind to us. I'm really looking forward to the weekend."

Lewis Hamilton (2nd, 1:26.286): "I felt really good after the practice session this morning and we have definitely got a competitive car this weekend. Unfortunately we lost some track time this afternoon but the guys did a great job to get me back out so I got a few laps at least. We made some changes over lunch and then another during the session and, although I didn't have a lot of laps, the car feels great. Hopefully I'll be able to have the full session tomorrow and get some good running. Monza is quite an important circuit to put the car at the front as it's very difficult to overtake here. It would be great to have a trouble-free qualifying tomorrow afternoon."

Paddy Lowe: "Nico ran a normal programme in today's two practice sessions, exploring the different tyre compounds and the unique aerodynamic set-up we use here in Monza. As always here in Monza, it is a challenge to get the tyre in the right condition at the same time as putting together three strong sectors. For Lewis, the day was a little more interrupted. We suffered an electronic problem firing up Lewis' engine in first practice which cost some track time, but we made some adjustments in order to run normally. Unfortunately he then experienced a more severe recurrence at the start of second practice. This meant he lost around 45 minutes of track time as we replaced additional components which appeared to resolve the issue. Although this wasn't his race engine, we will be working hard tonight to identify and eliminate the precise cause. Out on track, Lewis made the best of his limited running and got a feel for the car on both tyre types and at high fuel. In terms of our performance, this is never a comfortable situation, and we will be working hard to optimise further for qualifying and the race."

Toto Wolff, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "It was a mixed day for us. Nico had a smooth day and completed his planned programme. With Lewis, we lost a lot of running due to an electronic problem. We need to identify the cause and resolve that this evening. Obviously it's not ideal but Lewis did a good job to recover and put in some strong laps. We need to work hard tonight to make sure the performance is at our full potential - and that our reliability is bullet proof."


Kimi Raikkonen (3rd, 1:26.331): "That was a very busy day, but a positive one. We made the most of every minute available to us in both sessions, managing to try everything we had on our programme. In the morning, we concentrated on assessing different aero configurations, in search of the best level of downforce. Then in the afternoon, we opted for an intermediate solution that seemed to produce the best results on both compounds. The difference between the Medium and the Hard is more or less what we expected; the softer one behaves well, but in terms of driveability, I found the Hard wasn't bad either."

Fernando Alonso (4th, 1:26.565): "For various reasons, Friday in Monza is always a bit different to the others, with a special significance for our team in the weekend of its home race. The track characteristics also make it one of a kind: here you run with low aerodynamic downforce, you feel the car is quicker down the straights and lighter in the corners and, as was the case today, you need to try different downforce levels. In general, I'm happy with the work we did on set-up and tyres and especially with the time I did with a heavy fuel load. Towards the end, we were worried we had a problem, but to banish any doubt, we went out for another lap and everything seemed back to normal. Now, we are preparing for tomorrow and we hope to do well for all the fans who were already here today cheering us on from the stands."

Pat Fry: "Monza is a special circuit with unique characteristics. The long straights and the small number of corners mean that on Friday one has to work on finding the best aerodynamic configuration. Even if in general, the cars have less downforce, this year it's more complicated than usual to find the right set-up and decide what is the right level of downforce for the fast corners such as Ascari or the Parabolica. Therefore, in the morning and the afternoon, we worked to improve the cars' stability and now we will try and optimise our package based on the data gathered from both drivers. Fortunately, we encountered no problems today and it was important to get through the programme, including evaluating tyre performance, as the ability to generate grip from the tyres is even more important when the cars are running in low downforce configuration. Overall, we are pleased with today's work, but we know we still face a particularly demanding weekend."


Pastor Maldonado (18th, 1:28.700): "The balance of the car felt okay today, however these downforce levels have been very challenging for us. Our pace looked more consistent and competitive on high fuel; hopefully this will allow us to drive a good race. There are opportunities to overtake here in Monza and if you manage your tyres well it is possible to make places. But first we still have a lot of work to do tomorrow morning and then perform the best way possible in qualifying. We're pushing hard to get the best possible result on Sunday."

Romain Grosjean (20th, 1:29.085): "We knew that it would be tough here in Monza and it is. We had some small issues - some little details that we can work on to improve the car and go into the right direction, even if it might not mean that we will be significantly faster. We tried a new front wing today and new small wings on the car and there is more that we will try in FP3 tomorrow. We will work hard to improve the car as usual, to prepare for the qualifying session, and try to achieve the best result possible."

Charles Pic: "It was a very good feeling to be back in the E22 this morning. For the team it will be a challenging weekend here in Monza as the track doesn't seem to suit the cars very well. Our goal this morning was to work towards optimising the car and getting it ready for the weekend. The programme was mainly focused around aerodynamic work and it was valuable - one direction worked out better than the other so we had useful findings on some specific points. We will now continue to work and prepare for Saturday's sessions."

Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer: "Our Friday programme was focused on completing the necessary aerodynamic evaluations that a circuit like Monza requires, as well as giving Charles some valuable track time. This afternoon was spent assessing tyres, with Romain back in the car alongside Pastor. We gathered plenty of data to review ahead of tomorrow's sessions, despite limited time with Romain, and will work to implement the necessary changes."


Jenson Button (6th, 1:26.762): "There's still some work for us to do, but, all in all, it's been a relatively good day for us. Our single-lap pace looks quite good, but we're probably lacking in race pace compared with some of the other teams. Still, it's always difficult to know where you are on a Friday - we don't yet know quite where we stand. The revised run-off at Parabolica is still slower, if you go off-track, but now you don't get penalised. I'm definitely carrying more speed into that corner than I did last year - because you're less wary of the gravel exit, which is no longer there. It's different, but I'm still not sure whether I like it. Looking at tyre wear, it's going to be a one- or two-stopper around here, but the warmer weather that's forecast could make it easier to blister the tyres. And that could make the strategy a little trickier for everyone."

Kevin Magnussen (8th, 1:26.881): "I think the high-fuel runs this afternoon were pretty promising. Our straight-line speed and braking both feel good, so I think we should be able to race reasonably strongly with this car, which is pretty important around here. Hopefully, we should be able to get a good qualifying result - but I'd rather have good race pace than good quali pace. I think a low-downforce track with big braking zones - areas where our car is usually quite strong - means that we should definitely be trying to get a decent result this weekend."

Eric Boullier, Racing Director: "This was a reasonable first day of practice, and it seems as if the low-downforce promise that we showed at Spa has carried over into this weekend. Both drivers looked competitive during this morning's opening practice session, and it's positive that the upgrades for this weekend seem to be delivering. We've still got some work to do in order to bring our long-run performance up to the standard of our single-lap pace, but we feel we have an understanding of the car, and can further optimise it overnight ahead of tomorrow's practice and qualifying sessions. With just 0.8s covering the top 10 this afternoon, it looks as though we're set for a close and exciting grand prix weekend."

Force India-Mercedes

Sergio Perez (11th, 1:27.079): "Today was a promising start for our weekend and we managed to do everything we had planned. We have good pace already, especially during the long runs, where we look competitive. Now it's just a matter of getting everything right and having a good qualifying position tomorrow to make the most of our strengths."

Nico Hulkenberg (12th, 1:27.227): "This morning was quite normal for a Friday, but the afternoon was a bit more difficult and it was not easy to find a nice rhythm. I just didn't find the balance and harmony I was looking for and that showed in the lap times. So we need to dig deep into the data and see what we can improve for tomorrow. Apart from that it was a successful day with the tyre work and collecting the long-run data."

Daniel Juncadella: "I'm always happy to drive the car whenever there is an opportunity, but obviously my programme was very short today - just 30 minutes and one set of hard tyres. It was a chance for me to experience the car in the low downforce set-up, which actually felt better than I was expecting. The main job was to check the baseline set-up and make sure there was nothing major to change before Checo took over. After my install lap I also did some practice starts to give the team information on the clutch settings."

Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Operating Officer: "We had all three drivers in action today with Daniel spending the opening 30 minutes of free practice in Checo's car. Considering the tight schedule, he did an excellent job of evaluating the set-up and completing the systems checks. His feedback and direction helped Sergio for the rest of the session. The remainder of the day was fairly straightforward for Nico and Checo, and we head into the weekend having done most of our homework in terms of data collection. The pace looks promising and with some more tweaks tonight we should be in good shape going into qualifying."


Esteban Gutierrez (14th, 1:27.840): "In the morning we went through our planned programme. We tried different mechanical set-ups and changed the aero balance on the C33. At the beginning it was ok, but with the modifications that we made at the end of the first free practice I did not have a good feeling. In the afternoon we changed the modifications back again to the ones from the beginning of FP1, and the session was overall ok. I think we can still improve the car a bit further. We are looking into it for tomorrow, and we will also concentrate on the grip evolution."

Adrian Sutil (16th, 1:28.029): "In the morning we went through our planned programme. We tried different mechanical set-ups and changed the aero balance on the C33. At the beginning it was ok, but with the modifications that we made at the end of the first free practice I did not have a good feeling. In the afternoon we changed the modifications back again to the ones from the beginning of FP1, and the session was overall ok. I think we can still improve the car a bit further. We are looking into it for tomorrow, and we will also concentrate on the grip evolution."

Giedo van der Garde: "During the first two runs I struggled a lot with the balance of the car. We started with a very low downforce level, so, as a result, I had a lot of understeer, which was my main issue. Towards the end of FP1 we went to a rear wing with more downforce, and made some changes on the front wing. The lap times got better and I improved quite a lot. I think the car is more stable and has less understeer with this configuration, so I was more satisfied with the balance of the car at the end of the session."

Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering: "It was positive that we had no technical issues at all today, which enabled us to complete the planned programme. In the morning, Giedo did a rear wing comparison as well as some set-up work. He was able to give us some valuable information. Esteban's programme was quite similar in the morning. In the afternoon Esteban and Adrian did some set-up work and race preparation with the tyre comparisons on low and high fuel loads. The balance of the car is reasonable, however, there is still room for improvement. As expected, it was quite a challenge to get the tyres to work. With the hard compound it was not too bad, but the medium compound is quite difficult to handle. Overall, the performance was more or less where we could expect it on this type of track."

Toro Rosso-Renault

Daniil Kvyat (13th, 1:27.476): "It was a busy day today but unfortunately we are not yet where we want to be. With the warm temperatures, it was a bit tricky out there and tyre management wasn't easy. We still need to work on the car balance, which I wasn't very comfortable with today. So we still have some homework to do tonight in order to get the most out of the car for the rest of the weekend."

Jean-Eric Vergne (15th, 1:27.929): "I wasn't really happy with the car today. Tonight we'll look at all the data with the engineers with the aim of getting the right solution for tomorrow and as much performance as possible for the rest of the weekend."

Phil Charles, Chief Race Engineer: "With both cars today we managed to complete our programmes, which is always important on a Friday. However, we had a couple of small issues on JEV's car towards the end of FP1 and in terms of performance, we are not where we would want to be. The main complaint from both our drivers appears to be a lack of grip, although Daniil still managed a long run that wasn't too bad. We have more work to do to give JEV a car he likes, but with both of them we need to find a few tenths. However, we now have all evening to look at the data, try and analyse what the cars are doing and then hopefully find a way to be stronger tomorrow, with one more hour of free practice still at our disposal."

Ricardo Penteado, Renault: "Today was a positive day. We pushed the Friday Power Unit to a very high mileage with no major problems to report. Equally we tested some new software, which helped with the energy management and power optimisation. We had a small issue with the CUH this morning but it was resolved for FP2 and we were able to run through our programme. Although performance is not exactly where we would like, there is still more to come tomorrow."


Valtteri Bottas (5th, 1:26.758): "We tested the new aero package today which works well. With the low downforce the car does slide a bit more, but it's manageable. I am really pleased with the long run pace, but think there is a little more to get from it. Qualifying is going to be tight tomorrow, so we are all ready to work hard tonight and find all the gains we can."

Felipe Massa (9th, 1:26.935): "The day was ok; we have a lot of work to do overnight and some more tomorrow. We can still make improvements and move further up to be a strong challenger to the teams at the top. We have worked hard throughout the day and completed our programme, so tomorrow we will be able to compare our pace to everyone else's."

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: "We completed all the work we had planned, plus a bit extra so I am happy with the day. We have some key data from the aero work and the tyre management was good. Our long runs look competitive and both sets of tyres were manageable. We have to do a lot of work together now to prepare for tomorrow, but it's encouraging to get off to a positive start today."


Kamui Kobayashi (21st, 1:29.178): "It was good to get back in the car again after my last outing in Budapest. I needed a bit of time to get used to the car again, as we had some updates in Spa and the car felt a bit different to start with. Now we just need to fine-tune the set-up and have a bit more time out on track tomorrow as today I only had a 90-minute practice. I am happy with today's session; we were able to go through the planned programme. It's good to be back and we are quite close to our rivals, so I am looking forward to a close battle this weekend."

Marcus Ericsson (22nd, 1:29.275): "This morning started with a pretty decent run in FP1 and we got quite a good baseline set-up straight away, but unfortunately during the second run with the second set of tyres we had an issue with the brakes, so we couldn't improve our lap times. It was a shame, as it would've been good to continue the work during the rest of the session instead of losing some essential track time. We were able to sort out the braking problem for FP2, so we were able to build-up the pace again straight away. It was a good session for us - we completed plenty of laps and got a good feel from both tyre compounds. We also did a long run on the option tyre, so it was a decent afternoon. We now have a lot of data to look at and we need to work hard tonight. I think we can build on this for the rest of the weekend."

Roberto Mehri: "It's been an amazing day today. My dream finally came true and I drove a Formula 1 car out of the garage for the first time in my life. I'm very happy and it was an impressive experience - the car was pretty quick on the straights and the first outing was amazing when I went full on power, a very nice feeling. I'm satisfied with my performance today, to complete so many laps without a mistake was my real highlight of the day. I want to thank Caterham F1 Team for giving me the opportunity to drive the car on a Friday of a Grand Prix weekend."

Christijan Albers, Team Principal: "It's been a positive start to the weekend. As usual, in Monza, one of the most important things is to try and asses the correct downforce level and, since we had one experienced driver and a young driver in the car this morning, we gave the more difficult settings and experimental programme to Marcus and we have plenty of useful information. It was good to give Roberto Merhi the chance to drive a Formula 1 car for the first time, he did a solid job. In the afternoon Kamui was back in the car, completing plenty of laps which, added to Marcus' mileage, gives us a good amount of essential data for us to analyse and prepare for a good qualifying and race. It was also a pleasure to invite the Mayor of Verona, Flavio Tosi to visit the Caterham F1 Team today here in Monza, as one of our logos on the car for this weekend refers to the Festival Arena of Verona 2014."

Cedrik Staudohar, Renault: "If we look at the timesheets alone, it does not reflect the full picture today. On the engine side almost everything worked as expected and we were able to take a further step forward in terms of engine mapping and performance, and also with the new software evolution debuted here. We got a lot of information and have a large amount of analysis to do to ensure we get the maximum from the PUs tomorrow. The gaps between cars are very close here and if we get everything right there is the potential to qualify a bit better than we have in previous races."


Jules Bianchi (17th, 1:28.659): "It's great to be back here at Monza, at the start of what I think can be a promising weekend. It has taken us the two sessions to get the car much closer to a more ideal balance, but I'm pretty comfortable with where we have finished the first day. We're close to Sutil and ahead of the two Lotuses, so although we still have some work to do ourselves, I think we can perhaps enjoy a good race here in front of the Scuderia Ferrari home crowd."

Max Chilton (19th, 1:28.786): "I'm pleased with how things have gone on the first day of running. This morning in FP1 the car felt good pretty much straight away, so it has been more about fine-tuning it to try to move us forward. Jules and I have been close on the timesheets for most of the day and I'm sandwiched between the two Lotus cars and ahead of both Caterhams, so I think there are some positive signs there for the weekend ahead."

John Booth, Team Principal: "A promising start to the weekend in Monza. Both drivers have been happy with the balance of the car from the get-go. FP1 was spent evaluating rear downforce levels, with Jules trying both rear wing solutions and Max staying on the higher downforce rear wing as a baseline. Overall we felt that the lower downforce solution was the optimum, considering that the grip levels will be increasing throughout the weekend. This afternoon both drivers worked through fine-tuning the set-up before getting down to the long runs. The good news is that the balance that they are happy with seems to be translating well across all tyre types and fuel loads, so it seems this evening will be more about fine-tuning rather than wholesale changes and then we look forward to seeing how things look in FP3."