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Spanish Grand Prix
What the teams and drivers said - Friday
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What the teams and drivers said - Friday
Jean Todt: "It was the usual Friday programme, which saw us doing a lot of work with Sunday’s race in mind. In particular, we concentrated on running a comparison test of the two types of tyre available. We can say that the first impression is the situation seems promising and that Bridgestone has done a good job. I expect to see the usual fight for the front row positions in tomorrow’s qualifying session and we can tackle it with a degree of optimism."
Ross Brawn: "It was a good day and the Bridgestone tyres seem to be working very well here compared with the others, and I hope that holds up for the weekend. We got through our entire planned programme today without any particular problems. As usual it is difficult to tell what the true performance level of our competitors is on a Friday, but you can see that there are more Bridgestone runners near the front. Even though we test here a lot, we still did a lot of laps as there is no such thing as the perfect set-up and you can always improve, or try new ideas you come up with at the factory, plus the track conditions change."
Michael Schumacher: "At the moment, all I can say is that it seems quite good, even if we cannot be sure of what programme our opponents were running. The tyres seem well suited to the track and offer a consistent level of performance. On top of that, first impressions confirm the findings we made at our test sessions here over the past few weeks. All in all, we can be reasonably confident about tomorrow’s qualifying."
Rubens Barrichello: "Today went well, especially in terms of the tyre comparison work we did. The weather conditions are different to those we experienced when we tested here a few weeks ago, as it is much hotter. I am not yet completely happy with the set-up we have come up with for my car, but we have plenty of time to improve and to be ready for qualifying and for Sunday’s race."
Mike Coughlan: “We’re happy with the result today and the new front wing we ran last week is a definite step forward. We made some mistakes in testing here in February but we have learnt from those. At Silverstone last week we found our direction and we are continuing to follow that direction. We’re also delighted to have a significant upgrade from Cosworth for this weekend.”
Heinz Harald Frentzen: “I think we made a definite step forward at Silverstone last week. We are certainly going in the right direction set up-wise now. We are also very much enjoying an upgrade from Cosworth. Overall a constructive and trouble-free day and we hope for more of the same tomorrow.”
Enrique Bernoldi: “I had a good day today, improving the car steadily as we went through the sessions. The car feels good here and we have made a lot of progress. We did a lot of work with the tyres and have made our decision on those.”
Mike Gascoyne: "As usual, we worked on race set-up today. The track conditions were difficult, and the slippery surface meant both drivers struggled to find a good balance. Having said that, we look very competitive overall, and now need to improve further before the race."
Dennis Chevrier: "A problem with a peripheral component on Jarno's engine delayed our programme this morning. Because of the time it took to locate and rectify the problem, he didn't get back on the circuit during the rest of the session. However, once the part in question had been replaced, we experienced no technical problems whatsoever. Today's programme allowed us to concentrate on optimising the engine's operation, given the small number of unknown variables here owing to the amount of testing we have completed."
Jenson Button: "Today was OK. The conditions were very difficult during the first session, because of the wind and the state of the track, but everybody was in the same situation. The car was difficult to drive - twitchy at the rear and understeering in the long corners. Even so, I managed to set a good time during the afternoon, and we now need to work further on the balance of the car."
Jarno Trulli: "A difficult day for me - in particular, I struggled with the balance. I lost time this morning with an engine problem, and then concentrated on set-up during the afternoon. The car is still difficult to drive both at high and low speeds, and I now need to carry on working for both qualifying and the race."
David Richards: "I'm very pleased for Olivier after such a run of bad luck over the last four races. We have made a positive start to the weekend and we now need to keep up the good work and make the most of every opportunity. We are starting to see steady progress being made with the car and, in particular, a gradual improvement in the engine performance."
Olivier Panis: "I'm very pleased with how practice went for me today; 5th position is a big improvement after the last few races. We had a good test at Silverstone last week and we have taken a small step forward in terms of engine performance for this race. Honda have been working very hard to improve the engine race by race and we can see that beginning to show here. 5th place is a great way to start the weekend and a good boost for the team. I'm happy with the tyre options so far but we still have a lot of work to do because qualifying is another day."
Jacques Villeneuve: "We've seen a small difference here today and small differences always help. This track tends towards a lot of understeer which usually suits us but we're not quite there with my set-up yet. We've done a lot of work exploring the tyre options and we have a reasonably good race set-up so far but Olivier seems to have found a better qualifying set-up. Generally, I'm happy to see some improvement, however small."
Ron Dennis: "'Most of our lap time deficit is, as is often the case on a Friday, mainly representative of the varying fuel loads. That said, we are really struggling to find the same level of balance that we were able to achieve in our pre-season testing. Hopefully the considerable amount of data that we have available will assist in achieving a better set-up for tomorrow."
Norbert Haug: "'We have focused on the race set-up and have found a reasonable basis."
Kimi Raikkonen: "Initially we were struggling to find a good set-up for the car, but we made considerable improvements during the second session. We had to collect a lot of new data as the conditions today were different from pre-season testing. I'm positive about qualifying."
David Coulthard: "This track always has significant tyre degradation after the first timed lap, but that aside, I just can't get a consistent balance out of the car. The engineers and myself have to work hard to understand where our problems lie."
Gary Anderson: "We tried some different front wings and evaluated the tyres which gave us some good data for tomorrow. Takuma had to sit out of the first session because of a failure of an electrical connection to a sensor on the engine. This clearly knocked him back a little, but we'll just have to help him go through what Giancarlo has done today so that he can get a good lap time tomorrow. We were very disciplined in our approach and made sure we just treated this as a 'new' circuit, so to speak, rather than try starting out on the set-ups we worked on in testing here during the Winter. Its tempting to use that set up but really everything is different now - tyres, aerodynamics etc - so all you do is confuse yourself if you take that approach. Of course it's a bonus for Taku that he hasn't had to take any time to learn the circuit this time and that will no doubt give him added confidence tomorrow."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "Today was not bad at all. I think we look alright compared with the competition. The problem is that the grip levels are very low - it's quite different on the track than during winter testing. But we are going in the right direction on set up and I think we can improve by at least three tenths tomorrow. If we are in the top ten tomorrow we will have done a good job."
Takuma Sato: "We caught up quite well today after a bad start when I suffered from an electrical connection failure just as I was exiting the pits which meant I lost the entire session. At least it happened here in Spain where I know the circuit very well but the conditions on the track are quite different from the winter testing so I could have done with more time to work on the car's balance. I think we've collected good data though and I believe we will be in good shape tomorrow."
Willy Rampf: "I think there are some long faces along the pit lane today because the condition of the track has been very frustrating. Your first lap would be quick, but the second could be up to a second slower because the conditions changed so quickly. That's relatively normal here in the summer, but it meant hard work for the race engineers because they were continually chasing a moving set-up target. We are happy though, because we completed our race preparation programme even with Nick's radiator problem."
Felipe Massa: "I was pretty happy the way things went today. I got a good time in early this morning before the temperature really went up, and I improved a little this afternoon. For sure some of the people in front of me were on low fuel, so I'm feeling confident. The balance was good and so were the tyres. So far it's been a good way to celebrate my 21st birthday yesterday."
Nick Heidfeld: "I wasn't very happy with my car this morning, but that was also partly because of the way the track was as well. During the break we changed a few things and the set-up was better this afternoon, but after 11 laps a radiator started leaking, and by the time that was replaced I only had time for three further laps. It's been frustrating losing that track time, but at least we are moving in the right direction on set-up."
Niki Lauda: "Exactly as we expected. Until the new aero package arrives, we will face a tough few races. Both drivers reported handling difficulties today and because we are suffering from a lack of grip, our attempts at correcting the problem for this weekend are futile. We have targeted the British Grand Prix as the arrival date for our new aero package and until such time, we face an uphill struggle. I cannot overstate the importance of a competitive aerodynamic package and to achieve this takes hundreds of hours of windtunnel work. We have a critical time line of development ahead of us and everyone associated with Jaguar Racing is doing their level best to help accelerate a path towards competitiveness. We will achieve this, but it will take a little time."
Eddie Irvine: "The car is very difficult to drive. We know this circuit very well, but that doesn’t change the fact that we are exposed because of our aerodynamic weaknesses. The handling is very poor and as was the case in Imola, we have a tough fight on our hands this weekend. The team, however, is trying to extract the best possible set-up and all we can do is push on. Qualifying will not generate any surprises and unless there’s a high retirement rate on Sunday, I’m afraid it’s more of the same until we find an aerodynamic solution. In the past, we have suffered without our own windtunnel and given the new team of aerodynamicists who have recently joined us, I am optimistic about cracking this problem. It will not happen overnight and we are aiming for our home race at Silverstone which is about ten weeks away."
Pedro de la Rosa: "I joined Jaguar Racing this time last year and since then have built up a good relationship with the team. As a result I have approached this weekend somewhat more relaxed than I did in 2001. I know the Circuit de Catalunya well and it remains a challenging circuit. The challenge, however, is made much harder because of the aerodynamic weaknesses of the Jaguar R3. We worked on general set-up today and towards the end, we did a tyre comparison which, to be honest, didn’t really give us any improvement. There also appears to be a cross-weight problem on the car and I think we’ll probably use the T-car tomorrow. The car didn’t feel right towards the end of the session and from having looked at the data, it appears to be a cross-weight problem. We will, however, investigate the problem further to be 100% sure."
Sam Michael: "It was a difficult session for us today. We really just struggled to find a good balance but we worked on quite a range of set-ups and started to get some direction towards the end of the second session. We have a lot of work to do tonight to look at how we can improve things for tomorrow."
Gerhard Berger: "This was a typical Friday practice where it is difficult to say under which conditions everybody has been running. We are not happy even though we knew this track would not suit our car. I do believe anyway that our grid position will be better than what we have achieved today even though this time we won’t be fighting for the pole position at all."
Ralf Schumacher: "This track doesn’t really suit us, as we were expecting. We still have big problems with the set-up of the car and we are mostly fighting with getting good balance. I tried the two different tyres, but we still haven’t found the right solution in that area. We’ve got a lot of work to do."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "We had a normal Friday in terms of programme, working on the set-up and trying two different types of tyres. I am not happy with the set-up of the car as my times clearly show. We have several areas we need to work on in order to sort out our problems and get a good set-up for tomorrow’s qualifying."
Gustav Brunner: "We didn't have such a good day. We have tested here a lot recently but with all the other cars improving so much, it was quite a difficult job to get the two cars running half decently. A couple of small things needed changing to Mika's car, but we had no major technical problems and I am sure we will improve a bit by tomorrow."
Mika Salo: "I lost nearly the whole first session due to a power steering problem. We then had an oil leak towards the end of the second session. The guys changed the whole rear end in ten minutes, which was unbelievable. I have never seen that done before. We now have a pretty good idea what to do for qualifying, so I am not too worried about our positions today."
Allan McNish: "It was obviously a difficult day. Quite a lot of our pre-season testing was done here and historically we know that we are not as good at this circuit as at others. We have made some improvements, and will work on making the car easier to drive. Qualifying is not going to be so good, so we have to look more towards the race."Paul Stoddart: "It was pleasing to see both cars complete their full technical programmes in preparation for tomorrow’s qualifying session. For Mark and Alex to record lap times just two and three seconds respectively from the best time recorded today, by Michael Schumacher, was particularly pleasing. We now look forward to another useful day tomorrow."
Mark Webber: "It has been a good Friday for us, as we got some useful running in. We lost a little time at the end of the first session, while a hydraulic problem was solved, but we made up for it this afternoon, completing our technical programme, a tyre programme and looking at some software as well. So far, I’m satisfied with our progress, as many of the other teams test extensively here at Barcelona and know the place like the backs of their hands. I’m also happy with today’s work because we had a good amount of fuel in the car. We’re ready for tomorrow."
Alex Yoong: "It was an interesting day. I was still finding my way around the circuit, because during the test here in February, I didn’t get many laps in the dry. The track was very ‘green’ today, so I think all the teams, including ourselves, had some chassis balance issues. We just worked on sorting those out as the day went on. I feel we can go quite a bit quicker tomorrow."