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2003 San Marino Grand Prix 
What the teams and drivers said - Friday  

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What the teams and drivers said - Friday

Ferrari ( Michael Schumacher - 1st, Rubens Barrichello - 2nd )

Jean Todt: “A very good start to our home grand prix, in front of our fans. At the moment things are going the right way, but we should not get carried away with this theoretical all-red front row. The results of the first qualifying session confirm the potential of the F2002. Bridgestone has done a very good job, providing us with a tyre which is very quick over a flying lap. Now we must work on making the right choice for the second qualifying and the race, both in terms of tyres and strategy.”

Ross Brawn: “This afternoon's performance is a good start to the weekend for us and it is nice to be first and second again. Michael went off the track this morning, but the lack of track timer is not a problem, as we tested extensively here last February. The mechanics did a good job in repairing the damage quickly. The cars seem to be well balanced. The tyres worked well over the single flying lap, but we still have more work to do tomorrow, to make our final choice. At the moment, there is a slight chance of rain on Sunday, so we could be back on the wets again.”

Michael Schumacher: “It's great to have both cars on the front row today. We thought we could get this result, but the opposition, particularly Williams is very close. We think we have a good car for the rest of this weekend and I think it is capable of winning. I hope so for all the tifosi. We always knew that Malaysia and Brazil would be difficult for us, as has been the case last year. Back then, we came to Imola and had the upper hand. For the moment, It seems to be the case this year too. Given our experience with the F2002, racing it here seems to have been a good decision so far.”

Rubens Barrichello: “It was a normal day, trying a variety of changes on the car this morning. We concentrated on comparing the two types of tyre Bridgestone has brought here for us. This afternoon, I made a very slight mistake on my quick lap. Second place and the overall performance of the F2002 make me pretty confident for tomorrow and the rest of the weekend.”

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Williams ( Ralf Schumacher - 3rd, Juan Pablo Montoya - 4th )

Sam Michael: "This is obviously a good start to the weekend. Juan made a mistake on his lap coming out of the second Rivazza corner and Ralf made a couple of mistakes in sector three. But our performance is definitely improving. We have introduced a couple of aerodynamic components for this race and it is good to see the chassis works well with these changes. We are looking forward to tomorrow."

Gerhard Berger: "This was the first time we were running the new parts on our cars in normal track and weather conditions. Our result shows a big step forward. It shows what the potential of our car is. Both our drivers made some small mistakes therefore I am very pleased they could achieve positions three and four. On Sunday, there could be a place on the podium for us."

Ralf Schumacher: "I am quite happy with the outcome of my First Qualifying. We have made progress, especially on the mechanical side. For every race we bring new parts for our FW25 now and BMW has built a strong engine which pays off here as well. It was clear that I had some oversteer in a couple of corners which might have cost about two or three tenths of a second. But I am confident we will be able to sort this out by tomorrow."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "I am pretty happy because the car was very good. I think I could have been quicker but after what happened in Brazil, today I decided to take the more conservative option. After I saw the sector signs I knew that I didn't have to push too hard. Coming out of the second Rivazza, I went on the power and I had some oversteer so I had to get off the throttle and lost a little bit of time."

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Jaguar ( Mark Webber - 5th, Antonio Pizzonia - 15th )

Dr. Mark Gillan: "We did a lot of homework in the week leading up to this race and so far, the results have been very good indeed. We have gone a long way towards solving the fuel pick-up issue was has heavily penalized our performance over the first three races and today was the first time we have gone into qualifying on an equal footing with the other teams. The fact that Mark has gone 5th fastest today is the clearest indication yet of the improved direction that Jaguar Racing is taking, albeit we still have a long way to go before we are completely happy.
Mark did another superb job this afternoon and given that we have out- qualified both Renaults and McLaren-Mercedes in true qualifying trim, it's very clear to see the progress we have made relative to last year.
We are taking full advantage of the two-hour testing session in that we are using the T-car to full effect, undertaking tyre comparisons, working on race preparation and getting ready for Friday qualifying. The Jaguar R4 seems very competitive around this circuit and given that we are testing new bits here, the performance is all the more encouraging. Combined with tremendous Cosworth power and the excellent Michelin tyre, we are very satisfied indeed going into the second qualifying phase tomorrow."

Mark Webber: "I couldn't have wished for a better start to the weekend. Our preparation going into the qualifying session was very thorough and I am very pleased with my lap time. My first sector could have been better but my last sector was very good. The challenge of putting in one quick, trouble-free lap is far from easy and I'm very pleased with the balance and performance of the car. We must remember however, that the track gets quicker towards the end of the session and with that in mind, the guys going out at the beginning are not getting exactly the same deal. Even so, we are very satisfied with the progression of the Jaguar R4 – especially when you consider that Imola was by far the hardest race for Jaguar last year. The team suffered from every problem imaginable at this circuit last year and Imola normally provides the ‘wake-up' call for many teams after the first three flyaway races.
To go well here is a clear endorsement of the package and the tremendous hard work that has been undertaken over the winter by everyone at Jaguar Racing, Cosworth Racing and Pi Electronics. Imola is a very demanding circuit and puts considerable demands on balance, braking, traction and engines. The early signs going into the weekend are very good but let's see what tomorrow brings. The weather is expected to change to rain on Sunday and given this, it will be very interesting to see what strategies the teams employ tomorrow."

Antonio Pizzonia: "My track time was compromised this morning by an engine problem and this prevented me from doing a low-fuel run in preparation for the qualifying hour. The fuel load makes a considerable difference to the car's handling characteristics, particularly under braking and not having familiarized myself with this during the Free Practice session cost me some time during qualifying. Given that I was in the T-car, there was also a limit as to how much set-up time I had pre-qualifying but to honest, I am not worried. The fact is that we have a very capable race car which is clearly a major step forward on last year's R3 and given that the real test of qualifying is tomorrow, we'll focus on improving my set-up overnight in an effort to realize the full potential of the package we have."

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BAR ( Jenson Button - 6th, Jacques Villeneuve - 7th )

David Richards: "We came here with high expectations based upon our test here during the winter. It was therefore disappointing to lose track time with Jacques, and to spend most of the first session looking to get the balance right with Jenson's car. However, things have come together this afternoon and I'm happy with 6th and 7th, and to clearly be the second Bridgestone team. I think we're in good shape for tomorrow."

Shuhei Nakamoto: "Not too bad but I'm not completely happy. Both drivers set lap times comfortably inside the top ten this afternoon, which puts us in a good position to fight for more points this weekend."

Geoffrey Willis: "Jacques' running this morning was shortened by some gearbox damage, resulting from a procedural error with the software. Apart from this, the car and the latest step of engine have performed well. In this afternoon's warm weather, there doesn't appear to be a big difference in tyre performance. Both drivers underestimated the improvement in the track conditions this afternoon and clearly felt they could have been quicker. This is a good first qualifying result for us at a circuit where we were expecting to be strong and it means that we can now focus on the optimum strategy for the race. We are confident of a good result."

Jenson Button: "Things didn't go too well for me this morning; the balance wasn't right and the car just didn't feel good. Then in qualifying it felt completely different; pretty good in fact. Because it was a different car though, it was hard to know where the limit was. I had a little oversteer and lost some time in the middle sector but generally I was quite pleased with the lap. We have the new specification engine for this race and although we need to continue to make progress, it's a good first step."

Jacques Villeneuve: "I'm happy we got a good lap in but it's just a shame that, for the third race running, we didn't get a lot of laps in during the morning. We had a software problem during practice which affected the gearshift and that was the case again in qualifying, so we weren't on the limit this afternoon. There's still time in the car but at least we managed to get a lap that puts us in a good position for final qualifying tomorrow."

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McLaren ( Kimi Raikkonen - 8th, David Coulthard - 9th )

Ron Dennis: "This morning we spent a considerable amount of the session ensuring that we selected the correct race tyre. This limited the time we were able to devote to optimising the car's set up, which is clearly not yet there. Our engineers will now focus on that challenge for tomorrow's qualifying, which of course is the one that determines our grid positions for the race."

Norbert Haug: "We are not happy with our performance today but we will be working very hard to be better tomorrow."

Kimi Raikkonen: "It wasn't a particular fast lap from me today. I came in to turn 10 a bit too quickly and as a result lost speed coming out of the corner, but at the end of the day, tomorrow is when it counts. We went through our planned program during this morning's practice and will see what happens in Saturday's qualifying."

David Coulthard: "I don't really think we got the full potential out of the car during my one flying lap today as we would have expected to be a bit closer to our main rivals. However as always we will look at the data and work together on where we can improve for tomorrow when it really matters."

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Sauber ( Heinz Harald Frentzen - 10th, Nick Heidfeld - 14th )

Peter Sauber: "Heinz-Harald did a very good job, and without his throttle pedal problem could have gone four-tenths faster. Nick improved his morning time in qualifying, but unfortunately not enough. Both will get the opportunity to use what we learned today to go faster tomorrow. In qualifying conditions, we know that our Bridgestone tyres work well."

Heinz Harald Frentzen: "My main problem today was that I pressed so hard on the throttle pedal that I broke it! It happened as I was coming out of the Variante Alta at the top of the circuit, but I was able to complete the lap. Without that problem I think I'd have been a couple of places higher, but we still have some analysis to do in preparation for qualifying tomorrow."

Nick Heidfeld: "I was struggling a bit to get the car set up this morning and we made a lot of changes for qualifying. They improved the car significantly but it took a little bit of getting used to in one flying lap, so the first part of it especially suffered a little. We still have some work to do, however, as my car didn't feel as good as it did in our last test here before the start of the season."

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Jordan ( Giancarlo Fisichella - 11th, Ralph Firman - 17th )

Eddie Jordan: "As usual we have a lot of work to do this weekend in order to score points on Sunday. But it was good to take some time out this morning in order to celebrate our victory in Brazil and see Giancarlo presented with his trophy. I'd like to thank the FIA and FOM for arranging this unprecedented gesture, and extend my appreciation to Ron Dennis, Kimi Raikkonen and the entire McLaren team for their sportsmanship."

Gary Anderson: "I'm a bit disappointed really. Giancarlo made a mistake in the last section at Rivazza one and Ralph made a mistake at the Variante Alta chicane. Having said that, there were not many places for Giancarlo to move up if he hadn't made the mistake, as we're just not quick enough. We need to work on the car to make it ride the kerbs a bit better and try and find some lap time for tomorrow. The trophy ceremony has been the best bit of today!"

Giancarlo Fisichella: "Unfortunately I made a couple of mistakes in the last sector, otherwise I think I had the possibility to be 10th. The car is not too bad, we need to adjust the set-up bit and I'm confident for tomorrow."

Ralph Firman: "It was going reasonably well but I made a mistake at the chicane, I just hit the kerb too hard and got the car a bit oversteery. I had a productive morning though and I'm looking forward to tomorrow, I think it's going to be a good weekend."

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Toyota ( Olivier Panis - 12th, Cristiano da Matta - 18th )

Gustav Brunner: "Of course after this morning's result, we made some set-up adjustments to the TF103s. The changes were more radical on Panis's car to combat the handling difficulties from practice, but the overall result is still not great to be honest. We will carry on with our set-up work tomorrow morning, adapting Cristiano's car to reflect the major changes we made to Olivier's car and I hope we will make some more steps ahead."

Olivier Panis: "When I compare the result we have in qualifying to the free practice session, I think we have made some good progress. This morning, the car was very difficult over the kerbs and we did not have enough grip. I think the reaction of the team to change the set-up was good and I am quite happy with 12th today. I know it is not good enough, but I think we are heading in a good direction for tomorrow. We took some risks for the set-up changes between practice and qualifying sessions and I think it paid off."

Cristiano da Matta: "I made a big mistake in the first sector, which ruined my whole lap. We still need to find some more speed in the other sectors too with some modifications to the car's set-up necessary. It is a slow beginning to the weekend for us, so hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. We have ninety minutes of free practice tomorrow in which to improve the car's handling. I like this circuit a lot, but I feel we have a better potential in the car than we showed today."

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Renault ( Fernando Alonso - 13th, Jarno Trulli - 16th )

Pat Symonds: "While we knew this circuit would be harder for our cars than the three previous tracks, we are obviously very unsatisfied with the present result which places us too far behind our direct competitors. We must now analyse all data and find solutions for tomorrow's qualifying."

Denis Chevrier: "Overall, a disappointing day for us. This morning's problems prevented us from developing our full programme and it's difficult to say where we really are and how much we can improve. Today the gap to the others is significant and we have to understand why and react accordingly."

Fernando Alonso: "As we expected, it's going to be a hard weekend for us, as we are struggling with tyres and on this very fast circuit. But we still a have a full-days work and I am optimistic we can reasonably improve our final position on the grid in tomorrow's qualifying."

Jarno Trulli: "This morning we lost time during the test and free sessions, with few problems on the car and therefore this afternoon, I felt the car was not well balanced , which reflected in my poor lap time. We will have to set to work hard on the car now, but am confident I can improve my position tomorrow."

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Minardi ( Jos Verstappen - 19th, Justin Wilson - 20th )

Paul Stoddart: "First of all, congratulations go today to Matteo Bobbi on his Grand Prix weekend testing debut. Unfortunately, his car suffered a sensor problem, which denied him the opportunity to demonstrate his true potential. Both Jos and Justin went on to complete their technical programmes today, and while only P19 and P20 at the end of the first qualifying session, we feel there is improvement to come tomorrow."

Jos Verstappen: "We tried very hard and went quickly during the morning. I was pretty happy with the balance of the car – there was slight oversteer in the first sector, which then became less in sectors two and three. Once again, it's fair to say we got pretty much all we could out of the package today."

Justin Wilson: "I made a slight mistake in the middle of the first sector, which cost me some time. Other than that, I wasn't unhappy with what was my first attempt this weekend at a low-fuel, qualifying run. I didn't have a chance to simulate a qualifying run in this morning's practice session because of a mechanical problem that caused the car to stop on the circuit. All in all, it has been a reasonable day's effort."

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Friday Practice Results Report Results
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First Saturday Practice Results   Results
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What the teams and drivers said
Friday - Saturday - Sunday

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