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German Grand Prix
What the teams and drivers said - Friday
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What the teams and drivers said - Friday
Bobby Rahal: "That's a pleasing start to our weekend but we mustn't read too much into our times today. While they are very pleasing, I'm actually more impressed with the ever-improving pace of the car. Our three-day Monza test was productive in showing us where we needed to make adjustments to the new aero package and the overall balance of the car Ė something that both drivers have been very pleased with today. Michelin have worked very hard in an effort to bring a good tyre to Hockenheim and it shows. The Silverstone weekend didn't do us any favours, particularly with the weather, but I'm reasonably optimistic about our potential at this circuit. I'm not saying we'll be fighting for pole position tomorrow, but we should certainly be aiming to get both cars into the top ten."
Eddie Irvine: "That's the best handling car that I have ever driven around Hockenheim. We're not as quick as we look but at the same time, we're not far away either. The Michelin tyres work very well here and combined with the recent aero changes to the car, the whole package has become a lot easier to drive. Monza allowed us to optimise the new package and given that I had missed the previous two tests because of my neck injury, it was my first opportunity to really understand the changes that had been made. Our race performances over the past few weeks have been strong but our qualifying performances have let us down. With this car at this circuit, I think we can make up for some of these unreflective qualifying performances. We won't be at the front tomorrow, but we should certainly be setting our sights on P8 and above. From here, our race performance should become easier, hopefully allowing us to score some much needed points."
Pedro de la Rosa: "I focused on a tyre comparison programme for the first session and then moved onto scrubbing in tyres for the race in the second session. The car got better and better each time I went out and I'd say that we're looking quite good here for the race. The tyres are working very well here, but we'll probably sacrifice qualifying a little in an effort to be better prepared for the race. This is one of the few circuits where overtaking is possible and I would rather focus my effort towards getting a good race strategy together. We seem to be more efficient with less downforce because we always seem to find more time than other teams when it comes to taking wing off the car. Let's see what happens tomorrow during Qualifying. I never read too much into Friday's times but, I have to say, we are quicker than anybody thought we'd be. The signs are good and we'll work hard to ensure that we're rewarded for today's good start."
Patrick Head: "We have had a very useful day on Juan Pablo's car, running the two different tyres provided by Michelin, and they both look good, but we will think carefully about the choice for the race. For Ralf unfortunately the car got away from him at the start of the second practice and that curtailed the work he could do. We are in reasonable shape and we have to make sure we build on that for qualifying and race conditions."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "It was a pretty good day, but we have to wait to see what everybody has got for tomorrow. We looked quite competitive today, which is encouraging. The car is pretty good and seems to ride the kerbs fairly well, which I think helps a lot. We are quite slow in the last sector, so I think we have to work on that a little bit."
Ralf Schumacher: "The first hour went as we expected and was quite good. Unfortunately I went off at the beginning of the second hour, and so couldn't continue the set-up work we had started in the first session. I was a little too quick into the Motodrom, lost the rear and hit the tyre barrier lightly. Because we can't use the spare car today, we are facing a lot of work in free practice tomorrow."
Ron Dennis: "The outcome of todayís practice reflects an abnormally high influence of tyres, fuel loads and ambient temperatures. Iím sure the grid tomorrow will look somewhat different."
Norbert Haug: "Mikaís and Davidís performances show that we are heading in the right direction but we are not yet where we want to be with our race set-up. We are preparing for a race which will be very strenuous for cars and drivers as a result of the expected hot temperatures."
Mika Hakkinen: "Iím very pleased with todayís performance as we were progressing with the set-up all the time. My time was pretty good considering the amount of fuel we were running. There are still a few corners where we are struggling with the rear end of the car but we will solve them. You have to compromise with the set-up here at Hockenheim and choose either to be quick on the straights or fast in the stadium section as you canít have both."
David Coulthard: "Itís good to be back in the forests in Hockenheim. Everything is working reasonably well and I went through a programme of changes to adjust the balance of the car, which tends to oversteer in the stadium section. This track is low downforce which means it can be quite tricky to set up the car as you canít rely so much on the aerodynamics to mask a mechanical problem."
Jean Todt: "Fridayís practice sessions are more or less always the same, in terms of working on car set-up primarily for the race and doing tyre comparisons in order to make the right choice of compound for Saturday afternoon and Sunday. We have gathered a lot of data about the handling of our cars, but we still have work to do on the settings. Both drivers used all three sets of tyres available to them. I expect that tomorrow there will be a three way team fight for the top places on the grid. Rubens had to sit out the final ten minutes today because of a hydraulic problem."
Rubens Barrichello: "I was not able to get that much running today, especially in the afternoon. In the morning, things went very well and the car was definitely in good shape. Then I had a hydraulic problem in the second hour which cost me the last ten minutes of the session. We still have a bit of work to do on defining the ideal set-up, but I am confident for tomorrow."
Michael Schumacher: "The track is pretty much the same as usual. You have to find the right compromise between the high speed sections and the motodrom. I would say that as far as our lap times are concerned we have to see where McLaren are and we seem to be matching them, so everything is in order. I do not have a problem in any particular part of the track. The gap between the two types of tyre is not so big. There is the usual couple of tenths. I donít think todayís order means very much, although the cars at the front are doing good times, so maybe they will be a bit higher up the grid than usual after qualifying. As usual the crowd here is a motivating factor."
Alain Prost: "Today's practice day brought us two reasons to be very satisfied, it is the first fast track of the season and our cars appeared to behave well in the different configurations we tested today. We tried simultaneously different options with the two cars and gathered valuable indications to prepare for Sunday's race. The second positive thing is the very good performance of the Michelin tyres here. If weather conditions remain as hot and dry as today, which we hope, we have real chances to set a good result this weekend."
Jean Alesi: "Hockenheim is a difficult circuit, the first of the season where we can go over 340km/h, and it is not so easy to find the right balance between the fast parts of the circuit and the Stadium. Today I found from the start that the car was stable and behaved consistently in both the straight lines and the twisty sections. I am also very satisfied with the performance of the Michelin tyres. Usually on Friday, everybody works in various directions and with different levels of fuel, which affects the lap times a lot, but being in the top ten today remains a true satisfaction for us."
Luciano Burti: "It is my first time here and I had to start with learning the track. The first session went very well, but I think we were a bit confused with set-up choices in the second session. As a result, I was struggling to be faster this afternoon, and even putting new tyres on did not help, which should have been the case. We are working on today's data and we already know in which direction we have to go way to go, so I feel confident we can do much better than this tomorrow
Tim Holloway: "As usual, we were concentrating on race set-up with a heavy fuel load and running back-to-back tests with the hard and the soft tyres. The conditions were very hot today and the race is likely to be run in these temperatures, so it was important to get as much information as we could. We don't test beforehand at Hockenheim. It's the same for everyone, of course, but the tyres and brakes will be crucial for this race. A brake problem in the second session cost Jarno some time but, apart from that, everything was okay and I think we know the direction we need to go. That said, we need a bit more time tomorrow to confirm our findings because there isn't a lot to choose between the different types of tyre."
Jarno Trulli: "Today we worked on the race set-up. We were looking for a good balance for Sunday and trying the two different types of tyres. In the second session I had a slight problem with the brakes, otherwise everything was fine."
Ricardo Zonta: "I was very easy on the brakes this morning because we thought there might be the potential for a small problem there. So, when I tried a new set of tyres later in the morning session, I found I was braking too early. The grip was very good and my second lap was faster, so obviously I feel I can improve even more. We made some changes to the car before running the next set of new tyres. We tried some more changes and I learned a lot about the set-up. It's been a good day because we made progress in the end and I'm very happy to be back in the car. Thirteenth today is not so good but, then again, it's not so important today even though we could have done a bit better."
Pat Symonds: "We have had a very productive day. We ran a reasonably high fuel load all the way through the session, because we are concentrating on race set-up, and we have completed some good tyre evaluations. The car looks quite competitive in low-downforce trim and we look forward to a successful weekend."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "It was a quite good day and we are pleased with the way things have gone. We had a small gearbox problem during the first session, but the car has been well balanced from the start and I think we can be consistently quick here. We have made some improvements and found more grip and I am sure we will be competitive tomorrow. It is a nice feeling to have on a Friday and I am looking forward to qualifying."
Jenson Button: "The biggest problem we had this morning was oversteer, especially in the stadium section. I was quite a long way off Giancarlo, but we were running different kinds of tyre, which might have had something to do with it. By the end of the session most of the oversteer had been cured, but the bit that remained was still costing me some time. Overall I don't think we are too bad and Giancarlo's position hints at our true potential. Generally the car has worked well ≠ and Michelin has come up with a very effective tyre."
Peter Sauber: "Today we focused on normal race preparation. Unfortunately Kimi had a problem with an engine sensor which required removal of the gearbox, so it was not possible for him to complete the afternoon session."
"I had a normal day with no problems, and looking at the times I
would guess that some people ahead of us were running low fuel loads.
Kimi Raikkonen: "My car felt fine to begin with this morning, but towards the end of the session it began to develop a problem with an engine speed sensor that made it change gear randomly. This became worse during the second session, so I had to stop."
Jacques Villeneuve: "We started the day with the wrong set-up but we changed it and improved a lot. We ran two tyres back to back and concentrated on maximising grip and finding the right balance. We tested last week in Monza, knowing we may not be that competitive here in relation to other tracks this season. I do enjoy driving here ≠when you find the right set-up itís a great track but when you havenít found that set-up, itís just slippery and bumpy and you end up going nowhere. It just becomes frustrating. Thatís kind of how things were this morning but we have made some progress this afternoon and can continue to do so."
Olivier Panis: "We tried different set-ups and tyres and Iím quite happy with the balance of the car at this stage. Obviously we have to wait until tomorrow morning to understand more because everybody tends to play around with the fuel on a Friday and you never quite know where you stand. I have achieved some good results here in the past and, of course, I would like to do the same on Sunday. I feel comfortable with the balance which is good but we need to make the car quicker in preparation for the race."
Mika Coughlan: "After the trouble we had with the brakes in Canada earlier in the year we stuck to high fuel levels today to check them out. Enrique made steady progress but unfortunately didn't get a good run on new tyres but that shouldn't be too much of a problem. Jos completed the brake trials so we're pretty confident about those for the race on Sunday. Lots of work to be done tomorrow to prepare for qualifying as we have concentrated on our race trim today."
Jos Verstappen: "It was annoying to lose the first hour today as we have a lot of work to do here after not testing in Monza last week. We did get all the work done on the brakes and tyre compounds in the second hour though and stayed on a high fuel level so it's not too bad at all. We still have some things to try to improve set-up so there's definitely more to come."
Enrique Bernoldi: "We managed to steadily improve the car during the sessions today but we are still struggling for grip. We think we know which way to go with tyres but we will decide that during our debrief meeting. I lost half of the afternoon session because of an engine problem but hopefully we can make up for lost time tomorrow."Paul Stoddart: "The European Minardi team completed a useful opening day in preparation for the German Grand Prix, both drivers running through their assigned programmes without notable incident. Fernando, in the PS01B-specification chassis, continued testing the new gearbox, and while there were a few minor problems, he nevertheless finished with a creditable time. Tarso completed the day without any problems and we look forward to being able to build on what weíve learned for tomorrowís qualifying session."
Fernando Alonso: "Todayís outcome looks fine to me. In the morning session, we tested the new gearbox, which we introduced last week at the Monza test. The development work carried out immediately after the test on this new unit is already proving to be effective. It is brand new, and there is still a lot of work to do to optimise its performance. In the afternoon, we reverted to the previous version of the gearbox. We continued the set-up work we started in the morning and also compared the two tyres compounds at our disposal."
Tarso Marques: "We improved a lot between the sessions and the second hour definitely turned out better than the first, although I think we have still not reached the optimum for this circuit. We are working in the right direction, though, and I was able to improve my lap times quite a lot by the end of the afternoon session. I feel that if we continue working that way, we should get further improvements out of tomorrowís session."