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Italian Grand Prix
What the teams and drivers said - Friday
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What the teams and drivers said - Friday
Patrick Head: "We have certainly been able to do some useful homework especially on evaluating the tyres and car set-up for the race, and will now concentrate on speed for tomorrow. We are obviously quite pleased the rain held off."
Gerhard Berger: "This practice result is very pleasing, and we just hope our competitors don’t make a big improvement tomorrow as we feel we should be able to get at least one car on the front row. We had no technical problems and both drivers are reasonably happy with their set-ups. After leaving Spa empty handed we definitely want to score points here."
Ralf Schumacher: "We are fast and this is what we expected to be here. I am satisfied with the set-up of the car apart from a little bit of understeer, which I am certain we will get rid of. We completed our scheduled programme without any problems and are already discussing our tyre choice. My target for tomorrow is a front row grid position."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "Today went from bad to better. We improved the car quite a lot, but on the second set of new tyres I had traffic. I think the potential there is to go a lot quicker, but we are still struggling with quite a lot of oversteer in the faster parts."
Jean Todt: "Today was a different Friday to usual. We are here on our home track at Monza with so many of our fans close at hand. That is particularly good, given that we all have our mind on other things which happened a long way from here. With the agreement of our partners, we wanted to show our solidarity with the victims, by removing all logos from our cars. We are professionals and our job is to look ahead. The team worked on fine tuning and adapting the cars to this circuit. We also tried both types of tyre available to us. Tomorrow, we can expect the same sort of fight to the ones we have already seen on fast tracks like this one."
Ross Brawn: "This was a straightforward day, during which we did tyre comparisons as usual. There’s not much difference between the two types of tyre, but already we can say there seems to be one which we prefer. Grip and traction are obviously important coming out of the chicanes, but not as much as in Hockenheim. The cars are handling quite well. It was a strange day under the circumstances, with everyone going about their work in a professional way. However, maybe there is some enthusiasm lacking because of the events earlier this week."
Michael Schumacher: "From a purely sporting point of view, this was the usual sort of Friday. I had no particular problems with the car. As usual, we worked on tyres and set-up."
Rubens Barrichello: “First impressions would seem to confirm that the Williams are very competitive on this track, which is what we had expected. As for myself, I am not yet completely happy with the set-up of the car. Now we will have to study the data to work out where and how we can improve. The weather might be different tomorrow, with higher temperatures and so we will have to wait and see what effect this has on the car and tyres."
Niki Lauda: "Eddie has a brake bias problem on the rear and that's our fault. We'll look into it and make sure it's working correctly for tomorrow. Pedro worked through a tyre programme and did a really good job today. Overall, there isn't too much to say. The Jaguar R2 is probably quicker than this and we'll work hard in an effort to get it better balanced. Both drivers reported an understeer problem and, combined with the lower-than-expected track temperature, we can undoubtedly do better if we address the issues and things go our way tomorrow."
Pedro de la Rosa: "We found a very different track this morning compared to the one we tested on a few weeks ago. It's a very slippery track out there and the challenge was made harder by an understeer problem. We haven't extracted the best from the car yet and our balance issue isn't helping. There's a fair deal of work ahead of us, but I'm sure we can get more out of this package. We had a very good test at Monza a few weeks ago and while the weather conditions were better suited to us then, there's still scope for a better performance tomorrow."
Eddie Irvine: "We didn't learn as much as we would have liked, and going off like that didn't exactly help either! The rear brake bias wasn't correctly set and that's what caused me to spin, under braking into the chicane. The main issue up until then was understeer, especially into some of the slower corners. We worked on varying the wing levels and more track time would have helped us understand the problem, but it wasn't to be. The car feels much better here than it has done at other circuits and tomorrow morning will allow us to make more improvements before qualifying."
Ron Dennis: "A normal disciplined Friday practice where the time differences reflect an even higher fuel variation than normal, which is the result of this race traditionally being a one stop."
Norbert Haug: "We did a lot of running today and learned quite a bit for the race. It’s hard to tell where we are in comparison to our competitors and we expect a tough race for us."
Mika Hakkinen: "At Monza it’s very important that you have the right balance in order to be able to enter and exit corners at the maximum. It’s also a circuit, which places a particular emphasis on horsepower and aerodynamics. We went through our programme today and completed 37 laps and managed to do a lot of work and now we will see what happens tomorrow."
David Coulthard: "We were able to do a lot of running and evaluate a vast amount of data to find our basic balance. We also did the usual brake wear tests as this will be very important in the race where we run in low downforce configuration. Naturally it’s difficult to see where we actually are compared to the opposition so we have to wait for tomorrow to get a better picture."
Peter Sauber: "Prior to our problems today both Kimi and Nick were very fast, which confirms our belief in the RED BULL SAUBER PETRONAS C20´s potential at this track. After the first session we were still fourth and seventh fastest. I am confident they will be able to demonstrate similar performance again tomorrow."
Nick Heidfeld: "I was pleased with the C20´s speed this morning, as it confirmed my expectations of the car at this circuit. Unfortunately, going into the second Lesmo I couldn't get the car to turn in as the brakes locked, and it hit the barrier quite hard after sliding across the gravel trap."
Kimi Raikkonen: "The car felt very good in my brief run this morning, but going down to the first chicane it got out of shape and I hit the barriers at high speed. I'm okay, but I don't really know what happened. Everything seemed normal until the rear brakes locked. I guess I was lucky to avoid Alex Yoong's parked Minardi, but I'm very disappointed not to be able to run again today."
Trevor Foster: "There was only one small drama this morning. That was when Jean went over a kerb and damaged the underside of the chassis. That cost him a bit of running time but, other than that, it was a case of running high fuel loads so that we could evaluate brakes and tyres. Jarno had a problem getting the brake temperature right while running the optimum type of brake duct. Although there is the obvious need to keep the brakes as cool as possible, you don't want the ducts to be too big otherwise that compromises downforce and performance, particularly in the race. So it's a matter of trying to find the smallest duct that you can get away with. That's normal for everyone."
"This is the first time I have run the car with the small wings you
need for the straights at Monza,' said Alesi. 'I need to get the maximum
amount of confidence in the car with this low level of downforce. It's
very important to go step by step. At the beginning of the session I was
struggling a little because of the brakes: I was not able to have a good
feel from the braking. We changed the discs and now we have a good
Jarno Trulli: "It's been a difficult day. In the second session, I couldn't work at all because I had a few problems with the brakes. It means I have no idea about the tyres but, otherwise, the car set-up seems pretty good but, as I say, I don't know what tyres to choose for qualifying and the race. We'll have to do that tomorrow morning."
Alain Prost: "Considering the fact that we have never tested on this track this year, we can be relatively satisfied with the work done today. We have seen that we can have a good level of performance here but also that we have a lot to do regarding set-up and tyre choice. Despite the understeer we are currently suffering from, I am confident that Heinz-Harald will be in a position to optimise the car by tomorrow afternoon. Tomas did well for his first practice with us on a Grand Prix weekend. We did not expect too much from him today in terms of performance and wanted to let him getting more acquainted to the car. We will make the best of the two practice sessions tomorrow morning for both Heinz-Harald and Tomas, and we feel rather positive at the moment."
Heinz Harald Frentzen: "Today we had two productive and reliable practice sessions in which we have been able to work efficiently and in the right direction. However, I do not feel a hundred per cent satisfied yet, as we are still struggling with a strong oversteer. The pain is that I really feel I can be quick and the potential of the car is definitely here. But we must erase this understeer to be really competitive and today we were a bit at the limit of the changes we could do on the car to cure it. So our focus this afternoon will be to try and find the best possible balance for tomorrow."
Tomas Enge: "One of my main goals today was to stay as long as possible on the track, and I am happy that I could almost complete the two sessions without any particular problem, apart from riding on a kerb which slightly damaged the floor of my car at the end of this morning’s practice. This afternoon, we chose to stop by precaution ten minutes before the end, because I saw the oil temperature alarm was on, and we did not want to risk an engine failure. Overall, I never pushed too hard today because I did not want to make a mistake. We have quite a lot of work to do to improve the balance of my car which we will do this afternoon with the engineers, but I feel confident and positive after this first day. Tomorrow I will try my best to improve my times and position."
Pat Symonds: "It has been an excellent day for the team. Between them, our drivers managed 91 laps - and it is very gratifying to be so reliable at a circuit that is traditionally very hard on engines. That's a benchmark of the progress our team has made recently. As a result of this, we were able to make good progress on our race set-up, with high fuel loads. We decided to make our tyre decision quite early, because we worried about what the weather might do. But we feel in very strong shape for Sunday. We are pleased with the competitiveness of the car and hope that good qualifying positions tomorrow will reflect this."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "The car's set-up felt quite good straight away and we have had a productive day. We had a bit too much oversteer as a consequence of making some changes to the front wing in the second part of the session, but we will go back to our original set-up tomorrow. I am confident that we have a car capable of qualifying in the top 10."
Jenson Button: "It is one of the best Fridays I have had this season. This morning we did some tests that worked really well. Then this afternoon we continued doing some long runs to see how the balance was, and that seemed to go pretty well too. This has been a decent start to the weekend and I hope things will continue like this."
"It’s always difficult to draw too many conclusions from Friday’s
running but it would be fair to say we’re a bit off the pace. Having
said that, we’ve been in this position before on a Friday and had a good
result by Sunday afternoon.
Olivier Panis: "Today wasn’t the best start we could have had to the weekend. We have to do more work this evening and in the morning to improve the car and make us more competitive. However, we do have reasonable balance so that’s a good basis to improve the car. We just need to find more grip through a good overall set-up."
Jacques Villeneuve: "I’m using a new chassis here this weekend and the car is much better to work with. We’re not quick enough yet though so we’ve still got quite a lot of work to do before qualifying. We’ll continue to try different options in Free Practice tomorrow as there is still the potential for improvement."Paul Stoddart: "We’re really pleased for Alex, who has done a highly respectable job in his first Formula One practice session, registering a best lap of 1 min 28.250 secs, which is only a little over 3.5 secs off the fastest time recorded today. As usual, Fernando’s performance was exemplary and his quickest lap, a 1 min 26.972 secs, was excellent. The team now looks forward to an exciting day tomorrow, when we can build on the progress that has been made."
Fernando Alonso: "As usual, our first day of free practice was focused on trying to get the best chassis set-up and testing the tyres. Here in Monza, work on the aerodynamics is extremely important, too, and I believe tomorrow we should be able to achieve a good performance from the car. To finish 17th today seems to me a good result and, hopefully, I can either retain or improve on the position tomorrow in qualifying."
Alex Yoong: "It has been a good first day, even though I missed some of the first session in the morning when an electrical problem caused the engine to shut down. This afternoon, we were able to do some useful work. It was really important for me to get some laps in at a steady pace and, in the end, the time was not so bad. We also collected useful information for tomorrow."
Graham Taylor: "Enrique did a lot of laps today, which was good. We had a problem with the steering on Jos' car (which cost us a bit of time in the session), and as he's not comfortable with his car yet, we need to work on this overnight. As far as Friday testing goes we have managed to get good data from which we can work out our strategy for the rest of the weekend."
Enrique Bernoldi: "I am happy with the set-up of the car and already have an idea of which tyre we want to use. We found a little bit more downforce during this afternoon's session so were able to improve. All in all we feel we have made progress and now understand more about how we can set the car up for this track."
Jos Verstappen: "I was very disappointed to lose so much time in the first session because as a result we were unable to get through our programme. I must say that the mechanics did a great job fixing the car in time for the second session, which meant that we could learn more about the general set-up. Hopefully we will have more luck tomorrow."