At the Thursday press conference for the Spanish Grand Prix, Michael
Schumacher indicated that he doesn't feel at a disadvantage coming to the
Spanish Grand Prix which has been traditionally a McLaren track. He said
"Not necessarily, honestly. We have had a good test here. We haven't only
had one test here. We've been here several times. You could say that being
here more often gives you a greater advantage. It might be true to some
degree, but you have to see it in relation to the new car, the experience
you've had with the new car and our base with the new car is obviously very
good. What you then need is to finalise the set-up. We've had some time to do
this as the last test was here - with two new cars so we feel pretty much
prepared for it."
It has been a year since launch and traction control was allowed back in
Formula 1. Michael was asked if he though racing was better or worse with the
aids. He said "To me it is clearly an improvement because as a driver I
prefer a much more neutral situation, a much more advanced and technology
improved situation, which we have now. I prefer working that way. Does it make
racing more or less interesting? Well, if you look through the years I don't
think it really changes a lot to what is shown to the outside. We have the
same circuits and about the same number of overtaking moves as we had in the
past. It is pretty close together in all honesty, simply a little bit more
complicated but it offers other opportunities."
Kimi Raikkonen has retired from the last 3 races and
is hoping that he can complete a race distance in Spain and said "We had
very good tests last week and I hope we are going to do better here. At least
we should finish the race this time and that's the big thing now."
As for how testing at Barcelona regularly helps for the race he said "I
think it helps because we more or less know the set-up for this circuit and
then we just need to get it better. As I said, the main thing this weekend is
to finish the race and I think we are going to score points and, who knows,
maybe get on the podium."
Pedro de la Rosa was straight forward about Jaguar's
prospects this season indicating that they won't improve until Silverstone and
said "We are going to have a very tough two months in front of us and we
just have to try to get the most out of the package we have at the moment and
that's it. We are waiting for the new wind tunnel and new bits, new people are
joining and just getting new points on the car, because that's the only way we
are going to make the car quicker: just adding better, quicker aero parts.
From my side, I just have to enjoy it to the maximum that I can. If there's
any possibility of getting points, that's fine but I don't think we are in the
position of dreaming about points if the other people don't have big problems.
This is my message and it's a realistic one, it's the whole message of the
Jaguar Racing Team and there's really nothing much more we can add. It's two
months. It's not going to be any shorter. I think we are looking at the
Silverstone Grand Prix basically and that's quite a realistic date."
Pedro praised the Spanish track in Barcelona and said "I think it's
fantastic to be racing at home, especially at a circuit like this one, which
you can see that it's changing, it's getting modern: more modern grandstands,
bigger, better. This is good because it's Spain. Formula One is very good
place to see how a country develops and we don't have Formula One teams but at
least the circuit that we have is of really high standard and I would say that
it's the best in the world after Malaysia. Now we have to try to beat Malaysia."
Marc Gene who is the official driver for the Williams
team described his testing role and said "For me the busiest time of the
year was the beginning of the season because we had a three car team and our
main issue there was reliability compared to last year. We thought the way to
get reliability was to do as many kilometres as possible. In fact we did
25,000 between the three cars which was really impressive and it paid off,
because I think that the car is - you never know because something might
happen this weekend but I think we are the most reliable on the grid at the
moment. So that was the issue. My responsibility was engine development but
especially reliability-wise. Now I concentrate a lot on tyre work and also
engine development and sometimes new parts for aerodynamics, traction control
and all that. But it's really to try and let one of the race drivers rest
every other week."
As for the difference between testing and racing, Marc said "Both
situations are not ideal, obviously. When you race for a modest team you get a
kick from the racing, and it's very exciting because you're racing
wheel-to-wheel but before the start, you know that unless something really
unexpected happens you've got no chance of even scoring points nowadays
because top teams are so reliable. On the other hand, now I get to drive one
of the best cars in Formula One and do many more miles than when I was racing
in a modest team. Maybe the only good thing about this is that Williams is
very fair in that we usually tend to run the same fuel level, myself, Juan and
Ralf, so I can really compare myself to them on the pace. So now I have the
car and I don't race whereas before I had the car but it wasn't very
competitive in racing.
Hopefully, a midfield team will see that you've got a lot of experience, your
face is as good as the lead drivers and that you can as good a job as your
lead drivers. But the driver market in Formula One is extremely tough now.
There's a lot of young drivers coming in and not many seats available so it's
difficult. But that's the idea, in theory. We will see if it works out next
Fernando Alonso who is the official test driver for
the Renault team described his testing role for the team and said "I
think the test driver in a top team is very important because we do a lot of
tests, a lot of improvement on the car, there are a lot of parts on the car to
be tested every week and there's constant development on the car. We will see
at the end of the year. I try to learn a lot, do a lot of kilometres and
As for the difference between testing and racing, Fernando said "It's a
completely different job. This year is quite frustrating to watch the race on
TV. But you do realise that your job is very important for the team. You feel
part of the team and that's the main thing. I'm the third driver but I do
realise that the team needs me, that's motivation for me. For sure, for any
racing driver racing is our life. When we are in the car, we are living. When
we are not in the car, we are waiting for the next time that we are in the
car. So for sure we miss racing."
The Jordan Grand Prix team officially announced today that Technical
Director Eghbal Hamidy has left the team. The statement issued by the team
read "Jordan Grand Prix wishes to announce that Eghbal Hamidy, former
Technical Director, has officially left the company. This decision was reached
amicably and neither party wishes to make further comment."
Hamidy joined the Jordan team in February of 2001 from Arrows but it is believed
that since Gary Anderson (whom Hamidy disagreed with at Stewart) joined Jordan
in November of 2001, Hamidy has not been happy at Jordan and since the start
of the 2002 season, he has been officially on 'holiday'. It is rumoured that
he is in talks with McLaren.
Following a disastrous start to the season, Jordan Grand Prix
have followed in BAR's footsteps and announced a major restructure
reducing staff by around 15%.
Managing Director Trevor Foster, Head of Engineering Tim Holloway and Chief
Operating Officer John Putt will all be departing the team.
Eddie Jordan will become more involved with the sporting side as well as
the commercial side. The team will be run by Henri Durand, the Director of
Design and Development and Gary Anderson, the Director of Race and Test
Engineering. Eddie Jordan said of the announcement "Jordan has always been
at its best when lean and efficient. Once you sense complacency creeping
in, or costs becoming exorbitant, a prudent business needs to take action.
We have an incredible group of people at Jordan who work tirelessly to
achieve on track success. These changes will generate a more efficient
structure at a time when our focus is on the performance and reliability
of our cars."
It is interesting to note that Technical Director Eghbal Hamidy was not
mentioned in this announcement. It is believed that he wants to leave
Jordan and is currently on forced 'leave'.
Following the resignation of Wolfgang Reitzle, the
head of the Premier Automotive Group which Jaguar Racing is part of, Niki
Lauda has calmed fears of Jaguar Racing being under threat. He has
been assured of full support by the Ford Motor company.
Speaking to Autocar, Lauda said "Nick Scheele (Chairman of Ford in
Europe) telephoned me last Thursday and confirmed that the Jaguar F1
programme has the full support of Detroit. He told me to go and push hard
and get the job done."
The Jaguar Racing team's results so far have been dismal despite having
scored 3 points so far this season. They continue to struggle with the R3
and usually qualify towards the back of the 22 car field.
Schumacher heads into the 5th round of the Championship in Barcelona
in a confident mood saying "Whatever happens, we should be
He remains cautious regarding Williams as Barcelona has been their main
test track and said "It's best to be cautious when making
predictions. One should also bear in mind that Williams and Michelin have
done most of their testing in Barcelona."
Michael admits that their is still a long way to go and they have to
remain focused and said "We know there is still a long way to go this
season and we need to take it one race at a time. As soon as one race is
over we are automatically focussed on the next one and so there is not
much time for celebration. We have to maintain concentration and continue
to push and that's exactly what we are doing."
BMW Motorsport Director Dr. Mario Theissen has
admitted that he doesn't hold high hopes for the upcoming race at
Barcelona and said "With their new car, Ferrari has raised the
benchmark and by doing so they have motivated us even more to push our
development programme further. We have prepared ourselves well for the
next race with a two car test at Silverstone supplemented by work on the
dynos in Munich. Even though Barcelona is not one of the circuits we have
especially high hopes for, I regard us as being well prepared for what is
coming later this season."
He was very pleased that Williams BMW are the most reliable team so far
this season with a near perfect record and said "We are happy to be
the most reliable team so far this season. Nobody has recorded more race
laps than our drivers and the only competitive distance we have not
completed this season was as a result of Ralf’s accident in Australia.
So early in a season, this degree of reliability is pleasing."
22-Apr: The Quali-flyer's predictions for the 'Real Race' in
Spain ... Report
Practice Session 1
Friday Practice Session 2
Saturday Practice Session 1
Saturday Practice Session 2 Qualifying Session
Warm-up Session Race
AM Barcelona Time / 9 AM GMT
1 PM Barcelona Time / 11 AM GMT
9 AM Barcelona Time / 7 AM GMT
10:15 AM Barcelona Time / 8:15 AM GMT 1 PM Barcelona Time / 11 AM GMT 9:30 AM Barcelona Time / 7:30 AM GMT 2 PM Barcelona Time / 12 PM GMT