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French Grand Prix
What the teams and drivers said - Friday
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What the teams and drivers said - Friday
Ron Dennis: "A trouble free and uneventful Friday in which both drivers concentrated on race tyre selection, which with the high level of degradation that we experience here at Magny Cours is essential."
Norbert Haug: "A productive first day of practice during which we achieved good and quite consistent lap times."
David Coulthard: "We had a good day working with the tyres and everything is looking well. The balance is OK, but I still have a little oversteer. The last part of the track with the tight chicanes is where we made most of our progress, which is encouraging, as this is where you can really make a difference. The Michelin tyres have proved strong in hot weather conditions and I hope that this will help us to achieve a good result this weekend."
Kimi Raikkonen: "We evaluated our tyre options and worked on different set ups and I think we have found a good overall package. The track was slippery in the first session but the conditions improved in the second practice. If the hot and dry conditions continue I think we can do well, but it really is too early to say, so letís wait and see what happens tomorrow."
Jean Todt: "The Magny-Cours race is always a bit special for me as this is where I began my career with Ferrari. We concentrated on working towards Sunday's race, looking at tyre choice and car set- up. We know that this first day is never usually representative of the real situation out on the track, given the different programs that teams can adopt. As has been the case in the past few races, I expect a very close battle for qualifying, with Ferrari once again capable of getting its cars onto the two front rows."
Ross Brawn: "We concentrated on assessing the two different types of Bridgestone tyre today. It has been very hot and so the track got very slippery as the temperature went up, but this is what we have come to expect at Magny-Cours. We ran with the new aerodynamic package. We are happy with it and it did everything we expected from it. We are reasonably pleased with the day's work, although the slippery conditions make it difficult to assess the effect of changes on the car but we have to find ways of improving grip."
Michael Schumacher: "As usual here when it gets hot, unlike at other circuits, the track surface gets more slippery and so you end up sliding around a lot. The other tyre company seems to be showing strongly here, but we have often been in this situation at the start of the weekend, only to find it changes for the race. We planned to do a long run to see what the tyre performance was like. I think it will be close between us and our main competitors tomorrow, but I believe we are in with a chance of fighting for pole position."
Rubens Barrichello: "This was a day of experimenting with various settings on the car, including the new aero package and, of course the tyres. The high temperatures obviously have an effect on the car's performance and I would say we still have work to do on improving the car's set-up. Nevertheless, I am confident for both qualifying and the race. Tomorrow we will be fighting for places on the front two rows."
Sam Michael: "Today we spent the time going through the two different compounds Michelin has brought for us here as well as checking some cooling options on the new bodywork to make sure it is right for Sunday. As usual for a Friday we did quite a lot of set-up changes on the car. We know we have quite a lot of work ahead of us in order to get ready for tomorrowís qualifying session."
Dr. Mario Theissen: "Both the drivers completed their programme today. Compared with the Grands Prix we have competed in so far this season, this location has quite high temperatures. Michelin measured a track temperature of 44įC today. Everything went according to plan with regard to engines."
Ralf Schumacher: "Today everything went according to plan and we completed the scheduled work, trying out a few things. At present we are still not sure about our tyre choice. All in all the car is not so bad but thereís still some work ahead of us."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "Itís been quite a difficult day. At present I am still struggling with the balance of my car a little almost everywhere on the track. Due to the quite slippery nature of this circuit I spun and went off into the gravel during the afternoon session, which caused me to lose some track time. We are now concentrating on the job of improving the car for qualifying."
Niki Lauda: "A pleasing start to our French Grand Prix weekend, but itís way too early to read into anything. Friday lap times are notoriously deceptive and while our times are pleasing, it is impossible to say where we rank alongside the competition Ė something we will find out at 1400hrs tomorrow. We are running the Cosworth CR-3 engine today and for qualifying and the race, we will use the latest CR4. Neither driver reported any major problem today and all efforts will now be focused on getting the best from this new package which we are still learning about. The Michelin tyres are working well at their home race and while I cannot make any predictions about the weekend, one thing is for sure, weíll do a better job here than we did at Silverstone! We understand the new aero package better, the weather is to our liking and we are better prepared all-round."
Eddie Irvine: "I ran through the usual Friday checklist of set-up work, balance adjustments and tyre scrubbing. We need to understand one or two things better, but I am generally pleased with where we are. The R3 feels much better around here than it did at Silverstone and our three-day Monza test last week has helped us. The tyres are performing very well and Iíve suffered no problems so far. I didnít get enough clean laps today and found myself stuck in traffic several times. There is still more time in the car that we havenít yet extracted and the aim will now be to study the data to see what else we can exploit to our advantage."
Pedro de la Rosa: "We used the two sessions to full advantage today and suffered no issues. The car feels reasonably well balanced around this circuit and combined with tomorrowís morning warm-up sessions, we should be much better prepared for qualifying here than was the case at Silverstone two weeks ago. The team is working diligently on understanding the new aero package and combined with the strength of the Michelin tyre here, I am pleased with what we are learning and how we are applying it. The ultimate test faces us tomorrow in the shape of qualifying and until then, itís not worth reading too much into todayís final positions."
Keizo Takahashi: "Being fast around this circuit is all about the total balance of the car. Cars need to be good aerodynamically, but have good mechanical grip, good brakes and a good engine. The first day was not so bad for us, but unfortunately Mika had a engine problem in the second session. We now have to check exactly what happened and find a quick solution."
Mika Salo: "Not such a good first day. I had an incident early in the first session when a car on its installation lap collided with me. We then had to repair the steering on my car, which lost a lot of time. We concentrated on setting up the car in the second session, but we had an engine-related problem towards the end preventing us from completing todayís programme. The exact cause of the problem needs to be investigated."
Allan McNish: "Friday is always a little bit hard to read, but the car was definitely better by the end of the second session. Traffic is always a major issue round here, and I think that is going to be a big factor for tomorrow in qualifying. I was held up on a couple occasions today, but overall it probably happened to a lot of other people as well."
Denis Chevrier: "We are disappointed that Jarno managed to complete so few laps, and even more so because the second session is when track conditions allow us to collect the most useful data. The fact that we lack half our usual amount of information penalises us in terms of the overall programme as well as Jarno's. We nevertheless experienced a normal day in terms of engine performance, which allowed us to evaluate certain parameters, such as slipstreaming on the long back straight, in conditions close to those we expect for the race."
Pat Symonds: "There's not much grip out there today, but as these are also the conditions we expect on Sunday, it was necessary to persevere with our race set-up work. Despite losing Jarno's input after his spin at the start of the second session, we were able to complete a tyre comparison with Jenson and we now know what we need to do for Sunday."
Jenson Button: "It was a satisfactory day for me. We tried lots of different options in terms of car set-up, but we still have to find some more speed. The car works well on new tyres, but I'm struggling with grip once they are a little worn. There's plenty of work to do in order to improve before tomorrow."
Jarno Trulli: "I'm very disappointed after today's sessions. We concentrated on improving car balance during the morning. The spin was simply my mistake. I am confident things will improve for tomorrow."
Gary Anderson: "There were no major problems today other than a few little excursions across the gravel traps, which meant replacing some bits of the car. We got through our dayís work and feel well-prepared for qualifying."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "We are still struggling a little bit with set-up and grip, but it doesnít look too bad. We have a few new things on the car and will have more power for qualifying so Iím a bit more optimistic than normal. If we do well, a top ten grid result is possible."
Takuma Sato: "Weíre in quite good shape today with no mechanical troubles at all. It was my first outing here in an F1 car and I found the circuit very smooth and good fun to drive, although on the approach to a couple of chicanes, visibility is a bit tricky. We had a good pace straight away and our tyres look quite competitive. Iím optimistic for tomorrow."
Peter Sauber: "Both Felipe and Nick did a lot of running today in preparation for Sunday. It was very important to evaluate the performance of the tyres since we anticipate a very hot race. With a total of 95 laps we have plenty of data on which to base our decision on choice of compound."
Felipe Massa: "I did a lot of laps today, the joint highest, and we were able to do a lot of work for the race. The car was consistent and I was happy with the balance. My lap time doesn't look so good, but on new tyres I made a mistake exiting Turn 12 that cost me three-tenths or so, so overall I'm quite happy with what I did."
Nick Heidfeld: "As usual we concentrated on race preparation work today, but I'm not at all happy with the balance of my car. It lacked stability and felt nervous all round the circuit. A pretty difficult day for me."
David Richards: "We always anticipated Magny-Cours would be a tough circuit for us. Finding a good balance on the tyres has been exceptionally difficult, as I believe it has for other teams. We will however have the benefit of Hondaís latest engine evolution tomorrow and the forecast for Sunday is currently suggesting rain. As usual, you canít read a lot into a Friday."
Olivier Panis: "Today was a typical Friday, working for the race and trying to find the right balance for the car. We havenít achieved that yet and we still have a lot of work to do with the tyres in particular. We will try a few new things tomorrow including of course a new evolution of the Honda engine, so I am looking forward to a better day."
Jacques Villeneuve: "Weíve had a hard time today finding the right set-up so it hasnít been the best start to the weekend. We still need to do a lot of work with the tyre options because we havenít been able to get the best from them yet. Weíre basically looking for more grip so we have to come up with a solution for that but it looks like it could be tougher for us this weekend."Paul Stoddart: "Markís experience here in Formula 3000 meant he settled in very quickly and completed his full programme today, recording the 18th fastest lap time in the process. Alex struggled at first, while he was learning the circuit, but then his times improved significantly in the second session. We feel confident that Saturday will see the team making further solid progress."
Mark Webber: "Magny-Cours has proved to be a somewhat difficult track to get our car behaving as we want it to through a complete lap, although I think this proved to be the case for many people today. There is no doubt that the requirement to optimise the car for the mixture of very slow turns as well as the high-speed Estoril corner is a challenge. All of that said, however, I did enjoy my first run in a Formula One car around here, my most recent previous experience being in F3000. Both our boys and the Asiatech guys did a lot of work between the two sessions, improving the car usefully as a result, and we also completed our normal tyre comparison runs with the Michelins that are available this weekend."
Alex Yoong: "We worked through the usual programme today. My car had a lot of oversteer to begin with, which we managed to minimise as the day went on. Then I lost the last third of the second session because of a gearbox problem. Of course, Iím not happy, and weíll be working to improve things tomorrow."
Team did not take part in the practice sessions due to a financial crisis.