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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
Jean Todt: "Team morale is even higher than usual after the result achieved last Sunday in Magny-Cours, when Michael Schumacher took his third consecutive Drivers� World Championship title with Ferrari. Today is the first time we have run on the new Hockenheim layout, which has proved popular with both our drivers. We therefore did a lot of work aimed at gathering as much data as possible on how the cars handle on this circuit. Obviously, we concentrated on the usual pre-race work and on evaluating the two different types of tyre at our disposal. For the next couple of days we can expect the weather to turn hotter and that might see a slight change compared with today�s situation. We are confident that in tomorrow�s qualifying, we will be fighting for places on the two front rows of the grid."
Ross Brawn: "This was a slightly different to usual first day as we are tackling pretty much a new track. Both drivers said they liked the circuit a great deal. As usual, we tried both types of tyre. It is not quite clear which is the best choice and we will have to study the data. The cars were reasonably well balanced and we managed to work through our entire programme. The track seems quite hard on brakes. I think an interesting race is in prospect, especially as there appear to be some overtaking opportunities."
Michael Schumacher: "I like this new circuit and in my opinion, it is a great success. Of course it requires a lot more aerodynamic downforce than the old Hockenheim and that means the Motodrom section has become more fun to drive. The new layout flows nicely and there are some overtaking opportunities. It is quite demanding. I had a good day. As usual at Hockenheim I get a warm reception from the fans. It is a pleasure to be here as they all support me and push me forward."
Rubens Barrichello: "I like this new circuit. It is good to drive, even if of course, it is still a bit dirty and green as it has never been used before. We experimented with various different settings on the car, as well as carrying out a tyre evaluation programme: all of this while learning our way around the new layout. Everything went fine and it was a quiet day."
Ron Dennis: "Two small car problems disrupted both drivers' practice but we still managed to make good progress and are looking forward to the rest of the weekend."
Norbert Haug: "A positive start to our home Grand Prix weekend. We gained important data about the new circuit lay out, which has proven popular and most importantly very spectator friendly."
Kimi Raikkonen: "I quite like the new circuit lay out and I think it will help us provide an exciting race on Sunday. There are some places to overtake, but I think the Hairpin probably offers the best opportunity. The balance of the car is OK and we will still be able to find a bit more speed, but we are getting there. I could have been quicker in my last run but ran into traffic so we will see where we really are tomorrow."
David Coulthard: "I was looking forward to experiencing the new circuit lay out and I think it's good. There are a number of overtaking opportunities and the section in front of the Mercedes-Benz grandstand is challenging. In the first session we had a small problem with the driveshaft, which limited the number of laps I was able to do and in the second session I ran off the track and damaged the floor of the car. However the team managed to repair things quickly and as a result we were able to do a decent number of laps."
Sam Michael: "Today we tried a number of different set-ups and we have been concentrating mainly on the race. We must make sure we take the right decision about the tyres as weather conditions are predicted to be hot tomorrow and even hotter on Sunday this means track conditions will change quite a bit from today. All in all we are reasonably happy with our job so far and we seem to be learning this fairly new track quite quickly."
Dr. Mario Theissen: "Regarding the engines we had no problems. Today nearly every driver spun at least once, but if you have such nice and wide run off areas, you can risk a little bit more. The drivers were just trying to figure out their limits. I think the new circuit is quite interesting. It still offers some full throttle sections."
Ralf Schumacher: "For us the practice went according to plan, we were able to test and check everything we wanted to. I am really enthusiastic about the new circuit. It is a lot of fun. The area before the hairpin offers a good opportunity for overtaking. The circuit is one of the best I have ever raced on, my compliments to the designer."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "There's still some job to do on the balance of my car. We spent the session learning the track and adjusting it to the new course but still I am not very comfortable here. During the sessions we concentrated also on tyre evaluation, which we need to be very careful about. At the end of the session I was doing a long run but I had a problem with the visor of my helmet which wasn't sealing perfectly and I had to abort the run and come back into the pits to have the helmet replaced."
Niki Lauda: "Quite a pleasing start to our weekend. Eddie has done a very good job today and completed quite a long job list successfully. Many drivers were finding their feet a little at what is a very slippery surface. The new complex sections are proving to be a particular challenge for most drivers and some hotter temperatures would help us for tomorrow. Nonetheless, we are encouraged by our performance today although Pedro�s engine failure set us back a little in session two. We haven�t allowed Pedro to extract the best from his car so far and no doubt he�ll be somewhat frustrated from not having got more out of the two sessions. As always, Friday Practice times are not to be treated too seriously and until tomorrow morning, it is very hard to make genuine comparisons with anyone. A good start, but a long way to go yet."
Eddie Irvine: "We had a big programme of things to get through today and we achieved everything on the list. We still have the same issues to address on the car, but not as serious as they have been in the past. The balance is definitely better and the entry into corners is also much improved. I am not complaining too much at this stage and some higher temperatures for tomorrow would not go amiss. The new circuit layout is very good. I think they have done an excellent job and there�s now potential for overtaking. It has also increased the chance of driver error and from a drivers perspective, it is great fun to drive."
Pedro de la Rosa: "The first session was going pretty well until the engine decided to let go! Given how few problems we have suffered with this new Cosworth CR4 engine, it was a surprise to have the engine fail on me. Up until that point, I was working on my normal Friday checklist of balance, set-up and tyre options. The team did a good job of preparing the car for session two, but we were playing catch-up throughout. I haven�t yet delivered the time that the car is capable of and we�ll now work on understanding the options for tomorrow. As for the revised layout, I don�t like it. The track is very slippery and to be honest, it has lost its character to the extent that you could be racing anywhere. The individualism has been compromised too much in my opinion."
Peter Sauber: "Our performance today was okay and once again the SAUBER PETRONAS C21 was reliable. It was important on a new track that we were able to cover a lot of laps. The changes here are good. The surface has a good grip level, the new sections work well, and I think the drivers and spectators are happy with the result."
Felipe Massa: "I'm pleased with the way my car has been performing today. It's got plenty of grip and the balance was fine. I had a couple of adventures when I was pushing hard, but the incident on my final lap this afternoon happened because I was the first to arrive after Fisichella had left a lot of oil in the first corner. I damaged the front wing of the car, which folded back underneath it, but otherwise everything was okay. I never drove at the old Hockenheim, but for sure I like this revised version. It's a good track."
Nick Heidfeld: "In the morning session I was happy with the car and my position, but this afternoon it doesn't look so nice. As usual we were running with a fair amount of fuel, but we need to change a few things. I had grip, but the balance wasn't so good. I still prefer the old Hockenheim, but the changes here are nicer than I expected and have been well executed. The revised circuit is quite a lot of fun � especially the tighter first corner and the flowing new section where you have to be very precise."
Ange Pasquali: "This is a completely new track for us. We did not test at the old track last year, so it is our first trip to Hockenheim in any shape. We ran different programmes on both cars today and we found some interesting things on Allan's car, which are encouraging for tomorrow but we still have lots to do before the qualifying session."
Allan McNish: "We had two quite positive sessions today. We made some improvements to the car each time we went out, trying both types of tyre and I think Michelin has a good package here. The car seems to suit the circuit reasonably well at the moment. The changes to the track have been positive and it is one of the best new circuits I have been to."
Mika Salo: "I managed to complete my programme today. We lost some time due to an electronics problem, which we are working on. We did a good number of laps during the two sessions, which was essential due to the amount of set-up work we had to concentrate on for our first visit to this circuit. Some of the new corners here are quite good and the circuit is nicer to drive than I thought it would be."
Graham Taylor: "We got through a great deal of work today. The drivers are both competitive and very closely matched. We did a good tyre comparison but have a few balance issues to sort out before tomorrow. The opposition seemed to have a few problems whilst we had very few but we fully expect our group to be as competitive as ever. It was nice to run on the Friday and hopefully the data we gathered can be converted into performance tomorrow."
Heinz Harald Frentzen: "We had a very good Friday today with no troubles. It's good to make Friday Practice as it's an important time for collecting data. We went through our usual programme with the addition of having a new circuit to learn and I think we made good progress."
Enrique Bernoldi: "We've had a lot of work to do today, as with the changes to the circuit, we've had to work hard on getting a good balance here. The circuit is not bad at all but I do still prefer the old one. I think there is still room for improvement tomorrow but I'm happy with the progress we made today."
"Well, what can you say about Fridays? You can rarely judge your true
performance based on a day where everyone is carrying out such different
programmes. For our part we lost half of Olivier�s track time with a gearbox
fault but looking at the way he started the day, I don�t think that�s
going to hinder him this weekend.
"I�m very pleased with the way things went for me this morning. The
balance was good and I was happy with the car from the first lap, so I was
able to post consistently quick times. It was a real shame that we had a
gearbox problem in the second session because I was quite confident that I
could have continued to improve.
"Like all of the drivers, we�ve spent most of the day adjusting to the
new circuit and trying to get a good balance. I did plenty of laps and changed
something with each run to improve the car. We�re not there yet in terms of
set-up but I�ve tried both of the tyres now and we should have a better
session tomorrow morning once we�ve had the chance to look at the data.
Gary Anderson: "We were working on back-to-back tyre testing today and it�s clear that we still have a bit of set-up work to do. We had no major dramas. Giancarlo had an engine failure at the end, but he only lost two or three laps so it was no great penalty. Quite a straightforward day really."
Takuma Sato: "This is the first time I have started a Grand Prix weekend with no disadvantage to everyone else, in terms of knowing the track. It is new for us all which makes it quite fair. We were quite competitive this morning, even on the greasy slippery surface. But as the circuit itself got more grip, somehow we dropped a tiny bit. It�s difficult to interpret the times because it�s a new circuit and you don�t know whether teams are running with more or less fuel than us. I am fairly optimistic for tomorrow because the car�s handling is much better and I feel I can push hard. The circuit looks very different from the original Hockenheim track. My initial view is that it is nice, smooth and quite wide. It�s enjoyable to drive, with a good long straight and quite an impressive opportunity to overtake at the hairpin."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "There was nothing special about today. I had an engine blow at the end, and unfortunately it was on a run with new tyres. We still have a few problems with understeer on new tyres and oversteer on scrubbed tyres, so we still have to work on finding the best set-up for tomorrow. The new circuit is completely different. There are a few bumps, especially in braking for the two hairpins. But I quite like it and enjoy driving here."
Denis Chevrier: "A laborious day of learning a new circuit which gave disappointing results. We were a little surprised by the characteristics of the new track, meaning our preparation proved less than perfect, with obvious consequences for today's programme. Our knowledge of the circuit was also limited by Jarno's spin: unlike many other drivers, he was unlucky not to be able to recover the situation. The data we have collected today will allow us to establish our programme for tomorrow, when we should demonstrate a more normal level of performance."
Pat Symonds: "A difficult day for the team, during which we struggled to find grip and a good balance. We were troubled by understeer, and have a lot to do in order to resolve the situation. However, in terms of positives, the tyre choice proved fairly obvious."
Jenson Button: "A difficult day for me. The new circuit is OK, but we had trouble finding the balance we need to go quickly. We can't find any grip at the front or at the rear of the car - as soon as we get it at one end, we lose it at the other, and vice versa. There's lots of work to do before tomorrow."
Jarno Trulli: "It's very simple: I made a mistake at Turn 13 on my first run this afternoon, and spun. It's a shame that I managed to find one of the few gravel traps still left here. In terms of the new layout, it's not very exciting, just a question of braking, turning and accelerating. Only the last section is a little bit interesting. It hasn't been a good day for me: we need to work well this evening."Paul Stoddart: "The day started well for both drivers, as they completed the planned number of laps in the first session and set some respectable times in the process. Unfortunately for Alex, his first run of the second session ended when his car became stuck on the curbing. Mark enjoyed a slightly better time, but wasn�t able to complete his last run due to a technical problem. We look forward to a better day tomorrow."
Mark Webber: "It wasn�t really an enjoyable session for us today. We tried to collect as much information as we could for Sunday, and we actually had quite a lot of fuel in the car. We had a small gearbox problem towards the end of the second session, and therefore weren�t able to carry out our normal tyre comparison. Tomorrow�s a new day, though, and we�ll check everything overnight and see where we can improve a little bit. As it is a new track layout here at Hockenheim this year, I�m sure there is scope to make some useful progress."
Alex Yoong: "It has been a day of mixed fortunes. I had a good opening session this morning but, in common with a number of other drivers, had a harmless spin at turn two this afternoon. The car became �beached� on the curb and, as a result, I lost most of the second session. My first impression of the new layout here at Hockenheim is that the tarmac seems to be very different from any other circuit we have encountered so far. There was a surprising amount of grip available in the first session, bearing in mind the track was dirty and there was very little rubber down on the surface. This afternoon, when you would have expected the grip level to have improved, the times didn�t seem to get any quicker. Overall, though, today was a bit frustrating because of missing much of the second session, but on the positive side, I think our level of competitiveness this weekend will be good."