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Malaysian Grand Prix
What the teams and drivers said - Friday
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What the teams and drivers said - Friday
Ron Dennis: "The problems we experienced in the first practice required us to shorten and vary our intended programme. In the circumstances the outcome is encouraging, but of course Friday's Free Practice has often little to do with the result of qualifying."
Norbert Haug: "The first session saw us having some problems but the second one worked out better and the team learned a lot about the set-up required for this circuit."
Kimi Raikkonen: "Its nice to be fastest but its too early to say how we will do tomorrow. Obviously I hope we can show the same level of competitiveness, but at least we know we are on the pace. We worked through our programme and apart from a small problem with the brakes in the first session, it was trouble free. I don't think there is anything special that has improved our performance since Melbourne but of course having dry weather allows us to work on the car but as always let's wait and see where we are tomorrow."
David Coulthard: "As a day of preparation today wasn't ideal. I was unable to do much running in the first session as the car developed an electrical problem, which caused a fire. I managed to get the car back to the pits to ensure that the mechanics would have enough time to carry out the necessary work in time for the second session. In the circumstances to set the second fastest time is encouraging but as always its Friday and what is important is where we end up tomorrow."
Jean Todt: "As usual on Friday, we concentrated our work on Sunday’s race. Right at the end of the session, Rubens had an engine problem, which meant he did not complete all his programme for the day. Tomorrow, we can expect a very close fight for the top places on the grid. Given that the tyre performance between the two suppliers is very similar, the situation, as expected, is very close between ourselves and our main competitors. Making the right tyre choice will be vital, both for qualifying and the race."
Ross Brawn: "The track proved quite slippery today and we will have to work on improving the car’s set-up to deal with the lack of grip. We ran both types of tyre but have not yet got a completely clear picture of which is the preferred option. We ran race set-up all day and the situation does not look as clear as it did in Melbourne. That means we have quite a bit more work to do. But considering the fuel load we ran, I think we can do reasonably well this weekend."
Michael Schumacher: "It was a reasonable day, apart from the fact there were a lot of yellow flags. We worked on defining our tyre choice. The tyres are good and I am happy with their performance. This meant we did not spend much time working on the actual set-up of the car. But I am pretty optimistic for the rest of the weekend. I am not worried about the gap to the quickest runners today. We expected the others to be fast here, but we have to remember that Friday’s times do not always give a clear indication of the real situation."
Rubens Barrichello: "Today was a busy day with lots of things happening. At the end of the session, I had to stop out on the track with an engine problem. It was difficult all day and very hot. We have to do a lot of work for tomorrow, but I am confident all the same."
Sam Michael: "Productive day, obviously difficult with the hot conditions, but it's the same for everybody. We did a lot of homework for Sunday’s race, particularly on brakes and tyres, which has given us a lot of information to look at tonight but we still have some work to do to concentrate on tomorrow's qualifying to make sure we get good grid positions. It was a trouble free day as both cars ran smoothly and did lots of laps."
Dr. Mario Theissen: "We have gone through two positive Free Practice sessions. Ralf has completed 40 laps and Juan 35, mainly working on set-up and tyre choice. We had no problems at all on the engine side and the speed trap on the straight shows that we are in front. Also engine temperatures remained on green levels. This proved our engine design to be right and is massively important in view of the hottest Grand Prix of the season. You cannot simulate on the dyno the pressure of such high temperatures and humidity."
Ralf Schumacher: "We can be reasonably happy for the first day. The car is still very nervous in the quicker parts of the circuit, which we have to sort out for tomorrow. In the first session we concentrated mainly on brakes in view of the great pressure they'll be put under during the race. In the second session we changed the set-up quite a lot, which has paid off. The grip level of the track improved sensibly during the sessions, which really helped our lap times to get better."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "We have been working hard today, as the car was quite difficult to drive at the start, but it has definitely improved in the second session. There is certainly some more room for improvement though. We also did some brake and tyre work, with which we are reasonably happy. A positive thing is that I didn't suffer too much because of the heat."
Keizo Takahashi: "Although Allan had some technical trouble with the electrics in the first session, the team has got a satisfying result under the very high temperatures. It indeed helped us a lot that we had tested here last year with the TF101, and we will continue to fine tune car set-up before tomorrow."
"It was a reasonable day. We did a lot of work on car balance and we
found some good things. We have made some progress already since
Australia, and the car feels better. The track is still very slippery
though, which hasn't helped anybody. We will have to work tonight to
change a few things before qualifying tomorrow."
Pat Symonds: "A useful day's work for both cars, although some of the results didn't turn out quite as we had expected. Unfortunately, a small problem on Jarno's car meant he didn't complete his programme, but we nevertheless gathered all the information we needed."
Jenson Button: "We had a good day overall, and completed the programme we had planned. In comparison to the other teams, we are where we thought we would be, and now we hope to do a good job tomorrow in qualifying trim."
Jarno Trulli: "Quite a difficult day for us with set-up, and we worked all day to get the balance of the car right. We also worked on tyre choice, but a problem with my car during the afternoon session meant that we didn't get as much work done as we wanted to. The car felt good out on the track, but we need to continue working on the balance tomorrow."
Peter Sauber: "It was a good day for us, in the special conditions that Malaysia imposes – the track temperature reached 44 degrees at one stage. Both drivers did a good job, though Felipe unfortunately made a mistake that cost him valuable track time. It's going to be tough this weekend, but looking at Nick's performance, the first impressions are favourable."
Nick Heidfeld: "Things went quite well for me right from the start of the morning session. We made some changes to improve the balance of the car, but I wanted to do a longer run at the end and was frustrated because there were so many yellow flags. Overall I'm happy though, because I didn't have any problems and it felt quite comfortable in the cockpit despite the high temperatures."
Felipe Massa: "I like this circuit. It's a bit more difficult to learn than Melbourne, but I was quite pleased with my runs this morning. I think it was still quite dirty today because a lot of people spun. Unfortunately I was one of them. I saw Bernoldi go off, then suddenly I lost the back end of my car. I don't know if there was anything on the surface, but it snapped out of line pretty quickly."
Niki Lauda: "Unlike most Friday Free Practice sessions, we didn’t spend any time working on tyres today. Instead, we have effectively used the opportunity as a conventional test session. There is still a lot we don’t know about this car and our aim today was to generate information. The track didn’t lend itself too well to this during the first session because of a lack of grip. Nonetheless, it got better and better and we have moved a step closer to our target of understanding the package. We will continue with our programme tomorrow and combined with a three-day test next week in Barcelona, we will make a decision very soon on whether we re-deploy the R2 for a few races."
Pedro de la Rosa: "There isn’t really too much to say at this stage. We worked through a test programme of revised parts and we’ll now analyse the data in an effort to prepare for tomorrow’s qualifying session. This is a good track on which to understand the car, particularly as the weather conditions are so hot. In other words, it offers a very good preparation platform for the forthcoming races in Brazil, Imola and Barcelona. It’s a tough track and the car’s handling issues are being exposed here more than Melbourne. The car got better between the two sessions, but we still have a fairly long job list to get through before qualifying."
Mike Coughlan: “We’ve had a pretty good day today. Heinz-Harald’s car had a software problem this morning which delayed him very slightly and Enrique’s car stopped out on the track at the end of that session. Aside from that, we didn’t have any other technical problems. Judging by the fuel loads we were running I’m reasonably happy with our pace. I’d rather we had completed more miles but you can’t have it all.”
Heinz Harald Frentzen: “My day was trouble-free apart from a little software problem this morning but that didn’t delay us for long. In general we have managed to collect good information for Sunday, concentrating on the balance of the car and race set-up. It’s very hot out there but that hasn’t caused us any problems. There is still room for improvement but we are making good progress.”
Enrique Bernoldi: “If it hadn’t been for the spin I had halfway through the second session I would have had a very good day today. The car felt very good during the first session and I was able to set a good time. We were steadily improving during this afternoon’s session but my spin ended that. All in all, I am pleased with the progress we’ve made and happy that the car feels much better here than it did in Australia.”
"We did a good day's work today. The car isn't perfect but we have
gathered a large amount of data to work on during the night so I am quite
confident we can make some improvements for tomorrow. The main areas we
need to improve are the oversteering into the entry of the corners and
understeer mid-corner. The track was very slippery indeed, and at the end
of the session I think I picked up a lot of dirt which lost me a lot of
time on the lap times I was posting."
David Richards: "After a disappointing performance in Australia, our objective for this weekend is to get closer to the true potential of the car. Clearly, our position at the end of today's running means we have a great deal of work to do this afternoon and tomorrow morning. We have to overcome the reliability issues we encountered today to ensure we achieve the top 10 qualifying position we know we are capable of."
Jacques Villeneuve: "We weren't very competitive today. I had a hydraulic problem in the second session and lost 45 minutes, but if we hadn't had that problem, I'm sure we could have improved the car quite a lot. In the morning, you figure out the track and clean it up a bit, then you really work on set-up in the afternoon. We weren't able to do that in the 10 minutes that we had so we didn't learn much today. We just managed to put different tyres on and get out to do a few more laps. We're a little slow but the car isn't bad to drive. We just need to work on the set-up and find a way to be quicker."
Olivier Panis: "This wasn't a very good first day for me. We could have done much better than 18th but we had an electronic problem and we couldn't really focus on the set-up of the car. We're on top of that problem now but we need to make up for the track time we lost to give us a good chance in qualifying. We have to roll up our sleeves now and go for it."Paul Stoddart: "Despite the extremely hot conditions, Alex completed his entire technical programme in both sessions and recorded an excellent fastest lap of 1 min 41.805 secs for the 19th quickest time of the day. The plan now is to help him build on this excellent start to the weekend. Mark obviously didn’t get the opportunity to show his true potential today with only five laps completed in the first session and the loss of the entire second session. We look forward to him having a better day tomorrow."
Alex Yoong: "It was not too bad a day for me and, happily, it was totally different from the Friday we had in Australia. I was able to go out for the whole of the two sessions and piled up a lot of laps. The new tyres Michelin have made available for us here seem good, but obviously we haven’t tested with them before, so we still need to do quite a bit of set-up work to improve the car. But it is a good start."
Mark Webber: "It was not a very good day from my point of view, but it can happen very easily on Fridays when, unfortunately, you cannot use the T-car. I made a mistake in the first session and finished in the gravel, and then we had an engine problem in the second session, when I had just gone for my first lap out of the pits. We therefore have done only two timed laps. Obviously, I would have liked to get into the circuit a bit more as it looks like a challenging track, but now I’m looking forward to tomorrow."