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San Marino Grand Prix
What the teams and drivers said - Friday
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What the teams and drivers said - Friday
Jean Todt: "Rain was the main feature of this Friday. As usual, we worked towards Sunday’s race. The results were positive and we were able to confirm that the Bridgestone tyres work very well in the wet. This is the first Grand Prix where we have run two F2002 and there were no problems with either of them. In tomorrow’s qualifying we will be in the fight for the front row positions."
Ross Brawn: "We wanted to do a lot of running on rain and intermediate tyres as the weather forecast predicts more of the same for the rest of the weekend, although we expect it might get dryer on Sunday. Michael was on a very fast lap when he clipped the kerb and spun off. Unfortunately the engine stalled and that meant his session was over. The cars went well today, with a good balance down to the fact we tested here earlier in the year."
Michael Schumacher: "The car worked well all day and I am happy with its handling, even if I spun towards the end. I touched the kerb, it was very slippery and I could do nothing about it. As for the discussion I had with the marshal, I felt it was too dangerous to walk alongside the barrier, which is why I wanted to stay outside the track near the car. But the marshal had been told by race control that I had to move on. In these conditions the Bridgestones have always seemed very strong and it if stays like this, we could have the advantage. In general, it was a good day’s work."
Rubens Barrichello: "The weather is going to make this a very interesting weekend, as we don’t know whether it will be wet or dry. Today I really learned a lot about the new car, especially in the wet, as this was the first time I drove the car in the rain. There is still a lot to do and if it turns dry then everyone will have to start from scratch again in terms of set-up and tyres."
Gary Anderson: "I am satisfied with how the sessions went today and I think our standings reflect the fact that our package is more competitive in cold and wet conditions. I would like to see the same conditions for tomorrow’s qualifying, when we will be running with a new specification Honda engine, and then a dry race on Sunday."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "I am pleased with how the free practice went today and clearly the wet and cold conditions here in Imola suit our package well and we are, therefore, more competitive. The conditions on the track were very difficult but I don’t mind driving in the wet at all and would be happy if it stayed wet for qualifying. If it does I believe we can qualify in the top six."
Takuma Sato: "I felt very comfortable with the car in the full wet conditions first thing this morning, but as the track dried out and I found things a lot more difficult as it was hard to get traction and braking stability. The balance improved when we changed tyres towards the end of the session and I think once we have worked with the data we will find a good set up for tomorrow."
Ron Dennis: "Whilst very wet conditions sometimes mask aspects of a car’s performance, the variable fuel loads still have a significant influence on lap times. Inevitably in a tyre war performance advantage swings from make to make and as must be apparent from today’s times, we must still work with our Partner Michelin on the overall package in the wet."
Norbert Haug: "Fourth and fifth places today should not hide the fact that our gap to our tyre competition in these wet conditions is not what we would like. So let’s hope that we will have dry weather and higher temperatures for the rest of the weekend."
David Coulthard: "We completed 30 laps today working on set-up options, but as it’s very slippery out there it’s even harder than usual to make a prediction about where we will be. We familiarised ourselves with the car and the different types of wet tyres. If it stays wet we have some work ahead of us despite having done a lot of testing in the wet, we are still not where we want to be."
Kimi Raikkonen: "Not a very nice practice day weather-wise. Taking into account the tricky conditions I’m happy with the progress we have made. We tried different things during the session and we gathered a lot of useful data, which should help us, reduce the gap to the competition. Naturally I would prefer for dry conditions as I believe this would suit us better."
Mike Coughlan: “Obviously we're pleased that Heinz-Harald was quick today. Enrique struggled a bit but was a lot better during the second session. The afternoon session was strange as almost nobody went quicker and the circuit was drier than it was this morning. With the weather conditions we had, we were able to learn a lot about the intermediate tyres. Last, but by no means least, I'd like to say thank you to the team for working so late last night in order to give us predominantly trouble-free running today.”
Heinz Harald Frentzen: “I think we had a progressive session this morning and a generally progressive afternoon, apart from a couple of little incidents that cost us a bit of time. Generally I'm pleased about the pace we have here and it's good to finish the first day in the top six. We have made some small modifications to the car since Brazil, which has moved us in the right direction. I feel there is still more time to come and I'm looking forward to the qualifying session tomorrow.”
Enrique Bernoldi: “We had a very strange day today. Whichever way we went on the set-up the car stayed the same so we have a lot of work to do this afternoon to try and figure out what happened. Having said that, we did start to make a bit of progress in the second session.”
Pat Symonds: "In difficult conditions, the track didn’t change quite as we had expected it to. However, we still learned a lot about the tyres, and which wet compound we will be using. Jenson still hasn’t got the balance he’s looking for on his car, while Jarno unfortunately lost time with his spin this afternoon."
Dennis Chevrier: "An abnormal session from the engine side. In these conditions, the real priority is to find the best tyres for the changing characteristics of the circuit, and this means that other areas, including the engine, are slightly less important than usual. However, the conditions favour an intermediary usage of the engine, in the sense that parameters such as driveability become more important than outright performance, and both drivers were pleased with two problem-free sessions."
Jarno Trulli: "Overall, I’m happy that we did a good job today. I was pleased with the balance and the performance of the car this morning, which meant we could complete good race preparation work. The track was a little strange this afternoon, but the car was still handling well until I made a mistake on one of my timed laps and spun, losing the front wing. Even so, it’s been a positive day, and I’m confident that we can be competitive if it rains for the race."
Jenson Button: "This morning was a little difficult, and I didn’t really get to grips with the car. Having said that, both sessions allowed us to get some good comparisons between the different wet and intermediate tyres. We also worked to improve the car’s balance during the afternoon, and we’re definitely making progress."
Peter Sauber: "The conditions were difficult today with the track just on the cusp between wet tyres and intermediates. But we did almost a race distance with the two cars, without problems, and if it remains wet for qualifying we are well prepared."
Felipe Massa: "The balance of my car was very good today. Twenty minutes before the end of the session this afternoon everyone was slow, because it wasn't quite good enough for intermediates but too good for wets. The track was quite strange. But I'm happy. If it rains again tomorrow, we have a good balance."
Nick Heidfeld: "I struggled a bit with the set up of my car this morning, but by the time we had improved it, the tyres were past their peak efficiency. We could have gone quicker with a new set but it made sense to save tyres today as it is likely to be wet tomorrow and possibly for the race. When we switched to intermediates the track was visually better but the times didn't improve as it was still a little too wet in places."
Sam Michael: "Difficult day with wet conditions. We tried different wet tyres that were available. We spent time on set-up during the day trying to get the best out of the tyres and this has given us a lot of data to go through tonight. We are not there yet on the wet set-up and we still have a lot of work to do on both cars with ourselves and our partners. Reliability wise we had no problems."
Dr. Mario Theissen: "We had no problems on the engine side. Our main task was to adapt launch control and traction control to the wet track and wet tyres. We made good progress on this. Both practice sessions were focused on the car set-up and tyre choice."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "We have been working with the car and tried different tyres in an effort to find the right compromise for tomorrow. The track was very wet this morning, at the beginning of the session, there were puddles everywhere, so it was pretty difficult to get useful information. After that, we were able to get some work done but didn’t improve too much in the end. We need to work hard now and we will see where we can end up tomorrow."
Ralf Schumacher: "I am not happy, as one can easily understand from my lap times. Unfortunately the continuous rain didn’t allow us any true improvement. There is still a lot of work to do ahead of us."
Niki Lauda: "We ran our normal Friday programme of working on set-up and tyre choice. The problem, however, is that we are only allowed seven sets of wet tyres over the whole weekend and this includes intermediates. Should the whole weekend prove to be wet, one must consider very carefully the amount of wet tyres used in Free Practice and Warm-up sessions so that you don’t run out. Today, for example, we managed to achieve some work, but we are mindful of the fact that we must preserve some tyres for the remainder of what looks like a wet weekend. We still have work to get through before qualifying and let’s at least hope that tomorrow’s morning sessions are not blessed with yet more rain."
Eddie Irvine: "We tried different set-ups and concentrated on evaluating the wet compounds at our disposal. We are, however, in a difficult position because of the tyre regulations that prevent us from using more than seven wet sets over the course of the whole weekend. Nonetheless, we’ll do the best we can with what we have. We have nothing new on the car for this weekend and I think we’ll probably struggle in this race if the weather stays like this. We have some ideas to assess at next week’s Silverstone test but, in the meantime, we’ll have to get the most out of what we have."
Pedro de la Rosa: "In horrendous weather conditions like this, it highlights the need to re-address the regulations on the numbers of tyre sets we are permitted to use. If the whole weekend proves to be wet, we will not have enough wet tyres to get through our job list before race day. The grooved tyre regulation of having three sets available on a Friday should also be applied to the wets. Today, for example, we have been hanging around for fear of not wanting to waste a set of tyres. A total of seven wet sets also includes the intermediates and this isn’t enough. If we had used three sets today, for example, that would leave us with a total of four to cover tomorrow’s warm-up, qualifying and the race. The fans deserve to see more cars on the track and this regulation isn’t conducive to achieving maximum mileage in wet conditions."
David Richards: "Our performance in the wet conditions today has shown up some of the inherent weaknesses in the car, which are currently being addressed by Geoffrey and his team. These will not provide us with a quick fix but hopefully we can look forward to a drier weekend than we’ve experienced today."
Geoffrey Willis: "Today was a very difficult day for us. Both drivers struggled with oversteer and lack of grip, and it’s going to take a lot of work to make the car perform any better in these conditions. The wet weather brought out the worst in the car today and amplified its weaknesses."
Jacques Villeneuve: "The car was very difficult to drive today. The less grip there is the more you can see your problems. We're not getting enough downforce and we're having a very difficult time bringing temperature into the tyres. I think we're going to struggle to make the car competitive this weekend."
Olivier Panis: "It wasn't an easy session that's for sure. I'm disappointed to see that some of the problems we had in Brazil are still in evidence here today. The team have to take a good look at the problems we experienced in practice and really focus on finding a solution. Otherwise, we aren't going to progress."Paul Stoddart: "We were very impressed by the performance of both drivers today. It was unfortunate that Mark lost time in the first session this morning with a mechanical problem. If not for that, he would undoubtedly have finished the day well up in the running order. Alex made good and steady progress throughout the day. As with a number of the teams, we chose to put each driver out for a run on intermediate tyres close to the end of the session, and although there was no improvement in lap time, it was still a useful exercise. Today was all about getting set up for qualifying, and overall, the team put in a good day’s work and made solid progress."
Mark Webber: "We had a technical problem that cost us running time in the first session – we only managed four laps – but then we had a productive second session, when we worked on early-phase traction control as well as a number of other issues. The guys did a good job and we made steady progress despite the cold weather and the characteristics of the asphalt here at Imola, which cause the track to take forever to start drying out. It was difficult to find any grip as a result, but then the conditions were the same for everyone. All in all, it wasn’t a bad day."
Alex Yoong: "We collected some useful data today. It is also the first time we have been able to do a direct comparison of wet and intermediate specification tyres. The track surface was slightly drier in the second session than in the first, but we didn’t do a new tyre run. We were really just concentrating on getting some good data to help us in qualifying and the race."
Ange Pasquali: "It was an interesting session due to the weather conditions. The track was wet for most of the time, which gave us a huge experience in the wet. Practice is not very representative for the times, but for sure we have a lot of work to do before tomorrow."
Mika Salo: "We knew it would be difficult if it rained because we have not tested much in wet conditions, so we don't know much about the tyres. We are a long way off the pace at the moment, but I am sure there is something better to come tomorrow."
Allan McNish: "We have not had much running in the wet, so we have some work to do on the car's set up. The first session was not great, but we tried some different tyres in the second session, which seemed to work better. I certainly hope we have drier conditions tomorrow."