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2003 Brazilian Grand Prix 
What the teams and drivers said - Friday  

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Reports & Results

What the teams and drivers said - Friday

Jaguar ( Mark Webber - 1st, Antonio Pizzonia - 8th )

Dr. Mark Gillan: "Both drivers worked through tyre comparisons and race set-up this morning and despite Antonio being forced to stop with a fuel issue during the test session both drivers were satisfied with the data collected. Heavy rain forced us to keep the drivers in the garage for the last 15 minutes of testing however.
Warm-up continued with heavy rain and unfortunately Antonio fell foul of corner four and aqua- planned into the side barriers causing extensive damage to the car. As a result he was forced to use the T-Car for qualifying and he did a sterling job in bringing the car home in 8th position. Mark was one of the last two drivers to qualify today and he did an inspiring job. The track conditions were difficult and although we knew we were competitive we are of course very pleased to be on pole. The team, along with Cosworth and Michelin have been working extremely hard since the start of the season to iron out the gremlins that we have been suffering. This result certainly gives the team a well deserved boost and of course we are already planning for tomorrow and working on race strategy."

Mark Webber: "What can I say, an amazing day all-round! I started this morning with two long runs of twelve laps and the car was performing well. We worked on tyre comparisons and also race set-up and were pleased with the results. The heavy rain of course hampered the number of laps that we had hoped to complete but despite that we went into warm -up encouraged. As a result of the session being stopped my fastest lap was not actually recorded, however, I am pleased to say that it was in qualifying. We were fortunate that the track had dried to some extent by the time I went out, however, the team have done an amazing job with the car and pole position today is just reward for the hard work that the team both here and at the factory have carried out since the start of the season. To be last out tomorrow is going to be interesting, lets see how it goes!"

Antonio Pizzonia: "We were working through a normal list of tyre comparisons and race set-up when my car suffered a fuel issue problem that forced me to stop. The rain was not making my job any easier this morning when during warm-up I aqua-planned into corner and did some damage to the car. The team is now hard at work repairing what was my original race car so that I can have it as the T-car for the rest of the weekend. I qualified in the T-car that was fortunately set-up for me already this weekend, however, the T-car always feels slightly different from your race car. Despite that, I am very pleased with my 8th position here in Interlagos. Knowing the track already has made a huge difference, as I am far more comfortable behind the wheel here than I have been at the first two tracks of the season where the layout was new to me. I am looking forward to tomorrow, lets hope the home-fans are entertained."

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Ferrari ( Rubens Barrichello - 2nd, Michael Schumacher - 5th )

Jean Todt: “The rain was the main factor today. We were not able to do many laps and so, if the track is dry tomorrow, we will have to make the most of the ninety minutes of free practice to prepare the cars for Sunday’s race. As for tomorrow afternoon’s qualifying session, we can claim to be in a good position, given that both drivers will make their runs in the final part of the session. In theory, this is an advantage, but it all hangs on the weather. Rubens lost first place in the very last moments, when the track was probably a bit less wet, while Michael set the fifth fastest time despite running when the rain was at its hardest. Today’s grid reflects the spirit of the new regulations, which are designed to increase the level of unpredictability.”

Ross Brawn: “Weather conditions were the deciding factor today. Rubens did a super lap, in conditions where there was the right amount of water for the tyres we had. I think the regulation which says we are only allowed to have one type of wet tyre should be reconsidered, because it compromises safety. Michael caught the shower so he was not able to push so hard, but both drivers are in good positions for tomorrow, so I am fairly happy with our work today.”

Rubens Barrichello: “This has been quite a tricky day with plenty of emotions. This morning we had too much rain for the tyres we have here. This afternoon the track was much better and I was able to push hard with the car. I am happy, even if I was surprised that Webber beat me. But when you are running in these conditions where the track is drying out, you should expect this sort of thing. I enjoyed myself out on the track and am happy with my position. Being in the top four is good enough for tomorrow, even if the second qualifying might be a lottery as we don’t know what conditions to expect.”

Michael Schumacher: “The rain meant that track conditions were difficult, but not unacceptable, although it was aquaplaning which caused me to spin on my 'out' lap. All in all, fifth place isn’t bad. Tomorrow I will do my lap in the final part of the session. Whether or not that will be an advantage we will only know during qualifying, given the uncertainty over the weather. I hope we can run in the dry tomorrow morning so that we can use free practice to prepare the car for Sunday’s race.”

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McLaren ( Kimi Raikkonen - 3rd, David Coulthard - 4th )

Ron Dennis: "An interesting qualifying session which reflected the variable track conditions. We seem competitive if the conditions stay the same for tomorrow."

Norbert Haug: "Both Kimi and David showed consistent performances and our cars looked good in difficult circumstances. They had to go out as first and second and in the end they were among the front runners without having the best track conditions. What this really means we will only find out tomorrow as nobody knows whether the track will be better at the beginning or the end of qualifying."

Kimi Raikkonen: "To be third after my only timed lap of the day is not bad, but I guess the weather made things a bit more interesting. I went out for one lap during this morning's practice but was aqua-planing a lot and ended up spinning but didn't hit anything. I had gone out for another run towards the end of the session, but there was a red flag and we decided that was it. I was the first car out on the track for qualifying which is a disadvantage especially when it's as wet as it was today. You haven't had a chance to see what everybody else is doing and there are no tyre tracks. However we are close to the Ferraris so we will wait and see what happens tomorrow when it really counts."

David Coulthard: "You can't really say a lot about the car's performance today due to the track conditions being as difficult as they were during both practice and qualifying. I got a few laps under my belt this morning, but qualifying was all about staying on the track. I did run wide at turn 10 so to end up fourth is not too bad taking into consideration that we are in the same starting group as our main competitors for tomorrow's qualifying."

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Toyota ( Olivier Panis - 6th, Cristiano da Matta - 11th )

Gustav Brunner: "Well, I think that the whole Panasonic Toyota Racing team should be very happy with these positions, 6th and 11th. We had no opportunity this morning to set the car up to fit these extremely wet conditions, so the boys did well. I would say the results were also very good, considering they were really safety runs. I want to pass on my congratulations to Mark Webber and Jaguar for a very impressive performance today."

Olivier Panis: "I think sixth place in qualifying is a good result for us considering the difficult weather conditions today. The track was a little bit quicker as it dried out towards the end of the session, but I do think we have a car that can qualify better. The balance of the car is quite good, but we had a problem with the traction control during the session and we need to work a bit on the settings. Once we sort this out, I think we are going to be really competitive, but I hope it stays dry tomorrow."

Cristiano da Matta: "I feel a little disappointed with the qualifying result. I only had two timed laps on the track this morning and it has been nine years since I last raced here, so it is almost like a new track for me. We could have been in much better shape had the weather not affected free practice this morning. The track conditions were far from ideal and nobody really drives the same race track, because it is drying out all the time. I just hope it is totally dry tomorrow morning for free practice, so I can get lots of laps done and learn the track one hundred percent."

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BAR ( Jacques Villeneuve - 7th, Jenson Button - 20th )

David Richards: "The most significant issue today was not about the cars or the drivers but rather the track conditions and the tyres. It does bring into question whether it is sensible to only have one wet tyre available to us, as determined by the new regulations. I'm sure this is something that will have to be looked at. Nonetheless, Jacques did a great job today and made it all look relatively easy, while Jenson escaped from what was a very spectacular moment."

Shuhei Nakamoto: "Jacques put in a good lap this afternoon and did well to set a competitive time, despite the difficult track conditions. Jenson had a tough time which is a shame because he's done a good job today as he showed this morning by setting the third fastest time. Tomorrow should be very interesting for us because we've got one driver going out at the start of the session and one towards the end, and with the unpredictable weather that's maybe not such a bad position to be in. Only time will tell."

Geoffrey Willis: "Today was our first wet qualifying session and while conditions were quite variable, both our drivers went out during the wetter part of the session. Unfortunately Jenson put a wheel on the white line, lost the car in the wet and took out a couple of the braking markers. In doing so he damaged the rear wing and had to come in without completing a timed lap. We will be able to repair the car quite easily for tomorrow though. Jacques should be pleased with his lap, which put him fifth at the time. Unfortunately it failed to rain again and we were pushed down as the track dried! We don't have any issues with the car and both drivers are reasonably happy with the balance in the wet, so we'll have to see what tomorrow brings - the weather in particular!"

Jacques Villeneuve: "I'm very happy with the lap. This morning we didn't run when the track was at its best because we had a problem and spent a lot of time in the garage. The same thing happened in Melbourne but it seems to work out for me in qualifying so maybe I should just skip Friday mornings! The conditions were good so there was no problem there. A few of the drivers felt it was too dangerous to run this afternoon but we're here to put on a show and I think it was the right thing to do. After today though I'm sure everyone will see the logic in having more than one wet tyre option."

Jenson Button: "It was a very eventful session for me! Quite scary really! I had a lot more oversteer than this morning and the car was quite snappy coming onto the main straight at the start of the lap. Then I had a big moment coming out of turn five when I put a wheel on the white line. I tried to catch it but with such a damp track it was impossible and I took out some trackside markers in the process. That obviously damaged the rear wing and with that hanging off I had no option but to abandon the lap. Despite the conditions today you still have to continue to push. The problem is that you don't really know where the limit is. The track was drier than this morning but there was still a lot of standing water. We definitely need more than one set of wet tyres for these conditions."

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Renault ( Fernando Alonso - 9th, Jarno Trulli - 12th )

Pat Symonds: "I am pleased that we were able to run this afternoon because before qualifying the weather conditions were quite bad. As far as the session is concerned, we knew that under the new regulations there is an amount of luck involved and we have to accept it. Jarno's laps were run on an extremely wet track and that resulted in a poor placement for him. But I am sure that tomorrow we will be able to reflect in qualifying our real potential."

Denis Chevrier: "On the engine side we had a trouble free afternoon session, which was of some use because we were able to gather some data in wet conditions. However, due to the variable conditions, this cannot be considered a qualifying session but rather a continuation of this morning's testing."

Fernando Alonso: "I am quite satisfied with today's work. This morning we were able to do some work in view of the race, especially on set ups and tyres and this afternoon I was happy with my lap-time. However, the track kept changing and it's difficult to say where everybody is. I am very optimistic for tomorrow's qualifying and Sunday's race."

Jarno Trulli: "I am very happy with the way my car feels both on dry and wet conditions. Unfortunately during this afternoon qualifying my run was done under extremely wet conditions, but I still managed to set a reasonable lap time. The team has done a very good job all day and I am sure I will improve my position in tomorrow's qualifying."

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Sauber ( Heinz Harald Frentzen - 10th, Nick Heidfeld - 16th )

Peter Sauber: "The conditions didn't do us any favours today. First of all it began to rain more just before Heinz-Harald went out, then later it dried so that some rivals were able to go quicker."

Heinz Harald Frentzen: "Generally I'd say things this morning were okay, given the conditions and the spin I had. The track was better this afternoon, but worse for my run than it was for some of those who ran before me. That's life. The balance was quite good and overall I'm happy with what we achieved today."

Nick Heidfeld: "This morning I had a problem when my car suffered an hydraulic failure, so I didn't get much running time. This afternoon the car felt a lot better in the slightly improved conditions, but I was quite cautious, especially in the last long left-hander to the start/finish line."

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Williams ( Ralf Schumacher - 13th, Juan Pablo Montoya - 17th )

Sam Michael: "It is difficult to say where everybody is, due to the fact the weather and track conditions were changing during qualifying. Our positions to start from tomorrow are disappointing, of course. We have a lot of new chassis parts but we are not able to evaluate them under these conditions but we hope we can achieve this tomorrow morning."

Mario Theissen: "Today's qualifying was ruled by weather conditions. In the first 30 minutes the track was so wet that the drivers were forced to drive as if they were running on ice. Juan Pablo drove over the limit and lost quite a bit of time as he went off track. Unfortunately Ralf was out on the track right when it was soaking wet. This cost him a better position. After the break the track conditions were better so that several drivers could qualify at the top."

Ralf Schumacher: "It's very difficult to rate today's times. Qualifying was a weather lottery. Usually I don't dislike driving in wet conditions but on my fast lap the track was extremely slippery after it had again started raining hard a few minutes before. The balance of my car was not right in the slow and medium-speed sectors, but this is something we are going to work on now."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "I lost the rear of the car on the asphalt change, locked the rear tyres at turn six and went off track losing quite a bit of time. I obviously lost my flying lap there. The car felt quite bad on the new asphalt in the infield, anyway. Let's hope for some dry running tomorrow."

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Jordan ( Giancarlo Fisichella - 14th, Ralph Firman - 18th )

Gary Anderson: "I'm very disappointed. One way or another we weren't able to get on top of it today but we are working hard to make sure we fulfil our potential this weekend."

Giancarlo Fisichella: "I'm not too happy with how it went. The car had a lot of oversteer during the lap and the grip was not good - I don't know why. I'm hoping for a better day tomorrow."

Ralph Firman: "We had quite a bit of oversteer and qualifying was only my second timed lap in the rain. I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

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Minardi ( Jos Verstappen - 15th, Justin Wilson - 19th )

Paul Stoddart: “Today produced yet another exciting qualifying session and our hearty congratulations go to Mark Webber and Jaguar for what was a stunning lap. Both Justin and Jos completed a useful day's running and were able to work on their chassis settings in the morning test session. Both drivers completed their first qualifying runs without incident and we look forward to an interesting final qualifying session tomorrow afternoon."

Jos Verstappen: “I didn't drive many laps this morning because the track was just too wet for much of the time, but that qualifying run was definitely on the limit. The car was really sliding around in what were very difficult conditions. I'm happy with the lap time and also with the work we have done today. We worked on set-up this morning in the dry conditions and know pretty much which way we need to go.”

Justin Wilson: “It was definitely pretty tricky out there this afternoon, particularly on the new sections of tarmac - in fact, I nearly lost it at the start-finish line on the warm-up lap. The situation wasn't made any easier by the fact that the red flag brought out by Pizzonia's crash in the morning practice session prevented me from doing a lap of the circuit in the wet before this afternoon's qualifying session. I used the 'out' lap for my qualifying run just to try and learn what the track conditions were like. All in all, it wasn't a great result, but it was the best we could do today given the circumstances. We'll look to improve tomorrow.”

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What the teams and drivers said
Friday - Saturday - Sunday

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