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

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Reports & Results

What the teams and drivers said - Friday

Ferrari ( Michael Schumacher - 1st, Rubens Barrichello - 3rd )

Jean Todt: �This has been the F2003-GA's first day at a Grand Prix weekend and the debut of a new car is always an emotional moment. At the end of the first qualifying session, we have Michael on provisional pole and Rubens in third place, while the other front running positions look a bit different to usual. The first day of practice has confirmed, possibly more so than usual, that at this track, tyre choice is always a critical factor in the final outcome.
It also reinforces the importance of our close collaboration on a daily basis, with Bridgestone. We are embarking on a new adventure with the F2003-GA. The best we can wish for, for ourselves, our partners and our fans, is that this car will deliver the same emotion and satisfaction which we derived from the F2002. It was a car which will always have a place in the history of Ferrari and of Formula 1 itself, representing the results of the combined efforts of an extraordinary team made up of exceptional people.�

Ross Brawn: �We are very pleased with our performance today, the first time we ran the new car with low fuel and new tyres. We still have to do some work on the balance of the car for tomorrow, but the results are encouraging and I think we can look forward to a strong race on Sunday. Rubens' car developed a water leak and so he qualified with the spare car, which also performed pretty well.�

Michael Schumacher: �I feel very comfortable in the car and after a good start, it means we can be confident for the rest of the weekend. It is a nice feeling to be racing the new car and this provisional pole means that so far the car has lived up to our expectations. For the race, we can expect hot conditions which means the tyres will be sliding quite a bit, but we expect that here and have planned for it. Given that Rubens had to jump into the spare and drive with my settings, he also did a good job today. Sitting in the cockpit of a race car at a grand prix again has been the best way to take my mind off the events of the Imola weekend.�

Rubens Barrichello: �I did not get a chance to use my car because of a small water leak and I had to jump in the T-car which had been set up for Michael. My car ran perfectly this morning and felt good. I am just happy to have done a competitive time, because the settings on the spare car were very different to mine in terms of the seat and the position of the pedals. Actually, I have to say it was fun making the last minute switch! Hopefully tomorrow, the situation will be calmer and I will be able to do a better lap. I hope to be on pole.�

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Renault ( Jarno Trulli - 2nd, Fernando Alonso - 10th )

Pat Symonds: "Overall a very successful day for us. We knew we would be more competitive here than at the previous race but Jarno's result today went beyond our expectations, and we are very pleased for him. Fernando's car didn't quite have the speed required but we think there will be no problem in getting him into a good position tomorrow. It looks very encouraging for us."

Denis Chevrier: "An excellent performance from Jarno. This morning's session was somewhat troublesome and maybe the gap we had this afternoon between the two drivers is the result of that. Now we have to bring Fernando's performance up, to be able to place both cars in a competitive position on the grid."

Jarno Trulli: "I had a perfect car this afternoon, thanks to the whole team. This morning we were quite busy, sorting out minor problems and working on a series of different things on the car. It all paid off with this very positive second place."

Fernando Alonso: "This morning's session, although we had a slight delay, was very useful because we learnt a lot about tyres and car set- up. This afternoon my lap was good and I am confident that we have a more competitive car than in Imola. Tomorrow's qualifying should be good for us."

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Toyota ( Cristiano da Matta - 4th, Olivier Panis - 6th )

Ange Pasquali: "This morning, we began the weekend in a positive way. We have tested here a lot over the winter like most of the other teams and, on the basis of this first qualifying result, it appears to have been very beneficial for us. We had some set-up problems on Olivier's car in this morning's practice session, which limited his running, but the team did a good, professional job to improve in time for his qualifying run. To have two cars in the top 6 is a fabulous result and I hope we can continue like this tomorrow."

Cristiano da Matta: "We have come to Barcelona this weekend where we have been quick in pre-season testing. It is a circuit, which the team knows very well and that has obviously been a big advantage in terms of finding a good set-up on the car. I am very pleased with my qualifying run. It was a good, clean lap and the car performed well. We now have to sit down and find out what areas still need improving before tomorrow's practice and qualifying. Overall, I am happy with today's performance and fourth place is definitely good for starters."

Olivier Panis: "We didn't manage a lot of things in practice this morning because we had some problems during the session. I am still not a hundred percent happy with the car, but we have the rest of the day to work on this and prepare a bit better for tomorrow. Having said that, sixth position is very good for the team and both cars are performing competitively. We also went well here in winter testing, but there are still things to improve on the car and I think we can go even quicker."

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BAR ( Jenson Button - 5th, Jacques Villeneuve - 12th )

David Richards: "We've spent a considerable amount of time testing at Barcelona during the winter and thus one expects to come here with a set-up that is pretty close to optimum. However, it is always surprising how much the track changes with temperature and use, which was certainly the case today. Jenson did an exceptional job with his lap and I'm quite certain that, with a further hour and a half of running tomorrow morning, Jacques will be on a similar pace for final qualifying."

Shuhei Nakamoto: "Our drivers covered 52 laps between them this morning and we've had a trouble-free reliable day, which I'm very pleased about. Jenson put in a good lap this afternoon and set a competitive time which is encouraging for the rest of the weekend. I'm sure both guys are looking forward to qualifying tomorrow."

Geoffrey Willis: "Barcelona is a good test of chassis and aerodynamic performance with quite changeable conditions. Despite testing here regularly we are still kept very busy finding the optimum set-up. Neither driver was happy this morning, though we were able to improve the car considerably for the high-speed corners. This afternoon, Jenson had a much better lap than Jacques, who was still not comfortable with the car. It is difficult to estimate where our true performance level lies since a number of teams will be running heavier fuel. However, we are reasonably happy going into tomorrow and we are in a good position to be in the points on Sunday."

Jenson Button: "I'm very pleased with fifth today. This morning I had a car that was a little bit too twitchy at the rear in the high-speed corners and I was worried that we wouldn't be able to get on top of that. We made some changes though and they seemed to do the trick, so I'm pleasantly surprised. It just felt like a very clean lap in which everything came together. A start like this gives you the confidence that the car is going to be stable for final qualifying and the race, so I'm very happy. We've had another small step up with the engine and aero here and these changes are gradually paying dividends. Things are looking good for the rest of the weekend so I'd like to think that top six is a possibility on Sunday."

Jacques Villeneuve: "The car has been very hard to drive all day but it didn't feel like a particularly bad lap, so it's a little bit disappointing. On long runs we were quite competitive but we just don't seem to have been able to make new tyres work for us today. Jenson's time showed that the car is quick but we have some work to do this evening to understand why we haven't been able to get the best out of it today."

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Jaguar ( Mark Webber - 7th, Antonio Pizzonia - 13th )

Dr. Mark Gillan: "A very good day all round. With four races gone now, we have a very clear understanding of the competitiveness of the Jaguar R4. The pace and balance are very good but the one area that has eluded us thus far is reliability. We have been in points scoring positions in all four races and in some cases, podium contenders.
Given that reliability is the key to fully unlocking our potential, we have spent a lot of time working on these issues. We tested for three days in Mugello last week and covered every aspect of the car. We arrived in Barcelona with a full data bank of knowledge and given how well the drivers know this circuit, qualifying today was a true indication of the car's pace.
It really is all about performance around the Circuit de Catalunya. We choose a good tyre for the session and yet again, Mark Webber has demonstrated the capability of our package and of course, himself! Antonio was unlucky this morning to have suffered a transmission issue which forced him to take the T-car for Free Practice but nonetheless, his race car was ready again in time for qualifying. In short, a very pleasing start to what we hope will be a rewarding weekend points wise."

Mark Webber: "A good lap, albeit I had a bit of a moment on Turn nine. The track temperature here goes up quite quickly and subsequently it gets quite sensitive out there. You end up having to take a little chance on mechanical set-up and tyre choice but everything worked out well for me in the end. The car was very good over the one-lap although it felt a little oversteery towards the end. We still need to do some work on race set-up and concentrate on some longer runs, but overall I am satisfied.
The strategies going into the race on Sunday will be interesting in that the fuel-effect is quite considerable around here but everyone is in the same boat. I don't think there will be a big difference in the strategies employed by the teams and as always, the racing here will be close on Sunday."

Antonio Pizzonia: "I am a bit disappointed not to have done better. We made some set-up changes to the car before qualifying which didn't quite work for me and unfortunately my qualifying time was slower than my fastest time in this morning's session - even though I was carrying more fuel this morning. I also never managed to undertake a light fuel run this morning and that didn't help my preparation going into qualifying. Tomorrow is the real qualifying test and we'll keep plugging away at the car in an effort to fine-tune it to my liking."

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McLaren ( Kimi Raikkonen - 8th, David Coulthard - 9th )

Ron Dennis: "Barcelona is our primary test circuit which means that we have a great deal of data available to assist in our race preparation. However this data doesn't include information about the two newly developed tyres that we are using at this event. As a result our balance is not fully optimised, which coupled with dirty circuit conditions, made today's' qualifying session a little bit difficult."

Norbert Haug: "Kimi and David went out first and second and acted as track-cleaners. The circuit was extremely dirty following the touring car practice, but tomorrow and Sunday we should be significantly better."

Kimi Raikkonen: "The track was very dirty when I went out which definitely cost me some time and the track appeared to become cleaner towards the end, which obviously affected the times. Apart from that the day was OK and we did a bit of work with the car. Like the other teams we do a lot of testing here so we know the track well and I look forward to tomorrow."

David Coulthard: "We went through our set programme during this morning's practice and didn't really have any problems. However during qualifying the car suffered a bit from oversteer at low speeds, which cost me some time in the first sector. There was still a lot of dirt left on the track after the earlier support race practice which affected me, but at the end of the day its tomorrow that counts."

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Williams ( Ralf Schumacher - 11th, Juan Pablo Montoya - 14th )

Sam Michael: "After looking competitive this morning we went in the wrong direction on the set up and had a few problems with the balance on both cars which caused us to lose quite a bit of time in qualifying. Now we are going to have a look at the data to make sure we can sort this our for tomorrow, even though tomorrow is a different story anyway because we are going to set up the car for the race."

Mario Theissen: "In the Free Practice both the drivers, especially Ralf, had succeeded in setting up the car for this track quite well but in qualifying they were both unhappy with their balance. Our times and positions show that the track conditions have changed since this morning. However, the time that Ralf achieved this morning in Free Practice would have been good for first position in qualifying."

Ralf Schumacher: "Obviously the first qualifying session was not satisfying for me. I was struggling with the balance of the car and made a few mistakes. In one corner I nearly lost the car. Though, I am not too worried. In qualifying we have not yet seen the full potential of the FW25. Now we will go ahead to further improve the set-up for tomorrow's practice sessions and final qualifying."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "We knew that this was going to be a difficult weekend for us and this afternoon's times show that we are still struggling in finding the right balance for our car on this track. I had some oversteer on my qualifying lap which severely affected my performance. Let's work on it now and hopefully sort it out for tomorrow."

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Jordan ( Giancarlo Fisichella - 15th, Ralph Firman - 18th )

Gary Anderson: "I suppose it has not been our best day. We lost our way somewhere at the end of the practice session to be honest and never really got on top of it. We were able to do a 1:17.9s lap this morning and I was pretty happy with that. We should be able to do it now as well so we have to find out what happened between practice and qualifying and we are working on that.
Ralph had a bit too much understeer on the lap, although the car was consistent and balance is very important here because if it's out by even a little bit, you lose a lot of lap time. He knows this circuit and has been doing a very competent job."

Giancarlo Fisichella: "Well today was nothing special. We didn't really expect to be in good shape as this circuit is so difficult when it comes to balance and it seems we can't get our car to suit the track. We are working on it as we need a big improvement for tomorrow."

Ralph Firman: "Although I'm a bit disappointed overall, I felt it was a reasonable lap, and it's encouraging that I'm not too far away from Giancarlo's time. We were looking promising this morning so hopefully we can find that pace again and move up the grid."

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Sauber ( Heinz Harald Frentzen - 16th, Nick Heidfeld - 17th )

Peter Sauber: "Our Friday qualifying result is disappointing. We obviously moved into the wrong direction when setting up the cars for the afternoon session. Now we must analyse the results and what we have learnt today, in order to improve our performance for second qualifying and the race."

Heinz Harald Frentzen: "It's not as bad as it looks. We made a small step with the car this afternoon. Unfortunately it was in the wrong direction, and I had too much oversteer. I'm sure we can do better tomorrow."

Nick Heidfeld: "I was struggling with oversteer this morning and we made some changes for the afternoon. They improved the car's balance for qualifying but obviously not enough. I am not happy with my position but we think we have a direction to go for tomorrow."

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Minardi ( Jos Verstappen - 19th, Justin Wilson - 20th )

Paul Stoddart: "This may only have been the first day of practice for the Spanish Grand Prix, but it has become clear in the course of the day that Minardi's lack of testing at a track where so many other F1 teams test extensively has cost us dearly. Both Justin and Jos drove faultlessly today, however, and got the best out of the equipment at their disposal. It's clear that we've got much work to do and we'll hope to make progress tomorrow."

Jos Verstappen: "Unfortunately, we weren't able to produce the same sort of lap time in qualifying this afternoon as we did this morning, but as anyone who knows this circuit and its characteristics will tell you, it is at its fastest between 9:30 am and 11:00 am, and it is then very difficult to match those times in the heat of the afternoon, even on the same fuel load. I was quite pleased with my qualifying lap today - I was on the limit all the way, which is how it should be in qualifying."

Justin Wilson: "Things went well this morning and we made some good progress. The car felt great in qualifying, but the lap time was 0.9 seconds slower, so we're a bit confused. We'll check through the data and see where we lost the time. The track lost grip this afternoon for certain, but we still suffered more than we should have in performance terms. Overall, we're a bit disappointed, but hopefully, we can make progress on the basis of what we learned this morning. We'll see what tomorrow brings."

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Friday Practice Results Report Results
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First Saturday Practice Results   Results
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What the teams and drivers said
Friday - Saturday - Sunday

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