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Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix
What the teams and drivers said - Friday
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Team and Driver Quotes following Friday Practice Sessions
McLaren (Kimi Raikkonen - 3rd, David Coulthard - 1 5th )
Ron Dennis: "A trouble free start to the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend. Both drivers completed their pre-planned programme and we are now looking forward to the last race of the 2004 season."
Norbert Haug: "A productive free practice with good and consistent times by Kimi in race trim. We now have to make sure to continue on this performance level during the rest of the weekend when it counts."
Kimi Raikkonen: "I was quite pleased with the set-up of the car from the very beginning, which always makes Friday's practice much more productive. I had one set of tyres which were not too good and that was one of the reasons why I had a little spin at the start of the second session at Turn Eight. It's going to be an interesting weekend, but it's important to make a perfect lap in qualifying, as we are all so close. There is no doubt that Ferrari will be strong here, but I believe we will be able to battle with them."
David Coulthard: "We went through our tyre evaluation programme, but unfortunately I couldn't show the full potential of the car as I got stuck in traffic which is often the case on this short circuit - on my fast lap I had to overtake three cars. Anyway I like this track because of its natural flow and have always performed well here, and hopefully I will do so again this weekend."
BAR ( Jenson Button - 4th, Anthony Davidson - 5th, Takuma Sato - 6th )
"I'm very pleased with the start that we've made to this important
weekend and it's good to see all three of our drivers side by side in the top
six and looking so strong. It is particularly pleasing that Anthony has ended
his contribution to the season on a high note, yet again performing well at a
circuit he has never experienced before.
Shuhei Nakamoto: "A solid day - to have all three drivers in the top six is good. The times are very close once again so we will need strong performances from Jenson and Takuma tomorrow. I would like to thank Anthony as he has done a great job for us all year in the Friday sessions. I am pleased that he has shown once again how fast he can be, particularly at a track he has never visited."
Geoffrey Willis: "Our last three-car Friday of the season has gone well and with all three cars completing their programmes we have good information on which to base our tyre decision for tomorrow morning. Despite the recent resurfacing, the track is as bumpy as ever and the track took a long time to clean up. We look to have a competitive pace today so we have a good basis to work with tomorrow with which to determine our race set-up."
"It's been a reasonably good first day in preparation for what is a
crucial race for us. We achieved everything we planned in terms of tyre
comparisons and set-up. The circuit was very dirty this morning but it had
cleaned up an awful lot by this afternoon, so we were able to achieve some
Anthony Davidson: "Today went pretty well. We had a very good tyre test and I feel pretty confident in our tyre choice for the race. It is my first time here and it is quite a bumpy track but I got to grips with it quickly as the laps are short, which enabled me to do more and learn the track quicker. We seem to be quick enough and I am fairly optimistic that Jenson and Taku can have a strong race on Sunday."
Takuma Sato: "Today was a good start to the weekend. We did not suffer any problems at all and the car was competitive and comfortable straight away, so it was an encouraging session. We tried different set-ups and tyres, collecting all of the information we needed. If the car keeps working the way it has been today and remains consistent, we will be looking good for tomorrow's qualifying and for the race on Sunday."
Renault ( Fernando Alonso - 7th, Jacques Villeneuve - 12th )
Pat Symonds: "We experienced a good opening day with both cars. As usual in Brazil, the conditions improved all the way through the day and this is a factor we must take into account when analysing our data this evening. However, we made some changes to the car which seemed effective and we are definitely well prepared for Sunday."
Chevrier: "It was a perfectly normal Friday for the team: we
experienced no problems and made good progress with the different programmes
we had planned. The circuit here in Brazil is well known as being very bumpy
and this is a factor we must take into account when configuring the engine to
Fernando Alonso: "The circuit was very dirty this morning so it was quite difficult to start work and in fact I only did a dozen laps in the first session. In the afternoon, though, the circuit was improving lap by lap and we managed to make some pretty positive set-up changes as well as testing both types of tyre. The car feels quite light to drive here because of the low levels of downforce and it also took some time to get used to the bumpy track surface again. But overall, I am pleased with how today went."
Jacques Villeneuve: "We improved the car a lot today. It was very difficult to drive over the bumps this morning but after some changes to the set-up, it was a lot more comfortable and also faster. We are still missing some performance on the first timed lap on new tyres but the car seems quick and consistent on the longer runs."
Sauber ( Felipe Massa - 8th, Giancarlo Fisichella - 17th )
Peter Sauber: "Another normal Friday test, except that this one was the 18th of the season! I am confident that we have found a good race set-up and that we have made the right tyre choice."
Felipe Massa: "I'm really happy so far. Of course this is a big weekend for me, racing in front of my home crowd, so eighth place is a good start. The car is very good, once we got the right set-up after this morning, and we have done our tyre choice. The car was strong straight away on the first lap with the latest Bridgestones, so I am feeling quietly confident that we can do well."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "This morning I had oversteer and this afternoon it was understeer, so we still have a little work to do on the set-up. We need somewhere in the middle! But the car was good in the long runs, so I am confident for the race."
Toyota ( Ryan Briscoe - 9th, Ricardo Zonta - 14th, Jarno Trulli - 16th )
Mike Gascoyne: "We enjoyed two productive sessions, totalling
in excess of 150 laps with all three cars. The only real problem we
encountered was the amount of traffic, but that is normal at a short
circuit like Interlagos. Ryan did his usual Friday programme of long runs
to compare the tyres, followed by some shorter runs for performance
evaluation and overall, the cars have looked very consistent.
Ryan Briscoe: "I am very happy with the work that we have achieved in today's practice sessions. We managed a significant number of laps, which permitted us to complete our programme. We tested the tyres and tried different downforce levels to evaluate the best configuration for the rest of the weekend. The performance of the car appears to be quite good and I must say that Interlagos is a very enjoyable track to drive in an F1 car."
Ricardo Zonta: "It is great to be back racing in Brazil,
although it has been a while since I have driven here at Interlagos.
Typically, this track is dusty and slippery on the opening day and it was no
different today. When you are right on the limit, it is easy to put one wheel
on the dirt and spin off.
Jarno Trulli: "It was a positive practice day for me. I completed a lot of laps and we were able to compare the two Michelin tyre compounds without any trouble. The overall lap time does not look too good, because I couldn't put everything together on my first lap with new tyres. However, I am extremely happy with the balance and general behaviour of the car around this circuit. We will work hard to find a bit more performance tomorrow."
Williams ( Ralf Schumacher - 10th, Juan Pablo Montoya - 11th )
Sam Michael: "It was a normal Friday with our time spent on evaluating tyres and working on the set-up. Since we have not been to Brazil for a long time and the cars and tyres have evolved a lot we have more work to do here than perhaps on some other Fridays. The high altitude here means everybody is down on power but also on drag."
Mario Theissen: "It was a good practice day. Both the drivers completed their programmes methodically and without any problems. It is obviously not easy to find the ideal set- up on such a bumpy circuit. Regardless, we should have collected enough data to meet our tyre choice and both the engines ran without problems."
Ralf Schumacher: "The track seems to be massively bumpy. It is therefore not easy to find the right set-up nor will it be easy to make the right tyre choice. That said, all in all we had a trouble free day."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "We did our homework today and the car seems to respond reasonably well. The track is maybe more bumpy than before, but the tyres seem to compensate for the bumps which is good. It won't be easy to get the right balance and we have still quite a lot of work to do in view of tomorrow's qualifying."
Jordan ( Robert Doornbos - 13th , Nick Heidfeld - 19th, Timo Glock - 22nd )
James Robinson: "It was a normal free practice Friday for us.
Today's focus was totally on tyres as it was very important to look at both
Bridgestone compounds, taking into consideration conditions for today and
tomorrow as well as the threat of rain on Sunday. As always, we are going to
study the data very carefully tonight in order to know which one to choose for
the rest of the weekend.
Robert Doornbos: "It was a good day for me and I had fun. I was really hoping for dry weather because the last two times I drove the car, in Suzuka and the test in England, it was in wet conditions. It was dry as I hoped and both sessions went well. I helped the team with tyre choice data and at the end they got me on a qualifying set-up which was another first for me. I put in a good time and I am happy, also because my sponsor Muermans is here this weekend so it's been a really good day."
Nick Heidfeld: "I had a difficult start this morning, with the balance of the car making it difficult to drive, especially going over the bumps where the rear was very nervous. But we made a couple more changes than usual between sessions and then further changes before I started the long runs and they all worked well. We made some very good improvements during the day and the car was much better in the afternoon than the morning. We still have some improvements to make before tomorrow and I'm confident we know which direction we have to go in that respect."
Timo Glock: "It was not easy for me at the beginning because I had to learn the circuit, another new one for me. The car was quite nervous at the rear and it felt like I was fighting it too much, it was difficult to drive. We have to find a better set-up for the car and although I think we know what to do in the dry, I think the forecast for Sunday is wet, so it's difficult to say! We have some work to do tonight and tomorrow to improve things."
Jaguar ( Mark Webber - 18th, Christian Klien - 21st, Bjorn Wirdheim - 24th )
Dr. Mark Gillan: "We have enjoyed a good day here today at the
Interlagos circuit with the three drivers completing successful test
programmes and generating nearly 100 laps between them. They have been working
on everything from tyre comparisons, brakes, engine developments, circuit
familiarisation and many other things.
Christian Klien: "This is my first time here at this track and it's really interesting and quite good fun to drive. I spent the first session familiarising myself with the layout and I am now happy with it. We then spent most of the day working on set-up and making changes throughout the day. We also looked at tyre comparisons and got some good results that I am pleased with. There is still work to do between now and tomorrow and I will be looking to improve my times further during the sessions."
Bjorn Wirdheim: "I had a good productive day today working on a lot of different things, including brakes, starts, and engine development work. I also spent time on aero compares and general set-up. The car feels good out there and it is well balanced even with the bumpy track. I have really enjoyed working with the team this season and I have learnt so much from them. I am now hoping very much that they can finish the season on a high with some points."
Minardi (Gianmaria Bruni - 20th, Zsolt Baumgartner - 23rd, Bas Leinders - 25th )Paul Stoddart: "It has been a positive start for Minardi to the final Grand Prix weekend of the season, and it was particularly pleasing that Gimmi's quickest lap saw him ahead of a Jordan and two Jaguars. Just to put things in perspective, it is worth noting that his best lap, of 1 min 13.467 secs, was almost four-tenths of a second quicker than last year's pole position time.
Zsolt also ran solidly in both sessions and, in the end, was only a couple of tenths slower than his team mate. Special mention today, however, must go to our test driver, Bas Leinders, who had his last run in that role with the team today. Despite a small hydraulic problem in the first session that cost him some running time, he did his usual exemplary job for us
It has been a pleasure to have Bas with us, and we would like to thank him for his fantastic efforts this year. He has made a really significant contribution to the Minardi programme in 2004, and we wish him every success in his quest to become a full-time F1 driver next season."
Gianmaria Bruni: "We had a good opening day. This is my first time in Brazil and I spent much of today learning the circuit. I think I adapted quite well, and I'm now looking forward to tomorrow, when I'm sure we can improve in some areas and be even quicker."
Zsolt Baumgartner: "Generally, it was a good day for us, although I made a mistake on what should have been my fastest lap this afternoon, which probably cost me half a second. The Interlagos circuit is new to me, and apart from being very bumpy in places, I quite like it and feel confident of being able to improve my lap time further tomorrow."
Bas Leinders: "Unfortunately, I
was only able to do a total six flying laps today, as my car had a hydraulic
problem this morning. That was subsequently fixed and I was then able to do
two useful tyre comparison runs. Considering the limited number of laps
available, it was a little difficult to set a competitive lap time, but I was
nonetheless pleased with my performance.
Michelin Friday Practice Notes - Bridgestone Friday Practice Notes