Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix
What the teams and drivers said - Friday
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Team and Driver Quotes following Friday Practice Sessions
Peter Sauber: "A Friday under water! Giancarlo is happy and was able to show both his talent and the quality of the car and the Bridgestone tyres. Naturally Felipe is not so happy, after aquaplaning in both sessions and failing to record a lap time."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "The whole package - car, engine, Bridgestone tyres - is really good, and I was consistently able to run second all day to Michael. The track conditions were very bad, with several rivers running across the circuit and a lot of standing water all round the lap. It was an easy day to make mistakes, but for me it was also important to be quick and to push. I'm very pleased with the way things went, and I think we are in good shape."
Felipe Massa: "I spun in this morning's session, and again this afternoon, and both times it was because of aquaplaning. When I went out this afternoon it began raining very heavily at the start of the lap so I had already decided to come back in and was going relatively slowly, and even so I spun at the top of the hill after the esses when the car just got away from me on standing water. An unlucky day for me."
Ron Dennis: "Obviously a very difficult session with the rain's intensity varying the levels of aquaplaning that Kimi and David experienced. Both cars ran well and occupy the top two positions for Michelin runners."
Norbert Haug: "Probably one of the wettest Friday's practices that Formula One has seen. The conditions were extremely difficult, and we only went out for a few laps so the times don't mean so much under these circumstances. Nevertheless Kimi and David performed well, and we now have to hope that the weather will be better on Sunday in order to have a proper race."
Kimi Raikkonen: "Obviously very tricky and constantly changing conditions today. The circuit had lots of water on it, which made it very difficult to do any real set-up work. Nevertheless it is a start and at least it's encouraging that I'm the fastest Michelin runner. Now we wait to see how the weather will develop tomorrow and how the predicted typhoon will affect the rest of the weekend's running."
David Coulthard: "We worked on set-up for wet weather today as there is a good chance that the rainy conditions will remain tomorrow. I had a late start to the first practice session as the team decided to change my clutch as a precaution since some data showed that it might have developed a problem. We didn't want to take that risk in the rain. However it didn't really affect my programme as we gathered enough data in the second session."
James Robinson: "That was one of the wettest practice sessions
we have seen in F1 for a long time. Perhaps qualifying at Magny Cours in 1999
was worse but today the rain was very heavy indeed. We thought it might be
driest at the start so we went out early in the session and, perhaps by luck,
it turned out as we expected. The drivers did a good job today although
unfortunately for Robert he wasn't out with his preferred settings when the
track was at its best so he wasn't able to maximise his and the car's
Timo Glock: "It didn't go too badly today given the extremely rainy conditions. It was a bit difficult for me to start with as I don't know the circuit and it's hard to learn it in the rain. But after a few laps it was okay; I found a good rhythm in the wet and the car was not feeling too bad. At the end I was quite happy with both sessions although the rain got so heavy we had to stop before the session finished. The car was quite good in these conditions so I hope we have a wet qualifying and race!."
Nick Heidfeld: "It was quite a satisfying day today looking at our positions. Obviously it was very difficult for everybody with these weather conditions and the forecast for tomorrow looks even worse. We did a few outings but stopped before the end because it simply got too wet and we would not have been able to assess the changes correctly."
Robert Doornbos: "I think it went great as it was my first time ever driving a Formula One car in the wet and I had to learn the circuit as well. If I compare how to drive F1 in the rain with F3000, the difference is unbelievable. The Bridgestone tyres gave an amazing amount of grip. I really enjoyed it and found the pace right away. I did a good job and I'm looking forward to more laps in Brazil."
David Richards: "I feel really sorry for all the fans who turned up today to see Takuma and the team in action, but unfortunately the atrocious weather prevented us from doing anything more than a few exploratory laps. If that wasn't bad enough, the forecast is for a typhoon to hit Suzuka tomorrow, with wind speeds of up to 100 mph. The good news is that things are looking better for race day on Sunday, and let's hope that we can still put on a great show at our 100th Grand Prix."
Shuhei Nakamoto: "It was a real shame for the fans that running was so limited by the rain. We're just hoping the forecast typhoon will not disrupt the rest of the weekend's schedule too much."
Geoffrey Willis: "The driving conditions were very difficult today and for much of both sessions it was too wet to run safely. The second session was generally even wetter than the first, with the cars aquaplaning at many points. In the slightly less wet conditions we were able to get some running in on the extreme wet tyres. Given the conditions we were not able to work through our programme but we did get some useful information with tyre pressures. We had no car or engine problems and fortunately our drivers stayed on the track in the tricky conditions. We are confident that our car will be very competitive in the wet but racing in these conditions will be very difficult. The forecast for tomorrow is not good so it may be that we get very little running before the race on Sunday."
"We could do nothing about the weather today but it meant the
conditions were very difficult for everyone. It's frustrating and I feel so
sorry for the fans that have been sitting here in the rain all day and have
not seen much action from the cars. From a performance point of view, the
heavy wet conditions meant that we had some issues with aquaplaning and the
car was tricky to control.
Anthony Davidson: "The constant rain made life very difficult for everybody today. We weren't able to work through our planned programme at all and we were limited on laps because most of the time the circuit was undrivable as we were just aquaplaning. It is very disappointing for me not to have achieved any dry running on one of the best tracks in the world and be able to get a real feel for it. I think Jenson and Takuma's equally frustrating start to the weekend is likely to continue through to the race on Sunday."
"The first session was very wet and the start of the second session
was equally wet, but it was drivable. You wouldn't want to race or test in
those conditions, given the choice, as we had quite a bit of aquaplaning but
at least we could keep it on the track. As we got further into the second
session though it was really wet, the circuit was drenched and it was very
Pat Symonds: "When there is as much water on the circuit as
we saw today, it is difficult to complete two consecutive laps in a
consistent fashion, which makes any comparison nearly impossible. The only
real thing we can do is to optimise the electronic control systems, which
we managed to do.
Jacques Villeneuve: "There is no point in talking too
much about our work today: the conditions were very poor and the car was
aquaplaning a lot, which meant it was actually floating on the track
surface and the driver had no control. However, we managed to complete a
small part of our programme and given that it was my first time driving
this car in the wet, I was pretty pleased. The R24 is quite easy to drive
and predictable in these conditions.
"We didn't learn much today: it ended up being a case of just getting
used to driving the car again after two weeks. The conditions were very hard,
and there was too much water on the track, which meant we were aquaplaning in
lots of places. It was the same for everybody, but with bad weather forecast
for the rest of the weekend, it didn't really help any of us either!
Sam Michael: "As it was a wet day today we did only a couple of short runs to check the car systems and also the balance in case it will be wet in qualifying or in the race. We hope to get some more running tomorrow but it looks like it will be wet then as well. Regardless it is the same for all teams and it should make it an interesting race."
Mario Theissen: "The warning signs of the typhoon have literally soaked this first day of practice. If the weather conditions get worse, it will make no sense to run free practice and qualifying tomorrow."
Ralf Schumacher: "Not much to say due to the amount of water on the track and the large amount of aquaplaning we had today. I would hope we could get some better work in tomorrow, but unfortunately it doesn't look this way at the moment. It would be more sensible not to run at all, tomorrow."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "I cannot say much about the car really, because I had very little running today and we couldn't really work on anything. But it's the same for everyone. The track was massively wet at first but it wasn't too bad after a few cars had been running. Still, if the rain keeps increasing as it looks like it will, I'll be surprised if we will be running tomorrow. With the prospect of a dry race it will be interesting, very interesting!."
Mike Gascoyne: "On a positive note, Ryan and Olivier
enjoyed two troublefree sessions today and Jarno was able to complete some
useful laps. I am sure it was disappointing for all the fans that we were
unable to carry out much running, but the conditions were simply too
dangerous for the drivers. Jarno had never driven our car in the wet
before, so it was important for him to put in some laps just to
Jarno Trulli: "It was a difficult debut for me today, although
I think we can be pleased to have done some meaningful running in tough
conditions. I have never driven the TF104B in the wet, so it was useful to get
some experience. On the other hand, I took it comparatively easy today because
the conditions were very dangerous and I didn't want to spin or go off the
track and damage the car.
Olivier Panis: "The huge amount of rain made it very difficult
today. In the first session, I completed an installation lap and wanted to
wait to see what everyone else was doing. When we saw there was no
improvement, we opted to stay in the garage, as we would not achieve any
decent set-up work in such conditions. It made sense for Jarno to do some
running, but not for me because I already know the behaviour of the car quite
well in the wet.
Ryan Briscoe: "Due to the restriction of extreme wet weather tyres, I was unable to do any running today. The conditions were simply too bad to even consider going out on intermediate tyres. I am disappointed that I couldn't have the chance to drive at the Suzuka circuit and not to participate in Toyota's home grand prix weekend."
Dr. Mark Gillan: "Weather conditions have made testing very
difficult for us today and as a result we have completed only a small amount
of running. We have also been trying to limit the number of wet tyres we use
so that there are enough left over for Sunday's race. As a result Bjorn has
done no running today and Mark and Christian have only completed about eleven
Christian Klien: "It's been a really wet day here at Suzuka and
we have been badly affected by the rain. The conditions have meant that we
have only managed a small amount of running on track and this has not helped
me familiarise myself with the layout as much as I would have liked.
Bjorn Wirdheim: "We have a limited number of wet tyres with us this weekend and I have been trying to help the team today by not running. Usually I am doing the opposite and trying to do as many laps as possible but given the really wet conditions that we are experiencing it is important for Mark and Christian to have as many spare extreme wet-tyres for the race as possible."
In fact, several cars spun off at turn six, which brought a premature end to the afternoon session. With the forecast calling for more heavy weather tomorrow, we could be in for a very interesting race on Sunday."
Bas Leinders: "This was my very first experience of driving in the wet with an F1 car as well as my first time driving on the Suzuka Circuit, and I am very pleased with what I discovered. The car seems to have quite a lot of grip in the wet, and I really enjoy driving in the rain anyway. I'm not at the limit of the car yet -- I would need more mileage to arrive at that point -- but it has been a good start to building my knowledge of driving in the wet in Formula One."
Gianmaria Bruni: "It was not a very good day, as I didn't have the possibility to drive enough. I did just one proper run, but the balance in the wet was quite good, as my lap times show. Now we can only see what tomorrow holds."
Zsolt Baumgartner: "The weather situation today was a bit unfortunate in terms of having an opportunity to learn the track. Generally, the car balance was good, but we were struggling with the huge amount of water on the track. In fact, when I spun during the second session, it had started to rain even harder and the conditions were pretty much impossible."