Friday's Selected Quotes - Italy


Ricardo Zonta - 1st: "I wasn't quite happy with the car in the morning because it was difficult to get any grip. The track wasn't particularly dirty and it was similar to last week's test. But we improved the car a lot for the second practice. We found something good on the tyres, too. We know that this could be a difficult track for us, but we've made good progress today."

Jarno Trulli - 8th: "After the test here last week, we feel quite prepared for the weekend, so we were able to run slightly less than usual. The challenge at Monza is to find a compromise between straightline speed and grip. We didn't look particularly quick at the test so it could be a tough weekend but the car felt okay today so we'll do our best to score points."

Ralf Schumacher - 14th: "That was a trouble-free day for us, and we completed all the work we needed for the weekend. We were able to miss most of the morning session because of the data we collected at our test here at Monza last week. But it has all gone well so far, and the balance felt okay today. We will be putting in our usual efforts for a points finish on Sunday."

Dieter Gass, Chief Race Engineer: "That was quite a positive day, and it's always good to have a car on top of the timesheets in one of the sessions. We were obviously here testing for three days last week, so like many other teams we didn't do that much running today because we already had most of the information we needed. Today we were just confirming some of those results. But we were quite happy with what we learned today and we have plenty of data to make our tyre choice."


Juan Pablo Montoya - 2nd: "We were quick here today and are looking strong and consistent, so it is a positive start to the weekend. There is still a long way to go, and we have to remain reliable throughout the weekend to achieve the result that our times today promise. "

Kimi Raikkonen - 3rd: "A productive first practice day, and we achieved fast and consistent times. We still can optimise our set up as it is always very crucial here to find the ideal balance on this low downforce circuit. We can build on our good testing results from last week and should be competitive throughout the rest of the weekend."

Pedro de la Rosa - 4th: "Unfortunately my second session was cut short, with 12 minutes still to go, with a transmission fault before I had the opportunity to complete the entire programme. However this was not really a problem as we have a lot of information already from today and the test we conducted here last week. The car is quick, it is working very well at the top speeds and everything from the brakes to the Michelin tyres were working perfectly today."

Ron Dennis: "A successful Friday practice where we ran through our programme and achieved the results, in terms of speed and consistency, that we had expected going into this weekend. Unfortunately Pedro's problem finished his run prematurely, but this will not hamper our programme for the weekend."

Norbert Haug: "A first day in Monza with good and consistent lap times for our team. Of course last week's tests have been very helpful for everybody. As a consequence we didn't see a lot of running in both sessions. Our start for the weekend was a good one indeed and our aim is to achieve the same results on Saturday and Sunday."


Mark Webber - 5th: "We had a pretty good day and we went through all of our programme. My car ran reliably and the mechanics and engineers did a good job in getting everything ready. We still have to work on our long distance pace because the balance still wasn't ideal this afternoon so we'll work on that in the practice sessions tomorrow. In the second session today we had the best track temperature to do the balance work for the race. We have a bit of work to do tonight but we are not looking too bad at all."

Nick Heidfeld - 6th: "We can be quite happy with our positions today if we compare them to what we have achieved on Fridays in the last few races. Of course, it's only Friday but we hope Saturday and Sunday will be as good. In terms of our programme, we completed our usual work on the tyres and did some small changes on the set-up but obviously, like every other team, we got through the majority of our set-up work last week during the test here in Monza."

Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was a productive day for us. We got through our entire analysis programme. Obviously everybody is helped by last week's test here to check tyres, brakes and cooling. Nevertheless some final checks today were good and everything seems to be working well. Hopefully we can continue like this tomorrow. We have a couple of new aero parts here in addition to the usual Monza package and they are all working fine."

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "It was a good first practice day at the Autodromo and both the drivers went through their set up programmes without problems. The workload was not as huge as usual because Monza is the only circuit on which it is allowed to test in the week before the race because of the high speeds. Most of the teams took this opportunity and collected enormous amounts of data for the car set-up."

Red Bull

Vitantonio Liuzzi - 7th: "We struggled in the first session as it seemed like we had some sort of problem with the engine. We were 10kph slower than David on the straight, so we didn't have the same top-speed, which is crucial in Monza as it's such a high-speed track. We're still looking at what the problem is but, as we had two short sessions and not much time in between, we were pushed for time.

"Despite that, Parabolica was still amazing to drive, it's one of the best corners of the track. It's low downforce here, so you're on the edge all the time, it's like driving a boat on the waves, which is a pretty cool feeling. It's a special circuit for me. It's Italy and my home grand prix, so it's great to be able to drive here."

Christian Klien - 11th: "We were testing here last week and so there wasn't much work to do with the car set-up, balance and in getting to know the track. We just did an installation lap during the first session to check that the car was running okay. In the second practice, I did two sessions of four laps to compare the different tyres. The car had good balance during both runs, I felt pretty confident and got up to speed quickly."

David Coulthard - 19th: "There was some oversteer with the car during the second practice session, so we made some balance changes, which improved things a little. The car's not still quite where I want it though and we've got some work to do tomorrow before qualifying."

Gunther Steiner: "Tonio's engine seemed to lose a bit of power during both practice sessions, we tried to rectify the problem, but didn't want to change the engine. We'll have to look into it and analyse the data before we can make a definite conclusion so we'll be checking things, including a few mechanical parts."


Giancarlo Fisichella - 9th: "There was much less grip out there today than we had at the test, which can be seen from the lap times ­ we are more than a second slower than last week. That meant the car was a bit tricky to drive, but we can fix that tomorrow morning. Overall, I think McLaren probably have the advantage over us ­ but we are where we expected to be."

Fernando Alonso - 10th: "It was not too bad a day for me. The track conditions were not as good as last week in the test, because it was much hotter and that made the car harder to drive. We did a lot of running on the tyres last week, so today's runs were just to confirm what we found in the test, and Michelin have brought two very good tyres. It looked like everybody was struggling a little bit for grip, because we saw a lot of spins, but we can adjust the car overnight to compensate. Overall, I think we are in quite a strong position."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "We ran a very limited programme today after an extensive test last week, which allows us to conserve engine potential for the rest of the weekend. The circuit conditions caught us out slightly, as the track temperatures were several degrees higher than at the test and this had an impact on the balance of the cars. Overall, though, the order seems fairly typical ­ and we are in our usual Friday positions, on the edge of the top ten. We have a clear idea on our tyre choice, and will work on fine-tuning the balance of both cars tomorrow morning."

Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Operations: "Two weeks ago, we found ourselves confronted with a brand new circuit and a large amount of work on Friday. Today was exactly the opposite, running at a track we know intimately after running thousands of kilometres here last week. In that kind of situation, any surprises would be bad ones ­ and fortunately we did not encounter any! Both fresh RS25 engines are running normally, and our straight-line performance is competitive, just as it was in testing."


Michael Schumacher - 12th: "When you are not as competitive as you want to be, you try everything you can to improve and my spin was partly the result of that. I made some changes to the set-up but it made the car a bit unstable which made me slide off the track. It was not a heavy impact, as I was already at the corner exit. We have lost some track time, but it is not too important as we have tested enough here. The important thing is that the tyres are not damaged so I can use them again. A thank you to the marshals at the corner as they were all very nice, asking me if I was thirsty and wanted a drink."

Rubens Barrichello - 16th: "We have a lot of work to do. The balance of the car was not good and we will have to find out why by analysing the data acquired over the two hours of free practice. At last week's test, the situation seemed much better than it has done today. We knew it would be a difficult weekend, but we will give it our all to try and please our fans."

Jean Todt: "Today's programme was slightly different to usual, in that we had already tested at this track last week. As usual, the priority was to compare the two types of tyre provided by Bridgestone. Times from free practice are not an accurate reflection of the relative strengths of the teams, as we do not know what fuel loads the others were running, so studying the data will give us the more worthwhile information. Having said that, we know that our package will have difficulty in fighting for victory in this Italian Grand Prix, which we have won for the last three years. We have to work along with Bridgestone to get out of this situation. I hope we will see some improvement in the final three races of the season."

Ross Brawn: "It was not an ideal start to the Monza race weekend, as we lost Michael's car out on track in the middle of the second session. There were still a couple of things we wanted to check out after last week's test at this circuit. We have some more improvements to make to the set-up, but generally we are not looking too bad. With Rubens, we have no balance on the car and we must now try and understand why that is. He only drove on the first day of the test, when the balance of the car was much better so we will have to look at every detail to understand why we have lost that balance."


Felipe Massa - 13th: "It was a good day, I think. We did some reasonable runs, including one long one in which we could see that our race pace is good. There was more grip than there was at the test last week, because of the higher temperature, so I was happier with the balance. Our main thing was to focus on race performance, which is the most important thing at Monza."

Jacques Villeneuve - 15th: "Today was not too bad. The hotter temperature helped the tyres to warm up faster which was good, and the balance was okay, but it's too early for me to draw too many conclusions about our performance so far."

Willy Rampf,Technical Director: "We did all of our basic set-up work in the test here last week, so today was all about race preparation. We had to change the cooling configuration a little to cater for the warmer weather, but otherwise we achieved our programme and were able to assess both tyre options. Choosing the right one is not a completely clear decision, so we will be going through all the data carefully this afternoon."


Takuma Sato - 17th: "Today went smoothly and we completed all of our planned programme. The track conditions weren't much different from testing here last week and the car balance is good. We concentrated on tyre evaluation this afternoon rather than outright performance, but it seems that we will still have some work to do before tomorrow to move further up the field in terms of pace. Generally we have made a good start and we look forward to improving through the rest of the weekend."

Jenson Button - 18th: "We did a lot of our groundwork in testing here last week so our focus today was working through our usual Friday programme, which ran according to plan. We clearly still have some work ahead of us tonight and tomorrow morning to see how we can improve our pace, so we will see what free practice in the morning brings before making any predictions."

Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "Today, as normal, we went through the tyre evaluation procedure and collected some good data. Although it is difficult to figure out how fast the other teams are on Fridays, the timesheets clearly indicate that our lap times need improving. Both drivers are quite unhappy with the handling of their cars' so we will collect our thoughts overnight and hopefully come up with a plan to improve tomorrow."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director: "The day has been pretty much standard for a Friday. The engine has gone well and this spec has allowed us to do a few more laps than our rivals which will give us plenty of data to study tonight."


Tiago Monteiro - 20th: "It was a good first day. We went through our tyre choice programme and car set-up. As we noticed last week, the new car is reliable, as we haven't encountered any problem today. The gain is not huge but we are closing the gap with the cars in front. Every gain is a gain. As we have already said, Monza is maybe not the best track to introduce the new car because of its low downforce configuration. Spa and the remaining races should suit our cars better but it is still an improvement. Now we have to work on the stability for the rest of the weekend."

Narain Karthikeyan - 21st: "It is a shame that I do not drive the new car. I tested it last week here at Monza and I could feel the difference straight away this morning. It was especially obvious in the braking zones and in the fast corners. The car balance got better at the end of the afternoon session when the track surface was improving. I am looking forward to driving again tomorrow as I really enjoy this circuit."

Nicolas Kiesa - 25th: "The first session this morning went very well. The car was getting better and better with all the different changes we made. Near the end, we wanted to confirm these changes and we could see from the times that they were working. We wanted to make further progress for our race specification in the afternoon but unfortunately the car stopped on the first lap. I am a bit disappointed but it is nobody's fault."

Adrian Burgess, Sporting Director: "Today went as planned apart from the failure we had this afternoon with Nicolas. It is a shame for him and this did not help with our tyre information. However, with the test here last week, I think we know which tyre we are going to choose tonight. We are reasonably happy with the performance of the B-car. We have added more mileage to it and it has proven to be reliable. For sure, there is more to come with the development of the car. Considering where we are with our strategy for tomorrow and Sunday we are in good shape."


Robert Doornbos - 22nd: "Back in Monza within a week ­ it's great that we tested here for a full day, as we gathered so much data and know so much more about the car. For me, it was also a very good opportunity to get to know the guys even better. The circuit I already know from F3000, and in fact, I was spraying the champagne here last year when I met the Minardi team for the first time. We didn't run too much today, as we have a new engine, and therefore also have to think about next weekend, in Spa. At the end of the day, though, we found a reasonable set-up, and we hope to continue the work tomorrow. The aim, as usual, will be to do a strong qualifying lap, and to have another good fight in the race."

Christijan Albers - 23rd: "We had a good morning session today, and in the afternoon, we found some things that we feel can be improved, so we will have to check the data and see what we can do for tomorrow. It was a shame that I ran a little bit wide at one of the corners on what should have been my quickest lap, and lost some time as a result. It's only Friday, though, and tomorrow's a much more important day."

Enrico Toccacelo - 24th: "I'm quite satisfied with our performance today, especially considering the programme we were running. Unfortunately, I encountered quite a bit of traffic on my last run, when I should have been able to set my fastest lap. I think I lost a minimum of half a second when I encountered Barrichello in the second chicane. Anyway, we were able to do a good tyre comparison this afternoon, and I recorded a number of very consistent lap times. I think we have done a good job, which should help the guys with their work tomorrow."

Paul Stoddart: "It has been a good start to the Monza weekend, and there is no doubt our two-day test here last week has helped the drivers and technical staff in terms of 'homing in' on a suitable chassis set-up for this very fast circuit. It was particularly satisfying that all three cars ran without any problems today, thus allowing the drivers to work through their technical programmes without interruption. It was also pleasing that Enrico ran for nearly 40 laps over the two sessions, and judging by his times, was definitely getting to grips with both the track and the Minardi Cosworth PS05. We now look forward to another productive day tomorrow."


Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director: We evaluated a number of ideas for the very particular circumstances at Monza and our various compounds have produced interesting - and very satisfying - results. While it is clear that our 'option' tyre is a little bit faster over a single lap, we need to pore over the data to see how it will fare over 53 on Sunday. We have plenty of information at our disposal because our partners have completed plenty of long runs during the two free practice sessions. Track conditions are not radically different from those we encountered during last week's test session here. Some teams have reported a little more understeer, but generally we appear to be in very good shape. Things really couldn't have gone any better today."


Hisao Suganuma, Bridgestone Motorsport Technical Manager: "Track conditions were reasonable today. This is probably because of the amount of testing that took place here last week. As a result, we were able to obtain some useful feedback and data about our tyre performance here. All three Bridgestone teams were able to compare their two specifications of tyre although Michael Schumacher couldn't complete his comparison as a result of his incident. Rubens Barrichello also struggled a little today with his car set-up but with the data we have from today combined with the data from last week, it shouldn't be a problem. We shall now check all the tyres and this evening we should be able to assist our teams in making a good tyre choice for the remainder of the weekend."

Previous article Ferrari to Test Rossi Regularly
Next article FIA Moves to Reduce Downforce