Friday's Selected Quotes - Turkey
Ricardo Zonta - 1st: "The Istanbul Park is an enjoyable circuit to drive and that was a good day. It's an anti-clockwise circuit, but it doesn't feel too hard on the neck because the toughest left-handers are downhill, unlike Interlagos. There was a lot of traffic and yellow flags but I eventually found a clear lap at the end of the session. The lap time is a lot quicker than we expected because the track surface is better. Of course the grip improved throughout the day, and we also saw some tyre graining, but we have plenty of data to look at tonight. It's looking good so far."
Jarno Trulli - 9th: "This is an interesting circuit, and very different from what we usually see. There are some ups and downs and turn 8 is a challenging corner. We made it through the two sessions without problems so that was a decent day of practice for us. I lost a bit of ground in the morning and early in the afternoon because I was struggling to get the tyres working properly. But as soon as we changed them the balance came in and I was able to do a more consistent long run."
Ralf Schumacher - 16th: "The Istanbul Park is a challenging track, the layout is unusual and something which we haven't seen in a long time in F1. It's a very smooth circuit with very few bumps and lots of run-off areas so it's very safe. For set-up we need to compromise for the low speed corners while maintaining speed along the straight. Tyre choice will be crucial here but the car feels okay and Ricardo's lap time shows that we should be competitive here and aim for another strong result."
Dieter Gass Chief Race Engineer: "It's great to have Ricardo back on top of the timesheets. We were a bit surprised by the lap because it was not on a brand new tyre, so that was very good. It was a difficult day today to get everything sorted for tyre choice, because there was a lot of traffic, so we really have to analyse the data to understand the behaviour. There's still some work to do on the car balance, but that was a trouble-free day and our performance looks promising."
Juan Pablo Montoya - 3rd: "It seems like the new track is pretty good, and they have done a very good job in creating such a venue. The car and our Michelin tyres are working well, but we all have to expect a hard race on Sunday. Michelin have brought a very good and consistent tyre for this event which is a definite advantage for us. We will keep on working tomorrow morning on making further improvements, and I look forward to the rest of the weekend."
Kimi Raikkonen - 4th: "The new track is quite interesting and my first impressions are positive. The guys back at base have done a lot of work preparing for this weekend and as a result we seem to have arrived with a good basis. It's still possible to improve the balance even more but so far so good. It was a bit slippery out there particularly as there was a little bit of rain which seemed to affect the grip levels a lot. Let's see what happens tomorrow, but I think we are in good shape."
Pedro de la Rosa - 2nd: "Despite the fuel pick up problem this morning we were able to complete our planned programme. On this demanding track it's not easy to find the right set-up and consequently it took some time. I hope that I have made a good start for my team mates to continue working from. Our Michelin tyres are working well here and the circuit is suiting the car."
Ron Dennis: "A productive first day here in Turkey. We completed our scheduled programme and are happy with the data we have obtained so far from this impressive but demanding new circuit. The work we have done back home preparing for this track has allowed us to arrive well prepared."
Norbert Haug: "This new circuit is a perfect addition to Formula One's challenges on 19 different racetracks during the course of the 2005 season. The layout of the Istanbul facilities is really demanding for both teams and drivers, and it will be interesting to see who will develop their package best for the race on Sunday. Based on what we saw today it is difficult to tell who has done the best job so far. As for the team Kimi, Juan Pablo and Pedro went through their planned programmes and we believe to have worked out a good baseline for tomorrow's qualifying and Sunday's race. It will be a challenging one."
Jenson Button - 5th: "I enjoyed my first real taste of the new circuit and I think it has a very good layout. There are certain areas that are a little bit bumpy - especially braking into Turn 12, the last complex of corners - but generally it feels quite exciting to drive. It will certainly be interesting in racing conditions, when the weather is expected to be much hotter than we've experienced here today. We completed our entire planned programme today and our performance was reasonably good, so I think that we should be able to expect a promising weekend ahead."
Takuma Sato - 10th: "It was a good session today and it was exciting to be on a new and quite challenging circuit. I think that they have done a very good job with the track design. We ran through our usual Friday programme with no issues, so it is now important for us to look at the data and discuss with Michelin where we go from here. We had relatively strong pace today which is a good sign for us for tomorrow, so I am really looking forward to it."
Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "We have had a good start to the weekend at this interesting and challenging circuit. Despite the newness of the surface, the grip has been reasonable and we worked to a get a good balance on the cars. Although many others had off-track excursions, neither driver had any problems learning the circuit. Both cars completed their full programmes without any issues, so now we have to assess all the information we have for the very important task of selecting the race tyres. The car appears to be quite competitive here so we are looking forward to tomorrow's qualifying and the race."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development: "It is always important to do a lot of work on the Friday at a new circuit. Today has been good for us in that both drivers have completed their programmes and we have a good platform for the rest of the weekend."
Fernando Alonso - 7th: "It was good that we were able to run more laps than normal today, after saving the engine a bit in Hungary, so that I could really get to know the track properly. I felt very comfortable out there, and really enjoyed the sessions today: the circuit is challenging, with blind entries to corners at turns 1 and 3, plus a really unusual, difficult corner at Turn 8, which is different to any other track. The car felt quite good today, with a nice balance but like everybody else, we were lacking some overall grip on the new, dirty surface. Even so, I am quite pleased with our work today."
Giancarlo Fisichella - 8th: "I didn't do as much running as I would have liked this morning, but we made up for it in the second session with lots of laps. My first impression is that the track is a really good challenge - it is quite hard to find the right line through the corners, and it is not easy to learn; in fact the only thing I might change would be the last three corners, which are too slow! This is place where you need to feel really confident with the car to push, and I could only do that properly this afternoon - but the balance felt quite stable when I did, and the lap-times were OK, so I think we are in a good position so far."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Both drivers seem quite impressed with the new Istanbul circuit. It is reasonably challenging, and combines a big mix of curves with a couple of good overtaking opportunities. The grip levels seemed quite low today, but otherwise our Friday ran reasonably normally for a new track. Obviously, we have a lot of data to analyse this evening, as we cannot rely on historical knowledge to inform our tyre choice; the process will certainly involve estimating how the behaviour of the track and tyres might evolve as grip levels increase through the weekend, before we make a final choice on our tyres. For a Friday, the balance was very good - and any problems were down to the poor levels of grip rather than any inherent imbalance with the car."
Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Operations: "Although this is a new circuit for us, the job of the engine team was very similar to normal: selecting appropriate gear ratios and establishing the cooling levels we will need during the weekend. We encountered nothing unexpected, and the day unfolded much as it would at any other race, which is a tribute to the quality of the simulation work completed back at the factory. Both engines are performing well, and we will build on this solid start to the weekend with our normal objective of achieving the best possible level of performance throughout Sunday's race."
Mark Webber - 11th: "A pretty good Friday for us, during which we managed to work through everything we had planned. First of all, I have to say well done to everyone involved in making this event happen. They've done such a good job with the track, the layout is fantastic, and it's very, very demanding for the driver. It's definitely a track I'm enjoying at the moment. We've done our on track tyre comparisons so now we can go through the data with Michelin. Like all the other teams, it's the first time we've been here so we'll have to work carefully with Michelin to make sure we choose the right tyre. Today was mostly about tyre selection, but we also worked on some smaller things like gear ratios and the suspension."
Nick Heidfeld - 19th: "As predicted, this is a nice, challenging circuit. It just has a lot more bumps than we expected, especially in the high speed sections, which is a bit unusual for a new circuit. In this morning's session, I had a problem with the traction control which was not working properly and I wasn't particularly happy with the grip or balance. This is normal though because we are at a brand new circuit and we still have to learn it and find the right set-up, which I hope we will do by tomorrow."
Sam Michael (Technical Director, WilliamsF1): "We have had a productive first day in Istanbul on this new circuit. We worked through our programme on tyres, brakes and cooling. The new circuit looks good and is close to simulation. The surface was quite clean for an unused track. We have brought some new aerodynamic parts here to the race and they have all worked fine."
Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): "Of course, the most important impression about the circuit is that it is a true driver's track. For the teams, the large and impressively built facilities provide excellent working conditions. The weather is a surprise. We were prepared for the heat, but with not much more than 25 degrees of ambient temperature we almost feel at home here. In the two free practice sessions this morning we collected a good amount of data about the circuit and the set-up which will now be evaluated by the engineers."
Michael Schumacher - 13th: "I think the impression I formed of this track after riding around it on a scooter yesterday was misleading. I thought it did not seem that difficult, but now in the car, with a much lower seating position, it looks very different. It is not particularly difficult to learn which way it goes, however it has its own unique character. Some corners, such as Turn 1, have a blind exit which makes it very interesting. Turn 8 is another challenging corner as it has several possible lines. As usual, for the first day on a new track, we have to adjust the car to suit the circuit and we have to improve in this area because the car is still sliding too much in some corners. There is still a lot to do."
Rubens Barrichello - 15th: "I had a difficult day because I could not find the right balance, even though I worked a lot on the car. It improved a bit towards the end of the day, but I am still far from happy. There is still a lot of work to do to make the right tyre choice and to find that balance. I like the track very much even though it was a bit dirty today. There are some fantastic corners and I think that, physically, it will be a hard race, especially on the neck muscles."
Jean Todt: "Today is an important day for Formula 1, which thanks to the efforts of Bernie Ecclestone, in establishing the Turkish Grand Prix, has created a new venue on its calendar. I wish to compliment the organisers who have done a great job in a short space of time. Turkey is a rapidly developing country and also represents an important commercial opportunity for Ferrari, who actually yesterday opened a new showroom here in Istanbul. The two hours of free practice were spent learning the track and comparing the two types of tyre at our disposal. From what we could see, the track surface does not provide much grip, especially work on the facilities has left dust on the track. Tyre wear will be even more important than usual and, along with our friends at Bridgestone, we must now study the data very attentively to make the best choice from what we have brought here. We also have to work to optimise car set-up. This race marks the start of the final third of the season. Our aim is still to get back to winning races. We know it will be very difficult, as indeed it has been throughout this championship."
Ross Brawn: "Dirt on various parts of the track made life difficult for the drivers. We worked on comparing the two types of tyre that Bridgestone brought here for us and on setting up the car. Towards the end of the second session, we found a better balance, as the track gradually began to pick up grip as the cars did more laps and a line began to emerge. We had been struggling when the track was slippery. If the track continues to improve over the next two days then we can be in good shape for the race."
Jacques Villeneuve: "This is a great track! It's got a nice flow to it and is really good to drive. Of course, it was quite dirty still today but I think it was better than it would have been if it was really hot. The balance on my car was good, and overall this was pretty similar to the other Fridays we've had this year."
Felipe Massa: "My car was quite consistent in both sessions and we are more competitive than I thought we would be. The handling was very good on both of our tyre options, so we need to think very carefully before we make our final choice. It's not a clear one. We are in good shape, I would say. As for this track, it's a fantastic place! Lots of different corners, and a real challenge. I love driving here."
Peter Sauber (Team Principal): "The infrastructure here at the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix is as good as we have come to expect from Herman Tilke's new venues, but I have never heard so many positive comments from the drivers about a new circuit's layout. To me, this is the most important thing today."
David Coulthard - 12th: "The track was pretty bumpy and the car was too low for the first few laps, so we increased the ride height and things improved after that. Although I drove the circuit in a road car when I visited the city a few weeks ago for a PR event, the experience of driving in an F1 car is so different that it didn't really help me today. It's always a challenge to come to a new circuit and as the track rubbers in we will see lap times continue to improve. It'll be good to see what we can do here over the weekend."
Christian Klien - 18th: "During the second practice session, I went a little bit too quickly into Turn eight. The car was touching the floor and it was just enough to mean I lost the rear and spun off. There was no damage from the incident though and I was able to continue. We then changed the set-up of the car to improve its balance. This was needed as the track was changing throughout the session as it offered more and more grip. At the end of the second practice, I made a few mistakes and didn't set such a good lap time, but in the long run, when I had good balance in the car, the lap times were better, so it's looking promising for tomorrow."
Tonio Liuzzi - 6th: "Turn eight, the high-speed corner, is really fantastic to drive. The section of track after the corner is so long that you really start feeling the G force, which squishes you a bit in the car. As a driver, that's an awesome feeling. It's such a great corner - you know you'll get into it okay, but you don't always know if you're going to get out so well on the other side! During the first session on an in-lap, I tried something a little different, but cut too much of the kerb and went off the track. It was only an in-lap though, so it wasn't really much of a drama."
Narain Karthikeyan - 24th: "I like the circuit a lot here at Istanbul, apart from the last three corners, which are less flowing. The organisers have done an excellent job. In some corners, for instance corner nº8, you have to be really committed. The track was a bit dusty in the first session but it got much better in the second one. It is a pity I had a gearbox problem in the afternoon, as I was quite quick in the morning. The circuit is quite technical to learn but I have really enjoyed driving here."
Tiago Monteiro - 20th: "It was a good first day. It is always exciting to go to a new track. I was really looking forward to driving here. As I expected I really enjoyed it. The layout in general is great and there are some really fast corners. The car had the right balance from the start so we just had to fine-tune the set-up. The tyre decision is not easy but I am sure we will make the right choice."
Nicolas Kiesa - 23rd: "I had a good day today. This morning was a bit challenging, as the circuit is quite difficult to learn and there are many blind corners, but I have learnt the layout faster than I expected. After five or six laps I could start to push. We have had two good practice sessions. I had a small problem in the afternoon so I lost some 20 minutes. However, to be honest, I could not have done much with the time as I was struggling again with my neck. This is an anti-clockwise circuit and even the race drivers, who have done more than 20 000km this year, were having a hard time too. Since I started with Jordan in Hockenheim, I have done only 350km so I expected it to be really tough."
Adrian Burgess - Sporting Director: "It was an interesting day for the whole team, engineers and drivers included on a new circuit. Narain, Tiago and Nicolas have done a very good job. Narain unfortunately did not get to run new tyres this afternoon as he had a small gearbox problem, which restricted his run. Nicolas and Tiago did some Bridgestone tyre comparison, which will give us a lot of information. Now we are going to analyse this data in order to improve the car and make the right choice of tyres."
Robert Doornbos - 21st: "It's great to be in Turkey, and at an amazing circuit. To drive it is very exciting, as there are corners where you can really make a difference as a driver, and you feel the adrenalin pumping as a result. Initially, it went really well this morning, as I started with a four-lap run and set a reasonable time. Unfortunately, a problem then developed with the pressure in the gearbox, which was a bit of a shame, as it meant I wasn't able to do any more running in that session. The guys did an amazing job to get the car ready for me to go and play again in the second session, however, so many thanks to them for all their efforts. I then pushed hard because I wanted to try and set a good time just in case it rained. In the end, I was quite happy with my time, so we're looking good for tomorrow, and we'll hope any misfortune is now out of the way."
Christijan Albers - 22nd: "I think this morning we had a good first practice session. The speed was immediately there, so I was happy with that. The second session was also quite good, but then we fitted new tyres and I just couldn't get the most out of them, the result of traffic and a few mistakes. We definitely learned from today, however, and we'll now use the information gained to plan our strategy for Saturday."
Enrico Toccacelo - 25th: "I'm really happy because it is my first time in Formula One, my first time in this car, and like all the other drivers, my first time at this circuit. I think we did a good job with the car today, and I'm particularly pleased to have established a good relationship with the team and the guys already. I'm also confident for the upcoming events, as we're going to Monza and then Spa, which are tracks I know well, and this will make it easier for me. I also hope to get to the factory before Monza in order to have a new seat made, as I'm quite tall and haven't found the ideal position in the car yet. I'd like to thank Paul Stoddart, for this opportunity, and also to my sponsors, for their ongoing support. I have confidence for the future, and really hope to be able to help the team and the other two drivers in the coming races."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "First of all, let me congratulate everyone involved in the design and construction of the Istanbul circuit. Without doubt, it demonstrates clearly the standard that can be achieved in terms of modern F1 track design, and the Turkish public should feel very proud of what has been achieved with this amazing facility. As for Minardi, the first day of practice was not without issues, the main one being a gearbox pressure problem that put paid to Robert's opening session after the second run, and delayed the start of his second session. Despite this, however, both drivers completed their technical programmes, and together with our new Friday tester, Enrico Toccacelo, all three should feel proud of their efforts today. We proved once again that we are competitive against our nearest rivals, Jordan."
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director: "Fridays are often relatively uneventful in Formula One terms, but that certainly wasn't the case today as our partners got to grips with an unfamiliar track. It was interesting to watch drivers experimenting with different lines and teams tackling the myriad problems a new circuit can throw up. It is clear that Istanbul Park is a top -class facility. There are several distinctly different types of corner, but teams don't require the same degree of set-up compromise as they do at somewhere like Montreal, for instance, where there is such a stark contrast between the long, fast straights and a proliferation of slow turns. The layout in Turkey is more balanced. Lap times were a little faster than we anticipated, but our pre -race simulations have been very effective and, as in Budapest three weeks ago, Michelin's partners appear to be in excellent shape as they gear up for tomorrow's qualifying session. The two tyre compounds we have brought to this race are quite different, but that isn't reflected in their performance. The 'prime' is clearly fast and very durable, but the softer 'option' tyre might well be used in Sunday's race, too. Until we have completed today's analysis, however, it is too soon to draw any firm conclusions."
Hisao Suganuma, Bridgestone Motorsport Technical Manager: "Being a new circuit there has been virtually no other running on this track so the surface is really quite dirty. Combined with the smooth surface this meant that conditions were slippery today. Taking this into consideration our teams did their main tyre evaluations in the afternoon session. It was quite difficult to make a fair comparison but now we need to check which tyres will be the best choice over a race distance. We know this circuit is quite tough on the tyres, especially the right front, so the wear performance will be one of the main evaluation points this evening. We are also expecting some track improvement over the weekend and although it is difficult to know how much improvement we will see, we shall need to take this into consideration when making our recommendations to the teams."
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