Friday's Selected Quotes - US

Juan Pablo Montoya - 1st: "Obviously our tyre choice has become more challenging as Pedro wasn't able to run in the first session, but we should be OK. It's quite slippery and dusty out there so we changed my programme slightly in the first session to only do one run towards the end. However, we seem to be fast which is always the best way to start a race weekend."

Kimi Raikkonen - 2nd: "We only intended to do one run this morning, but unfortunately I had a bit of an off at Turn 11. I came back into the pits as the guys wanted to check the car thoroughly before the second session. The track conditions were rather slippery, so you really had to focus and concentrate to avoid being caught out. I think we should be in a strong position this weekend and hopefully make the Championship battle even more exciting."

Pedro de la Rosa - 7th: "Unfortunately my running in the first session was cut short by a problem with the throttle pedal sensor which stopped me at Turn One. However we still managed to get some useful data about the Michelin tyres in the second session which should allow us to make the right choice. The track was slippery which didn't make it easy to run consistently, but we are happy with what we achieved. There is now some analysis to be done with the engineers to decide which direction Kimi and Juan Pablo will take tomorrow with set-up and Michelin tyre choice."

Ron Dennis: "A productive practice here at Indianapolis with our focus being on Michelin tyre evaluation. We had to change the planned programme slightly as Pedro's running in the first session was limited but in the second practice Pedro obtained valuable data which will certainly contribute to the performance of both Kimi and Juan Pablo for the rest of the weekend."

Norbert Haug: "A good Friday during which we collected a lot of information about the circuit and the tyres with the programme focusing on race set-up work and Michelin tyre comparison runs. The aim is to further improve our package tomorrow to be competitive in qualifying and the race."


Rubens Barrichello - 3rd: "It has been a long time since we have had such a good Friday. I am happy with the set-up, with the balance of the car and the Bridgestone tyres. We look much more competitive than we have done at some of the other races. We still have quite a bit of work to do to ensure we maintain this level in qualifying. I like this track and the atmosphere is very relaxed here. We had no problems today and that meant we were able to get through all our programme. Michael and I are doing similar lap times, even though we are running slightly different set-up on our cars. We have done well here in the past and let's hope that continues this weekend."

Michael Schumacher -4th: "Everything went quite well today and we were able to cure a balance problem I had early in the morning session. We are looking good for a Friday, especially if you compare our performance with that in Canada a week ago. The track seems much smoother with the new surface, particularly in the area of the start-finish line. Now we must wait and see what we can do in qualifying, when it will be good that I will be making my run towards the end of the session. As for Ralf's accident, I was just coming back to the pits when it happened, so the first thing I knew about it was seeing him get out of the car unaided and walk away. I am glad he is okay and also glad that the modifications we asked for to be made to the wall were carried out, after his accident there last year."

Jean Todt: "We are happy to be here in Indianapolis and in the United States, which is our biggest market. Even if Formula 1 is not yet as big a draw as it is in other parts of the world, Ferrari is a very famous name here. Turning to the track now, it was the usual Friday. We worked on finding the best set-up, which requires a compromise between the section of the track on the oval and that on the infield, which is much slower. We also ran a comparison between the two types of tyre at our disposal. I have to say that, looking at the way things went today, we seem to have done a good job along with Bridgestone, in preparing for this weekend, at a track where we have always gone well."

Ross Brawn: "We had a trouble-free practice today and we made good progress between the first and second sessions, making adjustments to the cars that seemed to work. We got through all our programme and made a good job of the tyre comparison task. We will have to study the data carefully now, but I think we know which of the two types of Bridgestone tyre we want to use. The softer tyre is obviously quicker, but it also seems consistent, so now we just have to do a projection to see what the wear figures are likely to be on Sunday afternoon."


Nick Heidfeld - 5th: "I am reasonably happy with today's practice. Despite not being satisfied with the car balance, my lap times this morning didn't seem too bad. As usual I did some long runs in the afternoon, mainly to sort out the tyres and at the same time we tried to improve the balance with some changes. So far so good."

Mark Webber - 13th: "We've done some set-up work today, trying a few different things across the cars. We completed the tyre comparison, and the car ran reliably throughout. We know we have some work to do tonight, when we will go through all the data and we have some more improvements to do on the balance."

Sam Michael (Technical Director, WilliamsF1): "We have had a good practice day today with the focus being on tyre evaluation and engine cooling. We did not experience any problems with brake cooling around here. It is the opposite type of track to the last GP. We have also tried different set- ups on the two cars to further our understanding. This might explain the difference in the lap times of our drivers. Tonight we will look at the best set-up and tyre for the race."

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): "It was a very eventful first practice day. Of course Ralf's accident reminded us of his crash here last year. Luckily this time there was only damage to the car. Nick and Mark completed their scheduled programme. Both had to interrupt their long run because of the red flag. Apart from this, there were no problems and both the engines ran trouble free."

Red Bull

David Coulthard - 6th: "We had a problem selecting sixth gear during the second session. There was a vibration through the banking section, which is never good when you're not sure what it is, but the guys identified it and are working on the problem now. The spin was due to an electronic glitch. Basically, the software had a fault that meant I didn't have electronic assistance in the car when exiting corners. What you saw out there was basically a purely mechanical car relying on old-school technology, like they used to use in the 1970s. Nowadays, we have all sorts of electronic toys and gadgets, which give us assistance, but when you switch them off, that's the result! We had an opportunity to stretch the upgraded engine a little during this practice and we'll compare the data to the old specification to see how it compares. At the moment, we look like we could be more competitive here than in Canada, although the proof will be tomorrow and on Sunday. Even though we stopped the session early, I'm encouraged by today."

Christian Klien - 12th: "There's still work to do with the set up of the car. I'm not really happy with the overall feeling at the moment, there's quite a lot of oversteer and we'll need to find a solution before tomorrow's qualifying session. The engine seems to be a real step forward and we're definitely closer to the front-runners here than we were in Canada."

Scott Speed - 8th: "There's a really special atmosphere for me here and it's so great to be back driving in America and in an F1 car. The track had more grip on the second session and with every lap I completed, I felt more comfortable. There were no mechanical problems at all and the difference I felt sitting behind the wheel here, compared to in Montreal, was quite significant - it's all about gaining more experience."

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "Scott was working on a comparison between two tyre compounds today and did an excellent job for the team, setting some good times. He finished in the top ten on only his fourth F1 practice session, which is a commendable effort and he's obviously a promising talent coming through. It's a good solid start to the weekend, especially with the new Cosworth Series 12 engine, which will hopefully show it's true potential over the weekend."

Guenther Steiner, Technical Director: "David had a problem with his car's gearbox in the second session. We're inspecting exactly what it is now, but it seems that sixth gear is broken so we'll change the gearbox tonight. It was an engine braking control system problem that caused David's spin; a software mapping issue meant the engine braking didn't work as it should have done, but it was easily corrected. There seems much more performance from the new engine and we'll be comparing today's data with that of the former engine to see how much of a significant step forward it is. We're happy with the times we set today, but qualifying is tomorrow so we'll see what we can do then."


Fernando Alonso - 9th: "It was very slippery out on track today, and the car had a lot of oversteer all the way through both sessions - some of it was coming from the track conditions, but we still have some work to do on the set-up to get things right. I did a lot of laps though, which meant that I could collect some good information about the circuit and get used to running at this track again, which was useful because we obviously don't have the chance to test here during the season. We concentrated on making the right tyre choice, and we have some ideas about how to improve the car balance. I am sure that we will be in much better shape tomorrow morning."

Giancarlo Fisichella - 11th: "The car felt very loose in both sessions today - we couldn't find the grip we needed to get a good balance, but still managed to do a lot of laps and to look carefully at the two different types of tyre. Our level of performance did not seem fantastic, but of course we don't know what fuel loads the other teams were running and how they approached the day. We need to find some answers in terms of the set-up, but this was a solid beginning to the weekend."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "The unusual nature of this circuit makes it very demanding for the tyres in a number of ways, and the type of tyre we run here is one with which we have less experience than those we use at more standard circuits. Friday practice is always about looking at the tyre choice, but that was the case even more than usual today, and we completed long distance running with high fuel loads to fully assess performance in representative race conditions. The programmes on both cars went quite smoothly, although we are not yet happy with the balance for either driver, but this is something we are confident can be addressed overnight."

Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Operations: "Many teams, including ourselves, ran a lot of laps today in order to complete their preparations for the race - and as ever, this means that the timesheets do not necessarily give a representative picture of the teams' relative performance. We ran the fresh V10s without any problems, completing the necessary mapping and tuning, and we have made a good start for Sunday. We are in the top half of the field, and the cars seem to be competitive in terms of top speed; we now need to wait until tomorrow to understand exactly where our true level of performance lies."


Jarno Trulli - 10th: First let me say that I'm glad that Ralf is okay after such a heavy impact. It's really bad luck for him to go off twice in two years at the worst point of the circuit. That was a difficult day for the whole team. Because of the two accidents we did very little running. Of course it was also a difficult decision to go out again later in the session, but luckily nothing happened to my car. The strange thing is that so far the car doesn't feel too bad and we're reasonably competitive. But we don't yet have a clear idea about what the problems are with the tyres, so we're not fully confident yet about running the cars. We'll have to analyse everything tonight."

Ralf Schumacher - 24th: "Thankfully I am feeling okay, but that was quite a big accident. Lightning is supposed not to strike twice in the same place but on this occasion I guess that does not apply to me. I was approaching the last corner when I felt something go wrong on the left-hand side. We will now have to investigate exactly what happened and why. The morning session had been fine, although the track was very slippery. I've never had much luck here as a driver, but I'm still hopeful that record will improve."

Ricardo Zonta - 19th: "I was approaching turn 5 when I just felt a problem at the back of the car, and I spun off. We will now have to investigate whether the tyre failure was caused by picking up something from the circuit. The car was not badly damaged so we were able to go out for another run before the end of the session but we stopped early because of concern over one of my tyres. It's a shame because this morning everything had been going okay. The Indianapolis circuit is always very slippery, particularly in the first session before any rubber is laid down, but it was improving by the time I went out later in the session."

Dieter Gass ­ Chief Race Engineer: "So far what we can see is that both Ricardo's and Ralf's accidents came as a result of a tyre-related issue. On both occasions we had no early indication from the tyre pressure sensors so it was a fast deflation. We don't know the reason why at the moment, so we will now set about analysing the data to understand exactly what happened. Maybe there is a point on the track where we are running over and cutting our tyres, because it seems to occur on the outside tyre. We made sure that we had no problem on the car and that the suspension was okay. Then we talked to our partner Michelin and agreed that it would be safe enough to go out again. But we subsequently found a third cut tyre on Ricardo's car so we stopped running early. It all means that we are missing a lot of data for the weekend, but we must now analyse what is happening and carry on from there. Ralf's car is not as badly damaged as we feared and it looks like we can use the engine again tomorrow. But the main thing is that all our drivers are okay."


Jacques Villeneuve - 17th: "Felipe and I were on different programmes today because of doing the tyre assessment, but the long runs were comparable. I would say the choice is pretty easy now, looking at the one-lap performance. The track is always a bit funny here the first day, but my car was drivable so I can't complain too much."

Felipe Massa - 12th: "On new tyres the balance of my car was good, but on the long run it was difficult to drive. It was very twitchy, with lots of oversteer and poor traction. That's why I had those two spins, which I don't think is normal for me. I know the track had low grip today, but we have more work to do setting up the car for the race."

Willy Rampf (Technical Director): "Today we did our usual Friday programme, making tyre comparisons with long and short runs and assessing the degree of degradation. The level of grip was not very good this morning, which is normal here, but that improved this afternoon so we had reasonable conditions in which to make our comparisons, and no technical problems to impede our schedule."


Jenson Button - 15th: "The good thing is that we did all our comparisons for the tyres and all our normal tests that we do on a Friday but the pace isn't very good and we're struggling with grip a little bit. We've got a busy night ahead of us. We know where some of the problems are coming from and expect to solve those by tomorrow and get back on the pace a bit more."

Takuma Sato - 16th: "It's great to be back at Indianapolis where we had such a good result last year. Free practice has been pretty smooth for us. We didn't have any problems and we were able to complete the tyre programme and set-up work that we had planned. We still need to do a lot of work to become more competitive but I hope we can make good progress from here."

Gil De Ferran, Sporting Director: "As is usual on Fridays we concentrated on tyre choice today and race set-up. It is very difficult to know where we are versus the competition during these free practice sessions since different teams run varied strategies. However our car was not handling very well this afternoon and hopefully we will improve the balance for tomorrow."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development: "Both drivers managed to do a lot of laps despite one or two little problems. After the good work the boys did in changing Taku's gearbox in Canada our qualifying start positions are not too bad so I am optimistic for tomorrow."


Patrick Friesacher - 20th: "It has not been a bad day, and although we had a problem with the gearbox this afternoon, which lost us some time, generally, we improved the car. We still have some more work to do, particularly on the front end, but I think we can make another step forward tomorrow. I would particularly like to compliment the guys and thank them for their efforts, as they performed something close to a miracle this afternoon to change the gearbox so quickly, which allowed me to get out on track again."

Christijan Albers - 21st: "We had a bit of a slow start this morning, and didn't put in so many laps, as we knew the track would improve a lot during the day. This afternoon, I think we had a good programme, and I'm feeling confident for tomorrow. It was a bit of a shame that I had some traffic on my new-tyre run, as it lost us a little time. This evening, we will choose which tyre compound we will go with for the remainder of the weekend, so we'll aim for another good day on Saturday."

Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "Apart from a gearbox problem, which delayed Patrick in the second session, both Minardi drivers had a very productive opening day here at Indianapolis. It's interesting to note that, despite the new regulations designed to reduce F1 speeds, both our cars exceeded, on the first day of the race weekend, any time, set in any session, by a Minardi here last year. As usual, both drivers gave their all today, and the team did a fantastic job to change Patrick's gearbox in time for him to get back out before the end of the second session. All in all, a very pleasing effort."


Narain Karthikeyan - 22nd "The track is quite straightforward and not too hard to learn. What is really crucial here is to position the car well for the fast corners. The emphasis is on traction so we will try to improve the car for tomorrow. Otherwise, I am relatively satisfied with these two practice sessions today and I am looking forward to tomorrow."

Tiago Monteiro - 23rd: "In these two sessions today, we have been working on the balance of the car which is important here and been purely concentrating on a race set-up as it is only time we can hopefully score points. The track was very slippery and not very challenging and I have to admit I was not very impressed with it. We have another hour and half tomorrow to improve the car and see where we are."

Robert Doornbos - 18th: "It was fun to be back in the car after a long time. The oval is a great place to drive. My main job was to help the team make the right choice of Bridgestone tyres for the race. This morning, the track was quite dirty but it improved in the afternoon and I was able to improve my lap times. I think we have a clear view about which tyres to use and I have really enjoyed driving here today."

Adrian Burgess - Sporting Director: "All three drivers got used to a new track here at Indianapolis without too much trouble. Besides, we are happy with the fuel load we have been carrying today. Now we have to sit down and make a careful decision about our tyre choice for the weekend and analyse the useful information we have been collecting to get more from the car and the rest of the package for tomorrow and Sunday. "


Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:  "Irrespective of the various fuel loads teams have been running today, I am satisfied with the way our partners and us have performed. Michelin has achieved very good results with its two available tyre compounds, but it is too soon to know whether both will be used on Sunday. The track has evolved since this morning, as the F1 cars and Infiniti Pro Series runners have laid down more rubber, but parts of it remain extremely abrasive - particularly the recently- resurfaced banked section and pit straight, which are common to both the road course and the oval. Even so, I am confident our partners will be in good shape. As far as today's on-track incidents are concerned, it is clear that two Toyotas have suffered of rear left problem. No cause as so far been definitely established and we are continuing our investigations. We are pleased to note neither driver suffered any major injuries. There were 17 Michelin cars on the circuit today and we did not have any widespread problems. Our engineers will continue to work very closely with those of Toyota while the matter is investigated."


Hisao Suganuma, Bridgestone Motorsport Technical Manager: "Our teams spent the sessions assessing both their specifications and certainly for Ferrari, it seems both types of tyres are performing well. Lap times are quite competitive and we have not suffered with any problems. The softer tyre gives a little better lap time but we need as usual to check the wear and blister results for all the tyres. I think the Bridgestone shod cars should run well this weekend but it is important to be vigilant here about tyre pressures."

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Friday's Press Conference - US

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