Friday's Selected Quotes - US GP


Friday's Selected Quotes - US GP


Michael Schumacher - 1st: "Overall, we can be reasonably pleased with today’s work. Even though I did very few laps in the morning, the car proved to be on the pace immediately. Then, in the afternoon, I worked on a tyre programme. I have to say I am surprised at the gap to the others and the order is also a bit strange. But we will not see the true picture until tomorrow, as we cannot be sure what fuel loads the others were running today. There was not much grip out on the track today, but we have seen a similar situation in the past here. It is the same for everyone."

Rubens Barrichello: "There is not much to say, given that I had an accident on my first lap. We are still looking into its cause. It was fortunate that I hit the wall with the side of the car which lessened the impact. I was not hurt at all. This is one of those days to forget. Now I am looking forward to catching up tomorrow, but in any case, Michael’s laps have given the team plenty of information, so I will be not starting from zero tomorrow. On top of that we have data from the past two years. There is still plenty of time to work on setting up the car tomorrow morning and I am confident I will be on the pace for qualifying."

Jean Todt: "We could only run with one car, because of Barrichello’s accident on his „out“ lap this morning. Rubens lost control of the car because of a loss of pressure in the left rear tyre and then ended up in the wall. We are still investigating the causes of the incident. The F2002 has shown itself to be competitive even on an unusual track like this one here at Indianapolis, which is made up of two sections with completely different characteristics. As usual on Friday, we worked on tyre choice. Tomorrow we can anticipate the usual battle for pole position and we expect to place our cars on the front two rows. We are happy to be back racing in the United States in a calmer atmosphere to the one we experienced last year."

Ross Brawn: "After a difficult morning, the afternoon part of the session went well and was productive. Even though we ran with just one car, we were able to carry out an evaluation programme on the two types of Bridgestone tyre and gathered sufficient data to have a good idea about tyre choice as well as acquiring information for car set-up. After Rubens’ accident this morning, we chose to keep Michael in the garage while we investigated the cause of the crash."


Eddie Irvine - 2nd: "We went through everything we aimed for and apart from a minor niggle with the brakes, I am happy with the car. We changed the brakes completely and also made some changes to the set-up and balance. The track is quite unforgiving in places and grip seems to be a problem for everyone. Apart from that, there isn’t anything to worry about at this stage. The pace of the Jaguar R3 is quite encouraging but it’s way too early to make predictions about the weekend ahead."

Pedro de la Rosa - 11th: "A good start to the weekend but I haven’t completed a clean flying lap yet â€" hence the gap between Eddie and myself. Like Eddie, I too have worked through a checklist of set-up and tyre evaluations and in the process we have experimented with several ideas. The grip level could be better but having said that, we don’t seem to be suffering as many problems on this front as some of the other runners. There are still some things I want to try tomorrow morning but at this stage, I am quite encouraged with our performance."

Niki Lauda: "It’s always hard coming to a circuit with no testing data at all. We obviously have data from the past two years but you really need maximum track time here in order to fully understand the demands of the circuit. The conditions looked quite slippery during the first session and many drivers fell victim to the general lack of grip. Apart from Rubens, the in-field section is where most drivers were caught out and while the grip level improved throughout the two sessions, we could do with hotter temperatures. The Jaguar R3 seems to be working quite well around this circuit but as always, I never read too much into the Friday lap times. It is impossible to know what the other teams are running in terms of fuel loads and with that in mind, our final standings must be taken with a pinch of salt. Nonetheless, both drivers are pleased with the handling and pace. Let's see how this translates into qualifying positions for tomorrow but so far, so good."


David Coulthard - 3rd: "You always find new challenges on this track and its not easy to find the right race set up as you have to consider a compromise between the full throttle part and the tricky in-field section. Today we focused on set up for the race, but we haven't found the ideal balance yet. However our tyre evaluation programme was positive."

Kimi Raikkonen - 4th: "It was difficult at the beginning of the first session when the track was quite slippery. However as conditions improved, the car started to feel like normal, and we didn't experience any problems. I don't know where we will be tomorrow because Friday's practice is always a guessing game because you don't know what everybody else is doing."

Ron Dennis: "A trouble free day which saw the circuit progressively picking up grip following the extensive rain which fell over the last 24 hours. With good weather predicted for the rest of the weekend, we should be able to continue our progress."

Norbert Haug: "The circuit is more difficult than it looks. We concentrated on race set up and found a reasonable baseline."


Jacques Villeneuve - 5th: "We got off to quite a slow start today because the track was still drying at the beginning of the session. The infield section here is hardly used so the asphalt is always very slippery. We were struggling to find rear grip throughout the session but we did quite a few runs to try different things and basically just worked through the problem. I managed to get one good lap on new tyres before it got too slippery. Last year’s race wasn’t very good for me so I’m pleased we’ve got off to a good start today. During the last few races we’ve frequently been the best of the Bridgestone runners after Ferrari and our qualifying has been improving so let’s hope we can carry today’s progress through to the race on Sunday."

Olivier Panis - 18th: "During both sessions I suffered from massive oversteer. We tried to find different solutions but nothing seemed to work. I think we will have to strip the car down completely in order to see if we don’t have a more fundamental problem that we cannot see on the data. I think there is a lot of work to be done this afternoon."

David Richards, Team Principal: "Jacques had a very positive session so our main concern is getting the best out of Olivier’s car for tomorrow. We have a lot of work to do this afternoon to find the problem and try to bring him higher up the grid in the qualifying session."


Heinz-Harald Frentzen - 6th: "It feels good to be back at Sauber and I enjoyed today. I'm still around 15 cm too tall for this car, but there's no real discomfort for me. I just have the steering wheel closer than I'd really like. I feel like I am driving the way my grandmother used to! But I can drive the car okay and it felt reasonably balanced. There's potential to improve, of course, but I'm happy with sixth place on my first proper day back with the team."

Nick Heidfeld - 9th: "The car felt a lot better today than it did in the previous two races. I think we made definite progress in our recent test at Silverstone. To begin with the rear end was generally nervous but we made some changes that helped. Of course we need to wait until tomorrow to see where we really are, but I'm hopeful that we can qualify back in the top 10, which is where we've been most of the season."

Peter Sauber: "Overall it's been a good Friday and both drivers did a lot of laps - together more than a race distance - and set similar times. Naturally I'm pleased that Heinz-Harald felt able to drive the car in reasonable comfort straight away, and though it's difficult to say for sure, I think now the car is back at its normal level after a couple of difficult races."


Giancarlo Fisichella - 7th: "It's been quite a good day. We've done a lot of work for the race with fairly high fuel loads so I'm pleased to be 7th quickest and I'm quite confident about tomorrow. I know it's going to be tough because the gap between me and other people is tight but I think it is possible to be in the top ten."

Takuma Sato - 17th: "The car set-up was very competitive straight away this morning which was good. I was hammering down the historical Indianapolis circuit immediately! It is fun to drive, especially the banking section, but in a Formula One car there's not much to that because it's really just a straight. There are some interesting corners in the infield, which I think are good to drive, and they suit our car. It was a shame that I couldn't complete the second session but tomorrow will hopefully be a much better day."

Gary Anderson, Director of Race and Test Engineering: "This morning we were in better shape than in the afternoon. We focussed on race set-up work and evaluating tyres. We changed something on the car in the break and then lost the balance a little bit because it didn't suit the front tyres, but changing it back during the session would have taken too long. The car seems quite positive with a reasonable set-up, and with the fuel loads we ran I'm quite happy with where we are. Takuma made a mistake this afternoon and went on to the grass, which was wet so he was more or less a passenger after going off the track. He couldn't get back as the car was damaged so he lost some set-up time, but hopefully we can recover in the morning."


Jarno Trulli - 8th: "A good first day. As usual, we spent our Friday concentrating on race set-up and I was able to lap without any problems. Having said that, I'm still not happy with the balance and we have some work to do before tomorrow. As for the track, it is still very green but I have to admit I was encouraged to see so many people here today - I enjoy competing in front of the American fans!"

Jenson Button - 13th: "Although I started the day well, I didn't manage to make as much progress as I had wanted to during the two sessions. The balance is not quite there yet and we obviously need to improve further. At the end, the team told me to pull off in order to look after the car."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "An interesting session during which we achieved our major objective of tyre selection but have not fully got on top of the balance we require from the cars. Of course, as always on Friday, there were certainly different fuel loads amongst our competitors but the times are nevertheless very close, and we will need to fine-tune the balance for tomorrow."

Denis Chevrier, Head of Race Engineering (Engine): "Having completed a total of eighty-one laps, we can call this a pleasantly uneventful day. We had no problems with the cars and were able to concentrate on long runs in preparation for Sunday. Given how close the times are, it would be unrealistic to predict any kind of order after today's session but it is fair to say that we have no reason to be worried."


Ralf Schumacher - 10th: "We have done a lot of work today. As usual on a Friday we were a bit conservative and concentrated on race set-up instead of trying to get a good time in. We think we have also made our tyre choice. The track was very slippery, therefore several drivers spun. In the first hour, when the track was still a bit damp in some places, I went off and slid backwards taking off my rear wing in the process."

Juan Pablo Montoya - 16th: "I was hoping for a better free practice session today, as a start to my US GP weekend. The balance of my car is not still ideal but we have collected valuable data to solve the problems. During the second session I felt my engine was sounding strange so I went back to the pits. The team tried to address the problem and then they let me out again to see if it had improved but this wasn't the case so I had to pull aside on my out lap."

Sam Michael, Chief Operations Engineer: "We had a difficult day in terms of looking for the set-up for the race. We made some progress but not enough so we have quite a bit of work to do for Sunday. However we collected a lot of information and we know what the problem with the balance of the car is. As usual on a Friday we tried different downforce levels as well as the two types of tyre Michelin has brought here. We are pretty sure which tyre we are going to use."

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "Everything went according to plan with Ralf and we completed our scheduled programme. Juan Pablo reported a strange noise in his engine during the second session. We checked the data and we did a borescope examination, which allowed us to examine every cylinder with a camera drill. We could not find any anomalies and therefore Juan continued his training but the problem was clearly still there and he had to switch off the engine."


Mika Salo - 12th: "Everything seems to be okay with the car. We did all the basic Friday work and had no major problems. We have some new aerodynamic parts, which worked quite well. We were working mainly on preparation for Sunday, to make a consistent and comfortable car for the race."

Allan McNish - 14th: "A difficult first session, when we had a driveshaft problem on the installation lap. The guys did an excellent job to change the rear of the car to enable us to get back out quickly. After that we worked on finding a consistency in the car and did a pretty good job towards the end of the session. We did our tyre comparison and are happy with what we have this weekend. We still have to work on overall grip, especially at the rear, and that is what we are going to look at tonight."

Ange Pasquali, Team Manager: "It was an interesting session today because it is our first time at this track. Both Mika and Allan worked on car set-up and balance and this will continue in tomorrow's practice sessions. Unfortunately there was a driveshaft problem on Allan's car at the start of the first session, which delayed us a bit, but we gathered good track data and overall it has not been a bad start to the weekend."


Mark Webber - 15th: "We had a good run today. We did a lot of laps, which helped us to get some good information. It is the first time here for me and I enjoyed the circuit a lot. We will look through all the data tonight and aim to make some improvements for tomorrow’s morning session, ready for qualifying. As usual, we have fuel to take out for tomorrow. Overall, it has been a good session and the times are veiy close. There are no really quick corners here - it’s a collection of slower corners and then just the long straight. We therefore have to look at making the best compromise we can on chassis set-up."

Alex Yoong - 19th: "We tried some new suspension settings today, and I think potentially these could be good. It was veiy slippery out there today and, as a result, we struggled a little bit to find a satisfactory chassis balance between the two sessions. I believe we can find the right balance tomorrow, though, and the car will be good."

Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "This has been a good start to the weekend for the KL Minardi Asiatech team, with less than two seconds separating P2 and P20, and both Mark and Alex completing their full complement of laps. Having said that, we didn’t get the best out of the track or the tyres today, so there is definitely the potential both to go quicker and to learn more tomorrow. All told, we should be in good shape for qualifying."

Frentzen driving like his granny!

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