Thursday's Selected Quotes - Monaco
Fernando Alonso - 1st: "For the drivers, the first day in Monaco means a little more than usual - we need to do a lot of laps in order to get a good feeling with the circuit, and we did that today without any problems, which is a nice start for the race. The set-up felt comfortable from the beginning, so there is not too much more to do but in any case, the track conditions are changing all the time on the first day, which means we look at the details of the set-up on Saturday. The car feels consistent on the longer runs, so things are going perfectly at the moment."
Giancarlo Fisichella - 2nd: "I have been struggling with the car a bit under braking today, and we still have to find some answers with the set-up so that I can feel completely comfortable around this circuit. The car felt fast on the long runs, so if I can find the extra bit of confidence I need, then we can be very quick. The R25 is competitive here, and I believe we will be in a strong situation on Saturday."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "The opening day in Monaco always throws up a lot of questions, and today was no exception. It is very difficult to judge the changing conditions accurately, with the circuit grip increasing as rubber is laid down on the track surface, which means it is hard to draw any firm conclusions from the lap-times. However, the objective of a day like this is to get lots of laps done, which helps the drivers tune in to the circuit and gives the engineers the best chance of making an informed decision on tyre choice. Encouragingly, the cars already seem quite well balanced - which is not always the case in the low grip conditions early in the Monaco weekend."
Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Operations: "The primary objective at the start of the weekend in Monaco is to complete plenty of laps - this is a race where every detail counts, and it is important to run as much as possible in order that we can tune the engine and chassis, while also allowing the drivers to re-learn the nuances of the layout. We have had an incident-free day, which has helped us cover the basics for the weekend, and we will turn our attentions to fine-tuning the cars' performance on Saturday. This will be critical, as nowhere else is qualifying as important as in Monaco."
Alex Wurz - 2nd: "I'm very happy with the outcome of today's programme. The continuously changing track conditions during the weekend will not make it easy to work out the right set-up. However I think our race package is good, and we should be able to attack on this difficult circuit and I expect a thrilling race."
Juan Pablo Montoya - 5th: "A positive start to the weekend. The car felt pretty good straight away and we just kept working on the set-up, so I'm pretty happy. The key to doing well here in Monaco is finding a strong set-up, and we are definitely going in the right direction. It will be a tough and interesting race, and I think we are in with a good chance."
Kimi Raikkonen - 6th: "The first session today was a little difficult as I got stuck in traffic several times and could not do a real good lap. However during the second practice session we completed some longer runs and collected a lot of data concerning set-up and tyre choice which should help us to be competitive. It is always fun to drive on this challenging circuit, so I am looking forward to the rest of the weekend."
Ron Dennis: "Two trouble free practice sessions for all three drivers with the emphasis on race set-up and Michelin tyre choice. We are comfortable with our performance and look forward to Saturday's qualifying session."
Norbert Haug: "A good first practice day. We have learnt a lot and our speed looks OK. We mainly focused on race simulations and set up work as well as Michelin tyre choice."
David Coulthard - 3rd: "We've been working through everything today, evaluating where we are with the tyres and set-up. Obviously, today's practise is the first stage of a long weekend, but things feel good. It's difficult to predict where we will qualify, as it's hard to know what the other teams are doing with their fuel strategy. However, Monaco is one of those events that can throw up a slightly unusual result. Maybe it's possible to move slightly further up the field, we'll just have to wait and see."
Tonio Liuzzi - 7th: "I think my times were quite good for the first day and we seem to be in good shape. We've been working hard on the car to get it ready for qualifying, as it's so important here in Monaco. On this circuit you can't really pass so much. I felt more comfortable during the second session and was happy with my lap times. We tried a few different set-ups and worked a little on the rear of the car, but the most important thing was to adjust to the changing levels of grip. As the session went on, there was more rubber on the track and the road surface changed with every lap. You have to be pretty careful here, even more so than normal."
Christian Klien - 17th: "Everything went well during the first session. However, during the second one I had a problem with the traction control. I noticed it from the second lap onwards and, as a result, had a spin in Turn four, crashed into the barrier and damaged the nose. We tried to fix the problem with the traction control and went back out, but still it didn't work so well. Despite the problem, we were quite quick with the lap times. It's a drivers' circuit here."
Gunther Steiner, Technical Director: "We have to work on the balance of both cars a little more, as Tonio and David are still not 100 per cent happy. Christian's car had a problem with a sensor, which prevented the traction control from working properly and resulted in his contact with the barrier. We will now analyse all the data we have gathered on tyre performance, to ensure we make the right choice for the weekend."
Felipe Massa - 8th: "The car was getting better and better with every run, but on the last the rear end felt a bit soft and the right front tyre was quite lightly loaded. I know I didn't make a mistake at Ste Devote, but when I braked hard there the right front wheel locked, the car went sideways, and then I crashed into the tyre wall. I'm fine, but I'm not sure what happened. On the positive side, I'm feeling very confident for the rest of the weekend after the way the car went this afternoon."
Jacques Villeneuve - 14th: "A lot depends here on when you put the new tyres on the car. The track is always dirty at the beginning of a session and the first and last laps you do can vary by as much as four seconds. I was quite happy with the car today. We are in much better shape than we were in Barcelona. I tried to keep my set-up consistent and let the track improve, and I'm okay with what we did this afternoon. Our long run was acceptable. Now we just have to make sure that we make the right tyre choice for Saturday."
Willy Rampf (Technical Director): "Felipe said that the rear end of the car felt a little strange before the right front wheel locked up under braking and he went off in the first corner. We will carry out a full investigation to analyse the cause of the incident and the extent of the damage. It was a great shame, because both Felipe and Jacques made satisfactory progress thanks to a good step we made with Felipe's set-up between morning practice and this afternoon's session."
Ralf Schumacher - 9th: "We had a pretty good day and we completed a lot of laps, getting through all our work without any problems. We still obviously have work to do on set-up but that's always the case in Monaco. We'll also have to have a good look at the data to make our final tyre choice. Still, I'm still relatively optimistic for the rest of the weekend. We will be hoping for another strong points finish and doing everything to see if we can make the podium."
Ricardo Zonta - 10th: "Everything went wrong for me today. The first day at Monaco is always difficult because it is dirty but we started with the wrong set-up and we completely lost the first session because of that. We spent the second session doing long runs to evaluate the consistency of the tyres but I still didn't have a good balance. Then when I went onto new tyres at the end of the session there were yellow flags and too much traffic. Still, there is more performance to come from the car."
Jarno Trulli - 13th: "Today was a very difficult day for me. Monaco is one of my favourite circuits but I've been really struggling for grip all day, even as the track improved. I really haven't managed to find a set-up I like on the car yet. Whatever changes I make, they do not seem to have a positive reaction. So all I can say is that it's been a difficult day. Still, anything can happen in F1 - especially here - so we'll give everything to turn our situation around for the weekend."
Mike Gascoyne: "In many ways that was a typical first day in Monaco. The track was very dirty to begin with, then the track conditions evolved a lot throughout the two sessions. There was also a lot of traffic which makes conclusions difficult to draw. All the drivers completed their programmes with no real worries, they were just complaining generally of a lack of grip on the dirty circuit. We have to evaluate the data pretty carefully to make our tyre choice for the rest of the weekend. The cars look reasonably competitive so now we just have to make the right decisions for Saturday and Sunday."
Michael Schumacher: "This morning, we were very competitive and looked in pretty good shape and I was happy with the car. Unfortunately, the car did not run well this afternoon, as I picked up a vibration that got worse as the session went on, so we felt it was best to stop so that we could analyse what was going on. That's the way it is at this circuit, in that if you have a small problem you lose a lot of track time and because of that it is hard for me to predict what will be the situation in qualifying on Saturday."
Rubens Barrichello: "I was not very happy with the car today. In the morning, I was unhappy with the set-up on my brakes and this afternoon, it was a more general difficulty with the set-up and other elements of the package The car was actually better this afternoon in some respects, but the handling was difficult. But, I have every faith in the team and I am sure we can improve the situation. At this track, the driver can make a difference, which is a positive factor, as is the fact we have an extra day now to think about what to do. Qualifying will definitely be tough."
Jean Todt: "The first day of the weekend is usually devoted to finding the best set-up and evaluating the two types of tyre available to us. Fine tuning the car is especially important here, because of the nature of the track. And on this aspect, we still have a lot of work to do, especially in light of the outcome of this afternoon's session. Michael felt a vibration in his car and as a precautionary measure we decided to bring him into the pits. Despite the fact that he therefore lost the final part of the second hour, we have still picked up plenty of data. We have one and a half days ahead of us in which to analyse the situation in order to be as well prepared as possible for Saturday. Currently, it is hard to tell what is the true order among the teams, as we do not know what fuel loads the others were running."
Ross Brawn: "Michael felt a vibration on his car and it got worse during the session, so we felt it was prudent to bring him in as this is not the circuit to take risks. We are not yet sure what the problem is. On Rubens' car, I think we still have some work to do on set-up, as he was not totally happy with it. We will try and make some improvements. But generally, we are happy with the cars which seemed to be well balanced, until we went the wrong way with Rubens' set-up and Michael had that problem. The track gets quicker all the time and I am sure we will recover for Saturday and it is good that we have a spare day tomorrow."
Nick Heidfeld - 16th: "It was a good Thursday here, and we had no technical problems. It was good fun running on this outstanding circuit. Unfortunately, in the second session I didn't get in a clean lap in the end, due to many yellow flags. More importantly, we got all of our work done and we managed to do a lot of laps, which will help in our tyre decision, to be taken before Saturday."
Mark Webber - 12th: "It was a pretty good day of running for us and we got through everything we had planned. We managed to do quite a lot of laps with both cars which is good. We are having a day off tomorrow so we'll have more time to look at the data and take the right decision, especially with regards to our tyre choice together with our partners Michelin. In general we are doing ok, we just need to find a bit more pace."
Sam Michael, Technichal Director: "We spent the day doing our regular homework for the race - evaluating the different tyres, checking brakes for temperatures and doing the normal engine cooling checks. We made several changes to the cars during the sessions and have improved the set-up. Saturday will be spent working finding some more improvements for the race. We have also brought some new aerodynamic parts for this race which appear to be working well."
Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "Both the drivers concentrated today on the tyre choice and managed to run six and ten timed laps in a row, under race conditions. Beside this, we worked on adapting traction control in lower revs conditions. Through the narrow streets of Monaco, we use lower revs than anywhere else. The third issue that we worked on today were the temperatures, which due to the lower average speeds here in Monaco, we clearly reach hotter water temperatures than on other faster circuits."
Robert Doornbos - 18th: "It was a great day driving between the barriers in Monaco. The track was quite dirty this morning so we made sure we did not push too much in order not to make any mistake. I have been the fastest toady so I am quite pleased with my job. We have also done a lot of work with Bridgestone so now I can supply them with my data."
Tiago Monteiro - 20th: "First day in Monaco can always be a surprise. It was much different from the last time I was here. In the Free Practice session, you have to take it easy, step by step and try not to make any mistake. You have to find exactly where to brake as otherwise you can lose a lot of time. It is also important to gain confidence on this track, as it can be tricky. Qualifying on Saturday and Sunday will be crucial because it is very difficult to overtake here, therefore I will take some risks."
Narain Karthikeyan - 21st: "As a result from a small contact with the barrier this morning, my running time was a bit restricted this afternoon, however I have still managed to complete 12 laps. Today was my first time on the Monaco circuit so I have spent most of the allocated time familiarising myself with the layout. It is quite a difficult track to learn, so I will need more laps on Saturday and do some catch-up."
Trevor Carlin, Sporting Director: "It was a very steep learning curve for the drivers today. Narain had a small touch with the barrier this morning, which limited his laps this afternoon. Robert has done a good job helping us with our tyre evaluation and Tiago pushed hard, while learning the circuit and going faster and faster lap after lap. Now we will have to improve again on Saturday."
Patrick Friesacher - 19th: "For me, it has been a good day. We had two solid sessions, worked on different set-ups, and improved the car. It is also good that we are ahead of two Jordans, and I want to thank all the guys for their hard work, which has helped us to get to this point. If everything goes well on Saturday, I think we can be even quicker."
Christijan Albers - 22nd: "We had a few problems today, and therefore didn't have the best of starts to the Monaco Grand Prix weekend. I just couldn't seem to get the car balanced the way I would like to get the most of the available performance. As a result, I'm not so happy at the moment, but we'll see how it goes on Saturday, when I hope to make a significant improvement."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "Today saw Patrick demonstrate the improvement and potential in this year's Minardi Cosworth PS05, finishing ahead of both the Jordan race drivers, and within a few hundredths of a second of the Jordan test driver, who, of course, had two extra sets of tyres available. It is also worth noting that Patrick's fastest lap was less than two seconds off the time set by Rubens Barrichello's Ferrari. Christijan, on the other hand, struggled to find a balance in his car today, but I'm sure will produce an improved performance on Saturday. Overall, Minardi has closed the gap to Jordan, its main rival this season, and we look forward to an exciting weekend here in Monaco."
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director: "There are two key factors about the opening day in Monaco. Firstly, there is absolutely no margin for error and drivers tend to be a little conservative initially, while they reacclimatise to the surroundings. Secondly, the track is always very dirty at the beginning of the weekend and lap times came down considerably as conditions improved during the course of the day.
"We have two tyre compounds available for our partners this weekend and both have performed very well in hot, testing conditions. Speed over one lap is all very well, of course, but we need to make sure we have both pace and durability on Sunday. From what we have seen during several long runs today, we seem to be in good shape on both fronts. Our engineers will pore over all the data very carefully but it is quite possible that both Michelin tyre options will be used in the race.
"Several Michelin teams have the potential to challenge for victory - and that is a source of immense satisfaction."
Hisao Suganuma, Bridgestone Motorsport Technical Manager: "The Bridgestone teams tried both their tyre specifications this afternoon. Ferrari unfortunately didn't do too much running but apart from that the tyres looked good, wear appearance was nice and we got a picture of the performance of each specification. So, as always, following our tyre checks this evening and an analysis of the data, we will make our recommendations to each of our three teams."
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