Today's Selected Quotes - US GP


David Coulthard: "Obviously I lost some time in the first session but it gave me a chance to have a look at the other cars while they were running. We made steady progress throughout second practice. Its interesting driving the oval part because you are completely flat - it makes you feel a real racing driver. Otherwise the track is great and has a very smooth surface. It will be tricky for all of us to get a clean lap in tomorrow's qualifying because you have one corner flowing into the next."

Mika Hakkinen: "We have gone through a lot of work today and it has been obvious that the engineers have done a good job with the simulation as we arrived with quite a good set-up and a solid basis on which to work. The circuit is great and very enjoyable to drive. It's difficult in some parts and it will be tricky to find the optimum set-up. The banked corner is not too demanding, but its complicated finding the right set-up for this particular curve."

Ron Dennis: "In contrast to this morning we had a trouble free afternoon which gave the drivers the opportunity to not only improve their lap times but also gain a better understanding for the demands of the circuit. Having said that there is no substitute for laps."

Norbert Haug: "We haven't run so much today, but we have learnt a lot. However we haven't found the optimum set-up yet, but the basis is good. Today was a fabulous start to the US Grand Prix weekend and it was good to experience the enthusiasm of the US fans and Formula One has definitely made an impression."


Michael Schumacher: "It's been a good day. We did a lot of laps and managed to make some improvements to the car. I was happy to see so many people in the grandstands, which is not usually the case on a Friday. I hope we can put on a good show for them in the race. I did not find it difficult to adapt to this track. Going round the turns on the oval is not as exciting as it might look from outside the cockpit because the entry speed is not so high. Therefore it means the element of danger is also reduced compared with what we might have expected. The fact that the track is so flat means that it takes a few laps to find the right turn-in point for the corners."

Rubens Barrichello: "Turn 13 impressed me a lot because it is so wide, probably the widest I have ever encountered on a race track. I did not find the speed as impressive as I had expected. My first impression is that I like the track which is not bumpy. I am happy with the performance of my car today. Our rivals are ahead but it does not mean anything at this stage. We got through a lot of work and there is still a lot to learn as it is a new track. I am satisfied with our progress so far."

Jean Todt: "First of all I must congratulate the organisers on the work done in managing to integrate an oval with a slower section. Once again, even if this is a slightly different Friday to the usual and on a new circuit, we can see that the front runners are the same as always. Now we have to have a good look at the data gathered today to achieve the best possible set up for the car. For tomorrow, I predict the usual battle we have seen all season long between ourselves and our closest rivals for the two front rows of the grid."


Jarno Trulli: "Apart from my car suddenly cutting out and stopping, it has been a positive day, we worked through the list of jobs and, although that went well, it is difficult at this stage to figure out whether or not we will be competitive. Certainly, we don't seem to be slow! There is a lot to discover about this track and we have to try different levels of downforce and decide which direction to take. Also, the track is getting faster all the time as more rubber goes down, so hopefully we will continue the good progress tomorrow."

Heinz Harald Frentzen: "It's been a very interesting day, we tried different set-ups and went in various directions as we learned about a race track which is new to everyone. It was very important to have a trouble-free first day and that's how it worked out. We collected as much data as possible and achieved a lot. It's a fun circuit to drive, the banked section making the characteristics very different to any other track we use. The learning will continue during tomorrow."


Ralf Schumacher: "The Americans have built a very good F1 circuit, it's all a bit new to us - in both set up and driving but it's very interesting. It's a great feeling going through the banked corner. But I think they need to change where the speed limit line is. At the moment you're running very fast even as the Ferrari pits are approaching. It needs to be moved backwards as it's very dangerous at the moment. With regard to the car we tried all we hoped we would but there's still more to find out."

Jenson Button: "It's a great track, the banked turn gives you a very different view but other than that it's not difficult. It just feels like a kink rather than a corner. The trickiest bits, for me, were the two tight hairpins on the infield. I don't think we've got the set up quite right yet, but for a starting point it's okay. We're not going all that quickly down the straight, as it turns out. We're running more wing than we probably thought we were going to and because of this we're not getting the straightline speeds we get at some other tracks."

Patrick Head, Technical Director: "It's been an interesting day we've run a variety of wings and got quite a lot of info about the track and the tyres and we had a small technical problem on Ralf's car. It caused us to have to change an upright this morning. But we think we've got that under control but otherwise we've had a good and useful day getting info for the race on sunday and qualifying tomorrow. The drivers seem to be quite positive about the track. They're making positive comments about it. The problem is, because it's mixing part of the oval with a very tight infield it makes us run more wing. if we were just going round the oval we'd be going far quicker than this down the straights but we've got to find a way around this track, with the infield, as quick as possible."


Mark Gene: "It is definitely an interesting circuit for Formula One. However, it is a shame that there is such a contrast between the fast part and the infield section. The banking and the straight line are impressive. In terms of car’s behaviour I suffer a bit of under-steering. Still, the intermediate times confirm that the performance is fairly good. We worked a lot on the set up of the car both in the first and in the second session and overnight we will decide which setting will be the best to use for tomorrow."

Gaston Mazzacane: "Today we did a good job on the set ups and we found a few solutions which are suitable to our car. I tested the two tyres specifications realised for this track, but toward the end of the session the first gear broke preventing me from exploiting the second set of tyres. We shall see what will happen tomorrow."


Jacques Villeneuve: "It's a very difficult track. The infield is very slow and intricate, so it's difficult to get a good lap. The last two corners through to turn one is just flat out all the way; the rest of the track is just trying to get the car to flow through the corners. We thought it might be a low downforce track, but it is getting a higher and higher and I think everyone has been adding wing throughout the day. I have also been surprised how physical the circuit is. Apart from the straight, you're working throughout the rest of the lap, so the race itself will be quite demanding."

Ricardo Zonta: "I have struggled with understeer all day, so I am losing a lot of time around the back of the circuit. For me, the in-field is too slow for a Formula One race and the last two corners are just flat, so there is not that much you can do to make up the time. I hope we can make some improvements to the balance for tomorrow."

Takefumi Hosaka - Managing Director, Honda R&D: "This is the most demanding circuit we have visited all season from an engine perspective. The throttle is in the fully open position for longer than at any other circuit, which offers us a good challenge. However, we are not satisfied with our overall performance; we thought we would have been quicker. The infield section caused the most problem, so we tried different set-ups, but we have more work to do before tomorrow."


Alexander Wurz: "This morning's session was good and we improved the set-up and then in the second session we lost the direction a bit. We seemed a little down on power this afternoon too. As for the circuit, the banking is interesting and quite easy to take flat, but the infield is very slow and tight. The circuit is very slippery and grip levels haven't improved today."

Giancarlo Fisichella: "This morning I made a mistake on my first run and spun off and hit the tyre wall. This meant I lost most of the first session and then a large part of the second whilst the left front of my car was repaired. The circuit is extremely slippery and there is over- and understeer on my car, so we need to look carefully at the data now with the engineers to try and make up for some of the lost time."

Pat Symonds, Technical Director: "Its good to have got through the first day at a new circuit which is always a challenge and now we need to have a look and see how close our simulations have been. We had no specific problems today other than Giancarlo's accident in the morning which cost him a lot of time and has seriously affected his performance today. Alex had a reasonably smooth session going through the normal changes we would make at a new circuit, some of which have been successful and some not. I think our biggest question now is what the weather will be like for the next two days, but we feel confident that we can handle whatever comes towards us."


Johnny Herbert: "When it braked it went slightly left, and then I hit the wall after that and just broke the rim. But something went before that, just as I braked. There's one section which is around Turn 9 and 10 which is a bit Mickey Mouse, but the first bit is not too bad, and the bit onto the banking is okay. It's just that Turn 9 and 10 that is a bit too tight. It's a bit slippery at the moment because there's no rubber on it whatsoever, so it's very, very slippery. It's interesting getting onto the banking into what is our last turn. We were just playing around with wings. I started with our baseline, and then we dropped it a long way and gained a lot of speed on the straight, but obviously lost the speed round the back. Then we started putting wing on, and it seemed to be slowly improving, and then unfortunately we didn't really get any more time in the second session, because we only did three runs. So we were not able to add more wing to it to see what that would do. The gain you get with less wing down the straight you lose round the back, but when you gain out the back with more wing, you don't lose so much down the straight. It's going to be a compromise, which is what everyone's trying to do. But unfortunately we didn't do as much as we could. We were slowly getting there, but the track is very green at the moment, and it will take time - especially with the weather we're going to have tomorrow."

Eddie Irvine: "The car basically had an oversteer problem in the morning, and we gradually got rid of that. But while we improved that we started to get a big understeer problem. So now we've got two problems! There's plenty of work to do. It's a little bit tight in the infield, but the banking is flat easily. We've got so much grip through there, it's no problem. Overall, it's not bad. Only hitting the wall on the outside in one of these, because they're not designed to hit walls like this. Indycars are different and they're bigger than F1 cars. That's the only worry, if you have a suspension problem."

Gary Anderson, Technical director: "It's not really that much different from what I expected, there's very low grip and it's very slow in the infield. The oval is flat out and is not really a corner. It's good to see the high speed and low speed together - it's a good challenge for getting the car set-up right. People seem to be creeping the downforce up. I think we need to run a bit more. Eddie stuck with what we had today, what we decided on from the simulations, and I think that's what we'll run for the race. But we'll probably put a little bit more on tomorrow, for qualifying. You can gain time in the infield, but the loss is not very high on the straight. So you can go for a lap time on new tyres, but in the race it will be a bit different, because overtaking becomes a priority."


Pedro de la Rosa: "Both sessions went pretty well and we did plenty of laps which was the main objective. We learned the track layout quite quickly and then concentrated on the car set up. We made many changes to the car in between sessions and the car was much better during the second session. I am not happy with my time and I have to improve for tomorrow otherwise we will be too slow. One of the things that has surprised me about this circuit is the low grip on the infield. The banked corners are okay and you can go flat without any problems. The infield is quite slow and the track quite slippery. I think if it doesn't rain though and we keep putting more rubber on the track it will get better and better, but at the moment it's not brilliant. The circuit is good and I like it - there is a lot of rhythm. You seem to be working hard all the time as just as you get out of one corner you go into another, but the long straight is good to relax a little bit."

Jos Verstappen: "I think it was exciting to go out on this circuit, especially with the banked corner which we are not used to. The first lap did feel a bit strange as you go through that corner as there are vertical g-forces, not alot but you feel the difference. It's a nice corner and at a high speed you can overtake on the outside. Then there's the long straight which is very nice and good for overtaking. The corners on the rest of the circuit are a bit different to normal - the first corner is fine, but there are some which look very tight but then they open very wide so you have to adapt to that and set the car up for those corners, but it is a fairly challenging circuit and I like it very much. During the first session we were experimenting with different set-ups and down force settings as we found that we were miles too quick compared with other cars and that's why I was experiencing low grip, so for the second session we tried different tyre pressures and the car got better and better. The car feels good and I think we need a bit more time to set it up but we also tried different tyres and I was quicker on those. I did another timed lap that was equal to my previous best time but then on the second timed lap of the run I spun off and checked out the gravel traps and they were good as well! Hopefully the weather will stay fine like now as I think that will be much better for the crowd. I am definitely looking forward to the race."


Pedro Diniz: "It's proved quite tricky to set my car up today, the banking section is fine, really it's just like another straight for us. But I was struggling on the slow part of the track, where the car felt quite nervous. On the plus side, it is much better under braking than it was in similar circumstances at Monza."

Mika Salo: "Today I spent a lot of time trying to find the right set-ups. I really like this circuit, I think they have done a good job. The banking is good, but the only part I really don't like is the three first gear corners. You just get into a nice rhythm and then they spoil it."


Jean Alesi: "This morning, I hardly turned a wheel because of an electronic problem with the engine butterflies and this afternoon I spun in the early part of the session. So, it hasn't been a good day for me."

Nick Heidfeld: "I am quite happy with today's practice sessions. Being in 10th place at the end of this morning's practice was encouraging. We started with a good set-up and we were able to improve during the session. Unfortunately, quite early in the afternoon practice, I had an engine problem and I could not go out again. But I still ended up in 14th position, which is good. Now I am really looking forward to tomorrow. Today's times were very close and I guess it will be the same tomorrow, which will make for an interesting qualifying. I like this circuit very much. It is very smooth, and the last two corners are not as difficult as some of us thought."

Alain Prost: "We have started the weekend with good news about our engine supply for next season. As to our first run here on the circuit at Indianapolis, we have had some engine problems with both cars and Jean has virtually not run at all. However, Nick's performance has been very encouraging, which is further motivation for the rest of the weekend."

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