British Grand Prix - selected preview quotes 16 Jul 2003
Jacques Villeneuve, BAR:
"I have good memories of winning the British Grand Prix in 1996 and 1997, so I know what a great feeling it is to do well in your team's home race. 2003 has been a tough season so far, so it would be nice to get a good result for the team.
"I enjoy racing at Silverstone. Although there aren't many overtaking opportunities, the track is fun to drive. When we tested at Silverstone not so long ago, we didn't have a great test, but having said that our test in Barcelona last week went a lot better than when we were there for the race weekend, so I am optimistic and really looking forward to it."
Jenson Button, BAR:
"Every driver wants to do well in their home Grand Prix and racing at Silverstone for a British team is a great feeling. Finishing fifth there in my first season was awesome; when you take the chequered flag and see all those Union Jacks waving at you from the grandstands, it really is spine-tingling. Silverstone is on BAR's doorstep and practically the whole team will be turning out to watch this race. It will be great to feel them willing us on and I hope we can reward all their hard work with a good result.
"Silverstone is one of the most demanding circuits that we race at and there are some really fun sections, such as Becketts, where you're absolutely flat out in seventh gear; and Stowe, where you're braking and turning in at the same time, which is quite exciting. This is definitely one of my favourite tracks. We've had a positive test in Barcelona this week and it looks like we've made a good step forward with the developments we are introducing at Silverstone."
Mark Webber, Jaguar:
"The last few weeks have been non-stop for us, what with back-to-back races and testing and now my second 'home' race things have been busy to say the least. The R4 is running well and I am certainly pleased with the progress that we are making on its reliability. A few more points in the bag from Magny-Cours helps keep the motivation high and lets us know that we are taking steps in the right direction. My testing in Barcelona was productive and I suffered no issues with the car that in turn allowed us to generate a huge data bank. The tyres are working extremely well for us at the moment but I know that Michelin like us will be hoping for good weather this weekend.
"Silverstone is a track that I enjoy, despite mixed results - I won there in 2000 with F3000 yet failed to finish last year, so of course I will be looking for a finish this year and anything else is a bonus. Beckets corner is great fun so to be honest I am keen to just enjoy the weekend and certainly it makes a nice change not to have to fly to get to this race. I am a local resident too so I would like to give the fans something to cheer about although of course being a local I know that the weather is not always what you would hope for. Let's see what we can do and hope that the fact it is the teams home race does not count against us!"
Antonio Pizzonia, Jaguar:
"When we talk about home Grands Prix I think I can easily include Silverstone. Not only is it the home race for Jaguar, but this is the circuit where I feel most at home and have raced on more than any of the others on the Grand Prix calendar. I have been there for the past two years in Formula 3000 and was on the podium in 2001. I also raced there in my Formula 3 days when I was living in the UK. When I was in Formula Vauxhall Junior and Formula Renault I visited the circuit regularly, although this was usually for races on the shorter circuit. It is a challenging track for the car and driver and to get the right set-up here is not that easy. You definitely need plenty of downforce. After the team's recent results and the feedback we have from our last test at Silverstone and the one in Barcelona this week we have to feel optimistic for the race. I have been feeling happier with the R4 and myself over the past few races and I know the hard work put in by Cosworth Racing on the engine and Michelin on the tyres has also helped a great deal. I now hope I can translate this into points finishes as I was so close to doing this in the back to back races we have just had."
Ralf Schumacher, Williams:
"Williams' home race is a special event for the whole team but this year's race is going to be even more special following our recent victories. After Magny-Cours, the team's mood is particularly buoyant but we can't afford to be complacent the victories are the team's rewards for having worked so hard over the past months but we know we need to continue developing the package. Consequently, we've been testing various set up configurations as well as completing tyre evaluations in Barcelona this week so we should be well prepared for Silverstone.
"The car is quick on a variety of circuit layouts so we should be able to produce a good result at Silverstone, as long as the British weather is kind to us, to do this would be great at our home Grand Prix. The track combines a good mixture of slow, medium and fast corners and has three straights where overtaking is possible. I am looking forward to Silverstone, as the car always seems to run well in both races and testing. In 1999 I achieved third place but I would be very pleased to do better this year!"
Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams:
"The majority of teams spend a lot of time testing at Silverstone so most of the drivers could drive the track blindfolded! The last time we were there we managed to set some encouraging times so we're fairly confident for next weekend's race. Furthermore, I've collected some valuable points in the past couple of races at Silverstone, with a third and a fourth. However, it is a very different circuit from both the Nurburgring and Magny-Cours where we have performed so well in the past two weeks. It would be great to keep this momentum going though, especially as it is Williams' home Grand Prix. We are very aware that weather conditions will play an influential role over the weekend. It is not unusual to get a lot of wet running during the British GP weekend, which doesn't really suit our tyres too much but we are definitely aiming for more podium positions."
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren:
"The team has been working hard since (the French Grand Prix), at the test in Barcelona and the factory, to try and ensure we can challenge for a top three position at the British Grand Prix. I have always enjoyed driving at Silverstone, be it a race or test, as it is an excellent driving circuit with a range of challenges and overtaking opportunities. For example the right hander of Stowe, which is at the end of the long Hanger straight, along which we reach the top speed on the track. Also through Vale and Club. The race is obviously more important for me now as it is the home race for the team and we are able to race in front of our enthusiastic fans. Silverstone is a technical, medium grip track, it is quite tough on tyres and we use a medium-low downforce set-up."
David Coulthard, McLaren:
"As one would expect, the British Grand Prix has an added significance to myself and McLaren being our home race. There is always a fantastic atmosphere from our supporters and I hope we can put on a good race for them. This year will be the tenth time I have competed in the race, which over the years has seen some of the most memorable moments in my career, with my back-to-back victories in 1999 and 2000. As a Formula One driver, you always want to win your home grand prix so those races were something pretty special and it would be fantastic to repeat the result this year. Silverstone is great fun to drive and spectate at, as you can get a real appreciation for the speed. Sections that are particularly enjoyable include Copse, one of the fastest corners on the calendar, which we drive absolutely flat out with its speedy entry and short apex. You also have the famous Maggotts-Becketts-Chapel S-bends, where we push the cars to their limits and experience very high G's, with the aerodynamics of the car playing a very important role through here. The track does have some odd bumps, but we have done so many laps at Silverstone over the years in theory they should not catch us out!"
Nick Heidfeld, Sauber:
"I like coming to England, and Silverstone. I was there often when I was racing in F3000 and testing for McLaren, and I have some good memories of those days.
"It's quite a difficult circuit, quite special, particularly the complex at Becketts. That's very challenging, a nice point of the circuit. Club is also quite difficult; it's fairly slow and looks easy but it's difficult to get right because the exit is long and the camber slopes to the outside. When I tested there for McLaren I was losing all my time to Mika Hakkinen there until I figured it out. Bridge is easy flat, and actually pretty easy altogether.
"I like the English fans. They really like the sport and the drivers, and are into the history. That makes for a great atmosphere all weekend. Our recent test at Silverstone in mid June went well and our car has been well suited to the track in recent years, so I am hopeful. And of course there is always the chance of rain!"
Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Sauber:
"Silverstone is a circuit I like, and I don't mind the sort of weather you get there. It's not too hot and not too cold. There are some quick corners, such as Copse, which is very fast, and the Becketts complex which is one of the most exciting parts of the track. You really feel the g forces there, through the left, right, left section. We can pull up to 5g there, more than you can at many other tracks. It's like the esses at Suzuka, and you need to take the perfect line. Stowe is also a good corner. Bridge is also quick and pretty much blind on entry, but that corner and Luffield allow you to take different lines without losing lap time. The whole track is a very good combination of corners and its very exciting to drive and physically demanding.
"The British fans are enthusiastic and knowledgeable, and more balanced than fans anywhere else in the world. We get a lot of support from them. They are quite open in their emotions. I hope we can give them something good, especially after the way our car went in the pre-race test."
Jarno Trulli, Renault:
"I am feeling optimistic: with the car we have, at this circuit, I think we have to be confident. I have been a little unlucky in the past two races, but I have performed really strongly, and that is satisfying. Now, I must carry on doing a good job with the team and the engineers, and I now we will get there.
(On being quick at Silverstone): "The usual things (are required): a good balance on the car, and finding the right compromise between the mechanical and aerodynamic sides. I think Stowe is one of the most important corners, and also the slow section through Brooklands and Luffield at the end of the lap.
(On coping with the weather): "We adapt! Changing conditions are something we just have to live with at Silverstone, and we adapt accordingly. We know there could be anything from rain to sun in one race, and just have to be prepared to tackle what the weather throws at us."
Fernando Alonso, Renault:
"I enjoy the whole track! Around one lap, you have every type of corner, from high to low speed, hard braking points, and also some changes in gradient. Any driver enjoys a lap around Silverstone, because to be quick, you have to respond to every different kind of challenge possible.
"The most important set-up area is performance in the high-speed corners: the car has to be perfect through them to set a quick time. The new aerodynamic package will definitely help with that, and we should also be good in the low-speed sections. At a circuit like Silverstone, the aerodynamic improvements will definitely provide a bigger step here than at some other places. Also, Friday morning testing will be useful for finding some solutions with the tyres and set-up according to the conditions we will have during the weekend."
Olivier Panis, Toyota:
"Silverstone is one of my personal favourite tracks, because it is so fast and technically challenging. There are many high-speed sections, which should suit our TF103 race car, so I am very positive in this respect. We have some new aero parts for this race, which we hope will enhance our performance. We are all determined to get some good points after we have made continuous improvements in recent race weekends."
Cristiano da Matta, Toyota:
"Silverstone is definitely my favourite track of the season and it is a circuit of which I have a good knowledge. There are many fast sections, especially Copse and Becketts, which are fun to drive. It is a flowing circuit with a variety of types of corner, which makes the place very challenging - you get a real buzz when you set a good lap. We tested in Silverstone just a few weeks ago and we were quite competitive, so I am looking forward to putting in a strong showing there. Olivier has told me he is very encouraged by the new aero parts we are using and I like to think that we can both pick-up points this weekend."
More to follow.