Who was happy, or not so happy, with Imola day one
BAR gave Ferrari something to think about as they finished first and second in Friday afternoon's practice. The views of Jenson Button, Takuma Sato and all the other drivers.
Jenson Button, BAR (1st, 1m 20.966s):
"I'm very pleased with today's sessions because it's where we felt we could be coming into this weekend. Having said that, it's still only practice rather than qualifying, so I don't want to make any predictions about the race result just yet. I do however expect us to be quick in qualifying. We've had a good step forward here from the team, Honda and Michelin, and it's great to see the progress we're making together. I had a very good couple of tests ahead of this race and the reliability we're experiencing during testing is paying off when we get to races. We'll follow the usual programme through the weekend and aim to keep things as consistent as possible as we head towards the race. Our strategy has paid off in the first three races and that, coupled with slick pit work, is what will determine the outcome on Sunday afternoon. For now, I'm just pleased that the team has made such a great start to the weekend with all three drivers."
Takuma Sato, BAR (2nd, 1m 21.159s):
"Today has been a very good day for myself and the team. I have been able to do lots of laps with no problems whatsoever, so we have made very good progress. I didn't get the chance to do my pre-Imola preparation in Paul Ricard last week because of the weather and we haven't tested here in Imola like some of the other teams. This is a challenging circuit so I'm pleased to see the result today. We still have a lot of work to do for tomorrow, but so far so good."
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (3rd, 1m 21.164s):
We had an interesting day. We were very quick in the morning and a little bit slower in the afternoon. We had a clear picture of what set-up we required having tested at this track in the winter, but our competitors have picked up their pace during the course of the day and I think the rest of the weekend will also be interesting. I think we can fight for the win on Sunday, but it will not be an easy task.
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (4th, 1m 21.586s):
"I only managed a small amount of running in the first practice today as there was a small problem with the brakes. However we had a trouble-free second session where I did a number of laps and whilst the car is still not perfect, we seem to be reasonably quick. We will make further improvements for tomorrow, so we will see where we really are then, but a decent start to the weekend."
Jarno Trulli, Renault (5th, 1m 21.604s):
A trouble-free day for me, and quite a positive one too. The start this morning was difficult, because the circuit was very green and the car was sliding a lot, but we made progress with the set-up and things improved. The B-spec engine is very good, and the new aero package is definitely doing its job. For tomorrow, we will try and improve the cars overall level of grip and also the driveability: to get 100% out of it, we need to make it a bit easier to drive. We know what our main tasks will be tomorrow.
Anthony Davidson, BAR (6th, 1m 21.643s):
"I've had another good day today in terms of running time, completing nearly a race distance. There was more to come from the car because I was often in traffic and I had a lot of brake wear, which hindered the last two runs. Generally though, the car felt good with the latest developments we are running here and I completed the full programme we planned to achieve with my car today. I hope the team can continue to build on the great start we've made here."
Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams (7th, 1m 21.661s):
I got almost the same position in the second session that I achieved in the first session but I must say the car has definitely improved from this morning. It became more drivable and more consistent, but there's still a lot of work to be done, as we need to improve our pace for Saturday. I am a bit surprised by the times achieved by some of the fastest drivers today, but we have to wait and see what happens in tomorrow's qualifying. The track will be quicker and we might take advantage of this hot weather.
Fernando Alonso, Renault (8th, 1m 21.788s):
A standard Friday for me: we concentrated on choosing our tyres, and did the normal comparisons between the two types, which gave us some good results. In terms of the set-up, we still have some room to improve, as we are lacking grip and stability under braking. Taking that into account, I think we are in good shape for the rest of the weekend.
David Coulthard, McLaren (9th, 1m 21.795s):
"We completed our planned programme for Friday, and we will now look at the data and establish where we can make further improvements. The important thing is tomorrow's qualifying as this is when we will find out exactly how much progress we have made."
Ralf Schumacher, Williams (10th, 1m 22.057s):
First of all, I must say that for once I am not worried about not being at the top, since today we only concentrated on our job-list. We were able to go through our programme just as we wished to, with no problems at all. There is still room for improvement and I've got quite a lot of work ahead. Furthermore, the tyre choice will be crucial, even if I am sure we will make the right decision.
Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (11th, 1m 22.096s):
We have not yet managed to find the ideal set-up for the car in these track conditions, but I believe that, along with my engineers, we will manage to find the right solutions to fine tune the F2004 for tomorrow and Sunday. On top of that, we have seen that the potential is there.
Mark Webber, Jaguar (12th, 1m 22.167s):
A good day today working with the team and Michelin. The boys have done a good job with the car and its pace and set-up in particular. I managed to complete my programme for testing and I am pleased with my timings. We will now be focusing on the decisions that we need to take tonight in preparation for tomorrow's qualifying. I like this circuit and I enjoy it so it makes my job a lot easier. With this in mind I will be looking to achieve a competitive position tomorrow for the grid on Sunday.
Olivier Panis, Toyota (13th, 1m 22.768s):
"I think for us it was good opening day on which we managed to work all the way through a full programme. We tried different set-up solutions during both sessions and found a strong car balance. This afternoon we will have to compare the data in order to make our tyre selection for the race. Definitely we are heading in the right direction."
Cristiano da Matta, Toyota (14th, 1m 22.780s):
"I had a difficult first session but the second free practice went much better.
Many of the new developments we brought to Imola have made the car easier to balance. We have a new front and rear wing as well as some other smaller aerodynamic modifications for this high-downforce track. There also has been some weight saving in association with a lower centre of gravity. Nevertheless, we will keep working hard to find some more speed."
Felipe Massa, Sauber (15th, 1m 23.043s):
"My car is the same as Giancarlo's. On the long runs today it felt great and was consistent, but we need to work on exploiting new tyres better. The car is still very tricky to drive for the first lap on them."
Christian Klien, Jaguar (16th, 1m 23.211s):
This morning was good as we worked on set-up and the R5 seems well balanced. This afternoon, however, was not quite as I had expected as we suffered a slight hydraulic leak which meant that I lost some time in the car. The mechanics did a good job to turn it around so quickly so that I actually managed to get back out on track before the end of the session. My times were consistently getting faster so I am pleased to be making progress here. I will be looking to do some more laps tomorrow since I missed out on a few today and see how much more I can improve in time for Sunday's race.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Sauber (17th, 1m 23.335s):
"The car is very good in long runs, but it's still very difficult on the first lap out of the pits on new tyres. The balance isn't bad, though we still need to do some work on that, but both ends just lack grip until the tyres reach their operating temperature after a lap."
Bjorn Wirdheim, Jaguar (18th, 1m 23.470s):
I am pleased with how today has gone and I am enjoying being back at a track that I have some experience on. Both of my sessions today were trouble free and I successfully worked on set-up this morning and then some aerodynamic and mechanical areas this afternoon. The R5 is feeling really good and the balance around here is good considering that the track can be generally quite bumpy in places where the kerbs are. We are well-positioned going into qualifying tomorrow so I am looking forward to seeing what Mark and Christian can do with the R5.
Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (19th, 1m 23.500s):
"Generally it was a productive day. We were able to gather some valuable data for our tyre evaluation. The track was changing this morning but it had cleaned up by the second session, when conditions were more stable. Unfortunately my second session finished earlier because of a transmission problem. I felt the rear of the car lock up which caused me to stop. That was the end of my days activity."
Nick Heidfeld, Jordan (20th, 1m 23.866s):>
"It was a trouble-free day for me on the technical side really. It's a pity we lost our third car in the first practice as we have less data. I feel that we have made a lot of improvements on the car itself recently although I did hope to be even closer to the people ahead of us. I still feel that the balance of the car is not really as good as it could be and I'm confident we can improve it for tomorrow."
Giorgio Pantano, Jordan (21st, 1m 24.091s):
"Today in the end we found quite a good balance with the car, so it just means I have to keep going with that set-up direction I think because there was quite a difference between the first session and the end of the second one. I feel confident with the car and think probably tomorrow we can make an improvement. I'm very happy to be driving here in Imola because I know I have some fans here and I'm a little bit excited about that because to go around and see you have people cheering you on is really good."
Gianmaria Bruni, Minardi (22nd, 1m 25.653s):
We have done well in general terms today, but I was not so happy that I was stuck in traffic on what should have been my fastest lap this afternoon. If not for that, we would have been half-a-second quicker. We had new parts from the teams wind tunnel programme to try today and its clear everyone on the team is pushing really hard at the moment. I am very happy about that, and I want to thank the guys for all their hard work. Hopefully, we will make more progress tomorrow.
Zsolt Baumgartner, Minardi (23rd, 1m 25.760s):
I was struggling a bit this morning, but the situation improved in the second session. The guys have done an amazing job to turn the results of our recent wind tunnel programme into new parts so quickly. Some pieces were still being manufactured at the factory this morning and were then brought to the circuit during the lunch break and fitted to the car. The whole aero package has been really well done, and now we just need to work on finding a good chassis balance for this track. Even though we are not quite there yet, Im happy that I finished with a time very close to Gimmis this afternoon. Well definitely make more progress tomorrow."
Bas Leinders, Minardi (24th, 1m 27.025s):
Personally, Im very happy with the developments on the car in the last two weeks. We had a lot of new parts to test today and I think it is clear we are making progress. The team seems very motivated to catch its nearest rivals and that is making for a good atmosphere. We will now put together all the information we have learned from running the three cars today and aim to make further progress tomorrow.
Timo Glock, Jordan (25th, no time):
"Today was not long for me! At the beginning the track was really dirty and the rear of the car was a little bit nervous but then we made a change and it was a good improvement for the car. But about half way through the first session I lost the car on the entry to thechicane, spun and crashed and that was the end of it for today. It's a shame for me and it wasn't a big help for the team either."