Friday Practice - selected driver quotes 07 May 2004
Those in the hot seats summarise Barcelona day one
BAR again took the fight to Ferrari in the opening day of practice at the Circuit de Catalunya, with Renault, Toyota and Williams also looking strong. The drivers tell the Spanish story so far.
Jenson Button, BAR (1st, 1m 15.935s):
"Today has gone quite well and I'm pleased to be at the top of the timesheets at the end of the day. The grip has been quite low but I'm happy with the balance of the car. There will be more to come as the track gets better and generally it looks like this is going to be another positive weekend for us"
Anthony Davidson, BAR (2nd, 1m 16.188s):
"Today has gone really well for me and for the team. We ended the second session first and second fastest - second being my best position in Friday practice so far this season, so I'm happy with that. We're pretty confident on tyre choice for the race now. The car feels really good. I did a longer run on both tyre options and the car felt nice and stable and good to drive. It was consistent throughout and not just good on one lap so, as we thought, we should have a good car here this weekend."
Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (3rd, 1m 16.360s):
"An encouraging start to the race weekend. In the first session we did a tyre comparison and were able to benefit from things we already tested in Mugello at the end of April. This afternoon we conducted a long run in order to confirm our tyre choice. The team has worked very hard at the test sessions and additionally this track suits the TF104 well, so I am hopeful that we will be in a condition to score our first championship points of the season this weekend."
Ralf Schumacher, Williams (4th, 1m 16.433s):
Before coming to Barcelona I said that we would only have a chance here if we had made the very best out of our package and after the First Free Practice I can see we are on the right way. We could make our tyre choice quite quickly, and this was very important but still we need to improve on the set-up.
Fernando Alonso, Renault (5th, 1m 16.534s):
"A normal Friday from my point of view, without any problems. It's great to be back in Spain again and to see the fans - even today there were thousands of them around the circuit. On the technical side, we worked on the tyres, which was our priority. The handling of the car still needs to be improved because it is a little nervous at the rear, but we will work on it tonight. I am optimistic that once we have corrected these small problems, we can be even more competitive."
Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (6th, 1m 16.698s):
I had a normal day, divided between finding the right set up and choosing between the two type of tyre at our disposal. Having done so many kilometres here over the past months we have a good starting point for our set-up and today we made further steps forward, adapting it to the current track conditions without experience any sort of problem. I think we still have much to do to get the most out of the package and I think we will be very competitive tomorrow.
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (7th, 1m 16.729s):
Today could be described as a standard Friday in Barcelona. We worked on fine tuning the set-up with reasonable success. As usual, we worked on assessing the two types of Bridgestone tyre and we think they have come up with a good compound choice for us, so I am looking forward to being competitive over the rest of the weekend.
Jarno Trulli, Renault (8th, 1m 16.734s):
"It was actually quite a difficult day for me, with several problems that disrupted my programme. In terms of set-up, the car is lacking grip but I think overall grip levels will improve as the weekend goes on, and we know in which direction we need to work this evening in order to improve the set-up. Given these small problems, I think we can be positive for the rest of the weekend."
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (9th, 1m 16.798s):
"Everything was going according to plan until the end of the second session when I felt something was wrong with the car. The team told me to stop immediately and switch everything off which I did and parked the car on the outside of turn three. However, we did manage to get through our tyre evaluation programme and I'm reasonable happy with the car."
Cristiano da Matta, Toyota (10th, 1m 16.833s):
"Today's session was quite encouraging, particularly in terms of our tyre selection. We completed a lot of laps and the car has been running quite well. The track conditions were pretty changeable during the two practice sessions, but I think we can be reasonably happy with the results we have achieved today, even if I feel there is still more to come."
Olivier Panis, Toyota (11th, 1m 16.925s):
"I am quite happy with what we have achieved in the two practice sessions. Even though it was only the first day of track activity, we learned many things with regard to set-up and tyre choice. Unfortunately there was some traffic on my quick lap so I could not make use of the TF104's full potential. However, we are in a good shape and have set a solid base for tomorrow."
Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams (12th, 1m 17.067s):
We knew it would be difficult to find the right set-up for our car on this circuit and despite the fact that you cannot read too much into Fridays times, its clear that there is still some work to do. Both the weather and consequently the track conditions changed from the first to the second Free Practice - and even during the same session which made our job even harder. Anyway, we have completed our programme for today and we will now work in view of tomorrows qualifying.
David Coulthard, McLaren (13th, 1m 17.069s):
"I went through a normal Friday programme and completed 23 laps. I still don't have the balance I would like and therefore we still have some work to do. However there are two free practice sessions tomorrow which gives us time to further improve our package."
Mark Webber, Jaguar (14th, 1m 17.178s):
Its been a busy day for us today here in Barcelona. Although we know this track very well thanks to the amount of testing we do here, we have still been working on tyre comparisons and general race set-up. The track changes here a lot and you have to keep changing with it. The temperatures have not been as high as perhaps we had expected so again working on the tyres is very important. The track feels good out there and the new layout on corner eight is keeping us busy. I am pleased with what we have worked through today as we have completed a full programme. Tomorrow is my focus now and I will be working with my engineers tonight to discuss our strategy and tyre choice.
Timo Glock, Jordan (15th, 1m 17.608s):
It was a good day. In the first session I went a bit slower in the beginning because in Imola I spun off after 14 laps or so - I said to myself, here at this next Grand Prix practice I would go a little bit easy and do a good job for the team. So it went well and step by step we found a better set-up. We have a good tyre for the race. During second practice it started to rain lightly and for me it was difficult to know how fast to go in these conditions. At the end my timed lap was really good. I have no experience of driving F1 with low fuel so my last run was a bit conservative. I hope to find out more about that, maybe when we are testing. It was a good day and my engineer and the mechanics did a good job.
Bjorn Wirdheim, Jaguar (16th, 1m 17.676s):
Ive had a good day today and the team and I have completed a full test programme. I have been working specifically on aero validation and this has involved a lot of detailed and complex analysis. I enjoy this part of my job as I know that the data that we have gathered today is very interesting and we will be using it over the course of the weekend. Staying on track and completing this sort of work is crucial to the team and for Mark and Christian in preparation for Sundays race.
Felipe Massa, Sauber (17th, 1m 17.906s):
"I should have improved on my final run. Changes we had made to the car gave me much better grip than I'd had previously and the balance was good, but there were spots of rain in the first and final sectors and the last two corners in particular were really slippery. We lack grip over one lap, but on long runs we are pretty consistent."
Takuma Sato, BAR (18th, 1m 17.970s):
"It's very disappointing to end the day early with a mechanical problem. I have completed only four timed laps from a total of 10 laps all day and this means we haven't completed all the set-up and tyre work that prepares us for tomorrow's qualifying. It's a great shame because once again the car has been strong and feeling positive so far. The track conditions took a while to improve because it was very dusty this morning. We made a good start to the second session on older tyres, and I was running 2nd fastest when I came in with my clutch-related problem. I have to hope that I can have two very productive sessions tomorrow morning in readiness for qualifying so we have some work to do this evening to ensure that happens."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Sauber (19th, 1m 18.001s):
"This is a difficult circuit for us, and once again we have been struggling on our first lap on new tyres. On long runs, however, I think we are competitive with the Michelin teams. This afternoon I still couldn't improve the grip of my car or get rid of oversteer that I had this morning, and unfortunately on my final run on new tyres I encountered some rain. The major problem then, however, was a yellow flag which forced me to slow down."
Nick Heidfeld, Jordan (20th, 1m 18.117s):
Im quite happy with free practice today. The changes on the car that we have here mainly on the aerodynamic side - seem to have helped, judging by our gaps to the other cars. But Im still sure that we can improve the car for tomorrow. Again, I had no technical problems and I managed to do a long run at the end. We are still not where we want to be but I think we have made a good step forward and Im really quite confident for tomorrow.
Giorgio Pantano, Jordan (21st, 1m 18.726s):
Im not really happy with how my sessions went today. Its my first time here in Formula One and I need to learn a little bit more about how to find the limits. I think we can learn something from what we did today and we can improve tomorrow for sure. I have to improve too. We were close to where we should have been today but not quite there.
Gianmaria Bruni, Minardi (22nd, 1m 19.149s):
It has been a good day, and we have certainly improved the cars performance from Imola, which is a step forward. I would like to thank the guys, as they did a very good job today making a lot of changes to the chassis. Both types of tyre being provided by Bridgestone this weekend are very good, but we got some useful data today, which will allow us to work out which is the better choice for us. Im also pleased that we set a comparatively good time, which puts us a little closer to our rivals.
Zsolt Baumgartner, Minardi (23rd, 1m 20.313s):
By the end of the day, I felt we hadnt done too badly at all. We need to do a little more work on the balance, and although we didnt quite achieve the lap time we wanted this afternoon, we know why that was. Generally, the car feels good, and I am confident that just by changing some small things tomorrow, we can make a further improvement.
Bas Leinders, Minardi (24th, 1m 22.189s):
I was running the previous aero package compared with Gimmi and Zsolt in order to gather more comparative data. We had a good day, without any significant problems, and I was able to do a lot of running. The first hour of practice was spent carrying out set-up tests, which proved productive. I then did two long tyre comparison runs of 13 laps each in the afternoon, and although it was fun doing the shorter runs, I learned more about the car this afternoon.
Christian Klien, Jaguar (25th, no time):
Not perhaps the day I have anticipated. I had hoped to fully complete my testing programme and although this morning went as planned I suffered a spin in the afternoon session and ended up in the gravel. Unfortunately I could not get back on track so I had to call it a day slightly earlier than we had planned. This morning I worked on set-up and I am happy with what we achieved. I know this track quite well and I have tested here in the R5 before so this makes my life a lot easier. I am going to be making the most of tomorrows practice sessions as I would like to get a few more laps under my belt ahead of qualifying.