Britain - selected driver preview quotes 08 Jul 2004
This weekend's Silverstone event is a home race for the majority of the Formula One teams and the circuit is popular with the drivers.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Sauber:
"Silverstone is a very good track, and we had a good test there in mid-May. We did a lot of laps and even though I was running alone so there was no rubber down, we did a 1m 18.3s lap, which is competitive. We will have the new front wing from Magny-Cours and some new bodywork, so with more downforce since then I think we can do really well.
"You need a stable car at Silverstone because of the high-speed directional change that is necessary, particularly in the Becketts complex. That is a real buzz when you are driving there, and I remember when I was in Formula Three going down to watch there and being very impressed. It's pretty special. Bridge is fun, though nowadays it's easy flat and less of a challenge than it used to be."
Felipe Massa, Sauber:
"This is a very nice track, and I love driving there. There are a lot of quick corners that I really enjoy. Copse is quicker than you think, just a quick downshift and then straight back hared on the power, and I like Stowe, too. Very high speed with some hard braking. Then there are some medium-speed corners and a couple of slow ones too. It's a good mixture. The tyre degradation is quite high, so we tend to go for harder tyres.
"We recently had a good test at Silverstone and the car went really well, so even though the UK teams tend to have a small advantage from testing there so much, I think we will be competitive and I'm looking forward to a strong race."
Jenson Button, BAR:
"After the disappointment of Magny-Cours, where we had a good chance of a podium, it feels great to be back in Britain to prepare for our home race. We targeted our first win for around this point in the season and it goes without saying that it would be fantastic to achieve that this weekend. This race is special for so many reasons. I love racing here and will never forget my debut F1 race here four years ago when I passed Michael Schumacher on the first lap. He might have been on a different fuel load but that was a fantastic moment nonetheless. It's incredibly moving to race in front of my home crowd, especially with the sea of Union Jacks down the start-finish straight! Most importantly, this is a weekend when the whole team get to share in our achievements and I just hope that we have something special to celebrate with them on Sunday night."
Takuma Sato, BAR:
"Obviously Suzuka is my own home race, but I now live in England and this is my second home. I want to do well in front of the team and its many British fans and I hope I have the car to deliver a good result next Sunday. The British Grand Prix is one of the most exciting in my opinion. I also have very fond memories of the circuit from my Junior and Formula 3 days, so I am always very excited to head back there. It's a shame that we had a slightly disappointing result at the French Grand Prix, however I am still confident from our performance in Indy. Historically, Silverstone is always an exciting race, especially with the unpredictable weather, so it could be very exciting"
Anthony Davidson, third driver, BAR:
"We have been very quick at Silverstone in general testing this year and both Jenson and Taku topped the timesheets on the days when they ran here. From a personal perspective, this will be the best Friday I've ever had in terms of recognition and it will be great to get a share of the limelight with the British fans. I live just a few miles from Silverstone so I am very well acquainted with the changeable weather conditions we get here and which always make the British Grand Prix even more exciting! As always, I'll be doing my bit to get the team off to a good start on Friday."
Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams:
The BMW WilliamsF1 Team has tested twice at Silverstone this year so we have already collated some valuable information even before Friday's practice sessions. From past experience of British Grands Prix weekends, we usually seem to be quicker in the race than in Friday practice or during Saturday's qualifying. Last year, for example, I finished the race in second place although I started from seventh on the grid.
We haven't managed to collect many points in the last few races so we really must get it right at Silverstone, especially as it's the home race for WilliamsF1. I know a lot of people from the factory are coming to Silverstone over the weekend so I hope we can give them something to cheer about! I am very pleased that Marc is racing again at this Grand Prix and I'll give him all the support he needs. I get on very well with Marc and whatever I can do to help him, I'll do for sure!
Marc Gene, Williams:
I am very much looking forward to Silverstone. Although everything went well for me at Magny-Cours, I will be using that experience to help me improve my race performance at Silverstone. We've spent a lot of time testing at Silverstone in the past so I'm confident when I say that the track suits the FW26. We've always achieved competitive lap times there so I hope we can do the same over the Grand Prix weekend. It would also be good to score some points as it's WilliamsF1's home race and many of the guys from the factory will be there.
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari:
After a race like the one in France, thinking of the next stage can only be a good thing, even better if it is just a few days away. I think that we can take the enthusiasm of Magny-Cours with us into Silverstone. A team performance like last Sundays will strengthen us even more. Ferrari, as ever, is preparing for the English circuit with its usual attention to detail and motivation. We tested at Silverstone at the beginning of June and were very pleased with the results.
The test data is another reason why we should fancy our chances at the weekend. The other teams also have a good chance. In my opinion BAR-Honda could be as strong as they were last weekend. This is why we should never let our success distract us.
I like Silverstone. It is always enjoyable racing there. It will be tight and the track calls for a balanced set up; something not always easy to get right there. I should also add that the real plus of Silverstone is that so many fans come to pay homage to Formula 1. It is a place where sport is really appreciated and for us drivers thats very important.
Mark Webber, Jaguar:
"Silverstone is for me my second home race. I have lived in the UK for nearly ten years now and I know this area of the country very well. The factory is near by and we get so much support from the local people on the day that it is a great boost for us. I have raced and tested at the track on many occasions with Jaguar Racing, but since all the other teams have as well there is little advantage for us. I really enjoyed my race last weekend at Magny-Cours so I am really keen to get out on track in front of the British crowd. The team has been doing a fantastic job turning everything around in time and I know that we are well prepared for this coming weekend. The only thing we are not in control of is the weather at this stage. This can change very quickly and make track conditions vary considerably. Whatever happens we are going to be working very hard over the weekend to ensure we are in the best possible position to race for a points finish. It's about time our hard work was rewarded, the car's got the pace - as my speed in France proved!"
Christian Klien, Jaguar:
"These back to back races are keeping us very busy but I enjoy any opportunity to get out on track as often as possible. Although this is not my home race it is going to be as busy as it would be if I were racing in Austria. The team are very hectic here but there is going to be a lot of support for us, which is fantastic. I like Silverstone - I have raced here before and I have spent some time testing here with the team so I know the track and I feel comfortable here. After my positive race in Magny-Cours I am really focused on the task ahead and I will be looking to qualify well in preparation for the race. The R5 is feeling really strong at the moment and Cosworth Racing are doing a great job with the engine so I am very much aiming for a points finish in front of the team's home crowd."
Bjorn Wirdheim, third driver, Jaguar:
"It's great to be back in the UK and to be at a track which is only a short drive from home. I have raced at Silverstone before and I have also tested here with the team so it is a track I know well. I am very excited about the fact that this is really my 'home' race since we don't have an F1 race in Sweden. The track is a good challenge for us since everyone knows it so well, so you are always pushing for that extra bit. I will be supporting the team by working on tyres and set-up options on Friday. Off-track I will be helping with sponsor appearances and media events so whatever way I look at it, it is going to be busy. I am very much hoping that we can score some points at this race, first because it would be in front of a home crowd and second because the car feels very good at the moment and is very competitive in comparison to the top teams. Mark's fastest lap time during the last race was fourth fastest overall, and goes to prove the sort of progress that the team and Cosworth Racing continue to make.
Jarno Trulli, Renault:
The R24 was very competitive with Ferrari last weekend in Magny-Cours, and we hope to be able to continue that in Silverstone. Personally, I will obviously be looking to get over my disappointment from France. Looking back at the last lap, I was quite wide on the entry to the penultimate corner, which gave Rubens the opportunity to make his manoeuvre. Once he had done that, though, I had two options: either I could try and close the door and risk a collision and not finishing, or I could accept I had made a mistake. I was really dejected after the race, but that's reality in Formula 1: you cannot afford even the tiniest mistake. It was a hard lesson to learn, but I am determined to come back stronger this weekend in Silverstone. I was on the front row there last year - after our performance in Magny-Cours, we have to be looking for podium finishes once again.
Silverstone is another technical circuit, and very demanding for the cars: it has every type of corner, so it is not easy to find the right set-up and set a good lap. When we are working in practice, we need to make the car responsive through the fast and slow corners, and find the confidence to push right to the limit: there are a number of corners where you need to be very committed to get a quick lap-time, like Copse or Bridge. In terms of enjoyment, Becketts is definitely the best section of the circuit, but every part is challenging.
Fernando Alonso, Renault:
I'm feeling great coming in to the Silverstone race. Magny-Cours was a strong race for the whole team, and we really forced Ferrari into racing hard for the win - not many people have done that this year, so really we should be pleased. I think Silverstone should suit us quite well too: you need good aerodynamic performance there, and we have that. It is a power circuit, and we were a little bit behind our rivals at the last test in June, but we have found more performance since then. I am expecting us to be very competitive.
In terms of driving the circuit, Silverstone is one of those places where it is hard to make a real difference: every driver knows it, and we test there a lot, so the performance between the drivers is quite equal - there is not much advantage to gain from circuit knowledge. The first sector is undoubtedly the best - with high speed corners, it is interesting for the driver. But the third sector, which looks quite normal, quite standard, is where you can gain a lot of time if you really focus on it. The other strange thing at Silverstone is the wind direction - as a driver, it is very hard to tell what is happening. You can guess, but never be totally sure. Usually, we only find out about a tailwind or headwind when we start braking, and find it is too late or too early - so you sometimes need to be able to adjust very quickly!
Cristiano da Matta, Toyota:
"My British Grand Prix weekend kicked off a bit earlier with the Regent Street parade on Tuesday evening. I was stunned by the huge numbers of people who turned up. This level of enthusiasm really made the occasion special and this type of event is ideal to bring the fans closer to the action. We now head to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix, which holds special memories for me, after I led last year's race in rather bizarre circumstances. I do not expect a repeat this year, but Silverstone is my absolute favourite circuit and I always enjoy racing there. We had a productive test there in June, but I am reluctant to make predictions, so I prefer to wait and see what happens this weekend."
Olivier Panis, Toyota:
"Silverstone is near the top of my list of favourite circuits and I always enjoy racing there. Unfortunately, the weather is rarely in our favour normally with some rain over the weekend. Nevertheless, we put in our full efforts whether wet or dry. After the huge disappointment of Magny-Cours, we will be looking to get back in the midfield fight, but we have to make sure that our performance is consistent throughout the whole weekend right to the chequered flag."
Ricardo Zonta, third driver, Toyota:
"Silverstone is very enjoyable to drive and quite technical from both a driving and engineering perspective. It is a very fast circuit, starting immediately with the seventh gear start-finish straight and sixth-gear Copse corner. Then we have a series of downshifting through Becketts down to fourth gear before making our way back up to seventh for the ultra quick Hangar Straight. Through Stowe, it is important to keep up momentum because it is back up to sixth at Club followed by a relatively hard braking down to second. Back up to seventh yet again, then through Abbey and on the Bridge, which we take more or less flat. As the lap comes to an end, we have Brooklands, which is comparatively slow compared to the rest of the track, but coming to Luffield, where we need a smooth exit to make our way back up to seventh for the next lap."
Nick Heidfeld, Jordan:
"I am looking forward to Silverstone as its like a home Grand Prix for me and especially for the team as its just across the road from the factory. I always enjoy coming to England and doing the Grand Prix here because the spectators here are really great, they seem to have good knowledge about the sport and cheer everybody on. I like the circuit as its one of the few circuits with very high speed corners, especially Becketts. Through there its very challenging so Im looking forward to that and I hope it will suit our race car. We test here more than at other circuits which may help us find a good set-up.
Giorgio Pantano, Jordan:
I am very happy to be at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix. The team is like my family and this is the teams home so its my second home. Since I joined Jordan I have been spending a lot of time here and I almost feel like an adopted Brit! Its quite exciting knowing there will be lots of Jordan fans at the race and also I think we can do a good job here because its our home event and we test here quite often. I finished second here in F3000 and its another of my favourite circuits so I will be giving my all as usual and hoping for a good result.
Timo Glock, third driver, Jordan:
Silverstone circuit is so close to the Jordan factory that we could almost drive the cars straight out of the doors and over to the track! Giorgio and I went to the London parade this week and we had a really good time, the British fans are great. I know the circuit here as we have done good tests at Silverstone both in the wet and the dry so this weekend we can get straight into the programme. If it rains and we have a crazy race Nick and Giorgio have the chance for really good results. It will also be fun for me because the team does so many activities here this weekend and I have time on
Saturday and Sunday to visit the Jordan fan village at the factory. Knowing the team, once Ive finished my driving duties theyll probably get me working behind the bar or something!
David Coulthard, McLaren:
The Mobil 1 French Grand Prix showed that the MP4-19B package is a lot more competitive and that our performance is nearer that of the current front runners. This was particularly illustrated during qualifying where I put the car third on the grid just under three tenths of a second behind pole position. There is of course still work to be done, but the car has good potential and I am looking forward to working with the team to extract it. Silverstone is a very different concept to the Magny-Cours circuit, primarily because it is more high speed, reaching 170mph or more on four sections of the track. It also has five key corners that you have to drive on the limits to maximise your lap, and are quick enough for aerodynamics to play a significant role, Copse, Maggots, Becketts, Chapel and Bridge. As a result good chassis balance is vital at Silverstone. As my home race, the British Grand Prix is very important to me, and of course the team. I always looking forward to racing at Silverstone in front of my home crowd with its enthusiastic atmosphere, and hopefully with the MP4-19B we will be able to secure a solid points finish in front of them.
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren:
I enjoyed driving the MP4-19B in a competitive environment last weekend and am really looking forward to racing it again so soon after the Mobil 1 French Grand Prix. On paper it may not have seemed to be the best result, but this was more due to circumstance and we felt that the car ran well. I have had the opportunity to test the MP4-19B at Silverstone, it was a positive session and the car felt good there. Silverstone is a challenging circuit to drive, but it does allow you to really push the limits on it super fast corners. For example Copse, which is great fun to drive. It is very fast and probably one of the quickest on the calendar. There are also some slower, much tighter bends at Silverstone that demand good traction, as a result we need to ensure set-up is optimised to get the best out of the car. We now of course have data from the 19B in a race situation, which will help with this. Despite the generally smooth nature of the track surface, we also have to take into consideration that Silverstone can be fairly tough on tyres. A usual set-up is medium to low downforce.