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European Grand Prix - driver preview quotes 26 May 2005

(L to R): David Coulthard (GBR) Red Bull Racing talks with Jenson Button (GBR) BAR.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 3 April 2005 Jacques Villeneuve (CDN) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Race Day, Monte Carlo, Monaco, 22 May 2005 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, San Marino Grand Prix, Practice, Imola, Italy, 22 April 2005 Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota TF105.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 3 April 2005

After the confines of the Monaco streets, this weekend Formula One racing returns to relative normality and Germany's Nurburgring circuit, another venue steeped in motor racing history.

David Coulthard, Red Bull
2004 Qualifying - 18th, 2004 Race - DNF

"After a disappointing race in Monaco I am hoping for better luck in this weekend's race at the Nurburgring. We were very unlucky to be put out of the race last weekend as I was heavy on fuel and could have been one of the last to pit. I never spend too much time reflecting on what might have been so I'm just looking forward to getting on with the job this weekend."

Vitantonio Liuzzi, Red Bull
2004 Qualifying - NA, 2004 Race - NA

"This is one of my favourite circuits and I have good memories of the place as I won my first car race here in Formula Renault. The track is long and technically challenging, with some up and downhill sections and a good mix of slow, medium and fast turns and some rapid changes of direction - it should be fun to drive in an F1 car. The key to a good lap here is to get into a rhythm, balancing your own style with what you can get out of the traction control when dealing with the chicanes. After three grands prix, I feel I have gained a lot of experience and I hope to put it to good use this weekend."

Jenson Button, BAR
2004 Qualifying - 5th, 2004 Race - 3rd

"It goes without saying how much we racing drivers look forward to our next Grand Prix, but it's been five weeks since I last raced at Imola and I'm very excited about getting back in the car this weekend. The whole team is incredibly upbeat and determined. I've been so impressed with the way they've handled this situation and I can't wait to see what we can achieve at the Nurburgring.

"The most frustrating thing about the past few weeks has been knowing that we have a strong car with some very impressive new developments just sitting in the factory when we could have been out there challenging for podiums, if not wins. That's behind us now though. What matters is going forward and demonstrating why we belong at the top.

"I finished on the podium here last year in 3rd position and I know we can be stronger than that this time. I enjoy racing here at the best of times and the track has some great high-speed corners and interesting undulations. The car will be strong here, no question. I'm just counting down the hours now until free practice on Friday!"

Takuma Sato, BAR
2004 Qualifying - 2nd, 2004 Race - DNF

"I'm very excited to make our return to racing again at the Nurburgring after the past few difficult weeks. I'm confident of our performance there because we have developed a very strong car in the recent tests and the team has done a fantastic job in the circumstances. In fact, development has been non-stop at the factory and on the test track, and everyone in the team is very determined and motivated. It will be exciting for all of us to see what the car is capable of.

"I really enjoy racing at this circuit; it has some interesting track characteristics, particularly a lot of undulation which make it a lot of fun to drive. It's a good place to make our comeback. We had a strong race here last year and I'm looking forward to a good performance on Sunday."

Mark Webber, Williams
2004 Qualifying - 14th, 2004 Race - 7th

“The Nurburgring is a track steeped in history, especially the old part of the circuit.
As it’s located in the mountains, the weather can be very temperamental and normally plays a big role in the race. I think the way the organisers have changed the layout of the first sector over the last few years has made it more interesting than it was in the past and the Dunlop Kurve, where you have a quick left-right up the hill, is a great part of the lap. I also like the circuit because it has a good mix of corners. The Nurburgring is obviously an important race for BMW so it would be good to repeat the success of Monaco and get another good result there.”

Nick Heidfeld, Williams
2004 Qualifying - 13th, 2004 Race - 10th

“The race at the Nurburgring is a very special one for me. It’s my home GP as it’s the closest track to Monchengladbach where I was born. I learned how to ride a bike near the circuit when I was three years old and my father often used to take my two brothers and me there when we were young. In the winter, we would go sledging on the Nordschleife! When I was eight, I started go karting there as well, so it’s easy to understand why I have a special relationship with the circuit. I’ve raced at the Nurburgring many times, in Formula Ford, Formula 3 and Formula 3000, and have always enjoyed it. I’ve also won quite a few races there too!

“It’s also nice to go there because I have more supporters at the Nurburgring than at any other race. During the GP weekend, I will have to spend more time doing PR work and interviews, but it is part of the sport and I actually like it. It's a great boost to go to my home Grand Prix having achieved my best result in my F1 career so far at Monaco last weekend and I hope I can do well again for the team in Germany.“

Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber
2004 Qualifying - NA, 2004 Race - NA

"I have a lot of good memories from the Nurburgring - I scored my first and last Grand Prix victories there! But I have to say that it isn't my favourite circuit. It has some very exciting corners, but the first section is really annoying. It's slow and it just isn't fun, and it spoils driving there for me. For some reason I've always had a hard time in qualifying on this track, but things have worked out for me in the race. If we can run the right Michelin tyres there this year, I think that should help us out to have a good race."

Felipe Massa, Sauber
2004 Qualifying - 16th, 2004 Race - 9th

"It's quite a nice track with some exciting corners. Not my favourite, but okay to drive. I had a good race there in 2002, finishing sixth. The first corner has made things better as far as overtaking is concerned, and Turn 2 is also a possibility if a guy gets Turn 1 wrong, but really the corners in the first part are pretty slow. The second part has medium and high-speed corners interrupted by the chicane, but you can really attack that. It's a very technical track, and I hope we can do well there."

Fernando Alonso, Renault
2004 Qualifying - 6th, 2004 Race - 5th

“Last year, we finished fourth and fifth here so with the R25, there is no reason why we should not be fighting for the podium. The car had a brand new aero package in Monaco, and I don't think we really saw the benefits of it there - at a more normal circuit, like Nurburgring, we definitely will. It will be important for us to be back fighting for the top positions.

“From our point of view, it has never been a perfect track, so it will be important to prepare well and have a trouble-free approach to the race. The place where you can really make up time on the lap is in the first sector, under braking and in the slow corners, but you have also have every type of corner at the Nurburgring - and they are all important. Renault has not been on the podium there, and I think we have a good shot at it this year.”

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault
2004 Qualifying - 19th, 2004 Race - 6th

“It is not the most exciting circuit that we go to, but I still expect the R25 to feel good and suit the track. You need a lot of downforce to feel confident with the car, and good traction and rear-end stability in the new section through the first sector. The other factor of course is the weather - even in summer, it can be very cold, and the conditions are very quick to change in the mountains. It is important to be able to adapt to whatever the weather throws at you.

“Monaco was very tough - the car was really undriveable in the last twenty laps and I have never had such a difficult race. After a race like that, it is hard to be totally confident for a Grand Prix just one week later, but I believe the Nurburgring should be much better for us. It will be a much more normal circuit for the car in terms of its characteristics, and even in Monaco for the first half of the race, we saw that our car was among the quickest in the field, as it has been all year. I think we can come back strongly this weekend and show our true level of performance.”

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari
2004 Qualifying - 1st, 2004 Race - 1st

“The new qualifying procedure should work in our favour, because it's a well known fact that qualifying was our biggest problem in the past. Now, we'll be able to make up for the disadvantage we've been having through deciding on how much fuel to take on board.

“The best thing we found out at Monaco was surely that we were absolutely competitive during the race. When I took to the track with a full load of fuel behind Kimi I was able to keep up with him, and that's more than solid proof that we are right up there on top of things during races. So our chances of being among the leading cars are definitely there, and therefore I will continue to be optimistic.

“The race at the Nurburgring is always nice anyway. The circuit is so close to Kerpen, where I'm from, and that's why I'm even more motivated than I usually am anyway. Somehow that always makes me feel good, it doesn't create more pressure at all - as some may think. Of course, people love to think about the fascination surrounding the North Loop and the myth around the Nurburgring, but I like the currently used track as well. It calls for good balance and good mechanical grip.”

Jarno Trulli, Toyota
2004 Qualifying - 3rd, 2004 Race - 4th

"I'm lucky enough to have raced a lot around the Nurburgring from my time in German Formula Three so I know the circuit very well. That kind of experience helps when it comes to predicting what the weather could do and planning strategy, as it did when I finished second in a rain-affected race there in 1999. The circuit is quite challenging to drive but I really don't have any favourite corners. I'd call it a normal circuit - not particularly technical. The most important thing is to find a good rhythm. The corners come thick and fast and you can go quickly if you can string them together well. With the Toyota Motorsport's factory so close by we should have lots of support, not least from the employees themselves. Everything we manage at the racetrack is down to the work done by the guys in the factory. So it will be great to see them, there should be a great atmosphere and I hope to get back into the points with another good result."

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota
2004 Qualifying - 9th, 2004 Race - DNF

"I've always really enjoyed racing at the Nurburgring, which is a special venue for me as it is very close to Kerpen, the town where I grew up. I used to practise my driving around the old Nordschleife although the lack of run-off areas means that I find it hard to believe that F1 cars ever raced there. This year will be my 20th race around the modern circuit in all formulae. I won my first Formula Junior race there and I was happy to win the grand prix two years ago. The circuit is quite typical of F1 with a mix of fast and slow corners. Tyre wear is important, especially at the rear because it is a traction circuit. This year's race will be extra special because this is the closest race to Toyota Motorsport's factory in Cologne. I have heard that every member of the team at the factory in Cologne has received a ticket to one of the grandstands over the course of the weekend, so Jarno and I will be sure to enjoy a tremendous amount of support, which will be highly appreciated."

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren
2004 Qualifying - 4th, 2004 Race - DNF

"After such a great result in Monaco, I am really looking forward to racing again this coming weekend. The MP4-20 package is working really well and hopefully we will continue to be competitive in Germany. The Nurburgring has quite good grip and we use a medium downforce configuration as it has a mix of corners, straights and hairpins. It is totally different to Monaco in this way, and it is of course a lot faster, although it is not one of the quickest. It is a fun track to drive, and hopefully we will be able to put on an exciting race for the Mercedes-Benz home crowd."

Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren
2004 Qualifying - 8th, 2004 Race - 8th

"I can't wait to get back on track at the Nurburgring this weekend, and hopefully have a trouble free weekend to take advantage of the current performance of the car. This event is notorious for understeer, so there will be a focus on dialling it out during Friday's Free Practice sessions. Unlike Monaco there are a couple of overtaking opportunities at the Nurburgring, such as at the NGK Chicane and the hairpin in the Mercedes Arena. I am really looking forward to racing in front of the Mercedes-Benz fans and employees for the first time and enjoying their support."

Alexander Wurz, McLaren
2004 Qualifying - NA, 2004 Race - NA

"Because of the back-to-backs there has been no testing by Team McLaren Mercedes since the Monaco Grand Prix. The upcoming programme will see us return to the test track in the first week of June at Silverstone. As Juan Pablo mentioned, understeer is always present here, so in addition to tyre selection with Michelin, I will be working closely with the team on set-up work for the rest of the weekend."

Narain Karthikeyan, Jordan
2004 Qualifying - NA, 2004 Race - NA

"The Nurburgring is again a new track for me this year. However I think it will suit my driving style; at least better than in Monaco where I struggled to learn the layout as I lost a fair amount of track time on Thursday. From what I have seen, this historic circuit seems to be very good. The mechanical set-up will be very important there as the understeering-nature of this race track could make it tricky."

Tiago Monteiro, Jordan
2004 Qualifying - NA, 2004 Race - NA

"I have been in the Nurburgring in 2002 in F3000 and I have to say it is not one of my favourite circuits. It is a back to back race so staying fit and focused is very important. I hope the weather will be ok as it can be quite unpredictable. Unfortunately, we could not do any testing between both races, so we will try to put everything together to have a good race there."