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Silverstone - selected driver preview quotes 07 Jul 2005

Race winner Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari celebrates on the podium with Ross Brawn (GBR) Ferrari Technical Director.
Formula One World Championship, British Grand Prix, Rd 11, Race Day, Silverstone, England, 11 July 2004 The podium (L to R): Ross Brawn (GBR) Ferrari Technical Director; Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren second; Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari, winner; Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Ferrari third.
Formula One World Championship, British Grand Prix, Rd 11, Race Day, Silverstone, England, 11 July 2004 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren Mercedes MP4/19B leads from pole at the start of the race.
Formula One World Championship, British Grand Prix, Rd 11, Race Day, Silverstone, England, 11 July 2004 David Coulthard (GBR) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 3 March 2005 Jenson Button (GBR) BAR.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 3 March 2005

As another crucial round of this year's Championship approaches the men who will be racing around the demanding high-speed Silverstone circuit have been waxing lyrical about what is required for success at a circuit that feels like home to many taking part.

David Coulthard, Red Bull
2004 Qualifying - 7th, 2004 Race - 7th

"There is no individual section that's the key to a good lap at Silverstone. Nailing Becketts - a high- speed corner with a sudden change of direction - always helps and is particularly satisfying from a driver's point of view. With regard to optimising tyre wear, all a driver can do is ensure his chassis is well set up - balance and consistency are definitely the key. Silverstone is one of my favourite tracks and I love driving there."

Jenson Button, BAR
2004 Qualifying - 3rd, 2004 Race - 4th

"My home Grand Prix at Silverstone is always very special to me as I am extremely patriotic and it feels just like coming home. Last year we had a very good experience at the British Grand Prix, as the team and myself had a huge number of the fans, which was a great feeling. After the excitement of Magny Cours, where we had a good result, it feels great to be back in Britain to prepare for our home race. It goes without saying that it would be fantastic to achieve another podium this weekend. I love racing at Silverstone and we completed a very positive test there in June in preparation for the race. It's incredibly moving to drive 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 experience the cars at a race weekend and share in our achievements, so I am very excited about the race and hope that we will be able to put on a great show for everyone."

Takuma Sato, BAR
2004 Qualifying - 9th, 2004 Race - 11th

"The British Grand Prix is very important to us, for two reasons. Firstly because it is the team's home grand prix, and also for me personally because it feels like my second home as I have competed in many British Junior races and have lots of great memories of Silverstone. Even if the weather is not great, I really enjoy the atmosphere at the circuit! It has very fast, flowing corners and the combination of the Esses is very similar to Suzuka, which is very challenging. The slow speed complex offers close racing opportunities and all together it is a fun circuit to drive. The fans are also extremely supportive of the team, so I am really looking forward to Silverstone next weekend."

Mark Webber, Williams
2004 Qualifying - 10th, 2004 Race - 8th

"Silverstone is always a place I enjoy going to. Because I’ve lived in England for a long time, I have many friends that always come to support the teams I have competed for at the British Grand Prix. I have many good memories of Silverstone. In 1997, I raced in F3 for Alan Docking Racing, whose team was based there, while I won there when I was driving in F3000. Last year’s F1 race was good and, last, but not least, home is only 40 minutes away! I have also done a lot of cycling round that area so I know the place pretty well. The circuit itself is massively demanding. It’s a high speed circuit, not too dissimilar to Barcelona. As we know, weather can play a huge role at Silverstone, but it would be good to have decent conditions. I really hope we’ll be more competitive next weekend and have a good race for one of the team’s home GPs."

Nick Heidfeld, Williams
2004 Qualifying - 17th, 2004 Race - 15th

"Like Barcelona, Silverstone is well known by all the drivers and teams as everyone does a lot of testing there. I find the track quite challenging because it has a couple of fast corners, one I particularly enjoy is Becketts. I also like the English fans who know a lot about the sport and seem to be real enthusiasts. Although the weather at Silverstone can sometimes be even worse than that at the Nurburgring, I quite like driving in the rain and a wet track always provides more fun for me."

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

“Silverstone is a very different track from the others we race on. It is quite high-speed, but most of that speed is in corners rather than on straights. Because of that we have to use hard tyres. The weather is also unpredictable: it can be cold, hot or raining, you just don’t know what to expect. “Unlike most of the other teams we didn’t test there this year so it will be hard to find the right set-up. Therefore I have no idea what to expect overall, or whether Silverstone will suit our car, but sometimes you get nice surprises.”

Felipe Massa, Sauber
2004 Qualifying - 11th, 2004 Race - 9th

“I love Silverstone, and the challenge that it represents. To me it is a driver’s circuit, up there with Spa or Suzuka. It has some very high-speed sections, and the first part of the track is especially nice. These are very important corners which influence the lap time a great deal; if you have too much understeer it can be horrible there and will grain the front tyres so much they are destroyed before the end of the lap, but equally you don’t want the car too pointy there, with oversteer. So good set-up and handling balance are really important. Stowe and Club are good corners too, but again any understeer there is bad news. “I always seem to go well at Silverstone, and after our very encouraging test at Jerez at the end of June I really hope that the new parts we will have on the car will let me keep up that record this weekend.”

Fernando Alonso, Renault
2004 Qualifying - 6th, 2004 Race - 10th

"Silverstone is like a second home race for the team and I only live forty minutes away in Oxford! The team's factory is in Enstone, so for at least half the team this is their home race, and we always want to perform well there. What's more, Silverstone is always a big race in the calendar, and at this point in the season, it is important for our challenge in the championship as well.

"The first sector is very high speed, with a lot of fourth and fifth gear corners, and also very bumpy which makes the visibility from the cockpit quite poor. Then the final part of the lap is very slow, mostly in first and second gear, which means it is hard for traction and for the tyres. That makes it difficult to find the right compromise on set-up, because you need the car to have very different characteristics.

"The weather is normally the first difficulty in England, because it can always be unpredictable -especially in Silverstone, where the conditions can be very windy too. After that, I think the slow-speed final sector is the most important part for getting a good lap time - we spend a long time in the corners, so if you can have a good car there you will improve your time a lot. But we still need a good high-speed balance through the first sector, or you will lost all the time you had gained. It is a big challenge for the engineers and the drivers."

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault
2004 Qualifying - 20th, 2004 Race - 6th

"It's a great circuit. We know it really well because we test a lot at the track, but every team has a lot of experience there. The weather is not usually so good, which makes the weekend quite unpredictable and you can sometimes lose a lot of practice time through bad conditions, but the circuit layout is nice - lots of fast corners which make it really exciting for the drivers. It is definitely one of my favourite circuits.

"When you know you have people cheering you on, it is always an extra motivation. We have our factory only half an hour away from the circuit, so we see a lot of our colleagues, and they can bring their families too - we have a lot of fun during the weekend. Silverstone is also a circuit with a fantastic history in Formula One, so there are lots of reasons to hope for a really strong race weekend.

"I think we will be very strong - although when we tested there last month, McLaren also looked very quick, so maybe they will be a little bit ahead of us. But we have new engine developments for Silverstone, which will give us a boost, and I have always had strong races there in the past. The car needs to have quite high levels of downforce and a strong engine, and the R25 has both. We have been strong at every circuit, fighting for the podium everywhere. So we will definitely be aiming for a podium finish."

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari
2004 Qualifying - 4th, 2004 Race - 1st

"Here we are in the midst of another double appointment: this time Magny-Cours followed immediately by Silverstone, one of the sport's great circuits. I love racing here and things are no different this time, though I cannot be totally sure how it will go. The race at Magny-Cours led us astray a little. After our showing on Friday and Saturday we thought we would have had a better chance. So, now I am a bit careful about making predictions. Anyway, there are new rules this year and making predictions is harder; at least this is what has emerged from the first half of the season …

"The Silverstone circuit calls for very good balance, even better than at Nürburgring. Everything related to the set up has to be in perfect harmony. However, reaching this objective is the stimulus for new challenges. Another positive aspect of Silverstone is that there are lots real Formula 1 fans and this, naturally, pleases me. Without a doubt, we intend to give the fans a good show. In this case, this means that we will be racing for the win".

Jarno Trulli, Toyota
2004 Qualifying - 5th, 2004 Race - DNF

"Like Magny-Cours, Silverstone is another technical circuit, demanding both for the cars and the drivers. The track contains every type of corner, so it is difficult to come up with a set-up for the whole lap. As usual you need a well balanced car and you have to find a compromise between the aerodynamic and mechanical sides. If you can make it respond in both fast and slow corners you can push to the limit. From a driving point of view, Becketts is the most enjoyable part of the circuit, but there are other corners where you need to be committed if you want to improve your lap time, like Bridge and Copse. Stowe is important, as is the slow section at the end of the lap. The wind is another major factor at Silverstone because the surrounding area is very flat and that can affect handling. Of course, the weather can then throw anything at you in one race, so we have to be prepared for anything. I've been on the front row at Silverstone before, so we'll see if we can keep up our strong run from 2005 in both qualifying and the race."

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota
2004 Qualifying - NA, 2004 Race - NA

"At 5.14km in length, Silverstone is quite a long, demanding circuit for drivers and engineers alike. Being flat, it is prone to changeable wind levels which can really disrupt a driver's quick lap. If the car is turning into wind, the front end can feel quite good, but if it turns away from wind, the car can rapidly become loose and unstable. The wind effect is especially strong through Copse, Becketts and down to Stowe. Technically those faster corners require a good aero efficiency and commitment from the driver, while the track's slower corners demand good traction. We must take into account a wide range of set-ups during Friday free practice because even if the forecast says it will remain dry, there is always the chance of a shower. I had a run of good fortune at Silverstone in my early F1 years from 1997 through to 2000 when I finished in the top 6 each year. With the TF105, we have a good chance of scoring points at every event this year, so I am confident my points tally will be better off by the chequered flag on Sunday."

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

"I have had good memories of Silverstone as it was there that I had my first podium when I was racing in Formula 3. Usually I always go well at Silverstone and this is a circuit I know quite well. I like Silverstone, especially the Becketts complex, where the car goes so fast and you can really feel the speed of the car. At that special corner, you go as fast as 220 km/h so there is a lot of g-force. I hope we will be able to finish the race, particularly there in front of Jordan Grand Prix home crowd."

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

"Silverstone is a very important race for Jordan Grand Prix because of the proximity of its factory. A lot of guests will be there and we will need to perform well. It is a very demanding and difficult track. It will probably be one of the hardest for our car. We are also starting a very long month so we should stay in good shape and focused on everything. I am definitely looking forward to the weekend."

Robert Doornbos, third driver, Jordan
2004 Qualifying - NA, 2004 Race - NA

"It is a home race for Jordan Grand Prix so I expect a big party when I arrive at Silverstone. I really enjoy driving on this circuit. It is a bit similar to Magny-Cours with fast corners. Once again I will be driving the new EJ15B car on Friday morning and we hope we will be able to improve it more, as well as testing some different types of Bridgestone tyres. I will have a very busy day as time really flies in two hours."

Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren
2004 Qualifying - 8th, 2004 Race - 5th

"Following France, I am looking for a strong result at the British Grand Prix. The MP4-20 feels really strong and should suit the Silverstone track. This year will be my first home race at Silverstone with Team McLaren Mercedes, I understand a lot of people from Woking and Brixworth will be going to the race and Hopefully we can give them something to celebrate. The circuit is a great challenge; you have to really push the car to the limits. For the three long straights and fast, flowing corners we need power, but this needs to be balanced with the good traction for the medium grip slower bends at the back of the circuit. As a result we will have a medium to low downforce configuration. Silverstone is a track where you can overtake, the best place is under braking into Stowe and there are also chances at Vale and Club."

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren
2004 Qualifying - 1st, 2004 Race - 2nd

"I always enjoy the British Grand Prix, Silverstone is a great track to drive and always seems to have entertaining races. Hopefully this will be the case again this year and I will be able to be one step higher on the podium than in 2004. We get to drive some of the best corners of the season. You have Copse, which is probably the fastest corner all year with speeds not dropping below 265km/h as you take it flat out and on the limits, however it is blind! That then leads to one of the best complex of corners we have at any Grand Prix track, the Maggots- Becketts-Chapel S-bends. With the high-speed direction changes, jumping kerbs and so on, it is a great place for the fans to see Formula One cars in action. Though here, aerodynamics and chassis balance are important and you need to be super quick in this section to get a good lap time."

Pedro de la Rosa, third driver, McLaren
2004 Qualifying - NA, 2004 Race - NA

"Aerodynamics is particularly key at Silverstone, and we also need to ensure we have a good compromise between high speed stability and grip in the slower complex at the end of the track. As with Magny-Cours, Silverstone is fairly hard on tyres, as a result of the high speeds and abrasive track surface. However we have vast amounts of data from the track and as a result know how to manage these characteristics."