Friday practice - selected driver quotes 23 Sep 2005
A rather inconclusive day at Interlagos, as the drivers did their best to get to grips with the unpredictable Sao Paulo circuit. Note - drivers ranked by their best time from the days two sessions.
Alexander Wurz, third driver, McLaren (1st, 1m 11.701s):
"The nature of this circuit means that you have to cope with a bumpy and extremely dusty track which makes my work quite difficult as I have to adapt to the rapid and continuous change in conditions. Consequently tyre choice on what I would describe as being the trickiest of all circuits is extremely challenging. However, I'm quite confident that with our car and the experience of the team we will work out the optimum package for the qualifying and the race."
Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (2nd, 1m 12.694s):
"I didn't do an awful lot of running in the first session as the track was rather dusty but we were able to set quite good lap times, I think. However today is not really about lap times but about finding a strong balance and set-up, and I believe we are going in the right direction. We still have some improvements to make particularly as the balance of the car is still not 100% but our Michelin tyres seem to be working well, and we have a pretty clear indication of our tyre choice already."
Ricardo Zonta, third driver, Toyota (3rd, 1m 12.706s):
"The Interlagos circuit is not as bumpy as it used to be, but you certainly feel the bumps in the medium-fast corners which can throw the car off line. As usual here the asphalt was very dirty in the morning, so the grip level was very low. That meant that it was impossible to push hard and very difficult to draw any conclusions with tyres. It improved in the afternoon so we have some data to work with. We could have gone quicker but I hit traffic on my runs with new tyres."
Felipe Massa, Sauber (4th, 1m 12.710s):
"I lost some valuable track time with a gearbox downshift problem this morning, but we went out straight away this afternoon and I was happy with the car. The balance was good and it was strong in the infield section. The track surface was very dirty today and it would have been easy to make mistakes, so I'm quite happy with the lap that I did and we'll see what happens tomorrow. I'm feeling pretty confident."
Takuma Sato, BAR (5th, 1m 12.738s):
"The car performed well today. In the second session we concentrated on the race situation and we also compared the two tyre options to help our choice this evening. All of our programme was completed and although we need to work on improving our pace for tomorrow, it was generally a good day."
Fernando Alonso, Renault (6th, 1m 12.782s):
It was a bit confusing today really: we were quick in the first session, and then this afternoon, there were quite a lot of people in front of us. The track conditions were not very good, so we didn't make many changes to the set-up - we just concentrated on doing long runs on the tyres to understand our choice, and we will wait for the grip levels to improve tomorrow, which will definitely help the car balance. The tyre choice is quite close, because Michelin have brought two excellent tyres, so we will have to look closely at the data to make our final validation. But overall, I still have lots of confidence for the rest of the weekend, and I am sure we can be quick.
Jenson Button, BAR (7th, 1m 12.918s):
"Today has been a pretty tough day for us. We've done all our tyre work and know pretty much where we are with the tyres but at the moment we're just not quick enough. There's a lot of work to do tonight to move the car forward. The biggest issue is that it feels like there is quite low grip on the circuit. We struggled a little with grip levels in both sessions and the balance isn't perfect either, however we can work with the car tonight and try to improve it for tomorrow."
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (8th, 1m 13.065s):
"An OK day where we worked through our programme, so a positive start to the weekend. Obviously the track was quite dusty to start with, so I didn't do any real running in the first session. We still have some work to do to find the perfect set-up, but I'm confident that we will improve further during tomorrow's two practice sessions. Everybody in the team wants to leave Brazil with important points, and we are working hard to achieve this."
Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (9th, 1m 13.088s):
To be honest, I was quite happy with the way the car went this afternoon, as we improved it quite a bit from the morning session. It behaved a little bit better than we had expected and we seem to be a bit more competitive than over the past couple of weekends, especially in race trim. Now we have to wait and see what the weather does tomorrow as that could be an important factor for the next two days.
Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (10th, 1m 13.202s):
"I think I know in my own mind about tyre choice, but we still need to discuss it fully. The car seems to be acceptably fast in a straight line, but I was struggling in the corners. I think we'll be lucky to be this fast relative to everyone else tomorrow."
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (11th, 1m 13.205s):
As usual, it is difficult to know after todays practice what the true situation is and we will find that out after studying the data in terms of qualifying and the race. On the plus side we made progress from the morning to the afternoon. As usual here, the bumpy and slippery nature of the track makes the car quite uncomfortable to drive and it can feel unbalanced and twitchy. But I get the feeling we might be in slightly better shape than we have been recently.
Antonio Pizzonia, Williams (12th, 1m 13.427s):
The positive aspect is that today we went through everything we had planned to do, especially in regard to the tyre comparison. Talking about the car, at the moment its very difficult to drive, but I am sure most of the other drivers are experiencing similar problems, so its the same for everyone.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (13th, 1m 13.493s):
"I enjoy driving here because Interlagos is a technical circuit, but there was not much grip out there today. This was one of the two races I did for Toyota last year and even with the old car we went pretty well, finishing just outside the points. We would obviously like to do better this time but this weekend could still be decided by the weather. Rain remains a possibility so that will be the determining factor for our decisions for qualifying and the race."
Mark Webber, Williams (14th, 1m 13.509s):
It was quite a tough day for us. Interlagos is always a demanding circuit for the car because of the bumpy nature of the track. We have got a lot of work to do tonight in order to improve our balance, because we need to find some more pace for the long runs.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (15th, 1m 13.518s):
I think it was a pretty good day for us. We still need to improve the overall grip because it was difficult to put in a clean lap today, as the car balance was a little bit inconsistent. But I think a lot of it was down to the track conditions, and they were the same for everybody today. Apart from that, though, we seem to have good consistency and I think we are quite competitive here, maybe more than in the recent races.
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (16th, 1m 13.788s):
"We had no particular problems as we completed our usual programme of work today, but it was a struggle to find any grip because it was so slippery. The track was pretty dirty this morning but it improved during the day so we will have to look carefully at the data tonight. We will be hoping for another strong points finish on Sunday so that we can close the gap to Ferrari in the constructors' championship."
Robert Doornbos, Minardi (17th, 1m 13.922s):
"It's great to be able to celebrate my birthday with the Minardi team today. Everybody said 'happy birthday' this morning, which was fun, and to conclude the day like this was terrific. I was quick and able to get a good lap. I like this circuit a lot, and it was a great team effort as well. I have a new No 1 Mechanic on my car for this race, Ignazio Sanzone, and he was understandably a little bit nervous at the start of the day, but did a terrific job, along with all of the guys. I think we're going to have a good birthday party tonight."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (18th, 1m 14.006s):
It was difficult today. I was struggling with entry stability and the car lacked overall grip and balance. Im pretty surprised actually, as I didnt expect things to be so difficult here, but now weve got a challenge to get on top of things. We know the tyres well and have used them in previous Grands Prix, but it seems more difficult to achieve a good balance with them here. Its due to a combination of things I think, such as the track conditions and temperatures, but it means were going to struggle a bit this weekend. I could be wrong mind! An alternative quote is that everythings great and I cant wait till tomorrow!
Vitantonio Liuzzi, third driver, Red Bull (19th, 1m 14.141s):
That was not so easy. We had a problem in the first session when we had a puncture. That made things more difficult as we had to adapt our programme, which had been pretty aggressive and couldnt push so hard. In the second session, we had good long runs; we werent going for fast lap times, but were concentrating on making sure we had the right tyres for the weekend. Im pretty happy about the handling of the car. Its a difficult circuit here because the long straight is uphill and you need a lot of power; if the balance of the car isnt good, youll struggle. But, I think we found a good base today and David and Christian will have to work on the cars handling before the qualifying session tomorrow.
Christian Klien, Red Bull (20th, 1m 14.468s):
The first free practice was pretty good. I was quick on both types of tyres and had good balance in the car. However, in the second practice, I lost the rear of the car and spun. It was a strange spin as I went on to the brakes as I normally do, but think I hit a bump or something. I just lost the rear, spun and went backwards into the tyre wall.
Christijan Albers, Minardi (21st, 1m 14.563s):
"I think it was quite a hard day today because this is my first time in Brazil and I didn't do so much running this morning - only three flying laps. Then we started to go well at the beginning of the second session and were able to do a considerable amount of work. The car balance was good and we could turn consistent laps. When we did our new-tyre run, though, there was just too much traffic, so it wasn't possible to set a really good time. We'll just press on with our work tomorrow."
Tiago Monteiro, Jordan (22nd, 1m 14.671s):
It was a good first trouble-free day I guess. We had no issues at all. We tried different car setups to suit the very bumpy track. We have to find a compromise between the bumps and the downforce. Its still not ideal but we have two more free practice sessions tomorrow to improve the balance of the car. We are not too far from the front runners so as a whole it was a positive day.
Nicolas Kiesa, third driver, Jordan (23rd, 1m 15.094s):
It went pretty well today considering the fact that the last time I drove here at Interlagos was in F3000 in 2002 and my physical condition was not good enough at that time. I was wondering how it was going to be driving a Formula One car and I was glad to see that it was not a problem. I struggled a little bit to find a good car balance as the track surface is very bumpy and dirty. I have tested different types of Bridgestone tyres and now we have to make our choice for tomorrow.
Narain Karthikeyan, Jordan (24th, 1m 15.187s):
We had a reasonable opening day at Interlagos today. I think we have found the right tyres. Unfortunately on my flying lap, I had a car in front of me so my last sector was a bit slow. But apart from the traffic, I am relatively satisfied with the balance of my car. The circuit was very green at the beginning but it improved considerably in the afternoon.