Friday practice - selected driver quotes 12 May 2006
The teams do huge amounts of testing at Barcelonas Circuit de Catalunya, hence many of them chose to carry out minimal running on Friday, particularly in the damp first session. The drivers report back on their progress. Note - all positions and times refer to Practice 2.
Anthony Davidson, third driver, Honda (1st, 1m 16.533s):
"It feels really good to be back at the top of the timesheets. The car feels a lot better than it did in the first session but we still have a lot of work to do to get the best out of it for the race. For me, tyre evaluation was the name of the game. Our work today has paid off and we have some interesting results to look through tonight. A good start to the weekend I'd say."
Robert Doornbos, third driver, Red Bull (2nd, +0.291s):
That was good. Ive never driven here in the wet before, so I was surprised to see it raining this morning. It dried out pretty quick though, which meant we were able to do our job. We did two long runs this afternoon, the second of which was very consistent and quick. I made a 180 spin at one point and the marshals helped me back onto the track - so thanks to them for that!
Fernando Alonso, Renault (3rd, +0.327s):
It was fantastic to start running today in Barcelona. After months of testing here with empty grandstands, I think all the drivers will have enjoyed driving in front of some spectators, not just me! But I don't think that the Friday at any other circuit has the same level of emotion as we saw from the fans today, it was wonderful to see them all around the circuit. In terms of our programme, it was all OK. We checked the tyres and didn't have any big problems, because the results were quite similar to the test. I am looking forward to qualifying and the race, and I hope I can give the fans something to enjoy!
Alexander Wurz, third driver, Williams (4th, +0.542s):
We lost a bit of time in the morning session because it was wet, but in the end we managed to get through all our programme and concluded our tyre comparison. Now we have to sit down and analyse the data and decide how we want to play our strategy. We covered everything, so we have collected sufficient information, but nevertheless the tyre choice wont be easy as all options are open to us at the moment.
Christian Klien, Red Bull (5th, +0.553s):
I only did an installation lap this morning, but I was happy with the cars balance straight away. It was a pretty positive Friday for us, as there were only test drivers and Alonso ahead of me so its quite good, quite promising. But, that said, we have to wait to see what we can do for the rest of the weekend. Its only Friday and things often get shuffled up on Saturday.
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (6th, +0.567s):
I am very happy with the work we have done today, centred on the Bridgestone tyres and on adapting the 248 F1 to the track conditions. Compared with the last time we were here we have a few updates on the car and steps forward with the tyres. I think we can be competitive, even though we have yet to go into detail on the data. There are a lot of factors to consider. Looking at the times this morning we were quick and the good thing is that this afternoon, over a longer distance we were both quick and consistent, so the situation looks pretty good.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (7th, +0.758s):
Today wasn't perfect for us and I think we still have quite a lot of room for improvement. At the moment, the car does not feel fantastic. Compared to the test, the track is very slippery and the grip is quite low. The balance of the car was pretty good, but we need to improve the grip level of the car for tomorrow.
Jenson Button, Honda (8th, +0.881s):
"It was very windy out there today and it's difficult to get a good balance in those conditions. There was also a lot of traffic which affected pretty much every lap. It's always very different to the test because the conditions change from day to day but the basic car balance is okay. There are a few things we need to work on tonight but generally I'm pleased with the start we've made to the weekend."
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (9th, +0.884s):
"We've had a pretty straightforward day today. We are still looking for our real race pace and that's what I focused on today because we know the car is quick in qualifying. It's looking good so far but we still have a lot of work to do to prepare for tomorrow and Sunday."
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (10th, +0.973s):
"Today was a pretty painless start to the weekend. The car felt okay, we had no problems and we made it through our tyre programme. I haven't had many good results in Barcelona in the past, but I do like the track. It is a difficult circuit to drive and a very good test for car performance. Our car is well balanced and we have good race pace so we will hope to perform well over the rest of the weekend. The whole team has high expectations but we could certainly do with some points for both the drivers' and the constructors' championships. We narrowly missed out last week and we have to keep pushing for more on Sunday."
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (11th, +1.077s):
"I struggled for performance during the race at the European Grand Prix last week but now we have understood what happened and found some issues we had with the set-up. So we hope to avoid a repeat of the problem and I'm sure that we can do better here. We were quite competitive at the last test that we had at this circuit. The conditions are likely to be different this weekend but nevertheless I am confident. Today was a normal Friday of tyre comparisons. We had some graining so we still have a bit of work to do. But if everything goes well during the weekend then I'm sure that we can claim a good result. I've made the podium here in the last two years so I'm definitely confident heading into Sunday."
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (12th, +1.089s):
We had a trouble free day with everything running smoothly, and my work included the tyre comparisons.
Robert Kubica, third driver, BMW Sauber (13th, +1.311s):
In the morning the track was wet, so we had to wait for it to dry and there was no grip. We concentrated on tyre testing, and this went pretty well. We need to be sure of the right decisions for the race and we have come to some conclusions, so that is important. In the second free practice the track had a lot of rubber so I got a lot of understeer, but I had to complete my programme so could not adjust the car. Obviously the more rubber that is laid down the better the track will get, and so tomorrow it should be pretty good.
Mark Webber, Williams (14th, +1.375s):
We got through our programme today and although we do plenty of mileage here in testing, it is still worth doing set-up work and we have produced some good information for tonight. The tyres seem to be working well and together with all the data we have, we will work on developing a good balance for the car for tomorrow.
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (15th, +1.400s):
"Following my regular meeting with the engineers yesterday we decided that it would not be necessary to run in the first session this morning. I was scheduled to complete two timed laps this afternoon which I did. So an easy and trouble-free start to the weekend."
Jacques Villeneuve, BMW Sauber (16th, +1.474s):
It is very windy so the track is very different to when we were here testing, and as well as that it is a lot hotter. I did a couple of runs. One was with high fuel for the race, as I am going to have to start from the back, so I have been concentrating on that. This is not a good overtaking track so it will be tough to move to the front.
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (17th, +1.690s):
This weekend has got off on the right foot. The day went very well and we worked almost exclusively on the Bridgestone tyres, obviously looking towards the race. Michael and I split the work load, using different types of tyre. Today I was not trying to do a time but just wanted to understand how the tyres performed over a long run. I am very satisfied with the 248 F1 and what we achieved today.
Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (18th, +1.728s):
"I merely did an installation lap with my new engine this morning and then a short run this afternoon to evaluate our options for the weekend. My left mirror came loose and I had to pull it off, but no problem. So far so good, and I look forward to the rest of the weekend."
Nico Rosberg, Williams (19th, +1.750s):
The track was quite different today from the last time we were here testing. As I didnt do any running in this mornings session when the track was much quicker, the car felt a bit strange at the beginning of the second session. After a few laps, when I got used to the track conditions and we had made some adjustments, I felt quite comfortable in the car. Towards the end of the afternoon we found a good pace, so all in all I am happy. Its been a productive day and I have also learned a couple of useful things for tomorrow and Sunday.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (20th, +1.877s):
We had a few things we wanted to check on the car today, so we didnt really follow our normal Friday test programme. We do a lot of laps in testing here though, so we should be okay.
Neel Jani, third driver, Toro Rosso (21st, +2.241s):
As usual I did a lot of laps, running pretty much a race simulation all day long in both sessions, mainly tyre work. We tried to do the best in the limited time. We also found out some interesting things in terms of set-up, but I think finding the right tyre will be very interesting! Im pleased with my lap time.
Giorgio Mondini, third driver, Midland (22nd, +2.377s):
"I'm very thankful to all my mechanics and engineers - they are really good, and today they demonstrated why they are at the top level of racing. We had some problems with the car in the morning and we lost some time trying to find out what it was, but more importantly, they solved the problem and made the car much quicker in the process. It's always a shame to miss out on track time, but I'm happy to sacrifice it if it makes the car better. We only used five sets of tyres out of the seven, and obviously we could have gone quicker if we'd had the time to use them all. We're moving in the right direction, and with a little bit of work, I think Tiago and Christijan should be able to go in the low one-seventeens in qualifying tomorrow."
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (23rd, +2.724s):
We didnt do much running, so its actually quite hard to know exactly where we are here. As we expected we are definitely losing out to the others in performance terms here with the very long straight. But generally the car is working quite well, no problems in the fast turns, but the hardest thing to sort out now will be the right choice between the two tyres.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (24th, +2.801s):
I hardly did any laps this morning, but I am pretty happy about the performance and the balance of the car. We struggled a bit with the tyres as this track is very demanding on them. The race set-up looks quite good but we still have some work to do on it.
Christijan Albers, Midland (25th, +2.825s):
"It's going to be a long night, because we are further off than we expected. So we need to work really hard to get on the pace for tomorrow. We need to find out why the speed is not there. Everyone here is doing a good job, and I'm confident we'll get it solved, but that doesn't mean we are happy, because we clearly need to improve. The lap time is just not good enough right now, and we've got to get that worked out for tomorrow."
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (26th, +3.083s):
We did not do much running this morning due to the weather conditions, but towards the end of that session and by the end of the second session we had completed our full programme. We did some performance runs and it was encouraging to see that the balance of the car has improved and that the lap time and speed was much better, so we are happy with what we have been able to achieve today.
Tiago Monteiro, Midland (27th, +3.778s):
"It was short day for me. Obviously, we didn't run in the morning because of the track conditions. This afternoon, we restricted ourselves to running on the same tyre to evaluate different electronic settings - traction control, anti-lock braking, that kind of thing - and we realised that we have an understeer issue, which I'm really struggling with at the moment, so we need to work on that. To be fair, all the work we've done on the electronic side has drastically changed the handling characteristics of the car since last week, which should be for the better. It's just that now we need to understand how to set the car up for that. So I'm going to work hard with the engineers tonight to get it sorted for tomorrow. Overall, though, I think it's a positive point that we discovered the extra potential to be gained from the electronics."
Franck Montagny, Super Aguri (28th, +5.689s):
It was a very difficult day for me. This morning I completed only three laps because we had a hydraulic problem. This afternoon we did not find a good set-up for the car; it was very difficult to control, a lot of snap oversteer and many more issues. I do believe that we will find something right as Taku is fast here, but I think that we have a hard weekend coming.