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British Grand Prix - driver preview quotes 08 Jun 2006

Jenson Button (GBR) Honda Racing F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, 25 May 2006 Jacques Villeneuve (CDN) BMW Sauber F1.06.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Barcelona, Spain, 12 May 2006 Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, San Marino Grand Prix, Preparations, Imola, Italy, 20 April 2006 David Coulthard (GBR) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sepang, Malaysia, 16 March 2006

Silverstone presents a slightly different challenge for the drivers this year. Less power (V8 as opposed to V10) and more grip (tyre changes allowing the use of stickier rubber) means their right foot will be closer to the floor for more of the time - and they can’t wait…

Jenson Button, Honda
2005 Qualifying - 3rd, 2005 Race - 5th

"The British Grand Prix is my home race and it's a very emotional weekend for me. I'm very patriotic and having the support of all the British fans, to hear them chanting your name, is such a fantastic feeling. Silverstone is a very special circuit, it's incredibly fast with a long complex of high-speed corners which quite literally takes your breath away. The change of direction is so quick there that you really feel the speed of the car. You need good aerodynamics at Silverstone so this is where all the hard work in the wind tunnel before the race pays off. We've also done a lot of track testing at Barcelona, which is a high-speed circuit, to prepare for this race. We're aiming to get both cars in the points this weekend, it's going to be tough for us as we're just not on front-running pace at the moment, but I'm sure we will get the maximum possible out of the car."

Rubens Barrichello, Honda
2005 Qualifying - 6th, 2005 Race - 7th

"Silverstone is just a fantastic circuit. It's a high-speed track with some challenging corners, and although overtaking can be a bit difficult around here, it's a track that I really enjoy driving. I've spent a great deal of time both testing and racing at Silverstone since I was young, so it holds some special memories for me. Of course the most special of those is my win from pole position back in 2003. We had a solid test in Barcelona last week to prepare for Silverstone, looking specifically at the car set-up and the tyres for this race, so I'm feeling fairly comfortable going into the weekend."

Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber
2005 Qualifying - 14th, 2005 Race - 12th

"Silverstone is a classic in the racing calendar and a circuit that all the drivers and teams know very well because a lot of testing is done there. At the end of April we spent three days there with the BMW Sauber F1 Team. It's a challenging track with a couple of fast corners. The Becketts combination, in particular, is great fun. But you also feel the wind there, which sometimes blasts in across the flat terrain.

“The other thing I like about this grand prix is the well-informed fans. England has a lot of genuine motor sport enthusiasts. They aren't so much interested in the personalities as in the sport itself.

“Bad weather is something of a tradition in England. Rain doesn't bother me; in fact it can add a bit of extra excitement. Fog, as in Spa, has been known to cause delays to the start of practice at Silverstone, even if visibility on the track is okay. No driving is allowed as long as weather conditions aren't good enough to allow for the potential use of the emergency helicopter."

Jacques Villeneuve, BMW Sauber
2005 Qualifying - 11th, 2005 Race - 14th

"Since Monaco I have been busy. Not only have I done two days of testing, but I also found time to get married! This has been a very happy time for me and Johanna. We were married in front of our close family and friends and it was very special for both of us. We have also received many great messages, but now I have to concentrate on the race ahead, which I am looking forward to as I have won the British Grand Prix twice at Silverstone. There is always a big crowd, a great one, and it is a passionate one, so that makes it fun.

“It has gone better for us recently in the race than in qualifying and it is the type of track I like racing on, although I am not a big fan of qualifying there for some reason. Maybe it is the way we set the car up. Compared to other tracks, there are a lot of high-speed corners at Silverstone where we carry a lot of speed into them without braking. It is difficult to overtake on and quite a physical race.

“At the test we had there we were not extremely competitive, but the track has some fun corners to drive, even though I am not that fond of the two chicanes. Turn one can be fun and this year it will be flat out in qualifying for a few laps, so that could make it fun."

Robert Kubica, third driver, BMW Sauber
2005 Qualifying - NA, 2005 Race - NA

"Silverstone is nice, I did three days there at our recent test. There are some really fast corners, and the first sector is especially quick, with the first corner flat out. The track is a completely different challenge to Monaco and it will be good to see how well we perform. I am looking forward to going there. It was four years ago - in 2002 - that I was racing there in a Formula Renault.

“I think the weather might be a bit cold. We have to make sure our tyre temperatures are high enough after problems at the beginning of the season in cold conditions. I am looking forward to a weekend with good practice sessions on Friday."

Tiago Monteiro, Midland
2005 Qualifying - 20th, 2005 Race - 17th

"Silverstone is our home race, so obviously it will be very important for the drivers and the whole team to do well here. There will be lots of fans and sponsors in the stands, as well as many employees and their families, which should make for a fun atmosphere. We do a fair amount of testing here, so we are familiar with the set-up, but weather conditions are always changing and that can make things quite tricky. All in all, I'm looking forward to it, as quick tracks like this one are among my favourites. We missed a good opportunity in Monaco, where we showed good pace all weekend, so I am more motivated than ever to do well and hopefully, score our first points."

Christijan Albers, Midland
2005 Qualifying - 18th, 2005 Race - 18th

"I am really looking forward to Silverstone. I have been testing there a few times this year, so it's a circuit that I know well. The Midland factory is situated in Silverstone next to the track, and the whole team there is working very hard to make progress. For them it's their home race, so it's a very important race for all of us."

Giorgio Mondini, third driver, Midland
2005 Qualifying - NA, 2005 Race - NA

"I like this circuit, having tested there already with the team earlier this year. It's always been a very difficult, technical track, but now that cornering speeds are higher than ever before, you really need to place the car very carefully to ensure a good flow through the corners. I think it's going to be a good test for all the drivers. I'm encouraged by the progress we've been making during the last few races so hopefully, with some luck, we'll be able to make the most of it this weekend."

Takuma Sato, Super Aguri
2005 Qualifying - 8th, 2005 Race - 16th

"The British Grand Prix always feels like my second home race as I used to live in the UK and I have great memories of driving at Silverstone from my Junior Formulae days. I very much like the circuit layout; the first part features high-speed, flowing corners which are really great to drive and the last section features the tough complex which is also challenging on the engineering side as it requires good mechanical grip. The weather always plays a key role at this race, so I am hoping for a dry, sunny weekend and a good result for the team."

Franck Montagny, Super Aguri
2005 Qualifying - NA, 2005 Race - NA

“I am very much looking forward to the British Grand Prix because it is the home race for the team members who are based at our factory in Leafield. I think that it will be a good race, very different from the Grands Prix we have been to so far for sure. The weather will be a lot colder, but the atmosphere should be great. We collected a lot of data during the race in Monaco, much more than we had before, so I think that it will be cool and we will be able to make further progress at Silverstone this week.”

Fernando Alonso, Renault
2005 Qualifying - 1st, 2005 Race - 2nd

“I am feeling very confident ahead of this race. We had a good test at Silverstone and we know that the characteristics of the circuit are good for the R26, so there is no reason to think we won't be fighting at the front. There is no point making big predictions, saying we will definitely win. Ferrari will be very strong, McLaren maybe as well if they can maintain their speed from Monaco. It will not be an easy weekend, but I certainly think we can be fighting for the win.”

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault
2005 Qualifying - 7th, 2005 Race - 4th

“Silverstone is a fantastic circuit. It is very important to do well there: we have all the people from Enstone watching us, so that makes the weekend even more important. I really enjoy racing there: the high-speed corners in the first sector especially are very exciting for the drivers. This is definitely one of the special races of the season.

“I was quickest there when we tested in April so for sure, I expect to be right up at the front of the field. I think this is one of the circuits for our package. Ferrari will be the main competitors, I think, and probably very close in terms of performance. But I think we have the performance to win the race this weekend.”

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren
2005 Qualifying - 2nd, 2005 Race - 3rd

"The British Grand Prix is one I really want to win, as with Monaco it is another of the legendary races on a great track, and of course a home race for the team. Overtaking is possible, so pole position is not so important as in Monaco. I think there will be some different strategies come race day. When we were testing here in late April, the lap times were quicker than in 2005 because we are faster through the corners this year, most of the time has been found in the mid corner performance. This is partly because the smaller V8 engines allow new aero opportunities and also improved Michelin performance from last year. Where this had the most effect was at Copse, which is even quicker now than before, as it has always been one of the fastest we race through. You have to be flat through the right hander, otherwise you lose a lot of time, however because it is now quicker than before you have to be very precise, it has made the corner more of a challenge."

Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren
2005 Qualifying - 4th, 2005 Race - 1st

"It was great to be back on the podium at Monaco and everyone in the team has continued to push hard since to try and find more performance in the car for the British Grand Prix. Silverstone is a great track, with some really exciting corners, I love to race at it and I hope we can repeat the result from last year when I took my debut victory for the team in front of our home crowd. It is such a contrast to the streets of Monte Carlo, it is all about super fast corners and pushing the limits of the car. The Maggots - Becketts - Chapel sequence at the start of the lap is awesome, you have to push really hard through here, so long as you have the good balance you need, and are changing direction so quickly, hooking up the apexes, it is great fun! In addition to needing good balance, it is important to find a set-up compromise between high speed stability for much of the track and good grip to ensure we are also quick for the slower corners at the end of the circuit. Silverstone tends to be quite hard on the tyres, the left front sees the greatest wear because of the fast right hand corners."

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari
2005 Qualifying - 10th, 2005 Race - 6th

"Silverstone is one of the circuits with the longest traditions in our sport. I have always enjoyed it and this time too I cannot wait to take on the track. It is a fantastic circuit and one on which the car needs to be set up and balanced well. I enjoy challenges like this and I am sure that we will be able to perform admirably in our single-seater. What I also like about Silverstone is that the fans are very knowledgeable. They are supporters who really love Formula 1 and there are lots of them so it is natural that you want to do your best.

"We have to try to do well considering the current situation in the world championship. It is obvious that we have to close the gap in the standings and we are determined to do it from the next Grand Prix on. Last week's test session went well and we have every reason to be optimistic for the weekend. Let there be no doubts: our aim in going to England is to win!"

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota
2005 Qualifying - 9th, 2005 Race - 8th

"You can't really talk about the British Grand Prix without mentioning the weather. Indeed, the fact that we are racing at Silverstone in June - a month earlier than its traditional July date - means that it is an important factor in our preparations. The team will spend more time than usual looking at wet strategy. We also have to leave our options open for set-up as the weekend progresses because there is always a chance of a shower. But even in the dry the wind can be a factor because the surrounding area is so flat. The first half of the lap is particularly prone to wind changes and that can affect a quick lap. It was difficult to assess the TF106B around the twisty Monaco circuit. But we should have a clearer picture at Silverstone and I'm sure we will have better results."

Jarno Trulli, Toyota
2005 Qualifying - 5th, 2005 Race - 9th

"Silverstone is a long and demanding circuit from both a driving and an engineering perspective. Finding a set-up for the entire lap is a challenge because the track has every type of corner. You need traction out of the slow corners and efficient aero through the faster corners. Becketts is the most fun part of the circuit but a driver needs to be committed everywhere to get the most out of the lap time. So a well balanced car is crucial to respond to the range of features on the track and to let the driver push to the limit. Monaco was not the right place to judge the TF106B but the car behaved well in the race. It has also showed promise during testing so I'm confident the car is a step forward but we can't yet say how much. We'll head to Silverstone hoping for a stronger weekend. After my difficult run this year I'm ready for a change of luck!"

Mark Webber, Williams
2005 Qualifying - 12th, 2005 Race - 11th

“Although I wasn’t involved in this week’s test at Barcelona, I know part of our programme was to try a few different things to help our performance at the British Grand Prix. Barcelona is not dissimilar to Silverstone and, based upon our performance there in the Spanish Grand Prix, we have a lot of improving to do. Unfortunately, our Monaco pace will have no relevance whatsoever to next weekend at Silverstone as it requires totally different characteristics from the car.

“Of course, having lived in England for the past six or so years, Silverstone is almost like a second ‘home’ Grand Prix for me. It’s good to be able to go home each night and enjoy the familiar comfort of my own house, and also being able to share the weekend with friends and family which I don’t often get to do. Being a British-based team, this race is always an important one for WilliamsF1 too, both in terms of entertaining sponsors and enabling the factory-based members of staff to be a part of the weekend.”

Nico Rosberg, Williams
2005 Qualifying - NA, 2005 Race - NA

“Silverstone is a very exciting track. I already have quite a lot of experience of it as I have done lots of testing there, especially with the V10 engine last year. I don't think we are going to be as strong there as we were in Monaco, but I think we can still score some points. During the intensive test in Barcelona last week, we managed to improve many things, Cosworth, in particular, have made another good step forward with the engine.”