Friday practice - selected team and driver quotes 10 Sep 2010
McLarens Monza-friendly MP4-25 confirmed everyones suspicions on Friday morning, with Jenson Button leading the timesheets. But in the afternoon Red Bulls Sebastian Vettel and the two Ferraris had found their footing on the Italian circuit. The leading drivers and their rivals reflect on their early progress at Monza
Sebastian Vettel, P1 - 1:23.790, 2nd; P2 - 1:22.839, 1st
It was quite good today. Its a Friday, so the lap times vary and you don't know what the fuel loads are, but Im quite confident. It looks better for us here than it did a year ago. Obviously here is no KERS this year, which helps us. We need to be patient and well see the true pace tomorrow. McLaren is extremely quick and their cars went off a couple of times, so I don't know if they had a clean afternoon. Ferrari was quick in the afternoon too, it will be tight. Its a short lap here with a lot of short straights and not so many corners - the gap between cars will be very small.
Mark Webber, P1 - 1:24.446, 6th; P2 - 1:23.415, 6th
I lost water pressure in P2 and had to stop the car, which compromised our running a little bit, but we still got some good information today. The car is going pretty well. I have to find a little bit of lap time myself, but the car is performing and Im quite happy. We'll see how we go tomorrow, but we're in the ballpark which is nice. Ferrari look strong as well.
Fernando Alonso, P1 - 1:24.543, 8th; P2 - 1:22.915, 2nd
We are pleased with what we achieved in these two free practice sessions. We tried different aerodynamic configurations and now we must study the data carefully to make the right choices for tomorrow and Sunday. This track requires a low level of aerodynamic downforce, but you need to find the right compromise, especially so as not to prejudice stability under braking: its true that top speed is important, but it is not everything. Between the two sessions, we made some changes on the car which seem to have moved us in the right direction, but we must keep in mind that we ran with various difference fuel levels. We have seen before that Fridays results are very often turned on their head on Saturday, therefore I definitely dont want to make any predictions. We have to focus on ourselves and do our utmost in qualifying and especially on Sunday, in the race. It will not be easy, because once again, Red Bull is proving to be very competitive and McLaren seems to be as strong as predicted.
Felipe Massa, P1 - 1:24.648, 9th; P2 - 1:23.061, 3rd
At the end of the second session, I tried to copy Kimi and do a bit of rallying Joking apart, I was really lucky when I went off the track. I was heading for my best time, when I found myself in Michaels wake at the Parabolica and went off: I kept the accelerator pressed down in the hope I would manage to avoid hitting the barrier and I managed it, so I came straight back to the pits. Unfortunately, the car was slightly damaged, so I had to miss out on the final part of our programme. However, overall, it has been a good day in which we constantly improved. We had a lot of work to get through and at the start we struggled a bit, but then we found a good set-up and in the end I was reasonably happy with my car. We learned a lot about the handling of the F10 and now we have plenty of data to analyse to prepare as well as possible for what is such an important event, this being the Scuderias home race.
Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari team principal
My heart missed a beat when Felipe ended up in the gravel. It was lucky he did not end up in the barrier, as his car was going pretty quickly at the time. It was a shame, as he was improving his lap time, even if we know that Friday times count for little or nothing. The important thing is that we acquired a substantial amount of data which we will now use to prepare our cars as well as possible. This is an important event for us, both because it is our home race and because we are all aware of the situation in both championships. We will try and do the maximum, for ourselves and for our fans, although we know we are up against stiff opposition.
Chris Dyer, Ferrari chief engineer
We are reasonably pleased with how things went for this first day of the Italian Grand Prix. We had established a very intensive work schedule and we completed the bulk of it, but for Felipes last run, when he went off the track. Fortunately, Fernando managed to complete that part of the work with no trouble, so we will be able to use the data he acquired when we tackle the analysis which awaits us this afternoon and evening. We tested various aerodynamic configurations, albeit always using the blown rear wing. Studying the times, we dont look that bad, but we have to evaluate these results, taking into account the usual unknown factors and keeping in mind that some teams might not have shown all their cards: we will not know the truth until tomorrow afternoon at three oclock, when qualifying is over.
Lewis Hamilton, P1 - 1:23.967, 3rd; P2 - 1:23.154, 4th
We had two good practice sessions today. This morning, in P1, we ran with the higher-downforce package, and the car felt good, but it wasnt as fast along the straights as weve experienced in the past. During P2, I was using a different downforce package to Jenson - running with a lower-downforce rear wing and without the F-duct - so we need to go through all the data tonight to decide which approach works best. Both configurations were quick, so were not in a bad position. The two different packages felt fairly similar - one is slower down the straights but quicker through the corners, and the other is quicker down the straights but slower through the corners - and they pretty much balance themselves out over the course of a lap. As I say, we havent yet decided what to run tomorrow; its about determining which is better on high fuel, and whether theres more potential in one over the other. Well decide this evening. Im not totally sure how I managed to damage the front-wing endplate this afternoon - I may have clipped one of the kerbs, but it was easily fixed and not a problem.
Jenson Button, P1 - 1:23.693, 1st; P2 - 1:23.210, 5th
Lewis and I were trying out different levels of downforce today - gathering data to see what works best around here. I stayed with the F-duct and higher-downforce package, and was reasonably happy. The day started well for me, but as we changed more things I grew just a bit less happy with the car. In general, however, its working well - there are still a few improvements we need to make to be completely happy, but thats mostly tweaking rather than making big changes. We have a lot of data to go through, so it will be a busy night tonight. But were pretty competitive with both packages, which is positive because it means the car is working efficiently. Our car is mechanically strong, so we just need to confirm what downforce level to run. The team are very open to the decisions the drivers take, and Lewis and I will be able to choose the package that we feel is right for us - but it wont just be a driver decision, it will be made with our engineers and the team management.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
Coming to a high-speed circuit like Monza without the benefit of pre-race testing really sharpens your game. Today, we spent the day running two significantly different bodywork iterations, trying both high- and low-downforce configurations in an effort to understand their effects - not only on a flying lap but across the course of an entire race. Its pleasing to report that both packages appear competitive. Our aim now is to comprehensively analyse the data we generated today in order to find the optimum path for each driver over the course of the rest of the weekend. Given the amount of data, and the parity of each package, thats no easy task - but, as always, Im entirely confident that our engineering team will make the right decisions, and that well be in the hunt for the remainder of the weekend.
Rubens Barrichello, P1 - 1:28.516, 23rd; P2 - 1:23.708, 7th
Obviously we had a little problem this morning and lost a bit of track time, but we caught up well this afternoon. In summary, we look good. That said, we will have to work hard to maintain our relative position, so I am pleased, but I am taking nothing for granted.
Nico Hulkenberg, P1 - 1:24.841, 11th; P2 - 1:23.852, 9th
It was a very positive Friday as far as I am concerned and I am very happy with the car right now. Hopefully it will be more of the same tomorrow and we will be able to put both cars inside the top ten. I think were looking pretty competitive and we need to keep up the momentum that we have found today.
Sam Michael, Williams technical director
Today was a good days work from the team to get through all of our programme, which included checking new aero parts, set-up and evaluating drag level. We had one issue in the morning with a gearbox input shaft failure on Rubens car that cost him P1, but he recovered well in P2 to get through the items he wanted to test. On Nico's car, we ran a solid program all day. Now we're looking at set-up for tomorrow afternoon and we expect it will be a tight session.
Robert Kubica, P1 - 1:24.120, 4th; P2 - 1:23.709, 8th
Monza is an unusual circuit because of the aero levels we run and also the feeling for the drivers. We have to get used to the car with low downforce - although using the f-duct means that the change is not as extreme as in the past, because we can run with more wing. It's still difficult to get the braking points and also to use the kerbs in the right way, especially because they have been changed so we are not able to jump over them as much as before. Overall, we seem to be in our normal position, but we need to analyse the data tonight to see the areas in which we can improve.
Vitaly Petrov, P1 - 1:25.292, 13th; P2 - 1:24.407, 13th
Today went okay for me, but it was a learning day to get used to the lower downforce levels we use here in Monza, which make the car quite interesting to drive. You can feel the car moving a lot more, so you have to be very precise with your driving and not make any small mistakes. Unfortunately, I lost the final part of the second session because of a problem with the brakes, but overall the car was running well. We still need to find a few tenths to get inside the top ten because the gaps are very small here, but I am sure we can make some good improvements overnight.
Alan Permane, Renault chief race engineer
We took a fairly typical approach for Monza. We have to keep an eye on our top speeds much more here than at other circuits, to ensure we are competitive with the quickest cars on the straights, and we also did tyre comparisons as well as running with both low and high fuel loads. In terms of performance, Vitaly lost running time because of a brake problem at the end of the session, while Robert had traffic on his fastest laps. I am confident that there's more performance to come tomorrow. We ran the F-duct on both cars in both sessions today. On Robert's car this afternoon, we also tried using different downforce levels, and we must evaluate the results before making our decision on the ultimate configuration we will run tomorrow. We also monitored what other teams were doing, and saw some running with and without the F-duct, which is something that we will have to take into account. But the decision will be driven by our own data. The circuit temperatures were much higher for the second session, and the wind had picked up a bit, too, but it didn't have a huge effect. The lap times were pretty similar to this morning, which probably means that the circuit had rubbered in more, but also that it lost some grip with the higher temperatures. Although we have seen rain here in the past few days, no more is forecast for the rest of the weekend.
Nico Rosberg, P1 - 1:24.129, 5th; P2 - 1:23.857, 10th
"Today was ok and the car is generally working well which meant that we could do some useful fine-tuning of our set-up. The tyres seem straightforward and I was happy with my long runs and the consistency that we were able to achieve. I had an issue with understeer through the faster parts of the track so we need to try to resolve that overnight. Our top speed looks reasonable so tomorrow will be about extracting the maximum from the car at its current level."
Michael Schumacher, P1 - 1:24.756, 10th; P2 - 1:24.448, 14th
"Monza has always been a great track to drive and from the sensations and the emotions that I experienced out there today, it feels just like it did over the many years that I have raced here previously. Our performance today does not look too bad, especially in the first sector where we worked a lot on top speed, and look quite good. We are using our F-duct and it worked well given that the benefits on this track, where you have to use a small rear wing, are naturally much smaller than on other circuits. I am looking forward to what will hopefully be an enjoyable weekend."
Ross Brawn, Mercedes GP team principal
"We've had a reasonable start today with the car and our specific aero package working pretty much as we had expected. Nico and Michael achieved consistent running throughout the day which enabled us to get through our test programme including work on the F-duct. We have a few issues to resolve overnight but it has been a decent start to the weekend."
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"Our lap times in race trim looked not too bad today. Our target is to achieve reasonable grid positions tomorrow with both cars and then have a good and consistent race on Sunday which will hopefully see Nico and Michael in the points again."
Adrian Sutil, P1 - no time; P2 - 1:24.181, 11th
Overall the afternoon went well for me. We did some general tests with balance and wing levels. The balance was okay, but we still not at the pace that I was hoping for and looking for. But anyway tomorrow should be a good day for us.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, P1 - 1:24.512, 7th; P2 - 1:24.380, 12th
It was a very good Friday. We did a lot of work, especially in FP1, to understand and take a decision on the F-Duct, to see if it was a benefit or not. In the afternoon we concentrated mainly on tyre work. Overall I think the car balance is not quite right, we still have to work a bit on braking and handling. But we have got a clear picture for tomorrow, and weve tried all the different situations, with and without fuel, with and without the F-Duct. The others have made a step forward compared to last year, so its not going to be an easy race, but were confident that we can score some good points.
Paul di Resta, P1 - 1:24.923, 12th; P2 - no time
Its the first time Ive driven here, and Monza is clearly quite a special track. One side of the track is very open, and then you are in the middle of the forest in the other part! Its also different because its all high speed, and all braking. Its also the first time Ive driven the car in low downforce trim. Its a bit of a shock because the braking stability is not there, and braking areas are longer. I played myself in, and I didnt want to flat spot a tyre or anything, because the circuit was going to improve at the end of the session. I think its quite promising so far. As usual I would love to have gone out in the second session, but at least its another track Ive learned!
Dominic Harlow, Force India chief race engineer
We had great conditions in Monza today. It was a very productive day, with Paul and Tonio running in the first session, and Adrian taking over to run alongside Tonio in the afternoon. Obviously we are looking at downforce levels and rear wing set-up for the high-speed nature of the track. Weve been evaluating our Monza aero package, and generally were very pleased with how its gone. Its very close amongst the teams from P4 onwards, and overall we think our race performance looks fairly strong.
Sebastien Buemi, P1 - 1:25.318, 14th; P2 - 1:24.517, 15th
We started the morning with some new components to try on the car, specifically a low exhaust configuration and an F-duct, which we are just beginning to test, even if it still requires a lot of work. After a few laps, as planned, we removed it and concentrated on understanding the car in the Monza low downforce configuration and the results were not too bad. We ran both types of tyre and even the Softs are good enough to do a lot of laps. It was a productive day, with answers to a lot of questions, which is an encouraging starting point for tomorrow. The car seems to have a good top speed down the straights, which is always useful here. Now we need to work more on the second and third sectors where we are losing a bit of time.
Jaime Alguersuari, P1 - 1:25.897, 17th; P2 - 1:25.106, 18th
We got through a lot of work today, as we tested a lot of elements on the car, which has given us plenty of data to analyse, particularly as Sebastien and I split the workload trying different things. I think we can be pleased with our days work, running the car with different levels of downforce to make a comparison, although I had to stop a bit before the end this afternoon with a technical problem which the engineers are looking at now. There is much more potential in the car and as we usually find more performance on Saturday I am optimistic that this will be the case again here. I feel much more confident in dealing with the special challenge of Monza than I did last year, but to be honest, I prefer circuits with a few more corners, even if its always nice to drive a Formula 1 car wherever we are!
Laurent Mekies, Toro Rosso chief engineer
Today, we used the first half hour in the morning on Sebastiens car as an aero test of our F-duct, doing constant speed runs. It was never our intention to run it for this weekend, but it was useful in terms of gathering data. After that, we came back to the usual programme, with both drivers getting used to the downforce levels at this track, which are the lowest of the year. Sebastien had a useful day, completing his programme, while unfortunately with Jaime, we had to stop him before the end of the second session, because of a mechanical issue on the car. Fortunately, in the morning he did some very useful work on set-up, which will give us enough data tonight to make the best choices for tomorrow and the race. We ran the low exhaust on both cars throughout the day for the first time and we had no issues with this. However, there will be a lot of work to do tonight to ensure the new system can be used on Sunday, because racing is another step. There were no issues with the tyre comparison, because by this point of the season, we have a good understanding of what to expect from the different compounds.
Pedro de la Rosa, P1 - 1:25.320, 15th; P2 - 1:24.547, 16th
Todays sessions were dedicated to trying different downforce levels and to go through the tyres. I think we have a good understanding of what is needed and, actually, we are better than we appear. We will now work with the data for some improvements, including a better set-up for the kerbs in the chicanes.
Kamui Kobayashi, P1 - 1:25.334, 16th; P2 - 1:24.785, 17th
Im afraid I cant say much yet. I know the circuit well and I quite like it, but I had a hard day because I struggled from a general lack of grip. We have to improve that and we will.
James Key, BMW Sauber technical director
It was a little bit of a tough day with trying to get the most out of the car. The main reason is a lack of consistency. We seem to lack grip, which makes it difficult for the drivers to get the most out of the tyres and the car. We saw this particularly at the end of the second session, where it was difficult to get a decent advantage. So we need to work hard over night and see what we can do. We will definitely make some mechanical changes, and we have to evaluate the downforce level for tomorrow. We always felt this could be a slightly weaker circuit for us than the others. We have to work hard and see that we can improve for tomorrow.
Jarno Trulli, P1 - 1:26.898, 19th; P2 - 1:26.204, 19th
First of all its great to be back home for the first time with Lotus Racing. Weve had a fantastic reception here, and even though Monza hasnt been particularly lucky for me, it felt great to be out on track today. We started with a problem early on in FP1, but the guys did a great job in a very short time to change the parts which werent working properly. They put the car back together fast enough to give me some track time in the first session, so thanks to them for that. In FP2 we got through the whole programme we were mainly looking at tyre evaluation and setup work, so having completed that its been a positive day. Obviously wed like to pull away a bit more from the guys behind us, and I think with some more work tonight well be looking good for tomorrow and Sunday.
Heikki Kovalainen, P1 - 1:27.374, 21st; P2 - 1:26.306, 20th
It was a pretty good day. We had a bit of an issue this morning, but were able to identify the problem quickly and we only lost a bit of time. This afternoon everything went to plan we had no issues at all and the car feels good on both low and high fuel loads. It obviously moves around a bit more in the low downforce settings, but its the same for everyone and I think our top speeds where it should be so I think were looking pretty good for the whole weekend.
Tony Fernandes, Lotus team principal
Its really good to be back with the team after a few races where Ive been watching away from the track. We started out with a bit of pressure, having to make some changes early on in the session, but thats what were about trying something and not being afraid to do so. This afternoon we ran a good number of laps and generated a lot of useful data, and as both drivers were happy with the car its been a good day. Its a good day to come back - sitting on the pit wall it suddenly clicked for me that were one year on since we received the letter from Max confirming our entry. Weve talked about it a lot, but its real - were now 14 races into the Lotus Racing story, and were here to stay.
Jody Egginton, Lotus chief race engineer
Excellent job by the guys all day, particularly this morning. We did the installation laps and then decided to make a couple of precautionary changes which meant both crews had to work hard to make sure we could get some track time. They did a great job and turned both cars around, which meant we pretty much completed both Jarno and Heikkis programmes in the morning. In FP2 we completed a lot of laps, put a lot of kilometres on the tyres and tried a couple of setup changes. Weve got a lot of data to go through tonight, but were pretty satisfied with where we are. Theres obviously a bit of cat and mouse going on between us and our nearest rivals with wing levels and fuel loads, but we think were where we should be, and that means its been a pretty good day.
Lucas di Grassi, P1 - 1:26.956, 20th; P2 - 1:26.631, 21st
A very productive day in which we tested various different setups and parts on the car. Im very happy with the results we had and we have a clear direction for tomorrow. I hope the weekend goes as smoothly as today.
Timo Glock, P1 - 1:26.772, 18th; P2 - 1:26.676, 22nd
Not a bad first day. In the first Free Practice session we had a pretty normal programme for Monza, which went well and the car felt quite okay. In Free Practice 2 we made an aero change, which was really low downforce and not the right way to go, so unfortunately we lost some time. In general Im happy with the day and there were no problems, so I hope the rest of the weekend continues like this.
Nick Wirth, Virgin technical director
We have experienced a very productive day with good mileage on both cars and no major problems. The unique characteristics of the Monza circuit meant that we had a little more work to do than on a normal Friday, however we completed our full planned programme, together with testing a number of new development parts. Both drivers are fairly happy with the progress we have made on the first day of running and our Cosworth engines ran strongly on a circuit that places a great deal of emphasis on power. We look forward to another positive day tomorrow.
Sakon Yamamoto, P1 - 1:29.870, 24th; P2 - 1:29.498, 23rd
"We couldn't get as much mileage and data as usual in both sessions today, unfortunately. But with this knowledge we got, we have to work on a good setup for qualifying and the race."
Bruno Senna, P1 - 1:28.256, 22nd; P2 - no time, 24th
Unfortunately, we didn't do many laps today due to a problem with the fuel system in both sessions. But we are already working to get it all sorted out and hopefully tomorrow will be a better day for us."
Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
"In the morning session, Sakon Yamamoto did some aero tests in order to find the optimal adjustment for the race here in Monza. Later in Practice Two, he had to stop due to a gearbox failure. Bruno Senna had a problem with the fuel system and we changed some relevant parts between both sessions. Unfortunately, the same problem appeared again in the afternoon and now we have to define it exactly as it was not possible to do because of the short time between the sessions. We are analysing the data to be prepared for tomorrow."
Hirohide Hamashima, Bridgestone director of motorsport tyre development
"As we would expect, the circuit started quite dirty and slippery, and there was particular lack of grip on the newer surface of turns one and two. We saw gradual improvement in the surface through both sessions. The first session was very busy, with teams trying many configurations and set-ups. The second session saw refinements of the lessons learnt in the morning. So far we do not have a lot of comparable data due to the different approaches taken by the teams today. The fastest times today were set in the afternoon on the soft tyres, however the track improvement affects this so we cannot read too much into that. I think tomorrow's practice session will be very illustrative and qualifying should be very exciting."