Friday practice - selected team and driver quotes 06 May 2011
Ferraris Fernando Alonso may have set the pace during the wet opening session, but it was McLarens Jenson Button who was quickest once some sunshine had dried the track. Defending world champion Sebastian Vettel, meanwhile, had a troubled day with a crash in the morning ruling him out of running in the afternoon. The leading teams and their rivals reflect on their early progress at Istanbul Park
Jenson Button, P1 - 2:00.666, 23rd; P2 - 1:26.456, 1st
Im pretty happy with how today went. The cars been working reasonably well - there are always things you want to improve, but weve made some good progress and have a lot of useful data to go through. Trying to get the car to ride the bumps well into Turn 12 has been difficult, but we improved it through the session. Turn 12 is really bumpy - its like they put a motocross jump in there! And Turn Eights quite tough too because, depending on your balance, it can damage the front and rear tyres. Its about getting the balance right, which we concentrated on today. We havent put everything on the car that we wanted to this weekend, which is disappointing, but we still have some useful upgrades so its nice to keep moving forwards.
Lewis Hamilton, P1 - no time, 24th; P2 - 1:27.033, 3rd
We saved tyres during this mornings session. In the afternoon, despite the limited running in P1, we got quite a lot of our run-plan completed, which was very satisfying. I initially struggled a little bit with set-up, which we can look at and fix overnight, but I was really pleased with my long-run pace - I think it was probably one of the best practice long-runs Ive ever had. Generally, our car has a pretty good baseline. Were still in the fight: the most important factor this weekend is to continue with our consistency - getting on the podium is my target, and if we can win thatll be even better!
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
This mornings uncharacteristic heavy rain meant that we opted to conserve our supply of Wet and Intermediate Pirelli tyres by sitting out the majority of the session. With cold and unpredictable weather predicted for the remainder of the weekend, and with relatively little to learn from running on a wet track, we felt it was more prudent to save the rubber for Saturday and Sunday. Happily, this afternoons session turned out drier than wed imagined, and we were able to pack the majority of our days run-programme into P2. Indeed, both drivers long-run pace looks extremely promising. Lewis and Jenson felt happy with the balance of their cars, although both said that the bumps upon entry to Turn 12 were fairly severe and unsettled the car. Its too early to read anything into this afternoons times, but were happy that weve found a good baseline for the set-up and that we can build upon it for the rest of the weekend.
Nico Rosberg, P1 - 1:40.072, 2nd; P2 - 1:26.521, 2nd
We have made a decent start to the weekend and I am optimistic for tomorrow. We had a productive afternoon and tried a lot of things with the car. I didnt have too many problems with the tyres on the long run and I was quite surprised by the grip levels, which were higher than I expected. The wet tyres had a lot of grip this morning too. Im happy with what we learned and expecting a very interesting time tomorrow and on Sunday.
Michael Schumacher, P1 - 1:40.132, 3rd; P2 - 1:27.063, 4th
We had quite a positive Friday, and it was especially good that we were able to test both wet and dry tyres. I hadn't really driven the wets so I'm pleased that I finally had some opportunity to use them. Also, my sessions were quite eventful with three spins in Turn 11. All in all, our car confirmed the performance improvement from China, so we can look forward to the rest of the weekend. We still have some questions relating to the set-up but I am confident we will sort them out tomorrow.
Ross Brawn, Mercedes GP team principal
We had a reasonably good day and it was nice to get a lot of work done. We had a good opportunity this morning to see what the car was like in the wet conditions. It was also the first time that Michael had really driven the car in the wet, so thats useful as the conditions this weekend could still be mixed. Then we had a nice dry session this afternoon and completed a lot of work on low and high fuel. The balance of the car isnt there yet and there is a lot of work ahead, but the team and drivers have worked very well today.
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
The morning session in the wet saw Nico and Michael complete 32 laps and the lap times on wet tyres looked quite good. In dry conditions this afternoon, we ran 50 laps and worked through our planned programme. I would not read too much into today's positions in both sessions; there is more work to do for tomorrow.
Mark Webber, P1 - 1:42.564, 11th; P2 - 1:27.149, 5th
We learned quite a lot today. Its a pretty challenging venue here with the new regulations so it was tricky for us all with the weather this morning. We had to fit a lot of our planned work in to this afternoon, but it went smoothly. Sebastian had an issue this morning which could happen to any of us; it just shows you can lose a session very easily. The team will share the data that we gathered this afternoon. KERS worked pretty well this afternoon - each time we use it we get more experience so, so far so good.
Sebastian Vettel, P1 - 1:44.954, 17th; P2 - no time, 24th
There wasnt much I could do to stop the car from hitting the wall this morning - but the most important thing is that Im fine. Unfortunately we couldnt get the car ready in time for this afternoons session, as there was too much damage, so Im sorry to the guys. It makes things a bit more difficult, but I dont think it will be a problem, we know the track well from other years and, in the end, it was only one afternoon that we have lost. Im still confident - it looks pretty close. I was able to watch the times today, which was something different.
Felipe Massa, P1 - 1:40.697, 7th; P2 - 1:27.340, 6th
From what I could see, we have made a step forward in terms of performance, but we are not yet close enough to the best. It is always difficult to say how much progress one has made after just two free practice sessions: we will have to wait for qualifying to get a clearer picture. We are working very hard to catch up and I think we are on the right road, but the others are definitely not standing still. For example, Mercedes seems to have made a significant step forward here. Would I prefer a wet race? Sure, if it turns out we are not competitive then the rain would open up more possibilities, but it could also go well in the dry and it does seem as though the weather is improving. This is a very demanding circuit, but I really like driving here because there are so many different types of corner.
Fernando Alonso, P1 - 1:38.670, 1st; P2 - 1:28.069, 11th
These two sessions were very different one to the other, because of the change in the weather. It was useful to do some running in the wet because there is a chance that it might rain again at some point tomorrow. We tried various new solutions and now we have to evaluate them carefully to see what worked and what did not. I had a hydraulic problem which cost me some time in the pits at the start of the second session. That contributed to the fact its difficult for me to give a precise evaluation of tyre behaviour. Then, I also had a spin, when I was being too optimistic in my use of the moveable rear wing. For sure this track puts a heavy load on the tyres: it will be interesting to see what happens in the race. I think we have made progress, but there are various teams that are quicker than us. We have to try and do our best, putting together the best package made up of new components and those we have used before to try and get all the potential out of the car.
Pat Fry, Ferrari head of race track engineering
Its always difficult to say what the real order is after Fridays free practice sessions and that is even more the case when one of them takes place in the wet, as was the case today. At least this morning we were able to get a first impression of the balance and handling of our car on both types of rain tyre. However, we didnt do that many laps because the weather forecast for the rest of the weekend is still uncertain, therefore we have to try and manage the few sets of tyres available to us as well as possible. In the afternoon, we concentrated mainly on evaluating new aerodynamic components and, as usual, comparing the two types of dry tyre. Unfortunately, we lost at least half an hour with Fernando, because of an hydraulic problem and so the Spaniard was not exactly in the best of shape to get the most out of the soft tyres. As for Felipe, he managed to get through the entire planned programme. Some of the new elements, like the rear wing for example, immediately showed good results, while others, such as the floor and the front wing, still need further careful evaluation.
Vitaly Petrov, P1 - 1:40.401, 5th; P2 - 1:27.517, 7th
It was a bit difficult today with the weather conditions. We didnt use inter tyres in the first session which was a pity. We wanted to save tyres, which is why we only had 10 laps. In P2 we knew it would stay dry. We need to be happy with today. As expected, we achieved quicker lap times and theres still some more in the car. Judging by our performance in P2, I think there are encouraging signs ahead for the rest of the weekend.
Nick Heidfeld, P1 - 1:40.338, 4th; P2 - 1:28.475, 13th
It was good to finally get an experience of the wet conditions by using the extreme wet tyres, because I havent used them before in testing properly. That went quite well I have to say. We didnt want to destroy them as we hadnt tested them before, we didnt know how long they would survive and the forecast was still not clear for Saturday and Sunday. Unfortunately we didnt get into a position to be able to drive the intermediates. Then, as the second session was completely dry we were able to completely focus on our programme, which was to get a long run in towards the end, whilst having a high fuel load.
James Allison, Renault technical director
Like all the teams, Friday work is focused on race preparation rather than maximising qualifying performance. It was tricky to read too much from this mornings times. The rain ebbed and flowed throughout the session and the pace of the competitors varied accordingly. We were pleased to get through the session unscathed. The afternoon session was a more regular affair. We appear to be more or less where we have been on a Friday in the first three races of the season. We ran our new tyres early in the session and ran relatively long stints on heavy fuel in the second half of the session.
Paul di Resta, P1 - 1:43.525, 13th; P2 - 1:27.725, 8th
The wet weather session this morning made it difficult to learn much about the new front wing, but it was important for me to get a feel for the track and the wet weather tyres. For the afternoon, the priority was to try and understand the hard and soft tyres: we did two runs on the hard and two runs on the soft, which has given us lots of data to analyse this evening as we plan our approach for tomorrow. Overall I think we've made a good start and the car feels relatively straightforward. There are always things to improve, but I'm happy with my day.
Adrian Sutil, P2 - 1:28.052, 10th
We had the wing to try on my car this afternoon, which was quite interesting, but now we have to look at the data and try to really understand it. At the moment it's too early to say that much. I tried both the hard and the soft tyres and did a long run on each, so I feel quite well prepared. I think the hard tyre was the best and most consistent today, but that could easily change as the track evolves. For the general balance of the car, we will work on trying to improve in the final sector and dial out some of the understeer. However, the car felt very well balanced in the high-speed corners.
Nico Hulkenberg, P1 - 1:41.347, 10th
It was very wet out there this morning, and this was pretty much the first wet running for everybody on the Pirellis at a race weekend. I spent the whole session on the same set of wet weather tyres and there was quite a lot to learn. Towards the end of the session the rain got heavier and there was more standing water, which meant the car started aquaplaning. But at least we have done some set-up work in case it stays wet for the rest of the weekend.
Dominic Harlow, Force India chief race engineer
It has been quite a good Friday for the team with our three drivers contributing to the programme.
In the FP1 session the rain made the circuit quite tricky: conditions were in the most part fairly consistent, but at times some standing water built up at Turns two and 11 - this was the case after the red flag. We ran only the wet tyre and worked to find a balance during what was still quite a new experience for us in terms of running on the Pirelli tyres in this weather. It dried up for the afternoon and, as well as sitting out the morning session, Adrian had to work through an aero test programme, which he did very well. We've now got to focus on the data to understand what we have learnt today. For Paul, after trying the new front wing in the morning, it was more about tyre evaluation this afternoon. Nico, once again provided us with a solid baseline and initial set-up evaluation in the wet.
Sergio Perez, P1 - 1:55.791, 22nd; P2 - 1:27.844, 9th
I have completed the programme which had been planned for me. In the morning I didnt put in a proper lap time due to some aero testing. After the second session Im quite positive for tomorrow. We have to draw the right conclusions tonight, and I believe we can be good in qualifying. I absolutely enjoy every lap going through turn eight. For me it is the first time in an F1 car here and it is sensational.
Kamui Kobayashi, P1 - 1:40.421, 6th; P2 - 1:29.637, 18th
In the morning I did some testing with mechanical parts, but we have been quite unfortunate with the weather conditions for this. It is really difficult to judge from the wet testing. Nevertheless it was a good experience to use the wet tyres for an entire session. I think Pirelli has done a good job, I dont see degradation problems,and the tyres should be ok for a race. In the second session we did our normal programme, despite an hydraulic problem which we had to solve. But again I find it difficult to judge how good the car really is here, so we need to look into the data tonight.
James Key, Sauber technical director
Today was the first wet session of the year, and we ran the full wet tyres in FP1. Sergio had some aerodynamic test items on his car, which we plan to introduce at the next events. Kamui had some mechanical parts. From what we can tell in the mornings difficult conditions, things seem to work well on the mechanical side and we plan to continue with these updates for Saturday. In the afternoon we worked through a normal programme in dry conditions, comparing the tyres and working on the set-up of the car. Overall this was troublefree for Sergio, and we are generally happy with the car. However, we have a few bounce issues in lower speed which we have to tackle. For Kamui it was reasonable for the first outings, but on his out lap on the option tyres he suffered an hydraulic leak, and he had no chance to put a sensible lap time together. The team did a great job in fixing the car quickly, and getting it out for a longer run. We will analyse all the data from today and see if we can make further progress for tomorrow.
Sebastien Buemi, P1 - 1:41.178, 9th; P2 - 1:28.153, 12th
This mornings session went well and we managed to complete quite a few laps on the extremes, although we did not use the intermediates, as the conditions never seemed good enough. At least we have a good read of how the extremes behave, so if it rains on Sunday we will know what to do. Apart, from that, it was a productive day for us in general, trying a few different set-up changes and I am quite happy with the work we completed today. But of course, this is only Friday, so we need to study the data carefully and hopefully we can maintain the good performance level we have seen in the first three races. From the tyre comparison I did, the difference between the two compounds seems smaller than usual, but it is still too early to draw any definite conclusion.
Jaime Alguersuari, P2 - 1:28.765, 14th
I think we have a lot of work to do to prepare for tomorrow, because I did not have a good feel for the car today, so we need to concentrate on finding a better set-up for the rest of the weekend. We will look at the data to analyse what we need to do, although I have a good idea where the problem lies and I am sure the engineers will know what to do. I ran a different set-up to my team-mate today, which at least means we have more data to study. I did a tyre compare and the changes made to the hard tyre seem good, as it performed consistently and also I did not find such a big difference between the prime and option as in previous races. It seems the balance between the two compounds has improved.
Daniel Ricciardo, P1 - 1:41.094, 8th
This was my very first time driving at the Istanbul track and the session went well giving me an understanding of why drivers are so keen on this circuit, with all its undulations and different types of corner. I enjoyed it, even if the conditions were not ideal. It was useful to drive in the wet, because this was only the second time Ive had that experience after a few laps at Barcelona in winter testing. I felt confident and comfortable in the wet and I ran just with the extreme rain tyres. We considered intermediates, but there was too much standing water on the track. We made some set-up changes before my second run and even though the track was wetter then, it improved the lap time, so hopefully that information can be useful for this afternoon.
Pastor Maldonado, P1 - 1:42.597, 12th; P2 - 1:28.828, 15th
It was an unlucky day. It was wet this morning so we decided not to do too many runs. This afternoon we lost a bit of time as the team were fixing the rear end of the car after I crashed at the end of FP1. When we did get out, the speed was there but on the long run I made a mistake and lost the car at the exit of T8 and crashed into the barrier damaging the front wing. However, I know this circuit and the car has improved so I'll be up there tomorrow!
Rubens Barrichello, P1 - 1:43.913, 14th; P2 - 1:28.946, 16th
The new package is promising but we had a KERS water problem which meant our day had to be cut short. It was a pity but we are optimistic as the new front wing, rear wing and other parts were all working well and we were running competitively. Our main objective is to start in the top ten this weekend and that's definitely realistic.
Sam Michael, Williams technical director
This morning was wet so we didn't start our evaluation of new aero components until second practice. During that session we ran the new rear wing on Rubens' car and we were pleased to see that it functioned well, with a healthy gain in top speed and no signs of aero separation. We will have a second rear wing for Pastor's car tomorrow. We also ran a new rear brake duct and new front wings on both cars. All the data from those parts checked out well, with positive driver feedback. So we'll race everything this weekend. We also investigated a different mechanical set-up with Rubens. Unfortunately before we could run the soft tyre with Rubens we had a KERS water system failure and had to stop his car to investigate due to safety issues. We're looking into the problem now. We didn't use KERS all day on Pastor's car due to a voltage fault early in second practice. With the limited number of parts Pastor will also have to use the old front wing tomorrow after damaging his new front wing in second practice.
Jarno Trulli, P1 - 1:43.986, 15th; P2 - 1:29.409, 17th
"I'm pleased in general with today. It's been a positive, trouble free day and we managed to run through a number of options that give us a good direction for tomorrow and the race. We have made an adjustment to the power steering and that's definitely improved things in the cockpit for me but there's more to come from that and the whole car so I think we can go into tomorrow in good shape."
Heikki Kovalainen, P2 - 1:30.281, 19th
"That was a reasonable session for me - I had a DRS issue that definitely cost me some time but I think the balance was pretty good and we got through some decent setup work so I think we'll be ok tomorrow."
Karun Chandhok, P1 - 1:51.676, 21st
"The wet weather meant we limited the morning runplan but despite that it was good to get back out on track. I didn't get a chance to push but I'm enjoying working with the team and the more time I spend with everyone the more I can see how far this team can go. There's a great spirit across the whole garage, and back in the factory, and with the constant progression towards the midfield this is a great place to be working in."
Mike Gascoyne, Lotus chief technical officer
"A pretty good day. Obviously we had limited running this morning in the wet conditions as we wanted to save tyres in case we have to use wets in the race. Unfortunately that limited the running Karun and Jarno could do but this afternoon we completed the whole program without any real problems with the performance levels we showed I think we are looking at having a pretty good weekend."
Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 support leader for Lotus
"We didn't manage to do much running in P1 this morning due to the weather so we had to work a lot harder during P2 this afternoon, especially with specific engine mapping. I hope we will have good feedback from the drivers and can take another step forwards on strategy. I think there is more to come from the whole package tomorrow so this was a pretty good start to the weekend."
Jerome dAmbrosio, P1 - 1:45.237, 19th; P2 - 1:31.035, 20th
It was a good day. This morning's session was obviously disturbed by the rain, which even if it wasn't great for this weekend's programme, l can still see it positively as it was the first time I've driven the car in the wet; so it was great for me to get an idea of how it feels in those conditions. The afternoon went pretty smoothly. We had a small issue with the power steering and we lost a bit of time and so we couldn't do everything we wanted, but in the end I think the car feels fine and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.
Timo Glock, P1 - 1:45.183, 18th; P2 - 1:31.221, 21st
The weather has made for a difficult start to the weekend. This morning it was very tricky for everyone as there was a lot of standing water everywhere. In the second session we got a better chance to start evaluating the new package, which was really the priority for today because we knew there would be a lot of work to do. There have been some issues we have had to deal with, especially with the exhausts, and once we work through those we will be better off. Overall we need to look at the data we have gathered now to see what we can learn about the new package because, as we predicted, its not easy getting something so new to work straight out of the box.
John Booth, Virgin team principal
The elements of the upgrade package that we fitted to Jeromes car have performed well today, so were pleased with the progress there. Timos car, with the full package, was always going to be a bigger ask because of the complexity of the car at the rear with the new blown exhaust system. It is always difficult coming straight into a race weekend with such a new and complicated package and with no testing to optimise it. As we predicted there have been a few issues to contend with, particularly with the management of the heat from the exhausts. Generally weve made a good start on Jeromes side but we have yet to realise the full performance potential of the wider package with Timo. We have a lot of work to do and a lot of data to look through to see how we can extract more from the package.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director
We've been delighted to welcome Mr Tronchetti to Istanbul, on what has been a historic day for Pirelli. We've seen our intermediate and wet tyres take to the track for the first time, and as we confirmed when we tested in the wet at Istanbul Park last month, these tyres are extremely effective even in the soaking conditions we saw today. The weather for the rest of the weekend looks like it is going to be brighter, but even if it continued to rain, our wet tyres are designed to last for 30 laps or longer while the intermediates can run for about 20, so there are no concerns about supply. The teams also had the chance to try out the latest evolution of our hard tyre, which we are assessing with a view to Barcelona. It's not quite as fast as our original hard tyre, but it does last a little longer with extra stability, so we will be very interested to hear the feedback from the teams."
Narain Karthikeyan, P1 - 1:48.461, 20th; P2 - 1:31.320, 22nd
We tried our updates out today, with the first session being wet we obviously couldnt evaluate much but after the second session its clear that the updates are a positive improvement. The team is going in the right direction. Today we worked on the mechanical balance of the car and now we have to take a look at the data to see if we improved. Personally, I need to get some laps under my belt on this track because last time I came in 2005 it was an absolute disaster, I experienced a lot of mechanical problems. So bit by bit its getting better. Unfortunately I didnt get a good run on the option tyres but the primes were fine. I think the options will be quicker in the race.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, P1 - 1 1:44.787, 16th; P2 - 1:31.989, 23rd
Today we had a decent day of testing. The morning was good as it was my first chance to try out this specific car with the Pirelli tyres in wet conditions, so I got some good data and strung together some good laps. In the afternoon we did a good amount of laps, we needed to understand a few things about our new updates so we had to re-balance the car and work on the set-up meaning that in the end, with the option tyres, we couldnt do much as there was a lot of traffic and yellow flags. But, all in all, weve come away with good data to work with tomorrow.
Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
Im confident that we took a step forward today. Its a shame that Tonio wasnt able to put a lap together on the soft tyres but he did a good job on the prime tyres. I think that tomorrow we will look even better and, as I said before, weve taken another step forward.
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