Spain preview quotes - Red Bull, Force India, Virgin & more 17 May 2011
With last weekends Turkish race hosted at Istanbul Park on the Asian side of the Bosphorous, the European leg of the Formula One season kicks off for real in Barcelona next weekend. The Circuit de Catalunya is a venue the teams know very well from testing, although racing there represents a completely different challenge. The drivers and senior team personnel discuss their prospects
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
2010 Qualifying - 2nd, 2010 Race - 3rd
We know the Barcelona circuit well from winter testing - it should be suitable for our car and our plan is to get the best team result possible. Historically Barcelona is a circuit that is poor for overtaking, but with the DRS this will now be quite different. I like Spain and know Barcelona well from racing there - its a great modern city with lots of life and interesting architecture. I like the Spanish people and their culture, its always a fantastic atmosphere at Spanish sporting events, such as the grand prix and football matches. This is the first race of two back to back events, Im returning to Switzerland after Barcelona, so there will be a lot of travel.
Mark Webber, Red Bull
2010 Qualifying - 1st, 2010 Race - 1st
The circuit is great, the surface and layout are both very good for driving an F1 car on the limit. The last sector used to be very, very quick and now, for the last few years, weve had a slow chicane which breaks the rhythm of the lap up a little bit, but all in all I enjoy driving the car on this track. Of course I want to improve on my result in Turkey, so that means trying to finish on the top step. It would be nice to add to the special memories I have. Its one of the best races of the season in terms of atmosphere, because of the support Fernando gets. I love the drivers parade when we see the fireworks in the crowd going off and they sing songs too, it is always entertaining.
Adrian Sutil, Force India
2010 Qualifying - 11th, 2010 Race - 7th
The first three corners are quite difficult. Its a quick complex and its important to get Turn One right to have the correct line through the next couple of corners. In qualifying trim, Turn Three could be taken flat. The first and second sectors are high speed and you need to have the right aero balance. But the final part of the lap is quite slow and the mechanical set-up is more important. The difficult thing is to find the golden middle. I think we should see some overtaking. There is a long straight and tyre degradation will be high. Im sure the race will be a bit different to what we have seen in previous years.
Paul Di Resta, Force India
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a
Im really looking forward to this weekend because I probably know Barcelona better than any other track on the calendar. We did two tests there in the winter and I had four days in the car so I already feel quite well prepared. In fact, its a track that all the drivers know like the back of their hand and the teams have so much data already.
Its usually a race where all the teams bring upgrades so we will need to take a step forward if we want to stay in the mix. We evaluated a new front wing in Istanbul and we hope to have more steps coming through in the near future. The team has been working hard on this new concept and everybody is quite upbeat about its race introduction, so thats something to look forward to.
The aim for the weekend is to hopefully get back in the points. Weve been pretty close to the top ten in all the races so far this season, so hopefully we can stay in the hunt.
Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India chairman and team principal
The Spanish Grand Prix is always a significant moment in the season. It marks the return to Europe and its the moment when the Formula One development race really begins. At Force India we have some upgrades to bring to the car in the coming races and Im excited to see how things will unfold.
We started evaluating those changes at the last race in Turkey by running a new front wing during free practice. It was a shame that it was wet because it limited our test programme and we chose not to run those new parts for the race. We are now analysing what we learned and hopefully we can add this new package to the car either in Barcelona or Monaco, depending how things go. When our new aerodynamic developments are in place, Im confident we can take a step forward in terms of performance.
As for the racing so far, I think the new rules have certainly achieved their objective. The races have been very exciting and the new Pirelli tyres and DRS have helped to add more unpredictability. I believe this close racing is great for fans of our sport, who can look forward to more of the same this weekend. Hopefully both Force Indias will be in the hunt and challenging for points.
Timo Glock, Virgin
2010 Qualifying - 21st, 2010 Race - 18th
The Circuit de Catalunya is still one of the best tracks on the calendar because we drivers have raced and tested there so many times and can get straight down to it. The track has a bit of everything - very slow sections mixed with quicker sections and two very fast straights - particularly the start/finish - which is one of the fastest straights on the calendar. The weather can be mixed at this time of year, which makes it unpredictable and quite interesting for the race. Our objective will be to try to get more from the package and hopefully get the new developments working well because the early signs were quite promising.
Jerome DAmbrosio, Virgin
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a
The Circuit de Catalunya is one of my favourite circuits as Ive raced here many times, so it gives a driver a good head start when you know a track so well. We tested here at the beginning of the season, but we will still have the usual set-up programme to work through because, with the tracks changeable conditions, a tyre compound can work well one time and less well the next. Its going to be a very busy week, as the Spanish Grand Prix is back to back with Monaco, so we will have two weeks of fantastic F1 racing for the fans to look forward to.
John Booth, Virgin team principal
We head to Barcelona this week optimistic that we can continue to make another step forward. We had a positive aero test at Idiada last weekend, which we hope will help us extract more from our upgrade package at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Were on proper European soil now for a couple of races which, coupled with the fact that were very familiar with this track through testing, makes things easier. The fact that this circuit is a known-quantity and we have a lot of data from 2010 and the two pre-season tests to work with means that we have a good knowledge base from which to set the car up. This track is also a good barometer of overall car performance so we will have a more representative perspective of how well our updates are working.
Nick Heidfeld, Renault
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a
We will be bringing some more new parts, which will help us improve our performance. This is all part of our ongoing aggressive development strategy. Also, we will get into the swing of things quickly because the whole team knows the circuit well, and teams using a simulator wont have such an advantage here. Over the years I have enjoyed some good races in Spain - its a challenging track and it will be interesting to return. I have got many memories - one that I particularly remember is a pit-lane battle with Jenson (Button) when we were both exiting at the same time, both at the highest speed limit you are allowed and I think I just got out ahead of him.
Vitaly Petrov, Renault
2010 Qualifying - 14th, 2010 Race - 11th
Ive been at this track many times before, and I have a lot of experience of racing here in GP2 and F3000 when I won some podiums. Ive also driven here in Formula One, and of course the testing earlier this year. However, the weather then (during testing) was quite cold so the preparation this time around will be different. Its going to be an interesting weekend because everyone knows this track quite well, so it will be a close fight and the lap time gaps will be quite small.
Eric Boullier, Renault team principal
Since we last drove there in testing, we have added upgrades to the car so we will be performing better than in the winter. The situation is also different: it is a race weekend and the way we approach this is different from testing. We hope to make another step forward to fight again for the top six. I think that with the DRS, anything is possible. Mainly because of the tyre degradation, there is a need for some aggressive strategies that allow overtaking on track and of course a very good race finish too.
James Allison, Renault technical director
We bring another handful of aerodynamic upgrades for the next race - the development race never lets up. None of them are individually large, but there are six in total and they add up to another 0.15-0.20 seconds per lap.
At some tracks these tyres are really on the edge - Turkey was one of them and Barcelona will be another. So having a very careful plan on Friday to prepare for the race is very important. Also, it has increasingly become clear to everybody that to conserve tyres during qualifying in order to maximise results on Sunday.
The Barcelona track places a very high premium on aerodynamic efficiency, so the main challenge is designing a car that is efficient aerodynamically. A string of long, high-speed corners and the nature of the asphalt make it very hard on the tyres. Although we will have a revised hard tyre from Pirelli at Barcelona, which may change the picture somewhat, it is likely that the race will be loaded with pit stops in Spain.
By far the biggest influence over the ease of overtaking in Turkey was as a result of the track being very tough on the tyres. Barcelona is likely to be similar, with soft tyres that degrade up to 0.3 of a second per lap. This means that small variations in strategy yield very large differences in performance at different times in the race. Stopping just three laps different to another car will give nearly a one second per lap difference in performance. Set against that, the DRS and KERS have only a second-order effect on the ease of overtaking. We can expect another breathless race with a lot of on track action - not a traditional hallmark of the Spanish GP.
Narain Karthikeyan, HRT
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a
The Spanish Grand Prix is a home Grand Prix for the team so undoubtedly this will be a special race. Last time I raced here, in 2005, I really enjoyed the track and the atmosphere, this time round with the Hispania Racing fans in the crowd cheering us on it will be even more special. It would be a huge boost to our fans if we were to do well in Barcelona, I am hopeful that the new updates on the car will take us the next step in a positive direction. The support from the fans is nice but we still need to work as hard as ever to have a good weekend, there are no shortcuts to that.
Ive done many laps here over the past few years, especially in pre-season testing this year where we drove mostly in wet conditions with the 2010 car, so I know the track very well. Its one of my favourite circuits as its quite technical and very challenging for both car and driver. The engineers have a lot of experience at this circuit so they will be able to start us off with a good baseline setup but we still have a lot of work to do to get the ideal setup for the new F111 car. Even though there havent been many overtaking opportunities at Montmelo in the past, with the long front straight, Im sure that the DRS will produce a lot of overtaking moves just as it has done in the last couple of races.
Weve still got a long way to go in terms of extracting the maximum performance from our car, but weve been learning and improving every weekend since Australia. Its hard to quantify the gain in performance we will achieve with the new updates but hopefully it will take us past our nearest competitors on the track. I think the progress has been quite steady, weve been improving every weekend and Im hoping that the trend continues in Barcelona.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, HRT
2010 Qualifying - 16th, 2010 Race - 15th
Its great to race in a home grand prix because the support from the crowd gives you a real boost, its a great feeling to see people who appreciate your job. I also have good memories from this circuit from when I won in F3000 in the year 2004. The Circuit de Catalunya is a great facility. DRS has changed the face of racing with overtaking being much easier now so well probably see an exciting race this year.
The Spanish Grand Prix is the best opportunity to show the world and the fans that Hispania Racing is putting a lot of effort into the team, now and for the future, and is on the right path for success. Barcelona is also an important race because were at a stage in the Championship where you start to see the real pace of all the teams as pretty much everyone has some upgrades and you can judge better everyones pace.
Unfortunately, we werent able to test as much as we wanted here in winter thats why every race is a great test for us. We have to focus on all parts of the car as if it were a test because of the time lost in winter.
If were able to get all the updates we were planning then I think well make a big step forward and might even impress quite a few people. Everything is going in the right direction, if we keep progressing and working as the team has until now then Im sure well have a bright future.
Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
Personally, I love being in Spain which is a very friendly country with fantastic food. Its very nice to be in Barcelona where our cars will be racing at home. The Spanish Grand Prix is the perfect setting for the team to show the fans what were capable of and we hope to make the next step forward in front of the home crowd.
Even though traditionally there isnt much overtaking in Montmelo, with the DRS I expect to see a lot of it just like in the last few races. Hispania Racing will take the next step in terms of updates in Barcelona which will hopefully further reduce the gap.
Rubens Barrichello, Williams
2010 Qualifying - 18th, 2010 Race - 9th
Barcelona is a great racing track and one that people know the most. It will be interesting to see how much the other teams and drivers have developed since we were there for the final test in March. I hope that we as a team can make a good jump forward in performance with our upgrades in Barcelona. I remain positive that we will.
Pastor Maldonado, Williams
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a
It is going to be a very interesting race as weve had more time to develop the car now so we will see what we can do in Barcelona. We have more data as we tested there over the winter, so I think that will make it slightly easier than its been at the previous races. I think it will be easier from my point of view as well because Ive already driven the FW33 there. We will continue to work on the new upgrades to see what a difference they can make. I really like the circuit. I think it is one of the best as it is a very complete, technical track with a good mixture of high and low speed corners. Turn Three is probably my favourite; it is very long and fast.
Sam Michael, Williams technical director
Barcelona is a circuit that demands good aero efficiency. It isnt a track that is hard on brakes and with its long high-speed corners, the aero efficiency of the cars can be the biggest performance differentiator. The circuit layout hasn't been favourable for overtaking in the past - however with the tyre degradation and the moveable rear wing it will likely be different this year.
Since the Turkish Grand Prix, we have been working on our new rear wings that we ran in practice at Istanbul Park and we will have them on both cars again in Barcelona. In addition to that well have new exhaust-blown diffusers to test.
Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber
2010 Qualifying - 10th, 2010 Race - 12th
Every team and driver knows the circuit in Barcelona extremely well from winter testing. Our car seemed to be good there in February and March. For the next Grand Prix weekend it will be important to focus on the set-up of our car with the new parts, and we will have to make sure the update results in an improvement in qualifying and the race. The track offers an interesting combination of high speed, medium speed and low speed corners. The last sector, which is comparatively slow, could be challenging for us. In the past overtaking was particularly difficult on that circuit, but I believe the Drag Reduction System will help to make it an exciting Grand Prix. I feel very much at home using the adjustable rear wing. Im happy with the system and I think it will be a real benefit for the Spanish Grand Prixs audience.
Sergio Perez, Sauber
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a
Im looking forward to the weekend in Barcelona very much. I have been quite unlucky in the previous races and I really have the feeling the Spanish Grand Prix is when this will change. I strongly believe I will score points there. I am very motivated and I like the Barcelona circuit a lot. Also I always did well there. In Turkey we werent able to show our potential and I hope this changes in Spain and, to begin with, we are better in qualifying. We will bring an update for the car and I trust it will meet our expectations.
James Key, Sauber technical director
Barcelona is familiar to everyone. We tested there twice over the winter, but Im sure in hotter conditions we have to re-evaluate how the tyres are working on the track. Its another circuit which is quite hard on tyres, and turn three in particular is hard on the left hand side of the car. Its going to be a case of looking at tyre degradation and durability on Friday, and trying to come to some conclusions. Barcelona is a relatively high speed track, so one which should be quite reasonable for our car. After the race performance in Istanbul that could be good for us, but we need to improve our qualifying performance. Well have a new, quite significant aero package on the car, which will be a completely new front wing, updates to the front and rear brake ducts, new bodywork, new devices around the floor leading edge and under the chassis, and well be testing the new exhaust system again. Well also be continuing our work on the mechanical update we had in Istanbul, which proved to be positive. So it will be interesting to see how this works. If it works well it should give us a good few tenths of a second improvement in lap time. Our goal is to continue our good race form, to try to improve qualifying and finish as high in the points as possible.
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
2010 Qualifying - 3rd, 2010 Race - 14th
Barcelona has traditionally been the start of Formula Ones European season, and were optimistic that well once again be back in the fight for the big points this weekend. I think we didnt meet our full potential in Turkey last week, and Im hoping that the MP4-26 will be able to make a step forward if our initial testing on Friday goes successfully. It will be interesting to see how the DRS affects the racing. Typically, its been very tough to overtake at Barcelona because the best opportunity - into the first corner - is too fast to make a pass stick. Its always been too hard to really get alongside another driver into the corner. But we benefited from two great races in China and Turkey because the DRS area led directly into a heavy braking zone, meaning it was possible to get two bites of the cherry: using the slipstream and using the braking zone. In Barcelona, its likely to be less clear-cut.
Jenson Button, McLaren
2010 Qualifying - 5th, 2010 Race - 5th
After a relatively low-key race for the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team in Turkey, I think were headed to Spain and Monaco feeling more positive about getting the most from our planned upgrades. Turkey showed us that we are still on a learning curve with these Pirelli tyres, and while in Turkey it was a hard lesson to lose position due to strategy, I think its given us a lot of valuable lessons in how to work as a team, how to devise our strategy and how to get the most from the tyres out on the track. I think Barcelona will be interesting. Personally, it will feel strange to go back to a track where we had a difficult winter and to drive a car that will hopefully allow us to once again race at the front. As always, the Circuit de Catalunya is a very unforgiving track - its a track that brings out the best in cars. Its important to get another strong result under our belts, particularly as we head straight to Monte-Carlo, so maintaining momentum will be vital.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
The Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelonas Circuit de Catalunya has become a staple on the calendar and is a fantastic sporting festival for the many thousands of passionate fans who flock to the track throughout the weekend. Im particularly interested to see how the 2010 rule-changes affect Sundays grand prix. Weve seen how DRS and KERS Hybrid have influenced the racing so far this season, so well see how things progress at Barcelona given that the Spanish Grand Prix has previously shown limited opportunities for overtaking. As we saw in Istanbul last week, there is always risk inherent in bringing any upgrade to the circuit - particularly following the absence of testing. For Barcelona, were planning to re-introduce some of the proposed upgrades initially scheduled for introduction in Istanbul. Once again, however, theyll only be introduced if their initial deployment on Friday proves successful.
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes
2010 Qualifying - 6th, 2010 Race - 4th
"The Spanish Grand Prix is traditionally where it really feels like the European season gets underway and holds a lot of good memories for me. Of course, we know the Circuit de Catalunya very well from testing, but it will be interesting to see the effect of KERS, the DRS and the Pirelli tyres on a track where overtaking is always difficult. While I was not happy with my weekend in Turkey, there have been clear signs of improvements for us as a team, which obviously push and re-boost my motivation even more. It's more than encouraging to see that the hard work of the team is starting to pay off. We are all determined to make progress."
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2010 Qualifying - 8th, 2010 Race - 13th
"Our upward trend is clear for all to see, even though we still have a little more progress to make in race configuration compared to qualifying. I'm looking forward to Barcelona, where we will also be introducing an update package for the car, and I'm excited to see how it works. We showed a good level of performance at the final winter test on this circuit, and hopefully we can translate that into a strong result this weekend."
Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
"The last two races in Turkey and China have proved that we can be quick in certain conditions but we need to focus on achieving that level of performance consistently over the entire race weekend. We will have an aerodynamic development package for the Spanish Grand Prix, along with refinements to our suspension package, which should help to find the consistency in the car that we are looking for. The Circuit de Catalunya is such a familiar venue to the teams that we should be able to maximise our practice time to focus on this, and I hope to see another step forward and a positive weekend."
Norbert Haug, Vice-President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"The Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya is a serious yardstick for cars and drivers every year. While the layout of the circuit does not look particularly special at first glance, this track is in fact very special indeed: a car that can perform well here will perform everywhere. Like most other teams, we will introduce a number of technical upgrades at this fifth Grand Prix of the season. Our target is to continue the trend that we began two races ago in China, and to further improve our car."
Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus
2010 Qualifying - 20th, 2010 Race - DNF
Barcelona is one of the tracks where we all know every single centimetre of the whole lap. We test there so much that it usually ends up with the whole grid having teammates side by side but its the kind of circuit where you cant hide anything at all. If you are quick there you can be quick everywhere as its demanding aerodynamically, and if you struggle there you could have problems at a variety of circuits. A good lap kind of flows until you reach the last three corners which are a bit fiddly. The first sector is probably the best - T1 is a quick chicane and then turns three, four, seven and nine are all fast. You need good high-speed stability there and good grip to get the best out of the car and when you hook it all up and put in a quick time its pretty rewarding.
Jarno Trulli, Lotus
2010 Qualifying - 19th, 2010 Race - 17th
It's always good to get back to Spain. I've spent so much time at the Barcelona circuit its like a second home to me and the whole team and even though I must have completed thousands of kms around there it's still a good challenge. It's very technical and that puts demands on the car's aero - a good aero package is one of the keys to being quick. Looking at the circuit itself I particularly like T9 - its one of the quicker corners in the whole calendar and one that rewards confidence and good balance. Theres not a lot of overtaking chances around the lap and well see if the DRS plays the same role in Spain that it did in Turkey - if it does then tracks like Barcelona will suddenly have overtaking chances and thats got to be good for the fans.
Paul Hembery, Pirellis motorsport director
We said from the start of the year that we would introduce evolutions of the tyres if we believed that they would benefit the sport and Barcelona marks the first occasion that we have done this. The new tyre - which we have tested extensively - reduces degradation and improves tyre wear. Its not a huge step over the original hard tyre but it does mean that there is a bigger gap between the soft and the hard tyre, which will definitely make things even more interesting on race day and give teams the opportunity to use more creative strategies. In Barcelona, based on the data we have seen in testing, were probably expecting around three pit stops per car. It takes a lot longer to enter and leave the pits in Barcelona than it did in Turkey, and this is another factor that will have a definite influence on strategy.
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