Europe preview quotes - Williams, Ferrari, Force India & more 22 Jun 2011
After the streets of Montreals Ile Notre Dame, Formula One racing heads to the streets of Valencia. But in the place of the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuves high-speed, low-downforce layout, come the Spanish tracks demanding twists and turns. There are 25 corners in total - the highest number of any currently-used circuit - all of which test the drivers to the maximum. They and senior team personnel look ahead to the forthcoming 2011 Formula 1 Grand Prix of Europe...
Rubens Barrichello, Williams
2010 Qualifying - 9th, 2010 Race - 4th
Valencia is very important to me. It was there that I won my first race in 2009 and it was also the 100th Grand Prix win for Brazil, so it was very special. It is a very long circuit with lots of corners so you need the car set-up for good traction. I love this race track. The final part of the circuit has some high speed corners which makes the circuit feel very complete.
Pastor Maldonado, Williams
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a
I first raced on the Valencia Street Circuit in 2008 in a Dodge Viper Coupe GT3 and finished second. I entered the European GT race as I wanted to learn the track ahead of the GP2 event that year, which I also went on to finish second in, before winning there in 2010. The track is very similar to Montreal with long straights, slow corners and walls very close to the track. My favourite part is in the final section, when you brake into the last corner just before the pit entry. The weather in that part of Spain is fantastic and I guess the place will be full of Venezuelan fans so that will make it a great weekend for me.
Sam Michael, Williams technical director
Typically the grip level is low at Valencia as it's a street circuit that takes some time to rubber up. The Pirelli tyres performed exceptionally in Monaco though, so we don't expect anything less here. Set-up is geared for slow speed corner grip, but there is also a fantastic high speed section through Sector Three. We have some further upgrades to our diffuser and our target is to be in the points with both our cars.
Fernando Alonso, Ferrari
2010 Qualifying - 4th, 2010 Race - 8th
Ive never been that lucky in this race since its been held on the Valencia street circuit, especially last year when, despite having a very competitive car, I finished down in eighth place. However, everyone remembers what happened with the appearance of the Safety Car and theres no point going over it again. I know that our fans are eagerly awaiting our first win of the season and I can assure you that the same goes for us. At the last two races, we showed we were clearly capable of winning and, especially in Monaco, we came pretty close, although I believe that even in Canada I could have fought for it all the way to the end, given what we had seen in qualifying. Now we go to a track with reasonably similar characteristics to Montreal and there is no obvious reason why we should not be competitive here too. The car will be pretty much in the same configuration seen at the last race and the major new element will be the race debut of the Pirelli medium compound tyre, running alongside the soft.
Nikolas Tombazis, Ferrari chief designer
We were able finally in Monaco and Canada to be serious contenders for the win, even though, in the end, the expected result did not come our way. We were competitive because of two factors; the first is the characteristics of those two circuits which suited our car, while the second factor is the previously mentioned development brought to the cars. Both contributed to an improved performance in the last couple of races. I believe we can continue that trend in Valencia because the track there does have quite a few similarities with those at the two preceding rounds, particularly with Canada, as it has a long straight and some hard braking points and some medium speed corners, which we feel should suit our car reasonably well.
Adrian Sutil, Force India
2010 Qualifying - 13th, 2010 Race - 6th
I think we all enjoy visiting Valencia. The city is beautiful and the weather is great, but to be honest the track is not one of my favourites. The lap is made up mainly of straights and hairpins so its not the most challenging place to go racing. Although the walls are close, it doesnt really feel like a street circuit and its nowhere close to racing in Monaco. I have good memories in Valencia, especially from last years race. Although we struggled in qualifying, I got lucky in the race with the safety car and made up quite a few positions to finish sixth. It would be great to have another result like that to make up for the disappointment we had in Canada. In the past it was always very difficult to overtake in Valencia, even with such long straights. That problem should be solved this year with the DRS available and I expect there to be much more overtaking in the race.
Paul Di Resta, Force India
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a
Its difficult for me to talk much about Valencia having only done one practice session there last year. What I do remember is that I quite enjoyed the track and it wasnt too difficult to learn. Although its a long lap there are not that many difficult corners and the main characteristic is the long straight. Because of the long straights I think Valencia is another track where we will see a big advantage with the DRS. That should make some good opportunities for overtaking and it will be interesting to see how the FIA approach this when setting the DRS activation zone so that overtaking doesnt become too easy. Tyre wear will also be a crucial factor for the weekend because its another street track and its difficult to predict how the tyres will perform. In terms of my objectives, I think Id be fairly happy if we can be pushing to make the top ten in qualifying and racing for points. We saw in Canada that this is a realistic goal and I think the layout of the track should play to the strengths of our car. Hopefully we will have some new parts coming as well so that we can focus on taking another step forward.
Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India chairman and team principal
The Canadian Grand Prix was one of those races that we will remember for a long time. It was a day full of drama and excitement and was a great advert for Formula One. Despite the torrential rain showers and delay to the race, the fans still packed the grandstands and showed their support for all the teams. It was fitting that they got to see such a memorable race. Of course, it was a weekend of unrealised potential for Force India. The luck did not go our way and both drivers were a little over-enthusiastic. This is all part of racing and we will take the disappointment on the chin and come back stronger next time. It was all the more frustrating because the VJM04 was extremely competitive, we had a good strategy and we missed a chance to pick up some big points. After the low downforce challenge of Montreal, its back to high downforce in Valencia. We continue to push hard with the development of the car, mainly on the aero side with several small detailed additions this weekend.
Timo Glock, Virgin
2010 Qualifying - 22nd, 2010 Race - 19th
Valencia is a race that often divides opinion but I really like the circuit and find it an interesting challenge. Valencia is a race that often divides opinion but I really like the circuit and find it an interesting challenge. Its a track where we really have to keep our eye on the ball - much like Monaco - because the fast straights and the closeness of the barriers mean you can easily become unstuck. This is usually a very hot race, which adds to the challenge, and a great and very up and coming city. For us its a case of doing the best job possible with our equipment, bringing both cars home and continuing to make good calls from the pit wall to ensure we are there to take advantage of opportunities along the way.
Jerome DAmbrosio, Virgin
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a
I have always enjoyed racing at the Valencia Street Circuit since my days in GP2. Its a technical track with a very interesting final sector and so I cant wait to drive here in a Formula One car. I have always enjoyed racing at the Valencia Street Circuit since my days in GP2. Its a technical track with a very interesting final sector and so I cant wait to drive here in a Formula One car. The race in Canada was a great experience for me - it was a rather disappointing qualifying session but in the end I had some really good moments during the race that will only help me to develop as a driver and Im optimistic of a good weekend in one of the best European race venues.
John Booth, Virgin team principal
This is our second visit to Spain in the space of just five weeks but the Valencia Street Circuit, which works its way around the unique setting of the port, poses an altogether different challenge than the Circuit de Catalunya. After a thrilling race in Canada two weeks ago, everyone at Marussia Virgin Racing is pleased to be back racing on European soil next weekend in Round 8 of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship - the European Grand Prix in Valencia. This is our second visit to Spain in the space of just five weeks but the Valencia Street Circuit, which works its way around the unique setting of the port, poses an altogether different challenge to the Circuit de Catalunya. Unlike most street circuits, the 5.419km track is relatively wide, similar to permanent race tracks. The circuit has fast and flowing parts which, coupled with the proximity of the barriers, makes this an interesting and challenging experience both for drivers and their teams. There are no fewer than 25 turns - the highest number of any current Grand Prix circuit - and these present an entertaining mix of long fast straights and slower corners. The track calls for good traction and we also need to keep an eye towards the brakes here because of the stop-go sections of the circuit. Right now our focus has to be on doing the best job possible at every stage of the weekend so we are in a comfortable position come race day, then converting that into a strong two-car finish whilst keeping our immediate competitors behind us.
Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus
2010 Qualifying - 20th, 2010 Race - DNF
Im looking forward to the European GP as I think the heat and the demands of the circuit should suit our car well. Its not exactly a street circuit, its a semi-street circuit with a very smooth track surface with almost no bumps and low kerbs. It has long straights and a number of tight corners that means finding the right downforce level is critical to maximising performance. Pirelli is bringing the softs (option) and the mediums (prime) which we havent raced yet this season so I think we will have some work to do on Friday to look at how to get the most out of them. Weve been easy on the tyres all season so hopefully that will be the case again in Valencia, giving us strategic options that weve used well all season - Q2 is still the goal for qualifying and then lets see what happens on Sunday.
Jarno Trulli, Lotus
2010 Qualifying - 19th, 2010 Race - 21st
I left a very wet Canada and headed to my home in Miami for a few days of sun before returning to Europe for the next race. Its another temporary circuit and a good challenge for the drivers whilst also being very safe. In contrast to Canada the track surface in Valencia has strong evolution over the weekend - It starts out dusty on Friday but by Sunday there is a lot of grip and the lap times come down all weekend. Its a track where you need to find a rhythm. Sections of it flow but then you have other areas that are very much stop and go - long straights with hard braking at the end into tight corners. First gear is used a lot more here than most tracks and often at the end of a flat out straight so the brake wear is high. Im looking forward to it - the Spanish fans are some of the most passionate in the world and theyve taken Team Lotus to their hearts so I think it will be a good weekend for us all round.
Tony Fernandes, Lotus team principal
This is our sixth trip to Spain this year and a venue I particularly enjoyed in 2010. Valencia is similar to Montreal and Monaco in the way Formula One is embraced across the whole city and that level of support creates a fabulous atmosphere, on and off track. On track the goals are clear - repeat the qualifying performance from Canada and keep up our much improved reliability record to bring both cars home on Sunday. It would also be good if the other drivers on the grid could avoid using either of our cars as launch ramps this year...
Mike Gascoyne, Lotus chief technical officer
We learnt a number of important lessons in Canada and that weekend is now behind us and we are straight on to Valencia. In terms of downforce levels Valencia is unlike most of the other tracks in the calendar - we run more wing than in Canada for example, but less than a number of the other tracks like Barcelona or Turkey. The prime tyre here is the medium which we are racing for the first time this season. We ran it in on Friday in Canada and it behaved pretty well but as degradation can be reasonably high on Fridays in Valencia, due to the amount of dust and sand on track, we will be looking closely at how it performs and how we can take advantage of the time difference between the primes and the options on Saturday and Sunday.
Narain Karthikeyan, HRT
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a
I like being in Spain because, when the weather is hot, it reminds of back home in India, the people are also very friendly here and know theyre Formula One which is always nice. I certainly hope that the home race advantage helps the team to take their performance to the next level. I have never raced in Valencia before so I dont really know what to expect but you always need to concentrate 110 percent because the smallest mistake puts you in the wall. Its not a traditional street circuit as the roads are quite wide and the average speeds are not as slow as they are in Monaco.
Qualifying will play a crucial role as it does for every race; its always nice to qualify as far ahead as possible. Hopefully, with the DRS this year, overtaking should be a possibility during the race though. It was also good to see that the updates worked well in Canada; we have made a big step forward in terms of performance and lap times and are now much closer to our nearest rivals. We have a lot of work ahead, the step forward in Canada was a very good one, and we need to capitalise on that and keep the momentum going as the season progresses.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, HRT
2010 Qualifying - 14th, 2010 Race - 16th
The atmosphere of the race in Valencia is fantastic, the crowd is really committed and passionate and the city is beautiful, it all adds up to one magnificent Grand Prix. Its always special to race in front of your home crowd, Im sure it will be a great weekend with a lot of support from our home fans, especially after achieving our best result in Montreal. Its a difficult and technical circuit. Its not an easy task to set up the car and the track is really demanding on the tyres. Overtaking has been difficult previously here but with the DRS this year it should be much easier. Qualifying will be very important, as always in Formula One, but with the DRS there will be opportunities to improve on your position.
Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
I always enjoy Valencia. Both the city, with its atmosphere, and the track, which is a street circuit, are very special. Valencia is basically our second home grand prix which is very important for the team. I hope that the team continues improving and can prolong the positive trend. It seems that the car is more competitive on tracks with similar characteristics to Valencia. Traction will be very important here; therefore we have worked in this direction. We will have some new parts on the car and hope to further reduce the gap to the teams in front of us.
Nick Heidfeld, Renault
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a
Its another street circuit but different to both Monaco, which is a proper street circuit, and Canada which is more of a high speed street circuit. This is a different type of track, faster than Monaco, slower than Canada. I think it will also require the car to be set-up with a bit more downforce than we needed in Montreal. Its a reasonably recent race to join the F1 calendar but Ive been there before so we will see how we get on.
Vitaly Petrov, Renault
2010 Qualifying - 10th, 2010 Race - 14th
Its the third consecutive street circuit race, so we are getting used to these types of venues! I actually have very good memories of racing in Valencia because I won here three times when competing in the GP2 series. I havent made my mark here yet in Formula One but this year Im much more prepared. My target for the coming races is points, points and more points. Valencias a circuit I know very well so I think I have an advantage going into the race.
Eric Boullier, Renault team principal
We have made a lot of technical tweaks to the car, a number of which came as a result of understanding our lack of qualifying performance. If you add to these a couple of upgrades, we should be able to take a strong step forward. The track will suit us well and we expect to be fighting for places on the front three rows come Sundays starting grid.
James Allison, Renault technical director
Valencia is dominated by low speed corners. Although there are a couple of fast corners, they are normally taken flat out so the challenge, therefore, is to get the car working well in slow corners. Furthermore, as this will be the first opportunity to run the new medium tyre compound in a Grand Prix, it will be important to get settled on it quickly and to establish a good race set-up with it. The straight is long enough for DRS to function and there is likely to be a reasonably different level of performance from the two tyre compounds. This will lead to plenty of overtaking. As always, there will be a host of aero updates. The most significant of these will be a new top rear wing with a bigger DRS switching effect. This will bring outright lap time in qualifying and offer better overtaking potential during the race.
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
2010 Qualifying - 3rd, 2010 Race - 2nd
For me, Valencia will be a weekend of consolidation after two disappointing results in Monaco and Canada. Those two races were particularly frustrating for me because we showed we had the pace to win both of them, yet I only came away with eight points. Still, Im really pleased that Jenson drove a brilliant race to win in Canada; after his bad luck in Monte-Carlo, he more than deserved this result. Its a great result for the team, too. Ive always gone well at Valencia, finishing second there in every race, and I really enjoy attacking the track. Its a difficult circuit with no let-up, but that wont deter me as Im really keen to get back on track and get back in the points. This race will be our third street circuit in a row, so hopefully itll give me the chance to reverse the bad luck Ive encountered in the previous two! Weve arguably had the fastest race car in the last three races, and thats really encouraging because I know that, when its put to best use, I should be able to finish at the front. As always, that will be my goal next weekend.
Jenson Button, McLaren
2010 Qualifying - 7th, 2010 Race - 3rd
Its been a fantastic week in the aftermath of the Canadian Grand Prix. I had a few days break immediately after the race, which was perfectly timed as it gave me the opportunity to take in all the positive memories of a crazy weekend, and to reflect on an incredible race. I wouldnt say that winning in Montreal has given me extra motivation, because I was already totally committed, but I think it will help to sharpen the focus and conviction of everyone in the team. Weve proved we can challenge and beat Sebastian (Vettel), and we know we can fight for this world championship. Im looking forward to Valencia. I had a good race there last year and I think the track shares some of the characteristics of Montreal and Monaco, so Im confident that well be competitive again. The trick will be to find enough performance in the race to overcome any potential difficulties in qualifying. Its a hard place to pass and, even though there will once again be two DRS zones, I dont think thats going to make it much easier during the race.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
Jensons fantastic last-to-first result in Canada last weekend proved beyond doubt that, as a team, we never give up. That victory was a great fillip for the entire organisation and shows that our tireless efforts to bring constant upgrades to the track are really paying off. As a team, its particularly satisfying that our upgrade hit-rate has been successful and that weve really been able to translate the results weve seen at the factory into concrete performance at the track. Again, thats the result of good teamwork, and is what will successfully carry us through this championship fight. Weve typically gone well around the Valencia street circuit but weve never won there before. I think we go into the weekend feeling encouraged and motivated by our performance, but still realistic that Red Bull remains the pacesetter - particularly in qualifying. Were now into the heart of the season and need to ensure that were regularly delivering performance to the car. Weve shown time and time again that this is one of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes key strengths and Im confident we can continue to deliver. For Valencia and beyond, our aim is clear: we want to win.
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
2010 Qualifying - 1st, 2010 Race - 1st
The atmosphere around the harbour in Valencia is quite similar to Monaco, except that the paddock is bigger and the garages are larger. The circuit is a street circuit, but the average speed (200 km/h) is extremely high, so its tricky. In general you need a lot of wing for the corners and less for the relatively long straights, which means you have to find a compromise. There are no run-off zones, so you cant make any mistakes - a small slide and you end up in the wall... Overtaking is difficult and the only real possibility is in Turn 12. We had a good race there last year and the car should be good. Im looking forward to it.
Mark Webber, Red Bull
2010 Qualifying - 2nd, 2010 Race - DNF
Valencia hasnt been an incredible venue for me in the past but Im looking to try and break the duck this year. I quite enjoy driving the last sector of the track, as its got a really good combination of corners which are challenging. Its a circuit thats yet to provide a phenomenal F1 race, but weve seen some special ones this year, so hopefully this is an opportunity for Valencia to add its name to the list. Theres no reason why the car shouldnt perform well there, but as weve seen in the past few races, weve certainly had our fair share of competition.
Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber
2010 Qualifying - 18th, 2010 Race - 7th
Last year we had a good race performance and strategy in Valencia. I enjoyed the race a lot, especially the last few laps when I had fresh tyres and the others didnt. After qualifying had been disappointing because I was only 18th, we were very happy when I finished seventh in the race. This year we have a better car overall, and we have proved we are still good in terms of our strategies. Im quite confident for the European Grand Prix and want to make the most of it. You have four straights on which you need to be quick, but you also have slow corners and need to ride the kerbs in some places. This makes quite a challenging mixture, plus the track temperatures can be expected to be really high, which means you have to take special care of your tyres. The part around the bridge is the most tricky one, as you can gain or lose a lot of lap time there. In the past it hasnt been easy to overtake on this street circuit, but I think with DRS and KERS it will be an exciting race for the spectators and us. I also like the atmosphere there a lot, and Valencia is one of the more exciting places we go to. There is a lot going on in the city and you can find good food there.
Sergio Perez, Sauber
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a
I flew home from Montreal, and back in Mexico I spent the time preparing myself for the next race and trained together with our physiotherapist. I feel perfectly well and Im very much looking forward to racing in Valencia. Without doubt it is an advantage that I know this track well. In 2009 I was on the podium after both GP2 races and last year I had pole position.
James Key, Sauber technical director
Valencia is a smooth stop and start street circuit. Its not so bad for mechanical grip, as the surface is quite flat. The emphasis will mainly be on braking stability in low speed corners and traction. There will be an unknown in Valencia, because we will have a new Pirelli medium tyre compound which we ran in Canada. However, that was on a different track and most probably different track conditions with regard to temperature. This is a tyre which well have to understand and get working quite quickly on Friday in preparation for the rest of the weekend. We will have some modifications on the car, including a slightly changed front wing and some other parts. We hope our performance will be back on the level we had before Canada, where we felt we didnt perform as we wanted to in dry conditions. Also in the meantime weve been working hard on the balance of the car to try to ensure we can have a better level of performance in Valencia. We hope to have Sergio back in the car and look forward to working with him during the weekend.
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes
2010 Qualifying - 15th, 2010 Race - 15th
"After an encouraging weekend in Canada, it is nice being back in Europe again where we start the summer season. Valencia stages one of the more unusual races in the calendar with a street circuit which in my view is very attractive for both us drivers and the fans. I enjoyed the weekend here last year as the track is, surprisingly for a street track, quite fast and flowing, so I am looking forward to going there. Of course we hope that we can put on a good show, deliver a strong performance and experience another encouraging weekend, before we head to our home races in England and Germany."
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2010 Qualifying - 12th, 2010 Race - 10th
"Valencia is always a very interesting weekend. The track is a combination of a real circuit and a street circuit so the walls are very close to the cars, and you really have to concentrate around every one of the 25 corners. I really enjoy driving there, and it's a big event in a pretty cool city. I visited the factory this week to see everyone which was nice and it was good to see how the work is progressing. We're working hard for a better result in Valencia than in Canada, and I'm very confident that we can make this happen."
Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
"After the exciting and dramatic race in Canada last weekend, we return to Europe and head to the impressive Valencia Street Circuit for the next race. The lap around the marina in Valencia has many similarities to the track in Montreal with long straights and slow corners, whilst presenting an interesting challenge as it is quicker and much more open than a typical street circuit. Traction is important and the stop-start nature of some sectors can be tough on the brakes. The last race in Canada saw a positive weekend for the team, and whilst we still need to work on the ultimate pace of the car, it was encouraging and rewarding to be fighting for a podium finish again."
Norbert Haug, Vice-President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"The European Grand Prix is run around the America's Cup harbour in Valencia and, since it was first held in 2008, has established itself well on the calendar. Although this is a street race, the layout is very unusual for a street circuit and completely different to a track like Monaco, for example. The track surface is wide, even and very smooth. There is a large variety of corners, ranging from long and fast curves to short, sharp turns. Good traction and braking are important here, just like engine performance and aerodynamic efficiency. Our team will be aiming to build on our performance shown during the last race in Canada."
Paul Hembery, Pirellis motorsport director
Weve seen some fantastic street races so far this season, with the last Grand Prix in Canada being one of the highlights of the year, so we hope that Valencia will continue this pattern although its notoriously difficult to overtake there. Tyre wear on this circuit is likely to be quite high because of the track layout, the nature of the surface, and also the weather conditions, which should be very warm. For all these reasons, weve selected the medium and soft tyres, which should provide the teams with a good level of resistance, plenty of different opportunities for strategy and about a second per lap difference between the compounds. The PZero White tyres have been adjusted slightly from our original specification to make them a bit more durable, along the lines of the tweak we made to the PZero Silver hard tyre in Spain, and this was the compound that the teams tested during Fridays free practice in Canada, giving us plenty of useful data.
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