Friday April 13th, 2001
Michael Schumacher: "Today we encountered all the conditions we wanted to have and that allowed us to get the right set-up and find out how the car was handling in all conditions. In both the wet and dry we have shown we are competitive again. I think what happened in Brazil was just an exception. At least that's what I hope! I think if we have similar conditions over the weekend, we can confirm that. It is encouraging that we have been quickest throughout the day. Our brakes are working well here, on a track where they normally take a lot of punishment."
Rubens Barrichello: "I'd say today has been pretty good as we were able to run in the wet and the dry. I worked on a different programme to Michael's. That means now in the briefing, we will be able to put together the two sets of data to do the best possible job of preparing the cars for tomorrow and Sunday. Last year here, right off from the Friday, I was unhappy with the way the car was handing, but today has been a completely different story."
Jean Todt: "We are happy to be back on home turf, in front of our fans. The day's programme centred on set-up work and tyre testing. It was a more interesting day than usual because the wet and then drying conditions in the morning and the dry track in the afternoon meant we could try the car in different configurations. That meant we acquired a lot of useful data. As for qualifying, my prediction is not much different to the past weekends: we will see a very close fight for pole position, involving drivers from different teams."
Ross Brawn: "It has been a productive day's practice and we did good work with the wet tyres. We are very pleased with the way the cars behaved this morning in the wet. The afternoon also went well in the dry and I think we have a pretty good idea which tyres we want to run. As usual, it is difficult to know what the other teams have been doing in terms of fuel load and tyres, especially as this is a hard braking track. Although the gaps seem quite big today, I am sure that tomorrow's qualifying will be very close."
Ralf Schumacher: "Even though the first free practice session is not so significant, position three is not a bad start, furthermore, the gap to those behind me is quite big and the positive trend goes on. My car is still a bit nervous and we have to improve the set-up, but the base is good. But what could disturb us here is the rain."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "In the morning practice we tried different tyres and I was trying to learn the track, but in the wet it was very difficult. In the afternoon, when it was finally dry, I could do one lap only and I heard a strange noise coming from the engine. I came in and BMW told us we had to call it a day."
Gerhard Berger, BMW Motorsport Director: It's our first complete engine failure this year, we had little problems before but it is the first time we have need a whole engine change. It makes it difficult for Juan Pablo, but he can cope with it and will still produce the goods."
Mika Hakkinen: "I'm not so pleased with the car today. I have too much understeer which lost us time. However we are all working hard to understand how we can find a solution and make the car handle better, so we can fight for the front row."
David Coulthard: "My practice was cut short when I went wide at Aque Minerale and lost control of the car. Unfortunately I couldn't re-select a gear. so that was the end of only my second run in the dry. The balance of the car in the wet was quite good despite a spin when I tried to find the limit."
Ron Dennis: "The limited amount of dry running made optimising the car even more difficult. Neither the drivers nor ourselves are happy with our performance today. As you would expect we work hard to sort the problems out for tomorrow."
Norbert Haug: "We worked on our race set-up, but we havenít achieved yet what we wanted to. I'm confident that we will improve tomorrow."
Olivier Panis: "I'm happy with the development of the car and the new aero package. We were quick both in the wet and dry, which is good. We need to make our tyre choice which is difficult because the conditions could well change. I am looking forward to qualifying and the race."
Jacques Villeneuve: "The car seems to be more working better here than at any other track, a podium finish is definitely possible, especially if it is a race like the last one in Brazil. This year the car has generally been more competitive and the results show it because we have been in the points. The car always goes well at this circuit, It seems to like it. We were in the points this time last year and I think that could be possible this year."
Craig Pollock: "A good day for us. The new aero kit seems to work well in the wet and the dry. It is heartening to see both guys up at the front. We have to make sure we get a good set-up for qualifying and the race."
Nick Heidfeld: "Generally I'm quite happy with the car. It was very competitive in the wet this morning and would have been quicker still except that we ran out of time to make a change in set-up. My final run on new tyres this afternoon was interrupted initially by yellow flags and after that I just didn't get a lap together. Though my lap time might not reflect it, the car is also competitive here in the dry so I know I can go quicker."
Kimi Raikkonen: "It's been a pretty good day for me. I didn't find the track particularly difficult to learn, and the car was good all day. I started on wets then switched to intermediates this morning while I was learning my way round, and the track was slippery. Once it dried out I could really start to push, but my quick lap wasn't anything special."
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "We completed our planned programme today, and the C20 proved well suited both to Bridgestone's new tyres and to the fourth different type of track that we have visited this year. It is encouraging to maintain the momentum we have demonstrated so far, and Kimi's time in particular was impressive for a driver who had never seen the circuit before."
Eddie Irvine: We have similar challenges to ones we normally experience, we need to keep working, but I'd be surprised if there was a miracle cure to get us much further up the grid than we have been recently. Understeer and front tyre graining seem to be my main enemies. The new front wing certainly gives us more options, but I'd like more time with it before making a definitive choice. We made some progress in the second session by adjusting the tyre pressures but I'm still struggling with understeer. For tomorrow we have a new development of the Cosworth CR3 engine. We tested this at Jerez last week and we'll see how that goes tomorrow."
Luciano Burti: "It's not an easy place to learn. It's quite difficult because you have to attack a lot. This morning in the wet it was very slippery, so it was very difficult, and in the dry you have to really attack the corners. But at least the car seems to be quite good, better I would say than in the last race in Brazil. Michelin has some new tyres, and we have a new front wing, and it all helps. We're getting a better balance here. The front end is improved, so it's one less problem to worry about. As a result, we don't have to compromise the rear so much to get the front right. That's the main benefit. I was taking it very easy in the wet session, because if you go off, that's it, so everything went according to plan. It was pretty good."
Bobby Rahal: "We are not going to draw too many conclusions at this stage. We've had a reasonable day. Eddie remarked that the car felt pretty good and Luciano was pleased with the new front wing. This front wing was run at Jerez last week but we had some prior knowledge of it as well. Jerez was the first time that we had really worked on it in a consistent way and it seems to be performing well so far. Given the encouraging feedback from both drivers today, I hope we can qualify further towards the top of the midfield tomorrow."
Jarno Trulli: "A good day, trouble-free, we worked all day with the race in mind; fuel, tyres and so on. Everything was working well but we don't know how quick we are compared to the other teams because we don't know the fuel loads they were running. I'm happy with the balance of the car even if the track conditions changed. We had a wet-set up initially but when the track dried very quickly, I couldn't change the set-up as much as I wanted, which meant I was struggling a little bit. But we already know which direction we have to take tomorrow."
Heinz-Harald Frentzen: "The usual Friday practice, concentrating on the race set-up, I had no problems at all. It was unusual to run in the rain here so we learned something from that. But, otherwise, it was routine and I'm happy with progress so far."
Tim Holloway, Head of Engineering: "The conditions today varied every time the cars went out, so it was difficult to work on car set-up. We gained some good data though and now need to think about qualifying tomorrow."
Jean Alesi: "Due to the changing track conditions, we were able to try in the morning different types of Michelin wet tyres and in the afternoon, on improving different setups for dry conditions. The car reacted better on a dry track, and the laptimes we have set today are promising, considering our fuel-load."
Gaston Mazzacane: "We have done a good work today. I felt the car behaved well both in wet and dry conditions and I believe we are in the right direction for a good qualifying."
Alain Prost: "We had a very productive first day, testing a wide range of setups for different track conditions. Our drivers covered many laps, and all the evolutions and small modifications we introduced this weekend give signs of improvement. It is always risky to draw conclusions from Friday's laptimes as we don't know the fuel-load of the competitors. However, our car performed well on the dry, and in such conditions tomorrow, we would be set for a satisfying grid position."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "If I can be 15th tomorrow during qualifying it wouldn't be too bad, even though I am at my home circuit where I would like be among the top three rows. We worked on the race set up today and have improved on the slow corners where I had too much understeering before. In general we need much more grip and some more experience."
Jenson Button: "I did not have a very good morning I'm afraid. It seems that we've lost some power, which now what we have to work on. I had some understeer in the corners but we sorted that out during the session and it is now under control."
Pat Symonds, Engineering director: "During this mornings practice session it was quite difficult to test the wet tyres as the circuit conditions where changing rapidly, but by following a different programme with each car we were able to make some decisions. In the afternoon when the circuit dried up we worked on our normal race set up with some success."
Fernando Alonso: "The first practice session did not go well because my car had a problem affecting the gearbox, which we then had to change for the second session. As a result, I could not do many laps in the morning, and then we lost almost 30 minutes of the second session to fix everything. We couldn't make a lot of improvements to the car in such a short time, so 18th position is really the best we could obtain today considering the problems we had."
Tarso Marques: "This morning the track conditions were changing a lot and therefore we were not able to establish a good reference point so as to know how to improve the car. I felt my chassis, however, had essentially a good balance. The second session started well, but then my car suffered a leaking water radiator and this caused me to lose more than 20 minutes in the pits. We then decided to fit fresh tyres to improve my lap time, but unfortunately I was unable to improve in the way I had hoped. Despite the problems, though, I still feel optimistic for tomorrow."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "After a damp first session that, sadly, saw Fernando's car stop on the circuit with a gearbox problem, the second session was more fruitful, both European Minardi chassis performing in line with current expectations. Both Fernando and Tarso set promising times, despite not having had as many laps as had been planned. We continue to look forward to the weekend ahead, though, especially if the weather remains as changeable as it has over the past few days."
Enrique Bernoldi: "I've had a pretty good day today and made some solid progress. We got a good balance during the session this morning when the track was still damp then moved onto evaluating tyres in the second session. We got through a lot of laps and it's a bit of a shame that we had electrical gremlins at the end but we're pretty happy with what we've achieved. It's great to be racing in Europe again, especially at Imola which is a track I enjoy."
Jos Verstappen: "That wasn't the best start to the weekend! We had a fuel pressure problem on my first lap this morning which stopped me out on the track so I lost the whole session. This afternoon it happened again as I was leaving the pit-lane. We could have fixed it but once the marshals had pushed the car back it was game over. It's bad luck as you can never regain those two hours of lost track time and spend the rest of the weekend playing catch-up. This is racing and these things happen so we'll just have to do our best tomorrow."
Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: "Jos had the same problem this afternoon as he did this morning which curtailed his running. Enrique did a lot of running with high fuel loads and provided us with the data we need to make our tyre choice. Overall though we're not best pleased with the results of today and we will have to make the most of tomorrow's practice sessions in order to get a good result in qualifying."
Lionel de Castro, Asiatech: "All the hard work invested during the Magny Cours test was not fully rewarded today mainly due to technical problems with the engine. Having said that, the Asiatech engine again showed its speed in a straight line and both drivers think there is more to come tomorrow."