Atlas F1 News Service

Today's Selected Quotes - Spanish GP

Friday April 27th, 2001


David Coulthard: "The car was running reliably with the new systems throughout the session and we went through a lot of work. We have to spend more time looking at the data to optimise everything and as always its Saturday's qualifying which counts."

Mika Hakkinen: "We went through a good programme today. The new electronic aids give you a lot of opportunities and present the engineers and drivers with a different challenge. We will look at the data overnight and make some further improvements."

Ron Dennis: "Whilst the introduction of electronic freedom on the engines and gearbox has given the engineers and drivers another technical parameter, the performance gain is small but critical. Everybody within the team has worked hard to be well prepared for these rule changes but most of David's excellent performance today has come from further optimisation of the car and engine and his own efforts. Mika's second practice session was seriously hampered with a mechanical problem on the gearbox, which of course will be solved for tomorrow."

Norbert Haug: "A very productive first day of practice. We have found a good basis for the race set up. We were quick, but there is still potential for improvement tomorrow."


Eddie Irvine: "It's an improvement in the sense of the way the team works, the systems and the planning of the weekend, but it's not an improvement in the car. It's the first time the team has really focussed on working with two cars throughout the weekend, and thatís the biggest step forward. I think the traction control is going to make reliability a problem. Weíve done a race distance with traction control with no problems, so that looks promising for us, but you never know. Iíve had a lot of problems today, and we were lucky that we got through the programme that we needed to get through. We got through this programme today to try and maybe improve on that, and 13th is where we are. Itís only if one of the guys in front screws up do we become 12th. Hopefully with a little bit of inspiration from me and a little bit of screw-up for other people maybe we can get a little bit better. But this is very much a car circuit. Very often itís two-by-two."

Pedro De La Rosa: "I think to go back from testing to racing is easy - the problem is from racing to testing! Then you have problems to readapt yourself. I was angry of course, because all racing drivers want to race. You prepare yourself during the winter, you test, you feel that you are at your maximum, and suddenly you don't have the drive. Of course you are very upset. But nevertheless you have to look for another drive. I kept working, and here I am. I never thought it was over, that's for sure. The only important thing on Friday is what you learn about the car, about the tyres. How quick or how slow we are today is irrelevant. Tomorrow is qualifying, it's the same for everyone."


Michael Schumacher: "We had a good test at this track about one and a half months ago, which gave us a lot of data and pointed us in the right direction. Now we are making final improvements to the car, which seem to be going the right way. Tomorrow, in qualifying, we will find out how good it is. The arrival of traction control and the other electronic aids are of course an important factor here and I think we are one of the few teams which have worked intensively on the system, so we are pretty sorted out, but I don't believe anyone can claim to have the perfect system yet. We are still experimenting and trying to improve."

Rubens Barrichello: "The day got off to a very good start. Then, halfway through the second hour I had to spend a long time in the pits because of a problem with the left half-shaft. Once back on the circuit, I found that the track conditions had changed a lot, as the temperature had gone up. I think I have acquired enough data to know what set-up I want and also what type of tyre to use for the rest of the weekend."

Jean Todt: "This was the first official practice session to be run under the new regulations governing electronics. As usual on a Friday, we worked towards the race, trying out both types of tyre available. We can deduce that our cars are competitive, even if, at the moment, it is hard to tell which team is best exploiting the new regulations. As for qualifying, I think it will be the usual close fight for pole position and a place on the front rows between the top teams."

Ross Brawn: "This was our first day with the new systems at a race weekend. But after all the testing we have done, there were no surprises today. We tested here with traction control five weeks ago and the situation today was similar to then. We also did a tyre comparison and it is not yet quite clear which tyre we would prefer for the race. We spent the day in race set-up and generally it was a good day."


Olivier Panis: "We had a couple of small problems to start with but we worked through them and I am happy with the end result. Today we focused on our set-up and making changes in preparation for Sunday. The balance of the car is good but now we need to look at the problems that we had this morning and to improve on the set-up again tomorrow. It was a good final position during the afternoon session but we still have a lot of work to do."

Jacques Villeneuve: "We have had quite a few problems during practice mainly with the traction control system. We are not fully set up with it yet and we did not manage to get on top of it today. We lost a fair amount of time but I am not that unhappy because we were fairly acceptable on lap times. Oliver also took fuel out and the car seems to be competitive with low fuel so that's encouraging."

Craig Pollock: "We came out of a very bad first session where there appeared to be an engine problem with Jacques car so the result was that he did very few laps. During the second session both cars seemed to be relatively competitive within the best of the rest. Clearly we still have some work to do to catch up with the front runners but we feel that we are heading in the right direction and are optimistic of a strong qualifying position tomorrow."

Malcolm Oastler, Technical Director: "We had a few too many little problems which delayed us today but we overcame them to get the cars running. Otherwise, it was a normal Friday for us. We are reasonably happy with our pace, it's a bit better than we have recently achieved on a Friday, so thing's look fairly good for tomorrow."


Ralf Schumacher: "As expected today has been difficult for us. The Circuit of Catalunya doesn't really suit us, and I am still not happy with the balance of the car. We have got a lot of work to do before the race."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "It has been a very difficult day as I have been struggling with the set-up at lot. I can't really get a handle on the car. Apart from that everything is working fine. I missed half the last session with a problem. We must study the data and improve for tomorrow."

Frank Williams: "Now we need reliability in the next few races and then we need it for the future, we are short of results, except for Imola. It is all an on-going development process. I think BMW have big ambitions and they are not yet fully satisfied. A lot has changed in a fortnight. We were looking good 12 days ago, but after today's events there's not a great deal of confidence to which I could say 'no problem, mate' so don't be too sure for us."

Patrick Head, Technical Director: "Unfortunately Juan Pablo lost at least half of the afternoon with an engine problem. We have been doing our homework on the tyres and trying to optimise the car set up for racing conditions, but we haven't developed a good set-up yet. Tomorrow we shall concentrate our efforts on qualifying conditions."

Dr Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "We had an engine failure on Juan Pablo's car but we have not been able to find the reason yet. The smoke we saw was more water than oil but that's all the information we have so far. We had no warning this was about to happen from the telemetry. We are now going do some investigating here with all the engine related systems, but the engine will be sent back to Munich for an immediate analysis."


Jarno Trulli: "A routine day for us, we worked basically on car set-up and making adjustments to the latest electronic systems. Unfortunately, a clutch failure this morning meant I lost the first session, which effectively meant we had to do all our work in the second and final session in the afternoon. From what we can see, there is quite a lot of work to do because in these conditions - it was pretty windy in the afternoon - the car doesn't seem so well balanced. The wind at this circuit can affect some cars badly and others a bit less and it looks like we are suffering a lot at the moment."

Heinz-Harald Frentzen: "I was not very happy with myself today, I went off two times at the same place and I have to say I'm a bit upset. I'm trying to find a better set-up for that particular corner and I'm obviously having a few problems there! As for the rest, everything is pretty much on schedule. We may know this track very well but the challenge is coping with the conditions on a given day, seeing which way the wind is blowing and so on. We have done a lot of testing here but this is the first time we have run officially with traction control. That makes it a little bit easier for the driver and helps with tyre degradation ≠ but things can still go wrong when braking! It's a bit embarrassing; I don't want to speak about it!"


Kimi Raikkonen: "I still had some wheelspin today as the car lacked traction and felt a little nervous in places. But we didn't do so badly, with 11th fastest time. People say that traction control takes the fun away for the driver, but the fun is always there and the system will make life easier and quicker once we have it figured out. I'm sure we can do good things tomorrow."

Nick Heidfeld: "Mechanically I had no problems today, but we still need to do some work on the electronics for the traction control system. There's quite a lot more work involved for us initially in setting up the system, but I'm sure it will make things better once we are fully accustomed to it. I'm quite optimistic for tomorrow."

Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "I think we need more time to programme and adjust our traction control system for this particular circuit, but we know what to do to improve the cars for qualifying."


Jean Alesi: "Today we have done our usual Friday's setup work. The main problem I have encountered is a strong understeering. We don't know the cause but we will set to work on it and find a solution by tomorrow."

Luciano Burti: "As today was my real first day in the car, I focused on getting familiar with it. I still have to get used at not having the power-assisted steering which makes it quite difficult for me in the fast corners. We managed to do some setup work and, although this afternoon's session didn't improve my position, we know in which direction we have to work for tomorrow's qualifying."

Alain Prost: "For Luciano's first day of testing, we had many things to adjust, particularly with his driving position and everything went fine. However, both cars are experiencing a significant understeering that we must eliminate. The Barcelona track changes a lot during the week-end, and we work with serenity, knowing that we still have a real margin of improvement on our cars' setup until Sunday."


Enrique Bernoldi: "Overall we had a good day today. We concentrated on long runs this morning, working on traction control and set-up for the race, then this afternoon we worked on the launch control. We made steady progress with the new systems so I'm happy with the way the day has gone and looking forward to tomorrow."

Jos Verstappen: "We had an interesting day working with all the new rule changes. We spent the first session trying out some new aerodynamic parts, deciding which are best, and we did all the work we needed to with that. This afternoon we worked on our tyre choice and think we know where weíre going with those. In between we tested the traction control. All in all it's been a good day but we need to have a long hard look at the data tonight to find a bit more speed."

Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: "A very good day's work done. We didn't have any failures so were able to steadily work our way through the programme. We stayed with our plans and are happy to say that the whole package worked well. Where we'll be tomorrow, who knows, we'll have to wait and see."

Didier Debae, Asiatech:


Giancarlo Fisichella: "We are working in the right direction. There have been a few useful set-up improvements, but we are still too far off the pace. We are pushing as hard as we can, but I don't expect to qualify much better than row seven or eight tomorrow. The car is understeering quite a lot, particularly in the slower corners."

Jenson Button: I'm starting to get to get to grips with car now. My left shoulder, which has been a bit sore recently, is getting better all the time and I am enjoying finding out how the traction control systems work. The car has not run too badly at all, actually. It is improving all the time and that's the important thing.

Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "We had a productive day with both cars, evaluating the tyres and also the new electronic aids, we have had only a limited amount of testing during the past few weeks, so today was pretty much a test session. We are happy with the progress we have made, the car looks more competitive than has been the case at recent races and I hope that will translate to an improved qualifying performance tomorrow."

Pat Symonds, Director of Engineering : "It was an interesting session today with the reintroduction of the electronic controls. There is plenty to learn, but things went pretty successfully on that front. It is going to be hard to finalise our tyre choice this weekend, but the car is running well and I think we have achieved a lot."

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