Friday August 17th, 2001
Michael Schumacher: "If you look at the times, we are looking quite good today, but these times count for nothing in the long run. We know we are in a strong position and we should be competitive in terms of our package. We are still working on it to find the perfect solution, but we seem to be close to that point. As usual, the track was slippery here. If you look at the times of Rubens and Hakkinen, it is very close and I expect a similar situation tomorrow."
Rubens Barrichello: "The car was very good today. Because of a small problem with the brakes, I was unable to do quite as many laps as I would have liked, but all in all, I am happy with the amount of data we have gathered. We have plenty of information on how the tyres and chassis are working and, during the session, we were able to improve the performance. We tried both types of tyre and one of them seemed to suffer more than the other. The track was very dirty and I also think they should do something about the kerb where Coulthard had his problem this morning."
Jean Todt: "It was the usual sort of Friday session, run in very high temperatures. We worked on the set-up of the car and on analysing the behaviour of the tyres. These seem to be working well and both drivers used all three sets available to them. Tomorrow's battle in qualifying – which is more important than usual here, given the characteristics of the track – will be fought out between three teams. Despite the importance of this race, we will be tackling this race with the same effort and concentration we have shown in the preceding twelve."
Ross Brawn: "This was a reasonably straightforward day with no major problems. We concentrated on the tyres and we will be thinking about our choice this evening. The tyres did not react in quite the same way as they did in testing, perhaps because they are under more stress here. It was good to see Rubens up there right behind Michael. He had a small problem with the brakes today. It was our own fault as we let them get too hot. It was very tough out there, because there were a lot of cars going off and a lot of dirt on the track. This meant it was difficult to judge the effect of changes as every lap was different. As for the new aero package, it's fine and well balanced and gave no problems. We just have to check all its components tonight to make sure they are okay."
Mika Hakkinen: "I'm reasonable pleased with today and we have improved the car a lot during the two sessions. As always on a Friday it's difficult to know where you are compared to the others but I'm optimistic. The circuit itself is difficult to drive on and physically extremely demanding."
David Coulthard: "I hit the kerb at an unfortunate angle damaging the chassis. As a result I was unable to participate in the second practice which was unfortunate, but I'm pleased with the balance we have already achieved. The team will now rebuild my car with a new chassis in time for tomorrow's practice."
Ron Dennis: "David hit a kerb heavily and damaged his chassis badly. Mika and the team did a good job in preparing for Sunday's race. Mika was particularly quick on used tyres, which is encouraging for Sunday."
Norbert Haug: "Everything worked out fine today other than David's off. His car will be OK for tomorrow."
Ralf Schumacher: "I am quite satisfied with the way our day went as we completed our planned programme. It was a difficult day as the track was so slippery and I went off a couple of times, but in the end we found a proper balance for the car. All in all the situation here is more less as we expected. I just hope we can close the gap on the top times in qualifying."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "It was a difficult day, especially finding the right direction for the set-up. We struggled in the morning, but improved in the afternoon. However, we have fallen back a little bit as it has been difficult to get the car working and mine seems to have struggled a lot."
Sam Michael, Chief Operations Engineer: "On both cars we spent today looking at different tyre choices and evalutaing new parts we have at this race for the chassis. It is a bit difficult to look at Friday times and decide anything, as usual, and we now have a lot of work to do on the set-up once we have decided which tyre to run. I am pleased to report we had no problems at all with the chassis."
Dr Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "Both drivers did some good work today, with Ralf completing the most of any driver with a total of 41 laps. We had no engine problems at all and the hot temperatures here did not lead to high engine temperatures."
Eddie Irvine: "The car didn't feel as good as I thought it would round here – it's a bit difficult to drive, a bit nervous. The rear is not as stable as we're used to, for some reason. It is tricky, firstly because there's quite a big tail wind, so a lot of people were spinning coming into the last corner but one. When the wind's up your backside, it makes it very difficult."
Pedro de la Rosa: "We had a problem this morning with the engine, but the mechanics did a very good job to change it during the break, so we could do a reasonable amount of laps during the second session. It was okay, and we did our programme. We did the tyre compare, which was the main thing. The car was quite good, I would say. With one of the tyres we were struggling to get the grip, and then on the other tyre I immediately went quicker, and the car was much better balanced. For tomorrow we know we have a good starting set-up, and I'm quite confident."
Jean Alesi: "I had a very exciting morning! I think I need to take some sleeping pills tonight because I was too excited to drive the car! I spun off after a few laps this morning and it cost me valuable learning time. I was pushing too hard considering the little I know about the car. It wasn't a very smart move because my emotion was a bit too high! Obviously, the day finished very well. I am just following what the team ask me to do. This is my first time in the car and I don't know what is needed to make the necessary changes to improve the car. Despite my mistake this morning, everything went very, very well and I'm really happy. I'm really pleased and very happy to be in the team."
Jarno Trulli: "A routine first day, as usual doing tests on race set-up, Everything went okay. We had to get used to the new package on the car and we gathered a lot of data on that. We are learning fast, but there was nothing unexpected. It's been a positive day even though, as usual on a Friday, it's difficult to know exactly where we are because we don't know what fuel loads and tyres everyone else was running. I'm pretty confident we can be quick tomorrow."
Tim Holloway, Head of Engineering: "We have new development parts and a few aerodynamic modifications, it has been very difficult for Jean, coming straight into a race weekend without having seriously tested the car. He made a mistake early on with his spin but I think, all in all, he did quite a good job today. With Jarno, we were doing our usual Friday pre-race preparation and there were no problems there. From our point of view, all the components on the new package are behaving as we expected. So that has been satisfying."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "We definitely started this morning with the wrong set-up, but that was perhaps to be expected because we have some new parts on the car to get used to for this race. In the second session we did a very good job, even though I spun. We went in the right direction and did a lot of tyre work in preparation for the race. My best lap felt excellent, although the chassis had a tiny bit of understeer. I am happy to be seventh today our best free practice session of the season."
Jenson Button: "Today was not particularly good from my point of view. We did not get the set-up right at all on new tyres. The car had a fair bit of oversteer and wasn't working very well. I could not really push to the limit because I did not feel too comfortable, so we have to focus hard in order to find the right balance for tomorrow. I am sure we can sort it out."
Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "As expected we had a lot of work to do to balance the car with the new aerodynamic package that we brought along to this race. Giancarlo was quicker to find a better set-up and certainly his car was better balanced than Jenson's, although it was by no mean perfect. Jenson struggled a little bit and did not make quite so much progress, but after looking at the data I am confident that we will be able to work out the best package for the two cars tomorrow. Overall it was not a perfect day, but it was a good one and we can look forward to qualifying. Having one of our cars in the top 10 does not mean a lot on a Friday, but it is a nice reward for the effort everyone has put in."
Nick Heidfeld: "I'm quite happy and satisfied with the way things went today, especially as some of the cars ahead of me may have been on low fuel loads. I had a couple of spins due to entry oversteer, but we honed the set-up and the car felt good. If Monaco is the benchmark for this type of slow-speed circuit we can say that we have made a lot of good progress with the aerodynamics since that race, and other aspects of our technical package have also helped us to improve significantly."
Kimi Raikkonen: "It looks worse for me today than it actually was. The track was dirty this morning so we decided to experiment and try a few things, with the intention of doing more intensive set-up work when the track had cleaned up this afternoon. Unfortunately I had a problem with the rear suspension which lost me three-quarters of an hour just after practice restarted. Today the balance of my car varied between understeer in the high-speed corners and oversteer in the medium, but we have good data to help us for tomorrow."
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "Generally it was a good Friday for us. Kimi Räikkonen was unfortunate to have a mechanical problem, though he still completed 30 laps, but Nick Heidfeld was able to demonstrate the progress we have made mechanically and aerodynamically since Monaco and we are in good shape for the race."
Olivier Panis: "I'm feeling quite positive after today. We found the right set-up and we seem to be heading in the right direction. We did a lot of work in between the two sessions today and that helped us to keep hold of 9th position. I'm sure we can continue to improve tonight and in practice tomorrow so I'm feeling quite confident about qualifying."
Jacques Villeneuve: "We got a little lost with the set-up so we're not where we'd like to be this afternoon. I suffered with some oversteer and we were unable to find a solution yet. We still have some work to do but it's nothing we can't improve on tonight and in tomorrow's session. Olivier was able to improve throughout the session and his position is more representative of what the car can do here."
David Lloyd, Race Engineer to Olivier Panis: "Compared with our performance here last year, we're quite please with where we've ended up today. We were very consistent and the new modifications seem to be working well. Bridgestone brought a new tyre here which we knew was going to be very good and it's lived up to our expectations. We seem to be going in the right direction so we're quite happy."
Jock Clear, Race Engineer to Jacques Villeneuve: "We still have room for improvement after today. We didn't manage to find the right set-up for Jacques yet but Olivier seemed to be happy with a slightly different direction. We work very closely as a team so we'll be looking very carefully at Olivier's car and working to improve things for Jacques for tomorrow."
Heinz Harald Frentzen: "It was a really exciting day ! I had so many things to discover and to understand at the same time. It was important that I could run a lot today as I had no real testing in the car before this weekend and fortunately, we have been able to do a lot of work. I feel there is a true potential in the car and for me, it is just a question of understanding as quickly as possible all its different aspect and systems to make it work perfectly together. I feel confident and motivated for this weekend."
Luciano Burti: "It was not a good day for me to be honest. We never really managed to get a proper set-up for the car. I was losing the rear a lot into the corners, which is why I spun off several times. This prevented me from setting a significant laptime and I could not take advantage of the tyres. We have a lot to do before tomorrow but today’s result does not show where we should be and I am sure that tomorrow we will manage to improve a lot."
Alain Prost: "For Heinz-Harald's first real tests with us in the AP04, we expected to have a quite difficult day. But it has been very positive and more than encouraging for the week-end. Heinz-Harald gave us a lot of information and clearly improved all day long. Despite he is discovering at the same time the car, the engine, the tyres and the team, we already feel how much he brings us in terms of experience and of work methods. Luciano was discovering the track and unfortunately lost the benefit of his new tyres as he spun off on his two quickest laps. All in all, we have a lot of work to do overall to chose the right set-ups and tyres, but this first day is as positive as promising for us."
Jos Verstappen: "We had a good session today and got lots of work done. We ran with the new front wing, learning how to set-up the rest of the car to suit it. We did all our tyre work and set-up work so overall I'm quite happy with the job we did today."
Enrique Bernoldi: "We got through a lot of set-up work today without any real problems. It was good to try the new front wing and then the old one. The new one is a definite step forward. We are steadily improving but are not quite there yet. We've made our tyre choice but it was a tough decision today as there wasn't much difference between the two."
Graham Taylor, Chief Race Engineer: "The team had a good day overall today. The cars ran reliably throughout so we were able to successfully 'back-to-back' our new front end. Enrique had a couple of minor spins but that was him just finding the limit and there was no damage done."
Fernando Alonso: "Today's efforts were focused mainly on testing the new gearbox, which is proving more and more reliable, especially after some recent modifications that have been made. Both sessions were trouble-free, and tomorrow we'll concentrate our work on some additional areas in order to improve the car's performance further."
Tarso Marques: "Among other things, we tested two different types of dampers during today's sessions. We expected the one we tested in the afternoon to be better, but in fact, neither the grip nor the balance of the car improved from the morning session. It is clear that we'll go back to the first choice of dampers tomorrow. In the second session, we carried out routine work on tyres and aerodynamics."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "The European Minardi team has enjoyed a positive start to the weekend with two trouble-free sessions. The track was very dirty and grip was at a premium as a result. Also, the curbs caught out a number of drivers, including Tarso and Fernando, but generally just resulted in a few harmless spins. We're very pleased with the way the new gearbox has behaved and the situation therefore looks promising for tomorrow."
Published at 15:25:20 GMT