Atlas F1 News Service

Today's Selected Quotes - Brazilian GP

Friday March 30th, 2001


David Coulthard: "I'm pleasantly surprised with the progress made with the car since the last race. I don't know whether it's enough but believe we will be closer to our main competition this weekend. It's hard to describe how bumpy the track is. You are really struggling to keep your eye line and the first run today was a bit of a shock to the system."

Mika Hakkinen: "I'm comfortable with the performance of the car. We were running on good fuel levels and didn't use too many tyres, so all in all two pretty good practice sessions. We have made progress but it's too soon to speculate on how much until tomorrow. As always it's incredibly bumpy out there – it seems to get worse and worse every year. We still have a lot of work to do and I'm looking forward to this weekend."

Ron Dennis: "Clearly the trend is in the right direction. As you would expect the whole team is very focused and everybody in the respective companies has been and will continue to work very hard."

Norbert Haug: "A very productive practice day for David and Mika. We are in the process of improving but whether sufficiently we will see tomorrow."


Jarno Trulli: "It was a positive session for me, I lost about half an hour of running while we tried different brakes but, otherwise, we spent the day working on the set-up and making progress. The car is competitive again and we don't seem to be far away in lap times from everyone else. So, I'm confident for tomorrow. The track has been resurfaced in places and they have done a pretty good job, even if it's still a bit bumpy here and there."

Heinz-Harald Frentzen: "We were doing the usual Friday work, finding the best set-up and so on, the track was dusty and dirty - as it usually is here on the first day - but, even so, I thought the lap times would be quicker than they were. The times were getting faster every minute, so there is obviously still more to come. I didn't get to use most of the second session thanks to an unexpected problem. The engine just stopped - it wasn't a failure or anything like that - but I suddenly had no drive. I have no idea at this stage why that happened. But it meant I couldn't complete the programme we had planned for the day. However, with Jarno going so well, I'm sure he will have been able to collect some useful data. We'll just have to work hard tomorrow."


Michael Schumacher: "This is a difficult circuit, but I am happy with the work we have done so far. I had a puncture on the rear which meant we lost a set of tyres and that involved changing our programme. The car is not yet a hundred percent, but we have made progress. We will continue with the work tomorrow. Looking at the times, it would seem that the opposition is closer than in the past two races, but of course on Friday, you can never be sure what tyres and fuel load they were running. The track is better since they resurfaced it."

Rubens Barrichello: "The track is better than last year. The bumps on the pit straight are definitely smaller. On my twenty third lap, I spun at the exit to the first turn. I think it was due to a problem with the engine, which stopped unexpectedly. It might have been due to a drop in oil pressure. We will have to wait for the car to be brought back to the pits before finding out what actually happened. At least it’s better for this sort of thing to happen on a Friday rather than on Sunday! Unfortunately, I did not have the time to try the car on a second set of tyres. I would have liked to have done more laps, but I am still happy with the work we have done today."

Jean Todt: "We were unable to work through all of our programme for Rubens’ car today, because of his spin caused by a drop in oil pressure. However, we did complete our planned work with Michael, using all the tyres available for the day, while concentrating on set-up work on the F2001. I am sure we still have room for improvement as the balance of the car is not yet entirely satisfactory. I think tomorrow’s qualifying will be very close, with much reduced gaps between the cars."

Ross Brawn: "Unfortunately, we had a problem with Rubens’ car. At the moment, we are not sure what it was. But the spin was not his fault, it was caused by the car problem. We will now have to check the car over to see what caused it. However, the rest of our programme was fine. We did a tyre comparison and we are now pretty comfortable with what tyres we should use for the rest of the weekend. Everything else went according to plan."


Juan Pablo Montoya: "I am pleased with today's performance, because I can see that the car has definitely improved from the first race. For the first time on a Friday we didn't experience any problems and this allowed me to achieve a good number of laps on this track which is completely unknown to me. It's a tricky circuit, as it presents several very different parts, which would require different set-ups. If we manage to solve some understeer problems, I am quite confident we could maintain a good position tomorrow."

Ralf Schumacher: "I didn't have much opportunity today to work on my car. Due to a gearbox problem we lost a lot of time in the first session and some of the second. I could not go out on the track until quite late and I am not still happy with the set-up. We have to work on it. Tomorrow there will be more rubber on the track and the tyre will do a better job."

Patrick Head, Technical Director: "We had a useful day with Juan Pablo who had to learn the circuit and has done a lot of homework for the race and race set-up. Obviously he has learnt this circuit very quickly. Ralf had a more troubled day, experiencing a very unusual problem in the gearbox, a bearing problem. We changed the gearbox and the hydraulics - just in case - for the afternoon. Then he had a trip off the circuit on his first run, which did a little bit of damage but he made progress through the practice doing a very good job catching up and allowing us to get some good comparison information between the two cars. Now we've got to focus on our grid position tomorrow."

Dr Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "Interlagos is very demanding on the engine side, particularly on the uphill straight, where lots of power is required. Therefore it is quite pleasing to see that we are at the top in terms of speed. So far there was no trouble at all on the engine side."


Nick Heidfeld: "I'm happy with my best lap today. The track is better, for sure. It's less bumpy on the climb to the start/finish line, but the rest is the same. We followed our intended programme today. The balance was good straight away so we didn't change a lot. Everything we did today went in the right direction."

Kimi Raikkonen: "This morning I had a small problem with my steering wheel, and then with the brakes, on my first run. But after that everything was okay and I could focus on the job. This is a good circuit, very satisfying to drive on, and maybe you need a little more time than usual to get the most from it. I'm happy with the progress we have made today."

Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "This was a productive day. We made good progress and I believe we have found the right compromise between cooling, downforce and speed for both qualifying and the race. We have established a good foundation for the rest of the weekend, and I am sure that in qualifying tomorrow, the gap between Nick Heidfeld and Kimi Raikkonen will be smaller."


Eddie Irvine: "We're pretty much where we expected to be - maybe a little better actually, we worked on various bits and pieces today and we still have a couple of aero parts to try tomorrow morning, we achieved quite a lot today, we tried a new front wing and we have another to try tomorrow."

Luciano Burti: "I didn't really find as much time on the track as I would have liked, qualifying position is always critical but it will take on a new meaning for me in front of my home crowd. I can't wait."


Olivier Panis: "It was quite a good day. We concentrated mainly on working on set-up for the race on Sunday and trying out different tyres. The balance of the car is good but we need to improve it for tomorrow. I am feeling quite optimistic and I am confident going into qualifying."

Jacques Villeneuve: "We changed the car quite a bit during the two sessions and made several changes which improved the car a lot, which is good. It seems to be fairly consistent at the end of the day so it should be good for the rest of the weekend."

Craig Pollock: "Some good positive set up work was carried out during the two practice sessions today which has given us a good indication of the direction we need to take on set-up. Both the drivers and engineers will be working hard tonight to get the ultimate set-up. It was a good Friday for us and with the knowledge from these practice sessions we are feeling confident for the qualifying hour tomorrow."


Jean Alesi: "We covered a lot of laps today, which is very good. At the moment, the car's balance is far from what I would like it to be and we have a problem in adjusting the brakes, which is affecting our performance. But today we have gathered a lot of data and now it's a matter of getting down with the work and have the car ready and competitive for tomorrow's qualifying."

Gaston Mazzacane: "This was a very productive and competitive session and in spite of my final position, it's good to see that the times’ gaps are very close. I ran a lot of laps and I think I have found a good balance for the car. Overall, I am confident that tomorrow I can do well in qualyfing"

Alain Prost: "The evolutions we have introduced for this Grand Prix seem to give some positive results. Although they are minor modifications, they have brought a significant improvement to our performance. Today’s session was troublefree and we managed to do all the work we had planned. As usual here on this circuit, the gaps between cars are very tight and that will be the case even more in tomorrow's qualifying. But I am confident that we have a good chance to place one of our cars within the first ten on the starting grid."


Jos Verstappen: "We got a lot done during the first session, working on our race set-up and checking the speed on the straights. For the afternoon session we changed a lot of things on the car which took a long time and delayed us a little, but the changes were all good so it was worthwhile. We're quite happy and we know what we have to do for tomorrow."

Enrique Bernoldi: "It's been a long time since I raced here but once I was out on the track it all came back to me. It feels good to be racing in Brazil again after being in Europe for so many years. We're pretty happy with the progress we made today but still have lots of work to do on set-up."

Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: "A trouble-free session for us today apart from a few hydraulic problems on Jos's car when we changed the ratios. We stayed with high fuel and are happy with the data we got back. The new aero parts we tested in Barcelona last week have helped us to bridge the gap a little but that is an ongoing process. We have a big aero test next week which we hope will put us in better shape for Europe. The engine behaved very well today and we're all looking forward to having a good day tomorrow."

Guy Audoux, Asiatech: "The two sessions enabled the team to compare various set-ups on this very tricky circuit. Power steering was tried for the first time this year, and everyone's hard work was rewarded by valuable information for tomorrow's timed session."


Giancarlo Fisichella: "Inspite of the problems that inflicted my car today, the hydraulic leak, I was able to do reasonable assessment of the tyres which means an important part of our work was done today."

Jenson Button: "We had engine problems during the second session and we were therefore limited with the improvements of the set up and tyre developments. I am too far down the times and we will have a lot of work to do to get us where we need to be.."

Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "Jenson's running was stopped early due to a small engine problem which unfortunately meant he did not run on new tyres. Giancarlo's first session was hampered by a hydraulic leak after a few laps, but he was able to get some useful running and improved the balance of the car. The midfield looks like it is quite tight and we will have to work hard to try and find some more time in the car."

European Minardi

Fernando Alonso: "This morning's session was useful to pile up as many laps as possible in order to learn the track, which is new to me. In the afternoon, we started to test some new solutions to find a good set-up, and in fact we believe the car's behaviour has improved a lot. I am satisfied with today’s programme because it proved to be really effective and we worked hard at trying to make the most of every moment available to us in the free practice sessions."

Tarso Marques: "This morning, my car was well balanced, and in fact I was able to set the 16th best time at the end of the first session. Afterwards, we changed a number of things, but without improving the set-up, as we had expected. In fact, the car's behaviour actually deteriorated and, as a result, I couldn't make any real improvement on my lap time this afternoon. We'll now reset the car for the morning and aim to improve it so we have the chance of a good qualifying session."

Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "There's every reason to feel pleased with today's performance and it was good to see both Tarso and Fernando mixing it with the Arrows, Prosts and Benettons. Considering that one second is all that separated Fernando from a top-10 position today, it shows just how close the performance of the whole field is here in Brazil. Both cars ran reliably, with only routine set-up changes being made, so we're looking forward to a good qualifying session tomorrow and a competitive Brazilian Grand Prix."

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