Atlas F1 News Service

Today's Selected Quotes - Austrian GP

Friday May 11th, 2001


David Coulthard: "We made progress through the day on a track, which is still quite dusty and slippery. We haven't got the maximum out of the car yet as I'm not 100 percent happy with the balance but we are heading in the right direction. This track requires a lot of front-end grip on the tyres, which is what we have to work on."

Mika Hakkinen: "I'm pleased with our performance today. We went through a lot of work and were consistently quick and experienced no major problems. I'm looking forward to this weekend on a track which I always enjoy."

Ron Dennis: "A good day's work by all."

Norbert Haug: "From the beginning of today's two practice sessions we have progressively improved with both David and Mika constantly going faster. We should have a good basis for the race."


Rubens Barrichello: "Today, we did a lot of laps on a track where we never test and so you have to put in the kilometres to acquire the data. This track is different to most of the others we race on, but I think we understand how to tackle it. Now we must work out our tyre choice. It will also be very important to keep an eye on the weather. Generally, I am happy with this first day's work"

Michael Schumacher: "This morning, we did not run as much as I would have liked, to be honest. That was because of a small problem with the brakes, which we fixed. That lost us some mileage. But all in all, it is looking pretty close. Even though the gap is four tenths, my last run was compromised by traffic, so I am not worried about the time difference. The difficulty at this track is finding a good set-up, which is essential here. You have to be very precise and it is very difficult to achieve that here. I am optimistic for tomorrow, because I do not feel that my lap times today are representative of what me and the car can do."

Jean Todt: "Our programme for Friday centred on set-up and aerodynamic work on the cars. We used the three sets of tyre available to both drivers, gaining a clear picture of which type we should use for tomorrow's qualifying and Sunday’s race. As usual, it is difficult to see where we stand compared with our main rivals. For our part, we are not yet totally satisfied with the balance of the car. However, based on what we have seen and the data gathered from these two hours of free practice, we are sure we will be very competitive in tomorrow's qualifying session."

Ross Brawn: "A pretty normal day, although we had a bit of trouble with Michael's car to begin with. There was a problem with the brakes which we have now solved. We did a tyre comparison and I think it is fairly clear which tyre we are going to use. There is not a big difference between the two types of tyre. A reasonable session, nothing special to report. The track is very "green" but it is the same for everyone. The only effect it has is to effectively shorten the session as you wait for it to clean up. We used some of the new aerodynamic modifications which we tested yesterday at Fiorano. It's not a major step, just small changes in a couple of areas."


Ralf Schumacher: "I had a totally trouble-free practice today. We tried everything we wanted to and also made our tyre choice. However, I don't think it will be easy to get a top six grid position tomorrow, especially as the lap times of all the top runners are very close."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "My main task today was to work on getting a race set-up for the car. We tried both the tyres available. I know the track well from Formula 3000, but obviously this was my first opportunity to drive here in a Formula One car. I had no problems so it is a good start to the weekend."

Patrick Head, Technical Director: "We have done a useful day of homework for the race and now understand the car set-up we have to achieve for the tyres in both new and used conditions. Neither driver had any technical problems. I think the Valencia test was useful, particularly for verifying the traction control system we wish to run."

Dr Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "We were able to do a lot of running with both cars and from the lap times it is obvious we are well prepared for the weekend after just the first day. The engines ran with no problems whatsoever and we used the traction control. Altogether we are satisfied with practice today and are looking forward to tomorrow's qualifying."


Nick Heidfeld: "I had a pretty much trouble-free day. We made positive adjustments to the car all through both sessions, and we kept going in the right direction. This is one of those circuits that tends to get quicker all the time, so it can be tricky working out whether or not you are genuinely improving the car. Fortunately the Bridgestones have been very consistent today and that has helped us a great deal to make sure that we are on the right track."

Kimi Raikkonen: "We arrived at a good set-up early on today and spent the rest of the time fine tuning it. I'm happy with the software mapping for the traction control that we developed further after the Spanish GP in our test at Silverstone last week. I got held up by a Minardi otherwise my last run would have been quicker, but overall it's been a good day."

Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "Of course it's a Friday but it is clear to us that we have done our pre-race homework well, and today's programme went without any problems. We completed more than 90 laps between Nick Heidfeld and Kimi Räikkönen and the C20 seems very well suited to the A1-Ring. We are in good shape for tomorrow."


Heinz-Harald Frentzen: "There was a problem with the hydraulics and we had to change a couple of bits and pieces on the car, it took more time than expected because we wanted to make sure that would be the end of the problem. But that meant a loss of time which should have been used for basic set-up work on the car. There is still work to be done but, so far, it has been okay. There is still potential in the car, for sure, and we will have to squeeze it out tomorrow."

Jarno Trulli: "It was difficult today, apart from the dirty track, the car wasn't very well balanced. I was running a heavy fuel load for most of the day and went off twice. One of the trips across the gravel damaged the bargeboards behind the front wheels and they had to be changed, which cost me a bit of time. Otherwise, I had no problems."

Tim Holloway, Head of Engineering: "The hydraulic problem seriously affected Heinz's morning session, he only managed five laps and then had to stop 15 minutes before the end. There was a lot of work to do and he did not get out until the second session was 10 minutes old. But, apart from that, the day was trouble-free. There is a lot of work still to be done with the set-up on both cars."


Olivier Panis: "We have had a productive day. We were able to make some set-up changes and achieve a good balance, however we still have some work to do for the qualifying session tomorrow. At the end of my second run I put on some new tyres and unfortunately I made a small mistake and spun. I am happy with end result today and I am feeling positive for tomorrow."

Jacques Villeneuve: "It was not too bad. The car seems to be running strong, it has been running strong all day so I am relatively happy. We did not manage to do a quick lap when everybody else was doing quick laps so we did not achieve our best time. I am happy with the balance of the car although we still have some work to do."

Craig Pollock: "We had a trouble free Friday. It was a productive day for us and we are happy to be running fairly quickly. Both Jacques and Olivier are happy with today's performance and both managed to find a good balance. With some good work overnight we will be looking to be competitive in qualifying tomorrow."

Malcolm Oastler, Technical Director: "We were doing our usual Friday thing and having both cars in the top ten is a good result. We had no problems with the cars, Olivier made a small mistake at the end and spun, but that is no real concern. We managed to carry out some constructive work on tyre evaluation for tomorrow as well as some launch control work, so it was a very constructive day."


Eddie Irvine: "It was a productive session, but I think we'll struggle here more than we did in Barcelona, we achieved our job list today and we have a clear picture of what needs to be done. We are certainly not as quick as we'd like, but this isn't a surprise given the aerodynamic limitations of the car at the moment. Our new aero package has now been brought forward to Monaco and, in the meantime, we'll just have to accept the fact that we are too slow. We have a good handle on the tyres and we know what compound we'll use for tomorrow. For qualifying, I expect to take my usual place on the grid, which is, at the moment, around 12th position."

Pedro de la Rosa: "It was an interesting session in that we tried different tyre compounds and learnt a lot, the main aim for me today was to figure out which tyre to use for qualifying, and we did that. I suffered from a minor misfire problem that didn't help but it's not something that can't be resolved. The work we did at the Valencia test last week seems to have carried through quite well – particularly as this circuit is very tough on tyres. The circuit is also very slippery and the tyre choice is critical. You can use scrubbed fronts or brand new tyres and the results ca actually be unusual here."

Bobby Rahal: "We knew coming here that at this track you need to be very, very efficient aerodynamically, for us to get straightline speed we can't run too much downforce, which is obviously not what you want here, with all these long straights – just like Barcelona. I suspect we'll end up where we've generally been. We can make the car a little better, as it's not perfect for them by any means. It's mainly a question of which tyre is going to be the one we want to go to. We've run a fair amount of fuel today at times. Unfortunately right now we generally have a better race car than qualifying car, and that's not going to change until Monaco. Our lot is cast at the moment, but with these new aero bits coming, I think we'll have much more productive races. Subject to the crash test working well, it will be at Monaco."


Jos Verstappen: "We had a pretty reasonable day today. We got through our whole programme and are happy with the work we got done so we now have a very good base to start from tomorrow. I'm also pleased with the speed we have here."

Enrique Bernoldi: "We more or less got through our programme today. I went off this afternoon which lost us a bit of time, we still need to fine tune the balance, but generally we are happy with what we've achieved. We had a small problem at the end of the second session with what looks like oil pressure so the team called me in. Nevertheless, it feels good to be racing in Austria as, living in Salzburg, this is a 'home' Grand Prix for me and also for Red Bull."

Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: "A good day's work. We've decided on tyres, we've done all the work we needed to do on the brakes and fuel loads and done some long runs. We had to ask Jos to stop on the track at the end of practice as we had an oil supply problem but other than that we have made progress and are very much looking forward to continuing in the same vein tomorrow."


Luciano Burti: "The main problem on this circuit, is to make a proper use of the tyres. In fact, since we are running on a very smooth track , it's difficult to find a good balance without compromising the overall grip. At the morning session we struggled but in the afternoon the car kept improving throughout the practice. I am therefore much more confident, as it's evident that we have a margin for improvement for tomorrow's qualifying."

Jean Alesi: "Although we ran a lot of laps today, I have had a persistent difficulty with my car when it brakes. We certainly have to work at finding a solution to this problem and get ready for tomorrow's qualifying."

Alain Prost: "At the start of the week-end, the A1 Ring is always lacking of grip and performance because it's very dusty. It gets better and better as the tyres run on the track and leave debris. Temperature and weather conditions play an important role, influencing the cars behavior and especially the tyres performances. In fact, both our cars had some difficulty this morning in optimising the tyres, which resulted in both drivers lacking balance when entering corners and when braking. Those are the points we will concentrate our work for tomorrow. The track conditions will continue to evolve during the course of the weekend and it's important to be very flexible in order to be able to adapt very rapidly the cars to the changes."

European Minardi

Tarso Marques: "It was a reasonably good day, although it was a shame we lost some time at the end of the first session as the result of a radiator problem. We worked on the car and improved it during the day, and I hope we can do more of the same tomorrow."

Fernando Alonso: "We tested several new developments today, but in the end, decided to go back to our baseline settings since we didn't achieve the sort of gains we had been looking for. The track was very dirty in the first session and I was running with quite a lot fuel throughout the day, so the lap times are not particularly interesting from my point of view."

Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: Today's two sessions were useful for European Minardi; however, like all the other teams, we didn't get a lot out of the first hour simply because the track was too 'green'. Both drivers put in lots of laps, though, and gained some useful data for qualifying. In a nutshell, it was a solid, if unspectacular, start to the weekend."


Giancarlo Fisichella: "We have to work to improve our performance because we are lacking a lot of grip, the difference is too big between the other teams and us, but there was nothing we could do today."

Jenson Button: "It's a shame that I didn't get more time on track, but my engine suddenly went bang without warning and so I had to pull over. We don't know yet exactly what the problem was, or what caused it."

Pat Symonds, Director of Engineering: "Obviously this has been a very difficult day for us. We were running on a particularly high fuel load today, because there are aspects of this track that require a specific set-up for the race. Jenson has of course suffered because his car stopped on the circuit and we have to investigate to find out exactly what happened, so there is a lot of work to be done tonight to be competitive tomorrow. With Giancarlo we concentrated on looking at our tyre options as well as working on the electronics and the general balance of the car."

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