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Austrian Grand Prix
What the teams and drivers said - Friday
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What the teams and drivers said - Friday
Jean Todt: "At the risk of repeating myself, I have to say this was a standard Friday. We are pleased with the way the two hours of practice went, during which time we worked mainly towards Sundayís race. We know that brakes are very important at this track. The cars went well and I am very satisfied with the work Bridgestone has done. For tomorrow, I think we have everything in place to get both our cars on the two front rows."
Ross Brawn: "At the start of the day, the Bridgestones seemed to have a big advantage, but the performance gap to the others closed up and the situation was more what we had expected. Towards the end of the afternoon, there was a lot of dirt on the track, which made it hard to do useful work. The tyres were quite well balanced and we have already made our tyre choice for qualifying and the race as it is quite clear which type we want to use."
Rubens Barrichello: "In general, it has been a good day. Right at the end of the morning session, I went off the track after I locked the front wheels under braking. This afternoon, we concentrated mainly on the tyres and, as usual here, the grip on the track will improve still further tomorrow."
Michael Schumacher: "Things have gone smoothly today. We had a few little excursions into the gravel, but on this circuit that is quite normal. We are moving forward in the right way but the competition is close, with four cars within one tenth of a second. I am happy with the performance of my tyres and I expected Rubens to be very quick here. As usual on the first day at this circuit, the track surface was very slippery. I expect qualifying will see a very close battle tomorrow."
Sam Michael: "We have had a normal Friday practice, doing some homework for the race and evaluating the two different tyres from Michelin. In terms of reliability it was a trouble free day. But in terms of balance we have some work to do to get ready for qualifying. On Ralfís comparison run he had a software problem and lost the car on the exit of turn two, which hurt his best lap time."
Dr. Mario Theissen: "Both the drivers have thoroughly completed their set-up programme, achieving 45 and 46 laps. The A1 circuit is a very demanding circuit on the engine with many sections of the track at full throttle and uphill straights. If the weather is going to be on our side we could be in good shape for qualifying and for the race."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "We did quite a good job today and the car definitely improved throughout the two sessions. We have been working on the set-up of the car and tyre evaluation. I think this is going to be a tough weekend but we hope to be closer to Ferrari here."
Ralf Schumacher: "Todayís first session was not too bad. We tried a few balance variations and we obviously compared the two different tyre compounds, even though we are not sure yet about which we are going to use. There are still some small problems with the set-up of the car to be sorted out. If we manage to do that, tomorrow we should be in a position to fight for the first two rows on the grid."
Ron Dennis: "A normal Friday. We will not know how competitive we are until Sunday as the grip levels of the circuit are constantly improving."
Norbert Haug: "A productive practice day with David and Kimi completing a total of 85 laps. We have worked out a reasonable basis for the race."
Kimi Raikkonen: "I'm feeling quite positive after today's two sessions as we got through a lot of work. We have made some small improvements since the last race but how much we will benefit we can only see tomorrow."
David Coulthard: "We went through a comprehensive tyre comparison programme and completed a vast number of laps. The track was rather slippery so you had to be cautious not be caught out on the dirt left by other cars going off. We are not yet where we want to be and it's difficult to estimate where we are compared to the rest."
Keizo Takahashi: "We tried different set-ups for Mika and Allan and both cars showed satisfying results. The A1-Ring is a power circuit and the track suits our car better. We will analyse the data from today and push to the limit in qualifying tomorrow."
Allan McNish: "I am quite happy with the handling of the car today. The A1-Ring is a circuit I like and one I know well. We tested here last year with our TF101 test car and that has proved to be an advantage. We expected to do reasonably here, but the field is very tight and every thousandth of a second counts."
Mika Salo: "We managed to complete the programme we had today with some long runs. I am content with the car set-up, but we do have some small handling problems at high speed that we have to fix. But overall I am quite confident for qualifying tomorrow."
Mike Coughlan: ďFairly happy with today as we got all the work done and the times are pretty much what we expected. Heinz had a problem during the second session, which meant we had to change the floor of his A23 but otherwise he made steady progress. Enrique did a good job today and he too made steady progress. Weíre looking forward to tomorrow and will spend the morning working on our qualifying set-up.Ē
Enrique Bernoldi: ďIím pleased with our results from Free Practice. Everything went okay for me apart from a puncture towards the end of the first session. I sat out the last few minutes so we could save the tyres. The car certainly feels well balanced here so Iím happy about that.Ē
Heinz Harald Frentzen: ďIt was basically a good day today. I had an Ďoffí at the last corner during the second session which unfortunately broke the floor. The team did a good job replacing it and I was able to get out again before the end of practice but didnít have quite enough time for a flying lap. Iím feeling optimistic. Weíve still got a bit of work to do but Iím hopeful weíll have a good weekend.Ē
Niki Lauda: "A perfectly normal Friday for us with both drivers focusing on set-up and tyre evaluations. The circuit looked quite slippery in places and as we saw, this got the better of quite a few drivers. I am pleased, however, that none of our cars suffered from any problems today. The weather has been good to us and this is allowing us to get relatively more out of the tyres than we have done at previous races."
Pedro de la Rosa: "We ran our normal programme today and I am quite happy with the balance of the car. This is a strange circuit in the way that the track temperature changes so much between sessions. On top of that, you always have to acknowledge the high chance of rain Ė something that we obviously want to avoid at all costs."
Eddie Irvine: "A perfectly conventional job list for a Friday and no problems to report. The car feels pretty well balanced around this circuit, but letís wait and see tomorrow. Itís always impossible to know what other teams are running in terms of fuel and tyres and until the qualifying hour starts tomorrow, there is little point in reading into todayís lap times. Suffice to say that we are pleased with how things went today, but the real test isnít until tomorrow afternoon."
David Richards: "Weíve made a positive start to the weekend and Iím pleased that Olivier has had such a good day. However, we still have a lot of work to do to put Jacques where he should be. We now need to make good progress in practice tomorrow to ensure we are in the best possible shape for qualifying."
Olivier Panis: "It may look like Iím pay-per-lap, which of course is not true! 66 laps is a great dayís running and very positive for the team. I wanted to explore as many different options as possible and this obviously helped me to finish 8th today with a race set-up Iím very comfortable with so far. Bridgestone have provided a good tyre for this race so weíre in a good position to start working towards qualifying now."
Jacques Villeneuve: "Obviously 21st is not where I should be today but I didnít get enough running to improve the set-up. I struggled with a lack of grip this morning so we changed a few things during the break which took a little longer than expected. I was late out for the second session and lost a lot of running time so we have no idea where we are overall. Olivier had a better day and seems to have found a good set-up. I havenít had enough time to improve the set-up so we have a lot of work to do to find what we need for qualifying."
Gary Anderson: "We were happy with this morning but then the afternoon got a little bit messy, with Giancarlo spinning off. Everyone out there was spinning somewhere, as the track was very dusty. We were unlucky enough to spin and get stuck, which knocked us back a bit. We made some set-up changes on Takumaís car in between the two sessions, which turned out to be not necessarily the right direction, so we had to revise it, losing us time in the afternoon. Weíre hoping for a better day tomorrow."
Takuma Sato: "I am quite happy with today, although we lost grip this afternoon. Itís difficult to get the right balance at this track, but we did some good back-to-back aero tests and I think the new wing is a positive step for the EJ12. We didnít do any runs with new tyres, which most other teams did, so that probably had a reflection on our times. We had no mechanical problems and I feel Iíve learned the circuit very quickly. Itís a nice circuit, but you just have to get the right combination in the high-speed corners. Iím looking forward to tomorrow."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "It was a good first session but then in the second one I made a little mistake at turn one and spun off. Everybody was struggling with grip today and itís easy to make errors. The new wing makes the handling better and we will run with that tomorrow. Iíve got a lot to do in the morning."
Pat Symonds: "As is usual in Austria, it was necessary to take account of changing track conditions during the first day. Today, we worked towards a good race balance for both cars. Although the times donít look too good, the field is very close, and we are nevertheless pleased to have completed our usual conscientious preparation for the race."
Dennis Chevrier: "On the engine side, the team experienced a typical Friday. We didnít have any particular problems as we worked on fine-tuning the engine mapping and testing some software developments. We will now conduct a thorough analysis of the dayís work in order to improve the performance of our package."
Jenson Button: "I had a difficult time today, struggling with the balance which is something we need to work on some more. We still havenít finalised our tyre choice, but we know the direction we need to work in tomorrow. I now have to wait for the next sessions to try out what we hope will be the answers to our difficulties."
Jarno Trulli: "A normal day during which we conducted our basic race preparation. While testing the different tyre compounds, we succeeded in finding a decent set-up, even though thereís still some work to do on the balance. Overall, it was a good day for me."
Peter Sauber: "Unfortunately Nick had a problem with his car's alternator this afternoon and did not manage to improve, having been fourth fastest this morning. Felipe concentrated on essential race preparation work, which did not allow us to seek quick times. I'm confident we will be strong tomorrow, when both of them will use the latest version of our Petronas V10 engine."
Felipe Massa: "This morning my car felt very good and I was pleased with my third fastest time. This afternoon we then focused on race work, but we still have some work to do to optimise the set-up."
Nick Heidfeld: "So far it's been a disappointing 25th birthday for me. The car was quite good this morning, when we were in the top four, but early this afternoon it stopped out on the circuit with an electrical problem so I couldn't do any more running. We lost a lot of track time, and I hope that we can make it up tomorrow."Paul Stoddart: "Itís been a fantastic day, and a great way to put the trials and tribulations of Spain well and truly behind us. Neither car skipped a beat, enabling each of the drivers to amass an impressive number of laps while working through Fridayís normal technical programme. Alex deserves special praise for his efforts. On a day when virtually every driver had an off-course excursion of some description, Alex didnít put a foot wrong, steadily improved his lap times and provided good technical feedback to his engineers. His best lap of the afternoon, only two seconds off todayís fastest time, set by Rubens Barrichello, was no less than his efforts deserved. Mark didnít quite get the handling of his car as he would have liked it, but still did his usual professional job and will undoubtedly improve his times tomorrow."
Alex Yoong: "It was a good free practice session today. We managed to get in a lot of laps, and the power-steering system we introduced in Barcelona has really helped the car, as far as Iím concerned. We got down to quite a decent time this afternoon, so we will now hope for a good, trouble-free qualifying session tomorrow."
Mark Webber: "It hasnít been a bad day. We got through our programme well and with plenty of fuel in the car. We spent time trying to get a balance on both types of Michelin today, but itís just not happening at the moment. Weíll get a bit more time tomorrow morning to fine-tune the set-up, though, and that should see the times improve. The track is in reasonable shape and cleaned up a lot as the day went on."