Monza: Friday Press Conference and Quotes
Aldo COSTA (Ferrari)
James KEY (BMW Sauber)
Paddy LOWE (McLaren)
Sam MICHAEL (Williams)
Adrian NEWEY (Red Bull)
Q: A question to you all. Can you tell us about your Monza specifications? What have you changed? Are you running the F-duct if you have an F-duct?
Sam MICHAEL: Our Monza spec is just for Monza really. We didn’t actually put a lot of work into it as it is only one race, so we put a lot of our effort into the next race as it pays off for five grands prix rather than one. We are running an F-duct, so it was pretty clear from our work where our wing was. It was an easy decision to run an F-duct and the rest of the package is pretty standard, so it is just really tune of front and rear wings for this track level. That is what we did.
James KEY: Similar situation to Sam really. It is a Monza specific package as it is such a unique circuit now, so a front wing to suit the circuit and a rear wing too which has also got an F-duct. We had the options of choosing either but as Sam rightly says it is the best thing to do if you can. We have evaluated it today and it seems to work, so happy with it.
Paddy LOWE: We have two new elements this year which is the much larger fuel loads than we have had before and we also have the F-duct element. You probably noticed we have been playing all the games today trying the combinations and we will make our choice tonight.
Adrian NEWEY: Same as everybody else really. We have the F-duct. It is a bespoke rear wing for around here. The front wing is a slightly trimmed down, modified version of our normal one.
Aldo COSTA: No big differences compared to the others. Two solutions to be tested on the rear in terms of F-duct and again front wing developed for here and other modifications around the bodywork but nothing else.
Q: Another question to you all. Are you happy about the new flexi-wing tests or should we have been looking more at the floors of the car? The amount that the nose moves and the floors as well.
Michael: I think on the floor the new test is pretty vigorous. What they have done to create this 100 millimeters offset load means that if you had a bib or front edge of the floor that was very soft in torsion as you go over curbs that wouldn’t be possible to do anymore from Monza onwards and the front wing load test from our point of view didn’t make any difference because it is only really a linearity test. There is potentially more to do on that if that’s what the (becomes inaudible) deems the best thing to do. I think the floor has been tightened up significantly in my view.
Q: And you are happy with that?
Key: Similar situation again. The front wing was never an issue for us. As Sam says it is a linearity test. We checked our wings but it wasn’t an issue, so it hasn’t affected us really. On the floor it is tighter with the lateral loading test and we had to do a little bit of work just to make sure we were complying with that 100 per cent. But vertically it hasn’t really affected us. It has tightened up and you can argue it is the right thing to do to be sure everyone is at the same level to a certain extent but for our side it is okay. We are happy with it and we are happy that we are compliant.
Lowe: I think in general it is better to have good clarity on the regulations and how they are policed. We were pleased with the changes. We have had to change our car in order to meet the new tests but we are happy with that.
Q: And the floor?
Lowe: That is what I mean with the floor, really. The wing didn’t make any difference to us.
Newey: I thought the clarity in the regulation was fine but if there is a mood to change it is the same for everybody, so I have no problem with that. On the floor, we have had to change the front of the floor slightly to increase its torsion stiffness for this new test. It doesn’t make a big difference I don’t think. The front wing, that was introduced at Spa, that particular change, we didn’t have to make any modifications for that because, as has been said, it is a linearity test. Our wing was linear, so there was no problem.
Costa: For me it was already clear before all this saga. I don’t know why this saga has been created. We disagreed about the comments that we heard. Okay, now we have got a slightly stiffer, let’s say, front wing test because the references are from the reference plain and not anymore from the nose. We have got a more severe test on the front floor. We have done the modifications on the front floor that were required by the new test. But we didn’t understand why this saga started, so we are still happy about what has been changed.
Newey: That is really the thing. I would agree with Aldo. I don’t know why this has all been started as the test has been as it has been for several years and suddenly there is a load of excitement. But, as I say, same for everybody. But I don’t understand why it suddenly became a saga.
Costa: We are also happy to further increase the stiffness if we want a front wing that is double the stiffness. It was discussed in the Technical Working Group to have, instead of 10 millimeters deflection, a five millimeter deflection but also engineers who were at this table they didn’t accept to go for a five millimeter deflection.
Newey: I think it was Paddy who suggested 10 millimeters.
Lowe: Yes, it was. Which it still is. It is still 10 millimeters.
Q: This time of year a lot of people are looking at next year’s car but also still trying to win the championship this year. What sort of developments are you expecting to bring through the next five races to the end of the championship?
Michael: We have one more upgrade. We have quite a big change to the car for Singapore. We probably should get 90 per cent of that package to Singapore, maybe some of it will trickle over into Suzuka just in terms of timings. But that’s it in terms of our design process. There is no aero design on this year’s car anymore. We stopped that just after the break, so it is just really a production loading, production making those bits at the moment. The design office has been fully focused on next year’s car for quite some time now.
Key: We have some more bits and pieces to come for the end of the season. We are planning to introduce the majority of those also in Singapore, so they hit four, or five I should say now with Korea, reasonably standard tracks, let’s say and that will be an all over the car update. Primarily aerodynamic, but there could be some mechanical changes too. The last bits of that are being finalized now, at the moment. What follows on from that we will have to see depending on initial results but at the moment that is the plan.
Lowe: With the championship still wide open we will be pushing right to the end, so I cannot imagine we won’t have new pieces at all of the remaining races. We have certainly got a lot in the program at the moment.
Q: Adrian, the same?
Newey: Yeah, we have some new parts for Singapore and then keep pushing. But until you find new parts you can’t say what is coming.
Costa: It is quite a tough moment for the company as we are working on two projects. We don’t want to slow down the progress on next year’s car but in the meantime we want to bring bits and pieces for the next few races. We are preparing them, so there will be development planned for the last five races.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Joe Saward - Grand Prix Special) James, you said that Monza is a very unique circuit nowadays. Do you regret that? Do you all regret that? Would you like to see more circuits like this and do you think they are part of the spirit of the sport rather than the stop-go tracks we tend to have these days?
Key: Personally, I think it is good. Monza is obviously a wonderful place anyway. It has got such a history to it and so on, so it is a wonderful place to come to. A few years back we had both Monza and Hockenheim which were a similar spec of car, so it was slightly easier to soak up an aero development package in that respect. Now we just have one, so it is unique. But, certainly I think you wouldn’t want to change that. It is good to have events like this and at the other end of the scale is Monaco which is also unique in its own way. It spreads the situation out from what are quite standard tracks in between in many ways. I think it is good to have events like Monza.
Michael: Same for me.
Lowe: Yeah, variety is great. One of the issues though is that as the regulations drive us into narrower and narrower boxes, then the range of aerodynamic configurations does actually get smaller, so Monza is a very significant (inaudible word) now but actually most of the rest of the races are starting to cluster together which they wouldn’t have done with older regulations.
Q: (Joe Saward - Grand Prix Special) Do any of you regret that?
Lowe: I think that is just the passage of time with development.
Costa: Also, it is a positive element that there is a race that is different from the others. Otherwise if we standardize all the circuits with all the same corners I don’t think it is a big challenge from the spectacle point of view. I like Monza. I like the old Hockenheim. I like the unique circuits like Spa for example. It would be nice to have more different circuits in the championship and not standardized, medium-to-high downforce circuits.
Newey: I agree with that. I think variety is a good thing. Certainly if you go way back to my experiences with IndyCar circuits, one of the great things about that was that you had super speedways, short ovals, street tracks and then fast tracks like Elkhart Lake. That did give a variety of challenges to the engineer and the driver and, of course, tended to change the results about a bit which I think is the other positive about different circuits. You can get a change in results. A car which has got a very powerful engine for instance, obviously somewhere like Monza suits it. A car with more downforce somewhere else might suit that, so you do get these changes in performance.
Q: (Joe Saward - Grand Prix Special) In the regulations that are being discussed for 2013, it seems like we are going in the direction of a small capacity turbo with KERS and other bits and pieces. You guys always say you build cars to the regulations, but do you think that this is the right way for Formula One to go in terms of being green or not being green? What are your views?
Lowe: Do you mean the engine configuration specifically? I’m not a great expert on this; the engine was defined by the engine working group, working with the FIA with a lot of consultation. I think a lot of philosophy within those proposals has been driven by discussions with manufacturers and trying to promote technologies which will genuinely be transferred into the ultimate market. So the particular configuration they’ve come up with is felt to be the way forward and I think Formula One should not only embrace change but actually lead it. If that’s what they believe is the right direction then I fully support it.
Newey: Obviously the correct thing to say is what Paddy said. I think the reality is, it depends... there’s two levels, first of all, do we manage to pick the regulations which truly do forecast the future in terms of road car development, and secondly, if we do manage to do that, then does the technology that goes into developing Formula One engines actually enhance road car products or not. Those are the two questions which I think both need to be ticked for it to be a justified thing. Having said that, of course, the alternative is to stay with the V8s and at some point in the future the V8s will become sort of archaic Harley Davidson-like things, so there has to be a change. It’s very important to get that change right and to try to make sure that the development that then goes into the race engines is truly relevant to the companies that are involved, so that they can justify it into their overall budget, as an engineering exercise rather than just a marketing exercise.
Costa: Yes, at Ferrari we are very open on new technology in the engine field, in the KERS field, in energy recovery, in hybrid vehicles. We are also quite happy to get closer and closer to the road cars or to work to introduce things that are road car relevant. Of course, our production is not small capacity engine production but it’s GT car production, so we would like to be closer to our brand in the research that we do in order to be a help for future development. Again, we’re open to discussion, quite interested. I think we need a change. If this change is right or not, we would like to discuss it. Furthermore, we would also like to discuss with our competitors and to find a good direction. To make a drastic change can be very, very positive but can also have some negative aspects that need to be considered very, very carefully before deciding.
Michael: I pretty much think the same as Aldo. I think that the four cylinder turbo that they’re talking about... we fully support that direction. I don’t think we see it as the same change really to the sport that some people are talking about. Remember we were running four cylinder and V6 turbos in the mid-eighties and no one said ‘well that’s not really racing’ or ‘that’s too green.’ So I don’t think it’s really going to be the same impact as what some people are potentially saying. Adrian’s right as well in that it’s hard to see in 10, 15, 20 years time that V8s are going to be the stock engine, because manufacturers are all moving away from them, so Formula One has to be careful that it doesn’t get left behind. So we fully support it.
Key: Obviously as a customer team we need to consider what’s important for us, but we’re certainly open as well. We recognize the importance of environmental technologies and how Formula One can help market and lead some of those technologies, so we’re open to it. I think what’s important to us is obviously if the costs are kept under control, because obviously changes cost money, ultimately, and the spectacle is maintained as well. But other than that, it’s something that clearly needs to be done in the future anyway as has been said and we’re open to it.
Q: (Bob Constanduros) Is it a done deal that it’s going to be a 1.6 turbo or is it still under discussion? You give the impression that discussion is still going on.
Michael: I don’t think there are any fixed regulations yet but from the engine working group that Paddy was referring to, that’s definitely the spec that they’re drafting around.
Q: (Thibault Larue - Sport Auto) We all watched the first on-board camera lap of the Korean circuit. From the simulation can you say if it’s a real challenge? Because from the outside it seems to be a very fascinating track; what’s the biggest challenge?
Michael: From the maps and simulations that we’ve looked at, it looks like a high downforce track. It will be interesting to see if you can overtake because it looks very high load and that normally detracts from that (overtaking) but not necessarily.
Key: We have a similar prediction. Obviously it’s a mix of fairly long straights and high downforce sections, so it’s going to be one of those compromises, potentially. One thing that we’re not sure about at the moment is how the track surface is going to be, being such a new surface. If it’s particularly slippery, for sure it will be high downforce. If it grips in well it then maybe will change, but we won’t know until we get there.
Lowe: I’m afraid I really can’t make any very interesting comments. I think we’re just looking forward to going there and seeing what we find. It’s a new circuit, it has some differences but we will see.
Newey: I concur with Paddy. Until we get there... As James says, the traffic surface is certainly a big unknown. We know the layout but we don’t know how the asphalt is going to behave at the moment.
Q: (Bob Constanduros) You didn’t get any more information from the team when you were there?
Newey: Not to my knowledge but the honest answer is that I’m not an expert on the matter within the team I’m afraid.
Costa: Not a lot to say. There are things where the amount of information that we had was not great. We don’t know a lot about the kerbing, we don’t know about the details of the corners. We have just a little blot of the track. It seems a high downforce track. Some simulation has been done but not for sure, as you can be when you have a very well known track, so it’s still a work in progress.
Q: (Bob Constanduros) Question to AdriNewey: what was the problem with Mark (Webber) this afternoon?
Newey: We had a water pressure drop-out. I don’t know what the exact cause of that was at the moment.
Q: (Bob Constanduros) Another question Paddy: the on-board camera on Lewis’s (Hamilton) car, particularly, either the camera or the car seems to be moving around, wanders around.
Lowe: I think that’s in the camera, and how it’s mounted. The car’s not moving like that. It’s there to entertain! There is a bit of an issue and we’re just trying to get to the bottom of it at the moment.
Q: (Joe Saward - Grand Prix Special) Just wondered about the engine numbers that you have a left. James, you have a particular problem with Pedro (de la Rosa). How are you going to get round that problem of not having any engines left?
Key: Yeah, Pedro unfortunately had a difficult situation at the start of the season. We took advantage of the qualifying which didn’t quite go to plan at Spa, to change the engine after qualifying for Pedro, so we limited the impact on the grid position, so basically it was only two positions for him. There is a slight disadvantage to that in that we now only use that engine in a race at the end of the season but we looked at it pretty hard with our colleagues at Ferrari and it works out OK. It’s a little bit tight but it works out OK. I think that at the end of the year we will have a fairly fresh engine for the last race. I think it’s OK.
Q: (Matt Youson - Matt Youson Associates) Question about next season and KERS; does the refuelling ban change the proposition for KERS or will you look at it in the same way as you did in 2009?
Michael: I think the biggest influence on KERS is the fixed weight distribution that everyone has for next year. At the end of last year, I think the KERS was quite competitive on the McLaren, and that was with a non-fixed weight distribution, so it made it very difficult to make KERS competitive, but it was towards the end of the year. And if anything, next year, it’s removed quite a big variable, so I think it’s an easy decision. I’m not sure that the fuel load is a primary input to that, because everyone’s got the fuel load in the tank that they’ve got anyway.
Costa: I agree with Sam. I don’t see a big correlation or a big link between the fuel capacity and the KERS position. Of course, compared to last year it’s a different layout of car, so you have to make other considerations and also you’ve got a different minimum weight, so you have to make other considerations. Also you have a different minimum weight, a fixed weight distribution, so there are some parameters that have been changed, so they are making the choices slightly different compared to last year but nothing is changing fundamentally because we don’t have refuelling any more.
Lowe: I just agree. I think the benefit of KERS stands in its own right, irrespective of whether you’re running light fuel or heavy fuel or qualifying or racing. It’s the same as 2009.
Newey: I would agree with that. The main thing with KERS is really that it’s quite a heavy system to install and it means that there’s very little ballast left over, so that is probably the biggest challenge, particularly if you have a heavy-ish driver, which I think most of the people sitting here have at least one, so it doesn’t make it quite a challenge.
Lewis Hamilton (4th, 1:23.154): "We had two good practice sessions today. This morning, in P1, we ran with the higher-downforce package, and the car felt good, but it wasn't as fast along the straights as we've experienced in the past. During P2, I was using a different downforce package to Jenson - running with a lower-downforce rear wing and without the F-duct - so we need to go through all the data tonight to decide which approach works best. Both configurations were quick, so we're not in a bad position. The two different packages felt fairly similar - one is slower down the straights but quicker through the corners, and the other is quicker down the straights but slower through the corners - and they pretty much balance themselves out over the course of a lap. As I say, we haven't yet decided what to run tomorrow; it's about determining which is better on high fuel, and whether there's more potential in one over the other. We'll decide this evening. I'm not totally sure how I managed to damage the front-wing endplate this afternoon - I may have clipped one of the curbs, but it was easily fixed and not a problem."
Jenson Button (5th, 1:23.210): "Lewis and I were trying out different levels of downforce today - gathering data to see what works best around here. I stayed with the F-duct and higher-downforce package, and was reasonably happy. The day started well for me, but as we changed more things I grew just a bit less happy with the car. In general, however, it's working well - there are still a few improvements we need to make to be completely happy, but that's mostly tweaking rather than making big changes. We have a lot of data to go through, so it will be a busy night tonight. But we're pretty competitive with both packages, which is positive because it means the car is working efficiently. Our car is mechanically strong, so we just need to confirm what downforce level to run. The team are very open to the decisions the drivers take, and Lewis and I will be able to choose the package that we feel is right for us - but it won't just be a driver decision, it will be made with our engineers and the team management."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "Coming to a high-speed circuit like Monza without the benefit of pre-race testing really sharpens your game. Today, we spent the day running two significantly different bodywork iterations, trying both high- and low-downforce configurations in an effort to understand their effects - not only on a flying lap but across the course of an entire race. It's pleasing to report that both packages appear competitive. Our aim now is to comprehensively analyze the data we generated today in order to find the optimum path for each driver over the course of the rest of the weekend. Given the amount of data, and the parity of each package, that's no easy task - but, as always, I'm entirely confident that our engineering team will make the right decisions, and that we'll be in the hunt for the remainder of the weekend."
Nico Rosberg (10th, 1:23.857): "Today was ok and the car is generally working well which meant that we could do some useful fine-tuning of our set-up. The tires seem straightforward and I was happy with my long runs and the consistency that we were able to achieve. I had an issue with understeer through the faster parts of the track so we need to try to resolve that overnight. Our top speed looks reasonable so tomorrow will be about extracting the maximum from the car at its current level."
Michael Schumacher (14th, 1:24.448): "Monza has always been a great track to drive and from the sensations and the emotions that I experienced out there today, it feels just like it did over the many years that I have raced here previously. Our performance today does not look too bad, especially in the first sector where we worked a lot on top speed, and look quite good. We are using our F-duct and it worked well given that the benefits on this track, where you have to use a small rear wing, are naturally much smaller than on other circuits. I am looking forward to what will hopefully be an enjoyable weekend."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "We've had a reasonable start today with the car and our specific aero package working pretty much as we had expected. Nico and Michael achieved consistent running throughout the day which enabled us to get through our test program including work on the F-duct. We have a few issues to resolve overnight but it has been a decent start to the weekend."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Our lap times in race trim looked not too bad today. Our target is to achieve reasonable grid positions tomorrow with both cars and then have a good and consistent race on Sunday which will hopefully see Nico and Michael in the points again."
Sebastian Vettel (1st, 1:22.839): "It was quite good today. It's a Friday, so the lap times vary and you don't know what the fuel loads are, but I'm quite confident. It looks better for us here than it did a year ago. Obviously here is no KERS this year, which helps us. We need to be patient and we'll see the true pace tomorrow. McLaren is extremely quick and their cars went off a couple of times, so I don't know if they had a clean afternoon. Ferrari was quick in the afternoon too, it will be tight. It's a short lap here with a lot of short straights and not so many corners - the gap between cars will be very small."
Mark Webber (6th, 1:23.415): "I lost water pressure in P2 and had to stop the car, which compromised our running a little bit, but we still got some good information today. The car is going pretty well. I have to find a little bit of lap time myself, but the car is performing and I'm quite happy. We'll see how we go tomorrow, but we're in the ballpark which is nice. Ferrari look strong as well."
Fernando Alonso (2nd, 1:22.915): "We are pleased with what we achieved in these two free practice sessions. We tried different aerodynamic configurations and now we must study the data carefully to make the right choices for tomorrow and Sunday. This track requires a low level of aerodynamic downforce, but you need to find the right compromise, especially so as not to prejudice stability under braking: it's true that top speed is important, but it is not everything. Between the two sessions, we made some changes on the car which seem to have moved us in the right direction, but we must keep in mind that we ran with various difference fuel levels. We have seen before that Friday's results are very often turned on their head on Saturday, therefore I definitely don't want to make any predictions. We have to focus on ourselves and do our utmost in qualifying and especially on Sunday, in the race. It will not be easy, because once again, Red Bull is proving to be very competitive and McLaren seems to be as strong as predicted."
Felipe Massa (3rd, 1:23.061): "At the end of the second session, I tried to copy Kimi and do a bit of rallying...Joking apart, I was really lucky when I went off the track. I was heading for my best time, when I found myself in Michael's wake at the Parabolica and went off: I kept the accelerator pressed down in the hope I would manage to avoid hitting the barrier and I managed it, so I came straight back to the pits. Unfortunately, the car was slightly damaged, so I had to miss out on the final part of our program. However, overall, it has been a good day in which we constantly improved. We had a lot of work to get through and at the start we struggled a bit, but then we found a good set-up and in the end I was reasonably happy with my car. We learned a lot about the handling of the F10 and now we have plenty of data to analyze to prepare as well as possible for what is such an important event, this being the Scuderia's home race."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "My heart missed a beat when Felipe ended up in the gravel. It was lucky he did not end up in the barrier, as his car was going pretty quickly at the time. It was a shame, as he was improving his lap time, even if we know that Friday times count for little or nothing. The important thing is that we acquired a substantial amount of data which we will now use to prepare our cars as well as possible. This is an important event for us, both because it is our home race and because we are all aware of the situation in both championships. We will try and do the maximum, for ourselves and for our fans, although we know we are up against stiff opposition."
Chris Dyer: "We are reasonably pleased with how things went for this first day of the Italian Grand Prix. We had established a very intensive work schedule and we completed the bulk of it, but for Felipe's last run, when he went off the track. Fortunately, Fernando managed to complete that part of the work with no trouble, so we will be able to use the data he acquired when we tackle the analysis which awaits us this afternoon and evening. We tested various aerodynamic configurations, albeit always using the blown rear wing. Studying the times, we don't look that bad, but we have to evaluate these results, taking into account the usual unknown factors and keeping in mind that some teams might not have shown all their cards: we will not know the truth until tomorrow afternoon at three o'clock, when qualifying is over."
Rubens Barrichello (7th, 1:23.708): "Obviously we had a little problem this morning and lost a bit of track time, but we caught up well this afternoon. In summary, we look good. That said, we will have to work hard to maintain our relative position, so I am pleased, but I am taking nothing for granted."
Nico Hulkenberg (9th, 1:23.852): "It was a very positive Friday as far as I am concerned and I am very happy with the car right now. Hopefully it will be more of the same tomorrow and we will be able to put both cars inside the top ten. I think we're looking pretty competitive and we need to keep up the momentum that we have found today."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "Today was a good day's work from the team to get through all of our program, which included checking new aero parts, set-up and evaluating drag level. We had one issue in the morning with a gearbox input shaft failure on Rubens' car that cost him P1, but he recovered well in P2 to get through the items he wanted to test. On Nico's car, we ran a solid program all day. Now we're looking at set-up for tomorrow afternoon and we expect it will be a tight session."
Robert Kubica (8th, 1:23.709): "Monza is an unusual circuit because of the aero levels we run and also the feeling for the drivers. We have to get used to the car with low downforce - although using the f-duct means that the change is not as extreme as in the past, because we can run with more wing. It's still difficult to get the braking points and also to use the curbs in the right way, especially because they have been changed so we are not able to jump over them as much as before. Overall, we seem to be in our normal position, but we need to analyze the data tonight to see the areas in which we can improve."
Vitaly Petrov (13th, 1:24.407): "Today went okay for me, but it was a learning day to get used to the lower downforce levels we use here in Monza, which make the car quite interesting to drive. You can feel the car moving a lot more, so you have to be very precise with your driving and not make any small mistakes. Unfortunately, I lost the final part of the second session because of a problem with the brakes, but overall the car was running well. We still need to find a few tenths to get inside the top ten because the gaps are very small here, but I am sure we can make some good improvements overnight."
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer: "We ran the f-duct on both cars in both sessions today. On Robert's car this afternoon, we also tried using different downforce levels, and we must evaluate the results before making our decision on the ultimate configuration we will run tomorrow. We also monitored what other teams were doing, and saw some running with and without the f-duct, which is something that we will have to take into account. But the decision will be driven by our own data. The circuit temperatures were much higher for the second session, and the wind had picked up a bit, too, but it didn't have a huge effect. The lap times were pretty similar to this morning, which probably means that the circuit had rubbered in more, but also that it lost some grip with the higher temperatures. Although we have seen rain here in the past few days, no more is forecast for the rest of the weekend. We took a fairly typical approach for Monza. We have to keep an eye on our top speeds much more here than at other circuits, to ensure we are competitive with the quickest cars on the straights, and we also did tire comparisons as well as running with both low and high fuel loads. In terms of performance, Vitaly lost running time because of a brake problem at the end of the session, while Robert had traffic on his fastest laps. I am confident that there's more performance to come tomorrow."
Adrian Sutil (11th, 1:24.181): "Overall the afternoon went well for me. We did some general tests with balance and wing levels. The balance was OK, but we still not at the pace that I was hoping for and looking for. But anyway tomorrow should be a good day for us."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (12th, 1:24.380): "It was a very good Friday. We did a lot of work, especially in FP1, to understand and take a decision on the F Duct, to see if it was a benefit or not. In the afternoon we concentrated mainly on tire work. Overall I think the car balance is not quite right, we still have to work a bit on braking and handling. But we have got a clear picture for tomorrow, and we’ve tried all the different situations, with and without fuel, with and without the F-Duct. The others have made a step forward compared to last year, so its not going to be an easy race, but were confident that we can score some good points."
Paul di Resta: "Its the first time I’ve driven here, and Monza is clearly quite a special track. One side of the track is very open, and then you are in the middle of the forest in the other part! Its also different because its all high speed, and all braking. Its also the first time I’ve driven the car in low downforce trim. Its a bit of a shock because the braking stability is not there, and braking areas are longer. I played myself in, and I didn’t want to flat spot a tire or anything, because the circuit was going to improve at the end of the session. I think its quite promising so far. As usual I would love to have gone out in the second session, but at least its another track I’ve learned!"
Dominic Harlow, Chief Race Engineer: "We had great conditions in Monza today. It was a very productive day, with Paul and Tonio running in the first session, and Adrian taking over to run alongside Tonio in the afternoon. Obviously we are looking at downforce levels and rear wing set-up for the high-speed nature of the track. We’ve been evaluating our Monza aero package, and generally were very pleased with how its gone. Its very close amongst the teams from P4 onwards, and overall we think our race performance looks fairly strong."
Sebastien Buemi (15th, 1:24.517): "We started the morning with some new components to try on the car, specifically a low exhaust configuration and an F-duct, which we are just beginning to test, even if it still requires a lot of work. After a few laps, as planned, we removed it and concentrated on understanding the car in the Monza low downforce configuration and the results were not too bad. We ran both types of tire and even the Softs are good enough to do a lot of laps. It was a productive day, with answers to a lot of questions, which is an encouraging starting point for tomorrow. The car seems to have a good top speed down the straights, which is always useful here. Now we need to work more on the second and third sectors where we are losing a bit of time."
Jaime Alguersuari (18th, 1:25.106): "We got through a lot of work today, as we tested a lot of elements on the car, which has given us plenty of data to analyze, particularly as Sebastien and I split the workload trying different things. I think we can be pleased with our day's work, running the car with different levels of downforce to make a comparison, although I had to stop a bit before the end this afternoon with a technical problem which the engineers are looking at now. There is much more potential in the car and as we usually find more performance on Saturday I am optimistic that this will be the case again here. I feel much more confident in dealing with the special challenge of Monza than I did last year, but to be honest, I prefer circuits with a few more corners, even if it's always nice to drive a Formula 1 car wherever we are!"
Laurent Mekies, Chief Engineer: "Today, we used the first half hour in the morning on Sebastien's car as an aero test of our F-duct, doing constant speed runs. It was never our intention to run it for this weekend, but it was useful in terms of gathering data. After that, we came back to the usual program, with both drivers getting used to the downforce levels at this track, which are the lowest of the year. Sebastien had a useful day, completing his program, while unfortunately with Jaime, we had to stop him before the end of the second session, because of a mechanical issue on the car. Fortunately, in the morning he did some very useful work on set-up, which will give us enough data tonight to make the best choices for tomorrow and the race. We ran the low exhaust on both cars throughout the day for the first time and we had no issues with this. However, there will be a lot of work to do tonight to ensure the new system can be used on Sunday, because racing is another step. There were no issues with the tire comparison, because by this point of the season, we have a good understanding of what to expect from the different compounds."
Jarno Trulli (19th, 1:26.204): "First of all it's great to be back home for the first time with Lotus Racing. We've had a fantastic reception here, and even though Monza hasn't been particularly lucky for me, it felt great to be out on track today. We started with a problem early on in FP1, but the guys did a great job in a very short time to change the parts which weren't working properly. They put the car back together fast enough to give me some track time in the first session, so thanks to them for that. In FP2 we got through the whole program - we were mainly looking at tire evaluation and setup work, so having completed that it's been a positive day. Obviously we'd like to pull away a bit more from the guys behind us, and I think with some more work tonight we'll be looking good for tomorrow and Sunday."
Heikki Kovalainen (20th, 1:26.306): "It was a pretty good day. We had a bit of an issue this morning, but were able to identify the problem quickly and we only lost a bit of time. This afternoon everything went to plan - we had no issues at all and the car feels good on both low and high fuel loads. It obviously moves around a bit more in the low downforce settings, but it's the same for everyone and I think our top speed's where it should be so I think we're looking pretty good for the whole weekend."
Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: "It's really good to be back with the team after a few races where I've been watching away from the track. We started out with a bit of pressure, having to make some changes early on in the session, but that's what we're about - trying something and not being afraid to do so. This afternoon we ran a good number of laps and generated a lot of useful data, and as both drivers were happy with the car it's been a good day. It's a good day to come back - sitting on the pitwall it suddenly clicked for me that we're one year on since we received the letter from Max confirming our entry. We've talked about it a lot, but it's real - we're now 14 races into the Lotus Racing story, and we're here to stay."
Jody Egginton, Chief Race Engineer: "Excellent job by the guys all day, particularly this morning. We did the installation laps and then decided to make a couple of precautionary changes which meant both crews had to work hard to make sure we could get some track time. They did a great job and turned both cars around, which meant we pretty much completed both Jarno and Heikki's programs in the morning. In FP2 we completed a lot of laps, put a lot of kilometers on the tires and tried a couple of setup changes. We've got a lot of data to go through tonight, but we're pretty satisfied with where we are. There's obviously a bit of cat and mouse going on between us and our nearest rivals with wing levels and fuel loads, but we think we're where we should be, and that means it's been a pretty good day."
Sakon Yamamoto (23rd, 1:29.498): "We couldn't get as much mileage and data as usual in both sessions today, unfortunately. But with this knowledge we got, we have to work on a good set-up for qualifying and the race. "
Bruno Senna (24th, No Time): "Unfortunately, we didn't do many laps today due to a problem with the fuel system in both sessions. But we are already working to get it all sorted out and hopefully tomorrow will be a better day for us."
Colin Kolles, Team Principal: "In the morning session, Sakon Yamamoto did some aero testings in order to find the optimal adjustment for the race here in Monza. Later in practice two, he had to stop due to a gearbox failure. Bruno Senna had a problem with the fuel system and we changed some relevant parts between both sessions. Unfortunately, the same problem appeared again in the afternoon and now we have to define it exactly as it was not possible to do because of the short time between the sessions. We are analyzing the data to be prepared for tomorrow."
Pedro de la Rosa (16th, 1:24.547): "Today's sessions were dedicated to trying different downforce levels and to go through the tires. I think we have a good understanding of what is needed and, actually, we are better than we appear. We will now work with the data for some improvements, including a better set-up for the curbs in the chicanes."
Kamui Kobayashi (17th, 1:24.785): "I'm afraid I can't say much yet. I know the circuit well and I quite like it, but I had a hard day because I struggled from a general lack of grip. We have to improve that and we will."
James Key, Technical Director: "It was a little bit of a tough day with trying to get the most out of the car. The main reason is a lack of consistency. We seem to lack grip, which makes it difficult for the drivers to get the most out of the tires and the car. We saw this particularly at the end of the second session, where it was difficult to get a decent advantage. So we need to work hard over night and see what we can do. We will definitely make some mechanical changes, and we have to evaluate the downforce level for tomorrow. We always felt this could be a slightly weaker circuit for us than the others. We have to work hard and see that we can improve for tomorrow."
Lucas di Grassi (21st, 1:26.631): "A very productive day in which we tested various different setups and parts on the car. I'm very happy with the results we had and we have a clear direction for tomorrow. I hope the weekend goes as smoothly as today."
Timo Glock (22nd, 1:26.676): "Not a bad first day. In the first Free Practice session we had a pretty normal program for Monza, which went well and the car felt quite okay. In Free Practice 2 we made an aero change, which was really low downforce and not the right way to go, so unfortunately we lost some time. In general I'm happy with the day and there were no problems, so I hope the rest of the weekend continues like this."
Mark Herd, Head of Performance & Race Engineering: "We have experienced a very productive day with good mileage on both cars and no major problems. The unique characteristics of the Monza circuit meant that we had a little more work to do than on a normal Friday, however we completed our full planned program, together with testing a number of new development parts. Both drivers are fairly happy with the progress we have made on the first day of running and our Cosworth engines ran strongly on a circuit that places a great deal of emphasis on power. We look forward to another positive day tomorrow."
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