Drivers comment on USGP
Quotes from selected Formula One drivers about the United States Grand Prix on June 15-17 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway:
FERNANDO ALONSO (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, 2005, 2006 World Champion): "Canada was a tough and frustrating race for me, but at least I left Montreal with some points and am in a strong second position in the championship, which is not won or lost in one race. I am in a good situation in the table, the car is great, it is definitely capable of winning races, and I am looking forward to getting back out on track in America and hopefully having no Safety Cars. I have not had very good results in this race in the previous years; it was better last year than in 2005, so I am hoping it will improve again this year. It is always great to go racing at Indy. Fans at Indy are fantastic. They are pretty serious about their motor racing, and their passion means there is a great atmosphere. I hope we are able to go out there and put on a good race for them. Indy is another of the tracks that I want to win at. It is so historic and is a very important circuit in this sport - to have a trophy from there in my collection would be fantastic. There are opportunities to overtake at the Motor Speedway. The main one is probably if you slipstream another car on the start-finish straight, but you need to have a very fast straight-line speed to make this work. This is why we have such a low level of downforce."
RUBENS BARRICHELLO (Honda Racing F1 Team, 2002 USGP winner): "The circuit at Indianapolis is quite unique, and the venue usually puts on a great show over the race weekend. Although the track is not particularly challenging and actually very slow with the tight infield section, it is a lot of fun, particularly driving the first corner of the oval banking flat out. It's always a good race for the fans because you can overtake at Indianapolis. It's a long way from the grid down to the first corner, so that is a good opportunity or at the end of the back straight."
JENSON BUTTON (Honda Racing F1 Team): "I really enjoy racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I had never driven on a banked circuit before Formula One went to Indy, so the last corner of the F1 circuit configuration is really fun to drive. I know the banking is not much compared to the IndyCar races, but it feels banked to us. The circuit is not such a high-speed circuit, which I generally prefer, but you can get some great racing as there are some good overtaking opportunities. The key to getting a quick lap around the Speedway is achieving a package which doesn't have too much aerodynamic drag for the long straight. The place has a lot of history, and the fans are so passionate about their racing. We always have a lot of support when F1 goes to Indy, which makes for a great atmosphere over the race weekend."
LEWIS HAMILTON (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, current Drivers Championship leader): "It still hasn't really sunk in that I have won my first race. It was an amazing weekend for me, and it is fantastic that we are racing again already this weekend. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is another tough circuit on the cars. I hope we are as competitive, but until we get out on the circuit on Friday we can't really predict how it is going to go. I am really excited to be racing at Indianapolis. It is such a legendary venue. You can't escape the history here, and I am looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere for the first time. The track has the unique characteristic of the banking, but from what I hear it doesn't have a massive impact on the cars, but it will be pretty cool! To be going into race seven of the championship in the position I am in is amazing; however, it is still early days. This will be my seventh race, and I am very much still learning. There are 11 more this season, including Indy, and that is a long way to go with a lot of hard work ahead. I have enjoyed the season so far, but I am aware racing isn't predicable and anything could happen at the next race."
NICK HEIDFELD (BMW Sauber F1 Team): "I like it when racetracks have a distinctive character, and that's definitely the case with Indianapolis. The Speedway is an icon of American motor racing, and the high-banked turn is something special for Formula One, although it isn't exactly challenging for the drivers to drive flat out in a straight line. It's far more difficult to get the car's setup just right. You have to find the right compromise so as to be as fast as possible along the almost two-kilometer (1.2 mile) full-throttle stretch, yet still have enough downforce for the many corners in the twisty infield."
KIMI RAIKKONEN (Scuderia Ferrari): "I would really like to win in Indianapolis. The last three races have not been what I expected. We will do our best to get back to the level of the first three races. I really want to win, because that would help us a lot. It's difficult to say what we expect from IMS. I enjoy the circuit, and it has always been a good circuit for Ferrari. There is a very long straight, where you need to have a good speed, but at the same moment the infield section is very tight and there are some corners you have to take with the smallest gears. Fortunately, you are able to overtake at the end of the straight."
NICO ROSBERG (AT&T Williams): "After Montreal, I am going to Chicago for a couple of days of relaxation, it sounds like an interesting place, so I am looking forward to it. Moving on to Indianapolis, I don't suppose it is my favorite track that we visit during the year, but as a driver I will put this to the back of your mind. We will run similar downforce levels to Montreal, albeit the circuit has different characteristics. But we'll still be hoping for a similar level of performance, and I want to make up for the points I missed out on in Canada. In many ways, it's good to have another race so soon as it provides the possibility of making up for the problems I had in Canada."
RALF SCHUMACHER (Panasonic Toyota Racing): "As the home of American motor racing, Indianapolis is a special venue, and it has a special atmosphere to go with it. Unfortunately, it has never been a very lucky track for me, and I have had a couple of incidents that I would prefer to forget. Now I will look to put those behind me with a more positive visit to the venue. The main challenge of the Speedway's F1 circuit is to balance the setup of the car. We have to reach a good top speed along the banked start-finish straight into the first corner while keeping the car stable through the slow and twisty infield section. This season has been a struggle for me, but I remain confident that we can turn our form around. We scored a point at Montreal, and Toyota has a strong record from its races at Indianapolis, so we will hope to give the team a boost with a good result on Sunday."
SCOTT SPEED (Scuderia Toro Rosso, only American driver in F1): "Last year when I was Indy, I had a huge reception. I definitely feel very welcome here in North America. I am looking forward to Indy. I am really excited to go back there. Any time I can go back to America and enjoy all the idiosyncrasies that I love in my own country like Starbucks, it makes my time a little bit more enjoyable off the track."
JARNO TRULLI (Panasonic Toyota Racing): "Since I've been at Toyota, our car has always been competitive at Indianapolis. In 2005, I took pole position, and last year I finished fourth despite starting from the pit lane. The Speedway plays host to one of the most important races in the world, so it is a special place to drive. You can really see how the people are passionate about motorsport. I enjoy the atmosphere both at the circuit and in the town because everyone is so friendly. The Formula One track is not particularly technical, but it is slippery and we work hard on the mechanical grip in the slow corners to allow us to take off downforce for straight-line speed. We've been having a difficult season in 2007, and the Canadian Grand Prix was a very hard race for me, but now I'm hoping for a better weekend's work."
ALEX WURZ (AT&T Williams): "Coming to Indy is special as it is a racetrack which has a significant place in motor racing history. In fact, what a name - 'Indianapolis'. I am really looking forward to the race, and of course I come here feeling very positive after scoring some more points in Canada. But, of course, the USGP is another clean sheet and a new game. My goal is to ensure I qualify in the top 10 and fight hard for some points in the race itself. The setup for the race is quite similar to Canada, yet there are some subtle differences in the details. For instance, the tire compound is one step on in terms of hardness. So we will definitely have to do quite a lot of setup work on the car to find its balance on this track."