Rubens Barrichello (1st, 1:11.166): "I am very pleased and listening to the reaction of the crowd brought a smile to my face. More than that, the car has been behaving quite well throughout today's sessions. It is well balanced and the team has done a good job. Now, we just have to keep our cool and try and improve the car even more and I am sure we will be competitive for the rest of the weekend. The track surface has more grip than last year, but there are still some bumps."
Michael Schumacher (2nd, 1:11.334): "It was a complicated day as I seemed to run into a lot of traffic out on the track. It made it quite difficult to push to the end of the
program we had set ourselves, but I guess it is the same for everyone here and we have enough data to know which way to go on set-up. I am not sure where we are in terms of consistency of performance, but over a single lap, we look very strong. The track is very bumpy which adds to the difficulty, but all in all, we are looking good and should be in the fight for the win. Being first and second is a wonderful start to the weekend."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "It feels a bit strange being here in Interlagos at the end of the season, rather than in the early stages of the championship as in the past. This is the first day of the final race weekend of what has been an extraordinary year for Ferrari. As usual on Friday, we worked on defining the best set-up for the car and on evaluating the two types of Bridgestone
tire at our disposal. From what we have seen so far, once again, the Japanese company has done a great job. Over the two hours of practice, the track condition improved with every passing car. The times look very close which leads one to believe that both qualifying and the race will produce a close fight."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "Two very good sessions for us, although the car was not so well balanced at the start of the morning. Then, as the track cleaned up and the engineers made some adjustments, the car improved and now seems very good. We evaluated both types of
tire and I think it will be a close decision between them. The tires seem very consistent and the drivers are happy with their cars. If we can make a bit more progress tomorrow, we should be in good shape for the race."
Ralf Schumacher (10th, 1:12.235): "The track seems to be massively bumpy. It is therefore not easy to find the right set-up nor will it be easy to make the right
tire choice. That said, all in all we had a trouble free day."
Juan Pablo Montoya (11th, 1:12.280): "We did our homework today and the car seems to respond reasonably well. The track is maybe more bumpy than before, but the
tires seem to compensate for the bumps which is good. It won't be easy to get the right balance and we have still quite a lot of work to do in view of tomorrow's qualifying."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was a normal Friday with our time spent on evaluating
tires and working on the set-up. Since we have not been to Brazil for a long time and the cars and
tires have evolved a lot we have more work to do here than perhaps on some other Fridays. The high altitude here means everybody is down on power but also on drag."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "It was a good practice day. Both the drivers completed their
programs methodically and without any problems. It is obviously not easy to find the ideal setup on such a bumpy circuit. Regardless, we should have collected enough data to meet our
tire choice and both the engines ran without problems."
Kimi Raikkonen (3rd, 1:11.526): "I was quite pleased with the set-up of the car from the very beginning, which always makes Friday's practice much more productive. I had one set of
tires which were not too good and that was one of the reasons why I had a little spin at the start of the second session at turn eight. It's going to be an interesting weekend, but it's important to make a perfect lap in qualifying, as we are all so close. There is no doubt that Ferrari will be strong here, but I believe we will be able to battle with them."
David Coulthard (15th, 1:12.430): "We went through our tire evaluation
program, but unfortunately I couldn't show the full potential of the car as I got stuck in traffic which is often the case on this short circuit - on my fast lap I had to overtake three cars. Anyway I like this track because of its natural flow and have always performed well here, and hopefully I will do so again this weekend."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A trouble free start to the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend. Both drivers completed their pre-planned
program and we are now looking forward to the last race of the 2004 season."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A productive free practice with good and consistent times by Kimi in race trim. We now have to make sure to continue on this performance level during the rest of the weekend when it counts."
Fernando Alonso (7th, 1:12.005): "The circuit was very dirty this morning so it was quite difficult to start work and in fact I only did a dozen laps in the first session. In the afternoon, though, the circuit was improving lap by lap and we managed to make some pretty positive set-up changes as well as testing both types of
tire. The car feels quite light to drive here because of the low levels of downforce and it also took some time to get used to the bumpy track surface again. But overall, I am pleased with how today went."
Jacques Villeneuve (12th, 1:12.316): "We improved the car a lot today. It was very difficult to drive over the bumps this morning but after some changes to the set-up, it was a lot more comfortable and also faster. We are still missing some performance on the first timed lap on new
tires but the car seems quick and consistent on the longer runs."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "We experienced a good opening day with both cars. As usual in Brazil, the conditions improved all the way through the day and this is a factor we must take into account when
analyzing our data this evening. However, we made some changes to the car which seemed effective and we are definitely well prepared for Sunday."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "It was a perfectly normal Friday for the team: we experienced no problems and made good progress with the different
programs we had planned. The circuit here in Brazil is well known as being very bumpy and this is a factor we must take into account when configuring the engine to avoid over-revving. It is difficult to make any certain statements about how quick we are relative to the competition owing to the changing circuit conditions during the day. However, from our point of view, we are confident that we have completed a solid day's work and will now wait to see how that translates on the timesheets tomorrow."
Jenson Button (4th, 1:11.731): "It's been a reasonably good first day in preparation for what is a crucial race for us. We achieved everything we planned in terms of
tire comparisons and set-up. The circuit was very dirty this morning but it had cleaned up an awful lot by this afternoon, so we were able to achieve some good testing. The circuit is still pretty bumpy despite the resurfacing work they've done here - particularly at turns one and six. Generally I'm happy with the start we've made to the weekend and I look forward to us getting stronger as we continue working towards the race."
Anthony Davidson (5th, 1:11.920): "Today went pretty well. We had a very good
tire test and I feel pretty confident in our tire choice for the race. It is my first time here and it is quite a bumpy track but I got to grips with it quickly as the laps are short, which enabled me to do more and learn the track quicker. We seem to be quick enough and I am fairly optimistic that Jenson and Taku can have a strong race on Sunday."
Takuma Sato (6th, 1:11.988): "Today was a good start to the weekend. We did not suffer any problems at all and the car was competitive and comfortable straight away, so it was an encouraging session. We tried different set-ups and
tires, collecting all of the information we needed. If the car keeps working the way it has been today and remains consistent, we will be looking good for tomorrow's qualifying and for the race on Sunday."
David Richards, Team Principal: "I'm very pleased with the start that we've made to this important weekend and it's good to see all three of our drivers side by side in the top six and looking so strong. It is particularly pleasing that Anthony has ended his contribution to the season on a high note, yet again performing well at a circuit he has never experienced before. He has played a crucial part in our race development this year and I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his unfailing focus and determination. As for the rest of this weekend, I'm confident that we have made a good first step towards achieving our objectives for the season finale."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director: "Our last three-car Friday of the season has gone well and with all three cars completing their
programs we have good information on which to base our tire decision for tomorrow morning. Despite the recent resurfacing, the track is as bumpy as ever and the track took a long time to clean up. We look to have a competitive pace today so we have a good basis to work with tomorrow with which to determine our race set-up."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "A solid day - to have all three drivers in the top six is good. The times are very close once again so we will need strong performances from Jenson and Takuma tomorrow. I would like to thank Anthony as he has done a great job for us all year in the Friday sessions. I am pleased that he has shown once again how fast he can be, particularly at a track he has never visited."
Felipe Massa (8th, 1:12.183): "I'm really happy so far. Of course this is a big weekend for me, racing in front of my home crowd, so eighth place is a good start. The car is very good, once we got the right set-up after this morning, and we have done our
tire choice. The car was strong straight away on the first lap with the latest Bridgestones, so I am feeling quietly confident that we can do well."
Giancarlo Fisichella (17th, 1:12.631): "This morning I had oversteer and this afternoon it was understeer, so we still have a little work to do on the set-up. We need somewhere in the middle! But the car was good in the long runs, so I am confident for the race."
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "Another normal Friday test, except that this one was the 18th of the season! I am confident that we have found a good race set-up and that we have made the right
Mark Webber (18th, 1:12.816): "I am pleased with how today has gone as we have generated a good number of laps and completed a very complex test
program. I enjoy driving this track and I think that the resurfacing of it has helped with the grip levels, although it remains very bumpy in places. I spent most of my two sessions looking at
tire comparisons as well as general race set-up and evaluation. The R5 was reliable and I was pleased with the balance that we had achieved by the end of the sessions. I am now looking forward to tomorrow and I will be doing what I can to place the car as high as possible on the grid as a thanks to the team for their hard work over these last three fly-a ways."
Christian Klien (21st, 1:13.509): "This is my first time here at this track and it's really interesting and quite good fun to drive. I spent the first session
familiarizing myself with the layout and I am now happy with it. We then spent most of the day working on set-up and making changes throughout the day. We also looked at
tire comparisons and got some good results that I am pleased with. There is still work to do between now and tomorrow and I will be looking to improve my times further during the sessions."
Bjorn Wirdheim (24th, 1:14.303): "I had a good productive day today working on a lot of different things, including brakes, starts, and engine development work. I also spent time on aero compares and general set-up. The car feels good out there and it is well balanced even with the bumpy track. I have really enjoyed working with the team this season and I have learnt so much from them. I am now hoping very much that they can finish the season on a high with some points."
Mark Gillan, Head of Vehicle Performance: "We have enjoyed a good day here today at the Interlagos circuit with the three drivers completing successful test
programs and generating nearly 100 laps between them. They have been working on everything from
tire comparisons, brakes, engine developments, circuit familiarization and many other things. The car has been very reliable and that is thanks to the thorough preparation work that has been carried out both here and at the factory in Milton Keynes. We are now looking forward to the rest of the weekend and we will be doing what we can to ensure a good qualifying position and of course ideally a points finish."
Ryan Briscoe (9th, 1:12.209): "I am very happy with the work that we have achieved in today's practice sessions. We managed a significant number of laps, which permitted us to complete our
program. We tested the tires and tried different downforce levels to evaluate the best configuration for the rest of the weekend. The performance of the car appears to be quite good and I must say that Interlagos is a very enjoyable track to drive in an F1 car."
Ricardo Zonta (14th, 1:12.347): "It is great to be back racing in Brazil, although it has been a while since I have driven here at Interlagos. Typically, this track is dusty and slippery on the opening day and it was no different today. When you are right on the limit, it is easy to put one wheel on the dirt and spin off. We improved the car throughout both sessions today, but we still have some additional things to try tomorrow morning. The work we carried out in the Jerez test last week has proved very useful, particularly in terms of the
tire performance. I think we have a good direction for the rest of the weekend."
Jarno Trulli (16th, 1:12.545): "It was a positive practice day for me. I completed a lot of laps and we were able to compare the two Michelin
tire compounds without any trouble. The overall lap time does not look too good, because I couldn't put everything together on my first lap with new
tires. However, I am extremely happy with the balance and general behavior of the car around this circuit. We will work hard to find a bit more performance tomorrow."
Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "We enjoyed two productive sessions, totaling in excess of 150 laps with all three cars. The only real problem we encountered was the amount of traffic, but that is normal at a short circuit like Interlagos. Ryan did his usual Friday
program of long runs to compare the tires, followed by some shorter runs for performance evaluation and overall, the cars have looked very consistent. We have to look carefully at the data to prepare well for qualifying and the race. The lap times are very close, so a few tenths-of-a- second can make a huge difference to the final position. All in all, I think we can be confident of a strong race weekend."
Robert Doornbos (13th, 1:12.345): "It was a good day for me and I had fun. I was really hoping for dry weather because the last two times I drove the car, in Suzuka and the test in England, it was in wet conditions. It was dry as I hoped and both sessions went well. I helped the team with
tire choice data and at the end they got me on a qualifying set-up which was another first for me. I put in a good time and I am happy, also because my sponsor
Merman's is here this weekend so it's been a really good day."
Nick Heidfeld (19th, 1:13.114): "I had a difficult start this morning, with the balance of the car making it difficult to drive, especially going over the bumps where the rear was very nervous. But we made a couple more changes than usual between sessions and then further changes before I started the long runs and they all worked well. We made some very good improvements during the day and the car was much better in the afternoon than the morning. We still have some improvements to make before tomorrow and I'm confident we know which direction we have to go in that respect."
Timo Glock (22nd, 1:13.966): "It was not easy for me at the beginning because I had to learn the circuit, another new one for me. The car was quite nervous at the rear and it felt like I was fighting it too much, it was difficult to drive. We have to find a better set-up for the car and although I think we know what to do in the dry, I think the forecast for Sunday is wet, so it's difficult to say! We have some work to do tonight and tomorrow to improve things."
James Robinson, Director of Race and Test Engineering: "It was a normal free practice Friday for us. Today's focus was totally on
tires as it was very important to look at both Bridgestone compounds, taking into consideration conditions for today and tomorrow as well as the threat of rain on Sunday. As always, we are going to study the data very carefully tonight in order to know which one to choose for the rest of the weekend. We had no technical problems with the car and it was a productive day for the drivers with Robert doing a very good lap time on lower fuel at the end of the session. Unfortunately Timo had a radio problem causing him to back off in the second sector during his last run on fresh
tires, so he couldn't maximize his potential. Nick did a solid run and it's good to see that yet again we are closer to the front cars with only nine tenths of a second between us and P8."
Gianmaria Bruni (20th, 1:13.467): "We had a good opening day. This is my first time in Brazil and I spent much of today learning the circuit. I think I adapted quite well, and I'm now looking forward to tomorrow, when I'm sure we can improve in some areas and be even quicker."
Zsolt Baumgartner (23rd, 1:13.979): "Generally, it was a good day for us, although I made a mistake on what should have been my fastest lap this afternoon, which probably cost me half a second. The Interlagos circuit is new to me, and apart from being very bumpy in places, I quite like it and feel confident of being able to improve my lap time further tomorrow."
Bas Leinders (25th, 1:14.754): "Unfortunately, I was only able to do a total six flying laps today, as my car had a hydraulic problem this morning. That was subsequently fixed and I was then able to do two useful
tire comparison runs. Considering the limited number of laps available, it was a little difficult to set a competitive lap time, but I was nonetheless pleased with my performance. I'm also pleased with the effort of the team, and would like to thank everyone at Minardi for their support throughout the season. I have experienced very few technical problems all year, and this has provided me with an excellent opportunity to prove myself in Formula One."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "It has been a positive start for Minardi to the final Grand Prix weekend of the season, and it was particularly pleasing that Gimmi's quickest lap saw him ahead of a Jordan and two Jaguars. Just to put things in perspective, it is worth noting that his best lap, of 1 min 13.467 secs, was almost four-tenths of a second quicker than last year's pole position time. Zsolt also ran solidly in both sessions and, in the end, was only a couple of tenths slower than his team mate. Special mention today, however, must go to our test driver, Bas Leinders, who had his last run in that role with the team today. Despite a small hydraulic problem in the first session that cost him some running time, he did his usual exemplary job for us. It has been a pleasure to have Bas with us, and we would like to thank him for his fantastic efforts this year. He has made a really significant contribution to the Minardi
program in 2004, and we wish him every success in his quest to become a full-time F1 driver next season."
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