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Japanese GP: Friday Team Quotes
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October 7,  2005

Ferrari

Michael Schumacher (2nd, 1:31.716): "Driving at Suzuka is always good fun, however, I find it difficult to judge how we went today. We will have to study the data in depth. We definitely did better in the second session but the time difference is down to the fact that we were probably the only ones to run on new tires before the rain came in the afternoon. But the times do not reflect our true position and there is no reason to think we can be stronger than in Brazil. The unpredictable weather could help our cause."

Rubens Barrichello (4th, 1:32.267): "At first, with new tires, the balance was not so good on the first lap. Then, I found quite a good balance towards the end of the day when my car was running on tires that had already done a few laps. So, I am reasonably confident as regards the rest of the weekend, as what counts is how the car was at the end."

Jean Todt, Team Principal: "I am happy to be in Japan, a country which continues to fascinate me and is one of the most important markets for Ferrari. We are on Bridgestone's home turf and, over the past few days, we have had several interesting meetings in Tokyo with them, at various levels, to study the current situation and plans for the future. As for today, here at Suzuka, it is clearly even harder than usual to assess the true level of everyone's strengths, given the different work programs carried out over the two hours. We went through the usual routine of trying the two types of tire Bridgestone has brought here. For the first time here and it will also be the case in China, the F2005 cars have worn the logo of the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics, an event which is particularly close to our hearts."

Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "I think the times in the second hour reflect the fact we used new tires then, when most of the other teams did that in the morning, expecting the rain to come a bit earlier than it did. We look in reasonable shape and the car is well balanced, but for both tire companies, degradation seems quite high here at this track, so a lot will depend on how well the tires hold up on Sunday afternoon."

BAR-Honda

Jenson Button (9th, 1:33.453): "We completed our usual Friday run plan but we structured the two sessions slightly differently because we knew that the rain would hit in the afternoon and compromise our second session progress. So we did a lot of laps in the morning to get ahead of ourselves, which worked out well. A quick downpour at the end of the session gave us an early opportunity to try the wet tires, which is just as well because I think we'll be needing those tomorrow! It's been a good first day and the support from our fans here is fantastic as ever. I hope we can continue to get stronger during the rest of the weekend and deliver a great result in front of our home crowd. We certainly have a lot of data to work through as a result of some good running time today."

Takuma Sato (13th, 1:34.330): "We've had mixed weather today but we forecast that well and did a lot of work on the morning session in preparation for the rain. Today we focused more on long runs and tire comparisons, and of course the rain gave us the opportunity to try out the wet tire. It looks like it will be a wet practice tomorrow so the work we did today was very important for that. We have obtained lots of good data so we have plenty of work ahead of us but it's looking promising. It was fantastic to see so many fans on the first day of running and to feel such a great atmosphere."

Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "You probably heard it seventeen times before but I will say it again! Quite a normal day by which I mean that we ended up doing nearly all the dry running we were hoping to do and also managed to do a few laps in the wet. Both drivers are reasonably happy with the car and I expect a long night of analyzing all the data we collected prior to making our tire choice tomorrow at 08:00am. As usual it is very difficult to determine exactly how fast we are in relation to the competition, however with a little improvement we will hopefully be fighting at the sharp end of qualifying tomorrow regardless of the weather conditions."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "It's great to be back at Suzuka again. The Suzuka engine spec is working well and both of the drivers got through most of their targeted program. The rain is the only disappointing factor but it's better than last year's typhoon!"

Renault

Fernando Alonso (8th, 1:33.259): "It is all OK from my point of view. We expected rain in the afternoon so ran a lot in the first session, which was quite difficult for the drivers. When you come to Suzuka, it is such a technical circuit that it takes some time to get the best out of yourself, and also out of the car. So doing tire comparisons without any practice laps, or judging set-up changes, is not very easy. But I think we looked reasonably quick, and there is more potential in the car and myself to improve. The car balance felt pretty good, so I am quite happy."

Giancarlo Fisichella (14th, 1:34.400): "It was a reasonable day for me. We did our normal job comparing the tires, and a little bit of set-up work this morning, then things were harder this afternoon as the circuit grip seemed lower, and it started raining. The balance still has too much oversteer for me, but we can fix that, and I think our speed is not too bad. We should be aiming for the front rows in qualifying."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "We ran our program slightly differently today, doing more laps than usual in P1 as we feared it would rain during the second session. As it turned out, the rain arrived later than anticipated, but even though the condition of the circuit was not ideal in the first session, we got the minimum amount of information we needed to make our tire choice and get a feeling for the set-up we need, should the rain continue. Currently our forecasts suggest it will be wet tomorrow, so I am happy with the work we have done. The other important event of the day was Raikkonen's engine failure, but it doesn't change anything for us: we are racing both cars, and need to beat them both to win the constructors' championship."

Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "It was a normal day on the engine side - we concentrated on our standard pre-race preparations, fine-tuning the mapping and optimizing the performance of the RS25 V10 at this circuit. Both engines are beginning their second race weekend, and we encountered no problems at all. Things were more difficult on the chassis side, with the poor weather forcing the team to adjust the program, but we got the information we needed. Overall, it is hard to draw any firm conclusions from today's running in terms of our overall speed, as the timesheets at the end of both sessions had a somewhat unfamiliar look. But we are confident we have prepared ourselves well, and that we will be in good shape for the race - whatever the weather conditions tomorrow."

Williams-BMW

Mark Webber (10th, 1:33.520): "We had a good day. I think everyone was expecting the rain to come so did all our homework for Michelin before it started to rain. This was very important in preparation for the race, which we are expecting to be dry, since we don't know what the weather is going to be like tomorrow. All in all we managed to find a pretty good balance. Towards the end of the first session I had a gearbox problem, but our mechanics did a good job fixing it in between the sessions, so that I lost only a little track time."

Antonio Pizzonia (12th, 1:33.679): "This was a new track for me and the first impression is pretty good. I like this track, as it is quite challenging and quite difficult too. I have heard from some drivers that they only felt they knew this track perfectly after three years, so I have plenty to learn. Anyway, today we went through the program that we had planned and there's a lot more to come from me and a little bit from the car, so we are looking forward to the rest of the weekend."

Sam Michael, Technical Director: "We went through our program of tire evaluation this morning and did the normal checks for the brakes and cooling. It looked like everybody had similar weather prediction today, as most teams did a lot more running than usual in the first session. The rain came late in the second session as expected, but we have enough data to do the race set-up now. On Mark's car we had a gearbox problem this morning, which the mecanichs quickly fixed in time for the second session."

Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "Antonio is driving here for the very first time and completed a huge program of 36 laps in order to get familiar with this challenging circuit. Mark also completed his set-up program. Close to the end of the second session we had a taste of Suzuka's typical changing weather conditions and so we can assume that race strategy will be crucial come Sunday."

McLaren-Mercedes

Pedro de la Rosa (3rd, 1:31.821): "Despite the change in conditions especially in the second session we had a productive day. We still can improve the balance particularly for dry conditions. In general I'm happy with what we achieved. I really love this circuit and know it very well from my three years here in Japan. It's a challenging track for the drivers and is all about having the right rhythm to achieve a good lap time."

Kimi Raikkonen (5th, 1:32.849): "Obviously I'm a bit disappointed with the engine failure which stopped my first practice session prematurely. However we managed to get some running in the second practice, and there is still plenty of time left tomorrow morning. The balance is basically OK but a lot depends on what the weather will do for the rest of the weekend."

Juan Pablo Montoya (22nd, 1:37.371): "The track is OK and I always really like it. We had some minor balance issues in the first session but despite this the car was good. In the second session I seemed to run into traffic or somebody broke down in front of me so quite limited value really. We will see what the weather is like for the rest of the weekend where obviously we want to get a good result as the Constructors' Championship is important for everybody in the team."

Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A very disruptive practice for everybody but more for us with Kimi's unscheduled engine change. However we still managed to get a strong indication regarding tire choice."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "This first day, which took place in changing conditions with intermittent rain, makes it difficult to judge where everybody stands. Kimi had an engine failure after only eight laps in the first session, the cause of which we are investigating. The engine change means that he has to start 10 places back."

Sauber-Petronas

Felipe Massa (15th, 1:34.421): "This morning was okay and we were able to do some of our tire comparison, but I had a lot of oversteer. We changed quite a few things in the set-up for this afternoon and in the limited dry running I did I could tell that the handling was better. After that the rain made things pretty academic."

Jacques Villeneuve (18th, 1:34.874): "The car was difficult to drive this morning, and I had a spin in the 130R corner. It's an easy corner and you don't even have to use the whole width of the road, but it all depends on the bumps. Sometimes they put the front wheels in the air, sometimes the rears. It depends what line you take and I was experimenting to try and avoid the bumps. It was a bit strange, what happened. I think in future I'll just go over the bumps and forget about trying to miss them."

"This afternoon we kept the same tires because of the restrictions and they were vibrating a bit by then, but we had made the car better before the rain came."

Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "The weather this afternoon certainly hasn't helped our tire choice as we only got part of the picture this morning. We have not been able to do any long runs. We must now do some very careful analysis of the lap and sector times before making a decision, but it's the same for everyone. Once the rain came this afternoon we just scrubbed some wet tires in preparation for what we expect over the remainder of the weekend."

Red Bull-Cosworth

David Coulthard (11th, 1:33.563): "Considering we ran a normal Friday program today, our performance this morning seemed to be pretty good. Fourth fastest is not too bad at all. Of course, we still have to do Saturday and Sunday to complete the cycle, but we certainly seem to be more competitive here than we have been at other circuits this year."

Christian Klien (16th, 1:34.707): "We thought it might rain this afternoon, so we did most of our running this morning, just to ensure we knew what the situation was regarding tire choice and car set-up. Fortunately, it stayed dry for most of this afternoon, so we were able to have another look at the tires. The car felt good to drive and we were quite competitive. However, as always on a Friday, it's difficult to judge exactly where we are overall from the times. I'm looking forward to racing here; Suzuka is quite a tricky circuit, with lots of direction and elevation changes. That, together with the fact that it might rain this weekend, should make things pretty interesting."

Vitantonio Liuzzi (19th, 1:34.977): "We were not so far from the overall pace this morning, which was pretty good, as this is one of the hardest circuits to learn on. There are lots of technical corners and how you leave one corner affects how you start the next. When you have four corners one after the other, it's important that you know exactly where to put the tires, while also finding a good rhythm and speed. The more you know about the circuit, the better you go here I think, but I was pretty happy with my performance today. The car had good balance and everything was positive. It's a shame I hit traffic on the first lap as I could have been four or five tenths quicker there I think. In the second session, we had an electronic and hydraulic problem and had to stop. It was a shame, as I was set to complete a long run to evaluate the tires. I think we should have enough information from the first session, but it definitely would have been good to get more kilometres on this circuit."

Paul Monaghan, Head of Race and Test Engineering: "Unfortunately Tonio's car suffered an electrical and hydraulic problem in today's second practice session, which bought his session to an early end. The two issues appear to be unrelated to one another, with the electrical problem occurring first and the hydraulic one developing afterwards. Fortunately, we acquired a lot of tire data in the morning session and will now analyze that ahead of tomorrow."

Toyota

Ricardo Zonta (1st, 1:30.682): "The last time I drove here at Suzuka was back in 2000 so I'm glad to have gone so well on such a difficult, technical circuit. I took a risk with my set-up this morning and that gave me too much oversteer on the dirty track. Then we felt a good improvement before we had an electronic problem. In the afternoon there was the threat of rain so we had to work fast. I was driving the TF105 but the tire comparison can still transfer to the B car so that is no problem."

Ralf Schumacher (6th, 1:32.917): "This is a technically demanding circuit and I always enjoy running here, especially as a Toyota driver. The B car is a slight improvement on the TF105 that we have been running this year and the balance felt okay today so it should be good for Sunday. Another reason for bringing the TF105B to the last two races was to put in some work on the car as a preparation for next season. We have a long period ahead with no testing so this is very useful work."

Jarno Trulli (7th, 1:33.122): "This is a special race for the whole team and after such a great season we'd like to finish with another good result. I'm not yet happy with the balance of the B car but we have brought it here because it looks more consistent over long runs. The front end is likely to be used at the start of next season so this is a good chance to do some early trouble-shooting. It's still a young car so we need to find out how to get the best out of it."

Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "We have a lot of updates on the TF105B, but the major change is to the front suspension and front aerodynamic configuration. Both race drivers spent the day putting miles on the car and getting used to its feel, which is quite different from the standard car. Ralf was reasonably happy with the balance, Jarno less so, but it was a productive first day considering how new the car is. Ricardo had an electronic problem this morning but he was still able to finish the tire comparison before the rain. Now we hope to give the fans a good result on Sunday."

Jordan-Toyota

Sakon Yamamoto (17th, 1:34.829): "I have really enjoyed driving a Formula One car round Suzuka, my home circuit. I am satisfied with my job today as I managed to go through the program my engineers gave me. I have tried different types of Bridgestone tires and I am sure the team will make the right choice. Unfortunately, the rain came in the afternoon session and it limited a bit my running. Nevertheless, I had a fantastic day and I would like to thank Jordan Grand Prix for this great experience."

Tiago Monteiro (21st, 1:35.388): "It was a good first day. I did not know the track therefore I had to spend time learning the layout. Besides, it is one of the hardest as there are so many different corners and you need a lot of rhythm. We were struggling a bit with our tire choice in the morning but then it got better in the afternoon and I did a good lap before it started raining. I wish it rained a bit more so that I could have driven in wet conditions. I will have two more sessions tomorrow to learn more about the track and improve the set-up of the car. As Narain knows the circuit quite well, I hope he will be able to help me on the set-up so that I can focus on getting used to the track."

Narain Karthikeyan (24th, 1:38.034): "I had a first good session this morning but then in the afternoon I lost of bit of time as we wanted to change some parts of the car and also because the rain started. It is a pity the track got wet as I could not try a new set of tires, contrary to my teammates. I really like the circuit at Suzuka, it is one of my favorites in the calendar so hopefully I will be able to do well here."

Adrian Burgess, Sporting Director: "We haven't had a bad day today. All three drivers enjoyed driving around this very challenging circuit. Sakon has done a tremendous job in a competitive environment. Tiago and Narain have been working on our usual Friday program. Narain lost out with the weather a little bit as it came too early and also as we had a slight delay changing some parts on the car, therefore he could not run his new tires. However, in general, it was a positive day."

Minardi-Cosworth

Robert Doornbos (20th, 1:35.150): "We didn't start the morning session as well as we might have, because the car was not quite how I wanted it - I had a clear idea in my mind of how I wanted it to be - but we did some homework over lunch. As a result, we started the second session on used tires and the car felt good. We decided to fit new tires to get a feel for how it would be tomorrow, and then I had a lot of fun driving a Formula One car with an effective set-up. There's still room for improvement, but we're definitely heading in the right direction."

Christijan Albers (23rd, 1:37.626): "I'm really happy today. The first practice was good because I've never driven on this track before, and yet I surprised myself with my lap times and was pleased to get up to speed quickly. The second practice also went well, with the same sort of times, but then when we went out for a new tire run, the rain started to fall It was a bit of a shame because we could have learned a little more about the tire compounds in order to decide which one we should use for qualifying and the race. Now it's a little more difficult, but I think we still had a reasonable day."

Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "In preparation for Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix, both drivers performed well in the first session and were on target to complete today's technical program before a rain shower put paid to any improvement in their times. Unfortunately for Christijan, the rain started to fall as he was on his 'out' lap with new tires fitted, so the run was aborted. All we can say is that we look forward to some dry running tomorrow."

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