Thursday, May 7, 2009

Spanish Grand Prix Preview Quotes

Although most teams tested in Barcelona during the season build-up, after four flyaway races nobody quite knows where their cars will now stand compared to their rivals as they head back to Europe and the Circuit de Catalunya.

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
2008 Qualifying - 1st, 2008 Race - 1st


“It’s a bit more than a year ago that I won my last Formula One race. At Barcelona in 2008 I had my best weekend with Ferrari: pole position, victory and fastest race lap.

Aerodynamic efficiency is crucial at the Circuit de Catalunya for a good lap time. It’s a very demanding track from a technical point of view and you need a good car to be competitive.

Adrian Sutil, Force India
2008 Qualifying - 20th, 2008 Race - DNF


Barcelona is a track we all know really well from the laps we do over the winter. This year I did nearly 1,000km there! This means you can go to the circuit with a set-up that's pretty much ready to go.

Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India
2008 Qualifying - 19th, 2008 Race - 10th


I enjoy going to Barcelona as it's good to get back to Europe, with the tracks we know very well. I also posted two fastest race laps there in 1997 and 2005, so I feel comfortable on the circuit. Barcelona is itself a nice track.

Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal

I was very pleased to see the clear improvement we demonstrated in Bahrain as a result of the new diffuser and aero upgrades. To get both cars fitted with the modified floor in such a short time was a major undertaking, particularly from a team with such a limited workforce and budget as Force India.

Hirohide Hamashima, Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tyre Development

track surface that is the middle range in terms of abrasion and roughness but durability and driver requirements mean our harder allocation combination is used. The front left tyre has a lot of work to do at this circuit and equally, teams and drivers will have a big challenge trying to gain an advantage here as they know this track so well.

Fernando Alonso, Renault
2008 Qualifying - 2nd, 2008 Race - DNF


It's always very special to race in Spain and I'm lucky to have two races at home this year in Barcelona and Valencia. Seeing the support of the fans always gives me a boost and I just hope that I can make them happy and have a strong weekend.

Nelson Piquet, Renault
2008 Qualifying - 10th, 2008 Race - DNF


The circuit that I know the best, but it's not one of my favourites because it's not especially challenging for the drivers. It's all about having a good aero package and a well balanced car to cope with the high-speed corners. It's therefore difficult to overtake.

Pat Symonds, Renault Executive Director of Engineering

The whole team is still pushing hard with development and the diffuser and floor that we brought to China was very much a first attempt and over the course of the year we will see several more versions, the first of which we hope to have in Barcelona.

Jenson Button, Brawn GP
2008 Qualifying - 13th, 2008 Race - 6th


Although the team only completed four days of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya in March this year, I know the track inside out and it feels very familiar to be heading back there for the start of the European season this weekend. You need to have a car with good downforce for a really quick lap there and we are fortunate that our car behaves so predictably which enables you to feel completely confident when committing to high speed corners.

Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP
2008 Qualifying - 11th, 2008 Race - DNF


The Circuit de Catalunya feels like a home circuit for the drivers with so much of our pre-season testing taking place here over the winter. Although the track has lost some of the high speed challenge that it once had, it is still an interesting and physical lap to drive.

Ross Brawn, Brawn GP team principal

The short break which we have enjoyed since returning from Bahrain has enabled the whole team to regroup at our factory in Brackley and spend a little time reflecting upon our first four races. Jenson, Rubens and the team delivered a first class job to win the Bahrain Grand Prix which is the level of performance that we must sustain if we are to seriously challenge for the championships this year.

Jarno Trulli, Toyota
2008 Qualifying - 8th, 2008 Race - 8th


It's good to be coming back to Europe again after the long-haul races as this makes things a little easier for everyone. The opening races of the season have shown the potential we have in our new car; to get pole position and the fastest race lap in Bahrain was a good achievement which gives us great encouragement.

Timo Glock, Toyota
2008 Qualifying - 14th, 2008 Race - 11th


Barcelona is one of the tracks I know best after all the testing and racing I've done there over the years and I'm feeling optimistic going into the Spanish Grand Prix. I have scored points in all the races so far - only two other drivers have done that - and I certainly expect to continue that run this weekend. But I hope to score a few more than in Bahrain; it was disappointing only to finish seventh after starting from the front row however the potential of the car is clear for everyone to see.

John Howett, Toyota team President

We have made a successful start to our season but there is no doubt we want more; we feel we are close to our first victory and this is our clear target for the remainder of the year.

Kazuki Nakajima, Williams
2008 Qualifying - 12th, 2008 Race - 7th


It’s been a tough start to the season for me. I’ve had three DNFs out of four races and I don’t want anymore. I’m going to put them behind me now though and concentrate on the work ahead. There’s still 12 more races to go and I’m determined to get some good results for myself and for the team.

I didn’t have the new parts on my car in Bahrain so I’m looking forward to trying those out in Spain and to see how the other new bits go.

Nico Rosberg, Williams
2008 Qualifying - 15th, 2008 Race - DNF


It’s been a bit of a frustrating start to the season. We should be going into Europe with more than 3.5 points from the first four races.

As we spend quite a lot of time testing at Barcelona, it’s a circuit we all know well. Last year was going really well for me and I was looking good for sixth place, but then a technical problem put me out of the race.

Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber
2008 Qualifying - 4th, 2008 Race - 4th


I am looking forward to the race in Barcelona. After a block of four overseas races Formula One comes back to Europe, which I am happy about. As all Formula One teams have tested in Barcelona, I expect the pack to be very close together - even closer than up to now. We will bring a new aero package and we hope to improve significantly compared to our recent performance.

Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber
2008 Qualifying - 9th, 2008 Race - 9th


We know the Barcelona track like the back of our hands, as we used to test here a lot. I've been to the circuit so many times. As recently as last year we had 16 days of testing in Barcelona. This year we had four days in March, two for each driver, and there will not be any more. Barcelona is a tricky track to drive because it presents a variety of challenges and the circuit is very sensitive to changes in temperature.

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director

The Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona signals the start of the European season after four races overseas. Traditionally this represents something of a second start to the season.
ve way and are working intensively in Munich and Hinwil to get back to our old form. We will be lining up in Barcelona with an extensive aerodynamics-focused development package.

Willy Rampf, BMW Sauber head of engineering

Although the teams know the Barcelona track extremely well from all the testing they've done there in the past, this circuit frequently presents a new challenge. The problem is the track conditions can change very quickly here and the wind has a big impact on the cars' handling through corners.
We will be lining up in Barcelona with an extensive development package for the F1.09.

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
2008 Qualifying - 5th, 2008 Race - 3rd


The schedule for the first four races was very tough for everyone, so going back to Europe almost feels like a fresh start. After such a positive performance in Bahrain, we're fully aware that the characteristics of the Barcelona track won't suit our car so well.

The engineers are optimistic that our new diffuser and front wing will once again help us to make progress towards the front of the grid.

Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren
2008 Qualifying - 6th, 2008 Race - DNF


Going back to the scene of last year's accident doesn't change anything for me: I really enjoy this track - I had a great race to fifth here in 2007 and I love the high-speed corners, where you've got to push hard to get the maximum from the car. It's also a circuit where you need to find the perfect balance to look after the tyres.

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal

Our decision to introduce performance updates at each race rather than concentrate all our developments into a single upgrade package has helped us score some reasonable points in the opening flyaway races.
And while the high-downforce nature of the Circuit de Catalunya may show up some of MP4-24's shortcomings, everyone within the team remains confident and motivated that we can sustain the momentum we have gathered to push and close the gap to the front this weekend.

Norbert Haug, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Vice-President

The first four flyaway races within only five weeks have been turbulent and downright demanding for everyone in Formula One, and particularly for us. The field has moved closer together than ever before in Formula One history.

Our team is working extremely hard to achieve more significant improvements in aerodynamics and particularly in downforce, but to do so we still need more time.

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