2008 European GP (Valencia), practice: Team quotes 

Written by David on August 22nd, 2008 at 8:46 pmLast Update: August 22nd, 2008 at 8:46 pm

2008 European Grand Prix, ValenciaLuca Baldisserri: “Overall, a good start to this Valencia weekend. It was important to get off on the right foot and we did. We had prepared a baseline set-up for the F2008 and it seems to be about right, which meant that right from this morning we could work on improving it. Both drivers are reasonably happy with the handling of the car. Now we have to analyse all the data we have gathered to work out how to move forward in terms of getting the best performance. Today the track has been very dirty, which was in fact predictable, however, the two types of Bridgestone tyre did not show up any great difference in their performance.”

Ron Dennis: “It’s always an interesting engineering challenge whenever you arrive at a new circuit – and today in Valencia was no exception. We spent two very productive sessions concentrating on tyre choice, while running appropriate fuel levels. Lewis and Heikki also performed faultlessly, allowing us to collect plenty of valuable data which we will go through tonight.”

Dieter Gass: “The most important thing when you go to a new track is to make it through your programme without any technical problems, which was the case today. On the first day at a new track we amended our usual plan. Today we carried out more long runs both at the start of P1 to learn the circuit and at the end of P2 to help judge the tyre behaviour because we have no reference here. Apart from that you aim to find the balance and the right downforce levels. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of grip around and it didn’t improve as massively as we would have expected. Still, we’re quite happy with where we are with Timo but Jarno is struggling a bit with an inconsistent balance. So we will have to look into that and fix it for tomorrow.”

Pat Symonds: “It has been interesting learning and adapting to this new circuit. During today’s practice sessions we completed our programme of learning the circuit, the car and the tyres. As expected, the grip level was very low to begin with and developed through both sessions. It is difficult to understand too much about our situation relative to the others, but we had no significant problems, which is encouraging for the rest of the weekend.”

Willy Rampf: “Although this is a new track, there were no surprises for us as regards the car’s setup. The circuit is as we expected, and we were well prepared. As usual on Friday we concentrated on comparing the tyres and race preparation. We were able to complete the programme without any technical problems. Because we cannot use any previous information to refer to for this new track, we shall now analyse all the data. We shall pay special attention to comparing the sector times so we can make the right set-up changes for the rest of the weekend.”

Stefano Domenicali: “It was a good day. We worked well and acquired a lot of data from this track which, over the next few hours, will be used to prepare ourselves as well as possible for this weekend. From what we could see, given the usual unknowns on a Friday, we can say we are competitive. Whether we will be competitive enough to reach our target will only be revealed starting with tomorrow afternoon’s qualifying.”

Norbert Haug: “A great circuit and a first class job by the organisers and especially Bernie for the maiden race here in Valencia. For Lewis and Heikki and our team it was a good start to the weekend with fast and consistent lap times in race trim. We stayed clear of the walls which is very important here – you definitely should not lose valuable time on a new track because your car is in pieces and needs to be put together in the pits while your competitors are learning for qualifying and the race.”

Patrick Head: “We lost a set of tyres with Nico following his spin and we’re obviously lucky to get away without any car damage. Otherwise, we’ve run through our programme and have collected good information on tyres while doing long runs so we’re happy with the work we’ve done today.”

Mike Gascoyne: “Generally an interesting day for us as it is always challenging to run at a new circuit, and particularly one that stretches the drivers. We had no real mechanical problems today, only a small brake issue with Giancarlo, which was very quickly solved. All in all we ran through our normal programme and tyre evaluation and, although it’s hard to tell from Friday form, I think we look more competitive and have made a slight step forward that we’ll look to carry over to the rest of the weekend.”

Steve Clark: “The track is very dirty as it is so new and it’s very easy to lose a bit of direction as the track improves, the car balance changes and the tyres behave differently. There are also some unknowns like the optimum downforce level and the drivers finding the racing line. In addition there is the additional challenge of getting the brakes to work correctly. There is quite a lot to get to grips with and we have to do so as quickly as possible. Fortunately we have two very experienced drivers which makes the process a lot easier. Jenson has obviously done a good job today and is looking extremely competitive. Rubens has some braking problems that we have had to live with during the session because there wasn’t sufficient time to fix them. If we can resolve this issue then there is no reason to think that both cars can’t be quite closely matched during the rest of the weekend. I think we have done a good job here in Valencia so far but credit should also go to the rest of the team for all the hard work that was achieved off-track during the three-week break. The progress we have made with honing our recent developments appears to be paying dividends.”

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