2011 Australian GP, qualifying: Team quotes 

Written by David on March 26th, 2011 at 11:42 amLast Update: March 27th, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Thierry Salvi: “Firstly I want to say that the atmosphere in this team is very good. This means we are all able to work together very well and it’s important that we can do that to get the best out of the car this year. From the engine perspective I think we are ok on usage and the drivers’ feedback has been very good. Obviously to maximise the performance of the car the whole package can work better and I’m sure we can unlock the true potential of the car when we have worked through areas like the tyre usage.”

Mike Gascoyne: “Both drivers did a very good job in qualifying today, despite both of them being hampered by issues – Heikki had a rear wing problem whcih meant he couldn’t improve on his second set of tyres, and Jarno reported loss of grip on his second set so we clearly were not able to maximise the car’s real performance today. However, I think that we have definitely taken a step forward in qualifying. We have been struggling to get temperature into the tyres all weekend, and have had some issues with the power steering, but we made significant progress in qualifying. On the positive side the tyre warm-up issues will be much better in the race and looking ahead I am very confident that we can get back to the level of performance we showed in winter testing as we continue through the early part of the season.

Tony Fernandes: “I am happy with qualifying. Obviously we are paying the price of the limited running we had in testing, but I have to admit I was a bit nervous before the session and having seen where we ended up I am pleased with what both drivers produced today. We continue to learn all the time and as this is essentially a completely new car we have to work hard on a number of areas to help us achieve our full potential, particularly on tyre management – the car looks like it has Malaysian blood as it clearly prefers hotter conditions! Despite that we are all looking forward to the race tomorrow, and with much more development to come here, in Malaysia and China, before we head back to Europe, I am happy with where we are today.”

Giorgio Ascanelli: “Before the session, I expected to get this result. We are just a sniff ahead of Force India, with whom I expect we will be fighting all year. However, I am not going to cry about Adrian Sutil’s misfortunes. When analysing the result, we have to consider that Williams had a difficult session, while Sauber is solidly ahead of us. Seb and the team did a very good job, managing the tyres, going out at the right time and generally running the session very well. People have been singing the praises of our car and this is a result of some bold choices we made on the design front. However, we are currently the eighth team and we will have to continue to work hard to try and stay ahead of the others. Jaime did a reasonable job and he has complained of understeer all day, which was not the case yesterday. Twelfth and so close to his team-mate is not a disappointment and we simply did not get the best out of his car today.”

John Booth: “It’s fair to say that there was some degree of nail biting within the team ahead of this afternoon’s qualifying session. That’s not the position we want to be in and fighting to stay within the 107% time is not our target – it should be a given. Just like last year we expected the first race to be a tough challenge, coming off the back of a winter of regulation changes. Qualifying was an affirmation of what we already know – that we have a lot of hard work ahead to bring the car up to where it needs to be. Having said that, Timo drove the wheels off the car to get the best possible result today and Jérôme is doing an admirable job in his debut weekend, so all credit to the drivers and the team for a very respectable opening weekend operationally as it’s a huge step forward from where we were 12 months ago.”

Christian Horner: “A great team performance. First and third for the first grand prix of 2011 is a very good start. Sebastian produced two stunning laps. Mark just lost out on the last run by less than a tenth to Lewis, but first and third on the clean side of the grid is a good place to be starting tomorrow’s grand prix. It should be a fascinating race tomorrow, especially with the new regulations. We’re delighted to achieve Pirelli’s first pole position on their return to Formula One.”

Cyril Dumont: “It’s nice to be back on track and especially with the pace we had today. What a showing it was from Seb. Mark was a bit behind, but we will see tomorrow, as the race is long. Engine-wise we were pretty happy to use all the tuning we have been working on during winter testing. It is a good result for Renault and Red Bull so far and we will see tomorrow what happens in the race. Fuel consumption will be important tomorrow.”

Ross Brawn: “Without doubt, today was quite a disappointing qualifying session for the team. We expected to be more competitive however we haven’t got the car working as well as we had hoped today. The fundamentals are good but we’ve had rather too many challenges this weekend to be able to get the most out of it. We are in good shape for the race tomorrow in terms of tyre availability and the car looked pretty reasonable on the longer runs so let’s wait and see what happens.”

Norbert Haug: “From the first practice session onwards yesterday, we had some technical issues on both cars which handicapped Nico and Michael in setting up their cars properly. Michael had a KERS issue during Q2 which probably prevented him from progressing to Q3. Nico made a good step from the final practice session to Q3 but unfortunately locked the front wheel braking into the first corner going into his quickest lap. He pushed to the limit and I certainly will not criticise. Our performance in Melbourne so far has not been where we expected it to be after the last test in Barcelona. However everybody in our team will try to get a better result tomorrow.”

Martin Whitmarsh: “Yesterday indicated that the car improvements we’d made in the past few weeks were significant, and today proved it. I therefore want to say a big thank you to all the guys here in Melbourne, and back in Woking, who have worked so hard to make those improvements possible. Lewis and Jenson, too, have done a great job this weekend – and the result, second and fourth places on the starting grid for tomorrow’s race, is very encouraging. Actually, Lewis could have gone a bit quicker still, had he not suffered a KERS Hybrid failure. As a result of that failure, he lost not only the performance dividend that KERS Hybrid provides, but also had to cope with compromised brake balance resulting from the absence of KERS Hybrid. A double whammy, if you like. But the parc fermé regulations allow us to make the necessary repairs, and both he and Jenson will therefore be looking forward to taking the fight to Red Bull on the streets of Albert Park tomorrow afternoon.”

Otmar Szafnauer: “Today’s standings built on our free practice results and gave us some additional information on the Pirelli tyres. Australia is a race renowned for its high rate of attrition and we feel confident that our tried and tested KERS hybrid system and overall reliability will hold us in good stead. We have paid close attention to our tyre strategy today as we believe that tyre choice and management will impact significantly on performance throughout the grid tomorrow. Whilst it would have been preferable to qualify higher up the grid, we are targeting race points and look forward to getting the season underway.”

Peter Sauber: “Finally everybody knows where he stands and I must say I’m satisfied with where we are at the moment. No less important is the positive experience with both our drivers today. From Kamui we knew what he could do, but Sergio, our rookie, was a nice surprise.”

James Key: “We are obviously pleased that the progress we thought we made over the winter has been realised today in qualifying. But this is just the start of a long season. Kamui did a great job to get us safely through to Q3 when, unfortunately, we had to run used tyres. So in the end he did not find the ultimate performance. Sergio was excellent, considering this was his first F1 qualifying and he had missed a lot of time with a hydraulic problem in free practice three. On his fastest lap in Q2 he had traffic, but nonetheless we are very happy with the job both drivers did. What really counts is the race tomorrow and it will be very interesting to see the unknown tyre strategies that could be employed.”

Stefano Domenicali: “We definitely cannot be happy with the way things went in this first qualifying session of the season and there is no denying it. However, there is no point in immediately getting into a state about it. We have to work out why we were unable to get all the potential out of our car at the track, at least in terms of pure performance. From what we saw in winter testing and in yesterday’s free practice, our race pace is not bad and we will try and make the most of that in tomorrow’s race. This year, more than at any time in the recent past, strategy will hold the key, while reliability, as ever, remains the number one priority.”

Pat Fry: “We were not on the pace at the end of the first qualifying of the season and we have to take that on board. We knew Red Bull was very quick, but they were even faster than expected and also McLaren were better than us. We had to already use the first set of soft tyres in Q1 in order to ensure we got through to the next stage and we paid the price for that a bit in Q3, when we only one had one new set of Options. We have to study the data very carefully to understand what led to this situation. Having said that, we still have the race ahead of us and that’s where the points are given out. Reliability remains the key factor: we have worked a lot on this front over the winter and we hope to reap the rewards of that now. Compared to last year, we will tackle the race with a different strategic approach and there could be some surprises.”

Sam Michael: “We’ve had a troublesome day and although we have to improve the end result does not reflect our true pace. With Pastor’s spin and the oil leak on Rubens’ gearbox, the mileage we were able to cover in practice was considerably restricted and caused us to be conservative with some of our set-up choices for the race. We had another off in qualifying, this time with Rubens, but Pastor kept his head down and is now looking ahead to a solid race. Tomorrow’s focus is firmly on scoring points with both cars. It will also be interesting to see the moveable rear wing working as intended and delivering some exciting overtaking!”

Colin Kolles: “In the end it just couldn’t be, still I’m incredibly proud of my whole team. Our drivers produced the maximum in the least amount of time possible. We managed to get both cars ready in time for qualifying and proved that the car is capable of running a lot quicker than today. The circumstances in which we arrived were not as desired. We created a miracle again, but it wasn’t enough. We’ll be back stronger than ever in Malaysia. There we will have more time to test the car and show where the F111 really belongs.”

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