Team reaction after qualifying in Istanbul (part 2)
Force India, Toro Rosso, Williams, Lotus, Virgin Racing & HRT F1
Force India Mercedes
The Force India F1 Team will start tomorrow’s Turkish Grand Prix from 11th position with Adrian Sutil and 18th with Tonio Liuzzi following a testing day at the Istanbul Park Circuit.
Adrian’s preparations for the session were mired when a hydraulic pressure problem developed on his installation lap during the earlier morning practice, causing him to miss the remainder of the hour session. With only limited data on the new SRW (switchable rear wing) it was decided to run the system on just Tonio’s car. Despite the setbacks, Adrian eased into Q2 and was a contender for a Q3 slot until the dying seconds of the second segment when he was just pushed out of the top 10 by Michael Schumacher.
Tonio had a more difficult qualifying as he was eliminated in Q1. Struggling with grip throughout the 20 minute opener, he could not get his ideal lap together and posted a 1:28.958, which placed him 18th on the grid for tomorrow’s 58 lap race.
Adrian Sutil: This morning I couldn’t do any running because of a hydraulic problem on the car and as we had some problems yesterday as well, I didn’t really know what to expect out there in qualifying as I hadn’t done so many laps before. All the same we had a good balance on the car and I was quite happy with the final lap time. We were very close to Q3 again, just under a tenth, so I think it’s all open for tomorrow. Eleventh on the grid, and the good side as well, I think we can be very confident. It will be a tough race with the heat but I think we have a good chance to score some points again.
Tonio Liuzzi: We didn’t get the most from qualifying today and should have been in a better position. We have been struggling with the grip since the start of the weekend and had a pretty similar issue to Barcelona. We don’t seem to have the right balance or get the tyres to work, particularly at the rear of the car. We are trying a couple of things and once it is sorted we will be competitive for sure, so it’s not worth dwelling on today. The new switchable rear wing has been a big step forward so we can be pretty confident about the race. So although it’s disappointing for now, tomorrow we should be able to move up the field and do as much as we can.
Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal: It’s been a difficult weekend with various issues to contend with, but it’s tomorrow that counts. Adrian is still in a very good position, on the clean side of the track and able to run new tyres, and he has scored points from further down the field before. Tonio also has the use of our new SRW device and should be able to make the most of it on the longer straight here. So, overall, we can remain positive and look to make the most of whatever comes our way.
Toro Rosso Ferrari
Sebastien Buemi: “I am not particularly happy, because again today, Q3 was out of our reach. I expected a bit more than fourteenth place, as in the morning we were ahead of the Saubers, so I was hoping to qualify eleventh, but they got ahead of us this afternoon. The track changed a lot from yesterday afternoon to this morning, but not so much in between today’s two sessions. It will be a tough race so let’s wait and see what we can do. In free practice, our pace over a long run was good, which is a positive sign, however, overtaking is not so easy here.”
Jaime Alguersuari: “I think there was more potential to do better, especially on my last lap, but I was held up by De La Rosa at Turn 7 who was on the outside of the corner which meant I had to change my line, which cost me a couple of tenths. However, it was a valuable experience as I am still not a hundred percent tuned into the tyres and I need to learn more. I had to park the car at the side of the track at the end of Q2 because I decided to do one more lap than planned on my final run, when I thought I could improve my time.”
Giorgio Ascanelli: “We can be reasonably satisfied, because we have worked hard over the past couple of weeks and our car has progressed. However, it was clear this afternoon that Sauber has also worked hard and progressed more than us. The cars ran reliably and generally, we have done a good job, but we did not get the most out of our package this afternoon, because we treated yesterday’s free practice more like a test session, to evaluate some new parts, rather than optimising the car to suit the characteristics of this track. Therefore we did not get everything right today and the verdict of the qualifying time sheet is the correct one in our case.”
Turkish delight was in limited supply for the team at Istanbul Park today as both AT&T Williams drivers were eliminated from qualifying in Q2. On a difficult circuit for the FW32, Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg recorded the 15th and 17th times of the session and will line up on the eighth and ninth rows of the grid respectively for tomorrow’s race.
Rubens Barrichello: In a way, we did well to achieve a good balance on the car for qualifying, but we are suffering with our top speeds here. The track doesn’t suit the car as much as Monaco did so we are struggling a little bit more than normal. We are far away from where we want to be, but Williams are fighters. We need to keep that spirit up and keep pushing to get to where we want to be.
Nico Hulkenberg: It was tough going today. On my second run in Q2, I picked up some oversteer at the exit of turn 7 which put me off line and unfortunately cost me my lap. We are pushing really hard at the moment
and trying to squeeze all we can out of the car but we still have plenty of work to do. A lot can happen in the race so I’ll be giving it everything I can.
Sam Michael, Technical Director: Today’s result is clearly not where we want to be. We’re going through the data to look for the main
differences to our competitors, but the obvious target is to bring more performance to the car for the forthcoming races. The track engineers will now concentrate on getting a good start tomorrow with a view to getting into the points.
Lotus Racing put in another solid performance in qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix, with Jarno Trulli finishing the session 19th and team mate Heikki Kovalainen 20th. Jarno ran the whole session on the harder prime tyres while Heikki started on the options, but opted to change to the prime after seeing Jarno recording faster lap times, a decision that paid off with both drivers finishing ahead of their closest competition, and edging ever closer to the teams ahead.
Jarno Trulli: “I’m pretty pleased even though it was a bit of a difficult day. I had a minor problem this morning which meant I couldn’t really use all the time available to focus on setting up the car, so I just got in and got on with it. In quali I used both sets of hard tyres and it felt like the track was quite slippery, particularly in the braking zones, so I changed my driving style a bit and think I did quite a good job to be best of the new teams. I think we are catching up with the guys ahead, even though we are still a bit off. But we will have another big step when we go to Silverstone, and we’re also now working hard on next year’s car, so we’re definitely going in the right direction.”
Heikki Kovalainen: “It was good out there today. On our first run we went with the soft tyre which was probably the wrong choice as it wasn’t working quite as well as yesterday, but the second run on the primes was good. The car felt particularly stable around the high speed corners and the balance felt great so I’m happy. Jarno did a better time today, but I’m pushing hard - I’m always pushing to the limit and am looking forward to the race tomorrow. I feel confident, and hope we can close the gap again to the other guys ahead.”
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: “I’m pleased with our performance in qualifying this afternoon. There was a question mark from this morning whether to run the prime or option tyres - we felt the car was more stable on the primes and that decision paid dividends with us being only 3.2seconds away from the Red Bulls who used the same tyres in Q1- that shows just how much progress we’ve made as a team from the start of the season, and that’s very satisfying. So - a good solid performance today and we’ll look forward to the race tomorrow where we want to get both our cars to the finish line.”
Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: “All in all today’s been another good day and it proves to me that our future is very bright. To be honest I was starting to dream about Q2, and while we may still be a little bit off that we’re clearly getting closer and closer, and thinking back to where we started, that’s incredible. We need to work on giving Jarno more confidence in the car, and perhaps today we could have got more from Heikki’s tyres, but I think there’s still more to come from the 2010 car – maybe even another 0.5 seconds. Tomorrow will be all about getting two cars home, and I know our team has the experience and strength to do that.
“Today we were just 3.2 seconds off the pace of the Red Bulls in Q1 and if you cast your mind back 10 short weeks to Bahrain you can see just how far we’ve come. There we were over five seconds away from the outright Q1 pace and anyone in the sport will tell you what an achievement it is to find nearly two seconds in just seven races. We were also just 2.4 seconds off Ferrari, celebrating their 800th race in Turkey, which is pretty spectacular for a team who are only seven races old – I think that shows to all those who expressed doubts about our participation that they were wrong. We’re also now in a position to turn our attention to the 2011 car, but we’re still here and fighting hard for this season – I want, in the nicest possible way, to take this fight to my mentors Frank Williams and Patrick Head and their team, from whom I’ve learnt an awful lot over the last few years, and compete with them and the likes of Toro Rosso and Sauber, and today’s yet another example of how we really can dream of doing just that. I’m now off to order a kebab for Jarno and Heikki. Well, maybe a kebab pizza for Jarno, and a reindeer kebab for Heikki, if anyone in Istanbul can find them one.....”
Virgin Racing Cosworth
At the Istanbul Park Circuit today, Virgin Racing enjoyed a more productive day of running in preparation for tomorrow’s Turkish Grand Prix. After a frustrating start to the weekend yesterday, a great deal of overnight data analysis yielded some good solutions, which helped to put the team back on track and the true potential of the car finally started to reveal itself in Free Practice this morning.
As a consequence, the team continued to improve the car through the morning and both Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi were much happier heading into the crucial Qualifying session. Improving with each lap, Timo was looking good for a strong final run with which to challenge for lead new team, but a mistake in the first sector cost him dearly and he had to abandon the lap ending the session in 21st position.
Lucas experienced a frustrating Qualifying session. Although the basis of his car was clearly improved, he experienced a power loss issue with his engine and will line up a row behind Timo after qualifying 23rd.
Timo Glock: “After a difficult opening day here yesterday, we really managed to turn things around for ourselves overnight and because of that we were able to have a much stronger day today. The difference in the car since yesterday was like night and day, so I have to thank the team for that. The car was performing well in Free Practice this morning and I was very motivated going into Qualifying, because it’s great knowing that you have a car that will give you the chance to beat the immediate competition. I had a great second lap and felt that we had the car bang on for my final lap. Unfortunately I made a mistake in the first sector and that was that, but I’m much happier with the car and looking forward to the race tomorrow.”
Lucas di Grassi: “Despite the improvements that we made to the car set-up overnight, today has been very frustrating for me as we had an issue with the engine. Timo was able to demonstrate the true potential of the package and so it was disappointing for me to end up so far away because of the problem. I hope we can look forward to something more representative tomorrow and have a good race because I think we can have a good day.”
Nick Wirth, Technical Director: “A very encouraging day. After a detailed analysis of yesterday’s running, a strong team engineering effort with a lot of clear input from both drivers yielded the improvement that I was looking for. Timo was much happier with the car today and it’s clear that the development parts that we brought here are working again. It’s a bit unfortunate that Timo didn’t manage to complete his last qualifying run as we believed it was possible to get in front of at least one of the Lotus cars. We’ve closed in on them since Barcelona and we normally have a strong race pace in comparison, so the objective is to fight for every opportunity and get both cars to the finish.
“We’re all very sorry that Lucas’ day has been blighted by an issue with the engine that we fitted to his car last night, which had already completed two Grands Prix. The power loss from this engine is the sole reason that Lucas is so far behind Timo and having discussed the issue with Cosworth we have no other option but to change the engine for the race tomorrow.”
HRT F1 Cosworth
Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna qualified their Hispania Racing, HRT F1 Team, cars 24th and 22nd respectively for tomorrow’s Turkish Grand Prix in a dry and partially cloudy qualifying session. It was another milestone for the Spanish team as Senna outpaced another team’s car for the first time in a dry qualifying session on his way to 22nd on the grid.
Dr. Colin Kolles: “I am pleased with the times of Bruno Senna. In qualifying he improved from the morning session. I was hoping for the cars to be a bit higher. Things are looking good, Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna kept their cars out of trouble which is a good step towards a safe race.”
Karun Chandhok: “We seem to have a straightline deficit to Bruno which is costing us about four tenths. It’s been a tough choice on which tyres to use and unfortunately for me, the prime tyre that we used wasn’t the right one as Bruno found a chunk of time on the option tyre. The guys are looking into the straight line issue for tomorrow and we’ll see how it goes. Certainly as a team this weekend we’re more competitive than we have been all season and are closer to Virgin so let’s see how tomorrow.”
Bruno Senna: “The qualifying was good today and the lap was quite decent. We still have our best performance in qualifying. We were close to the Virgins and could split them. Maybe tomorrow we have an interesting race. The car balance was better and we progressed on that. The car was good and we managed to find a compromise in the setup and so the car was good to drive. It gave me a lot of confidence today and I could push. I felt quite comfortable in it and and hopefully we can keep this for the race and then fight more with the other teams. It is going to be a very tough race, for sure. Depending on how everything is going. You can rest a little bit on few laps and then you can push harder again. It will be a long and tough race tomorrow with 58 laps. It is this first anti clockwise circuit of the season and not easy for anyone. But we are all fit so we are fine.”