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Fri, 6 July, 2012Britain: Team personnel Friday quotes

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Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren-Mercedes (Team Principal):
“At the end of a free practice day on which it barely stopped raining even for a minute, it's a relief to be able to point to two fully intact Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 cars, with all their wings and appendages still attached! It was extremely slippery out there today; nonetheless, despite our having to limit our running in order to conserve enough wet-weather tyres for the rest of the weekend, both our drivers did an excellent job in the appalling conditions, getting through some useful wet-weather development work without mishap. Moreover, with wet weather forecast for much of tomorrow and Sunday, today's successful research represents an important baseline from which we can focus our developmental strategy with a view to competing for ultimate honours in the 2012 Santander British Grand Prix.”

Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Sauber-Ferrari (Head of Track Engineering):
“This is not the Friday we were hoping for definitely from the weather side, although the forecast proved reliable! We had to adapt our programme a little bit. Nevertheless we decided to run because it looks like the weekend is going to be pretty unsettled, so it is good to prepare for qualifying and racing in these conditions. The cars were okay, with no major problems, and we are quite happy so far. The biggest challenge from now on is what the weather will do. For the weekend we have three sets of full wet tyres per car. We used one of those today, but the lack of running was not related to the tyres themselves as in these conditions they do not deteriorate. The biggest problem was at some points it was not safe to stay on the track because there was just too much water.”

Ross Brawn, Mercedes (Team Principal):
“A very British 'summer' day here at Silverstone, and we must say a big thank you to the fans who have braved the unpleasant conditions to be here for their fantastic support today. In such poor track conditions, often we won't persevere with trying to achieve much running, but it was important for us to find a good balance and set-up on the wet tyres today as these conditions are expected to remain for the weekend. From that perspective it was a reasonable day, and the cars seem to be well-balanced. We'll see what tomorrow brings.”

Norbert Haug, Mercedes (Daimler):
“First of all I have to say that the heroes of today were the spectators. It was impressive to see them sitting out there in the pouring rain and lots of them cheering instead of letting the weather get them down. Especially because it was quite a challenge for everybody to reach the circuit after huge traffic jams this morning - this was like Silverstone in the good old days! On track, we did not see a lot of running in the wet conditions. Some aquaplaning accidents showed how treacherous the conditions were so it was a very good job from Michael and Nico to bring their cars back in one piece after the sessions. Performance-wise it is difficult to judge our level of competitiveness after barely 20 laps for both cars during the two sessions in changing conditions. Our lap times did not look too bad, so it was a positive result on a difficult Friday, which most likely will not be followed by better conditions tomorrow or on Sunday. But that's Silverstone, just the way we all know it.”

Thierry Salvi, Caterham-Renault (Renault Sport F1 Support Leader):
“Silverstone is a power circuit, one where the drivers should spend up to 64% of the lap on full throttle in qualifying. Obviously the weather conditions today meant that the challenges for us on the engine side change, and we have to work very closely with the team's engineers to decide what gear ratios will give us maximum performance in what could be a dry qualifying session, but a wet race. Today we have also been working with the team on optimising engine performance with the updates that have been brought to this race. The main area of focus for us is the revised exhausts, a version of which were first tried at the test in Mugello but which have been revised and refined since that test and require a series of new engine maps that help the driver optimise all the performance characteristics of the engine around this circuit. The immediate feedback we have had from both drivers is positive so, despite the weather today, this has been another good day for us and the whole team.”

Mark Smith, Caterham-Renault (Technical Director):
“It is obviously a shame for the fans and the teams alike that we had such limited running today, but the conditions were so bad in both sessions that the risk of accidents was too high for us to run any more than we did today. Despite that we were able to complete a number of useful tests this morning, running comparisons between the new upgrades we have brought here with the package we raced in Valencia. That gives us a relatively decent amount of data to go through to understand what sort of gains we have made, but the initial numbers are encouraging.”

James Allison, Lotus-Renault (Technical Director):
“It's never too much fun in conditions like we saw today as it is always a big dilemma about whether to risk the car to learn about what it is like to run in the conditions. We haven't done a lot of wet weather running this year so it was useful for us to establish that the car behaves well in these conditions, especially as it may well be wet in the race. We were able to validate that all the wings are doing what they are supposed to do, even when the car is wet, and we did that with both drivers. Our pace in the morning showed that we don't have any problems in these conditions. We were also able to conduct some pit stop practices which went well. Tomorrow and qualifying should be interesting.”

Jakob Andreasen, Force India-Mercedes (Chief Engineer):
“A frustrating day for all the teams due to the wet weather, which kept us in the garage for most of the day. It's a shame for the fans, who turned out in huge numbers, but with the high risk of aquaplaning it was sensible not to take any risks until we felt the conditions allowed us to do meaningful running. We ran on the wet tyres with Jules, Paul and Nico, and did one run on the intermediates with Paul. There were some aero developments on the car today, but it was very difficult to learn much in such tricky conditions.”

Pat Fry, Ferrari (Technical Director):
“Let's say that today it would have been more interesting to compare tortellini with tagliatelle - or maybe Parma ham and Jamon Serrano, rather than spending three hours on the pit wall not even managing to complete a dozen timed laps! Joking apart, honestly it wasn't worth doing much running, because the number of sets of rain tyre per driver is very limited and also because we did not want to risk the cars in such difficult track conditions, with so much surface water. So the real off key moment of the day was Fernando's off track excursion right on his "in" lap at the end of FP2, which resulted in a broken front wing: now we will try and repair it for the rest of the weekend. We feel very sorry for the many spectators in the grandstands: unfortunately, this was the reality of the situation and we could not do many laps just for the sake of it. We had a few updates, nothing revolutionary, to try but obviously, we could not do much in these conditions. So we tried to do what we could, for example some practice starts, putting off until tomorrow the task of preparing for qualifying and the race. Certainly, if the rain was to continue to play its part, then we will have to be clever in managing the situation as well as possible. We continue to push on the development of the F2012, because now that we have significantly reduced the gap to the best, compared to where we were at the start of the season, it becomes increasingly difficult to make progress: the pace and effectiveness of the updates will be the key to the rest of the season.”

Mark Gillan, Williams-Renault (Chief Operations Engineer):
“Unfortunately for everyone, and especially the spectators, the weather conditions were very poor today with constant rain throughout both sessions. As the forecast predicts both a wet qualifying and race we decided to run more than we would typically do in these challenging conditions in order to set the car up and get the drivers' feedback ahead of the weekend. In FP2 Bruno aquaplaned off the circuit on full wet tyres damaging the front and rear wings and suspension. The mechanics are now busy rebuilding the car and we'll be ready for FP3.”

Laurent Mekies, Toro Rosso-Ferrari (Chief Engineer):
“We are facing a completely wet race weekend, so today it was important to get a feel for the car in these conditions. There was also a strategic element to take into account, as we were obviously thinking of saving the Extreme rain tyres in case they are required for qualifying and the race, because each driver is only allocated three sets of these per weekend. Therefore it's a trade off between doing some proper work on the car and saving the tyres. Whatever happens, the next two days should be a great show for the fans who have packed the grandstands despite the bad weather, as we have seen how hard it is to keep the cars on track at this high speed circuit and in these conditions. We only had a few laps to get a picture of how the car is performing and what to do to make it faster. We ran most of the day with the Extreme tyre on both cars and all we did with the Intermediates was a couple of launches.”

John Booth, Marussia-Cosworth (Team Principal):
“Coming into the weekend with both cars carrying the full upgrade package, we were obviously looking for dry weather to allow us to optimise the set-up to the new aero developments. The weather has made it difficult to get any meaningful comparison data and because of the wet weather we have also had to be quite prudent with the number of laps we attempted. Both drivers have done an excellent job in difficult circumstances, as have the team, and the day was approached with their usual display of calm professionalism. It is obviously very difficult to judge the full potential of the upgrade, however the early signs are that we do not appear to have any reliability or performance issues.”

Luis Pérez-Sala, HRT-Cosworth (Team Principal):
“It's been a complicated day because the track was very wet and, for us it was not easy at all because we really suffer in these conditions. Dani got into the car for the second time and did a good job. Narain also did a good job in the afternoon as he returned to his car and felt comfortable immediately at a track where he didn't race last year. Pedro didn't run in the afternoon but his laps in the morning were enough for what they wanted to test on the car so we could say it was mission accomplished and now we must think about tomorrow.”

Paul Hembery, Pirelli (Motorsport Director):
“With the British summer weather at its best, we could be facing our first full wet weekend from start to finish, without running the dry tyres at all! As tricky as the conditions are, it was important for the drivers to get a feel for them today in case this is how the situation will remain for the rest of the weekend. A few drivers tried the intermediate at the end of the second session in order to have some idea of crossover points, which are likely to be one of the keys to the strategy. Conditions like this often result in surprises, so we are almost certainly in for an unpredictable weekend but it's a pity for the fans who didn't get to see much running today. Together with the teams we can certainly look at some solutions to encourage more running under these circumstances in future, such as allocating more tyres, but everybody would have to agree to this as we're not in a position to make the tyre rules ourselves. We've seen some teams run many more laps than others today, with Sauber completing the most, so this could be an indication that we will see some quite different strategies on race day. And If we end up using the wet tyres in the race, one set of full wet tyres has a predicted life of around 60 laps.”

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