Interviews and quotes
|Shuhei Nakamoto, Race and Test Team Manager, Honda Racing Development
"All four Honda-powered cars were running race set-up in preparation for Sunday. Although everything went well from an engine point of view and we didn't have any problems, the times on Thursday in Monaco are notoriously unrepresentative of how the grid will look on Saturday night. The unique challenge that Monaco represents means that we have a lot of work to do, but we have collected over 188 laps of data today so have plenty of material to study."
Giancarlo Fisichella Position: 4th
"It was not a bad day, even though we lost the first session. We did quite a good job and it looks like the car is getting better. We have a lot of graining with the tyres in the last part of the lap, but I think it will be less of a problem on Saturday. We will also improve the set-up, so I am confident that we can be in the top ten."
Olivier Panis Position: 12th
"We've done a good first day's work today. We tried many things to steadily improve the set-up and prepare us for different conditions. I did 62 laps and the car was very reliable so that's a good first step for this weekend. We did some long runs to understand the car here and also the tyres were improving as we put more laps on them. We don't have the best set-up yet and we need to make the engine a little more responsive but generally we seem to be making good progress so far. We still have a lot of work ahead to make sure we are in the best shape for qualifying because this is absolutely critical here."
Jacques Villeneuve Position: 14th
"Today hasn't been too bad for a first day in Monaco. It was a typical first practice in terms of working with the tyres and looking for a good race set-up. We did a lot of laps but we didn't manage to get the car running well enough yet. The car feels good generally but the track was very dirty this morning and there is generally a lack of grip here at the start of the weekend until it has been rubbered in. We still have some work to do in terms of tyre choice but we'll have to see what the weather has in store for us because it's so important here."
Takuma Sato Position: 17th
"It was a shame that we had a suspension problem at the end, thanks to this circuit's kerbs, and unfortunately I lost the last 15 minutes of running. Generally, it was a good day as I learned the circuit and found good balance with the EJ12. The track conditions were quite difficult but on Saturday and Sunday it will probably be different so I think we are okay."
And from the FIA press conference afterwards....
Q: Jacques, I don't know what happened between qualifying and practice and the race in Austria, but either you were transformed or the car was transformed or both...
Jacques VILLENEUVE: For the last few years we've always concentrated on a race set-up and in Austria, as in past years, there were ten cars within half a second so the position on the grid made a bigger difference. Then we had a different strategy than most people on the track which allowed me to drive aggressively and I just had to go for it and have a little bit of fun. The problem nowadays is when you do that you end up getting penalties anyway, so there's not much point doing it. It was fun, it was exciting, that's why I started racing years ago, to have fun like that on the track and to play, and that's how it was last race.
Q: And yet sadly the team still doesn't have any points, Olivier has yet to finish; what's still missing?
JV: Well, we're close to where we were in '99, which is not very good. The car's not very reliable and on top of that we're not very competitive, so it's not looking very good for us. But we're working hard and we just need to get points to get a good weekend.
Q: What about these next two races, here and Canada, your home race?
JV: We did have a good race here last year. Our car seems to be better off on the slow corners than on the high speed ones compared to the past, so it should work well in Monaco, I'm looking forward to it.
Q: And they've moved wall away from the final corner (in Canada) apparently.
JV: I've hit it enough times anyway, so I'll stay far away from that one.
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