French Grand Prix - preview quotes
While its location in the pastoral peace of the French countryside may mean Magny-Cours lacks the glamorous off-track diversions of the some of its rivals, the circuitís mixture of long, sweeping corners and quick chicanes keeps the drivers busy enough. Here they and team personnel discuss their prospects for round eight...
Nico Rosberg, Williams
2007 Qualifying - 9th, 2007 Race - 9th
ďI really like the Circuit de Nevers. Iíve had some great races there in the past, and itís a return to Europe as well, which is good. Magny-Cours hasnít been one of our strongest tracks in recent years, so weíll need to push hard. Unfortunately, itís going to be harder than usual as I have the ten-place grid penalty from the pit lane incident in Montreal to contend with as well. We had a three day test in Barcelona last week, during which we did some set-up work for this race and tested some new parts, all of which will hopefully help us this weekend to achieve a good result.Ē
Kazuki Nakajima, Williams
2007 Qualifying - NA, 2007 Race - NA
ďI have some experience of Magny-Cours because I raced there last year in GP2. Itís a nice track to drive, so I feel quite confident going into the weekend. We showed good pace at the past two races in Monaco and Canada and we need to carry that with us to France and make up for the recent drought in points. As for the place itself, itís really in the middle of nowhere and so a bit quiet, very different to Montreal, but I quite like that and am looking forward to getting there.Ē
Sam Michael, Williams technical director
ďWe will be bringing various aerodynamic and mechanical upgrades to the FW30 for the French Grand Prix to further improve the carsí performance. All the parts were tested at the Barcelona test last week and all were successfully signed-off. The Circuit de Nevers has a good mix of corners which create a great challenge for the drivers and engineers. Aerodynamic efficiency and a good balance in the long, high speed corner before the back straight is essential for a strong time in sector one. The circuit then transforms to one made up of slow speed corners and chicanes for the remainder of the lap. Strategy is always interesting in France because the time that is lost in the pitlane is relatively minimal, which allows for a three, or even a four-stop strategy, both of which have been used in the past. Bridgestone are taking the medium and soft tyre compounds to this race which will also play a part in the outcome of the race.Ē
Jarno Trulli, Toyota
2007 Qualifying - 8th, 2007 Race - DNF
"Magny-Cours is an exciting circuit. It has a lot of quick chicanes, which I like, but also some slow and medium speed corners so this makes it an interesting and challenging track. I enjoy visiting France and I feel quite at home there. The French fans are always very supportive to me and I hope we can really show them how competitive our car is by scoring points again. In particular we want to achieve a strong result this weekend as a tribute to Ove (Andersson) because without him I'm not sure whether Toyota would be competing in Formula One now. He helped build up the factory from scratch back in the rally times to what it is now; a real Formula One facility with the potential to produce world championship-winning cars. He loved motorsport and it was his passion to see Toyota succeed so I hope we can achieve something fitting this weekend."
Timo Glock, Toyota
2007 Qualifying - NA, 2007 Race - NA
"To me Magny-Cours isn't a particularly special track; it's okay and quite challenging but it's by no means a favourite of mine. It was great to finish in fourth place in Canada, particularly because it was a good reward for the hard work which everyone at the team has put in this year. I knew we had the potential to get a good result but it was a matter of everything coming together, and this happened in Canada but I was very close previously when circumstances denied me. Now I have scored my first points for the team I look forward to scoring more in the near future. I think our car will be reasonably competitive in Magny-Cours and we had a good test in Barcelona last week so we are well prepared. I know the team is quite shocked at the moment because of Ove Andersson's accident so it would be nice to give them a result. Personally I didn't work with Ove but I have heard a lot about him and it was very sad news."
Pascal Vasselon, Toyotaís senior general manager chassis
"Obviously this is a sad time for the team and we are all shocked about what happened to Ove. This gives us added motivation to succeed this weekend. Following our result in Canada, we are of course optimistic for this race and we hope to again challenge for the points. I like Magny-Cours. It's a really good place to race because there are no distractions and no extra pressures; everything is about the racing. Also, we are in a very French part of the season after French-speaking races in Monaco and Montreal so I have to say I appreciate that. From a technical point of view we are back to track with average demands; there are no special issues and downforce will be medium-high. It is a high-grip track and it is not too bumpy so you can really maximise the suspension set-up for aerodynamic efficiency; the main concern there is to make sure you go well on a couple of kerbs."
Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren
2007 Qualifying - 6th, 2007 Race - 15th
"Iíve always loved racing at this place. For a racing driver itís a bit of a challenge as there are some very high-speed corners and a couple of fast chicanes - and you canít just throw the car into them, it requires a lot of precision. Theyíre the sort of corners I really love.
ďAs Iíve been saying all season, Iím gradually getting to grips with this car even if the results havenít backed it up. And I really enjoy Magny-Cours so Iím looking forward to making progress throughout practice and being in a very good position for the race itself.
"Iím not really looking at the points tables at the moment. The world title is still wide open, and having an opportunity to score good points in France will only help me. Iím still absolutely determined to get my first win under my belt."
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
2007 Qualifying - 2nd, 2007 Race - 3rd
"Mentally, (my ten-place grid penalty) is just something that you learn to overcome quickly. It certainly wonít affect my preparations for the French Grand Prix. Weíve already looked at the best ways of optimising the strategy to help us move up the field and I guess Iíll just have to pass some cars if I want to get into the points!
"Magny-Cours isnít the easiest place to overtake but itís certainly possible. You can dive down the inside into the Adelaide Hairpin and also have a look into the penultimate corner. But an area we can really focus on is the strategy - Magny-Cours has a relatively short pitlane which does open up the strategic options available to us in the race.
"Although the result in Canada may have been disappointing, our overall pace was a great boost for the whole team. Last year, we lacked a little bit of pace in high-speed corners, but this yearís car definitely seems to have overcome those shortcomings. We are in good shape."
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren Formula One CEO
"We feel like we've made substantial improvements to the MP4-23 and, while it didn't exactly pay off in Canada, we go into France in a very positive frame of mind. One of the aims of our winter development programme was to improve the car's high-speed performance and we feel we've been able to do that - and both Magny-Cours and Silverstone will give us the opportunities to demonstrate that.
"Obviously, we go to France knowing we only have the capability to field one car on the optimum strategy, so our job will be a little different from normal. But we still expect to extract the very maximum performance levels from both cars. Both Lewis and Heikki are very confident about their chances and we will be working hard with the strategists and engineers in order to provide them both with the optimum strategy for the race."
Norbert Haug, Vice President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"As our record shows, the French Grand Prix has never been an easy race for us. At most of the other circuits we have won more regularly than at Magny-Cours. Last year, Lewis finished third after starting second on the grid, on the dirty side of the track he lost out at the start to Raikkonen in the Ferrari. This time, Lewisís race will begin significantly further down the grid. Weíll be counting on Heikki to drive with the same spirit he showed in the first six races. Maybe we will find a special strategy for Lewis which will help him to move up, his task is downright difficult, as according to our experience of Magny-Cours there is some kind of ban of overtaking there! However, we wonít give up."
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber
2007 Qualifying - 7th, 2007 Race - 5th
ďI like the Magny-Cours track and also the rural surroundings. I'm lucky enough to spend the GP weekend here each year in a small moated castle. There are only a handful of rooms, which don't come with a TV, radio or other luxuries but do have three-metre-thick walls. Among the distinguishing characteristics of the circuit are its extremely even surface, several blind corners and two high-speed chicanes. Turn Two stands out - an extremely long and fast right-hander which leads you through a hollow and then sends you sharply uphill on the way out. The circuit has been modified in some areas, and the final chicane does not fit in so harmoniously with the rest of the track. It has very high kerbs, which you have to ride - and this often produces spectacular shots of cars on two wheels.Ē
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber
2007 Qualifying - 4th, 2007 Race - 4th
"For many people Magny-Cours is a boring place, but I like the track quite a lot. This is the place where I came back last year after my accident. It's an interesting track because it has all kinds of corners - high-speed, low-speed, high-speed chicanes, a hairpin and heavy braking. So I'm looking forward to the race and I hope that I can do as well as possible here, as I have done in most of the grands prix since the beginning of the season. I hope we will again have some improvements on the car that will help us to close the gap to Ferrari and McLaren. My goal is to score as many points as possible and to still be in a strong position after the race.Ē
Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport director
"We may have had a party to celebrate the one-two in Montreal, but this did not impinge on our preparations for the French Grand Prix. As we have up to now, we will focus on the next race and are aiming to put in another strong performance at Magny-Cours.
ďThe atmosphere in Monaco and Montreal is one of the highlights of the season, but personally I also greatly appreciate the rural surroundings of the Circuit de Nevers, as here it is all about the sport. The circuit is very demanding, and the travellers' community atmosphere in the paddock has its own particular charm. I will never forget the moment back in 2001 when we recorded BMW's first pole position since making its return to Formula One.Ē
Willy Rampf, BMW Sauber technical director
"The Circuit de Nevers offers an interesting mixture of slow sections, which demand a high level of grip, and fast S-shaped sectors, in which good car stability plays a significant role. The Adelaide hairpin at the end of the long straight is the perfect place for overtaking, as the circuit is very wide here and there is a generous run-off area. The track has an extremely flat surface, which the teams take into account with car set-up - the cars run low ground clearance here. At the same time, it is important that the drivers can also be aggressive through the chicane before the start/finish straight, where the kerbs are very high.
"Our one-two in Canada gave a huge motivation boost to the whole team, of course, and we will be pulling out all the stops to defend Robert's lead in the world championship standings.Ē