US GP: IMS pre-race quotes

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2002 -- Quotes from Formula One drivers and personalities about the SAP United States Grand Prix and the Formula One circuit at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "The track is different from the others...

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2002 -- Quotes from Formula One drivers and personalities about the SAP United States Grand Prix and the Formula One circuit at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"The track is different from the others especially because of the oval part, and that's always nice to have. You have characteristics which you don't have somewhere else." (About ambience of the facility): "So far, it has been extremely good. The track and the paddock is impressive and to drive there in front of around 200,000 people is just great. It is special. We definitely did not expect such a reception, and even in the second year, I did not feel anything of a 'going down'. People had doubted if the Americans would like Formula One, especially last year, but as far as I remember, they seemed to. I for sure look forward to race there again. I would be surprised if the Ferrari F2002 would not perform quite well there. We have experienced this year that it is doing well on all kind of circuits -- which is for sure one of our strengths this season -- so I expect it to be similar at Indianapolis. I really think we can be optimistic going there." Michael Schumacher
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, 2000 winner, five-time World Champion

"It is a great event. There are a lot of spectators and a great atmosphere. The event itself is very, very enjoyable. I have no idea how my British American Racing-Honda will perform at the track this year. It has some difficult corners and difficult sections. It's more like a go-kart track, so it can be fun to drive." Jacques Villeneuve
Lucky Strike BAR Honda, 1995 Indianapolis 500 winner, 1997 World Champion

"The straight and the first corners are pretty good fun. I don't have a clue how competitive my car will be there this year--hopefully it will be good." Juan Pablo Montoya
BMW WilliamsF1, 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner

"I love it! I love the racetrack, and I love the people there. I like the style of circuit -- it calls for real gutsy overtaking moves. It has no silly, or very few silly, gravel traps to strand a million-dollar Grand Prix car in after three minutes of racing. I love it! Sir Frank Williams
BMW WilliamsF1 Team Principal

"To have a true World Championship you have to race in America, and Indianapolis is the rightful place for Formula One to go. The Grand Prix gets good crowd support. We get well looked after and well received. It is an interesting track without being spectacular. There is a feel-good factor of coming through the banking, but it is an easy, flat-out turn, so it is not really a challenge in that respect. The grandstands are good because the spectators can see quite a bit of the circuit from some of them." David Coulthard
West McLaren Mercedes

"I like the track. There is a part of it that is a little bit tight, which is not to say that is bad, but it is a bit tight. But at the end of the day, it is a good racing track because you car really overtake. You have a good compromise between the aerodynamics and the mechanical setup of the car. The first year on the first day, we had a car at the end of the straight that was doing 347 km/h (215 mph) while the slowest was doing 311 km/h (193 mph). So this is the amount of wing that you can throw on the car or take off (to change the downforce.) So someone can choose one or the other, and it creates quite good overtaking possibilities. This is good for F1 and good for us drivers." Rubens Barrichello
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

"It is great racing there around part of the oval, being Indianapolis and all. It is also a circuit where overtaking is possible. That's very unusual in Formula One these days, so I like it from that point. The last couple years I seem to have gone quite well there, so I am looking forward to the race. The event is good. The crowd, especially the first year, was amazing. The amount of camera flashes in 2000 we came out on the grid was unbelievable: I have never seen anything like it. It was like being at a football game. It is a very special event for everybody, and it is good to have a race in America again after so long." Jenson Button
Mild Seven Renault

"It is a great event because of the spectators and the banking there. The atmosphere is fantastic on Race Day. I don't mind the circuit. The first part of the circuit I really like. The last part of the circuit I really like. It is that little squiggly bit in the middle that is not the best. But I enjoy driving the rest of the circuit." Eddie Irvine
Jaguar Racing

"It's a totally new circuit for us (Toyota), so it will be a big question mark for us. We will find out on Friday how competitive we will be. The long straights should help us because we have a strong engine." Mika Salo
Panasonic Toyota Racing

"The track is very different to the tracks we normally race on in Europe. It is a bit difficult because the infield is tight and the straights are long, so it is difficult to find the compromise between straight line and cornering speed. The Williams-BMW was reasonably competitive there last year, so I am looking forward to going back." Ralf Schumacher
BMW WilliamsF1

"I was really pleased to go to Indianapolis last year, which was my first time. Indianapolis for me is a really big name -- the history is fantastic. I am pleased to race there. To be honest, I like the circuit. It's quite good to have a very long straight for overtaking. After that, the middle of the circuit is a bit tight, but that means we have to have a good compromise mechanically and aerodynamically. I was so impressed on Sunday when I saw all the people in the grandstands. And I am pleased to race there again this year." Oliver Panis
Lucky Strike BAR Honda

"The ambience last year was incredible. The first year was good, but I'd say that the second year was even more impressive, especially because of the factors that happened before the Grand Prix, when there were a lot of doubts whether we should race or not race, and the turnout of the people there was impressive. It is good circuit. There is a very long straight, which is good for overtaking. The race will get bigger and bigger every year." Pedro de la Rosa
Jaguar Racing

"The history of the place is something that is more special to me. When I visited the track in June, there was nothing going on, but the atmosphere was very special. The Speedway is huge. Even when you are flying into Indianapolis, you can see the Speedway from the air. It's another new challenge, and I am really looking forward to going to Indy. To build a circuit inside an oval was a challenge, so they have done a great job within the parameters they had." Mark Webber
KL Minardi Asiatech

"It's OK. It's nice. The people there are very friendly. Last year after the 11th of September, we didn't expect a lot of people to be there, but there were a lot of spectators, and that was good. I hope to do well this year. The Jordan-Honda with the new specification engine should be quite competitive there." Giancarlo Fisichella
DHL Jordan Honda

"It's one of the most historical racetracks in the world. It's a huge place. I'm really impressed." Takuma Sato
DHL Jordan Honda

"I watched the U.S. Grand Prix on television last year. I think if F1 is going to succeed in the United States, then Indianapolis is a very good place for it to be. Everybody knows Indianapolis, whether you know about motor racing or not. It is good that the American fans can see it in an arena that they understand -- a stadium rather than a circuit like Magny-Cours where you can maybe see only one corner. It will be fun to come down the famous straight, even if we are going the wrong way, and seeing the tower and crossing the bricks. All that historical side of it is a very good thing. We will go there with a setup for the car that we know and understand and then work from that. The first thing you do is just try to get a bit of understanding of what problems you have due to the circuit and what problems you have on the due to the car on the circuit." Allan McNish
Panasonic Toyota Racing

"It's a bit slow and quite tight on the infield. Of course, you have the corner on the oval, but it is not really a corner because you go easily flat through it. The circuit is quite nice, actually. It's gives quite good overtaking opportunities in the first corner because of the long straight where you can follow another car. It's quite a nice circuit -- it's is something different at least compared to many of the others." Kimi Raikkonen
West McLaren Mercedes

"We have been performing pretty well at nearly every racetrack. Maybe Indianapolis will be one of those tracks where we might struggle more because there is a very long straight that won't help us at the moment. At tracks like Canada and Austria where you need a bit more power than other circuits, we struggled a little bit. It's also up to the tires. Indianapolis has not been too warm in the past two races, and that is not the best conditions for Michelin." Jarno Trulli
Mild Seven Renault

"They have done quite a good job with the circuit. The atmosphere is nice. Although we don't do the whole oval, to drive at Indy is a bit special. It's nice to drive the corner on the oval, but unfortunately it is too easy for us because we use quite a lot of downforce, and we have a lot less top speed in that corner than the Indy cars do. But it is still a bit of a special corner even though it is easy flat. I think our Sauber-Petronas will be quite good there again, as it was last year. Hopefully we will be competitive there." Nick Heidfeld
Sauber Petronas

"I love the event. It is certainly one of the biggest events of the year." Dr. Mario Theissen
BMW Motorsport Director

"I remember going to the Indy 500 many times. I was managing Stefan Johansson when he qualified on the front row of the grid. It has an unbelievable atmosphere, and to have those stands so close to the track is great. The people are nice at Indy. The U.S. Grand Prix is such a vital race for F1, and I am very happy that we are there. I love it." Eddie Jordan
DHL Jordan Honda Team Principal

"I enjoy Indianapolis. It is one of the circuits that you really can go to knowing that you can overtake on. The circuit has this interesting phenomenon where a low-downforce configuration produces almost exactly the same lap time as a high-downforce setting. So you have to decide which way you are going in practice. It is also very dependent on your grid position, so you might practice in one configuration and race in another. It is quite a nice technical challenge, and that makes it that much more interesting. And we all like racing in America." Ron Dennis
West McLaren Mercedes Team Principal

"I was one of the people who was apprehensive last year so soon after September the 11th. I wasn't sure if we should have gone or not. I am so glad that we did go. What a wonderful race. What a wonderful crowd turned up. And what a wonderful way just to get on with life after such a terrible event. It's fantastic track that is fantastically steeped in history. I had a fantastic time there." Paul Stoddart
KL Minardi Asiatech Team Principal

"It was a great event two times in a row. There were a lot of spectators and a great atmosphere. Indianapolis did a fantastic job, and I was very impressed both years. Last year when we won was certainly a very special occasion for us. They did a fantastic job to build the infield from scratch. It is one of the best Grands Prix of the year." Norbert Haug
Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Vice President

"The race has been a big success. It is great to have Formula One back in the States. Indianapolis is a very special place, and the race is going to grow every year." Emerson Fittipaldi
1989 and 1993 Indianapolis 500 winner, 1972 and 1974 World Champion


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Toyota Racing , British American Racing , Minardi , Jaguar Racing , Jordan