US GP: Pre-race quotes

UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX PRE-RACE QUOTES INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, June 28, 2006 - Selected pre-race quotes from Formula One drivers and personalities about the United States Grand Prix on June 30-July 2 at the Indianapolis Motor...

UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX PRE-RACE QUOTES

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, June 28, 2006 - Selected pre-race quotes from Formula One drivers and personalities about the United States Grand Prix on June 30-July 2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

RUBENS BARRICHELLO (Lucky Strike Honda Racing F1 Team, eighth in points, 2002 USGP winner): "I really enjoy racing in the United States and have a lot of friends based there, so I always look forward to this particular race. The track itself is a lot of fun with some great overtaking places, and it feels good to drive through the first corner of the oval banking flat out, although it is an easy corner for us in an F1 car. Indianapolis has such a strong motor racing heritage and traditionally puts on a great show, so I hope that the race weekend goes really well this year for all the fans who come to watch."

JENSON BUTTON (Lucky Strike Honda Racing F1 Team, seventh in points): "It's always exciting to race at a venue which has such a strong history, and Indianapolis always has a great atmosphere. The circuit itself is very slow with the tight infield section. I generally prefer fast-flowing circuits, but you can overtake around here, which should make for some exciting racing for the fans. We will be using different tires at Indy to those we used last weekend in Montreal so I am hoping that we can have a better race there. I also hope that we can give the American public a really good race this year."

DAVID COULTHARD (Red Bull Racing, tied for 10th in points): (About how competitive his car will be in the 2006 United States Grand Prix): "I would imagine that because it is one of the longest straights, we have 20 seconds of full throttle, given that our top speeds have not been particularly strong this year, I'd expect us to be mid-grid and possibly slightly further down. It will be difficult to get into the top 10, but that does not mean that we are going there with a defeatist attitude. We will try to do the best we can." (About what F1 teams and drivers should do at the 2006 United States Grand Prix): "Of course, it will help if we put on a good show. We have to go there and show that we are a professional racing championship and that we can put on a show that will entertain the American crowd. F1 does need a place in America to be a true world championship."

GIL DE FERRAN (Sporting Director, Lucky Strike Honda Racing F1 Team. 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner): "The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a very challenging circuit, where the tight infield sections lead into the oval and one of the longest open-throttle sections of any of the tracks on the F1 calendar, calling for a difficult compromise between car setup, aerodynamics and gearing. Besides my strong personal emotional connection with the place, we all enjoy the very special atmosphere of Indianapolis and very much look forward to returning there this year for what I'm sure will be a great race."

GIANCARLO FISICHELLA (Mild Seven Renault F1 Team, fourth in points): (About how competitive his car will be in the 2006 United States Grand Prix): "Our car has been competitive on every kind of circuit last year and this year, so I think we are again able to be competitive there - why not?"

NICK FRY (Chief executive officer, Lucky Strike Honda Racing F1 Team): (About the importance of a United States Grand Prix): "I'd say we think it's very important to have a race in America and would like more than one."

NORBERT HAUG (Vice president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport): (About the importance of a United States Grand Prix): "We are a German-American company officially, and if I could, then I wish we could have at least two races in America. I would love to have an American team - let's say if we could encourage a guy like Roger Penske. There are normally very good races (in the United States Grand Prix), and as short as the circuit is and as special as the circuit is, it always has been entertaining races and it is important for us. It is our second-biggest market for Mercedes Benz and is obviously very important for our hosts, Chrysler, and we are producing a lot of cars over there. Of course, we want to support America, and I think we need to explore America further in F1 in the future. My wish in the long term would be to develop an American team with American drivers, even American engine manufacturer, even a combination of that. That would be great."

NICK HEIDFELD (BMW Sauber F1 Team, ninth in points): "I am looking forward to the U.S. Grand Prix. Indianapolis is the mecca of American motorsport. For us F1 drivers, it is something special to drive on the banking, although basically this is a simple task as you just go flat out. We only use a part of the oval, as especially for F1 an infield section with lots of corners was built for its debut year in 2000. In the first year we didn't know whether it was better to drive with a lot of downforce in this part of the track, or if it was more important to be fast on the straight and have very little rear wing. In 2006, this question will be asked again, as we have changed from V10 to V8 engines and have approximately 200 horsepower less."

CHRISTIAN KLIEN (Red Bull Racing, 16th in points): (About how competitive his car will be in the 2006 United States Grand Prix): "We don't know how competitive we will be because we didn't race there last year. So it is a bit difficult. It has a very long straight, and the infield is actually very slow. Normally our car is a bit better on the slow circuits like Monaco and Hungary. We always try to fight for points, but for sure it will be difficult in Indy." (About what F1 teams and drivers should do at the 2006 United States Grand Prix): "We just have to show them a really good show, and show them what is real F1. It would be great if we have a good race with a lot of overtaking. It has to be good with no screwup like last year. We can give them a good show. On Saturday evening, I will be at the Grand Prix Tours Kiss And Make Up party for the fans."

VITANTONIO LIUZZI (Scuderia Toro Rosso): (About how competitive his car will be in the 2006 United States Grand Prix): "We will struggle a lot at Indianapolis because with the V10 we always struggle on the fast circuits because we don't have any top speed, and the V10 is not pushing enough."

FELIPE MASSA (Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, fifth in points): (About how competitive his car will be in the United States Grand Prix): "In these two races, Canada and Indy, it is very important for us to be in front of Renault. We have a good package, a good engine, and a good team working together to maybe the best race of Ferrari, and we just have a good chance to be in front of them."

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (Team McLaren Mercedes, sixth in points, 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner): "After my race in Canada, I cannot wait to get straight back on track this weekend, as the car felt really quick. It is even better for me that we are at Indy this race and competing for the fans, who are amazing, and I personally have awesome support from Colombia, so I am looking forward to getting out there and putting on a fantastic show for them. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has such great memories for me from my days in CART and of course winning the Indy 500 in 2000, it is such a special venue, full of history and legend. The nature of the track, with the immense straight along the oval and the tight infield, sees us use a medium- to low-downforce configuration to allow for the contrast in track style. The 1.7-km (1 mile) section of the banked oval we use is the longest stretch we have at full throttle all season, it is pretty good fun as by the time you get to the end of the straight you really feel like you are going super fast because of the length of time!"

KIMI RAIKKONEN (Team McLaren Mercedes, third in points): (About how competitive his car will be in the 2006 United States Grand Prix): "I think there are some races where we can fight for wins if we get everything working, and some races where we are not right up there. Usually the car has been quite good in Indianapolis, so I hope it's the same this year. Set-up wise, the United States Grand Prix is more similar to Montreal as you have the long straight and slow corners, but you do have to allow for the slower infield section, also. You can really challenge for position here. For sure, the best opportunity is slipstreaming along the straight section of the oval and passing under braking at the right-hander that takes you back into the infield. It also helps that the track is so wide here. The track is all about compromise and is tough on all elements of the car. It is another fast track, like the past two of Silverstone and Montreal." (About racing at Indianapolis): "The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a great venue, and it is one of those everyone wants to say they have won at. The fans are also great. They are real petrol heads, and I hope we can put on a good race for them this year."

NICO ROSBERG (WilliamsF1 Team, 14th in points): "Indy is a track I haven't yet raced at but one which I've learned on the simulator. It seems to be quite different from the other circuits due to the very long straight and the banking. It will be interesting to see what Michelin and Bridgestone will come up with after what happened last year." (About what F1 teams and drivers should do at the 2006 United States Grand Prix): "I really hope that the fans will come back this year because I have watched several Indy 500 races on the TV, and the atmosphere is just great with all those huge grandstands packed with people. For a driver, the bigger the crowd, the better it is!"

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER (Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, second in points, four-time USGP winner, seven-time World Champion): (About how competitive his car will be in the 2006 United States Grand Prix): "We have been generally competitive (this year), but it's on knife edge sometimes. Sometimes we fall on one side or the other." (About lasting effects of 2005 United States Grand Prix in America): "You should not judge F1 on the one event, you have to judge on the whole." (About racing in the 2006 United States Grand Prix): "It is nice for us to go over there and experience a new country and show our sport, and we are pretty happy to do so." (About if the arrival of American Scott Speed will increase F1's popularity in the U.S.): "I think you will see an increase with having Scott Speed around. If you have your own (country's) sportsman there competing at the top, it will obviously help a lot."

RALF SCHUMACHER (Panasonic Toyota Racing, tied for 10th in points): (About how competitive his car will be in the 2006 United States Grand Prix): "The 'B' is going to be a slight advantage everywhere, mostly there because of its mechanical grip, so it will better there, as well." (About what F1 teams and drivers should do at the 2006 United States Grand Prix): "It's in the nature of a racing driver to want to race, but I hope the fans will understand that it was just impossible last year. Now we just have to hope that we have a trouble-free race this time so that the American public can look forward to seeing F1 as it really is."

SCOTT SPEED (Scuderia Toro Rosso, first American driver in F1 since 1993): (About the events of the 2005 United States Grand Prix): "I feel that people who are fans of F1 are fans because they know what it is. And they will be understanding at the end of the day about what happened."

AGURI SUZUKI (Team Principal, Super Aguri F1 Team): "I'm very happy to be returning to Indianapolis because my other category team is based there in the IndyCar Series. Indy is a very special but difficult circuit. The layout features high- and low-speed corners, and the F1 track uses part of the oval banking, which makes it an interesting circuit for F1 drivers."

MARIO THEISSEN (Director, BMW Motorsport): (About the importance of a United States Grand Prix): "It would be very important for the (auto) manufacturers. America is basically the only big country in which F1 does not play the dominant role in motorsport, and I think we shouldn't give up on achieving this. The Indianapolis race has in the previous years had the biggest attendance of all the (F1) races, and I think it would certainly be worth to follow up on this or even to have a second one. The United States Grand Prix is the start of the second half of the season and at the same time the second half of the overseas double-header in North America. We really hope the American motor sport fans have overcome the disappointment of 2005. In 2006 we want to deliver a better event. With regards to sales figures, the U.S. is the most important market for the BMW Group, as there we have the two biggest production facilities outside Germany."

JEAN TODT (General Director, Ferrari): (About the importance of a United States Grand Prix): "We like racing in the U.S. Just to recall that Ferrari has its biggest market in the U.S. - one-third of our cars are sold in this country - so for the visibility of Ferrari and of F1 we think it's important to do this race."

JARNO TRULLI (Panasonic Toyota Racing, 15th in points): (About what F1 teams and drivers should do at the 2006 United States Grand Prix): "All we have to do is make people happy there. Try to be very polite and friendly, because after what happened last year, for sure no one wanted it, but that is part of the game. It probably will never happen again, but it happened in the U.S. I just hope that we can do a good show and try to show them to forget what happened last year. Indianapolis is a special venue, and I enjoy the atmosphere both at the circuit and in the town because the people are so friendly. I'm really looking forward to finishing the year well, and I think I've earned the right to a change of fortune. But most of all, I just hope we can put on a good show in Indianapolis for the fans and try to erase the memories of last year."

JACQUES VILLENEUVE (BMW Sauber F1 Team, 12th in points, 1995 Indianapolis 500 winner. 1997 World Champion): (About how competitive his car will be in the 2006 United States Grand Prix): "Our car in testing in medium- to low-downforce settings seemed to work well, so it should be all right for Indianapolis. It's always nice to go to Indy after a spell in Europe, and the atmosphere outside the paddock is always great. It feels a bit like a home Grand Prix because of the number of Canadian fans that are there, and the U.S. fans also know me quite well."

MARK WEBBER (WilliamsF1 Team, 13th in points): (About what F1 teams and drivers should do at the 2006 United States Grand Prix): "It will be a normal event. We will do our absolute best, as we always do, to put on a good show and a good event. I hope that it will be a good event for everybody. It will be good to be back in America this week, and I hope that we can put on a good show for the fans: They deserve it, and Formula One needs it." (About how competitive his car will be in the 2006 United States Grand Prix): "I think we can be quite strong in Indianapolis, providing we make the right decisions in our preparations. I like racing in the U.S., even if the Speedway was not designed for Formula One cars, and I respect the history of the track."

MARTIN WHITMARSH (CEO, Team McLaren-Mercedes): "Everyone at Team McLaren Mercedes is looking forward to returning to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week. It is a great track and vital for F1 to race at, not only because we need tracks that create exciting racing, bit it also allows us to call the sport a true World Championship. F1 knows we have to put on a great race this weekend, and Team McLaren Mercedes are looking to be a strong part of that."

***

2006 USGP tickets: Tickets are on sale for the 2006 United States Grand Prix, scheduled for Sunday, July 2.

Fans can order tickets online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or at the ticket office at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.

Hours for phone orders and the ticket office are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday, while online orders can be made at any time.

A three-day "Season Pass" for the event is only $60. The pass is good for admission to IMS for all three days of on-track activity, Friday, June 30-Sunday, July 2. All seating Friday and Saturday is general admission, and the pass provides general admission access to the Viewing Mounds, Infield, First Turn Terrace, South Terrace and Tower Terrace (Sections 39-77) on Sunday, July 2.

Reserved seats for Race Day, Sunday, July 2, start at $75.

-ims-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Scott Speed , Roger Penske
Teams Ferrari , Red Bull Racing , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Toro Rosso , Williams , Toyota Racing , Renault F1 Team , Honda Racing F1 Team , Super Aguri F1