The following are the comments of Ron Dennis, chairman of the TAG McLaren Group, following today's qualifying for the United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway: "This morning we spent quite a bit of time exploring alternative...
The following are the comments of Ron Dennis, chairman of the TAG McLaren Group, following today's qualifying for the United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway:
"This morning we spent quite a bit of time exploring alternative setups, and I suppose the strangest thing of the day is the weather didn't do as anticipated. We were trying to get it right, and we thought it was going to rain. So we committed to two timed laps, and it was a bit of gamble. Committing to that strategy probably cost us a real chance at pole.
"On average, we seem to start races quite well, and therefore, there is no reason to believe we can't get the job done.
"Our clear objective is for both drivers to win the race, but only one driver can win. A situation could unfold, such that we may consider optimizing the performance of one driver over another, and you are in a much better position to do that if you are leading the race.
"The best thing is get the cars out best you can, hopefully leading, and that gives you the best options that you have. It really doesn't matter who is first or second.
"There was a good 15 minutes of practice where the last section (of the track) was sufficiently damp to slow the cars. There was a 15, maybe 20-minute window where it was impossible to set pole position.
"If you're looking for some relevance in lap times, Mike set his lap time in clean air on his own. And when compared to Michael's clean air lap, Mika's was actually slightly quicker. So obviously we'll be very competitive.
"They've (Bridgestone) done a very good job. I think we'd like softer tires, but I think it's understandable they came here in a conservative way. You would expect them to. That was the right decision from a safety point of view, and obviously there are other issues that they have to address. It could be worse. The tires are not rock hard. They will play a role in the outcome of the race if it is dry. They have a level of degradation that is predictable. I won't give you the numbers, but as their confidence has increased throughout the weekend, they have authorized teams to lower the pressures. Most teams can do what they want to do. I don't believe there is any advantage in going lower than they tell you that you can go, but I don't follow it enough to know if that's an accurate statement. But pressure isn't really an issue.
"The cars were quicker than our simulations, but I'd rather not say how much. It's a complex equation, and we're running on a tire that we don't have a lot of data on. It is a different compound and construction. It came out quite well."