Atlas F1 News Service

Today's Selected Quotes - Belgian GP

Sunday August 27th, 2000


Mika Hakkinen: "This was an enjoyable race and I'm really happy to leave Belgium with 10 points. I lost the lead to Schumacher when I spun at Stavelot. I don't really know what happened but the kerbs were very slippery. After my second pit stop I was closing on Schumacher and tried to get past him at the end of the straight but that didn't work. However I was much quicker coming out of La Source. I would probably have been close enough coming up the hill to overtake him anyway but because of the backmarker I got an additional tow and was able to go past and pull away."

David Coulthard: "Obviously I'm a bit disappointed because I came here to win. I lost too much time in the early stages of the race when everybody changed to dry tyres. It was quite frustrating to be stuck behind Frentzen for so long, but I got him in my second pitstop. I managed to overtake Button by following him closely through Eau Rouge and his slipstream allowed me to pass him just before the chicane."

Ron Dennis: "Mika's race was somewhat hampered by his spin and an out of balance car during the middle section of the race. At his final pitstop we made the appropriate adjustment which improved the car and allowed him to catch Schumacher. His overtaking manoeuvre I'm sure will go down as one of the greatest in Formula One history. David's race was certainly hampered by our decision to stop him one lap later than Mika - this is of course with the benefit of hindsight. However a superb recovery, a well executed pitstop and a great overtaking manoeuvre on Button earned David a well deserved fourth place. His Championship is most definitely not over and we will continue to give both drivers equal treatment at Monza."

Norbert Haug: "A superb victory by Mika and a fantastic overtaking manoeuvre. Mika is now in a very good position for the last four races as is the team in the Constructors points standings. Sorry for David, we should have taken him in for the tyre change earlier. But the team then did a great job in the pits helping David to overtake Frentzen. Our mistake cost David a point as he certainly could have finished third instead of fourth. We now concentrate on the next race at Monza."


Michael Schumacher: "Hakkinen was simply much faster today, even though we improved the car from yesterday to today and from the last race to this one. We do not feel we have lost the championship. Everyone is still pushing very hard in the team. I picked up six points today. The championship is still alive. I was driving through the water to cool my tyres. I had no problems with them but it felt better. But there was also a risk of getting dirt on the tyres. We made some adjustments to the front wing during one of the pit stops. My second stop was a bit long but at the moment I do not know why. As for the last few laps, I was happy to see the backmarker in front of me, because I felt Hakkinen had more straight line speed and I thought it would help. But it was not enough. As for the passing move, usually there is only room for two cars on the track but Mika made an outstanding move. If he had not passed me there, he would have done it later. As for the previous lap, I changed direction once as allowed in the rules. I don't feel I did anything wrong. But I want to see the video."

Rubens Barrichello: "I made a good start, passing Herbert while it was still very wet. For my first stop, I had asked to come in one lap earlier but the radio did not work and so I stopped behind Schumacher, but without losing much time. I did not have good straight-line speed and could not pass Villeneuve. So we decided to change strategy. It was the right decision. After the second stop I was actually going very well. However, on the exact lap when I should have come in for the third stop the engine cut out because of a drop in fuel pressure."

Jean Todt: "In the end this was very disappointing, because with Michael we did not get the result we could have done. We lost to a very strong and very lucky driver. Rubens, who could have finished in the points had to retire with a fuel pressure problem. The team did a good job. After today's race we are now six points down in the Drivers Championship with Michael and eight behind in the Constructors. There is still everything to play for and we will continue to strive for success with our usual determination."


Ralf Schumacher: "I'm more than happy, we have been strong here the whole weekend and my car behaved perfectly. I had a little moment of worry about six laps from the end when the throttle didn't seem to pick up properly and I thought the engine was going to stop, but it came back and all was well. We're now definately the third team in the championship and this result has helped us a lot in our aim of retaining this place in the points."

Jenson Button: "I needed to get past Trulli quickly, as he was going quite slowly and the rest of the pack were catching up. I tried a move to his inside but when he moved across on me there was no way I could avoid him. This lost me a couple of places but thankfully the car was still ok, though the steering did feel a bit heavier afterwards. I could have achieved more, but it's good to be in the points again. The car was great, though it was better in the wet early stages of the race than in the dry when I had a bit of oversteer."

Gerhard Berger, BMW Motorsport Director: "This is a bigger slice of birthday cake than I was expecting. For the second time we've got on the podium and for the third time we've got both cars home in the points. We achieved this result entirely through our own strengths, not from benefiting from the breakdown of others; our performance through the weekend was constantly good, especially the quality and reliability of our new engine specification. This result is a giant step towards stabilising our third place in the championship. It happens very seldomly that after the race that you sit down in peace and think, 'I don't know what we could have done better today.' Today was one such day."


Heinz Harald Frentzen: "It was good to win a point, but it's a shame we couldn't win more as a team. It was a typical Spa race, starting wet and then drying out. I had a good fight with David Coulthard, and then with Barrichello. Basically, I ran my own race, with no incidents or problems; everything went as it should have done."

Jarno Trulli: "Once again, I had no luck, I am very disappointed. I think Jenson was a bit too aggressive too soon. He should have waited a couple of laps as he probably would have got past me since I was struggling with my rear tyres under a heavy fuel load. There was not enough room for Jenson to overtake as well as Schumacher, and Jenson hit me. Things like this happen but we had plenty more time to fight in the race and it is a real shame that Jenson tried to pass me where he did. I will simply have to look forward to Monza and, in between that, I will enjoy a day running the 199 at Stormont, Northern Ireland, and then some fun at Jordan's 10th anniversary party at Donington on Sunday 3rd September."

Eddie Jordan: "Points seem very hard to come by for us at the moment, unfortunately, a racing incident with Jenson Button ruined Jarno's race. But it's good to win a point because that moves us clear into 5th place. Obviously, we want to move further up in the championship and, really, we missed another good chance to do that today because of more bad luck."


Jacques Villeneuve: "It was a very boring race and I had a lot of understeer which I couldn't understand as we had had had oversteer all weekend. The car really only became good to drive after about 25 laps of the race. It was a very disappointing race and it was not a very useful day. We raced hard but just missed out on points. I was able to stay ahead of Barrichello pretty easily and our straight line speed was enough to make sure that he was never close enough to get past."

Ricardo Zonta: "I had to fight the car for the whole race. Even when my engineer told me to push hard, I could only find a couple of tenths, so we just concentrated on consistency and getting to the finish. Maybe we put too much downforce on the car today. Of course I am pleased to finish the race, but I had hoped for a better race today."

Takefumi Hosaka - Managing Director, Honda R&D: "Everyone tried their best but it was a very disappointing result. We couldn't find any time improvement after changing from wet to dry tyres and both Jacques and Ricardo struggled with the balance of their cars. This was a little surprising as earlier in the weekend it seemed like we had a good race set-up. The pit stops and communications were very good today, especially with the first stops when both drivers came in together."


Johnny Herbert: "It was an enjoyable race but unfortunately I was on my own for most of time so wasn't actually racing with somebody apart from when Mika Salo was catching me at the end, it's been a much better weekend for me, I had a good Friday free practice to finish in the top three and I felt that I was on the pace consistently. The only disappointment was qualifying outside the top six because as things turned out, I could have been challenging for points today. I still want to bring points to the team before the year is out. It's good to get us both to the finish, and as well as reliability we've seen a good increase in our straight-line performance which bodes well for Italy and Indianapolis."

Eddie Irvine: "The balance of the car was very good in the warm-up this morning and I felt that if it stayed wet we were in good shape, however, once the track began to dry after the start, and we changed from wet to grooved tyres, some of that balance went away. I gained a couple of places from my starting position but we would have had to rely on a few of the front runners to slip up to gain any more the way the race panned out. I think we gelled better as a team this weekend than we have all year which is very pleasing."

Gary Anderson, Technical director: "Both Johnny and Eddie drove solid races, everything went to plan, in terms of a race plan, we couldn't have altered our thinking to improve our finishing positions because our strategy, like everybody else, was dictated by the weather conditions. We'll continue to work at improving the package starting with next week's Monza test."


Mika Salo: "I think our result was as good as we could have expected, with few of the leading cars dropping out it was always going to be tough to score points here. I don't think it would have made much difference to have started 10th or 18th, except to make life a little easier for me! The C19 was quick all race and we had very good strategy. I just don't understand why we struggled so much in practice and qualifying, especially as I was flat through Eau Rouge every lap, even with full tanks!"

Pedro Diniz: "Our decision to start the race on grooved tyres was a good one, but unfortunately the track was just a little too damp in the opening laps, after that I was able to get going strongly, although the nose was damaged in the early traffic. It's always going to be difficult when you start so far back, but I had a good race."

Willy Rampf: "We had two different strategies, it was a team decision to start Pedro on grooved tyres, and it nearly paid off. Unfortunately we lost a bit too much time because the first two laps were still wet, but after that it was a clear advantage. Mika's three-stop strategy enabled him to pass Irvine, and the car was very competitive all through the race. We were running a similar set-up to qualifying, with minor changes which seemed to make a big difference."


Alexander Wurz: "Starting from 19th on the grid, it was always going to be difficult to be competitive in the race today. On my first stop I had to wait behind Giancarlo and there was some sort of problem with his stop so I lost a lot of places. I pushed as hard throughout the race and that was as much as I could do."

Giancarlo Fisichella: "At the beginning of the race I was being careful with the car and not pushing too hard while the track was wet. Once we changed to dry tyres I was able to push more but then I got some sort of electrical problem and lost power in the Bus Stop chicane. I am sorry for Verstappen who was caught behind me when that happened. After qualifying in one run yesterday and my big crash this morning, this has really been a disastrous weekend for me!"

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "The race pretty much sums up the disastrous weekend we have had. Giancarlo experienced an electrical problem which ended his race early on and Alex lost time due to a mistake in Giancarlo's pit stop. We will be looking into these issues back at the factory."

Pat Symonds, Technical Director: "Yesterday may have seemed a traumatic day for the team but today was no better. Giancarlo's severe accident in the Warm Up put us on our back foot and forced him into the T-car for the race. Although the team did a great job in getting his car repaired and ready to act as T-car. Unfortunately during the race it would appear that he had some electrical problem that caused everything to cut out and our apologies to Arrows for causing the incident which ensued. Alex was unfortunate to get delayed by a mistake during Giancarlo's pit stop and this put him down the field. Thereafter he drove a solid if unexciting race."


Marc Gene: "The race outcome was more than favourable to me considering that this morning after the warm up I was really worried because I was not happy with my car's behaviour. But when I started the race I realised that my car was feeling good on the wet. At the beginning I have been slowed down by Verstappen, who was in front of me. When we both went into the pits and I was behind him the mechanics did an extraordinary job and I managed to be back onto the track ahead of the Arrows. The first set of tyres was pretty good, I overtook Wurz and was in the wake of Salo and Zonta. The second set of tyres was less performing. I did a mistake in a turn, which probably caused an increase in the level of the temperature, forcing me to make a further unscheduled stop. Apart from that, I did not expect to be competitive today so I feel content with the race I drove. What's more I am pleased especially with the job of my team that let me be at an advantage after the pit stop."

Gaston Mazzacane: "I am disappointed because my car was competitive today and I could have got a better result if the clutch potentiometer did not break on lap 27. This happened during my in-lap, before my second pit stop, so when tyres were being changed, I switched on the recovery strategy of the clutch control but the engine went off. The mechanics pushed my car so that I could start again but the gear selection was slow and with 6 laps left to the end of the race I could only use fifth and sixth gears. It is sad that these problems had prevented me from driving a good race."

Gian Carlo Minardi: "We brought both our cars to the finishing line despite today's problems. A clutch concern hampered Gaston's car. As for Marc, we called him in one more time due to an increase of water temperature which required a check of the radiators and now the causes are to be investigated."


Jos Verstappen: "I am happy to go home and it's another race to forget. The balance was just very difficult to drive with and there was a lot of oversteer. We also had to change the front wing as I drove into Fisichella when he stopped on the circuit as I think he had a problem with his car. The car was just difficult to drive, and then I had a flat spot on a tyre after the wheels locked up and I couldn't get the wheels to turn again for a while, so I had to come in for another pit stop to get new tyres. It's not been a good weekend."

Pedro de la Rosa: "I think the stop and go penalty I had is a bit unfair because when the safety car was out at the start I was behind Pedro Diniz and he was on grooved tyres when it was wet, and he nearly spun infront of me on the straight. I had to avoid him and there was a lot of spray, so I couldn't just brake in the straight to allow Diniz to recover from his near off so had to pass him to avoid hitting him. Apart from that when I came into Eau Rouge after my pit stop, the rear just snapped out and then the steering felt very heavy, so I came in for another pit stop one lap after my last one and we found I had a right rear puncture. This race is just really one to forget. The car generally was good but when the tyres were old it started to slide everywhere and that was that."

Tom Walkinshaw, Team Principal: "The most you can say about the weekend is that it was character building. I've never seen a race where so many things went on as far as the team were concerned - accidents, punctures, stop-go penalties - I think the only thing we didn't do with the cars during the pit stops was wash them!"


Jean Alesi: "Of course the result was not there in the end as I retired because of a fuel pressure problem caused by a break in the fuel system. But what is important in our present situation is to show how much I am willling to bring a good result to the team. There are still four races to go. If we all apply ourselves, I am sure we can make a good result. All we need is to work and to believe. At least, I hope this race brought a bit of oxygen to the team."

Nick Heidfeld: "We decided to start with wet tyres and, like many others, I had to stop very early to put on dry tyres. But, when I tried to shift into first gear, we had a 'dog to dog'. I gave a blip on the throttle, but I did not wait long enough for the revs to come down, and the first gear broke. I could have tried to go on like this but since we have a common oil circuit for gearbox and engine, a few laps later the engine broke."

Alain Prost: "Every time this season that we have been in a position to score points, our reliability has let us down. In the conditions in which we actually find ourselves to be, we have shown that we are able to be competitive on a circuit as demanding as Spa. And it was very satisfying for us all to see Jean running so high through all of the first part of the race."

Corrado Provera, Peugeot Sport Director: "The reaction shown by the team in being the first to call their drivers in for dry tyres allowed Jean to show us his talent in difficult conditions, to join the group at the front of the field and to remain there for two-thirds of the race. Unfortunately, a broken fuel pipe caused him to retire due to loss of fuel pressure. As for Nick, he broke his gearbox at his first pitstop which effected the common oil circuit and caused his engine to fail."

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