Atlas F1 News Service

Today's Selected Quotes - Austrian GP

Saturday July 15th, 2000


David CoulthardMika Hakkinen: "I am really happy to be back on pole position. I managed to get the maximum out of the car and really enjoyed myself. Even though we lost valuable track time in yesterday's practice, we managed to find an optimum set-up and I was able to go flat out. I am really looking forward to tomorrow's race and we are in good shape."

David Coulthard: "My last run was the crucial one today and unfortunately I made a mistake at the first corner and was unable to gain the time later on the lap. I am reasonably happy with the performance of the car, which we improved through qualifying. We will see what happens tomorrow."

Ron Dennis: "A satisfactory result with both drivers doing an excellent job. We experienced no technical problems at all and hopefully this trend will continue for the rest of the weekend."


Rubens Barrichello: "I am happy with my car as I have had a good set-up all weekend which has allowed me to work calmly. I went out early because I saw it was beginning to rain and I was worried it might get worse. We discussed it and decided to go out. I aborted the second run because of traffic. On my third attempt, I made a mistake and then I did my best time on my last run when I was under a bit of pressure. Michael SchumacherThe track was quite slippery and it is not easy to get a lap one hundred per cent right, especially as cars which spun off put some dirt on the circuit. I am confident for the race, because I had a good run yesterday and this morning and the car seems consistent. The tyres are also looking good."

Michael Schumacher: "On my last run, I had nothing to lose: I was fourth and I gave it my all. But I went over my limit at turn 4 and lost control of the car. I am quite a way off the pole time which worries me a little. Unlike our rivals, I have been unable to find the right balance between the slow and quick corners and that is very important on this track. I seemed to lose out to the others in the first and third sections and was only really competitive in the second. I could have been a bit quicker but not quick enough for the front row. I hope to make up a few places at the start. It will be a very long race and anything can happen."

Jean Todt: "It has been a while since we have not had a car on the front row. I knew it would be a difficult qualifying session, but I had not expected not to manage it all the same. Michael did not manage to get the set-up quite right for qualifying, but things went a bit better for Rubens. Now we are thinking about tomorrow, in the knowledge that we can expect the usual close race with the cars which are ahead of us today. The important thing for us now is to find a good race set-up."


Jarno TrulliJarno Trulli: "First of all, I've got to thank the team for the strategy they chose. They kept Heinz and I in the garage - even though everyone else had gone onto the track - because they said it was going to rain. And it did. By waiting until the conditions were perfect, I was in a good position to put in fifth fastest time. I'm pretty happy because we knew the times were going to be close and, this time, everything went right for me and I was fastest behind the McLarens and Ferraris. The balance of the car continued to be as good as it has been all weekend so, overall, I'm very pleased with the way things have worked out."

Heinz-Harald Frentzen: "That was one of the problems I had this afternoon. I lost more time with the harder tyre than I had expected; we didn't experience that during practice this morning and the hard tyre seemed the right way to go considering the difficulties I was having. Also, I completed my laps too early because I was expecting more rain - which didn't come - later in the session. That, in fact, was when the track was quicker. So, these two things together explain why I'm 15th on the grid."


Ricardo ZontaRicardo Zonta: "I am really happy with my best qualifying result in two years of F1. I have had no problems all weekend and we had a good set-up that allowed me to focus on the driving. This is a circuit where power is very important and Honda's help has enabled us to improve our performance here from last year and get both cars in the top seven. Jacques is one of the best qualifiers around, so it is good for my confidence to be up with his time. I'm looking forward to the race and I hope this weekend will continue to go well for me and the team."

Jacques Villeneuve: "I am a bit disappointed with my own qualifying, but it is a really good result for the team. Both cars are quick and although we are not consistently the best of the rest yet, it is very encouraging. We tried to do four timed laps on the opening stint and it was just too much for the tyres, then on my last run, I had to back off because of yellow flags. I'll try to start the race tomorrow like I have done the others and we should have another good chance of points."

Takefumi Hosaka - Managing Director, Honda: "We have achieved a good result today, but we had hoped for better. The gap to the pole position is bigger than we had anticipated and for this reason we are not entirely satisfied. Both drivers did a very good job, especially Ricardo and we are pleased for him. The weekend has so far gone according to plan and the team has worked very well together."


Giancarlo FisichellaGiancarlo Fisichella: "I'm disappointed with this result as on my final flying lap I had a yellow flag, otherwise I could have been at least a tenth quicker which would have put me in 5th place. Starting from the fourth row isn't bad though and I was happy with the car on high fuel yesterday so I'm sure I can have a good race tomorrow."

Alexander Wurz: "My first run was just to get a time in and it was good for that stage of the session. My second run was ok, but on my last run I had far too much oversteer and the car was going sideways in each corner so I could barely improve my lap time. Naturally I'm frustrated especially as with just over a hundredth of a second I could have been in the top ten."

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "Certainly we are not happy with 8th and 14th. With Giancarlo we didn't get a clear run, he made a mistake on his first run and then had a yellow flag on his last, otherwise we would have been fifth. Alex has struggled with the set-up today and so couldn't get the best out of his last run. The only consolation is that the car is good in race trim so we hope to bring home some points tomorrow."

Pat Symonds, Technical Director: "The weather conditions today certainly made it interesting and kept everyone on their toes. The final result is a mixed one, with Giancarlo eighth on the grid, he is in a position to score points tomorrow. But it is very galling that two hundredths of a second would have put him in fifth position and far more than this can be explained by the yellow flag that he encountered on his best lap. Alex had a reasonably trouble-free run but probably didn't get the best opportunities and again just over one hundredth of a second would have put him in 10th position. In spite of all this, our work on high fuel loads yesterday was extremely satisfying and I feel we are in a strong position for the grand prix tomorrow."


Mika SaloMika Salo: "The way qualifying is these days you really have to run right on the limit. I had my car set up to be at its optimum on the second flying lap of each run, and unfortunately at the end I spun on my first lap on my final run. The rear tyres weren't quite up to temperature and the car was oversteering a bit and I lost it. But the C19 is much better this weekend and I'm feeling confident for the race. We were very quick yesterday with plenty of fuel, so it looks good."

Pedro Diniz: "I was pleased with the car today. The team has made some very good progress thanks to all our recent hard work. I think I could have been in the top 10 today. As it was it was very, very tight and I only lost out in the closing minutes. Unfortunately I just pushed too hard on my final lap, which up until the point at which I spun was a bit quicker. But overall, I'm happy today."

Peter Sauber: "We were very close today to having both cars in the top 10. I'm really happy, especially for the team. They have worked very well the whole season, so this result is very important for us. The C19 has taken a step forward, and that is the result of a combination of small things. This is our best qualifying performance this year, and knowing that today Mika and the C19 had the potential to be as high as fifth is a good feeling."


Jos VerstappenJos Verstappen: "I think it was an exciting qualifying session, especially in the beginning when it started raining so everybody went out. At that time I think we did pretty well by ending up 7th and 8th. The car was very good and we were making small changes to the car and improving the lap time every time we went out so in that respect things are going in the right direction. I think that for tomorrow, on a heavy fuel load the car is really good and I'm looking forward to the race and hopefully we can put a good result down".

Pedro de la Rosa: "I'm not satisfied at all. On the last run I was expecting to improve and I didn't so that's not good. The car is fine but qualifying conditions were tricky because it's hard to choose the perfect tyres for qualifying as it's not a standard circuit, but that's life and starting from 12th is still disappointing because I could have been in the top ten".

Tom Walkinshaw: "The cars have been running well during practice sessions and both Jos and Pedro did a good job in qualifying. The A21 suits the track quite well here in Austria so hopefully we stand a good chance tomorrow to finish the race with a good result".


Nick HeidfeldNick Heidfeld: "I am happy with today's performance. The grip here is very difficult to find, and to chose between used or new tyres was a difficult decision to make, especially after I had lost some precious time in the second session this morning, due to a gearbox problem. My fastest lap was the last. It was not bad even though I lost some time in the first sector. Thirteenth position is rewarding for me and the team; I did the same at the Nurburgring, but I hope we will have a luckier weekend this time!"

Jean Alesi: "In terms of grid position, it hasn't been a good qualifying session at all. Even so, we've made progress with my car and it's better again than it was yesterday. I didn't really have any particular problem to upset my session* We've now just got to concentrate on maximising our chances for tomorrow."

Alain Prost: "Overall, we're relatively happy with our grid positions today. First of all, I'm happy for Nick, in that he's beginning to be rewarded for the his recent progress after the problems that he had at the start of the season. Both cars had a troublefree qualifying session and on this circuit, the times are particularly tight within the group of cars where we usually find ourselves. We're beginning to set the kind of times that we should be setting, we're in the right group. Let's hope that we can continue to maintain this kind of form during the rest of the weekend - we usually race better than we qualify, so the prospects are good. "


Luciano BurtiJohnny Herbert: "We found that that a suspension bracket was loose, and that was probably one of the reasons why I lost performance. Then on the last run the suspension actually broke, probably because it was loose and causing it to move. A rear wishbone was flexing when it shouldn't have been. So that didn't really help. So it was just damn frustrating. I could have got my nose in the top 10, but we'll never know, because I never got the chance. We now have the usual problem of starting from way down the grid, so we'll have a tough race. But as long as we can get the balance right we'll be able to fight back as our pace was good in race spec."

Luciano Burti: "I'm pleased with my performance today, considering that I hadn't driven on this track before this morning and even then only did a few laps. It's also the first time I've driven the R1 in qualifying trim, so I had to spend time finding the limit of the car. I think just to be close to the other drivers here is an achievement for me, so I'm happy and looking forward to tomorrow."

Gary Andreson: "Luciano is stepping up to the job really well. Unfortunately, he's not had a very good run. This morning we had a clutch problem, which came from yesterday's problem with the electrics. So we lost the first half of the morning session and he only did a few laps on a circuit he'd not seen before. But he did a good job. It's all about confidence. There's heavy braking in Turns 1, 2 and 3, and the last two need a bit of commitment. You need a bit of time just to find the bumps and so on. He's done a lot of testing with us, so we know him pretty well, and he knows the car pretty well. So it's not too difficult to take it forward from where it is now. He's obviously got to push and push."


Jenson ButtonJenson Button: "It's going to be a tough race tomorrow, starting from such a poor grid position. It's really annoying because on my second run I was quite well up although I made a mistake in the last two corners. Then we waited until the end to go out, and I think we should not. In fact we had several problems. My car had an engine problem so for my last timed lap with one minute to go - I had to jump into the T-car, which wasn't set up for me and had a completely different set up. This meant that I wasn't able to get a time out of it. "

Ralf Schumacher: "18th and 19th positions are obviously not what we expected. We have been slow the whole weekend, due to a lack of grip. We have tried many things but we couldn't set up the car in the best way for this track. Circuits with low-grip seem to be generally a problem to us, as we have seen in Monaco and Montreal."

Patrick Head: "We've had a very poor qualifying and it's going to make the race very difficult for both the drivers. We quite clearly haven't got the car well set up for this track and haven't been able to make good use of our recent testing. We have a lot of thinking to do but we are going to do our best to have a reliable race tomorrow and do better in the future."

Gerhard Berger: "Today wasn't our day. Here on the A1-Ring we have been struggling with grip problems since our first free practice session. Jenson had to switch to the T-car as the engine in his race-car didn't run properly as he drove out of the garage for his third run. At least, until that moment we hadn't experienced any technical reliability problems."


Marc GeneMarc Gene: "Today was a difficult day. This morning we experienced many problems and I must say thank you to my engineers and all the lads of my crew if we managed to sort everything out for the afternoon. In fact, for the qualifying I finally found a good set-up and I improved my time when I was on the second set of tires. Unfortunately, during my last run, the third set of tires was not as good as the previous one and I felt a lack of grip but I am happy all the same. Honestly I did not expect to find the right car setting in such a very short time today, the Team was truly helpful to me."

Gaston Mazzacane: "I expected to do a better qualifying session today after the job we had done during this morning's free practice. It did not go well and I feel very disappointed. Unfortunately I had some problems in the very first laps due to the rain and to the lack of grip which I had not experienced in the morning; I was not able to improve my performance not even when I was on the last two set of tires. Now I only have to concentrate thoroughly for tomorrow, and hopefully I will keep a good rhythm in the race in order to increase my experience and to see the finishing line for the tenth time."

Cesare Fiorio, Team Manager: "Today's Gene's time, 2.3s slower than pole position, is one of the shorter gaps we've ever experienced throughout the season so far and shows our car's progress which is steadily approaching to the other cars' best performances. If we compare today's times with last years' ones, our performance improved twofold compared to the pole position and what is also worth being noted is that now a mere 1s gap separates us from the 8th grid position."

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