Atlas F1 News Service

Today's Selected Quotes - German GP

Sunday July 30th, 2000


Rubens Barrichello: "I still cannot believe it! I feel great. I had been told that when you are leading a race the last lap was the longest and it really felt like it. It was very tricky because the rain was falling on different parts of the track at the time. Regarding my decision to stay on dry tyres, I was told Hakkinen was coming in and I said I wanted to stay out one more lap. I saw it was only wet in the Motodrom and the team told me that if I kept doing the same lap times I would win, so I decided to stay out on the track. With seven laps to go, I flat spotted my left front tyre and I could not see so well after that. I had started with a light fuel load and that helped me pass a lot of cars. The other drivers were very fair. My car was not good in the warm-up but we made changes and it was great for the race. It was a great race from 18th place on the grid. I did not realise Michael was out until I was in fifth place, because I had been concentrating so hard in the early part. This win has been a long time coming. I dedicate it to Ayrton Senna who helped me so much in my life since 1984. I don't want to think about the championship, I just want to celebrate this win."

Michael Schumacher: "I am disappointed for what happened to me, but I am very happy for Rubens, whom I have to thank for saving my first place in the Drivers' Championship. His win was a very emotional moment for me, after a great climb through the field which was unexpected from eighteenth place. As for what happened to me, it was a shame that yet again I was hit at the start and unable to get back in the race. It is very hard to accept something like this for a second race in a row. On top of that, this is my home grand prix and that makes it worse for me. All I can hope for is that things go better next time."

Jean Todt: "This race was almost unreal. We took the start with Michael in second spot and Rubens in eighteenth place, but already at the first corner, Michael was out because of an accident. Given his grid position, we had planned a very aggressive strategy for Rubens, based on two stops. When Barrichello made his first stop he was already third, and nine laps later when the safety car came out, we decided to bring him in for the second one. Then the rain gradually began to fall on parts of the track. The team and the driver took the decision to stay out, after Rubens informed us that the second sector was dry. All the decisions regarding Rubens'strategy proved to be the winning ones. I am extremely happy with Rubens's first win, all the more so because of the way in which it was achieved. The win means that the team continues to lead both championships. The team did a fantastic job, both in terms of the pit stops and the strategy. With six races to go the championship is very open."


Mika Hakkinen: "I made one of the best starts of my career to go from fourth to leading into the first corner. I felt in control during the opening stages of the race even though David was right behind me. When the safety car came out I went in for my pit stop and when the rain started to fall really heavily on lap 34 I pitted for wets. I might have won the race if I had remained on slicks. However the risk of spinning off was too big as it was very slippery, especially in the stadium section and the car was not easy to drive. I had to be careful with the wets in the fast dry sections not to ruin them, which would make them useless for the wet parts."

David Coulthard: "Obviously, I did not get the perfect getaway at the start. I did not notice the safety car as there were no flags or signs deployed prior to me seeing it. It came out on the lap where I was meant to have my pitstop and seeing Mika entering the pitlane I stayed out for another lap which put me back to sixth place. When the rain began I stayed out for a long time to see what sort of difference wet tyres made on lap times. I only decided to come in for wets one corner before the pit lane so it was a late call. However I am happy to settle for points today and close the gap to the championship leader considerably."

Ron Dennis: "It goes without saying that it was a somewhat frustrating outcome to a very unusual race. We had flexibility in our strategy but not sufficient to accomodate the deranged spectator wandering onto the circuit and not only costing us the race but also endangering his and the lives of the drivers. Our reaction to the wet weather was cautious as both our drivers had a great deal more to lose than Barrichello, who nevertheless drove very well. Clearly it is going to be an interesting end to the season."


Jenson Button: "I am very happy, thinking how my race started with my engine not firing up and having to start at the very back! The team made an excellent job calling me in at the right time to switch to wet tyres. It was very difficult to drive at that moment, because at the back of the circuit it was dry, yet in the pit lane it was raining! A very exciting moment was also passing Mika Salo, two laps before the end of the race."

Patrick Head: "A fourth position is a brilliant result for Jenson. In spite of the unfortunate grid positions, the guys on the pit wall made an excellent strategy. Ralf was hit by Zonta and that damaged the diffuser on the back of his car. Maybe without that we might have stayed out on dry tyres. It's absolutely brilliant for BMW to finish at Hockenheim with two cars in the top seven in their first year. It shows the remarkable job they are doing."


Mika Salo: "That was a very hard race. To begin with I was praying the rain would come earlier than it did, because I'd opted for a high downforce set-up and was therefore slow on the straight. Then, when the safety car went in I just missed Wurz on the start/finish line when his car faltered and flames suddenly exploded out the back. That was close! In the final laps I was really pushing but the wets were destroyed because of having to run hard on the dry sections of the track. I had massive oversteer and couldn't hold Button off for fourth place, but fifth still means two more points."

Pedro Diniz: "That was another unlucky race for me. Unfortunately I made my pit stop a lap before the safety car came out so I lost the positions I had gained. Shortly afterwards I could see that Jean Alesi was close behind me, but when I started braking for the chicane he must have put two wheels on the grass and ran into me. Suddenly it started raining wheels! That's all I know."

Peter Sauber: "I'm really happy. Congratulations to Mika, who drove a strong and intelligent race, and commiserations to Pedro. I think the wet conditions would have suited him, too. I'm pleased that we were compensated today for the luck that deserted us yesterday, but in any case you make your own luck in this game and the team did its usual excellent job on pit stop strategy. That really helped Mika. Despite starting so far back after the lottery of qualifying, it's gratifying to continue the progress we have demonstrated in recent races."


Pedro de la Rosa: "It was a really strange race generally, and then also things like a spectator on the track! I was very strong in the dry conditions but then as the safety car kept coming out things just got worse and worse but I think to get a point out of this race was a good result for the team anyway. Just before I came in for wet tyres I made a mistake as I came into the stadium by missing my braking point and had a big off and also I couldn't see anything. I was in third before that point but I lost 2 positions and I should have finished higher up. Nevertheless, it was a good effort by the team and I'm happy for them."

Jos Verstappen: "I made a mistake at the end of the race. I was in 7th and I was going for 6th because 7th means nothing to me. I braked too late and spun off. I did have some car problems during the race though as I lost some bodywork and had to change the nose in the first pit stop to get the balance back which we did a bit but it wasn't ideal. I also lost top speed because of the bodywork and the car was very different than normal to drive so it was quite a tough race for me. One of the Williams also spun in front of me after the safety car so I had to go around him and lost about 7 places. I did come in at the right moment though to change onto wet tyres and we definitely chose the right tyres. I was in 6th position behind Pedro (de la Rosa) and fighting for a point, but I made a mistake and that's how it is."

Tom Walkinshaw, Team Principal: "The team continues to progress and we've been strong all weekend. It was unfortunate that Pedro had his off as we had a podium within our grasp, but he drove a fantastic race the rest of the time. Jos also drove very strongly in the beginning and could have been in the points but we'll just keep working at it."


Jacques Villeneuve: "The car was quite easy to drive, but the first half of the race was very difficult because the set-up we chose for today did not maximise the straight-line speed. The strategy was beginning to pay off, however and but for the incident with my teammate, we would have scored some more points."

Ricardo Zonta: "I'm very sorry for what happened with my teammate because we could both have scored points today. I had an opportunity to pass him at the first corner, but unfortunately my front wheel clipped his rear wheel, making him spin. The team told me I had a penalty and I lost concentration for a moment. I was on dry tyres in the wet conditions, I locked the brakes and skidded off the track."

Craig Pollock, Managing Director: "The teamwork during the race from all the mechanics and engineers was cohesive, good and professional, and the result today does not reflect the true potential of the team. Given the conditions and our race strategy, potentially we had fourth and fifth places in sight. We look forward to a better result in Budapest."

Takefumi Hosaka, Managing Director, Honda R&D: "It was a very poor race, but the team coped very well with the unexpected stops. The incident between Jacques and Ricardo was typical of a frustrating and disappointing weekend."


Heinz-Harald Frentzen: "This was a truly memorable race. The car was running really well and I was having a great time passing people. I just hope the spectators enjoyed it as much as I did! Okay, it was very disappointing when the car suddenly stopped but we were able to show that we are running really competitively. It was good for the team after all their hard work on this latest version of the car and we can only build on that. No points today, but for sure there are many to come."

Eddie Jordan: "It's a massive disappointment to have both cars in the top three at various stages, and then to come away with nothing. It's a particularly bitter pill. Our pace looked to be very good but I'm disappointed for both drivers after such encouraging performances. Jarno is very upset over the stop-go because he believes he was wrongly penalised. We're currently looking into it."


Eddie Irvine: "The clutch was really, really bad again. It was shocking, really. We knew from qualifying that I was 6km/h down on Johnny, but I had the same problem in the race. It was a nightmare. It's the story of our year really. We really are a bit lost with the car, to be honest. It is so tricky in the dry, and as soon as it rains, you're in trouble. We need to keep plugging away, improve the car and put ourselves in a position to profit in races like this."

Johnny Herbert: "The start wasn't very good. The clutch wasn't very nice again, I didn't get off the line very well and lost out to Eddie and Jacques Villeneuve - who I was expecting to get past me! But the clutch just wasn't like it was in Austria... It was a pain that I wasn't able to get to the end. I'm very pleased for Rubens, however: he's a great guy, and one of the best teammates I ever had. For him to have his first win at Ferrari makes it emotionally very special."


Gaston Mazzacane: "All things considered I feel satisfied with my race. I did a bad start and felt the effect of this; however I was able to display the same rhythm of those in front of me and, without the pouring rain, I could have pushed harder in the second part of the race. I was on a dry set-up and my car was going very well until it started to rain. Before getting back into the pits for the second stop, to put on wet tyres, I spun off and lost three positions, as a result. The track was dry in certain areas and this affected my wet tyres. I believe that the one who was driving on dry tyres was at an advantage, in the end."

Marc Gene: "I am disappointed for not finishing a race where I was having a good wrestle. I did a good start passing my team mate Gast?n and Jean Alesi and reaching the group ahead. When the safety car was on track I did a good and quick pit stop and I took a further advantage gaining almost two positions. On the second set of tyres I felt my car was even better and I started to battle with Jenson Button and Mika Salo. It is sad everything was over so early for me because just when it started to rain I heard a crack and soon afterwards the engine caught fire. It is a shame, today I could be closer to the points."

Cesare Fiorio, team manager: "Generally both our cars' reliability allows us to complete many races. Today the failure of one of the engines, our weak point in terms of performance and reliability as it is the case today, prevented us from scoring a possible sixth place. In fact, Marc was in the wake of Mika Salo and Jenson Button. We went for a good strategy choosing the right moment to stop and the right tyres and Marc was doing an excellent race. Unfortunately the engine failure deprived us from an opportunity that would have given us a possible chance to make a step-up in quality in the constructors championship."


Nick Heidfeld: "Obviously I am not happy about the whole race. All weekend, we struggled to find a good set-up and did not have enough time on the circuit. This was our biggest problem in trying to find the speed needed here. My start was not bad but there were a lot of incidents and I had problems overtaking due to a lack of speed on the straight. In the end, I think we did the right thing in changing to the wet tyres. We were the first and we had nothing to lose. But in the wet conditions, it was even more difficult to find the time, and I had to retire five laps from the end."

Jean Alesi: "On lap 29, as I was struggling at the back, I was overtaking Pedro Diniz before a chicane and he suddenly changed line. It has been probably one of the worse accidents in my life. Anyway, starting from 20th position, one cannot expect to run a real race."

Alain Prost: "Today we were in a group running at very similar speeds, but we are not competitive enough at the moment to be able to overtake. This lack of performance increases also the risk of collisions and this unfortunately is what happened to Jean. Besides, we still have some unsolved reliability problems like the alternator failure on Nick's car, something we have had before. The whole team is disappointed by this result on a circuit where we should have been more competitive than usual. This week in Barcelona, we will have a test session that is important for the rest of the season in terms of our search for performance which is still lacking as much in the chassis as in the engine."

Corrado Provera: "An electrical problem caused by an alternator failure while Nick was running in 10th position deprived the German driver of finishing the race today. It would have been a good return for his excellent work throughout the weekend. The team did not have any engine problems and from the next Grand Prix in Hungary, the A20 engine will be replaced in the race by the EV4."


Alexander Wurz: "I had too much wheelspin at the start so I couldn't control the engine. Then I settled into the race and had a few battles with Zonta and Salo. I lost a place in the pit-stop but then after the safety car came in for the first time I overtook Salo and two others who had an incident. When the safety car came out for the second time, it was starting to rain which I knew would be good for us, then I had an electrical failure and my gearbox locked up so I spun off."

Giancarlo Fisichella: "It all happened so fast. I was on my line and then suddenly Michael's car was right in front of my front wheel so I went in to the back of his car. I think we should really decide in the rules about whether a driver should stick to his line or not because like this it's just a waste of a race. And it could have been a good race."

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "This had been our best grid position but unfortunately there was the first corner incident between Giancarlo and Michael. Alex had a problem at the start and lost quite a few places."

Pat Symonds, Technical Director: "This was a really disappointing result from a very exciting race. It would not be correct to comment on the first corner incident yet until we have reviewed the evidence. We believe that Alex's spin was cuased by an electrical failure which damaged the gear selection mechanism."

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