Atlas F1 News Service

Today's Selected Quotes - Italian GP

Saturday September 9th, 2000


Michael Schumacher: "I must thank the team for all their efforts. It was good to be fighting my team-mate for pole as it proves the car is very competitive. Obviously it is very good for the championship having us both at the front. Rubens can be a big support for me, or maybe I will be supporting him. We will have to see tomorrow. It's good to be back on the right road. I messed up my first lap, running wide at the first chicane, but the car felt quick, which is why I decided to go for a second lap, even if it was a bit of a risk. It was therefore an unusual qualifying session as I finished before the end. I must say I would rather have been in the car than sitting watching the screen. I am confident about our race set up and we have had no tyre problems. As for the first chicane at the start, it will be tight and everyone will have to be reasonable and disciplined."

Rubens Barrichello: "We can be happy with what we have done today, which is the result of everything we tried last week. As we fight for the championship it is great to be on the front row in Ferrari's home. I am much happier here than at the last two races, where I was a bit unlucky. I think I could have gone a bit quicker, but at the end I had some problems with traffic. It will be a very tough race tomorrow, especially difficult for the brakes, which you have to use even harder than usual now they have modified the first chicane. I am happy with my car in race trim and know that I can run at full pace with a full fuel load."

Jean Todt: "This was an absolutely wonderful qualifying session, resulting in the team's seventh pole of the season, the sixth for Schumacher. We have achieved the dream result of having an all-red front row in front of our fans. It is also the first time this season that we have both our cars on the front row. However, today's performance should not blind us to the fact that the most important part of the weekend is tomorrow's race. In fact, it has happened in the past that after a good qualifying performance we have gone on to have a less successful race. Now, we must stay calm and work with determination to prepare for tomorrow's race. I am very happy for the team and the great job done by the drivers, especially at such an important point in the season."


Mika Hakkinen: "Obviously I would have liked to be on the front row but I'm not too worried. I wasn’t completely happy with the handling of the car, and we experienced a few technical problems, which disturbed our concentration. However tomorrow is another day, and I'm confident as I believe we have a strong race set-up."

David Coulthard: "I'm not happy with the outcome of my qualifying session. I didn't manage to get all my best sector times together to make one fast lap and also experienced problems finding the optimum balance. My last run was ruined by a much slower car. However the race is where you score the points not qualifying."

Ron Dennis: "A less than perfect qualifying session with Mika suffering a small fuel pressure problem on the outlap of his third run which cleared itself but still had us preparing his T-car which subsequently was not used. David's final run was spoilt by the virtually stationary Frentzen. Not ideal grid positions but we should be competitive in the race, which we are looking forward to."

Norbert Haug: "Mika was close to a very good lap time on his last run but had to overtake which cost him a couple of tenths. David was also hampered by traffic but did have the potential to go quicker. But Sunday's race is a different matter, and we have won from this grid position before."


Jacques Villeneuve: "It feels great to qualify fourth - the team's best ever position. There was no additional pressure because this is Honda's 200th race, but Honda did produce a qualifying engine for today. The engine was strong and the car felt really well balanced. Hopefully we will be able to challenge for a podium finish tomorrow, but a good start is going to be really important. You don't want to get caught in the middle of the pack going into the first corner, because there will be wheel-banging for sure and someone is going to go off."

Ricardo Zonta: "I am really disappointed because I could definitely have been in the top six as well as Jacques. We were really quick through the traps, the engine was great and we had made some improvements to the car, so it was looking very good. Then we had an electrical warning come on and I had to stop on the track. I tried to improve again but the T-car was set up for Jacques and we could not achieve the position that we deserved."

Takefumi Hosaka - Managing Director, Honda R&D: "We are very pleased with today's performance. We prepared specially for this race with new settings and ideas designed for this power circuit. Jacques' fourth place puts us among the top two teams and gives us a lot of confidence in the technology that we have applied in our engines. It was a shame that Ricardo was not able to make the most of the speed he showed in the morning session when he was very quick."


Jarno Trulli: "It was such a disappointing morning, it was very hard to find the problem and that meant I couldn't do much work for qualifying. It actually worked out very well in the end because the car was well balanced. The whole team did a fantastic job and, even though the car wasn't quite there, it is a very good result being ahead of teams such as Williams and Benetton."

Heinz Harald Frentzen: "We were trying different set-ups, the last lap was perfect until the final corner, where I had to back off and lose about four-tenths of a second because of a slower car. Considering what we have been through today, eighth isn't too bad but, obviously, I feel that things could have been much better."


Ralf Schumacher: "I had to abort two flying laps; on both occasions I was too optimistic in choosing the braking point. Seventh position is not too bad even though I was expecting something better after having finished fifth in the morning session. I am quite surprised by Villeneuve's fourth place. Considering the close times achieved by drivers among the top six – some of which are not fighting for the lead of the drivers’ championship - tomorrow, for the first lap, it's going to be quite tight into the new chicane."

Jenson Button: "I am quite disappointed with my time and grid position, possibly we did not adjust the car correctly for the conditions in the afternoon. I have a lot to achieve to get points tomorrow."

Patrick Head, Technical Director: "It's a disappointing qualifying as we were expecting a slightly better result. We are very close to the cars in front in time though. Now we must focus as usual on getting a good race set-up because it's a very long and hard race and we are looking forward to the battle."

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "With regards to the engine everything went as planned. We are now running the same spec-engines we used in Spa and since this morning we were pretty quick. In qualifying we needed a little bit more luck. Our drivers have already proved that they can move to the front during the race, why shouldn't they do it on Sunday?"


Giancarlo Fisichella: "This isn't a bad result, my target was to be eighth so we just lost one position, but we are strong in race trim, so I think I'm in good shape for tomorrow."

Alexander Wurz: "I am very upset, maybe more than I have ever been in my Formula 1 career, this is a circuit I really like and where I'm usually really fast, but with the problem this morning I didn't even manage one lap on low fuel and this is not the way to prepare for qualifying. I ran in the T-car for qualifying and it didn't behave as I would have liked, considering all of this I should be satisfied that I managed to qualify 13th but I'm still extremely disappointed."

Pat Symonds, Technical Director: "I think that we are about where we expected to be after testing and practice yesterday, although obviously I would be happier if we were a bit further up the grid, in Giancarlo's case we didn't quite get the balance as good as we had on the slightly cooler track this morning and with the grid being close it probably cost us one place.
I think Alex did an extremely good job to qualify 13th, as he had done no timed laps at all this morning and had not driven the car with low fuel on this circuit at either the test or in the practice sessions, so it is a credit to him. Our work in the test and the practice yesterday concentrated entirely on race set-ups, and we feel quite comfortable that we can be competitive tomorrow."

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "All in all, considering that Alex's car didn't even run this morning, I am quite satisfied with the results today, we expected Giancarlo to be seventh or eighth, but we are confident we can pull up some places in the race and Alex did an extremely good job given the difficult circumstances he experienced."


Pedro de la Rosa: "I am very happy with the last lap which kept me in the top 10. We made some changes from free practice which worked and it is good to be back in the top 10, its where we deserve to be"

Jos Verstappen: "Qualifying was difficult today as I had to come in after one lap and get into the T car. My first flying lap (in the T car) felt good. The mechanics fixed my race car and although they suspected a further leak, we had to go for it as time was running out. The end result was good, the boys have done a good job and I am happy."

Tom Walkinshaw, Team Principal: "It was a good session from both drivers, Jos in particular. Both Supertec and Arrows mechanics did a super job to fix Jos' car. We are back where we should be and we expect to be competitive tomorrow."


Eddie Irvine: "This morning I thought I really should have been in the high 1m24s, but I had such a messy session. Ralf Schumacher and Frentzen – I don't know what they're doing, but it seems that they are out there trying to mess it up for everyone. Here it's important to get a rhythm, and I never got a rhythm. The car's well-balanced, and there's a bit of time in me, but there wasn't much. We're losing out everywhere, but we're losing out more in the last section, which is more high speed corners. We've made the car better, there's no doubt about that. If we had come here with the car we had in Hockenheim we would have been in a much worse situation, I think. So we have made improvements. We've still got more to make.
You never know where is the right place to be, the accident could be at the front, and if you're in the middle maybe you can get up to the front. So who knows? It's a very tight first corner, and the long run-up is the major issue I always think, because you're braking from such high speed. If you get it a little bit wrong, it turns into a big problem."

Johnny Herbert: "I'm disappointed that I couldn't beat Eddie, but it was pretty close, it's pretty tough for us. I felt that we were going to struggle beforehand. I wasn't feeling very confident, and I was right. It's very disappointing, because we're just not fast at all. Straightline is just one aspect of it – we changed the wing and we didn't really gain anything, so it's not working as it should.
They were all okay except the last run, because I outbraked myself at the first chicane. Then at the next one I got one of the Arrows, who blew up at Ascari, so there were yellow flags there, and then I got the red light. It was a bit annoying because of that.

Gary Anderson, Technical director: "It looked reasonable yesterday, and I thought we'd get in the top 10, today it didn't happen, and also traffic didn't help Eddie. Ralf went off in front of him once, and put dirt on the track. Then he got held up in the confusion between Frentzen and somebody else, who were dicing with each other at about 30mph! It wasn't all because of that, although we probably lost a couple of tenths there, which would have moved us forward a bit, but not enough. The first chicane is easier than what it was. It's just a right hand corner and a left hand corner now. It'll be quite interesting in the race, I think."


Mika Salo: "Today I got the absolute maximum out of the car, and I don't really know why I wasn't quicker, I was quite lucky with traffic this afternoon, but on my last run I locked the front wheels momentarily going into the first corner. The car felt okay, but it just wouldn't go any faster."

Pedro Diniz: "Things weren't as good for me today as yesterday, mainly because the car was a bit difficult under very heavy braking, I was losing some time there and we weren't quite able to fix things in qualifying. Because of this problem I spoiled my last run when I ran wide in the first chicane."

Willy Rampf, Technical director: "Today underlines just how close F1 in general is these days and qualifying in particular, the fact that both C19s have been well balanced and reliable all weekend bodes well for tomorrow, and what is always a very tough race here."


Jean Alesi: "We already knew, after last week's testing here, that we could not expect to be very competitive on this circuit, especially in qualifying . Today's result, unfortunately, confirms that feeling. But it is more important to think about the race and, as we saw in Spa, anything can happen. I feel quite ready..."

Nick Heidfeld: "It's hard to accept my poor qualifying result, since this morning's practice had gone quite well. For some reason, we have not been able to optimise the set-ups we found this morning. I know that tomorrow will be a big challenge, but I will do my best to deliver a result that gives us some satisfaction."

Alain Prost: "Unfortunately, we haven't managed to repeat this morning's performance in qualifying. Our grid positions are not a surprise on this kind of circuit, even if time-gaps are quite small. We knew this track does not suit our cars and we seem to loose performance as the heat increases. We keep focusing on tomorrow’s race."


Marc Gene: "During this morning's practice we did not manage to test all the aerodynamic set-ups we had scheduled. Some wing levels were overlooked which probably would have been more consistent for a better qualifying performance. Today my car was well balanced and I managed to set at least one good timed lap. Mechanically I enjoyed a trouble free session whereas in terms of aerodynamics we probably had too low downforce. I hope that the car will show a better driveability in tomorrow's race."

Gaston Mazzacane: "I had a tough day, also complicated by a number of different concerns affecting my car. This morning I could not test a lot of different settings as I would have liked and, more importantly, when I was on fresh tyres I could not test the new aerodynamic patterns we had detected during the previous testing. Later, during my first qualifying run, an electrical problem forced me to abandon my car on the track and switch to the spare car. It was set up differently than my race trim car because it was prepared with the old viscous differential and different brakes. As a result, I had to gain in confidence with the car and, honestly, I believe I did my best not to make any mistake. It is clear that I feel sad to start from the back row but I hope to be competitive tomorrow and to keep a good rhythm during the race."

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