Atlas F1 News Service

Today's Selected Quotes - Italian GP

Sunday September 10th, 2000


Michael Schumacher: "I have no vocabulary to express my feelings except that I am happy and exhausted. 41 wins means a lot to me but there are times when I cannot answer all your questions. This was a very emotional win, even more so than in 1998. Here we are in Italy and after some difficult races we are back on the right road, as we proved all weekend. I am still not in front in the championship but this win is a big relief. There are 500 people working with us and all of them are part of this victory. My start was just alright as my revs dropped a little. The Safety Car did not have much effect except that the tyre pressures were low. As the Safety Car was about to pull in, I started accelerating and braking to warm up my brakes. Some drivers at the back might have been caught out by this and I apologise if I caused them a problem. The car was well balanced and worked perfectly all race. At the end, I backed off to be careful with the engine. I am very sad to hear about the death of a track official. Under these circumstances, what happened in the race has only a secondary importance."

Rubens Barrichello: "I am very bitter about the fact my race lasted only one lap, so that I could not race here in front of our fans. Frentzen braked too late and hit me, provoking an incident which involved a large number of cars. The best thing about today was Michael's result, which proved how competitive Ferrari is. My car was good and I was sure I could have had a good race. Now I am already thinking about the next one in two weeks time in the USA."

Jean Todt: "This result has been saddened by the death of a track official. He was one of a group of people without whom there would be no motor racing. I dedicate this victory to them. I am disappointed for Rubens who was hit, so that once again we lost a car on the first lap. Michael drove a great race, with a perfect car, run by a perfect team with a perfect performance. His emotion and sensibility in the press conference touched me. This was Michael's sixth win of the season and the seventh for Ferrari this year, a result we have not achieved since 1953. We are now two points down in the Drivers' Championship so we have staged a good come-back. It was very important to win here at Monza in front of our fans even with the pressure we have been under for the past few weeks. We wanted to win and we did, showing the true worth of the team."


Mika Hakkinen: "I made an OK start and managed to get by Barrichello and then I was lucky not to be affected by the accident at the second chicane. Initially I wasn't happy with the balance of the car but we made a few adjustments during the pitstop which improved matters, However despite a great pitstop from the team and the fact that I could go much quicker I was unable to catch Michael – also as was the case in the last race I lost too much time lapping the Minardis. All in all, it would have been nice to win but I scored some important points."

David Coulthard: "It really goes without saying that I’m extremely disappointed with the outcome of my Monza race – particularly since I was an innocent victim in the incident which took place behind me. I made a good start, which saw me move from fifth to third – but it was all over at the second chicane - I’m not sure exactly what happened."

Ron Dennis: "Both drivers made good starts but obviously David's race was over at the second chicane. An imbalance in the car made life difficult for Mika during the first part. The team did a great pitstop and as a result of the changes we made Mika was able to lap much faster and could close the gap to Schumacher. At the end of the day we are here to win but the outcome could have be worse - we are still leading both Championships and are focusing on the next race."

Norbert Haug: "Today we didn't manage to win but the World Championships are still open and we kept the lead in both. We will work very hard to maintain this situation in six weeks time."


Ralf Schumacher: "The team did a good stop to get me ahead of Jos, and then when Zonta made his stop I was in a comfortable position. I was a little bit lucky that I wasn't involved in the accident at the second chicane on the first lap. I saw parts of cars flying all over the place and it looked really terrible, but fortunately I was okay and was able then to just concentrate on my race. Later on, when I was pushing hard to maintain my place over Fisichella, I had a bit of a moment at the first Lesmo and I just managed to collect it, but other than that it was quite routine. It's getting to be a habit to be on the podium but I could quite easily get used to it. I think we've confirmed that we are now clearly the third strongest team in F1."

Jenson Button: "When everyone suddenly braked just as I began accelerating flat out I couldn't go anywhere else, after getting on the grass, I backed off and rejoined my place in the queue so I wouldn't be penalised but when I got to the chicane there was just no grip as my tyres were covered in grass."

Gerhard Berger, BMW Motorsport Director: "We're happy to be on the podium for the second consecutive time, this is a great result after starting from seventh on the grid. We were strong all-round today. The engine - which was changed after the warm-up - ran well and reliably, the team gave Ralf a very good race car, he made excellent use of it and the pit stop was good. I think we can be proud. It's just a shame that this race has been shaded by such a sad accident."


Jos Verstappen: "I had a very very bad start, the same as Pedro and maybe that was good for me as I avoided all the accidents. I was alongside Pedro at the 2nd chicane but managed to miss all the debris. After that the car was brilliant, the top speed that we had meant that I could pass people - the brakes were good. I was pushing the whole race because I knew that I had to make up time from the bad start - I am still very pleased though."

Pedro de la Rosa: "I just saw the yellow flags and braked and then saw pieces of car all over the place, lots of tyre smoke and after the smoke cleared there were 2 cars travelling really slowly and I just couldn't slow down my car enough. I think it was Zonta and I hit him on the rear wheel, this launched me into the air and then I just barrel rolled until the car stopped. Fortunately I am okay, there is no problem. It is a racing incident. I wouldn't say I was unlucky as I am lucky to be here.
I stayed a little time in the car after the crash because the car was upside down and the marshals were trying to turn it over but they couldn't so I decided to get under the gravel a little bit and crawl through the small gap under the car."

Tom Walkinshaw, Team Principal: "Pedro had a big accident but he is okay. I was very nervous that there would be a big shunt in the first lap as the new layout has not been well thought through. Jos and the Team did a good job, the car was reliable again and we have achieved a good 4th place although it could have been 3rd."


Alexander Wurz: "Firstly I must say that I'm really sorry for the marshal and for his family. This sad outcome obviously clouds the whole race, but I have to say this was a good result for me particularly after my problems not only this weekend but over the whole year. I would like to thank the team for the reliable car that allowed me to finish fifth."

Giancarlo Fisichella: "I'm really disappointed with the race. I really wanted to get some points, particularly here at my home race in Monza. We developed a problem with the clutch early on in the race, but it was OK whilst I was on the track, I just had to be careful when I changed down. Then when I came in for the pit-stop I tried to engage 1st gear and the engine stalled. We finally managed to get the car restarted but then I was in 11th rather than 4th place."

Pat Symonds, Technical Director: "I'm very pleased to see Alex score some points this weekend after such a long drought. He drove a good race under difficult circumstances and kept pushing until the end. He thoroughly deserves the result he got. His car performed consistently and this was a just reward for him. Unfortunately Giancarlo experienced a clutch problem on lap 19, which was shortly after the safety car came in. Although he was able to cope with this on the track, it made the car very difficult to restart in the pit-stop which consequently ruined his chances of a certain fourth place. We will of course be investigating this week, what the cause of the problem was."

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "This is both a good and frustrating result for the team. Alex drove a great race and its good to see him earn his first two points of the season. Giancarlo also drove a good race, but unfortunately a clutch problem meant we lost what would have been a further points finish. But most importantly the team's thoughts are with the family of the marshal who was involved in the incident at the beginning of the race."


Jacques Villeneuve: "This was one of the best opportunities that we had to get a podium finish this season, so it is a big shame that we did not finish the race."

Ricardo Zonta: "De la Rosa hit my front tyre, causing a puncture, so I had to pit on the first lap. After that, I was able to pass many people. The car was very fast and I could overtake everyone down the straights. Of course I am very happy to finish sixth from 17th, but if I had not had the problem in qualifying I would have been able to start higher and would have been able to fight for a better position, maybe even a podium. When the safety car came out, I did think that we might change the strategy, but in the end I am glad to get a point for myself and the team."

Takefumi Hosaka - Managing Director, Honda R&D: "Although Ricardo did a fantastic job to finish sixth, we are obviously a little disappointed with today's result. Both drivers did very well to survive the first lap incident and we were on course for a very good result, so it was a great shame that Jacques had to retire. For Ricardo to finish sixth having started 17th is a great achievement, particularly as he has been so unlucky all weekend. After his final stop, Ricardo had problems with his rear brakes and could not push as hard towards the end."


Pedro Diniz: "At the start Eddie Irvine hit Mika, and when Eddie went sideways I got pushed on to the grass going down to the first chicane and ran through the brake marker boards at the side of the track and then had to weave through the chicane run-off area. That damaged the nose of my car and gave the front suspension some serious toe-out which ruined my race. It upset the car under braking, and it made it slower on the straight, so I was really struggling. I arrived just behind the accident at the second chicane and was able to pick my way through the debris as I saw cars and bits flying in the air. We were lucky that none of the drivers was hurt today, but we should not forget the fireman at the side of the track who died as a result of the accidents."

Mika Salo : "I made a good start and passed both Arrows, Alexander Wurz and Irvine's Jaguar. But as we braked for the first corner my car went sideways and I could see and feel Eddie pushing meas he hit me from behind. The left rear tyre was punctured and the sidepod was holed. With the safety car out I came into the pits for a fresh tyre and then pushed hard to catch up, but immediately I had serious oversteer. We discussed this on the radio, and since I was in last place and the safety car was still out we figured it was worth stopping again. By then I had lost the engine cover, so we fitted a new one and new sidepods, which cured the oversteer problem. I caught up again and was able to push hard until I lost the replacement engine cover partway through the race, which brought back the oversteer. But by then there was no point coming in again so I just soldiered on to the finish. We should have been in the points today, the way the race went."

Willy Rampf, Technical director: "We changed our strategy with Mika after his startline incident, and that was the right thing to do, but with his problems and Pedro's this was just one of those days when the race did not go our way."


Mark Gene: "Things turned out as all of us expected them to be. At the start I found Jean Alesi's car standstill in front of me on the grid and I had to balk him. Hence, I managed to stay clear of both accidents but I struggled with the first set of tyres which made my car difficult to drive. In fact, only after the first stop I could settle into the race. I do not know, perhaps the safety car exerted an influence affecting the performance of my first set of tyres. I believe I did my best to take advantage from the opportunities of today's race."

Gaston Mazzacane: "I guess I drove a good race. It is a bit surprising and pleasing because I expected a harder day and I was happy with the set up of my car. Unfortunately, toward the end the brakes performance was lower preventing me from keeping a consistent pace. However, the Team should be satisfied because it is a good result to have both cars at the finish, although the incidents at the start helped us a lot. With this regard I feel very sad and disappointed for what happened today. Monza is a very fast track: despite recent changes it is evident that there is a lot of work still to be done in terms of drivers’ safety and not only..."

Gabriele Rumi: "Today's race has been considerably affected by the two massive incidents, at the first and second chicanes, where a lot of cars were forced out of the game. As far as we are concerned, we believe our drivers drove a respectable race up until the end. Both cars displayed a good pace over the whole race. Clearly, we were not able to fight against the cars running behind, except for a few laps. Their maximum speed is higher with their engines having many more horse powers compared to our cars. Ultimately, we must be satisfied with these ninth and tenth positions."


Jean Alesi: "I was not in a good position at the start and in addition to this my engine stalled at the start which has not happened to me before in my Grand Prix career. When the marshalls pushed my car, they accidentally pressed a button which left the gearbox in neutral and it was stuck there for some time. Then I joined the race when all the cars were behind the Safety Car , but one lap down. So, effectively my race was over before it began."

Nick Heidfeld: "It was a disappointing weekend. We were pretty lucky not to be involved in the crash at the start. Afterwards, it ran as we expected... Than I spun in the second chicane, for a reason I am not sure of. In fact, the rear of the car was more nervous than usual. I started to feel the engine failing and it seem that I lost control of the car because of some oil on the track. I don’t know if it was coming from my car, because I did not see anything in my mirrors. It might have been left by Jacques Villeneuve’s engine failure."

Alain Prost: "It is true, as we had said, that this circuit does not favour us, but taking account of the circumstances at the start, we were not able to take advantage of this very particular event. It is time for us to rediscover some serenity as everyone is feeling the pressure from our current situation. The next Grands Prix, especially Indianapolius where everyone will start on equal footing, will perhaps offer us fresh opportunities to show what we can do."


Jarno Trulli: "'I made a good start and then I was hit from behind, I am not hurt but really so disappointed that my race ended like this when I was in a good position. Under the circumstances - we understand that a marshal was seriously hurt - may be the race should have been stopped. There were many cars involved and it was a very dangerous situation."

Heinz Harald Frentzen: "He (Rubens Barrichello) changed line and braked unexpectedly early, I could not turn in time to avoid him, so I hit him. I am lucky to have got away with only a bruised knee. It is a very bad day for Jordan, for me and for Jarno, as we wanted to score points today."

Eddie Jordan: "It's difficult not to become emotional about it, we have shown we are making serious progress but then on each occasion when we look to be in a strong position, something happens and it does not work out for us. Both drivers made good starts but when you have two drivers on different fuel strategies, it can lead to problems in the braking area. Quite simply there were too many cars trying to go through the same gap and it ended in disaster for Jordan with Heinz hitting Rubens, then Rubens and Heinz hitting Jarno. This time last year we had a triumphant day, today we've had a disaster. It happens.
This is a dreadful result for the team, but we must be thankful that the drivers were not injured although, having said that, our thoughts are with the fire marshal who was seriously injured by flying debris."


Johnny Herbert: "My start had been good, I'd gained a little bit and got close to Eddie who was then hit by somebody, they swung in front of me then away again so I got through and settled down behind the Benettons. Then, as we went Into the second chicane, it was obvious that something had happened. I could see a wheel about 100ft up in the air and then Pedro [De la Rosa] went straight into the back of me and that was the end of it. I would have liked to finish my European F1 career on a high, but that's life."

Eddie Irvine: "I moved over to the left at the start as I had planned that strategy for the first chicane, I knew it was risky but felt it was the best way to get through what we anticipated would be a melee. As we entered, Mika Salo moved over on me, I guess he just didn't see me, and the front suspension broke on impact. It's nobody's fault, it's just one of those things. You have to expect that when you are braking from that sort of speed into a chicane. It's disappointing, because if I had stayed in the race, points were up for grabs."

Gary Anderson, Technical director: "We've certainly had better days, Eddie had a coming together with Mika Salo at the first chicane and that was his race over. Johnny braked because he could see there had been an incident in front of him, but was hit by De la Rosa whose vision was probably obscured by the smoke and debris. That's Monza really, it happens almost every year. There's little satisfaction to be taken from a race in which both cars are out after the first two turns."

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