Atlas F1 News Service

Today's Selected Quotes - US GP

Saturday September 23rd, 2000


Michael Schumacher: "I was hoping it was not going to rain at the start of the session when I stayed in the garage. I was fairly confident it would not, but I saw a few drops on my visor and pushed harder to finish the lap. We played team tactics, just like the others did at the end, except that we did it differently so that we both got a run. We changed the car a little bit during the session, because as the morning had not been completely dry we still had a few things we wanted to try. We are well prepared for the race. If it rains for the race, my only concern is if there are rivers running across the track. We have not run in real rain conditions here, but if it rains in the warm-up we will get a chance to see what it's like. It's a good feeling going round the banking but because our entry speed is not so great we do not experience being on the limit. With the wall so close, I don't want to experience it. We Europeans are probably more chicken than the Americans! I was surprised at the great reception from the spectators who were cheering us on. I hope we will give them a good show tomorrow."

Rubens Barrichello: "The car was pretty good. On my last run, I decided to put on more downforce and get a tow from Michael. However, I had a bit of understeer and I was not able to improve my time. But I am still confident because the performance levels of the top four cars are very similar. It's a shame not to be on the front row like in Monza, but I a made a terrible start there so I hope to make a good one tomorrow. There is still some work to do to find the right compromise to suit both the slow and quick parts of the track. A lot will depend on the weather conditions. It's great racing here in front of this very enthusiastic American crowd."

Jean Todt: "It's great to have secured pole on such an interesting track in front of a crowd which followed our progress in qualifying with such enthusiasm. This is our eighth pole of the season, the seventh for Schumacher. We employed team tactics between our drivers for the last two runs and while it paid off for Michael, it did not work as well for Rubens. As predicted, it was a battle between the usual two teams for the front rows and I think we will see the same situation in tomorrow's race."


David Coulthard: "Adrian Newey came across and asked if it would help for Mika to give me a tow. To which my answer was, of course, that it would help. It did work quite well for me, and although I am not sure exactly how much time it gave me, it certainly gave me a little bit down the straight. Although this is a longer straight, with a longer period of time spent running flat out, than we have at other tracks, I think the same set-up strategy will apply tomorrow, because you still need to be able to get through the infield section. So, yes, there will probably be some wing being taken off, but it's still important to make sure you have the quickest race car."

Mika Hakkinen: "Looking at the starting grid, It is a bit weird, though, because it is all asphalt on the starting grid. So, when you do your start, you're going to lose traction very easily going over those little bumps. So the second row isn't bad, after all. At the moment we go into the race tomorrow we both expect to win. Me and also David. Let's wait and see how the race goes. We will have to understand what chances we have, which positions we are able to get. So let's see how the race develops."


Jarno Trulli: "I am happy with today's result, everyone did a good job and it is always satisfying to qualify behind the top two teams although I always feel we could do better! The long straights and the possibility they give to overtake in the slipstream should make it an interesting race. I am very excited as tomorrow will be my first race in Formula One racing in the USA. I am confident for our performance and I think it will be a very interesting race, especially with the chance of overtaking in the slip stream on the long straights."

Heinz Harald Frentzen: "This is a good result for the team, my only concern is the kerbs, which are very challenging and hard to drive over. We will have to be careful during the 73-lap race. But the atmosphere here is really good. I want to make a special mention of the crowd who have been very knowledgeable and very supportive of the team. Let's hope we can give the many Jordan fans a good result."


Jenson Button: "Obviously I would have liked to have been on the second row - as I was in the untimed sessions this morning - but I am anyway very happy with my sixth place, especially because there's not a huge difference in time between me and the top five drivers - as there has sometimes been in the past, in my last run I thought that I would push as much as I can as I had nothing to lose, but I think I pushed a bit too hard! Driving through the banked corners was good fun also today and I can't wait to race through it. It's been a good weekend for us so far and I hope we can still improve tomorrow."

Ralf Schumacher: "Obviously I am not happy with my starting position. I've had a problem with my car since the start of the weekend here, which meant I couldn't find the right set-up. The reason for it we must now find by analysing the data."

Patrick Head, Technical Director: "Jenson had generally a pretty good practice session, although he is probably a bit disappointed to lose fifth position. Ralf wasn't happy with the handling of his car this morning and made some changes, which took him a little bit of time to adapt to the way the car was in the afternoon. Due to an error on his last run, when he spun, he wasn't able to capitalise on it. But sixth and tenth are not bad positions for us at the moment from which to race. Itís going to be an interesting and hard race tomorrow."


Jacques Villeneuve: "That was a difficult session; the track was no grippier than yesterday and the rain made it worse. It had just started to rain before I spun and we had gone out in case it started to rain harder. I was actually quicker at that point than I wanted to be to do a quick end of the lap, and I went into the hairpin too fast. I guess I was just trying a little too hard. We will now try to get the car to survive the whole race because it's very slippery and the tyre pressures will go up during the race, so we need to find a set-up that doesn't give us a crisis after ten laps."

Ricardo Zonta: "We made some changes to the car during the break and I think we improved the handling quite a lot from this morning. I did my fastest lap on my second outing, but could not improve on it. I think we got the most out of the car today and I hope we can race well tomorrow."

Takefumi Hosaka - Managing Director, Honda R&D: "We are not entirely satisfied with the result, of course, but the car is better than yesterday and the engine was good, allowing the drivers to keep the throttle open to the maximum in the fast parts without any problems. Both drivers did a good job today in difficult conditions, and I think Jacques has a lot of additional pressure this weekend from the American fans. We hope for a good result tomorrow."


Pedro Diniz: "I'm really happy. My car was great today,the team made a good effort and we came up with a strong setup this morning that we were subsequently able to improve further for qualifying. I got a clear lap, and here I am. Ninth on the grid is a great achievement for us."

Mika Salo: "I was really struggling to find a decent balance, I had my car set up differently from Pedro, and either I had massive oversteer or massive understeer in all the midfield corners, depending on what we changed."

Peter Sauber: "Pedro did a very good job today, and so did the team, Indianapolis was a completely unknown quantity, a new track with no data to draw upon. So it was a real challenge for the engineers, and they rose strongly to meet it. It was especially pleasing too, because Tan Sri Hassan, the President and CEO of Petronas, was with us on the pit wall following Pedro's progress closely. Unfortunately Mika had a yellow flag because of Ralf Schumacher's spin, on his last outing, and was denied the opportunity to improve."


Alexander Wurz: "I am quite happy with my performance today. The last set-up change the engineers made on my car was good and so I was able to pull up a lot of places on my last run. But we are not really where we expect to be, so we need to study the data tonight to see how we can improve for the race."

Giancarlo Fisichella: "I don't really understand, this morning the car was good then in Qualifying it seemed to have lost grip and was really difficult to drive. I'm really disappointed with fifteenth position."

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "The result this afternoon highlights the difference between our two drivers. Alex applied his mind to this race and studied everything carefully before arriving at Indianapolis. Giancarlo tried to rely on his talent which is no substitute for hard work. This appears to be a repeat of the situation we found ourselves in Malaysia last year."

Pat Symonds, Technical Director: "This is a very unexpected result. Alex did a good job and has shown that he and his engineers have got to grips with the new circuit this weekend. Giancarlo, on the other hand, does not seem to have understood the circuit, which may be a result of his mistake on Friday which cost him valuable circuit time, but even so it is hard to understand why he is so slow."


Jos Verstappen: "On one run I made a mistake but I think there's a limit for us here as we are just sliding in and out of the corners. It was the same as in this morning's practice session where we started in damp conditions, but the car does feel pretty good. We made our choice of tyres for tomorrow during the practice session which I feel happy with, but when the track dries out as it did during qualifying, we lack mechanical grip and we tried out some different grip set-ups during practice to try and resolve it for qualifying, but that didn't work so we changed back to the original set-up. There are some good racing opportunities on this circuit though so we will just do our best tomorrow."

Pedro de la Rosa: "I started off very well but I made a mistake on my last timed lap which was my best. In my previous run, I had a Jaguar in front of me which I nearly crashed with which obviously didn't help my lap time so it wasn't very good. The track had more grip in qualifying than in previous practice sessions, but it still wasn't that good. But now we have qualified and we just have to look ahead to the race tomorrow and work towards it."

Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: "We're obviously disappointed with the qualifying positions as the car balance was good, but we were lacking grip. For the race the cars will be running lower downforce levels which is more our area so we still have the chance to do well there."


Nick Heidfeld: "I am a bit disappointed with my final position on the grid. In this morning's practice session, the car behaved well in wet conditions so, I hope we will have the same kind of weather for the race. In this afternoon's qualifying we reached the limit of our potential quite quickly and, unlike the other competitors we did not manage to improve our times through the session. We know we can make a few more adjustments by tomorrow and that gives me confidence for the race."

Jean Alesi: "I have not been able to find a good setup since friday because of engine problems and I hope this will not be the case for Sunday's race. If the weather conditions help me, I hope I can enjoy a good result."

Alain Prost: "Once again even on this circuit we seem to be more competitive in wet conditions, as this morning's practice showed. In spite of our unfavourable grid positions, we will try to play an ace in the race and hope that the weather conditions are on our side."


Johnny Herbert: "I can't help it when I'm driving a car which is not really quick enough, that doesn't really help matters! We're both very lowly on the grid, and we're both together, but we're not really quick. It's very frustrating for the team and Jaguar, because obviously we've come here and wanted a good showing, and it's the worst showing of the year. Overall for the team it's not been too hot - it's been a very poor showing by us. I think we're losing just everywhere at the moment. It's just a bit of everything, I think. The car is just very, very difficult to drive. It's very edgy, it's very difficult to get the corners right. You think you're too slow, and then you go too quick, and then you slide a lot. It's a bit difficult to say exactly how it is. You keep putting wing on and when you get to a point when you put it on and you go slower, that's normally where you go back from that. I basically ended as I started. On the middle run I had more, but I thought it would be better as it was, so I put it back and did go marginally quicker again. I followed Frentzen, and that was not a problem, we'll just have to be quick down the straights - that's all we can do. It's going to have to be very low downforce tomorrow, which should make for an interesting race..."

Eddie Irvine: "Today was very frustrating, I just couldn't seem to find any more time in the car. We played with the wing settings from the first run to second, which felt a lot better, but I was held up by another car on my flying lap, on the last run I made a mistake just before the entry to the last corner which cost me a couple of tenths. I guess we put the last two days down to yet another stage in our learning experience. What we are building as a team will take time, but we have to ensure that what we take away from each race weekend like this, we put to good use in the future."

Gary Anderson, Technical director: "Yesterday, we didn't seem to be doing badly. We had a nervous rear end, and once we'd got that fixed we had understeer. The grip level on the infield is just so low. A lot of people have made mistakes because of the grip level, and we never really quite put that lap together. I don't know whether we should have run more wing at the end of the day; we looked alright speedwise. The last section time is pretty reasonable, and the mid-section time is not that bad. The first section, that complex of corners down to the back straight, is really where we're losing most. It's the first four corners. The hairpins that follow are pretty reasonable, and the rest of it's not so bad. It seems as though you really need to tidy it up through the first bit."


Gaston Mazzacane: "We did a lot of modifications this morning and in the qualifying as well. I am 50% satisfied. Actually I would have preferred to get a better placement because I believe it could have been within our grasp. My qualifying has been characterised by some ups and downs because I was unable to improve my times consecutively during my four attempts. Starting from the last row, we cannot expect so much from tomorrow's race. Should it rain, hopefully we will have one more chance."

Mark Gene: "It was a really disappointing day and I do not understand why. The time I set yesterday allowed me to score a midfield position whereas since this morning my car's behaviour was different albeit in the same trim as yesterday. During the whole day we tried to understand what was going wrong in comparison with yesterday's practice without finding any answers. The track conditions were not so different, that's why I really do not understand."

Gian Carlo Minardi: "There is not much to say. Unfortunately we did not manage to score the same times as Friday's and now we will investigate the data to find out the reasons. The fact is that yesterday the car felt good while today it suffered a lot of under steering which did not allow both drivers to improve."

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