Atlas F1 News Service

Today's Selected Quotes - US GP

Sunday September 24th, 2000


Michael Schumacher: "This is really, really nice! It is the first time we have come here and I did not expect such a reception from the American fans. Another one-two for Ferrari is just the best. After the start, we knew that Coulthard might have a penalty, but I had to pass him as he was slowing me. Of course that was done so that Mika could catch me, which is fair enough as they are team mates. I think he tried a bit too hard to stop me and we touched. In the early stages I was concentrating on saving my tyres. I was in front when Mika went out and I believe I could have stayed there if he had continued. We beat them fair and square. As for my spin, I wasn’t concentrating because I was cruising after the team told me to slow down. I got caught out on some wet grass which spun me round. Ross Brawn told me on the radio to concentrate and I replied that I was awake now. As for the championship, I refuse to believe in it until it is over. Now we must concentrate and work hard for the next two races. Of course this is a good position to be in as I can finish twice second and still win the championship on the number of wins. But I prefer to win the next race. Now I am heading back to Italy and will be testing on Thursday and Friday."

Rubens Barrichello: "I am very happy for myself and for the team after this good result. It was great to see so many Brazilian and Ferrari flags in the grandstands. In the early part of the race I found I had too much oversteer on the rain tyres and so I called for dry ones on the radio. I had a lot of fuel on board and the car was quite difficult to drive at that point. I made my pit stop a bit too early, maybe five laps, but as I was on a long run I knew I would get my chance later. When I saw Mika stop, I knew I had to push hard to try and get the best possible result for the team and give them sixteen points. Although my car was quick, I had a bit too much wing which made it hard to pass Heinz-Harald, but when he pitted I got my chance."

Jean Todt: "This is Ferrari’s eighth victory of the season and the seventh for Michael. In terms of wins and also with 143 points this is an outright record for the team in one season. A day like this makes you think even more about the championships, but we know that even if there are only two races remaining, the road ahead will still be long and difficult. It was a fantastic race from start to finish with both Michael and Rubens producing a great performance. Michael always makes us nervous when he has a big lead but we know him well by now. He’s like that. He finds it hard to drive slowly! I am very happy for the team, for the preparation work they did, for the job they accomplished during the race and for the way they reacted in the most difficult moments. Now we must keep our concentration and our feet on the ground. We start work again tomorrow to be absolutely ready for Japan and Malaysia."


Heinz Harald Frentzen: "It was very tough, I had set the car up for straight-line speed but this meant I was struggling on the infield. I was pushed very hard by Jacques Villeneuve, he tried one overtaking move which was very optimistic and he went onto the grass, which gave me some breathing space. But not for long! He chased me all the way to flag but I knew how important this third place would be for me and the team. We have had many chances to finish on the podium this season but luck has not gone our way. I'm very happy with this result for the team, everyone has been through difficult times and this give us a great boost."

Jarno Trulli: "Button was pushing me hard and tried to outbrake me - but it was too late. He collided with me and we went off. I'm obviously very unhappy about that because I had a flat tyre as a result and had to make a pit stop and then I retired from a mechanical problem which we think was caused by the impact."

Eddie Jordan: "I am so happy with this result, it's about time things came good for us and to be on the podium here in Indiapolis in front of this amazing crowd helps take away some of the painful moments we have had this year. Heinz did an excellent job. Jarno was not so lucky, but his time will come."


Jacques Villeneuve: "Today was a lot of fun and we were really quick in the race, but it's frustrating to get so close to a podium. I made a couple of mistakes, but it probably wouldn't have made a difference in the end. I wasn't really close enough to pass Frentzen but I just decided there was no sand trap and no tyre wall, so I'd take a chance. I lost track of where the corner was and as soon as I touched the brakes I knew I was not going to be able to stop. We were a lot closer to the pace of the McLaren today and the car was much better than in qualifying."

Ricardo Zonta: "It's a great result for the team to get both cars in the points and I'm pleased to finish in the top six for the second race running. In the early laps the other cars were faster because of our wing settings and fuel load, but I could keep up with them and we were then faster as the race went on."

Takefumi Hosaka - Managing Director, Honda R&D: "Obviously we are very pleased to get this result. It was very exciting for us and for the fans to see Jacques battling all through the race for third place and the lap times today show that the car was very competitive. However, we are just as pleased with Ricardo's race. He suffered an early electronic failure, but the back-up system that the Honda engineers had prepared yesterday worked perfectly and he drove a fantastic race."


David Coulthard: "I'm sorry and frustrated that I jumped the start, which meant I received a 10 second stop-and-go penalty. I worked my way through traffic but my second set of tyres was not as good as my first one and as a result I couldn't push as hard as I would have liked and had to settle for fifth."

Mika Hakkinen: "Obviously I'm disappointed not to get any points today but we still have two races to go. I was stuck behind a Minardi for quite a number of laps, but once I got past I was catching Schumacher with more than half a second per lap. Unfortunately I had to retire with an engine failure."

Ron Dennis: "Our commitment to winning the World Championship is undiminished. Obviously the outcome of today's race is less than satisfactory but its only one race in 17, and with two to go there are more than enough points available. Despite the outcome of the race we have enjoyed Indianapolis and hope the spectators had a great time."

Norbert Haug: "I feel sorry for Mika. He really had the speed to win but an engine failure forced him out of the race. It was the first technical failure for 13 races. But we certainly will not give up. David was catching up after his stop-and-go penalty, however he was not as quick on his second set of tyres as he was on his first one, when he posted the fastest lap of the race."


Eddie Irvine: "This was much better than I expected considering I qualified 17th, we've had a couple of seventh place finishes as a team now which leaves a bit of an empty feeling - one place away from points. I was able to run at a good pace during the race, better than our qualifying pace, which probably suggests that the tyres were not giving us a clear picture on set-up during practice. The car developed a bit of understeer on the second set of tyres, which was the difference between seventh and a championship point. I thought the way we responded as a team after a difficult first two days deserved a point."

Johnny Herbert: "The conditions played into my hands at the beginning of the race, as I decided to start on grooved tyres, which gave me an advantage then turned against me in my pitstop, I hit a puddle in the pitlane which knocked me into the path of a wheel gun and damaged my front wing. We had the strategy and we had the pace but we didn't have the luck. The early stages were great fun as it was good old-fashioned racing and it was a real pleasure to pass a Ferrari. It's annoying that when eveything's going to well such a tiny mistake can cause so much time lost. Having said that, I enjoyed my first race at Indianapolis and can't wait to come back next year for the 500!"

Gary Anderson, Technical director: "It was a pleasing end to the weekend after a troubled start. We were desperately unlucky with Johnny. We decided to start him on grooved tyres, which worked in our favour when it stayed dry but unfortunately the car slid a little under braking on the entry to the pit box, hit a wheel gun and damaged the nose. That cost us 20 seconds and the chance of a solid points finish. In the early stages of the race he was the second fastest car on the track. Eddie drove a good race but ended up one place shy of the points. It was an exciting race to be a part of and a great start to Formula One's return to the US. Judging by the crowd involvement, they enjoyed the show."


Pedro Diniz: "I'm really disappointed today, towards the end of the race my car began to feel really strange. I don't know what it was, but it felt like a brake problem or a loose wheel, so I had to come in to have it checked. I really didn't want to do that, but I didn't feel I had any other course open to me. It was a real good race on a very interesting and challenging track. I was glad to be able to come so close on the American speedway and give a good show to the American spectators. Without that, I would have finished sixth."

Mika Salo: "It didn't help that the warm-up this morning was damp so we couldn't refine our race set-up, my car was difficult all day, and still hard to balance, and in the end it just got away from me in the first corner at the start of lap 19."

Willy Rampf, Technical director: "A disappointing race for us, especially as our strategy with Pedro was perfect, we stayed out on wets for the first 15 laps, when he was running third, then did a long stint on dry tyres. Sixth place was a genuine probability until his unexpected stop. We checked the car and checked the tyres, and up to now, we do not know exactly what went wrong."


Nick Heidfeld: "It is good to finish a race again, even though we can still not feel happy with this result, so far from the points. The start went well, but the car behaved in very different ways during the race. In the beginning, Jean was quicker and he overtook me. Then as the track was drying, I was a lot quicker, and I overtook Jean. After my second pit-stop, the balance of my car was not as good any more, with a lot of understeer, so that in the end, I could not prevent Diniz from overtaking me. Overall, Indianapolis has given us a Grand Prix that is different to all the others and with a very individual atmosphere and I am happy to have finished ninth."

Jean Alesi: "It is a shame I could not complete this race, especially so close to the end. We can feel happy that one car reached the finishing line. I appreciated very much the atmosphere here in Indianapolis and I feel all the more sorry we could not set a better result. The important thing this weekend was the announcement we made concerning the future of the team. Now we just need to learn from our present difficulties and prepare for a better season next year."

Alain Prost: "We must congratulate our two drivers for their race without mistakes. It is a shame we could not finish this race with both cars. Jean's engine blew up nine laps before the end. As we expected, our car performed quite well on a wet track during the first part of the race, and worse as it was drying. It was a weekend in which we have learned a lot. At a time when we are thinking about next year, Nick's ninth place is some reward for the work done by the team this weekend."


Alexander Wurz: "I am not at all happy with this result. We made a mistake starting on heavy fuel and the hard wets, so I couldn't get a good start and lost places immediately. My first pit stop to change to dry tyres was long for some reason and probably too early, so by the time I came out I was right at the back of the field. I pushed as hard as I could, and posted the 7th fastest lap time, but it was almost impossible to make up many places."

Giancarlo Fisichella: "The start was terrible for me as we had lots of fuel and the wrong tyres. Then I got a 10 second penalty for a jump start which left me in last place. From there, there was not a lot I could do, then an engine problem forced me to retire anyway. All in all this this has been a disastrous weekend for me!"

Pat Symonds, Technical Director: "It was very difficult today to determine a sensible strategy with slightly unpredictable weather conditions. With our grid positions we had to take some risks and we didn't get them right. I don't think we gave our drivers a chance worthy of their abilities today. I hope that Alex's seventh fastest lap was a truer reflection of our abilities."

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "We made a mistake starting with the hard wet tyres and a heavy fuel load. We thought it had rained more than it had and the circuit dried quicker than we expected. So very early on in the race we knew it was all over for us."


Marc Gené: "Today my car felt really well. It was balanced and steady with a wonderful behaviour, definitely better than yesterday’s qualifying. The Team choose the right strategy for the stop. When I came in I made a bad mistake and I apologise to the lads. Unfortunately that caused a massive loss of valuable time which jeopardized the rest of my race."

Gaston Mazzacane: "I feel disappointed for not finishing my race. Yet I was betrayed by the engine. Despite a bad start I managed to enter soon in the thick of the battle. I was struggling in the leading positions keeping the same pace as the other cars. I even drove in front of Hakkinen for a few laps before going in the pits for my first stop. Unfortunately I made a big mistake under braking at the second stop and locked up my wheels running over two guys of the crew. Apart from this unfortunate episode, I believe I drove a good race today."

Gian Carlo Minardi: "Our race was driven beautifully over the first part. Both drivers' performance turned out really good. Sadly they made two mistakes at the second stop running over two mechanics. A big approval to them both because, despite the incident, they completed their job, tire change and refuelling respectively. Soon afterwards the race was not important anymore, we took care of what happened in the garage which was much more important to us."


Ralf Schumacher: "In these drying conditions I was one of the fastest on the circuit, it was great! But then there was a problem with the engine and I had to come in. It turned out to be the air pressure system. They tried to pump up the pressure and I went back out but it was still not working and I had to stop the engine before it became damaged."

Jenson Button: "I felt I had lined him up well to pass at the end of the back straight, he wasn't moving around or anything and I went for the inside. It then seemed like he came across on me as I was alongside - maybe it was because his car twitched under braking, I don't know. But we touched and this gave me a puncture. I hit something and then the engine just died. I'm so sorry I couldn't finish this race because the crowd has been fantastic here and the circuit is great."

Patrick Head, Technical Director: "Obviously we're disappointed. Jenson's engine just shut down and we assume it's an electrical problem. Ralf was running an excellent race until he had a pneumatic leak somewhere in the system and we were unable to adequately recharge it. We just have to put this behind us and concentrate on scoring some good points in Malaysia and Japan."

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "The air system for the hydraulics for some reason we have yet to analyse, failed and we could not recharge it. It makes it all the more frustrating that it was such a small problem."


Pedro de la Rosa: "The gearbox broke in fifth gear on the last corner and that was that! The race was okay - we were doing well until I got caught behind Diniz. He was very fast on the straight and I couldn't overtake him, although I think I was faster than him so I should have. Then we had a second pit stop which was very slow and cost me another position, and then was the problem with the gearbox. I am not very happy at the moment as it seems that on the races where we are no-where, the car holds on and we finish without any problems, and then there are races where we have good performance and are possibly likely to be in the points and the car breaks down, so it's disappointing. There are still a few races to go and I think we really need to and are capable of scoring more points."

Jos Verstappen: "The car really was very good during the race until the moment I went off. Looking at the lap times it was nearly as good as in qualifying so I am happy with the car's handling. I think we had a problem with the brake balance knob - there is a knob to change the brake balance between the front and the rear. I changed the brake balance during the race but when I came to a stop I looked at the knob and it was out of position and very loose and maybe moved things more towards the rear. I think that's why I had oversteer on the brakes. I locked the rears when I braked and I went off in a straight line into the tyre wall. Everything was going well and warm up this morning was good too. We tried a lot of tyres and I think we made the right choice at the beginning of the race and then we changed to grooves, but things just didn't happen for us today."

Tom Walkinshaw, Team Principal: "It's obviously disappointing with the reliability of the car and that we were unable to bring either car home, especially as both Jos and Pedro were displaying strong performances in the race. We had the chance of having at least one car finish in the points and it's a great shame that that didn't materialise."

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