Atlas F1 News Service

Today's Selected Quotes - San Marino GP

Saturday April 14th, 2001


David Coulthard: "I'm really pleased with my pole position and the fact that it appears we have taken a step forward with the package. I went off the circuit yesterday and damaged the chassis so we changed it overnight and the team was working until early this morning, so this is the best reward they could get. We made a lot of changes during practice this morning and continued to do so during qualifying. After my penultimate run, I was still struggling with the rear and had difficulties carrying speed into the corners. We made some adjustments and I pushed a little bit more, and it was enough."

Mika Hakkinen: "I just missed out on pole position today after an exciting session. However to have two West McLaren Mercedes cars on the front row is a great achievement. It shows that we have made a leap, which is a result of the hard work put in by the entire team."

Ron Dennis: "A satisfying outcome to a qualifying session where the weather conditions were changing throughout. The result is a credit to everybody in the race team and the people behind the scenes who contribute a great deal but are not here to enjoy the moment."

Norbert Haug: "The team and both drivers have worked very well and we have increased our competitiveness. Both cars on the front row is a good reward for David, Mika and the entire team. We have taken a step forward but we still have to improve further."


Ralf Schumacher: "I am very pleased, mostly because I didn't expect a dry track this afternoon. We are still struggling a bit in the wet, as the Michelin tyres work better in hot conditions. BMW did a great job and gave us a very strong engine. I think that I have never before outqualified Michael in F1, so when I saw him after getting out of the car he told me 'see you tomorrow!'. Things change in the race, of course, but the forecast for tomorrow is for good weather, so I am quite confident."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "It's been quite a negative weekend for me so far. I'm very disappointed because on my last fast lap I put a wheel on the grass, which caused me to lose valuable time in the chicane of the last sector. The handling of the car was pretty good, even if not at its best. I pushed quite hard and improved lap after lap but blew it all on the last run."

Patrick Head, Technical Director: "It was a good lap by Ralf in the end. Juan Pablo was always in the position of making up time from yesterday, when he lost one hour of dry practice due to technical problems. Anyway, we are in a good position for the race."

Gerhard Berger, BMW Motorsport Director: "No Ferrari on the front row in Imola: this is quite surprising! We had a troublefree qualifying and everything went according to our plan. In the end Ralf did a good lap whereas Juan Pablo lost some time in the last sector. As long as it remains dry we are confident that tomorrow we will be able to increase our points score."


Michael Schumacher: "I think I am happier starting on the second row of the grid on the right tyres for tomorrow, than to be on pole with the wrong ones! It was clear that the right moment to go for a time was at the end, but I did not make the most of it. I lost four tenths in the last sector on my last lap. It was my fault. The car’s balance is as neutral as it has to be and it wasn’t an issue today. I am not bothered about missing out on eight consecutive poles, but I am disappointed for our fans. But I can assure them that tomorrow will be interesting. Strategy will be very important. The situation is not as bad as it looks and starting from fourth place, everything is still possible."

Rubens Barrichello: "Obviously, I am not happy with this afternoon’s result. The car was pretty much on the pace, but I ran into traffic on all my runs, never getting a single clear lap. I am very disappointed as the day was looking good. It will be a very open race tomorrow. I will be relying heavily on our tyre choice to make up the positions I lost today."

Jean Todt: "This is the first time since last year's Belgian Grand Prix that there has not been a Ferrari on the front row. We had got used to it and so, today's result, with one car on the second row and the other on the third is rather unusual. The cars worked well during the session. We opted for a more conservative approach on the tyre front. Now, we hope this will prove to be the right decision for tomorrow."


Jarno Trulli: "That was really exciting!. It almost feels as good as getting on the front row as Monaco last year! I really pushed hard and I feel that I did my best with a car which was very competitive. I knew I should be able to do well because, in the morning, I hadn't been pushing hard because the track still wasn't dry, but I knew the car felt good. I could see in qualifying that the track was a bit wet in the beginning but it was getting better and better. The thing to do was to wait right until the end. So I just had to keep calm! I went out at the right time, everything went well and, as I said, it was very exciting! So, my starting position is good and, since we have a competitive car, I'm hoping for a good result in the race."

Heinz-Harald Frentzen: "On my second quick run, I had a really hairy moment with a slower car, the car felt really good but then I had massive understeer. We don't know at this stage what caused it but all I can say is that the balance of the car was very different all of a sudden. It's a pity because we were making good progress despite not having had the set-up time we wanted for qualifying due to the wet track in the morning. So it goes without saying that I'm disappointed with ninth place. I'll just have to see what I can do from there."

Eddie Jordan, Chief Executive: "After the three long-haul races, it's good to have the convenience of our trucks and motor homes at the circuit, and I'm delighted to see Jordan Grand Prix on the third row, in among the Williams and the Ferraris, particularly with the field being so competitive. Jarno did a great job and it's really unfortunate that Heinz-Harald got held up by traffic, otherwise he would have been right up there too. Now we have to translate this into more points tomorrow."


Olivier Panis: "I am happy with the qualifying position I have achieved. It is my best so far this year. All the mechanics and the team did a great job. We have made some improvements and I was happy with the balance of the car. I am pleased with the result although I would have preferred pole position. I feel very positive going into the race tomorrow."

Jacques Villeneuve: "I am very disappointed. We have been very quick all weekend but in qualifying it just didn't work and I am not sure why. I didn't get a good lap in at the start and then there was traffic as we reached the end of the session. It's frustrating, but it just didn't come our way today."

Craig Pollock: "I am happy for Oliver with the qualifying position that he achieved but we could have done better. We clearly messed up by going out a little bit too early. The time was without doubt in the car, we just did not managed to get it. There is still a lot of work to do and I think it will be a good hard race tomorrow. We are looking forward to it and we are confident that we can perform well during the race."

Malcolm Oastler, Technical Director: "From a team point of view it was a fair qualifying result. The team and drivers worked well and there were no problems with the cars. Both Jacques and Oliver were happy with the balance and the set-up that we had on the cars. During the session Jacques was held up by traffic on his last run but Oliver managed to put in a good lap, so that dictated our result. Of Late we have been stronger in the race than qualifying so we expect to improve on our position tomorrow."


Kimi Raikkonen: "A top 10 qualifying position is good, but I'm not happy because I know I should have been higher than 10th place. On my last run things were looking good, but I braked a little bit too late in the last corner and ran over the kerb on the inside and lost maybe three or four tenths. It would have been nice to finish the lap well because without that I should have been eighth or ninth. But these things happen. The car is very good here, and it´s doing everything I want it to."

Nick Heidfeld: "Basically there was nothing special about qualifying for me. I had traffic on my second to last run, and then we made a change to the car for the last one. Unfortunately we still had some balance problems, and I lost time in the last sector. I just don't understand where the speed went, after the car was so good yesterday and again this morning."

Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "I am happy with another top 10 qualifying position, which is always our clear goal. It underlines the competitiveness of the C20 on yet another different type of track, and confirms that our performances in the first three races of the season were no flash in the pan."


Eddie Irvine: "I'm disappointed not to have done better even though we expected to qualify around this position, I was suffering from understeer at the start and then the car appeared to be getting better. I don't know why, but I was seven-tenths quicker on my in-lap and with hindsight maybe we should have done a double run early in the session. Given that we have a new front tyre from Michelin and a new development of the Cosworth CR3 engine, I should have done better, The new engine is good and its driveability is very pleasing, but right now we are not getting the performance we need to be competitive in qualifying. The in-lap shows you what time the car is capable of so we need to understand that fully."

Luciano Burti: "We probably could have done better, but not by much, my engine was misfiring and the gear downshifts were slow. Going through the corners, I was experiencing a surge in power, which is why I ran onto the grass at turn three during my final run. I'm particularly disappointed because it looked like my best lap. The team has done a good job on set-up and the car feels well balanced. My absence from the second Free Practice session this morning didn't affect my qualifying performance and I'm not disappointed with this morning's incident. The track was very wet and many people spun out. As luck would have it, I was the only one to actually spin into the tyre barrier whereas the others just spun back onto the track. Tomorrow's race will certainly be a difficult one and as was the case in Brazil, we shall be discussing various race strategies in an effort to compensate for our starting position on the grid."

Bobby Rahal: "We didn't do ourselves justice today to be truthful and I guess we paid the penalty for it Luciano had some mechanical problems to overcome, but otherwise it was another solid performance by him on a track that he has had to learn. Eddie is understandably disappointed, as he probably could have been a position or two higher. As usual we are going to work hard overnight in an effort to optimise the package for tomorrow's race. We need to develop a better understanding of how to get the best out of this car in qualifying trim. Our race strategy will play a critical role in dictating how we finish and given that the R2's reliability has only let us down once so far this year, we still have cause to be hopeful."


Jean Alesi: "Obviously I expected a better result. But this afternoon the track conditions changed very rapidly and we have not been able to obtain the best from the car. However, I remain motivated and I look forward to tomorrow's race, on this circuit to which am particularly attached."

Gaston Mazzacane: "In spite of yesterday's good work, since this morning I have struggled to find a good set up. And unfortunately, even if I made some progress throughout the afternoon's session, I was not able to qualify in a more satisfying position."

Alain Prost: "After an encouraging start of the weekend, qualifying was unpredictable and difficult for us and we simply couldn't get the best out of the tyres. Jean ran on different setups to try and adapt to the changing track conditions but it was only on his last run that he found a good compromise. It was too late to set the time that we were hoping for, but that gave us a good base for tomorrow's race."


Enrique Bernoldi: "We worked hard throughout the session, developing the set-up to suit the conditions. I had a small problem on my third run but the last run went really well so I'm happy with my qualifying time. Of course we want to be higher up the grid but we are working hard to achieve that."

Jos Verstappen: "I'm very disappointed with that. Everything was going well and I was taking a lot of time off during each run. At the end of my third run there was an electrical problem so I had to switch over into the T-car. Although it had all my settings, it is never quite the same as your race car so I lost a lot of momentum and couldn't improve It's disappointing as the last run is usually the best so I wasn’t able to finish the job off properly today."

Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: "We should be a second faster than that. The work we have done in testing has helped us a great deal but of course all the others have moved forward too. We'll continue to work hard to close that gap and I think Barcelona will give us a much better idea of where we are. Everyone has tested there a lot so it is more of a level playing field. We'll get working on our race strategy now and hope for a good race tomorrow."

Lionel de Castro, Asiatech: "Overall a good qualifying session for the team. The drivers made intelligent use of their allotted 12 laps and steadily whittled down their times. The Imola circuit provides an ideal theatre in which to express the Asiatech engine's power and the team is confident about tomorrow's race."

European Minardi

Fernando Alonso: "I definitely feel satisfied and pretty happy with today's outcome. This morning's free practice sessions, which took place on a wet track, did not allow us to work properly on the car's settings. Therefore, for the qualifying session, we went for the chassis settings we had arrived at back at the factory, which are not always the right ones. Happily, though, my car was good and behaved well throughout qualifying. I pushed hard over the last runs, driving to the limit, and I believe that to be ahead of both Benettons and one Prost is an encouraging result for the team, which bodes well for the development of our chassis."

Tarso Marques: "My car did not have a good balance and I experienced quite a few problems in trying to find the right set-up. Unfortunately, we had chosen to use only three sets of tyres for two runs, which turned out to be the wrong strategy, and on my last attempt, when the track conditions had definitely improved and I should have been able to go for my fastest lap, the front tyre lost a lot of pressure. As a result, I was not able to improve my time."

Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "In an interesting qualifying session that saw all teams take to the track in the opening minutes for fear the heavens were going to open, we were delighted that European Minardi F1 once again proved that it is competitive at the highest level of motorsport. Fernando's 18th place in itself gave reason for satisfaction, but considering that his time was only three seconds off that set by the driver of another well-known Italian team, we couldn't be more pleased. More importantly, though, his performance was better than both Benettons and one of the Prosts, and not that far adrift of the Arrows and Jaguars. It was a shame Tarso had a moment on his last run, resulting in a slow puncture of his car's left front tyre. If not for that, we were confident of qualifying both cars well clear of the back of the grid. Now we'll see what the team can do in the race.


Giancarlo Fisichella: "This does not look good for us and I am very disappointed. We thought that we could be more competitive but I hope we'll have a reliable race tomorrow to increase our morale. Tomorrow we'll focus on finishing the race with both cars. However, it is always good to be back home to race and I hope that we can show some good performances.

Jenson Button: "Starting from 21st position is not very satisfactory but we need to have patience and look to the future as we are still at a development stage. Of course it is difficult as a driver to accept today's situation but I still believe that we'll be much stronger in later races."

Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "Mistakes and traffic on the last run meant that the drivers didn't improve at the time when the track was quickest. Today's qualifying session shows how much work we have to do before we start being competitive. For tomorrow we have to ensure that we are as reliable as we were in Brazil. Even from low down on the grid anything can happen so we have to work hard tomorrow during the race."

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