Atlas F1 News Service

Today's Selected Quotes - Spanish GP

Saturday April 28th, 2001


Michael Schumacher: "This pole means we are back where we want to be and that makes me hopeful for the rest of the weekend. We have worked very precisely towards the race for the past two days and this is the result, but it is very tight at the front. I am not worried about tyres as, in testing here the Bridgestones seemed to have the edge and that appears to be the case today. For the start, it will be interesting to see the effect of the launch control, as this is the first time we will see it used in race conditions. I am pretty confident about the new electronics as we have done a lot of testing and I see no reason not to use all of it in the race. I can see that in qualifying, you might get an advantage without traction control, but the race is a different story. Strategy will be a big factor in the race."

Rubens Barrichello: "I am disappointed with the result of qualifying as I was unable to get the most out of the package available to me. I made a few changes to the set-up during the session, but they did not produce the result I was expecting. Therefore, I never managed to get a perfect lap. When I left the pits for my last run, I thought I could get onto the front row, but instead, I dropped to fourth place. It's a shame, but tomorrow is another day and I am confident of getting a very good result."

Jean Todt: "I am very happy to have both our cars on the front two rows in first and fourth places, especially on a difficult and technical track like the Catalunya Circuit. The introduction of the new regulations governing the use of electronics has not had an effect on the pecking order among the teams. The entire team did a really good job to perfect the complete electronics package in such a short space of time. The Bridgestone tyres worked very well here, on a track which is particularly hard on tyres. Tomorrow we will get to see how the launch control will work and whatever happens it should be an open and close fought battle. Additional satisfaction with today's performance comes from the fact it was witnessed by Umberto Agnelli, Vice President and CEO of IFIL."


Mika Hakkinen: "To be honest I'm disappointed not to get pole position. On my last and fastest run, I was three tenths of a second ahead until turn five when I lost the back end a bit. Before then all my runs had been affected by traffic so it was only towards the end that I was able to maximise the car. We have found the performance, we wanted and I'm confident for the race tomorrow."

David Coulthard: "I'm confident that I could have been on the front row. I set my fastest time on my first run which was pretty basic and tidy - you always make a safe lap at the beginning of qualifying just in case. The remainder of my flying laps just didn't work out I was either caught in traffic or made mistakes and as a result I was unable to get the best out of the car. Qualifying third means I will be starting from the clean side of the track which might be an advantage tomorrow."

Ron Dennis: "A trouble free day from a mechanical point of view but the traffic was comparable to downtown Barcelona. I'm never quite sure why we fit mirrors to the cars when it's apparent how little they are used. Therefore in the circumstances the outcome for both drivers was quite good. Of course both Mika and David used varying amounts of the new electronic control systems and surprisingly a little is sometimes better than a lot."

Norbert Haug: "A super job from Mika being less than one tenths from pole after his last run. Unfortunately David was held up on his final attempt. The competition is incredibly close but our prospects for the race should be good."


Ralf Schumacher: "I am happy so far as we got the most out of the car, as it was clear Barcelona would be difficult for us. In view of this being eight tenths away from pole is reasonable. Making a forecast for the race is difficult as our package here is not as strong as in Imola."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "I am very disappointed as we made a huge improvement from this morning. I had a decent first run, the second was better and I was trying to do everything step by step. On the third I was quicker but we had traffic and a yellow flag. Then in the last one I had Villeneuve and traffic, so that was it. The car was good, and the sad thing was the time was there. My engineers and the guys did a fantastic job but now we have to see what happens in the race."

Patrick Head: "I think Ralf did a very good job and got the best he could out of the car. Unfortunately for Juan Pablo problems on a couple of runs meant he didn't get a clear lap, and he was confident he could have done better. This means he has a lot of work to do tomorrow."

Gerhard Berger: "Under the circumstances we are very pleased with fifth as it is a bit hard for us here. The problems we have here are it is a circuit where you need more downforce and we are not as advanced as we wanted to be with development of traction control. We are happy with Ralf's result. Juan Pablo did not get his rhythm right here, but we know how good he is at overtaking so his chances for the race aren't that bad."


Jarno Trulli: "The whole team did a really good job in what was, as we expected, a very tough qualifying. I'm happy with sixth position on this track because in the past, the team's performance has not been very strong in Barcelona. On my quickest run there was some traffic and I didn't really get a completely free lap, which is a shame because fifth may have been possible as the gap from one car to another is so close. I'm confident for tomorrow, as this year the car is proving to be reliable and very competitive in the races. I hope I'll have a good start but it's going to be a very tough Grand Prix."

Heinz Harald Frentzen: "It was a very close qualifying session today. Every hundredth of a second really counted. If I had been able to squeeze another tenth of a second from the car, I would have been sixth, but that was all I could do in this session so I have to live with that. Each lap got better, the best one coming at the end even though I lost a bit of time in the last sector. I was one-tenth of a second up in the first two sectors but lost it in the third. So I managed to go quicker but not quick enough to break the 1m 19s barrier. The car was good all the way through. From this position, it looks like it's going to be a tight race because there is not a lot between us in lap times."

Eddie Jordan: "Qualifying was incredibly tight. There could have been any one of twelve drivers at the front today as there seems to be two clear groups - first McLaren and Ferrari, with Jordan, Williams, Sauber and BAR following closely. It was exciting and although it wasn't our best qualifying, to be on the third and fourth row of the grid is still good. At this moment our aim is to keep scoring points and continue improving on the performance we have shown so far this year."


Jacques Villeneuve: "I am pleased that we managed to get seventh in the end because we had a really hard qualifying session. We found that the rear brakes were not attached on the first run and on the second run we discovered that we were 10 kilos overweight. Once we had rectified that it was nearly the end of the session so we had run out of time to do the perfect aggressive lap."

Olivier Panis: "It was a difficult session and I am not happy with my final grid position. During my fast lap another driver blocked me, which I am very disappointed about because he is an experienced driver in Formula 1. There was also a lot of traffic which stopped me getting another fast lap in but the car felt good today, we achieved a good balance and again the team did a great job."

Craig Pollock: "It was a good solid qualifying session and it is proof that the team has taken the positive step forward that we have been working very hard to achieve. I am a little bit disappointed that we didn't get a clear run, which would have enabled us to qualify higher up the grid, but it puts us in a good position for tomorrow."


Kimi Raikkonen: "This morning the car was great, so we left it alone for the afternoon. Maybe we shouldn't have done that because I couldn't repeat that time in qualifying. If I had... but we just couldn't get the best out of the car. I'm really pleased to be in the top 10 again, though."

Peter Sauber: "Today we had our traction control system well sorted and I'm very happy for the team that we have once again maintained our level of performance and qualified both cars in the top 10. Again it was a good session for Kimi, but I'm sorry that Nick had his initial problem. He recovered very well, but then lost three-tenths behind Coulthard. Without that incident we could have been much higher up the grid."

Nick Heidfeld: "This was a disappointing afternoon for me. On my first run I had a drivetrain problem on my race car and had to switch to the T-car, which unfortunately was set for Kimi. It always takes time to change the seat and pedals, and though the team did a great job I found after one run that I needed some more adjustment. I managed a good time on the next run, but if you look at the sector times my last run was better still until I came up behind Coulthard and lost time. I'm happy to be in the top 10 in the circumstances, but not when I consider where I could have been without losing that time."


Eddie Irvine: "I couldn't have done any better today. We extracted everything we could from the car and 13th place is what we expected at this circuit. Given the aerodynamic demands of Catalunya, we always envisaged a difficult weekend and unless the teams in front of us get it wrong tomorrow, we're in for another hard race chasing a distant chance of a point. There's little we can do apart from wait for the new aerodynamic package which is in development right now."

Pedro de la Rosa: "I am very disappointed with way things went against me today. My problems began during the warm-up session this morning when a steering failure caused me to drive into the wall at the exit of the pit lane. The team tried to repair the damage in time for qualifying but in the end I had no choice but to take the T-Car which was set-up for Eddie. I then encountered problems with the rear brakes and set-up. It wasn't balanced to my liking and 20th place on the grid is the price we've paid. Given our healthy start yesterday, it's annoying to fall victim to such problems but there's no point in dwelling on it. Any new team such as this one will experience difficulties like this and we must accept these as part of our learning curve and development."

Bobby Rahal: "We had mixed day in that Eddie got as much out of the car as he could and Pedro was not given the tools to do the job we know he's capable of. We didn't exactly inspire Pedro's confidence today and we will look into what went wrong this morning. Our initial investigation has identified the problem as a steering failure and we checked Eddie's car immediately to ensure there was no replication of this problem. I'm sure both cars would have qualified much as we have done so far this season and that's in the mid grid."


Luciano Burti: "I am quite happy with my first qualifying result with my new team. Right from the start, I have felt welcomed and relaxed with everyone in the team. I think it contributed to my performance today. This morning, despite the lack of time, everybody worked hard and fast to set up the car for me and we managed to find quite a good balance. In this afternoon's session it was somehow difficult to put in a good lap because of the wind. But at the end of the session, I managed to do a good lap, so I am very satisfied."

Jean Alesi: "Today's qualyfing has not been an improvement for us. It's disappointing that we couldn't do better on this circuit which we know so well. It's clear that until we have the development due on the car we will not see a significant change. We just have to be patient and wait, before we can see a real progress'."

Alain Prost: "We had expected a difficult session, because our recurrent problem of balance between rear and front of the car increases in qualyfing configuration. However, we have worked a good deal today, with no real problem. Our cars'times are very close and we have managed to do comparative tests with both drivers. We feel ready and optimistic for tomorrow's race, with both cars well place on the grid. On behalf of the whole team, I would like to congratulate Luciano for the great job he has been doing in his first weekend with the team."


Enrique Bernoldi: "Well it looks like it's 3-2 to Brazil! I'm happy with that although my last lap could have been quicker but I had a bit of a slide. The whole session went according to our plan. We didn't actually change much on the car between each run, it was more a case of me getting into the flow and slowly improving. I enjoy this track so hopefully we'll have a good day tomorrow as I'm looking forward to racing here."

Jos Verstappen: "We tried very hard today. We always knew this would be a tough circuit for us but having said that we have definitely improved the aerodynamic package a lot since Imola which is a good sign. I had a really good second run but span on my third as my brakes felt different. When I came back in we bled the brakes which solved the problem but I think I may have damaged the floor when I went off so was unable to improve on my last run. We've got a lot more work to do but have definitely made a step in the right direction."

Mike Coughlan: "We're pretty disappointed with our positions today. We certainly have made improvements but are still half a second away from the top of the 'second division', then a full second from the bottom of the 'first division'. Engine reliability has been good and we're very pleased that all our new electronic systems have worked flawlessly."


Fernando Alonso: "Today's qualifying session went very well - I really did not expect to finish ahead of one Jaguar and both Benettons! What can I say? The team did a great job, particularly the mechanics on my crew when they changed an engine very quickly in this morning's first free practice session. They provided me with a car that behaved brilliantly from that moment on. As a result, we were able to test several different set-ups and get the best out of the chassis today. I feel very happy and I'm now looking forward to tomorrow."

Tarso Marques: "It has obviously been a disappointing day from a personal standpoint, although I am pleased for the team that Fernando has qualified well. My car had a chassis balance problem that meant there was too much oversteer on the entry to certain corners. We made some aerodynamic and small mechanical changes to the chassis, and on my last qualifying run, on what should have been my best lap, I lost a lot of time, and almost spun, when I came up on another competitor who was going slowly."

Paul Stoddart: "Now that was good! On a bright, sunny Spanish afternoon, European Minardi F1 and Fernando Alonso showed a home crowd and the world just what enormous natural talent he possesses. His final timed lap saw him post his best-ever Formula One qualifying performance, and means he will start tomorrow's race ahead of two Benettons and a Jaguar. Tarso set his fastest time so far this weekend during qualifying, just four seconds off pole position. Considering he has never tested here in Barcelona, today's was a creditable performance."


Giancarlo Fisichella: "We did expect this type of performance before coming to Barcelona, so it's not really surprising. Having said that I'm obviously disappointed, but we are just doing what we can do with the car at the moment. The circuit was okay today. It was a little bit windy out there but that wasn't too bad and there weren't really any problems."

Jenson Button: "Starting from where I am now will make tomorrow's race very difficult but my main task now is to bring the car home and gather as much information as possible so that we can learn for the future. Obviously, I'm disappointed, particularly as I wasn't able to complete my programme as we had a problem at the end of the session."

Mike Gascoyne: "A difficult qualifying session for us. Giancarlo had two runs spoilt by traffic and was therefore unable to get a good clear lap. Unfortunately, Jenson wasn't able to get out in time for his last run, which meant he was unable to better his position. So far this season we've been more competitive in the races than in qualifying. We think we've chosen the right race tyre and so we look forward to having a stronger performance tomorrow."

Pat Symonds: "It was very difficult to get a competitive lap time today. We opted to use the harder tyres because we felt that the difference in qualifying time would be relatively small. Of course, this gives us some hope for tomorrow's race."

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