Atlas F1 News Service

Sunday's Selected Quotes - German GP

Sunday July 29th, 2001


Ralf Schumacher: "It has been an unbelieveable day and I am very, very happy. It is just great for a German driver, with a German engine to win the German Grand Prix. I have to admit that at the beginning my team-mate was faster than me. Before the re-start I changed tyres to be on the safe side, because there was so much debris on the track. I started early on to save fuel and be easy on the engine, as I knew it would be a race of attrition. I want to thank the team who did a perfect job. I am now looking forward to take a couple of days off at home before thinking about Hungary."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "I am so disappointed I cannot find the words to describe how I feel. Up to the pit stop the race was going perfectly for me. We then had a problem with the refuelling rig and this lost me the lead. I had a safe second and then two laps later the engine just went."

Patrick Head, Technical Director: "This is obviously a great result for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team and Ralf, but obviously a pity for Juan Pablo to have the problem with the refuelling rig and the engine. We had a big gap to Rubens Barrichello and so slowed Ralf down significantly. For the crowd perhaps the second half of the race was a bit disappointing, as so many of the cars dropped out."

Gerhard Berger, BMW Motorsport Director: "It is great to dominate qualifying and then go on and win our home Grand Prix. As engine power plays an important role here, I would like to congratulate the BMW team working in the factory in Munich. As a team with the great crew from WilliamsF1 and Michelin we were virtually unbeatable over the weekend, and I think we can be proud of this. It really is a shame Juan Pablo retired with a broken engine. He was very strong here, setting one lap record after another. It is good we have two top drivers so Ralf could take over the lead when Juan Pablo had his problems."


Rubens Barrichello: "Given that we felt the Williams was on another level, the two stop strategy was the right decision, as the best we could hope for was to finish behind them and I was the only one who could match their pace at the start thanks to that strategy. So I am very happy with this second place. I was already third before the red flag. After I passed Mika, he hit me from behind and I was worried the car was damaged, but the team changed the rear wing before the second start. Mika apologised to me on the grid. My fight with David was fun and fair, although a bit too close at times. The problem with it was that we were both losing time rather than moving forward. It was not a problem passing him round the outside. He left that side for me and we know one another since Formula 3 so we have respect for one another. I was surprised at the number of retirements to be honest. This result was really everything I could hope for today. I am pleased to have brought home six very important points for the Constructors' Championship."

Michael Schumacher: "At the first start I had a problem with the gear selection. I did not know where to go and when I saw Burti in my mirrors I couldn't move out of the way. It was a difficult situation but it could have been a lot worse. After the pit stop I had a fuel pressure problem and I had to retire. I am not too disappointed as the situation in the championship remains the same and there is one less race to go. It was a shame not to finish the race and pick up a further six points. Of course I'm very happy for Ralf as this is our home race and it was good to see him win here. It would have been nice to get on the podium with Ralf and Rubens and the fans would have liked it."

Jean Todt: "This was a very strange race and tough on the reliability for the cars. Ferrari has come out of it with six points to increase its lead in the Constructors' Championship and in the Drivers' classification, Schumacher's advantage over Coulthard remains the same with one less race to go, even if his brother Ralf has closed up a bit. Rubens drove a really great race, getting the most out of the strategy, which given the result proved to be the right one. The way the race went showed the importance of reliability. I am disappointed that Michael did not finish. He had a gearbox problem at the first start and then a fuel pressure problem just after his pit-stop. I am happy that Prost and Jean Alesi finished sixth with a Ferrari engine."


Jacques Villeneuve: "Today's result feels great. We haven't been competitive in the last few months and this was probably the race we expected to be least competitive in. Qualifying was disappointing but somehow we were able to get a really good set-up for the race. The car felt great in warm-up but we weren't very quick on the straights so the big question was strategy. When Olivier got close to me I let him through because I knew we would have a close fight with Jarno. By then we knew I had the better strategy and Olivier was able to help. At the end I had to balance looking after the brakes and fuel with keeping a good distance from Giancarlo but we had enough room to do that. It's great that we got another podium but we still need to be more competitive. If we can keep our nose clean and improve, we can do a good job for the rest of the year. This podium was a little more enjoyable than in Spain because a lot more work went into it. We worked really hard session after session and improved the car a lot. The last few races have been hard on the team so this result is well deserved."

Olivier Panis: "Jacques and I ran two different strategies because we thought that would give us more options depending on how the race worked out. The car was much stronger in the race so it was just strategy that let me down. I thought two stops would be the best option but obviously it didn't work out for me today. I was happy with the restart because I had a lot of trouble on the first chicane so we needed it. Then when I came out after my second pitstop I was behind Trulli. I tried very hard to overtake him but I was losing a lot of time. I'm very happy for the team though ­ four more points that we really needed and we closed the gap a little more. We need to continue working hard and I need a little more luck to finish in the points."

Craig Pollock: "I'm delighted. A great result and perfect timing. It was an absolutely brilliant drive from both drivers and obviously a great strategy for Jacques. Olivier was on a different strategy which didn't work in his favour so that's disappointing for him but we saw a fantastic display of teamwork between the two of them. The true strength of the team really shone through today. The car was fast in the race and very reliable and I think this shows that we are all heading in the right direction. We've just got to keep improving and trying harder."

Malcolm Oastler, Technical Director: "Obviously we're all delighted. The team has worked so hard over the last few months and especially over the course of this weekend so it's a fitting reward. We were fast enough, reliable and both drivers did a great job. Although there was a great deal of attrition, our pace within the race was really quite respectable which is encouraging for us as we look forward to the remaining five races. The drivers worked well together. In the end, we had a reasonable margin and because this race can be so tough on the car ­ the engine, the brakes­ we took the opportunity to preserve them and look after everything as much as we could."


Giancarlo Fisichella: "I am very happy, for Jenson and myself. I made a good first start, but didn't get away so well the second time because the drivers ahead closed the door and I lost a few places. I drove conservatively in the early stages and saved enough fuel to do a slightly longer first stint than planned. When I rejoined I was ahead of Jenson and things continued to go well, although I ran slightly wide near the end and lost a bit of time. The whole result is great for the team and I would like to thank everyone who has helped make it possible and a special thanks to Michelin whose tyres were excellent in every respect."

Jenson Button: "This isn't a result we obtained just because lots of cars fell off ­ we genuinely had good pace. I didn't think we would be in the points, but I thought we'd be very consistent. The car was very good on Friday and I could tell straight away that it was the same today. It was very well balanced and I think we were quicker than the Jordans and the BARs when we were running the same fuel loads. It's great that both Giancarlo and I were in the points and I think this is the biggest boost the team has had all year. A track like this highlighted our potential ­ and our reliability. I had one slight problem: I pulled my water bottle tube out of my mouth, so it was spraying all over my face whenever I braked. It wasn't an easy race, especially with Alesi right behind, but it was good fun."

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "I am very, very happy with this result. After the tough time we had yesterday we bounced back and I want to congratulate Renault's engine people at Viry for doing a great job - and also our two drivers."

Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "This has been a tremendous result for the whole team, particularly for all the Renault Sport staff at Viry-Chatillon who have worked so hard. This is a difficult circuit for engines, because they run for a long time at full revs and power is at a premium. It is a great result for everybody at Enstone, too, because they have had to endure a lot of criticism despite having worked so hard. This is a tremendous lift and gives us a useful kick-start before the final races of the season. The car was good all weekend, although we had a bad Saturday and didn't qualify well, and the team performed brilliantly on race day. We must make sure this is the norm henceforth, and not a one-off."


Jean Alesi: "It has been a very positive week-end on the technical side and a very important one for the team since we score one more point today. The Championship is far from being over and we can still improve our position by the end of the season. Each point we gain is a step further towards the achievement of our objectives."

Luciano Burti: "It happened so fast… A few seconds after the start, Michael had a problem, but I could not see him. He slowed down in the middle of the track among all the cars in front me. When I saw him it was too late to avoid the crash. I think the accident looked worse on TV than what I experienced in my car and luckily I am not injured. I took the second start in Jean's spare car which, for my surprise, felt even better than mine. This allowed me to have a good pace. The only thing is that I had hurt my left arm somewhere in the crash, and it became very difficult to hold the steering wheel, which felt even heavier to turn. I tried to give my best but the pain was growing so much I simply could not drive any longer. I lost the car in a corner and went off. This is bad luck, but I will definitely be all right before Hungary."

Alain Prost: "This was a week-end and a race full of strong and mixed emotions, which ended up happily with one more point. It is an important satisfaction for our team, even though the race circumstances leave us a bit frustrated. We knew we had good assets to achieve a positive result on this track and we have partly fulfilled our hopes, even if Luciano's accident and our bad starts modulate our enthusiasm. But a point is a point and it is another encouragement for our team. "

Henri Durand, Technical Director: "First we must say that the Michelin tyres worked perfectly today, and they helped a lot the handling and the consistency of our cars. Unfortunately we lost it all at the starts. The first one was indeed a terrible moment for all of us. Fortunately, Luciano was OK and the team managed to put him back on the grid for the second start. But it was a very mediocre start for both our drivers and we must analyse our data to understand the reasons for that. After the first corner was gone, the car was consistent and handling well. We chose to go for a fairly high dowforce configuration which prevented Jean from being able to overtake and most of Jean's race was a long wait behind Button. We come out of this week end with the satisfaction of one point more, but also with the disappointment of losing a position in the Championship. But there are 5 races to go and we will continue our intense effort to achieve our goal."


Enrique Bernoldi: "I think I was pretty lucky at the start of the race. I got away well from the grid but the next thing I knew there was a car sailing over my head. The wheel landed on my car and broke the engine cover and the rear wing. It was a pretty big hit so I was glad to see the red flag. This was a good result for me, the best so far this year, and I really enjoyed the battle with my team-mate at the end."

Jos Verstappen: "The first start went well for me but I was a bit closer to the accident than I would have liked to have been. The re-start was also good but I had to pit early due to what happened with (Riccardo) Zonta. I locked my front tyres going into the chicane so I got a bad exit. He got a good exit and had moved in for the slipstream. I was over on the right-hand side of the track so it was strange that he tried to pass me on that side where there is no room. He hit me and I had to come in. Still, it's good to get a finish."

Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: "That was a good race and I'm happy to say that the cars performed perfectly. Jos' race was spoilt when Zonta hit him as it ruined his rear tyre and upset the car's handling a little. We had a few concerns with tyres but generally they were okay. We all enjoyed seeing Jos and Enrique racing each other at the end but some of those manouevres were a little close for comfort."

European Minardi

Fernando Alonso: "It has been a really tough afternoon because at the second start I was in Tarso's car, which was logically set up for him and totally different from mine. I therefore didn't feel at all comfortable. Frankly, it was more than I could ever have expected to take the chequered flag today. Tenth is my best result so far in Formula One and today is my birthday, so what more can I ask for?"

Tarso Marques: "It is frustrating to retire after all the efforts made by the lads to sort out the car when we had a problem on the grid just before the start. The team did a great job, managing to get both Fernando and myself on the grid again for the second start. It was a miracle because the car I drove, which was Fernando's original race car, was really good. I had a few problems under braking, as I generally use the right foot while Fernando's brake pedal is set for the left foot. Apart from that, though, I was really happy with the performance of the car and it was therefore a great shame that a few laps after my pit stop the gearbox broke."

Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "What a race! Whoever says Formula One is boring has to be crazy! At the end a German Grand Prix that provided non-stop action from beginning to end, European Minardi F1 is ecstatic with Fernando's hard-earned 10th-place finish on this, his 20th birthday. The whole team showed true grit and determination, particularly considering both cars had to be removed from the grid due to a fuel valve problem, and Fernando then took the restart in Tarso's race car and Tarso in Fernando's after the spare car suffered a driveshaft problem on the first lap of the aborted race. We really feel for Tarso, who drove an excellent race, only to retire with a gearbox-related problem. To have Fernando arrive at the chequered flag in 10th place, though, is just reward for the effort the whole team put in today."


Kimi Raikkonen: "My car was running perfectly and we clearly had the ideal strategy. Sixth place was easy to maintain, and of course we could have been in contention for the final podium position, but without warning a driveshaft broke on the 16th lap. I made it to the pits, but there was nothing that could be done."

Nick Heidfeld: "I made good starts both times, though my attempt to pass Coulthard in the first chicane went slightly wrong and I had to let him by after missing the entrance. In the restart I arrived at the chicane in seventh place with plenty of space ahead of me. I braked really late and closed right up on Coulthard, and then suddenly de la Rosa crashed into the back of me. I really don't know where he thought he was going. Having seen the race, I feel confident we could have been on the podium."

Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "After our excellent performance in qualifying it is very disappointing not to finish this race with either car. Nick made two very strong starts, and frankly I am unable to understand how de la Rosa could make such a misjudgement in the first chicane. It cost us the chance of another podium finish. Kimi broke a driveshaft, but we don't yet know why. Both cars were highly competitive and clearly we had the right strategy, and at least Kimi was able to confirm the recent progress we have made in race trim."


Eddie Irvine: "We should undoubtedly have scored some points today. Regardless of how many cars dropped out, we were always well placed to fight for points and it's very disappointing to retire in this manner. This circuit always pushes cars to their extreme limit and we were one of many victims today. Big shame, especially since the car felt so good and well-balanced. I made a good start and was looking forward to scrapping with those in front of me. On lap 18 I began experiencing a misfire and had no choice but pit and call it a day. There are obviously areas that we need to get on top of quickly, especially when you look at the opportunities today of which there are very few in F1."

Pedro de la Rosa: "I made a big mistake, It was too late to stop it from happening but you have to take risks when you are down the field. Everyone was in first gear at the first chicane but I arrived to quickly and there was nothing I could do. I will apologise to Nick for ruining his race, but that's motor racing. I have been on the receiving end many times and I sympathise with Nick."


Jarno Trulli: "It was very difficult and disappointing, I was struggling to keep pace in the first stint and I spun off while battling with Panis for position. He tried to overtake me at the first chicane but he overshot the corner and jumped the chicane, coming out in front of me. The regulations say that he should have let me have my position back, so I tried to overtake him at the next chicane but he closed the door, which I didn't expect. I had to turn quickly to avoid an accident and unfortunately spun off, losing valuable time and positions. This has been a tough weekend and one to forget."

Ricardo Zonta: "I made a good start, I missed the second chicane at one point and I found myself behind Verstappen. I caught him on the straight and, as I got alongside the Arrows to overtake, Verstappen closed the door on me and hit my front wing. That effectively was the end of my race from that point. I made a pit stop for a new nose cone but, unfortunately the damage went beyond that and I had to stop for good a lap later."

Eddie Jordan, Chief Executive: "A total disaster, there's not much else I can say at the end of a terrible weekend. Jarno eventually stopped with a hydraulic pump failure and Ricardo was forced to retire with damage to the front brake ducts, suspension and a barge board. All we can do now is put this behind us and focus on the rest of the season. There is a three-week break now and, while everyone is ready for it, we will be doing everything to regain our momentum during the remaining five races."


David Coulthard: "It's been a difficult weekend and obviously I'm disappointed with today's result. I had a good battle with Rubens during the first couple of laps but was suffering from a lot of oversteer. I was aware that a number of cars were retiring but unfortunately I added to that statistic when the engine let go immediately after my pitstop. Hockenheim is a tough circuit which today's race result illustrates."

Mika Hakkinen: "I was very confident with the car and happy with the situation so it's a real shame that I was unable to finish the race. All of a sudden I felt vibration behind me, saw smoke and the engine stopped. However there is no point in being depressed and I'm confident that we will be pushing hard for the rest of the season."

Ron Dennis: "An obvious race of attrition and unfortunately we were part of it which makes any prediction of our potential finishing positions quite pointless. As always though we win as a team and lose as a team. We will now make good use of the short break in the intensive race schedule to focus on the problems and get some physical recuperation which all of the teams have been looking forward to."

Norbert Haug: "Not the result we would have liked to achieve here. We haven't been reliable enough to benefit from today's race, which had a high retirement rate. Our World Championship chances are now minimal, but we will not give up."

Published at 17:59:51 GMT

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