Atlas F1 News Service

Sunday's Selected Quotes - European GP

Sunday June 24th, 2001

Ferrari

Michael Schumacher: "I am delighted with this result, as there is nothing better than winning at home. It has been a superb weekend, taking pole and winning the race. I did not make a perfect start and lost a couple of metres. Then I saw Ralf up the inside of me and as I did not know what strategy he was on, I knew I had to be first into the first corner. So I did the maximum you are allowed to do within the rules to tighten the line. It was an entertaining and tough race, first with my brother, until his penalty and then with Juan Pablo, who was pushing hard at the end. With Ralf, I was in control of the situation, except once when I ran wide at Turn 5, after I locked the rear wheels and then the fronts. I struggled with the balance of the car on my first set of tyres, but we made some changes at the pit stop and after that I was able to do quick times. In the morning, we had a problem with the spare car, so I took it for an installation lap before the race, but it stopped. It was worrying, because I was a long way from the pits and I did not know how much time I had to get back to take the race car. But it was not the plan to race the spare."

Rubens Barrichello: "It was a rather boring race for me, apart from my spin near the end. I made a bad start and the launch control didn't help me. Then, I was struggling in the early stages, lacking a bit of grip and I also had a lot of fuel on board as we had opted for a one stop strategy. I am not sure if this was the ideal choice, although starting with used front tyres was the right decision. This has definitely not been my best weekend, but at least I managed to bring home a couple of points, which has allowed me to maintain my third place in the championship."

Jean Todt: "It really was a very tough race and I think it was the hardest fought win of the year, given that the three top teams got all their cars to the flag. The strategies planned for Michael and Rubens proved to be the right ones, given their start positions. As usual, the team did a great job, carrying out perfect pit stops. The cars and the tyres worked well. We are now in the second half of the season and have increased our lead in both championships. However, we must continue to concentrate and keep our feet on the ground. The French Grand Prix is already upon us."

Williams

Juan Pablo Montoya: "The car was really competitive today. Yesterday was good in qualifying, so I got third, and today things turned my way and I had some good luck.The first few laps of the race I took it really steady. I knew Ralf and Michael were going to go so I knew it was better to pick the pace up slowly. The car was very positive and there was room in it to go quicker when I needed it and the tyres were really good and very consistent all race so I was very pleased with them. A big thank you to everyone in the BMW WilliamsF1 Team for a good car and great pit stops."

Ralf Schumacher: "I am extremely disappointed about the outcome of the race as I had a chance to win in front of my home crowd. However, under the circumstances I have to be happy with fourth. As for the white line incident, I was looking in my mirrors when I left the pits and obviously concentrated more on the traffic behind me than the line. I have to accept the penalty."

Patrick Head, Technical Director: "It's a good result for the team, especially with both cars finishing in the points.It is great to see Juan Pablo up front again and finishing after a couple of bad races. Ralf made a small mistake, it is disappointing but we have to respect the rules."

Dr Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "We are pleased with second and fourth and I am especially happy that Juan Pablo scored six points in a race with no mistakes. We have 37 points at the mid-season mark, one more than in the whole of the 2000 season. It's a pity the fight for the win was over with Ralf's penalty, but we have to obey the rules, and I think this one is important for safety reasons."

McLaren

David Coulthard: "In the circumstances, we couldn't have expected more from today's race and have to be happy with third. I made a good start and managed to get past Barrichello. My rear tyres were used very quickly and it was not until just before my pit stop when the fuel load became lighter, I was able to push. However we are not going to sit back and feel sorry for ourselves but work hard before Magny Cours. Today's result doesn't mean the championship is over as there are lots of races to go, so I'm not too downbeat."

Mika Hakkinen: "We made a good start and could overtake Barrichello before the first corner to claim fifth. However on lap 15, I flatspotted my right front tyre before the chicane and experienced strong vibrations until my pit stop. Once I had a new set of tyres I could go quickly again but it was too late. Overall I'm disappointed with today's result."

Ron Dennis: "Our performance this weekend was not as we would have liked but it can only improve through our own efforts. Whilst the French Grand Prix is close, we are confident we can get better results with the package we have and of course we will work hard to improve for the second half of the season."

Norbert Haug: "We were not in a position to do better today as we were not fast enough even with a one stop strategy which was the best option for us considering our grid positions. We have to improve and become faster to win races again."

Jaguar

Eddie Irvine: "I couldn't have done any better today and it just shows how important it is for us to qualify better, the car felt great but we need to fully exploit the qualifying hour in an effort to grab the points that are out there for the taking. I don't see what else we could have done different for the race itself. The pitstop strategy was excellent and the Michelin tyres worked perfectly. I spent quite a while behind Heinz-Harald Frentzen and I couldn't work out at first whether he was carrying a lot of fuel or whether our tyres were giving me an advantage. I was amazed at how easy it was to keep up with him and I was even lifting along the straights to conserve fuel and still managing to keep pace with him – it proved how good the tyres were. The fruits of our labour are beginning to pay dividends in that we have closed the gap against our rivals and a better qualifying position would probably have allowed me to fight Hakkinen today. The on-going development, I'm sure, will soon allow us to take the fight further up the grid and given that Magny-Cours is the next race, we shouldn't have to wait too long before that begins to happen."

Pedro de la Rosa: "I was happy with my race performance and I enjoyed my battle with Villeneuve, clearly we need to do a better job for qualifying that would allow us to translate the car's race capability into points. The morning warm-up was unfortunately plagued with a few problems that led to me having to make set-up changes before the race. The car, however, performed well during the race and maybe a bit of luck would have allowed both Eddie and I to score points today. You make your own luck in this business and it's now up to us to develop this package into a real contender."

Bobby Rahal: "That was the best team performance of the year, Monaco was made special by Eddie's great weekend, but this weekend clearly demonstrates the progress that has been achieved in recent weeks. Both cars ran very strong and as we have said before, our race pace is always better than qualifying. We must, however, do a better job in qualifying, which in turn would allow both Eddie and Pedro to challenge for points. Both drivers did and good job today and must also pay credit to the team and Michelin. It's unfortunate to come away with no points after such a weekend but our improvement is very encouraging and should allow us to reap the full benefits very soon indeed."

BAR

Jacques Villeneuve: "The team did a great job today - I drove hard, we had a good strategy, a good pitstop, just a great team effort all round. Everything went well for me generally but after all that I was only able to get 9th place. The car was good during the race - the balance was good and the car was very driveable; I could do pretty much what I wanted to with it. What hurt us was the fact that we were unable to get the best out of the tyres. The best we could have done was to be behind the Williams, McLarens and Ferraris - so 7th - but 9th was all that was possible. I drove hard and tried not to make any mistakes but we just couldn't have gone any quicker today."

Olivier Panis: "I'm disappointed for the team and for myself. I made a very good start and overtook Jacques but under braking someone overtook me and everything got a bit tight and obviously I didn't want to risk crashing. That was the race gone really because I lost three places. But I knew I had a good strategy and I focused on pushing and being able to fight later in the race. We had some problems and we need to look at what they were exactly. To be honest though I have to praise the team; they did a fantastic job. Now we just have to work hard, keep our concentration and chase the problems we have. We need to understand the car and keep improving for the French Grand Prix."

Craig Pollock: "The team has done a fantastic job all weekend. That was very clear today and, all in all, I thought Jacques drove an excellent race; he was absolutely solid throughout and did all the right things. I'm very disappointed for Olivier - we obviously still need to look at what happened but clearly we had a problem that needs to be solved. From here we have to make sure we put in plenty of preparation for Magny-Cours and ensure we can get the best out of the car there."

Malcolm Oastler, Technical Director: "A very good performance from the team and the drivers but we just didn't have the sort of pace that would get us into the points today. Obviously with the fastest three teams finishing that's all the points. In other circumstances the race today would have been good enough for points but, in the end, the opportunity wasn't there. The guys made a fantastic stop but 9th was all that was in reach. We had some sort of electrical glitch which caused Olivier to have a gear shift problem and spin off, which is very disappointing for him and the rest of the team. "

Sauber

Kimi Raikkonen:"The car felt good in the first part of the race and my second set of tyres was better than the first, but I still had some blisters so I couldn't drive as quickly as I wanted to. Towards the end I wasn't too worried about the pressure from Alesi, so long as I protected the inside line to the corners. In the end he braked too late and spun off, so I was okay."

Nick Heidfeld:"I made a good start, passing one of the Jordans, but then got very close to Kimi in the first corner when I had to brake to avoid the other Jordan. But it was okay, it's always close there. I was able to pass Kimi coming out of the final corner at the end of that lap and the car felt fine initially in eighth place. I was following Barrichello thinking, 'This is looking good.' But later the tyres began to blister and the problem was worse with my second set, when the car was really oversteering. When I was fighting with Jean Alesi we touched, and as the car began handling oddly I came in and we discovered that the incident had damaged a driveshaft, so I had to retire."

Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "Our finishing position was not good enough today. It was not possible for us to follow the two Jaguars, but we do not know yet if this was because of the performance of our tyres. On a positive note, we have retained our fourth place in the Constructors' Championship."

Benetton

Giancarlo Fisichella: "It was a difficult race. I gained a couple of places at the start and was pushing hard in my first stint, but the rear of the car was sliding about. Yesterday and this morning I had a little bit of understeer, but the chassis was well balanced and then this afternoon I had oversteer and it was like that all race - so it has been very hard work. But our target was to make the finish, which I did, I drove as hard as I could and I am going into next weekend's French Grand Prix in a confident frame of mind."

Jenson Button: "I made a decent start and the car was fine in the early stages of the race, but after the second pit stop the handling deteriorated a little. The biggest problem was a lack of grip at the rear, the car was a bit twitchy under braking and also had some oversteer exiting corners."

Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "This was a very disappointing race for us after a qualifying session that offered a hint of promise. I don't feel that we really used our tyres well today and consequently Giancarlo and Jenson were faced with a car that was difficult to drive. We are obviously looking forward to the improvements that are due to be introduced at the next race, but before then we need to analyse what happened this weekend, which has been a slightly unusual one for the team."

Prost

Luciano Burti: "Jean and I again had a bad start today, which is still difficult to understand as in testing everything works OK. I managed to overtake some cars until I found myself behind Jean. I was a bit quicker than him but I waited for a real chance to overtake him. Unfortunately some blisters came again on my rear tyres and it was almost impossible to keep the car on the track. I went off and had to come to the pits to clean the radiators. As the team had not heard me on the radio complaining about the blisters, they did not change my tyres. I kept struggling for quite a long time before the tyres finally cleaned up. When I went back on the track with new tyres after my second pit-stop, it was like night and day, the car was fantastic and I could push hard, and be faster almost every lap until the end of the race. Without these blisters again, we would have been able to do a really good job today."

Jean Alesi: "As we thought, we were really well prepared for the race. Unfortunately, our start was a disaster and on the first lap I ended in 19th position. However, the car has been constantly good and we were right to go for a one-stop strategy . This allowed me to push all the way, taking advantage of other competitors' second pit-stops to catch up even more with the cars in front. Both tyres and brakes behaved very well and I was able to overtake a car on a track were it is normally impossible. I had a great fight with Raikkonen. I feel sorry that I lost the car three laps before the end trying to overtake him and that I broke my record : it is the first time this season I have not seen the chequerd flag..."

Alain Prost: "Despite our final positions we can be satisfied with our race today. We have been very competitive, even though too far behind to be in a position to fight for points. Jean and Luciano set very encouraging laptimes and therefore could overtake other cars on a track which offers almost no opportunity to do so. The whole team found this race exciting even though we suffered from two weaknesses : poor qualifying positions and bad starts. We are going to focus even more on them for our national Grand Prix next Sunday in Magny-Cours."

Henri Durand, Technical Director: "Despite coming home empty - handed, we really enjoyed our race today. Both drivers set very competitive laptimes in the race. Unfortunately, we are still too far behind on the grid, and we missed both starts today. It's a pity as cars were reliable and tyres behaved perfectly. We are now looking forward to the Magny-Cours race as we hope to bring the second face of our aerodynamic package, which will hopefully help to place our cars futher up on the grid next week."

European Minardi

Fernando Alonso: "To see the chequered flag was definitely a good result for us and was our main objective, given that I have not finished a race since the Spanish Grand Prix. Unfortunately, over the last 20 laps, something happened to the engine because it suddenly started to lose power, forcing me to select gears earlier than usual. I therefore just concentrated on keeping going until the end, which was what really mattered to us today."

Tarso Marques: "Even today was a bad day for me. This morning in the warm-up my car felt pretty good and in terms of the race strategy I should go for a single stop instead of two like for Fernando. But since the formation lap the launch control did not work so I went for the manual start. After only seven laps a voltage fluctuation damaged the electronic system causing the gearbox to break and the engine to shut down. My race ended too early, that’s how things turned out today."

Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "In what turned out not to be the race of attrition many had expected, the European Minardi team was pleased to see Fernando come home in 14th place here at the Nurburgring, especially since he had been struggling with a gearbox problem from early in the event. Sadly, after what had been a brilliant weekend for him up to that point, Tarso's race came to a premature end on lap eight when his car experienced a loss of drive, the reason for which has not yet been established. The race against time now begins to get ready for next weekend’s French Grand Prix at Magny Cours."

Arrows

Jos Verstappen: "The race was really difficult today. I gained five positions on the first lap but after that we couldn't make any headway. I had very little grip during the race so it was hard to push the car to the limit and to be honest we haven't been able to get the best out of the car all weekend. The car then just stopped with an engine problem with just a few laps of the race to go so it's all pretty disappointing. France can only be better!"

Enrique Bernoldi: "I got a good start and passed two cars on the first lap. After that the race settled down for me until I came in for my pit-stop. I tried to select neutral but it didn't work and the car stalled. The car was running well after that but on lap 30 it got stuck in fifth gear and I had no drive so had to retire."

Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: "I think that was a fitting end to the kind of weekend we've had. It sums it all up really. We just haven't been able to make the A22 work at this track. All we can do now is get our heads down and work hard in preparation for the French Grand Prix in a few days time."

Jordan

Heinz-Harald Frentzen: "I didn't have a good start, but made up the places I had lost and ran in tenth place for much of the race, I was able to do quite a few quick laps but then had a problem with my rear tyres and could not maintain my good lap times. As I accelerated out of the hairpin on lap 49, the traction control just stopped working, which meant I had excessive wheelspin and that caused me to spin off."

Jarno Trulli: "The start was good and everything was going very well, I was actually starting to catch Hakkinen's fifth-place McLaren while comfortably keeping pace with the leading pack and fending off the cars behind me. In fact, I was pulling away from them because the car was feeling very good and nicely balanced. Then, on the 44th lap, the gear box seized as a result of a loss of oil pressure which the engineers had been aware of since lap 35, but were unable to do anything about. It was a great shame because I had been having a very strong race and had a good chance of scoring points."

Eddie Jordan, Chief Executive: "Very disappointing, something different is going wrong every race and we have to get to the bottom of this. It's got to be an on-going process to see what's causing the problems. But, in the meantime, even though the top three teams are pulling away, the battle for fourth remains wide open. But we have got to stop giving points away like this. From what we could see this weekend in qualifying and the race, the potential is definitely there - but that alone is definitely not enough."



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