Sunday March 18th, 2001
Michael Schumacher: "That was a very exciting race! I took the spare care, because we saw some oil at the back of the race car. Actually, I preferred the T-car in the morning, so it was no problem. Then, when I went off because of the rain, I could see the barrier coming and I thought it was over. Then I saw Rubens following me off. I was lucky the car stayed in shape and there was no damage. When I came into the pits, I asked them to push Rubens forward, but I could not see he had no right front. It was my decision to fit intermediates. We knew it would be difficult at first, but they would be better when the rain eased. After the pit stop, I asked if the team had made the right changes to the car, because it was difficult to drive, but it got better as the race went on. I managed to pass Rubens because he lost momentum in Turn 8. Earlier on, we lost a minute but as we were behind the Safety Car, the real gap was only about ten seconds. The conditions were atrocious and undriveable and at times the SC was quicker than us. As for the records I am setting at the moment, it is nice, but they don't count as much as how many wins and championships you get. I like wins like these that come after we have had to work hard to get them. The rest of the season will not be as easy as this and we must keep pushing. Today we made the best of the conditions and had the right choice of tyre and set-up."
Rubens Barrichello: "I made a good start, not losing much to Michael. Then I had no vision on my left hand side. Ralf Schumacher braked very late and came round the outside. When you fight for a corner you must give the other driver some room, but he did not and we touched. Luckily, the car was not damaged. When I went off, I thought Michael was going to be in the wall. I could not slow down and I could not spin because I would have collected Michael. It was a pity I could not pit then, because I spun three or four times. Then, two laps later I was lucky not to hit Coulthard and Trulli. When the water gets under the car there is nothing you can do, but I found I had drive in fifth gear and managed to continue. My long pit stop was caused because the team fitted three of Michael's intermediates to my car. Later in the race I had to make an extra stop to clean the gravel out of the car. I lost bits off the car which is not surprising as I went off the track a few times, but this car is very strong. Michael managed to pass me because I got too close to a Jordan and lost momentum."
Jean Todt: "This race demonstrated Ferrari's and its drivers superiority and also that of the Bridgestone tyres. The race was action packed in the early stages with many off-track excursions and passing moves. In the second half, Michael was able to manage his lead, while Rubens, who was on a two stop strategy, picked up a great second place. We have made a very good start to the championship, but now we must remain focussed because now we have so many rivals. We must keep cool! Next week, Luca Badoer will be driving an F1-2000 for four days in Barcelona and he will be joined by Michael Schumacher for the last two days in the F2001."
David Coulthard: "Starting from eighth I would have been happy with a few points but with conditions like the ones today anything could have happened. I made a good start moving to fourth and was able to benefit when the rain began to pour. I spun off with Trulli just before I went into the pits and at that time we believed wet tyres would be the correct choice. I was leading when the safety car pulled in but as Michael and Rubens were on intermediates they were able to take a one-two. However I have more points now than I did at this stage of the Championship last year and I know that we are currently running a car, which is capable of a lot more than what we have shown this weekend."
Mika Hakkinen: "I got stuck at the first corner when Ralf Schumacher spun in front of me and lost four positions. After the safety car phase was over, I didn't seem to be able to make any considerable progress up the field. I was caught behind Verstappen, which lost me valuable time. After my last pit stop, I was able to attack again and set a number of fastest race laps. I caught Ralf Schumacher in fifth during the closing stages but it's easier to catch than it is to pass. At least I have scored my first point of 2001."
Ron Dennis: "The decision by the team to put both drivers on full wet tyres was the only responsible option to take when faced with the severity of the downpour. This was confirmed by David, who reported to us that he was aquaplaning at 100 km/h behind the safety car. However ultimately when the safety car pulled in, conditions had significantly improved resulting in a performance advantage being passed to our main competitors who had fitted intermediate tyres. Off course the result of the race was unsatisfactory but Mika's fastest lap demonstrates our potential. Another excellent drive by David which earned him a well deserved third place."
Norbert Haug: "David drove a very good and consistent race and Mika was really fast after his third pitstop doing a great job and setting the fastest lap time. Our engines ran reliably. The basis for better results are there and we will work hard to further improve."
Heinz-Harald Frentzen: "We were very lucky today, I had a strange electrical problem and the engine wouldn't rev while I was on my way to the grid. Luckily there was a restart and that meant there was time to reset the electronics. I couldn't gain many places in the opening laps because the car was heavy with fuel. Then the rain came and cars were spinning everywhere. I found myself in second place after a stop to change to wet tyres but, for the same reason as before, I couldn't make any ground at the restart. In fact, I dropped back a few places. Unfortunately, from the first lap I also had a problem with the clutch which affected the downshift. This was especially difficult in the wet because, with the wheels locking, it made things very tricky. When the track began to dry I was involved in battles with Ralf Schumacher and then Mika Hakkinen and Jos Verstappen. I would say it was one of the most exciting races I have ever had! We were sideways; big slides everywhere! I was in the best position to see what was going on when Verstappen tried to overtake Hakkinen. They nearly collided and I was able to overtake the McLaren. Then I moved up another place when Verstappen had to made a second refuelling stop. I was going through with just the single refuelling stop and I had to take it easy towards the end while, at the same time, shifting down early because of the clutch problem. So, after all of that, it is very satisfying indeed to win some points."
Jarno Trulli: "I had a good start, I was third into the first corner but, from the first lap, had a problem with the cockpit warning lights. The car was going very well, however, and I kept pushing on. On lap three, both Ferraris left the track and I was leading. Then I came across some standing water on the pit straight and the engine cut out. I lost control and spun but managed to get the engine restarted and get to the pits where I changed to wet-weather tyres. We need to look at the data because, when I went off, I think I may have damaged the car as it was not handling as well as before. The engine didn't feel quite right, either. I finished eighth but, fortunately, Heinz-Harald scored three points and that's very good for the whole team.
Eddie Jordan, Chief Executive: "Luck was on our side, no question about it! It makes up for some of the bad luck we've had here in the past. It was a fantastic race and so good to have one of our cars, which qualified ninth, finish in the top four on a day when both McLarens and both Ferraris finished the race. We set ourselves a target of three points today, and we've achieved it. It's been a good start to the season. Now we've got to maintain this momentum."
Ralf Schumacher: "The collision with Barrichello at the first corner is hard to understand, because usually the car that is in the front has the priority on the corner. From mid-race I picked up some understeer which became bigger and bigger after the third pit stop. My opinion is that it didn't depend on the tyre but more on the set-up of the car. But it was a good feeling anyway being able to keep Hakkinen behind me."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "I am a bit disappointed with my result because the car was good and considering that I didn't have any running on Friday I was starting from a very good position. But on the grid the engine died and when I tried to start it again it didn't work. I had to jump into the T-car and start from the pit lane. When it began to rain hard I radioed the pit wall that I needed to switch to wet tyres. We decided to stay out one more lap but I couldn't make it to the pit because there was so much aquaplaning. I let the throttle go but again there was so little traction in the rear that the engine stopped and I spun."
Patrick Head, Technical Director: "In a way we could be fairly disappointed about the result but it's very good to get one car to the finish. It's the first one for the P80 engine this year and the FW23 and with Juan's car not starting on the grid and Ralf having his bump with Rubens in the first corner we should be satisfied. In effect Ralf was the last car on the track coming out of the first corner so to finish fifth after that is not too bad, I suppose. In the middle of the race the car was handling very well but on the last set of tyres we had quite a lot of understeer, which made the car slower than it would have been. Anyway, we are going back with a finish and some points."
Gerhard Berger, BMW Motorsport Director: "Today we have proved that our engine can stand a Grand Prix distance. We knew we had the potential but we couldn't show the reliability in Melbourne. The race was everything but lucky for us. After he was tapped into a spin at the first corner, Ralf lost his second place and was last. Then he also had a lengthy pit-stop. The two points and the duel with Hakkinen in the end are a true pleasure. It was good to be able to battle so closely with a McLaren. We know anyway that we still have a lot of work ahead of us. As yet we still don't know the reason why Juan Pablo's engine didn't start."
Jos Verstappen: "The whole team should be very happy with that. After the tough start we had to the weekend it was a great feeling to be so high up in the race. We got the maximum out of the car and the maximum out of me, especially at the start - I think that's one of my best ones yet! The car felt good in the wet but we know from last year it is good then and I have to say that I really enjoyed being up there in second place. The only shame is that we just missed out on the points but we're very happy that we have finished the race for the second time this season."
Enrique Bernoldi: "We had a problem with the alternator in my race car just before I went to the grid so I had to switch to the T-car at the last moment. I got a good start and was up to 11th but lost it in Turn Eight as it was just too slippery. I'm greatly disappointed that I didn't finish, especially as my home Grand Prix is coming up in two weeks time, but all I can do is look forward to the next race."
Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: "Jos put in a tremendous effort today with a fantastic, aggressive drive. The car behaved perfectly too after we took downforce off so we would have the speed we needed in the dry. We were hoping for a second round of heavy rain which didn't arrive so we had to come in for more fuel at the end so we're disappointed that didn't come off. Enrique had a tough time again, aquaplaning off after a few laps, but many more experienced drivers went of at that time too. We're all disappointed for him but will be right behind him for his home event in Brazil. We're off to Barcelona next week for a full four-day test where we will be concentrating on finding a good set-up for low fuel levels, which we can't seem to do at the moment, and also developing software for the Spanish Grand Prix."
Guy Audoux, Asiatech: "A low downforce strategy and a magnificently aggressive drive by Jos Verstappen gave the team a well-deserved seventh place today. This, allied to improved reliability, means that Asiatech's morale is at an all-time high but we know we still have a lot of work to do."
Jean Alesi: "When it started raining, I thought I had a chance to achieve a good result. I was in 6th position when the safety car came out because of the rain. Unfortunately I suffered a lot of oversteer on wet tyres and I lost several places. Then when the track dried up, I kept quite a good pace but could only stay where I was. I am disappointed with this result."
Gaston Mazzacane: "It was a very difficult race. In the rain, The grip of my car decreased more and more particularly at the back. I lost places when the safety car went in. I am happy to have finished this race without a mistake and I feel I have done a good job for the team. But I am disappointed I had to come in twice in the pits : on my first stop, the team could not refuel because of a problem with the fuel machine. If not I could have finished in a better position and challenged Button. I expected to finish this race higher than two laps behind the winner. I am determined to work hard for the team to make progress in the next Grands Prix."
Alain Prost: "We have reached our goal in terms of reliability as we finish this very difficult race with two cars. We still have not made the most of the material we have at hand, even though we have set satisfactory laptimes in the race. Today we also saw that the level of the competition is high as several teams are already quick and reliable. Although wet conditions are usually favourable to us, Jean unfortunately suffered a high level of oversteer and we lost a lot of time in the race. Moreover we had troubles with both cars during the pit-stops : Gaston could not be refuelled at his first stop and Jean left without enough fuel, so we had to slow him down to make sure he would pass the chequered flag. Therefore it is hard to draw conclusions or satisfaction from this race, and we know we must continue the hard work in process hoping it will show as soon as possible on the track."
Luciano Burti: "I lost some ground at the start because Eddie was shunted off right in front of me and I had no choice but to take evasive action which cost me a few places. I gained a couple of places back and then the rain came pouring down. The car felt quite snappy all afternoon but we must start making better use of the Friday and Saturday sessions."
Eddie Irvine: "One of the Arrows hit me up the rear at the first corner and spun me, then I got going again but I was at the back with Ralf Schumacher. The it started to rain as I came into the last corner and three of us spun off in a row. I came in for a pitstop but there was a problem with the car's radiator or something and obviously the tyres needed changing. I think it's going to take up a couple of days to figure out exactly what happened."
Jenson Button: "These conditions were really difficult to drive in. The team did a great job to get us both in to the pits when the rain started, but I got caught up behind the pace car which pulled out in front of me for some reason so I lost time while everyone else came in for their stops. Then I made a mistake and went off, which left me at the back, but I pulled up to finish eleventh so it was good to get the car to the finish."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "Well my race didn't start well as I made a mistake finding my position on the starting grid, which caused me to have to start the race from the back. Then I got a good start and managed to pull up to thirteenth. When the rain set in, I was lucky to get in for an early pit-stop for wet tyres, then even behind the safety car it was almost impossible to drive as the track was so wet and the rain so intense. After my second stop I had fuel to run to the end and was quite competitive, but a fuel pressure problem brought my race to an early end."
Pat Symonds, Engineering Director: "I think today is just another step on the long path to our comeback and as I said after qualifying, we need to look for speed as well as reliability. We achieved some reliability today and although the cause of Giancarlo's retirement was the failure of a very small part, it was nevertheless significant enough to stop the car. Jenson drove a steady race under very difficult conditions and the team worked very well all weekend."
Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "This was certainly a very eventful race. Giancarlo made a mistake at the start which sent him to the back of the grid, but then after that both he and Jenson made very good starts and pulled up a lot of positions. When the rain began, the team made the right decision to bring both cars in at the same time. Giancarlo benefited by making up a few places, but Jenson lost time as he was second into the pits and was caught behind the pace car, which didn't wave him past. Giancarlo ran strongly until he stopped with a fuel pressure problem. We are very pleased that Jenson finished the race, as this reflects the hard work Renault Sport has put in on reliability since Melbourne."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "This is a satisfactory result as it shows we have improved on our reliability since Australia and while this is not a result to be proud of, it is some reward for the hard work done by the whole team over the winter."
Fernando Alonso: "It was quite a strange Sunday for us. From the very beginning of the day, I did not get a very good feeling from my car, probably due to the fact I had a few problems trying to find the right chassis set-up. The hardest time, though, was when it started to rain and my car did not go well in the corners. I was forced to change tyres many times and, as a result, I had to pit five times, which is quite unusual. The positive side of today's race is that I accumulated a lot of experience in these conditions, and I feel sure I will be better prepared for Brazil as a result. I felt more comfortable in my car as every lap went by."
Tarso Marques: "I made a good start, then I came in for my tyre stop at the right time, but from that point onwards, I started having problems. During my first stop, I couldn't engage first gear as I tried to leave the pits, losing two seconds as a result. Later, I started to lose pressure in the right rear tyre due to a puncture, and then I lost the tyre on the track, which cost me more time. I'm quite happy, though, because I succeeded in finishing the Grand Prix. I learned a lot about my car today, which is important for the team, and now we will work hard to prepare for the Brazilian Grand Prix, which is, of course, my 'home' race."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "After an incredibly exciting Malaysian Grand Prix, where the pre-event weather forecast was clearly wrong, European Minardi triumphed by getting both its cars home in very difficult circumstances. Fernando must have come close to setting a record for the number of pit stops in a race; however, the team took the decision to let him continue racing despite a mechanical problem that necessitated all the non-scheduled stops. We're also really pleased that Tarso took the chequered flag despite suffering a puncture that caused him to have to limp back to the pits. Overall, though, to have finished three out of four race starts is more than we could have expected in our wildest dreams six weeks ago."
Nick Heidfeld: "The race was okay to begin with, when it was only drizzling on the second or third lap, but then on the fourth we all encountered standing water and I just aquaplaned into the gravel. I tried to keep the momentum going and to keep the car rolling, but instead of going quicker I just got bogged down. It would have been difficult to score points today, but it's always disappointing not to finish."
Kimi Raikkonen: "I'm very disappointed that my race finished even before the first corner, when something broke in the transmission, especially as the car went so well in slippery conditions in the warm-up this morning."
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "Kimi Raikkonen had a technical problem, possibly the drivetrain or the clutch, while Nick Heidfeld was a victim of the wet conditions, like so many others. I am sorry for the Malaysian public and the fans at home that we were not able to show the potential of the cars and drivers in today's unusual circumstances. But now we will make a double effort for Brazil."
Jacques Villeneuve: "At the back of the track it started to rain really hard and turned into a downpour. We were on dry tyres and there were no wet lights so we couldn’t see where we were going and suddenly I started to slide into the gravel trap. I am disappointed but when the weather changes like that it's a big gamble and it really didn't work out today."
Olivier Panis: "I am very disappointed for the team as they made a very good job on the car again this weekend. The car had a good baseline, which could have resulted in points for the team. I made a very good start. I was on a one-stop strategy with a high level of fuel onboard and I followed the cars in front of me that were on a two-stop strategy, very easily. I think my oil system broke and then an engine fire started and I went off into the tyres. I was very unlucky today but I am positive for the next round in Brazil."
Craig Pollock: "An extremely disappointing race for the team after so much work has gone into getting the two cars into good positions on the starting grid. There has been great work carried out by everyone back at the factory to get the third car out here and there has been a great deal of effort by the team here at the track. We will put this one behind us and look to improve in Brazil."
Malcolm Oastler, BAR technical director: "It looked like a great race; it's a shame we were not in it. We only did a couple of laps. Olivier had an oil leak and Jacques fell off into the gravel trap. It is a shame because everyone put in a tremendous amount of work to get us here after our troubles in Australia. Next week we will be testing in Barcelona and then our attentions will be on the next race in Brazil."