Monday March 19th, 2001
Ferrari's technical director Ross Brawn has hit back at the accusations made by McLaren boss Ron Dennis on Sunday after the Malaysian Grand Prix, where the Italian team took a dominant 1-2 win.
Dennis questioned his rivals' decision to switch to intermediate tyres during the race when the track was flooded by a torrential rain, suggesting that such a move put the lives of their drivers in danger.
"The decision to put both drivers on wet tyres was the only responsible option when faced with the severity of the downpour," Dennis said. "You can't play around with drivers' lives. David (Coulthard) told us he was aquaplaning at 60mph behind the safety car."
Their tyre choice gave Ferrari a big advantage over their rivals, who were unable to match the red cars' pace, lapping five and six seconds slower than the reigning world champions.
Brawn, known for his skill as a race strategist, responded to Dennis' comments, defending their decision.
"We tried these tyres at Fiorano last week, and we knew that the intermediate was a very, very good tyre," Brawn told Autosport.Com. "Ron made a comment about Ferrari being irresponsible fitting those tyres. We had the information that they were very good tyres even in fairly deep water.
"So I think that's a bit of an unfortunate comment for him to make without the facts or information that was needed."
World Champion Michael Schumacher won the race in front of teammate Rubens Barrichello and almost 30 seconds ahead of McLaren driver David Coulthard.