Atlas F1 News Service

Today's Selected Quotes - Austrian GP

Sunday May 13th, 2001


David Coulthard: "This must have been a great race to watch and it was definitely fun to drive. Lots of close battles and overtakings and Im really pleased to win. We started the race on quite a heavy fuel load to allow ourselves some flexibility in the strategy. It meant that I could stay out four laps more than Michael Schumacher and three more than Rubens before my pit stop. I did have one or two problems with backmarkers during the race but fortunately it didn't cost me my position. There were no quiet periods but despite the pressure from Barrichello I felt that I had the race under control."

Mika Hakkinen: "I must admit that I'm extremely disappointed. We are still not sure exactly what the problem was it could be technical or it could be me. We will have to look at all the data but no matter what it means that my chances of winning the Championship are now somewhat reduced."

Ron Dennis: "The enjoyment of David's win is certainly matched by the pleasure of our strategy in achieving its objective. A sensational, disciplined and aggressive drive from David was a vital ingredient in the outcome. We will not have a clear understanding regarding Mika's problem until the data is inspected tomorrow and we will share that information once it's available. Well done to the whole team."

Norbert Haug: "A great performance by David and the entire team. Our strategy meant that David was able to stay out longer than any other driver before his pit stop. I feel sorry for Mika who was not able to participate in the race but we will find out what the reason for his problem was."


Michael Schumacher: "I had some kind of problem at the start. The car did not get off the line the way it should. The systems are all very new. With Montoya, the fight had been fair until the incident. Then he tried to take me out at the corner and I had to go on the grass, because I could not turn in on him. He was not looking where he was going, he was looking where I was going. After that I felt I would have to wait and see what happened with the pit stops. We didn't know how long everyone would go. But I had to push hard to get past the cars ahead of me, so I had no chance to save fuel and so came in a bit early. I was very happy that Rubens moved over for me. With Hakkinen not finishing, it is clear that McLaren will try and set David up for the championship. If I hadn't been so close to Rubens, the team would not have asked him. Ferrari might have a different philosophy to McLaren, who have also called this strategy in the past. I feel that as long as we are not breaking the rules, then it is fair."

Rubens Barrichello: "I moved over for Michael, because the team asked me to. I chose to start on used fronts and new rear tyres and at the end of the first stint I was struggling with front end grip, but it was a good choice. My start was not very good and I had a fairly hard race. I think it was one of my best races. Unfortunately, David was able to go a bit further than me before pitting and that paid off for him. Otherwise, I had a good feeling from the car and thought I could have won."

Jean Todt: "We knew the start would be the critical moment. However, it did not go well for us. Both drivers used the electronic system and now we have to look into what happened. The result of this was that our drivers had to fight back. Michael was stuck behind Montoya, who was slower than him, for a long time. Trying to brake right on the limit, the Colombian arrived a bit long at Turn 2 and Michael was forced to run wide to avoid making contact. This incident left us with Rubens in the lead, while Michael was down in sixth place. The second key moment came with the pit stops. Our opposition stopped three laps after us, and that meant they were then running with a lighter car. That is what cost us first place. Rubens drove a great race, running at a very fast pace. On the last lap, the team asked him to let Michael pass, as he is the best placed driver in the championship fight. It is disappointing to leave Austria with this result. We had a competitive car which was capable of winning, but we did not come away with the result we expected.


Kimi Raikkonen: "It's been a long wait since Melbourne, so I'm very happy not just to score another three points, but to take Sauber's overall total beyond 100. I had a very good race, though maybe there was some luck at the start. The car was good all the way through and I could keep pushing hard. People are making a lot of fuss because I have the same points now as Mika Hakkinen, but what matters to me is that as a team we had another great result today."

Nick Heidfeld: "I did a manual start to lay some rubber on the formation lap, but at the proper start launch control just didn't work. After that I wasnt really in the race because I was a lap behind. I got stuck behind Irvine, then I had to let Villeneuve through. Then I had a very long pit stop when I had some clutch trouble; fortunately the team deliberately dropped the car off the jack and I managed to get away again. It was really hard to keep my motivation, but you never know what will happen and you have to keep pushing hard."

Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "Yet more points confirm our continuing competitive form. It was a great race for Kimi Raikkonen. He was fast and consistent all the way through and it was never a problem for him to keep Panis behind. I am really happy that he could score three points in such a competitive race, only his sixth in F1. It was very bad for Nick Heidfeld when he could not capitalise on his excellent grid position. His launch control did not function at the start, but we are still investigating why. When he finally got going he too drove a fast and strong race, and I hope that Monaco rewards him for his persistence. Congratulations to the whole team for two fast and reliable cars."


Olivier Panis: "I am very happy for the team and myself with the result today. The two points are very important to us as we look to close the gap in the Championship. Jacques had a podium in the last race and I collected points today so I am happy with the progress that we are making. Next week we will be in Valencia testing and we will be looking to make some improvements as we prepare for the next round in Monaco."

Jacques Villeneuve: "It's a good result for the team. A lot of cars did not get off the line but I had a reasonable start. The first two corners did not go well and I picked up a huge amount of push in the race and I have no idea why. I am disappointed not to have collected points today."

Craig Pollock: "It was a good result for us. Olivier drove an absolutely fantastic race and he deserved the two points, if not more, by the way he was racing. The whole weekend has been exceptional and it gives us confidence going into the next race."

Malcolm Oastler, Technical Director: "It was a race with a few opportunities and we managed to grab them. Jacques opportunities were restricted by not being able to pass Eddie Irvine at the beginning but Olivier got through and he was able to capitalize on the speed that he had quite well. The team did a great job and we are happy with our performance today."


Jos Verstappen: "This point is very important for the team and for me as well. They all did a fantastic job. The strategy worked well for us as we could overtake at the beginning of the race and I think it was there that we earned the point. I took a lot of people into the first corner, a couple more on the straight, then two more after the safety car went in. I have to say that I really enjoyed this race, especially the beginning, as I love to race against the top guys. I was a little lonely in the middle of the race but I just concentrated on being as smooth as I could. The car is definitely developing so let's hope this is the first of many points!"

Enrique Bernoldi: "That was showing all the signs of being a really good race for me. I had a good start and the car felt really good. It was pretty hard passing Villeneuve so I was pleased I pulled that one off. After that I was still going well, having a fantastic race, but I had a hydraulics problem and had to pull into the garage. It's a real shame but I'd like to say that I'm really pleased for Jos and all the team. Well done!"

Tom Walkinshaw, Team Principal: "It's fantastic for OrangeArrows and Asiatech to get their first point of the season. It's just reward for all the hard work they've put into improving the car over the last few weeks. We just have to keep pushing between now and Monaco. Jos did a great job today, really made the most of the car. As they say, the boy did good!"


Pedro de la Rosa:"I got through the problems of the first two corners and after that I went racing, the first lap was fine but soon after the balance of the car suffered because the front flap was broken. I tried my level best to live with the problem but it all came to an end on lap 49. I don't know exactly whether it was down to a transmission problem but it seems so."

Eddie Irvine:"I made a mega start but it was a very close call in that, I missed Villeneuve by inches we may even have touched slightly. The car was off the line in a flash and it felt very good all afternoon. Albeit not fast enough to grab points. We have to stop relying on other people to suffer problems, no disrespect to Arrows, but they really shouldn't be beating us. I hope our Valencia test next week proves that our new aerodynamic package has what it takes to get us into points contention. I drove flat out today, but it simply wasn't enough."

Bobby Rahal: "To be truthful we needed to rely on luck to get a point out of today's race, Eddie drove very well indeed and could not have done more in the circumstances. Our strategy was right and our engineers and mechanics did a fantastic job but the car was simply not fast enough to put us in a position to really challenge for points. It's now common knowledge that we should have a faster car ready for Monaco thanks to a significant aerodynamic redesign so we're all eager to test the package and get out racing with it."


Jean Alesi: "At the start of the race, I had to avoid the cars stuck on the grid and that wasn't easy. Throughout the whole race, we were not competitive enough to be able to gain positions and get a better result. However we continue to prepare the technical evolutions which should allow us to improve in the Grands Prix to come."

Luciano Burti: "I am very disappointed, even if it was clear that we were not competitive on this track. At the start, I had to avoid the Jordan cars which had both stalled. I had to go onto the grass, and this cost me few places. In the first part of the race, I was quite slow because the car balance was not good. I also made some mistakes because of the lack of grip. But after the pit-stop and the tyre-change, the car and the grip kept improving. I was able to increase my speed but it was too late to make a difference in my final result."

Alain Prost: "Once again during both practice and race, our cars have shown excellent reliability. But we have lacked in performance and throughout the week-end we have never managed to find a satisfactory set up for our cars. We have an important test session next week and we are very confident in the technical development we will soon introduce. It will be a good step ahead in terms of performance. It's the only thing still missing in a team, which on all other aspects is in constant progress."


Jenson Button: "With so many cars having dropped out, I was sure we were on course to notch up a decent result at the end of a difficult weekend, my goal was to finish and it is always very frustrating to retire so close to the end, but as far as the longer term is concerned, at least we picked up some useful data."

Giancarlo Fisichella: "My race engineer called me over the radio on Lap four, because they could see on the pit monitors that there was a problem with my engine. There was nothing we could do about it there and then, so I had no option but to pull in and retire," he added. It was particularly disappointing, for me and the whole team, because I had made a pretty good start and had gained several places."

Pat Symonds, Director of Engineering: "It was a very disappointing day for the whole team and two separate problems affected our cars. We could see from the pit wall that there was a problem with Giancarlo's engine as soon as it was fired up on the grid and to carry on would have been fruitless and could have led to us spoiling someone else's race - so we decided to retire the car immediately. Meanwhile Jenson was making steady progress and seemed to be going well on his first set of tyres, despite being held up behind some other cars. After the pit stop it became apparent that we were using quite a lot of oil and, at the same time we had a lost a little of our performance. Ultimately, it appears that he retired because he spun on his own oil."


Juan Pablo Montoya: "I made a good start and during the race the car was behaving better and better. What happened with Michael was just a racing incident, he braked quite late, I braked late as well, I locked the rear tyres and ran wide. At the end we lost hydraulic pressure, I got an alarm two corners before and I knew that was going to be it."

Ralf Schumacher: "I had a great start to the race, which proved our launch control worked really well. I then had a brake pressure problem so my pedal got longer and longer, and at the end I had nearly no pressure left. I had to retire, that is all. Of course I am disappointed."

Patrick Head, Technical Director: "We had a problem with the rear brakes on Ralf's car, I am not quite certain what but they got very hot. On Juan Pablo's car we have a hydraulic leak but we dont really know on what part of the system of the car. Basically not very impressive on the reliability side."

Dr Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "We had both cars leading a race for the first time, but ended up without a result. Both drivers did excellent starts. Due to relatively heavy cars with a lot of fuel on board they could not pull away from the opposition. Even after he had gone off, It looked still good for Juan up to the time he stopped."


Jarno Trulli: "The launch control system didn't work so the engine stalled, the system wasn't working properly during the warm-up this morning and, although we made some adjustments, it clearly wasn't enough. I was pushed into the pit lane and re-started the race behind the Safety Car. I was shown some blue flags as I was one lap down, but then a black flag (disqualification) for leaving the pit lane while the exit light was red. I am very disappointed."

Heinz-Harald Frentzen: "The gearbox broke at the start and totally jammed the gears, we tried to fix the problem but couldn't, so that was it. I'm very disappointed as the car felt very good and well balanced this morning."

Eddie Jordan, Chief Executive: "It clearly seems to be our fault, I have had a few bad races in my time and this is indeed one of them. We have to look at why we were not able to move off the grid and we need to investigate the reasons which led to Jarno being given the black flag. Clearly there are lessons to learnt from today, although it is clear that other top teams are also suffering with these new high tech launch control systems which affected Jarno's race."

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