Sunday May 13th, 2001
Briton David Coulthard admitted he felt a special sense of emotion and satisfaction on Sunday after winning the Austrian Grand Prix, just 24 hours after the death of McLaren Mercedes-Benz team member Paul Morgan in an air crash in England.
The 30-year-old Scot escaped with his life when he was involved in a fatal air crash at Lyons, in France, in May last year, just five days before he finished second for McLaren in the Spanish Grand Prix.
"I did have a rush of emotion because he was an extraordinary individual," said Coulthard. "He was a remarkable guy."
Morgan was managing director of Ilmor Engineering, the company which builds and supplies the Mercedes-Benz Formula One racing engines used by McLaren.
"It is a major major loss, not only to family and friends, but to us as a racing team. He's irreplaceable. I am pleased we were able to win the Grand Prix because I know his wife and family are going to feel a part of that success."
Coulthard said the team had been coping with the additional stress of the shock of Morgan's death throughout the weekend.
"Emotions are running high," he said. "There's a lot of people here who have grown up with him and Mario (Ilien, the technical director of Ilmor and Morgan's close friend with whom he created the company) and Ilmor, as an organisation, are a remarkable set-up.
"It's such a classic example of British engineering, in its simplest form initially, growing up into a world-class multi-million pound business."
Coulthard said his own performance had included a couple of mistakes but "nothing that was actually too visible" and admitted he had driven cautiously at the start.
"I just felt calm, I thought this is what I have, this is what I can do -- and the rest will come down to racing and what happens to the others in the pit stops."
He said he was delighted to win just two weeks after being forced to storm through the field and finish fifth in Spain after suffering an electronics failure on the starting grid which prompted McLaren team chief Ron Dennis to accuse him of 'brain fade'.
Dennis, who Coulthard said had suffered 'brain fade' himself, corrected his comments later when it was made clear that the car had caused the problem, not the driver.
This time his team-mate Finn Mika Hakkinen stalled on the grid while the Ferrari drivers were ordered to change places in order to allow defending world champion Michael Schumacher to finish second ahead of Brazilian Rubens Barrichello instead of third behind him.
"What can I do? That's Formula One, that's their team situation," said Coulthard. "All I know is I've never benefitted from someone moving over for me -- so every point I've earned in Formula One has been through normal racing.
"I've never even won a race because someone's blown up ten laps from the end so I could do with a few of those, you know, people dropping out."