Atlas F1 News Service

Post-Race Press Conference - Monaco GP

Sunday May 27th, 2001

Q: Michael, congratulations, your fifth win here, in some ways perhaps your easiest once the McLarens failed to start again. What did you think of that?

Michael Schumacher: I don't know. Obviously they had some kind of problem with one car at least. The other car started normally. I have no idea. Speak to them. I don't want to say anything really about that. I think I should talk about my issues.

Q: It seems that the truly great win at Monaco. What's so special about Monaco, what do you need to do around here to win?

MS: Finish the race first of all. It's quite important, because it's very easy to make mistakes here. It's a very hard circuit. Although it was an easy drive, it was still hard to some degree, because we were still doing reasonably fast lap times. I don't know what it so special. I certainly love that circuit. I have always found it easier to find my set-up which is also very important here, to throw the cars through the corners. You have to be lucky to some degree as well.

Q: Was the race easier this year with traction control and automatic gearboxes?

MS: Pretty challenging. Because you have traction control, it means you go faster actually, and that means that some degree it's physically harder.

Q: Rubens, how straightforward was your second place?

Rubens Barrichello: Not at all. I had quite a lot of trouble since lap nine or ten because I started having cramp on my foot. Something happened to the pedals because they were vibrating quite a lot and actually Ross became a physiotherapist because I was telling him that if he knew something I could do inside the car because it was really really bad. At one time I could hardly feel my right foot. He was saying 'drink water, drink water' and at one stage it was gone, but I was having quite a lot of problems inside the car.

Q: Eddie, well done. You must be delighted for yourself and the team...

Eddie Irvine: Yes, it's fantastic to be on the podium especially here. To have two Ferraris and a Jaguar on the podium in Monaco is really what Formula One is about in a way. Monaco is a strange circuit. We've been quick here all weekend. Let's hope we can carry that speed to Canada.

Q: Were there no ill effects from when you hit the barrier?

EI: I touched the barrier at the swimming pool but it was on the inside wheel and I was pretty much sliding when it hit it so it just made me slide a little bit more, but no ill effects at all.

Q: Michael what's the programme between now and Canada for Ferrari?

MS: We will be testing at Magny Cours next week for three days, I think it's the last test we can before the Magny Cours race. It's not a particular test for Canada, obviously, but we know very well what we have to do for Canada. We will prepare for that and let's hope that we can have another one-two there.

Q: Michael, how does this win compare to some of the others?

Michael Schumacher: I was asked before why I didn't jump on the podium. Honestly, I don't feel that emotional because it has been a very straightforward win. It wasn't anything exceptional, nothing exceptionally happened through the race, which could make you emotional. It's always nice to win in Monte Carlo, it's always special, but then it was straightforward.

Q: Was it tiring, was it lonely?

MS: It was tiring to some degree. You go for some long alone in front. You only thing you think about is reliability, that nothing breaks down or that you make a mistake.

Q: But no problems maintaining concentration?

MS: No, I didn't have any issue. I had a little chat with Ross, because I was asking him a couple of questions concerning other people, what they were doing, which position they were in, and he said 'please keep concentrated, don't do another Indianapolis, my heart is too old for that.' I said 'I will look after your heart,' so we had a bit of a conversation in that direction, but from my point of view there was no concern.

Q: And a perfect start?

MS: Yes, our systems do work. As I've mentioned before Austria was pretty exceptional due to the circumstances. Otherwise we've never really had problems with our systems.

Q: How was the car throughout the race?

MS: Pretty good, obviously. I didn't have any mechanical issue. I wouldn't say that I have pushed 100 per cent because in the early stages of the race when Mika was there it was all about driving within the limits of the tyres and just preparing everything for the important bit of the race which would have been the later part of the race, but it never came to that because obviously I didn't need to push any more very hard. Still the lap times, looking against Coulthard, which at some point of the race when he must have been free and pushing very hard, by that time my fastest was pretty close to him, so I think we would have been comfortably up front today.

Q: What about David, he pulled over to let you past? Did you have any problems with backmarkers?

MS: No. As you say, I guess David saw me in the mirrors and he was obviously trying to get Bernoldi so as not to be lapped because it would have been important for him later in the race, and he almost crashed with him in Mirabeau, as far as I could see, and then I was behind him and he immediately pulled over. He was very fair on that. Otherwise there was no problem with backmarker at all.

Q: Rubens, early on you got past Hakkinen, could you see what his problem was?

Rubens Barrichello: Not really. I was quite close to him and then I started to have my problem with the leg and my foot and I was just coming back a little bit. Suddenly I saw a car just almost stopping. There was no smoke or anything like this. I just saw him dropping back.

Q: It seemed that you had your problem around laps 17/18/19 when you were losing two seconds a lap; is that right?

RB: There was a time in the race when I was going out of Casino and pressing the pedal was just like feeling as though I had that white stuff on my feet. I could hardly feel it. I was trying to move my toes and drink water and I don't know what happened. I'm sure something happened inside of the cockpit with the heel rest, because they were vibrating and moving. I was asking God to give me a chance to race because the car was brilliant. I never had a car as good as this one of today. But as Michael was saying, I had to save so much because I couldn't do anything else. I had to brake so early and fortunately when I looked back, Ralf was dropping back at quite a good pace, so I had an easy race in that respect. It was just that I had to concentrate on not going off because I couldn't brake.

Q: You had that problem all the way through to the end of the race?

RB: Fortunately after the pit stop, I tried to push something on the heel race and it seemed to accommodate and then I had no problems. Then my life got easier and then I had quite an easy time to the end.

Q: Eddie, what happened at the start?

Eddie Irvine: Yes, I made a reasonable start, it wasn't quite as good as the Williams who pulled up on me a bit but I got round the outside of Ralf at the first corner, but then he pushed me wide and I had to back off and give him the line. Then Montoya got me, but then I dropped back, maybe two seconds, and just sat there waiting to see what would happen.

Q: This podium means a lot to you?

EI: It's good for all the guys in the team. Everyone's been working very hard. We haven't been getting very far to be honest until these new aerodynamics arrived on Saturday so it's good for the guys in factory.

Q: So how much is the result you and how much the aero package?

EI: Since it's not contract negotiation time, it's probably mostly the aero package. It made a huge step. I was four years at Ferrari and we never saw a gain of half of what we gained this weekend. It's a huge step. For sure it will be better in Canada but here it's all about downforce. Efficiency is very important in Canada and our efficiency isn't very good. This is a big step forward but it's still a reasonable step behind other people. If we go to Canada and we perform well there, it bodes well for the rest of the year because the two circuits are very different.

Q: When you hit the barrier, were you surprised that you didn't do any damage?

EI: There's one time I saw on the replay on the way in where I didn't think I hit the barrier. I was on the kerb but I didn't think I hit the barrier. That was on the outside. There was once where I just touched it on the inside where I definitely did clip it but it was very very small. It was on the unloaded and I just glanced it. I would have been surprised if something had happened to be honest because I never even got a flick through the steering.

Q: Was the car consistent during the race?

EI: The car handling was good but we have a problem that we had last year and every race this year. There's a problem with the steering that makes it very very difficult to drive. It happens in qualifying sometimes and it seemed to have happen in the race. It happened last year. It cost me a good qualifying position here, it's cost me qualifying positions on other circuits as well so we have to go try and figure that out. But the tyres were very very good, the engine performed great.

Click here to listen to the press conference in audio

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