Atlas F1 News Service

Sunday's Selected Quotes - Monaco GP

Sunday May 27th, 2001


Michael Schumacher: "To win here in Monaco, first you have to finish. In some ways it was an easy and straightforward race, because I was out in front on my own. But at the same time it was quite hard as we still had to fast lap times. In some ways, the traction control made the race tougher physically as we are going quicker. I love this circuit as it is always a challenge. Today, I just had to think about reliability and make sure I didnít make a mistake. I asked Ross Brawn what some other drivers were doing and he told me to concentrate. I had no problem with back-markers and my car was pretty good, even if I did not push 100%, because in the early stages, when Mika was behind me I was trying to look after the car and the tyres."

Rubens Barrichello: "My race was not as easy as it looked, because round about lap 10, I started to get cramp in my right foot. I think there might have been a problem in the cockpit because the pedals were vibrating a lot and I had trouble with my heel rest. The team advised me on the radio to try and move my toes and drink more water. I could not feel my foot and so I was having to brake early and concentrate on not going off. After the pit stop, I pushed hard on the heel rest and the situation improved from then on. I have to say my car was brilliant, Iíve never had such a good car."

Jean Todt: "This is a great result, on a track which is very demanding on the drivers and the cars. Everything went very well from start to finish. We profited from the problems of our main rivals, which meant we did not have to push to the limit. I must compliment Coulthard for being very fair in letting Michael and Rubens pass him. The team did an excellent job without making the slightest error. Rubens experienced a pain in his leg, but overcame it to bring the car home in second place. Our lead in the Driversí championship is not that big and we know that in order to maintain this level of performance and reliability, we must continue to work very hard and methodically. I am also very happy for the Prost team, who thanks to a strong race from Jean Alesi were able to pick up a very important point for their season."


Eddie Irvine: "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. Since it's not contract negotiation time, it's probably mostly the aero package, it made a huge step. I made a reasonable start, but it wasn't quite as good as the Williams who pulled up on me a bit. 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. 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 wheel 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."

Pedro de la Rosa: "This was a very disappointing race for me and a continuation of the bad luck that has plagued me so far this season. My start was ok and I actually overtook Frentzen but I then had to let Raikkonen past to avoid an unnecessary first corner accident. I was able to hold my position comfortably from there on and the car felt very well balanced. On lap 18 at the left-hander before Casino I had to let Frentzen through to avoid another accident and then I just lost the gearshift and throttle so I guess it must have been the hydraulics. Even though I'm disappointed it's been a good weekend for the team and we have shown that we can be competitive."

Bobby Rahal: "I would have taken sixth for our first points of the year! I'm so proud of the team, and Eddie drove beautifully. There's been a lot of disappointment, concern, upset, a lot of changes. It just shows the resiliency of the team's spirit, and hopefully it's the start of more. I don't pretend to think that we've got it figured out by any stretch, but hopefully this gives everyone the sense within themselves that they can do it. You can talk about it, but until you actually achieve it, you don't really believe it."


Jacques Villeneuve: "The car was good and precise and I could push with it all weekend. I kept pushing Eddie although I knew he had a quicker car but he didnít make a mistake. Itís been fun."

Olivier Panis: "I am disappointed that my race ended so early. I am not sure what happened to the car. I was unable to steer through the slow corners so I had to make an unplanned pit stop. I came in so that the mechanics could check the car but when I rejoined I had the same problem. Itís a shame as I really enjoy the circuit here at Monaco and I would have liked to have finished the race. However I am happy for Jacques and the team that he finished in the points."

Craig Pollock: "I am really delighted for the whole team, our sponsors and Honda. We just missed a podium. We thought perhaps we could challenge for it but it did not come our way today. Monaco has always been a difficult race for us but Jacques drove an absolutely brilliant race today. We are disappointed for Olivier as it would have been great to have had both drivers in the points."

Malcolm Oastler, Technical Director: "A really good result for the team. This is our third time here but itís the first time weíve scored points. Jacques did a great job. Itís a shame we didnít give Olivier a chance to do the same. We scored more points than a lot of teams today which is great for our championship challenge."


David Coulthard: "At the start of the formation lap there was a technical problem with the launch control, which stopped the engine. It's something we have tested a lot and it shouldn't have happened. Obviously I was frustrated when it occurred, but as a racing driver you have to overcome that and concentrate on getting the car started and get on with the race. I was stuck behind Bernoldi for many laps and I was afraid that if I took a dive he might cut across and we would both end up in the barriers, so I had to be very patient. We have to look at the positives and once we were in the race, we had a quick and reliable car. I'm pleased to finish in the points but I wanted to win."

Mika Hakkinen: "I made a good start and was close behind Michael when all of a sudden the car just started pulling to the right. I went into the pits but the crew couldn't find anything wrong immediately and we decided to go back out. However the car was still behaving in a strange manner, and I decided that it would be impossible to go flat out and there was no other option than to retire. We are not sure what the problem was but I know that I didn't hit anything and I'm sure the engineers will find out very soon."

Ron Dennis: "An eventful and frustrating day but that is motor racing. At this stage its inappropriate to comment on the problems we experienced apart from that the fact that the responsibility doesn't rest with the drivers. Once the race settled down the team worked hard to contribute to David's points scoring drive. The Championship remains completely open."

Norbert Haug: "David and Mika demonstrated what would have been possible for them today. David stopped through no fault of his own before the formation lap and lost every chance of winning despite the fact that he was the fastest driver during the race. Mika's race was equally disappointing, but at this stage we don't know the cause of his retirement."


Jean Alesi: "This first point is such a great thing that I have the impression that today it's a new start for our team. And I am particularly happy to have achieved this result at Monaco. I totally enjoyed my race although, towards the end, when I felt the car vibrating in the tunnel, I was really worried. It was a flat tyre and I had to go back to the pits to change it, which cost me the fifth place points. But what is important is that today I scored the first point for the team. A big thank you also to all those who have been supporting us through our difficult times."

Luciano Burti: "At the start, as I tried to overtake Verstappen, he moved suddenly towards my car, touched and broke my front wing, so I had to stop to change it. Then I was coming quite quick , not far of Jean's pace. But then the frontrunners started lapping me and it was getting difficult to keep space and to carry enough speed. On top of that,right after the 20th lap, my braking pedal started being very long and I missed the braking point in turn 1. I managed to stop the car but when I tried to put the reverse gear to go back on the track, it did not work and I had to stop there. We have to investigate the cause of this problem, which ended my first Monaco Grand Prix."

Alain Prost: "Our car has improved to the point that since Thursday, we have been within competitive positions. The week-end has been overall very positive for us, in spite of the difficulties encountered by Luciano, who unfortunately could not finish his first race at Monaco. Jean has done a great job and the team's constant efforts have finally paid off today. This first result will allow us to work with a little less pressure, but we know we still have a long way to go. It's great to be able to celebrate today and I would like to thank and congratulate the whole team."


Jenson Button: "Things felt quite good today. In the first stint the car had a bit of understeer in the high-speed corners. In the low-speed stuff, on the other hand, we had a bit of oversteer. After the pit stop it felt better. It was good to finish a race in the top 10, even if it is a little frustrating to be just outside the points. But it was nice to be racing for something. It was good fun and I hope we can sort out the problems we have had recently in order to chase points at every race."

Giancarlo Fisichella: "I hit the barrier at Ste Devote once because I had a brake problem, but then it happened again when my car stuck in gear. It was a shame because I felt really good throughout the race and we were competing for a top-six position again. The car was much better this weekend and I enjoyed my time on the track."

Pat Symonds, Director of Engineering: "Giancarlo followed his good qualifying performance with an excellent race punctuated by one lucky escape. His afternoon was brought to an end, however, after he suffered a hydraulic failure. His car became stuck in gear and that caused him to hit the barrier. That was a great shame because he was certainly on course for a good points finish. Jenson was not quite as competitive, but the critical point in his race was trying to gain an edge on David Coulthard during our scheduled pit stop, and we were not able to do that."

Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "First and foremost it is nice to be back racing again and looking to score points, although it was disappointing not to take any home. Giancarlo did a fantastic job and pushed very hard. It was a great shame that he had a spin because he was on target for a top-six finish. It was important for Jenson to get a race distance under his belt. Overall this weekend has marked a big step forward. We thought our basic chassis package was OK and I think we have proved that. We know we have to be patient because we have improvements coming at Magny-Cours, and I think we can be very confident that we will get more and more competitive in the second half of the season."


Jos Verstappen: "I'm really annoyed that we stalled in the pit-stop. I was having a great time as I passed about five cars fair and square during the early part of the race, which is very difficult here, and the car was feeling very good. It's a real shame as we should have been on for some points today."

Enrique Bernoldi: "My start was okay with just a little pushing and shoving. My team-mate got past me in the early stages and after that I settled into the race. I have to say it was pretty hard going as I had to be careful that when I let the leaders thorough I didn't also let through the people I was racing with. I'm pleased I finished my first F1 Grand Prix in Monaco but am a little disappointed there were no points in it for me."

Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: "We threw away points today when a fuel pressure problem caused Jos to stall in his pit-stop. He drove a solid race with some great overtaking manouevres and Enrique did well to cope with the pressure of having Coulthard behind him for nearly half of the race without making a mistake. We're disappointed that we have got two cars home at one of the toughest races of the year but not be rewarded with points."


Kimi Raikkonen: "I really thought my race was finished when I had to stop at the pits on lap 15 while running ninth, but the team was able to bypass the problem so I rejoined five laps down. It was a shame because I really like the Monte Carlo circuit. It's very different. After my unscheduled stop I ran without traction control. The car ran trouble-free in the second part."

Nick Heidfeld: "We made the car a little better this morning so I was hoping for a good race. All I know is that one of the Arrows drivers hit me in the corner before Portier. I rode up over his wheel, quite high, and crashed into the barriers. I'm very disappointed."

Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "I am very unhappy about the first lap, when Verstappen caused the accident which put Nick Heidfeld into the wall. Kimi RšikkŲnen had to stop so that we could switch to an emergency programme when a wheel-speed sensor failed on his car. He was able to restart, and despite not having traction control was able to set competitive lap times on his way to 10th place."


Ralf Schumacher: "That I am disappointed is obvious. All of a sudden a warning light came on, shortly after that the power steering went and as I came into the pits I could not shift anymore. When I came to a halt the engine cut out."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "I made a mistake and paid for it. The car was good and I have nothing to complain about. The Michelin tyres worked well. My accident happened when I shifted down, lifted off, had understeer and crashed into the barrier."

Patrick Head, Technical Director: "Obviously a pretty disappointing result as both cars made good starts and were fourth and fifth on the first lap. We lost Juan Pablo early and while Ralf could not stay with the Ferraris he had the pace of Irvine. We had some sort of electrical problem on the car, which caused other systems on the car to fail. We have a lot of work to do as we want race finishes and we will be working very hard on that."

Gerhard Berger, BMW Motorsport Director: "Obviously luck is not with us at the moment. We lost one car due to driver error and the other with a technical failure. It has cost us important points today. It is a great pity we are not on the podium as this seemed a real possibility. Now our first priority is reliability."

European Minardi

Fernando Alonso: "The car felt pretty good, but after the first 20 laps I could not select first gear any more, so I was forced to use second gear instead. Clearly, from that moment on, my race became increasingly difficult. Under such conditions, all I could do was keep going and hope for the best, but in the end, the gearbox failed. Clearly, we must work on our reliability in order to improve our finishing record."

Tarso Marques: "I think I made a good start, as I gained two positions on the first lap, but after awhile, some intermittent problems began to arise. At first, they seemed to be electronics-related, but then gear selection began to be affected, and then the traction control. Finally, in the closing stages of the race, a driveshaft may have broken, because I lost drive almost completely."

Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "The bottom line is that it has been a very disappointing day for European Minardi F1 with both cars failing to finish. Fernando drove a strong race, rising as high as ninth, but sadly, a gearbox problem put paid to his chances of a top-10 finish. Tarso also went well, but failed to reach the finish when a drivetrain problem forced him to retire."


Heinz-Harald Frentzen: "Everything was okay at the start, I chose the manual option because it was safer and got away without incident. Although I couldn't overtake anyone, I was having a consistent and solid race and the car's handling and balance felt very good. I was in seventh place, chasing Jean Alesi, and I don't know exactly what happened in the tunnel. I experienced understeer after the apex, and then hit the barrier on the exit, sliding all the way down to the chicane. The impact was quite hard and I hit my head. Starting from thirteenth position on the grid was clearly unlucky for me today."

Jarno Trulli: "I am extremely disappointed with what happened today, after a good start and a trouble-free first part of the race, I was struggling over five or six laps with the rear of the car. The next thing I knew, the car stopped at Rascasse on lap 50 with flames coming out the back. I'm not sure what the cause was but it seems to have been a hydraulic problem, with the car losing pressure over those laps, which explains why the handling became difficult. Until then, the car felt very good and I was not really pushing too hard as I was trying to save the tyres. Monte Carlo is clearly not a circuit where things go well for me. This result is so frustrating because we seem to be competitive. But we must be in a position to finish more races."

Eddie Jordan, Chief Executive: "This has sadly not been a good weekend for Jordan. We must put Austria and Monaco behind us and return to our point-scoring form of the first five races this season."

Trevor Foster, Joint Managing Director: "As today's result shows, it was very easy to score points if you could make it to the end, which unfortunately, we were unable to do, until we get the cars back and analyse the data, we can't be sure exactly what happened with either car. Heinz obviously hit the barrier, but we have yet to find the cause. It looked like Jarno had some kind of lubricant fire - possibly hydraulic fluid or engine oil."

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