JUNE 29, 2003
EUROPEAN GP - SUNDAY - RACE NOTES
Ralf wins Williams 1-2
Ralf Schumacher won the European Grand Prix, at the Nurburgring, today leading home a Williams-BMW 1-2. The win was Ralf's first since the Malaysian Grand Prix last season - which was the last Williams 1-2 finish - and was his fifth career victory.
Juan Pablo Montoya finished second, after making a controversial outside pass on Michael Schumacher's Ferrari after the second round of pitstops - with the German running out of room and spinning into the gravel trap. After being pushed out by the marshals, Michael was able to rejoin and ended up finishing in fifth place.
Rubens Barrichello had a quiet race in his Ferrari to finish on the podium in third place.
The race was led early on by polesitter Kimi Raikkonen, who pulled a six second lead before his engine blew on lap 25. McLaren-Mercedes day ended with no points when David Coulthard spun out into a gravel trap with three laps to go, trying to avoid Fernando Alonso - who he was battling with over fourth place. Alonso then held off Michael Schumacher in his Renault to take fourth at the line.
Sixth place went to Mark Webber in the Jaguar. Jenson Button was seventh for BAR-Honda, while Nick Heidfeld took the final points position after starting from the pitlane in his Sauber-Petronas.
At the end of the day, Michael Schumacher extended his lead in the Drivers World Championship to seven points over Kimi Raikkonen, while Ralf Schumacher has overtaken Fernando Alonso for third place - who is now tied with Juan Pablo Montoya for fourth.
In the Constructors' Championship, Williams-BMW has now overtaken McLaren-Mercedes for second. This is the second consecutive race that McLaren has slipped down the order - having lead the championship going into the Canadian Grand Prix.
The teams now move on to the French Grand Prix next weekend - the only back-to-back races on the calendar.
POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE - JUNE 29, 2003
1. Ralf SCHUMACHER (WILLIAMS), 1h34m43.622s
2. Juan Pablo MONTOYA (WILLIAMS), 1h35m00.443s (+ 16.821s)
3. Rubens BARRICHELLO (FERRARI), 1h35m23.295s (+ 39.673s)
Q: That was a great victory, the first ever BMW Williams one-two finish and here on home soil as well...
Ralf SCHUMACHER: Second one-two finish, we had one in Malaysia I think. Still, it's great. It has been a long time. I've had a couple of pole positions but I couldn't turn them into victory. I got a bit of criticism but, you see, even a bad driver can win a race, so...
Q: You made a great start there ahead of your brother into turn one...
Schumacher: Yeah. I simply had a good start. For whatever reason he didn't and that's why I took the chance. I don't know, maybe it looked more spectacular from the outside than it actually was.
Q: You had a very long first stint. By the time you came out of that, how do you think you fared against Kimi? Do you think you could have got him towards the end of the race?
Schumacher: We gained half of the time back. They were pretty strong. It would have been a very difficult one. I don't know but I have to guess yes, obviously. We were pushing very hard. The car was perfect today, tires were perfect, so the team did a great job.
Q: Juan Pablo, tell us what happened in that first stop - you changed only one set of tires?
Juan Pablo MONTOYA: Yeah, I only changed the rear tires because when I was following Rubens and Michael and Ralf, when we were all quite together, I was having a little graining on the front and I decided the best thing to do was to leave the fronts on. It didn't seem to pay off and I actually lost my time. I didn't manage to get by Rubens or anything, so for the last stop I put on new tires and I went by both of the Ferraris.
Q: Well, you were right behind Michael. Tell us about that incident.
Montoya: I don't know what was wrong with Michael on the straight. He had pretty good straight (line speed) and it was just in the cornering he was very slow. I went down into the hairpin, he blocked the inside, I went for the outside and we touched.
Q: And? Did he run wide, do you think, or do you think...
Montoya: Well, I thought I gave him plenty of room. I wasn't going to give him all the track but I gave him enough room to, you know, to go round the corner somehow.
Q: Rubens a good start?
Rubens BARRICHELLO: Yep, a good start. I went by Juan Pablo and then although it was very difficult to pass, it was OK to keep the pace. I was saving a little bit of fuel and at that stage everything was running OK but then we put in a little bit more fuel and the car started to be a bit more difficult to drive compared to the speeds that Williams' were going. I was disappointed that Juan Pablo went by (while I was) in the pits but that was all I could do. I was catching Michael when they were fighting - I don't know what was happening to Michael at that time - but I was catching quite rapidly. But then I went through a phase in the race when the balance was no good at all. When the fuel came down the car was better but there was no gain. I couldn't go forward any more so I had to just pace myself.
Q: Ralf, you came in for some criticism after the Canadian Grand Prix for not being aggressive enough, for not being a winner. Can you tell us your thoughts now?
Schumacher: I don't know. It's down to the experts, those who call themselves experts after the race. This was far more important. For the team, we took an amazing step, if you remember where we started. I can't remember a team turning it around so much from start of the season. Again, it's amazing what a job the team has done this year.
Q: Ralf, a nice early birthday present to yourself!
Schumacher: Yep. Usually I never get the timing right, but this time, yeah, a perfect opportunity, especially here, after '99, I was very close. Last year it looked very promising, so it's a good feeling.
Q: How does this stand in terms of the wins you've had so far?
Schumacher: Well, it's great to win in front of the home crowd, especially here or in Hockenheim, obviously, but even here the crowd was amazing today. The reception for all of us, and then being one and two for Williams again is really good for the Constructors' championship at the same time.
Q: Particularly given there's another race in a week's time with very little time to react between the two. Maybe it will be fairly similar conditions?
Schumacher: Well, as I said before in the press conference, it's really great what we've achieved this year. The car is definitely on the right way. Magny-Cours, last year, wasn't that bad for us. I think we both like the circuit anyway, so yeah, it's looking promising for that one as well.
Q: In the early stages how hard were you pushed by your brother?
Schumacher: Not really. In the first few laps I had a bit of graining so I couldn't really do anything. Then I tried to disappear a bit but it just worked by a couple of tenths or a tenth sometimes but then after the first pit stop the car, the new tires, went perfect and there was no problem at all. But always keep in mind we had about ten kilos, at least, more fuel in the car so it showed we had the right strategy.
Q: So, no problems with the car at all. It was absolutely perfect?
Schumacher: The car was absolutely perfect today as it usually is when you win a race. But it is true to say last year we struggled with a bit of tire problems but here this year, except for the first run, everything was perfect.
Q: Juan Pablo, you had the two Renaults behind you in the early stages. Were they pushing hard or not?
Montoya: No, I was more focussed trying to stay with Rubens. I had really bad graining and then the rears started going off really bad and towards the end of the stint I couldn't even really keep the rear behind me. I kind of struggled a little bit and because I had so much oversteer I decided to put on the new rears and it went from massive oversteer to massive understeer. Probably going all round new tires would have been better but at the time I thought it was better to just stay with the old fronts and I think I lost most of the time to Ralf there. Then for the last stop we went for new tires and we went by the two Ferraris, that was really good.
Q: So really pleased with the second place?
Montoya: Yeah, going into the last stop I was fourth and did Rubens in the pit stop and then getting Michael on the track was pretty good fun...especially at home!
Q: I was told to say that is still under investigation by the stewards, but you are quite happy about your position?
Montoya: Yeah, I braked pretty late and I gave him plenty of room and, you know, we touched...and he spun...I continued.
Q: Where do you see the team's position in the world championship now?
Montoya: I think it is very good. I think the team has done a fantastic job. The last four races, since Austria, we have been very quick. In Austria I was leading until I blew up, then Monaco we won, the last race we were very strong, finished second and third, and now first and second. The way it looks we can probably keep the ball rolling to the end of the year.
Q: Rubens, that seemed pretty tough today. Are you happy with third?
Barrichello: Well, you are never happy with third but I think, you know, considering everything I was going through, the balance of the car was a little bit difficult...I think it is a fairly good result. After the start, the car was running quite well but then after the pit stops the car never felt as good again and I was running into balance problems really.
Q: Because you were right up behind Michael after about seven laps and then just dropped back quite substantially...
Barrichello: I think I lost more to Michael after my first pit stop. He gained a little bit on me in the pitstop, a couple of seconds, and then he was opening like three to four tenths (of a second) a lap, but I couldn't do anything with the balance, I was really struggling. But then on the second set I was much happier, especially compared to him because I was catching quite rapidly as well so I don't know if he had any problems or what, but I have just been fighting against the balance for the whole race and trying to sort it out in the pitstops with pressures and front wings and things.
Q: Do you see yourselves being better off in Magny Cours?
Barrichello: Well, definitely. I think it is a racetrack where we went well in the last couple of years or even more. Williams have done quite well there as well, expect McLaren to do well, so it is going to be close again. We just need to see what we can do.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: Juan Pablo, you had problems with engines and gearboxes in the last two Grands Prix and you kept quiet about them. Apart from the graining on the tires, did you have any other problems during the race?
Montoya: From yesterday to today they had to change something on the engine, a little piece on the engine, and they didn't seem to have any problems today. It was fine. I decided myself to drop the pace and at the end I pushed pretty hard and that was it.
Q: With the move on Michael, which we all enjoyed, you seemed to attack very quickly. Were you trying to take him by surprise and were you yourself surprised when he seemed to come back to you?
Montoya: To be honest I knew I had new tires and if I wanted to pass him it had to be straight away, to use the extra grip. So that's what I did, I used the extra grip and I came out of the corner, put the nose in and he blocked me so I went straight to the other side and went around the outside.
Q: So, can we be clear about this? If you were to have a little talk with Michael now you would point out to him that it was his initiative and he was at fault, not you?
Montoya: Well, when I went to the corner I wasn't going to give him all the track but I gave him enough room on the inside to go around the inside. I didn't go for the kerb or anything. I was pretty wide, I braked really late and actually Rubens gave me a hand there because when I was following Rubens he was taking the corner pretty wide and I thought ah, there has got to be plenty of grip out there and I went and it was fine. When we touched, Michael probably went in too fast and when he touched it spun the car around.
Rubens Barrichello (3rd): "You are never really happy with third, but considering the difficulties I had with the balance of the car, this is a fairly good result. I had a good start and managed to pass Juan Pablo.After that in the first stint, I could match the pace of those ahead, but could not catch them and I was also conserving fuel a bit at that point. It was disappointing that Montoya got past me in the pit stop.However, after the pit stops, the balance of the car was not as good with the full fuel load, and it improved a bit as the car got lighter. I was a bit happier on the second set of tires and was catching Michael quite rapidly. Basically, I was fighting the balance of the car all the time and we tried fixing it by changing tire pressures and the front wing settings. Now, I am hoping we can go better at Magny-Cours, although it should be another tough weekend."
Michael Schumacher (5th): "Considering that my lead in the world championship has now increased to seven points, I cannot really complain about the result of this race. Especially as with the new points system it takes longer to catch up, except in the case of a non-finish. As for the collision with Juan Pablo, in my opinion it was a straightforward racing incident. He was faster than me, tried to pass,gave me just enough room to survive. Maybe I could have wished for a little bit more space, but I have no problem with Juan Pablo over this. No one was to blame. Of course, I am happy for Ralf,keeping it in the family at our home race."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "We expected a close and tough fight and that is what we got. Third and fifth places for Rubens and Michael respectively have brought us some valuable points for both championships. A first analysis of the race reveals that our chassis, engine, tire package was not the quickest out on the track, but its reliability allowed us to get both cars home in the points. Michael was fighting for second place, when he spun after a collision with Montoya who was trying to pass him. Thanks to the track marshals who pushed him out of the gravel, he managed to continue, going on to score very important points in terms of the championship. Rubens drove a very solid race to get to the third step of the podium, which was the best we could do today."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "It was a difficult race for us. Our rivals proved to be clearly more competitive and there was not much we could do to change that situation. I don't think there is one specific area that was to blame today. We must work on the whole package to improve our performance level. It was our reliability which meant we got both cars home in the points, thus extending our lead in both championships."
Ralf Schumacher (1st): "It is great to win after a long time and especially after I failed to turn two poles into victory in the last two races. I had a very good start and for some reason Michael did not. I took the chance and jumped into second position into the first corner. I think that seen from the outside that manoeuvre looked more spectacular than it actually was. I believe I could have caught Kimi, even if it would have been difficult. We had a perfect car with perfect tires today and if we consider we were about ten kilos heavier than the others at the start, it was a very good performance."
Juan Pablo Montoya (2nd): "I am pleased with second position, especially because after the start I dropped into 5 th place. I had some problems with tire graining, so I decided to change only the rear tires at the first pit stop, but it wasn't the right choice so I changed all of them at the second stop. On new tires the car felt much better. With regards to the overtaking manoeuvre on Michael, I braked late and gave him enough room to go around the corner on the inside. We touched and he spun. It was a racing incident, even if I must say that overtaking Michael at his home GP was much fun."
Sam Michael, Chief Operations Engineer: "It was a fantastic day today. Ralf and Juan drove superb races and the team did a great job in terms of preparing the cars and strategy. The mechanics also did an excellent job at the pit stops. It is a great result for our team and also for the championship. We know our car is competitive and we are looking forward to being strong over the next couple of races. We will maintain our aggressive development program for the up coming races. Juan overtaking Michael was a fantastic manoeuvre that should be a normal part of F1. The fact that Michael spun was a racing incident."
Gerhard Berger, BMW Motorsport Director: "It was just a perfect weekend for our team. First we finalized the extension of the contract and then we achieved a one-two victory on BMW's home ground. I feel really happy for the team and especially for Ralf. Today he demonstrated to everybody that he is a first-class driver. I would suggest we have all earned a glass of champagne now."
David Coulthard (15th): "A frustrating weekend for the whole team. During the race I was benefiting from what was happening at the front and as a result was making good progress. In the latter part, I was fighting with Alonso for fourth and there were a couple of incidents, one in particular at turn eight when I ended up on the grass. However a few laps later I was forced to take evasive action to avoid running into the back of him as he braked incredibly early and that was the end of my race. I have my own views on the incident which I will discuss privately with Alonso, but at the end of the day it's for the Stewards to decide."
Kimi Raikkonen (DNF, Engine): "Obviously I'm extremely disappointed as we could have won today. I made a textbook start from pole position and was able to control the race and was pulling away until I had to retire with an engine failure. I had no indication that it was going to happen and the car was feeling great. However that is motor racing and we have to focus on the French Grand Prix. The gap to Michael can easily be closed with a good result and that is what we want to achieve next weekend."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Our drivers' comments and the obvious outcome of the weekend say it all. With seven races to go our objective will be to put today firmly behind us and concentrate on the remaining part of the season, and we must not lose sight of the fact that we have a very competitive package."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Kimi was the fastest man on the track today. He was clearly ahead when an engine failure finished his race shortly before half distance. He did everything right during the weekend and I feel very sorry for him. With regards to David's incident it looked as Alonso slowed down very suddenly and David had to take evasive action to avoid having a high-speed accident. We will work hard to reduce the seven points deficit to Michael Schumacher at the next race in France this coming weekend."
Fernando Alonso (4th): "A good race for me, and a strong result after a difficult weekend. I had a good fight with Jarno in the first few corners, which he eventually won coming out of Turn 4. I managed to get past him when he pitted before me, but I lost some performance during the last stint, even though we made small aerodynamic changes at both stops. I was under a lot of pressure during the last stint, first from Coulthard and then Michael, but I managed to keep my position. Ralf's win means I have lost my third position in the Championship, but I'm not too worried: we did a good job this weekend."
Jarno Trulli (DNF, Fuel Pressure): "Unfortunately, I think my car stopped with a fuel pressure problem. Until the retirement, I was having a good race: I managed to keep up with the leaders at the start, but then lost time behind Fernando during the second stint: I was a little bit quicker, but could not overtake. It looked like we were going to get two points finishes today, and it is therefore a shame to leave with just one."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "A very hard race for Fernando, who had to push all the way through to hold off the challenges of David and Michael. He withstood the pressure well, to give us a satisfying fourth place. Jarno provided an excellent performance all weekend, and was looking very comfortable in the race until what we believe was a fuel pressure problem stopped him out on the circuit. The cars performed well in race trim, and our tires were well suited to this track."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "This was a race run under constant pressure. There were no surprises with the conditions, and we didn't suffer any problems on Fernando's car. There is still a question mark over Jarno's retirement, as the car stopped in a telemetry blind spot out on the circuit. However, we believe he suffered a fuel pressure problem. In summary, this was a good race where we showed ourselves to be, if not capable of beating the front runners, certainly in a good position to challenge them."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "I am very happy with the result. I'm sorry for Jarno, who was very quick all weekend and did a fantastic job during the race. As for Fernando, he didn't crack under the pressure and scored some more valuable points."
Nick Heidfeld (8th): "After I didn't get a timed qualifying lap yesterday I decided to start the race from the pit lane. At the beginning it was not easy to pass both Minardi drivers and I also got stuck behind Villeneuve. But after that the car was going well. I am just very happy about my result!"
Heinz-Harald Frentzen (9th): "My congratulations to Nick! I am happy for him and for the whole team! We have scored one point and also both cars were undamaged today and we were both able to finish the race. Normally, this shouldn't be unusual, but after yesterday's qualifying session our results today are a surprise to me. At the beginning I was fighting with Firman, but then I was able to get on with my own race and I'm happy to finish in the top 9."
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "To score one point after starting the race from the pit lane is a fantastic achievement, particularly considering our current situation! The fact that both Nick and Heinz-Harald finished in the top 9 clearly shows the good performance of our team and, of course, the drivers. In comparison with our competitors the improvement in the performance of the car was also clearly visible. Unfortunately we couldn't make more out of it from our starting positions. Thank you to the whole team. This weekend for us was like sitting a really tough exam, which we have passed."
Ralph Firman (11th): "I had a good start and first couple of corners, but straight away the circuit was very different from yesterday. The car had oversteer and I struggled with that through the whole race - even when the circuit picked up grip we didn't make up any lap time, which is obviously quite disappointing. It was a very difficult race so I'm looking ahead to the next one."
Giancarlo Fisichella (12th): "My launch control didn't work very well at the start and the engine nearly stalled so I lost a few places. I had understeer for a couple of laps and then huge oversteer for the rest of the race which made it very difficult to make up time. Three stops maybe wasn't the best strategy, we didn't get the best car balance and we were not quick enough."
Gary Anderson, Director of Race and Test Engineering: "That was a tough race. Three stops here penalized us - all the cars that did three stops ended up together in the results so that proves something about the strategy. We thought it was worth a shot to see if we could pull anything out of it, but it didn't work. I'm impressed with our reliability, but the reality is we need to be faster to score points."
Eddie Jordan, Team Principal: "Obviously it's disappointing to work so hard and not get anything in return, but it was positive to have two reliable cars get to the finish. We are doing everything in our power to get ourselves into a better position."
Mark Webber (6th): "A tough and sometimes frustrating race but one which has given us three more championship points ? both on the Constructor's and Driver's table. I'm a little disappointed not to have achieved a better balance on the car and at times, the rear tires were simply too good. I suffered understeer during the first two stints but after my second stop, the car came good and very competitive. It was interesting and quite enjoyable to fight the BAR-Honda of Jenson Button out there today and in the end, my pit-crew did a great job to help get me out ahead of him. I kept pushing very hard towards Jenson and once ahead him, the aim was to keep driving hard and away from him. The balance of the car was very good and Michelin have done an incredible job here this weekend. The reliability is also clearly much better and with seven races left on the calendar, we are far from finished in the points battle."
Antonio Pizzonia (10th): "A frustrating race for me in that there was some confusion between myself and the pit-crew when it came to the tire change during my second stop. We are looking into how this happened, but it appears that the wrong tires were put onto my car and this didn't make for an easy race. The car was difficult to drive and coupled with my ten-second stop-go, I was forced to finish outside the points. I've struggled to find an optimum set-up here all weekend and we have made several changes to the car to try and help cure this. The reliability, however, keeps on going from strength to strength and combined with the competitiveness, we are clearly making good progress. Just a shame not to have shared some championship points with Mark today."
Mark Gillan, Head of Vehicle Performance: "Our tire choice, race strategy and yet another fine drive from Mark has earned us a precious three championship points today. We were quite comfortable going into this race knowing that we had opted for a race strategy all weekend as opposed to putting too many eggs into the qualifying basket. This paid off today! Both drivers made a good start and even though Mark lost a couple of places at the first corner, he recovered very quickly to stamp his authority further up the grid. We modified our strategies to suit the changing race order and both drivers pushed very hard out there today. Antonio was unlucky to have suffered from a stop-go penalty and we'll have to look at the data to see exactly where the offence was committed. Nonetheless, we are clearly making an impression on our reliability targets and combined with the competitiveness of the Jaguar R4, we will be looking for more points in Magny-Cours next weekend. Michelin, Cosworth and the team have done a great job this weekend in that we haven't suffered from one issue since we arrived. Credit must also go to everyone back at base who has done an excellent job and with back-to-back races, have another hard week ahead of them. Excellent work all round."
Jenson Button (7th): "I'm very happy to finish where we did because we weren't really on the pace at all today. The start was poor and there must have been a 30-meter gap between me and the guys in front, but I caught up at the first corner and managed to get past Webber in the process. I was really struggling with oversteer and I had to take it really easy on the first couple of stints to conserve the tires, otherwise it would just have been oversteer all the way. It's been a tough old weekend here so I'm pleased we were able to get a couple of points into the bargain because the boys deserve a bit of a boost. Their work in the pits today was incredible with Jacques and I in on the same lap. I hope we can all expect something more in Magny-Cours next weekend."
Jacques Villeneuve (DNF, Gearbox): "I'm pleased to see the end of a very bad weekend. Once we got going the pace wasn't too bad, but it was hard to be stuck behind the Minardis. I made a couple of mistakes as well and I was lucky to recover from my spin in the chicane. Just as it looked as if I was at least going to be able to finish the race, second gear broke and it was over. I guess we just have to hope for a better weekend in Magny-Cours now."
David Richards, Team Principal: "Jenson drove a faultless race, although we have to accept that our final position was achieved through attrition rather than pure performance this weekend. Having said that, the increased reliability and performance provided by Honda is has made a significant contribution. Nonetheless two points are two points and we now move into a clear fifth place in the Championship. Jacques' race was very disappointing with an early spin, a pitstop requiring a new nose, then ending with a transmission failure which we now have to get to the bottom of. With only one week before France and the summer testing ban looming on the horizon, there's not going to be much rest for our team over the next three weeks leading up to the British Grand Prix."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director: "This has been a difficult weekend for the team so it is very good to finish with two more points. Jenson drove a solid race, particularly resisting the pressure of those behind him during the middle stint of the race. A great deal of credit must go to the pit crew today; they did an excellent job to change Jacques' nose in record time and get him out before Jenson came in on a scheduled stop just 10 seconds later. Jacques had a fairly dismal race; he started poorly and dropped to 19th, then had to fight his way past the Minardis. A subsequent mistake at the chicane saw him damage the front wing and finally his race came to an early conclusion with a second-gear failure, the cause of which will now be investigated."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "Jenson drove a good race and I'm pleased the team is back to points-scoring form. We're encouraged by the overall performance of our engine this weekend and look forward to being fully able to demonstrate its capacity at Magny-Cours. Jacques obviously had a hard day. I hope he'll be back refreshed in France next weekend."
Justin Wilson (13th): "It was quite an interesting first stint from my standpoint, as I had a good battle with Jos and Jacques Villeneuve. Jos was able to drive down the inside of him at Turn 1, but I couldn't quite make it and had to tuck back in before the next corner. I then went a bit wide at the corner and couldn't shut the door, which allowed Heidfeld to get through. I was able to close on Jos, though, who was clearly struggling with his car, before Jacques had a big spin, which allowed both of us to get by him again. I eventually caught Jos, passed him and was able to get away. During the first stint, the car was sliding really badly, but after the first pit stop, the tires seemed a little better in terms of grip. I just concentrated on driving smoothly and keeping the car on the track. The pit stops today were spot on - the guys did a good job this afternoon, and I'd like to thank them for that. In the end, it was nice to get the car home again."
Jos Verstappen (14th): "That was probably one of the worst races I've ever had - the car had so much oversteer and so little grip, it was like driving on ice. I just couldn't do anything. I pushed as hard as I could for the first half of the race, but then just decided the best strategy was going to be to try to bring the car home in one piece. I feel particularly sorry for all the mechanics in the team, as they worked hard all weekend, but that was the best we could do today."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "It was a tough race, but both drivers did a fantastic job in difficult circumstances. This was a weekend when we simply had no grip in the dry. It's always good to get two cars home, so we leave the Nurburgring proud of the job done by the team and drivers, especially in the pit stops, and hopeful that there will be more grip available for us in France."
Cristiano Da Matta (DNF, Engine): "Not a good afternoon for us unfortunately. I made a reasonable start, retaining my tenth place and everything ran smoothly until about a third of the way through the race, when my front end plate was damaged. This meant an unscheduled pit stop to change the nose, but the guys did an outstanding job to get me back out quickly. In the end, my retirement from the race was down to an engine failure, most likely to be the result of an oil leak, or something similar. We'll have to look closely into this to find the exact cause."
Olivier Panis (DNF, Spin): "I was in eighth place by lap ten and gaining on Alonso, but then the front brakes locked up, which made it impossible to turn, causing the car to spin. Luckily, I kept the engine going, but it happened again later in the race and on this occasion the engine stalled and I was unable to continue. We don't yet know what the reason was. It goes without saying that I am extremely disappointed with the outcome of today's race. I was so sure we could pick up a good points finish after such competitiveness in practice and second qualifying. The team has done a good job and I am very positive about the next race in Magny-Cours - my home grand prix."
Ove Andersson, Team Principal: "Words cannot explain how upsetting this result is for the whole team after the strong showing we achieved on Friday and Saturday. The reason for Cristiano's retirement was quite clearly an engine failure, but the exact problem will have to be investigated. Olivier was suffering from intermittent brake locking, which made his car difficult to control, ultimately resulting in the spin that put him out of the race. But, again, we do not know the precise cause of this. We now travel the short distance back to the factory in Cologne, where we will study the race data in detail to determine exactly what went wrong. I absolutely refuse to be downbeat. The team and drivers have done an impressive job this weekend and we must simply learn from the race and look ahead with optimism to next weekend's French Grand Prix."