OCTOBER 24, 2004
BRAZILIAN GP - SUNDAY - RACE NOTES
Montoya wins in Brazil
Juan Pablo Montoya in a Williams-BMW won the Brazilian Grand Prix, at Interlagos, finishing a second ahead of his future team mate Kimi Raikkonen in a McLaren-Mercedes. Brazilian Rubens Barrichello finished third, 23 seconds behind, after starting in pole position.
The victory is Williams-BMW and Montoya's first in over a year - since the German Grand Prix in 2003.
The race started out damp, and Fernando Alonso - who took a chance on dry tyres - to came to the front when the others in front of him pitted for dry tyres. Barrichello lost a lot of time when Ferrari kept him out an extra lap compared to the other runners.
After Alonso made his stop (on a two stop strategy), the order settled down with a battle for the lead between Montoya and Raikkonen.
In the closing stages of the race there was a hard-fought battle for fourth through seventh place.
In the end, Fernando Alonso finished fourth in the Renault, Ralf Schumacher was fifth in the second Williams-BMW, Takuma Sato was sixth in the BAR-Honda, and Michael Schumacher (who started 18th) finished seventh in his Ferrari.
Felipe Massa in the Sauber-Petronas finished in the final points paying position.
Rubens Barrichello (3rd): "I am very proud of the whole team and want to thank them and all the fans who turned up to watch today. The circumstances of the race, in terms of the rain, did not favour us and I could have not done better. So I can still leave here with my head held high, even if actually that might be difficult as my neck is hurting a lot and I have to admit I feel very tired. Maybe it was the stress of the whole weekend. Our strategy worked okay, but the final result is a bit disappointing after I had been dominant in terms of pace throughout the weekend and I was confident for the race, having qualified with quite a good fuel load. We are best in the rain and best in the dry, but if we have a weak point it is in the damp conditions that we had after a few laps, when we know that those running the other make of tyre can make an earlier change to dry tyres. The weather just did not play into our hands, but I am happy to be on the podium, even if the win is still to come for me here."
Michael Schumacher (7th): "We can be very proud of what we have achieved as a team this season. There have been a lot of wins and the two championship titles, so there is no real reason to be too disappointed today, although I have to say I feel sorry for Rubens. As for my race, when I realised it was raining, at first I thought it would be a good opportunity for me. But to be honest, it was not wet enough and I think if it had rained harder and longer it would have been an advantage for us. I still feel fresh and ready to race but I know that now the important thing is to take a break before preparing for next season."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "It wouldn't be right to complain about finishing the race in third and seventh places with Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher respectively, given that the result comes at the end of what has been an extraordinary season for us. Obviously, we wanted to win today, just as we do every time we set off for a grand prix. In order to achieve that objective, we knew we had to put all our hopes on just one car, that of Rubens, given that Michael was starting from the ninth row. The weather changed the scenario and certainly not in our favour, but in any case, the real reason we did not win is that two other cars were stronger than us. However, once again today we demonstrated an excellent level of reliability, given that four Ferrari engines finished in the top nine. Today marks the end of the longest season in the history of Formula 1 and it also closes an extraordinary chapter in the history of our Scuderia. Out of eighteen races, victory has only eluded us on three occasions, with each of those wins going to a different team. It shows what a tough fight it has been to win, even if it might have looked easy from the outside. I want to thank the team, the drivers and all our commercial and technical partners for their efforts. Amongst these, a special mention to Bridgestone and Shell, who have played such a large part in our success."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "It was a very difficult scenario for us at the beginning of the race. It was not really wet enough for the wet tyres, so we knew we were going to have to make a pit stop pretty quickly. Then our tyres took a little while to get the heat into them so that the drivers could get going. I think that really lost us any opportunity to win the race. We are very good in the dry, very good in the wet, but it is just in between that we are not quite as good. However, if you take the season as a whole, the Bridgestone tyres have been fantastic. I think Rubens did a great job, especially considering how far back he was after the first round of pit stops. He got past Ralf, Alonso and Sato. We did as much as we could in the pit stops and the car was quick today."
Juan Pablo Montoya (1st): "It is just unbelievable! The very first laps were difficult because I lost some positions at the start before the tyres got up to temperature, but then I seemed to have more grip than the others. Still, the race was decided by a good strategy put together by all of my engineers and by Sam Michael, who called me in to change tyres from intermediate to slick at the right time. Later in the race they made another good call when I had Kimi behind me. They managed to get me out on the track ahead of him by just over a second. I could see him behind and I was thinking I could not afford to make even the smallest mistake! It's fantastic to give such a good end to these four years at Williams BMW. I want to say thanks to Frank and to everyone in the team who made this possible! And if you ask me what was the hardest thing in the race I'd say it was the pain in the neck, since this is an anti-clockwise circuit and we are not very used to all those left turns!"
Ralf Schumacher (5th): "What a shame, due to the rain my strategy did not pay off at all. But I have to say that I was not fast enough to overtake Alonso and as a consequence I I think I missed out on a podium today. It was great to be with this team for the last six years and it's a true pity we didn't enjoy even more success. I wish the Team all the best for next year!"
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "What a fantastic way to finish the season, with a superb drive from Juan Pablo! He didn't put a foot wrong, the pit crew and the engineers got everything right as well. With tricky conditions at the start of the race fuel loads were critical. Ralf also did a good job. Unfortunately he lost some time in the pits, but regardless he didn't give up and overtook a couple of cars during the race. Michelin's intermediate tyre performed well at the start of the race. It's been a hard season for us and this is a great reward for all the people who worked hard in the Grove and Munich factories and at the circuit to turn the FW26 around. Finally, all the best to Juan Pablo and Ralf for the future."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "This was a great relief for the team after a long and tough season. I am proud of our team's recovery from a difficult situation and we have now come back to former strengths. My compliments to both the drivers who gave everything at their last race for the team. Juan's race was just perfect. This progress is of great importance for our technicians as it is exactly the right motivation for the development of the new car and engine. The tenth victory feels as good as the first one. We are back!"
Kimi Raikkonen (2nd): "I was close to winning but just not close enough. It was a good race and I enjoyed it, but I would have liked to finish on the top step. I started the race on Michelin intermediates and was able to take the lead after a few corners. However, after my first stop I just didn't have the speed to keep up with Juan Pablo. We were side-by-side down the pitlane, and I did what I could to keep him behind me - perhaps in hindsight I could have been a bit more aggressive coming into the corner. 2004 has been a tough season for the entire team, but everybody has worked so hard to turn things around, and to finish 2004 on the podium is a good reward for all. I now look forward to next season where hopefully Juan Pablo and myself will be able to challenge for wins and the Championship from the beginning."
David Coulthard (11th): "A disappointing outcome of the weekend and a difficult race. I lost a lot of places in the first couple of corners with cars pushing, touching and wheels banging. It took me a few laps to feel comfortable with the dry Michelin tyres as it was quite slippery out there. Once everything had settled down I was too far back to really make an impact. I want to thank the boys both at the track and back at base for all the efforts and hard work during the past nine years. It's an emotional moment to say goodbye to the team after all this time, and the memories I will be taking with me will be of my 12 victories, 51 podiums and 412 points that we have achieved while working together."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "An exciting race to end the 2004 season. Due to the changing weather conditions we were not able to gain full advantage of our strategy. It's been a tough season but it shows the depth and strength of the entire team that we were able turn things around and challenge for victories. We now look forward to 2005 where we want to start the season in a strong position with Kimi and Juan Pablo. David has done a tremendous job for the team in the past nine years and all his hard work and efforts are appreciated by everybody, and we wish him all the best."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Kimi drove a great race particularly considering his fuel load in the early stages. He was faster in the end, but there was no possibility to overtake. An exciting race with top performances by Juan Pablo and Kimi in tricky conditions. Unfortunately we couldn't deploy our strategy due to the weather conditions at the start of the race. It's good to see that we have been able to fight back after a difficult start to the season and reach the performance level required to challenge for race wins. I want to thank David for his 150 Grands Prix with us in which he achieved 51 podium finishes."
Fernando Alonso (4th): "The choice to start on dry tyres was really a big risk: the car was very hard to drive and I went off on the formation lap and the first lap! However, it gradually got better and I managed to take the lead, but after the first stop, I didn't have the pace to get on the podium. The car was understeering badly because of the graining during the second stint then we took a risk in leaving the tyres on. This meant I ultimately lost more grip but in spite of the problems, I attacked 100% all the way through, kept the other cars behind and thanks to that, I am fourth in the drivers' championship. That was my main goal today and I am delighted to have achieved it."
Jacques Villeneuve (10th): "I think my race pace was actually very good today. I was behind Fernando in the first laps and it would have been too much of a risk to try overtaking in the conditions. I lost time when the track was wet but after that, I feel we were quite quick in the second and third stints. I didn't manage to score any points at Renault but I think my performances got better and better with each race. It was very tough to adapt but I want to thank Renault for the opportunity they gave me."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "It was a pleasure to see the season end with such an exciting race. The tyre choice at the start was extremely difficult and much more so than usual in those kinds of conditions, because the circuit seemed very slippery indeed. However, we got it right and that helped our race. Fernando's excursion on the opening lap hindered him but he drove exceptionally to take the lead in very tricky conditions. He was slowed by severe graining during his second stint so we decided not to change his front tyres at the second stop. Unfortunately, he lost grip in the final part of the race but his defence of fourth place was masterful. As for Jacques, his speed increased throughout the race and his final stint was extremely competitive. It has been a pleasure to work with him and we wish him well at Sauber."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "This is a good result: Fernando's fourth place confirms our third position in the constructors' championship and also allows him to take fourth in the drivers' standings. Jacques also did a solid job and I don't think his final position reflects his true pace. We are pleased to finish the season having met our objectives, which were to be in the top three at the end of the year, and Fernando's tenacity during the race reflects the commitment with which the entire team has worked right up to the final race."
Takuma Sato (6th): "It was a really hard race today. The start was tricky for everyone because of the shower just before the start. The circuit was actually quite damp but some of the drivers had chosen to start on dry tyres. We chose to run on wet tyres, but as I was originally on a two-stop strategy, I lost quite a bit of time when I had to come in to change to dry tyres. After my last stop, I had a great battle with three other cars. Even though we were quicker than them in the infield section, we struggled on the straights so I wasn't able to get close enough to outbrake anyone into turn one, which was a little bit frustrating. Nevertheless, we have finished second in the Championship, which is excellent, and the entire team has done a fantastic job. I would also like to thank our partners Lucky Strike, Honda and Michelin for their efforts. I look forward to carrying this great feeling and momentum through to winter testing and I am sure that we can challenge for another great season next year."
Jenson Button (DNF, Engine): "It's disappointing to retire from the last race of the year. We were optimistic of achieving another podium here today which would have been a nice way to see out the season. From the first red light on the start I knew I had some kind of problem and there was a lot of smoke and fire as I left the grid. I was able to continue for a while and had hoped that the problem would go away, but the damage had been done by that time and I had no option but to retire. That disappointment aside though, we have to look at the bigger picture which is that we have pulled off second in the championship - an incredible achievement for everyone in the team. Third place in the drivers' championship with 10 podiums is also a pretty special way for me to end the season. I'd like to thank each and every member of the team for their hard work and support this year and they deserve the celebrations that will be taking place here in Brazil and back at the factory this evening."
David Richards, Team Principal: "Today we can celebrate B.A.R's fantastic season and securing second place in the Championship. In itself the race was rather disappointing, but we came here with the primary goal of containing any threat from Renault, and we achieved it. At the start of the year we set ourselves the objective of challenging the top three teams, and I think that now we have earned our place alongside the established elite. Jenson, Taku and Anthony have performed brilliantly all year, and 3rd and 8th in the Drivers' Championship is just reward. Our achievement is the result of incredible hard work and dedication from so many people all around the world, and I would like to thank them for all their efforts. We are still a young team and learning all the time, and with our experienced partners at Honda and Michelin, and the support of BAT, we are firmly set on our path to the top."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director: "Today's result was not quite the finish we wanted for the season but after a rather nerve-wracking race we were happy to keep our championship position. It was a very close decision on the grid whether to put one or both cars on to dry tyres but we correctly started both cars on wet tyres. Jenson had a problem immediately before the lights changed when there was a fire in the engine area and then the problem caused the engine to overheat. Despite passing two cars on his first lap to 3rd place by the end of the lap, his race was about to end. Although the temperatures stabilised quickly the damage was done and he had to retire on lap four. With one car out it was very important for Takuma to finish in the points and after the early stop to switch to dry tyres he drove a solid race. The last pitstop went very well allowing him out into 5th place. This left him battling hard to pass Alonso for many laps until a small error dropped him a place to finish 6th, nevertheless guaranteeing our 2nd place in the championship. The team has earned this 2nd place by being consistently competitive at every race this year. The performance of the car this year reflects the skill, determination and commitment of everyone at BAR, Honda and Michelin. We now look forward to working with our partners over the winter period to prepare for the even harder challenge of the new season."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "2nd in the World Championship is a fantastic result for all of us at BAR Honda. On the race team we have the chance of experiencing all the action live and have enjoyed celebrating the many podiums we have taken this season, but today I want to thank everyone at Tochigi, HRD and of course BAR for all their efforts - our success at the track is only possible because of their hard work. It was a good drive by Taku today to secure the final championship points we needed but unfortunately we let Jenson down with an engine failure. Overall we will take motivation from our World Championship result and try to push our rivals even harder next year."
Felipe Massa (8th): "It was a fantastic feeling, leading the race. I will never forget that lap! "Early on it was very slippery but the car was really fast. I lost some ground when Rubens was a bit cautious, but I could catch people really quickly. After we changed tyres and the track dried it was very hard to find grip until the end of each stint, but I settled into a confident pace and I am satisfied after achieving my goal of scoring a point. Leading a race in front of my home crowd was the icing on the cake!"
Giancarlo Fisichella (9th): "Early on I was running very close to another car and got caught out and had to go on to the grass when it braked earlier than I expected. I lost time there, and after that we were unlucky with the weather. My strategy was good but the changeable conditions spoiled it, so for me it was a frustrating final race for Sauber. "That's racing, so most of all I would like to say thank you to everyone in the team for such a great season."
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "Today was definitely not our sort of weather, but nevertheless we led a lap of the race and scored another point, as Felipe put the final full stop to the story of his strong season. I was very pleased for him to have such a good performance in front of his home crowd and to score that point, while Giancarlo shone yet again and showed his consistency and speed after his initial delay. I thank him for all that he has brought to our team this year, and we are sad as we bid him a fond farewell. Finally, my thanks to the entire team, both at Hinwil and here in Interlagos, for their efforts in generating the speed and essential reliability of the SAUBER PETRONAS C23 which made it possible to score 34 points and to be one of the top three most reliable teams in a great year."
Christian Klien (14th): "I made a good start and the beginning of the race was fun for me to drive. I was on intermediate tyres and had a good line into the first few corners and managed to overtake a few people. My first pit-stop was a bit too late and I lost a couple of positions after that. I was then following the two Toyotas but had no opportunity to overtake. Mark was coming closer to me and I saw him in my mirror but I did not think he was close enough to overtake but he tried it and we collided. The remainder of my race saw my car not as well balanced as it should have been and although the car was ok for the remainder of the race it was not as easy to drive. There was also a lot of blue flags and although I tried my best and I am pleased to have finished my last race with Jaguar Racing, I am disappointed with the outcome as both Mark and I were in good positions. I have had a fantastic season with the team and I have enjoyed every moment. They are great fun to work with and they have helped me so much during this time. I would like to thank them all."
Mark Webber (DNF, Accident): "My start off the grid today was ok although it was short lived as I entered corner one and I was forced to avoid the Renault of Villeneuve as he ran wide. This lost me four or five places and was of course frustrating. I was planning on making my way up the grid and I managed this for the first few laps as I was in 9th position by lap four. I then pitted for new tyres and lost some time as I had to queue up behind Christian. We were back out quick enough and I started racing again and went to overtake Christian on lap 24. Unfortunately we tangled as he appeared not to see me coming and that was the end of my race. A sad end to what should have been a more rewarding race. I have had an amazing two years with Jaguar Racing and I am fortunate enough to have had the pleasure to work with some incredibly talented people during this time. I have learnt a lot and shared a lot and it is with a heavy heart that not only do I leave the team but that the team is to close as Jaguar Racing. I have a lot of people to thank, amongst them, the team for their support and belief in me, Cosworth Racing and Pi Research and of course Michelin. All round a pretty good bunch of guys!"
Mark Gillan, Head of Vehicle Performance: "This weekend has been a good reliable and productive weekend for us at Jaguar Racing, highlighted by Mark and Christian qualifying successfully at what is one of the most challenging tracks on the Formula One calendar. Mark's start was encouraging although his race was cut short after an unsuccessful attempt to overtake his team-mate Christian. Mark's car was damaged to the extent that he was forced to retire. Christian made a good start and by lap 4 was in seventh position. He drove a strong and determined race in difficult conditions and brought the car home in fourteenth position. The mechanics and engineers have prepared for this race with the same focus that they showed for Melbourne. The R5 has over the course of this year developed into a reliable, well-balanced and competitive car that has allowed us to compete with the best at some of the toughest tracks in the world. I am extremely proud of the level of improvement and overall performance evolution of Jaguar over the last couple of years - due to a combination of determination, professionalism and technical expertise. I would like to thank Cosworth Racing, Pi Research, our partners and in particular Michelin, whose help and advice has been fundamental to the success of the team."
David Pitchforth, Managing Director: "Today marks the end of Jaguar Racing in Formula One. Since taking over responsibility for the team in late 2002 as Managing Director I have seen this team grow from strength to strength and during this time I have had the pleasure of working with talented, focused and incredibly motivated people. As a team we have worked together to make Jaguar Racing one of the most efficient and effective teams in terms of bang per buck in Formula One today. That could only ever have been achieved with the support of the people that work in the team, our sister companies - Cosworth Racing and Pi Research, our partners and suppliers and of course our dedicated and unwavering sponsors. I am proud of what we have all achieved in such a short period of time and I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank the team and drivers, Mark, Christian and Bjorn for their steadfast support, untiring good humour and for really making Jaguar Racing the amazing team that it is today."
Tony Purnell, CEO of the Premier Performance Division: "The remarkable spirit of Jaguar Racing has been highlighted this weekend by the number of compliments I have received from other teams, media and sponsors praising the unswerving motivation and good humour that the team has portrayed over the last few races. I am honestly inspired by the attitude of this team that has rallied round to split the Ferraris on the grid in Malaysia, fight the BMW-Williams in Hockenheim and beat the McLarens in Bahrain. The men and women of Jaguar Racing have achieved more in the last two years than we thought possible and they give every other team on the grid a run for their money when it comes to commitment and loyalty. Cosworth Racing and Pi Research have contributed to this success every step of the way and we owe them a great thanks. Our tyre partner Michelin has become a close ally over these two years and our progress was not achieved without their tremendous skill and advice. My final thanks goes to our sponsors without whom none of what we have achieved would have been possible. We have here today a team that epitomises what Formula should be about, team-spirit, hard-work and pure grit determination, surely a winning combination. I would also like to say that on behalf of Jaguar the last five seasons of the sport have been more than valuable to the brand. Jaguar has a magnificent motorsport heritage and one that deserves to live on as there is no doubt that racing and winning are and should be synonymous with Jaguar."
Jarno Trulli (12th): "It was a difficult race this afternoon. I got a good start and was up to sixth, but I struggled every time the track was a bit damp. I believe this was due to a general lack of experience I have with the TF104B. As the track got drier and quicker, I was getting more and more competitive. I tried to do my best, but unfortunately we were again out of the points. However, it has been a positive weekend because I could see that the car was better compared to Suzuka. It is just a shame we couldn't end the season in the points. Finally, I would like to say thank you to the team for giving me such a warm welcome over these last two races and for helping me settle in so easily. 2004 was my best season in Formula 1, but I am looking forward to an even better 2005 with Toyota, who I have discovered to be a fantastic team with great potential."
Ricardo Zonta (13th): "I think it was a quite an exciting race because of the ever- changing wet-dry conditions. In the damp, at the start of the race, the speed of the car was quite good and I was able to overtake some cars, which was fun. Towards the end, I had some balance problems and I found it quite difficult to drive the car. It was great to race in Brazil in front of my home crowd and I think we did a good job this weekend, especially as I have also been unwell. I am pleased with the team's efforts and particularly with the new crew that I was working with this weekend. I would like to say thanks to the team for an enjoyable season."
Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "Special thanks must go to all team members for their excellent performance all season. It is much harder in the difficult times when the expected results don't come, but every one has done a tremendous job. We must now look forward to next year, when I am sure we can take the step forward that everyone at Toyota wants and has worked hard for."
Tsutomu Tomita, Team Principal: "I think that race typifies the season that everyone at Panasonic Toyota Racing has had this year, very frustrating and a missed opportunity to get the points that we needed. In the latter stages of the race, when the track was dry, the car was pretty good and the drivers were able to push hard, especially Jarno who was running as quick as the leaders. In the mixed conditions, though, the car was just too difficult to drive, which meant that we lost too many places. After a promising performance over the weekend, we really needed a totally dry race today. Over the season, there has been a great effort from the race team and not forgetting all the employees in Cologne, who have remained committed and motivated. I wish to thank every single person in the team and also the Toyota family and fans."
Timo Glock (15th): "My start was not bad but I didn't get a good line through the first corner and then for the first part of the race it was really slippery - the car was pretty nervous and I lost time. After the first and second pit stops the car was better, certainly after the first few laps, when the tyres came in. Unfortunately I lost too much time when being lapped by other cars. I'm pleased to have finished the race without mistakes. It has been a satisfying season for me and it was great to drive four races, that was good experience for me. I need to learn how to find a better pace for racing, always improving myself more and more. Everything is experience though and I'm looking forward to next year already."
Nick Heidfeld (DNF, Clutch): "I had a good start and made up a couple of places, but I had to retire quite early with a clutch problem. It's disappointing not to finish the last race because I wanted to show a good performance and give the team a good last race of the season. I would like to thank everybody in the team for their effort and hard work they have done this year and also for all the support they have given me."
Eddie Jordan, Team Principal: "It's been a very difficult season but I am hugely heartened nevertheless by progress with several issues this weekend that hopefully will show Formula One and Jordan can be great again. There have been rumours about the team all season and I want to thank my staff in particular, as well as the guys at Pi, Cosworth and Bridgestone, our suppliers and every person who is closely involved with us. They have all shown commitment and fighting spirit throughout, never giving up in spite of very tough times. The experience has strengthened us all and I believe that fortune favours the brave. Brazil 2004 may be remembered for more than the racing - for Jordan and for Formula One."
Zsolt Baumgartner (16th): "It was a very hard race and I had some problems, as I picked up a cold earlier in the week here in Brazil. As a result, I was a little worried about how I would be during the race, as this is a very physically demanding track, As it turned out, I was able to concentrate and push hard right to the end with a very consistent pace. I'm happy with today's result and with the lap times, and I'd like to express my thanks to the whole team for their efforts this season, as well as to Bridgestone for the excellent tyres they have provided throughout the year. Today was my 20th Grand Prix and I am very pleased to have finished the race."
Gianmaria Bruni (17th): "All told, it wasn't a very good day for me. I started the race on shallow wet tyres and, after a few laps, had to come in, but with Zsolt also coming in, I lost a bit of time. When I changed to dry tyres with the set-up we had, the car developed a lot of oversteer, which lasted for much of the race. We couldn't really improve the situation, but in the last stint, I think maybe the track improved a bit and the set-up started to work better, so I was able to turn some better lap times. Having lost some of time during my last pit stop, though, I just concentrated on getting to the chequered flag."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "It's a great way to finish the weekend with a positive two-car finish, and my thanks go to the whole team, who have worked tirelessly, along with Gimmi, Zsolt and our test driver, Bas Leinders, to achieve the impossible. Let's hope next year Minardi can find improved performance and continue as Formula One's fourth oldest team. The sport has had some difficult times this year, and for Minardi, its saddest moment undoubtedly came with the loss of Sporting Director, John Walton, in July. The positive moves in the F1 paddock this weekend involving all the Team Principals, however, give rise to the hope that we will all be able to enjoy a better, more competitive sport in the future."