SEPTEMBER 4, 2005
ITALIAN GP - SUNDAY - TEAM QUOTES
Selected team quotes
Michael Schumacher (10th): "Clearly, our race did not go well and we were much too slow. We are nowhere near where we want to be but we have to live with it. You could say we were a bit better than in Turkey, but that is still not good enough. Running ninth, I was prepared to take some risks to get a point, but I risked a bit too much and went off the track, which lost me a place. There is no point in getting angry about our situation, we must simply try and improve, maybe in time for Spa, although that is unlikely, but possibly before the end of the season. The championship was obviously lost a while ago, but we have had a lot of good years before this one. There is no need to give up because this is all part of competition. I feel sorry for the tifosi and thank them for their support, even though we were not able to deliver them a good result."
Rubens Barrichello (12th): "We had to adopt quite a risky strategy this afternoon, as we knew we were not really quick enough. So we were fighting to get into the points, but were unable to do it. Unfortunately the car was running with very light downforce and when you got close to a car in front it was therefore very difficult to overtake. I had a good start and the momentum took me up to fifth place and I think I could have finished eighth which is the best we could have hoped for today. But unfortunately a puncture on my left rear meant that even this was out of reach."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "Yet another painful day in what has been a difficult season for us. We fought really hard to try and finish in the points, but we did not manage it. This was another big disappointment with both cars making it to the finish but with no points to our name. We are very disappointed for our fans and our staff who were here in the grandstand at Monza. The main problem afflicting us is, as everyone knows, a lack of grip and all we can do is continue to work with our partners at Bridgestone to fix it. Next weekend, in the Belgian Grand Prix, at Spa- Francorchamps, we can once again expect a difficult weekend. But hopefully we can show that this current situation can be turned around in the final three rounds of the championship. Despite the fact that we are going through very difficult times, the team and the drivers have once again worked very hard. We have shown that we are really determined to get the most out of the package we have at our disposal."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "Obviously this was a difficult race for us. We really needed better starts than we had in order to suit our chosen strategy, so that held us up in the early stages. Rubens had a puncture on his left rear tyre which spoiled his race and then in the closing stages, Michael went off at Turn 8 and did some damage to his car which affected his race. Generally, the cars performed okay, but we simply did not have the overall performance we needed and we must continue working to try and understand and rectify that situation."
Jenson Button (8th): "Apart from qualifying we have struggled the whole weekend here. We have found this a difficult circuit and it has been tough getting to grips with the low downforce configuration. We had problems with the fuel rig which also meant that I had to stop four laps early and that cost me on the final result. Hopefully when we return to the higher downforce circuits of the next four races we will be able to get back on the pace."
Takuma Sato (16th): "It was a disappointing race and a sad result for us. The start was quite exciting for me. I defended my position into turn one, but I was already side by side with Trulli and at the end of lap one I overtook him again and gained a position which was an exciting moment. During the first stint everything looked fine but when I came to my first pitstop we had some trouble with refuelling and so when I went back out again after the second stop the car became difficult to handle as it was very heavy and I lost a lot of grip. It's a shame as the weekend up to this point had been good for us, but we have to look forward to next weekend in Spa."
Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "Obviously we were hoping for a better result after starting both cars on the second row. After a good start things were going fairly well, however we had a problem with the fuel delivery with both drivers during their first stop which compromised our strategy, particularly for Taku who had to do an extra stop. Furthermore the handling on both cars deteriorated during the race reducing our pace significantly. Although we are disappointed with this weekend's results we are looking forward to a very different challenge in Spa."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "Clearly a disappointing day. Although we had some fuel rig problems in the race it does not hide the fact we did not have enough pace this weekend. I am sure Spa will suit us better."
Fernando Alonso (2nd): "I am really happy with second place here this weekend. In these final races of the season, our strategy has been to make sure we get on the podium, so this is the perfect result for me. The fact that we both finished in front of Kimi makes it even better. The car was nearly perfect all through the race - I had some oversteer on the first stint, but after that we didn't touch anything at all on the settings. The team was keeping me informed about the gap to Kimi (Raikkonen) all the way through the race, so I knew how his race was developing as well, and then they told me Juan (Montoya) had problems with his tyres. I really pushed hard in the final laps, and we turned the engine revs back up to try and catch him, but there were not enough laps left. But we did the job we needed to today, so I am very pleased."
Giancarlo Fisichella (3rd): "This is a great day for me - to be on the podium at my home race in Monza, and to see the crowd cheering during the ceremony, was such a special feeling. The balance of the R25 was fantastic today, but the grip levels were quite bad and that meant it was a really hard race. But from eighth on the grid, I think we had a perfect strategy and it is great to finish on the podium after starting so far back. The race was what I expected really - we knew that BAR and Ferrari would stop earlier than us on the first stint, and the only concern was with Trulli. Luckily, he stopped one lap earlier than me and in that space, I really pushed and got past him. I think that was the moment that got me third place this afternoon. It is a great result for the team as well to have both of us on the podium, and the next track should suit our car well - plus Spa is a great circuit for me too. This afternoon showed we are still competitive, and attacking all the way to the last race."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Tactically, this was a very tricky race - as it always is when your main competitors are spread throughout the field, and in this case also running different strategies. In those circumstances, you have to be able to think on your feet. The whole team did a great job this afternoon, not least the drivers who pushed from start to finish to make the most of their strategies, and they earned a fabulous double podium finish. Fernando's race was relatively straightforward, but with Giancarlo we had to try and respond to Raikkonen's chase from behind - and also deal with the threat that Trulli posed all the way through. Fisico did a great job to get ahead of Jarno, and hold off Kimi to the flag. It was a tough afternoon - which makes the result all the more satisfying."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "The team had a great race this afternoon. Two drivers on the podium was what we wanted this weekend, and we achieved it. Monza is always a tough circuit for engines, but ours were perfect all the way through; the tyre performance from Michelin was very good; and we had the right strategy. I want to congratulate Giancarlo on a fantastic drive from eighth on the grid to finish on the podium at his home Grand Prix. Fernando did a superb job, and is in a stronger position for the championship now. There is a 27 point gap, but we are taking it week by week and not getting excited. Spa will be another important race in one week's time, so let's see what happens."
Antonio Pizzonia (7th): "I am very pleased with this result on one side but I am also slightly disappointed on the other because I think that I could have done even better if I had been at my top form, as I haven't tested recently and I am out of practice. Considering the whole situation, we scored two valuable points and my car was strong today."
Mark Webber (14th): "I had a really good start and when I was going through turn one I was telling myself "Take it easy, take it easy!" but then I think someone moved on David Coulthard and he slowed rapidly in front of me and I damaged my front wing. I had to come into the pits to change it and after that it was basically all about recovering from nowhere. It's a shame for the team, as everyone did a fantastic job this weekend and we deserved to have both cars in the points today."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was a good drive from Antonio, a fantastic result considering he did not drive the car for some time until yesterday morning. It is a shame that Mark damaged his front wing in the first corner. It became clear as the race unfolded that we have improved the car's pace compared to other teams around us. The gap to McLaren is still our biggest focus. Unfortunately due to the qualifying order we did not maximise the potential of our cars today."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "Antonio did a very good job. Just one year ago he had to stand in for Ralf Schumacher here at Monza and since then he has not raced at all. Today he managed to recover from grid position 16th to finish 7th without any mistakes. Unfortunately Mark had a coming together at the first chicane after the start and had to change his front wing. From then on, until his first pit stop he got stuck in traffic and had practically no chance to improve his position. We had no mechanical problems today."
Juan Pablo Montoya (1st): "It is great to win here in Monza especially after such an exciting race. I had a good clean start getting off the line and down to the first corner without any problems. I pushed really hard in the opening stages to build a gap between me and Fernando Alonso but after a couple of laps I really started to suffer from understeer and the car became very difficult to drive. Towards the end I had a severe problem with my left rear tyre. This left me with very little grip in the closing stages, and I just couldn't go on pushing, but it was enough to get me to the line in first place. I want to thank all in the team for their fantastic support and I am looking forward to the next race at Spa."
Kimi Raikkonen (4th): "This was a very disappointing day for me which could have ended much better. Due to an engine change I had to start from 11th, and then a tyre problem caused an additional stop which prevented me from benefiting from our one stop strategy. I had one spin when I hit the curbs in the last stage of the race, but that didn't influence the outcome too much. I pushed very hard throughout and the speed of the car, even with a heavy fuel load, was excellent. So it is a pity that the result does not reflect our performance. Even though my World Championship chances are not looking so good I will continue to fight."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A stressfull race, Juan Pablo did a great job especially looking after the tyre in the final laps of the race. We knew it was not dangerous, and we had the race in control. It was disappointing as our strategists had calculated that Kimi, without his tyre problem, would have moved up to second place after Fernando Alonso's final pitstop. All in all we had a great strategy, and Kimi drove an excellent race. The mathematics clearly demonstrate that we are still capable of winning both World Championships, but of course it is going to be somewhat challenging. As history shows, we love a challenge."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Congratulations to Juan Pablo and the team on a great race victory. Kimi's performance was outstanding and he was the never stopping to fight until the very end and it was impressive how he compensated the big gap, due to traffic he experienced coming from 11th place. With the one-stop strategy the team had applied even a victory was possible for him today despite his starting position after the engine of yesterday. Unfortunately a tyre problem prevented him from making best use of the strategy. The condition of Juan Pablo's left rear tyre got worse during the last laps of the race but he kept his cool and controlled the race to the finish line. We will keep on fighting for both World Championships as long as there is a mathematical chance to win them and we are now looking forward to the Belgium Grand Prix at Spa."
Felipe Massa (9th): "I made a great start and was able to avoid the incident in the first corner. After that the pace was reasonable but the car was difficult to drive. It felt pretty nervous. But to start 15th and finish ninth is the best you can hope for on a day when nobody retired, though it is frustrating to miss out on the last point. At least I have a good qualifying start position for Spa, my favourite circuit."
Jacques Villeneuve (11th): "The start went very well, and I was able to keep Kimi behind me quite easily in the early stages. When we were fighting again later on I was blue flagged even though we were battling for position, so I had to let him by. I guess the marshals were getting a bit over-excited. Overall it wasn't bad. We had an aggressive strategy but we really needed a few positions higher in qualifying to make that work. The car was oversteering, but I don't mind that."
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "I can't remember another race where all 20 cars that started made it to the finish. Today it was therefore impossible to benefit from anyone else's unreliability. It was satisfying to go from 12th and 15th on the grid to 11th and ninth in the race, but unfortunately that did not enable us to score any points. It was an exciting Grand Prix, however, which had some dramatic repercussions in the fight for the World Championship."
Christian Klien (13th): "The race was not so good. I was late releasing the clutch and lost some time then, at the first corner, I was perhaps overcautious, as I didn't want to damage the front wing. After that, the car was difficult to drive, there was some over-steer and towards the end of the race, the rear tyres began to blister. We took some front flap off during the pit stop to help them, but it was still not easy to put the car exactly where I wanted it. As soon as I pushed, the tyres began to overheat and things were not so good."
David Coulthard (15th): "I must say, I'm very disappointed. As a team, we felt we had a chance to pick up some points here, but we've come away with nothing and a bad qualifying slot for the next race. At the start, I made it around Turn one okay, but in Turn two where all the cars concertina up, I touched the back of Fisichella's car and broke my front wing. I then had to make a pit stop, which lengthened my race strategy. I was battling with (Mark) Webber for the remainder of the race, and the team managed to get me in front of him during his pit stop. However, I was having difficulty balance-wise and he was able to pass me again later on. I've just looked at my car in parc fermé and the barge-board, the little deflector behind the front wheel, seems to be jammed at 45 degrees and stuck in the suspension, whereas it should be sitting in line with the chassis. That must have happened in the first-lap incident and was probably what was affecting the car's aerodynamics and balance."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "In a race that had remarkable reliability with all competitors finishing, we unfortunately paid the penalty of David's first lap incident when he touched the back of Fisichella's car. He then had to stop early and change the front wing. After that, we changed his strategy to a one-stop, rather than a two. Christian also got delayed on the first lap and, unfortunately, didn't have a strong enough pace to make forward progress. For us, this was a fairly unmemorable race."
Chris Jilbert, Cosworth: "No problems with the Cosworth 12 series race engines this weekend, but unfortunately no points for the team. Fortunately, the Constructors' Championship is not significantly affected. Both engines now travel to Belgium to face their second race duty at the challenging Spa circuit."
Jarno Trulli (5th): "Today was a fantastic race for me. I pushed right to the limit from the beginning to the end. The car balance wasn't too bad, but we struggled a bit with traction. I lost a couple of places early on when we weren't as quick down the straights as other lighter cars. But our car was as reliable as it has been all season. I didn't expect to be able to come home in 5th place so it was definitely a positive day. It's great for the team, too, and our total of seven points means we are now bearing down on Ferrari in the constructors' championship. We'll be really pushing to catch them."
Ralf Schumacher (6th): "That was another good result for us, and it's great to have taken 5th and 6th between us. It was quite a difficult race for me. I had trouble with grip so it was very slippery throughout the race. I was sliding a lot and I had both understeer and oversteer during the afternoon. It was especially hard on a heavy fuel load. Towards the end of the stints I could go at a decent pace. But the team again did a great job with the strategy and in the pitstops. So that basically moved me forward. Now maybe we have a chance to catch up with Ferrari."
Tsutomu Tomita, Team Principal: "That was a very good race for us. We were the third quickest team behind McLaren and Renault and I don't think we could have done any better. We were very happy with our race strategy. We lost a couple of places early on because other cars were running lighter than us. But our strategy was proved to be right because we ended up ahead of them at the flag. The points mean we are opening a gap to the teams behind us but more importantly we are making ground on Ferrari. Now we are only eight points behind with four races left. We are closing on them and we will push hard to catch them and make it into the top three. We will also continue to work hard on the technical side to close the gap in pace to the top two."
Tiago Monteiro (17th): "We finished another race which is good for the reliability of the new car but I am really disappointed as this was a really tough race right from the start. I lost some part of my bodywork so the balance of the car was affected and then the tyres got worse and worse. This was a big surprise to us as we were quite happy with them at the test last week and at the beginning of this weekend. I do not understand how the tyres could act like this. I am not happy with this race at all as the car was very difficult to drive at such a high speed circuit."
Narain Karthikeyan (20th): "I made a good start but unfortunately Albers stupidly hit me in the rear at the first corner, which punctured my left rear tyre. It is really a pity as he has already done this to Tiago in the past. This is a long lap here so it took me a long time to come back to the pits to change tyre. Because I damaged my tyres in my accident yesterday, I had to use a very old set and therefore I knew this was the end of my race. However, I am still happy that I managed to finish the race and I hope we will have a better result at Spa with the new car."
Adrian Burgess, Sporting Director: "It was an exciting race as ever. Both cars had good starts off the grid but unfortunately, at the first corner, Narain was rammed from behind, resulting in a left rear puncture, which effectively finished his afternoon in terms of having a good battle with everyone. Tiago kept his head down and got on with his job. However, both cars struggled with tyre performance, which hampered them all the way to the end. Narain had a small off near the end in the gravel which meant we had to have another stop for precautionary checks, as we did not want to endanger him or the car. Both cars went to the end; 15 out of 15 finishes for Tiago. Now we are looking forward to gaining more performance out of the B-car as we get more mileage and data from it. We will have two EJ15Bs at the next race so we are happy with that prospect."
Robert Doornbas (18th): "Today marked my fourth Grand Prix for Minardi. The weekend was going well and we were expecting to have a good battle with the Jordans. Monteiro appeared to have a slightly better car in the opening part of the race, but I had a good start and was able to maintain position ahead of my team mate and Karthikeyan. I was even able to pass one of the Williams briefly, so the first lap was very exciting, as usual, and I really enjoyed that. As the race developed, though, it became clear the pace wasn't quite there, so I just focused on the lap times and talking to my engineer on the radio. Anyway, we have been competitive all weekend, even if not quite to the level we would have liked in the race, and now look forward to Spa and another opportunity to fight the Jordans."
Christijan Albers (19th): "We did a good job between qualifying and the race, and I was happy with the work we did. I think we had a competitive car and could have finished in front of the Jordans, as we could have done yesterday in qualifying, but sometimes you also need some luck. I stopped four times in the race - once for a new nose, one for a drive-through penalty, and two normal pit stops - so I think I have seen enough of the pit lane this weekend. Anyway, we'll now put this race behind us and look forward to the next one, in Spa. I want to say a special thank you to the mechanics and engineers, because they did a really good job with the car, and that was reflected in our lap times this afternoon."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "It was a somewhat disappointing race from the Minardi standpoint, because although both cars took the chequered flag, our pace suggested we should have finished in better positions than we did. We were ahead of the Jordans on pace and, in fact, our best lap was less than one-and-a-half seconds shy of Michael Schumacher's fastest race lap. Unfortunately, Christijan tangled with Narain Karthikeyan on the first corner of the first lap, which necessitated an unscheduled pit stop, and then, later in the race, he was assessed a drive-through penalty for failing to move over quickly enough for Felipe Massa. Christijan simply didn't hear the call on the radio to do so, and we subsequently apologised to Sauber for this. If Christijan had enjoyed a clean race, I believe he would have finished ahead of both Jordans, and his lap times certainly reflect that. Robert, on the other hand, drove a trouble-free race to finish in P18."