BAHRAIN GP - SUNDAY - TEAM QUOTES
Fernando Alonso (1st): "This was a good, fighting win and I want to dedicate it to the mechanics and the team, for some fantastic pit-stops and the right strategy. There was a funny incident in the early stages, and I came very close to going out when Massa spun past me in turn 1. After that though, things went smoothly, and I knew that the key time would be around the second stop. I looked after the tyres at the start of the stints, so that I had something left at the crucial moment, and I was very confident that we would be able to do it. After that, I managed the performance, the car was running beautifully and I just concentrated on making no mistakes. The backmarkers were very fair today as well. I think the competition is a little bit closer than we thought overall, but this is the perfect start for the season."
Giancarlo Fisichella (DNF, Electrical): "I had the same problem as in qualifying, with a big loss of power on the engine. It was OK for the start of the race, but then I just lost power all the way through the rev range and the car was much slower on the straights. I was still able to fight with the cars around me, but I was a long way from the potential we could do with full power. Then I had an hydraulic problem which forced me to retire. The good thing is that we have another race in one week's time, and the car is clearly very quick. I want to bounce back strongly in Malaysia."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "This was a great race for Renault. From the driver onwards, our team showed what it is made of today. It was obviously very, very close around the second stop between Fernando and Michael, and we had known from the start that the laps around the second stop would be crucial. Our best chance of victory this weekend came from running a bit longer on our stints, to exploit the performance we found on the Michelin tyres. It worked, but only just! Our apologies must go to Giancarlo. The engine problem he suffered in qualifying had not gone away as we hoped, and seriously compromised his performance. In the circumstances, he did an exceptional job. Ultimately, though, an hydraulic leak stopped the car and forced him to retire."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "Thank you to the entire team and our partners for this fantastic victory. Fernando did an incredible job, and managed his race perfectly to win. We can only apologise to Fisico, who had an engine problem all the way through the race and then was forced to retire. The team did an awesome job: the pit-stops were exceptional, and helped Fernando get back out in front of Michael at the end. This was an emotional race, and a fantastic show. We are all very happy."
Kimi Raikkonen (3rd): "This is a great result after the disappointment of yesterday, but we have known that the car was very strong all weekend. We thought that we had a chance to score some points today, even though we were starting from the back of the grid, but to get a podium is fantastic, The first few laps were crucial to this result, and luckily I managed to overtake a lot of cars at the first corner; I was up to 13th by lap two even though the cars in front were all lighter than me. We then gained some more places later on as a result of our strategy. The outcome is even more important to the whole team, who have been working so hard throughout the winter, as we didn't know where we were after testing and everyone had been saying that we were struggling. However we really have improved over the past few weeks. It proves that we are competitive and if not for yesterday we could have been even better."
Juan Pablo Montoya (5th): "I have not really been totally comfortable with the set up of my car all weekend, which was clear during all the practice sessions. Obviously I am a little disappointed finishing in fifth as I know that the car could do so much more, but it just wasn't working for me this weekend. However it was a steady race and for the team to get two cars finishing in the points could be very important later in the season. The four points I have scored are good considering the circumstances. I am now looking forward to the next race in Malaysia, where we can improve further on these results."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A difficult weekend which stretched the whole team. The results are therefore just reward for their efforts. We are all looking forward to Malaysia where our justifiable expectation is to do better."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Kimi's performance was excellent coming from last place on the grid to finish third on the podium. Kimi was fighting all the way through the race and our one-stop strategy was ideal and helped to make this result possible. With his third place and Juan Pablo's fifth we have gained 10 points and are together with Williams Cosworth the only team which has finished with two cars in the points. So we are heading in the right direction. I want to thank the team for all their efforts following yesterday's problem. We are looking forward to next week's Malaysian Grand Prix."
Michael Schumacher (2nd): "All in all this is an excellent result and I'm certainly not complaining about finishing second. If someone would have told us during the winter months that this is the way we would have finished the first race of the season, I wouldn't have believed them. Today we must be really pleased with the result. On the other hand, I still have some mixed feelings because it's seems that we could have been ahead and could have won the race. Considering how it ended up, it's now clear that the qualifying lap that wasn't acknowledged in as far as refuelling this morning was concerned, was the decisive factor that played against us. It's a pity, because yesterday I had to back off because of the traffic. In any case it's a great day for us because we know that we have an good car and we have an excellent potential to develop during the course of the season and this is very important. This year the fight for the championship will be very close: there are several good teams, all of which are capable of battling for the title and it's great to be one of them."
Felipe Massa (9th): "I must say that it really was a pity. Right from the start of the weekend I had a very competitive car and it's a shame that I wasn't able to pick up some points. When I spun I was very close to Alonso and I just touched the brakes but then I lost the rear end and spun off. During the pit stop I lost a lot of time to change the right rear tyre and that's when I lost any chance of finishing in the points. For the rest of the race I was flat out all the time and I managed to climb back up to 9th. It's a pity that I've come away from this race with no points, but I'm looking forward to get my own back because I know that we have everything it takes to perform well."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "Today we had everything we needed to win, perhaps we needed just that extra little bit of luck ! nevertheless we saw that this weekend our car-engine-Bridgestone tyre package was competitive from the first to the last lap. This is of fundamental importance for team morale and to show that we and our technical partners have worked in the right direction over the winter. This race confirms that there are four teams capable of winning and Ferrari is one of them. Michael made it to the second step of the podium. It's a pity about that qualifying lap that wasn't acknowledged this morning because of the 110% rule, because maybe that bit of extra fuel would have been enough to stay ahead. However we say this with hindsight and it's the sort of thing that is a typical part of racing and we have to accept it. Felipe drove a great race: his spin and the subsequent problem with the tyre change stopped him from doing as well as he could have done. His performance today is still a good sign for the rest of the season. We have a lot of work to do but we'll do our utmost to fight for the championships. Today's result gives an extra boost to the team, the drivers and Bridgestone."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "Obviously very frustrating to have come so close to winning a race but after the season we had last year we can take a great deal of encouragement from today's performance. Now we have to work on all those bits and pieces to find that little bit extra to win the next race and the one after that. We are in a close fight at the front and it's down to us now to get everything else right and try and win this championship. Felipe was going very well until he spun and we need to find out what caused it. He had a very good race after that. When he came in for the pit stop we had a problem with the right rear gun. The back-up system didn't work either. We're going to have a careful look and see what caused this error."
Ralf Schumacher (14th): "This weekend has been a struggle from the start. After our problems in qualifying yesterday, we used this afternoon as a test session to collect data to improve for the coming races. I was on a three-stop strategy whereas Jarno was on two stops so at least we can now compare the data from our two cars. This way we can try to learn as much as possible about our new package. Of course this was not the way we hoped to start off the 2006 season but we have to take things as they are and try to move forward from here. We don't know where the problem is but hopefully we will soon find out. The early races will be difficult but all we can do is push as hard as we can to move back up the grid."
Jarno Trulli (16th): "This has obviously been a very disappointing weekend for the whole team and today was no exception. We chose to go with a two-stop strategy so we could make comparisons with Ralf's data for future reference but it was a hard afternoon's work for me. I just pushed as hard as I could for the whole race - but the harder I pushed the slower I seemed to go! I don't know what the solution is because there was nothing particular going wrong, we were simply not quick enough. It's a difficult way to start the season but we will work hard as a team to try and do our best to make up as much ground as possible."
Tsutomu Tomita, Team Principal: "The first grand prix weekend of 2006 has been a shocking way to start the year - not only for the team but for the fans all over the world. This afternoon our reliability was good and Ralf and Jarno used all their skill and spirit. But the car was unexpectedly slower than many of the other cars and we could do nothing to step up during the race. We put the drivers on different strategies - Ralf on three tops and Jarno on two. At one point Jarno was good enough to let Ralf through because he was on a different strategy and a lighter fuel load, which meant he finished ahead. But overall we have to treat the weekend as a test session and use it to analyse why we didn't get the expected performance level. It was a disappointing race and a disappointing weekend and certainly not what we expected coming here based on our performance in testing. The basic balance of the car was okay but we have just been struggling for grip all weekend. It seems we have lost the considerable performance advantage we have built up since the middle of last year so we have a lot of work to do to understand the reasons. This is a very frustrating atmosphere but I'm sure that we will make every effort to come back at the coming races."
Mark Webber (6th): "Today's race was superb, a really good job by the whole team, we really could not have asked for more. Having both cars finishing was very useful, we have collected a lot of data and this will help with our understanding of the tyres. Malaysia will be a different race altogether and our performance today will really help with our preparation for next weekend."
Nico Rosberg (7th): "I really enjoyed myself today and the final result was a good outcome. Unfortunately I made a mistake at the first corner, expecting that Heidfeld might leave me more room and the incident put me right back. However, it was a super effort by the team and I really enjoyed fighting my way up, particularly battling with Coulthard. The final result - seventh place and the fastest lap of the race -is more than I could have hoped for in my first race. Today was a great start and I'm looking forward to the next race."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "Our final positions today don't reflect our real pace as the car was fast and we were perhaps a bit too conservative on our pit stop strategy by running too long at the start. However, looking at the FW28 over the race, it is clear that we have a strong car aerodynamically and mechanically. With all of the new partnerships that we have, today is a credit to all involved. The tyres worked fantastically, we couldn't have asked for better, as our long runs on Friday with Alex indicated. Unfortunately on qualifying day, the track was a bit too cool for our compound compared to the other Bridgestone runners, but today the compound was perfect. Together with our other technical partner, Cosworth, it is clear we have a good combination. Mark drove a solid race, start to finish. Nico made mistake at turn one, which cost him 45s on his in lap and pitstop - without this, he would have been on the podium and he did record the fastest lap of the race. For his first race, it's a fantastic result. Our target now is to turn up in Malaysia and deliver the goods."
Simon Corbyn, Cosworth: "Today was a great start to the season with Williams. Neither of the Cosworth CA 2006 engines missed a beat throughout the race and the performance of the series two engines was very competitive and everyone at Cosworth deserves thanks for all their efforts over the winter."
Jenson Button (4th): "Had I not had such a bad start then this could have been a great race for us. The pace of the car was absolutely there but the strategy didn't pan out because I lost places off the start and wasn't where we had planned to be at the pitstops. We may not have a podium but we have a very competitive car and if you look at the lap times when we weren't in traffic we were genuinely as quick as anyone out there. I think we go to Malaysia feeling extremely positive. If we can address the clutch issue which caused the problem with the start we will be able to fight even harder with the competition."
Rubens Barrichello (15th): "It's a disappointing way to finish my first race for the team but in the early stages we saw a taste of our potential. Jenson and I had a great race with each other early on which I'm sure got a few people excited! Soon after though I knew we had a gearbox problem and I had to try to race with one gear missing. I was unable to push and had no chance of a points finish, so it wasn't a good way for me to spend the race. We know that the pace is there so we just have to resolve our problems for next weekend when I'm sure we will have a much better race."
Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "Jenson drove a brilliant race, pushing hard throughout and showing that we had very similar pace to the leaders. Unfortunately he had a clutch problem at the start which dropped him back and ended up compromising the whole race. Rubens was running well early on but he lost the use of a gear which wiped out his chances. We come away from Bahrain disappointed with our final result but at the same time very encouraged by the performance of our car and drivers and looking forward to Malaysia."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "A disappointing result. Looking at the positives, Jenson's pace matched that of Fernando and Michael for most of the afternoon, and he drove his customary strong race throughout, but the start spoiled his chances of a better finish. It was a shame for Rubens that his debut race for us was affected by a gearbox problem. The V8 engine has been strong the whole weekend, and we remain positive for next week."
Christian Klien (8th): "After the problems we suffered during the winter, it's great that both cars crossed the finish today. The first part of the race went well and I was able to make up a few positions, but later on I wasn't able to keep the same pace. The cars grip seemed to give way a little and I lost some time. I also had a problem with the clutch. It's a shame that Nico (Rosberg) overtook me in the final laps as it meant I dropped from seventh to eighth in the closing stages."
David Coulthard (10th): "I flat spotted early on when I was wheel to wheel with Nick (Heidfeld), which afterwards caused huge vibrations in the car. There's so much vibration when that occurs, you lose visibility, your eyes are shaking in your head and it feels like you're sitting on top of a spin drier. You can't read the pit board nor the displays in the car. The team wanted me to do an oil transfer, but I had to ask them what colour the button was that I needed to press, as you can't read anything when it's like that. It's horrible and rounds off a pretty disappointing weekend."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "Going into the race having not completed more than 20 consecutive laps, I think it was an excellent effort from the whole team. Both drivers drove well on different strategies and appeared to have reasonable pace, especially at the beginning. However the two Williams cars had incredible pace, especially after their pit stops, and we just weren't quick enough to hold them off, particularly Rosberg. But, we have one Championship point and we're off the mark. We now have to build from here."
Nick Heidfeld (12th): "Obviously things started badly as Nico Rosberg spun me in the first corner. I lost a lot of places and that ruined my race. I was able to fight back and had a particularly exciting battle with Coulthard. It's difficult to assess our performance after only one race but naturally it's disappointing when you start 10th and can't score any points."
Jacques Villeneuve (DNF, Engine): "My start was not particularly great, but I managed to find my way through the first few corners and to stay out of trouble there. The race set-up was fine and I settled into a good rhythm. I overtook Coulthard and stayed in front of Raikkonen for quite a while. Then all of a sudden I started to lose power, and that was it."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "The start of the weekend was promising, but unfortunately we could not maintain our performance for the race. Jacques' car suffered a serious engine failure, without any warning. The unit was removed immediately after we got the car back, and sent to Munich for analysis. Nick was the victim of a collision in the first corner with Nico Rosberg, and was relegated to the tail of the field. From there he recovered to 12th but the lap times were not as good as expected. That shows that we have started well but still have much to do."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director Chassis: "After qualifying we were optimistic for the race, but I have to admit that our pace this afternoon was not at the level we had expected after practice on Friday and Saturday. We have to analyse the reasons for this carefully, but for sure there is a lot of work to do."
Tiago Monteiro (17th): "Obviously, it wasn't an easy weekend. The T-Car wasn't really set up for me, so it was a compromise in terms of seating position and other things, and fairly uncomfortable to drive throughout the race. But I had to remain focused on the race, pushing as hard as I could to bring the car home. We had our share of trouble but, you know, that's racing. Let's hope we got all our bad luck out of the way here so that we can look forward to better results for the rest of the season. The car is definitely faster and better than it was last year. It's not quick enough at the moment, but I'm sure we can find the speed."
Christijan Albers (DNF, Driveshaft): "It's a shame that I didn't get to drive at all, because we were looking forward to gathering more data for Malaysia. It's really unfortunate, because we've never had that (driveshaft) problem before and it's just one of those things that's impossible to predict. What makes it even more frustrating is that I think our capabilities were much better than what we showed in qualifying and had we not suffered such bad luck, I think we might have run a reasonable race."
Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "Today was a very difficult day for the team, but sometimes these things happen, unfortunately. You can't control luck, so there's no point dwelling on this. Now, we are looking forward to working together with our technical partners to improve our overall package and demonstrate the performance we know we are capable of."
Adrian Burgess, Sporting Director: "We finished with one car in our first race of the year, Tiago doing a good job to bring the T-Car home, which he'd never driven before. It was an unfortunate start of the year for Christijan, who suffered a mechanical failure on the grid. We're not happy with the result today, but we'll do our best to fix it and get our season started properly at the next race."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (11th): "We were expecting a bit more after the start we had to the weekend. But it was good to see the chequered flag in a reasonable position. Unfortunately during the race we did not have the pace we needed."
Scott Speed (13th): "I'm pleased to have got through to the chequered flag in my first grand prix without making any mistakes. The balance of my car was not quite right during the first stint, but we were able to fix that at the first pit stop. After that, I think our pace improved and was good."
Gerhard Berger, Team Principal: "It's a really good result for us. With not many of the front runners stopping, finishing mid-field is about the best we could expect. It reflects our place in the order and the team can be more than happy, having performed well all weekend. Well done to everyone who worked so hard to get here. For Red Bull to get all four of its cars to the finish is also a result. From a personal point of view, I have to say this was a special day, watching my first race as a team owner. I am very happy, because in this team's previous life, people could sometimes feel sorry for you if you worked here. But I think after this race, I can go to the restaurant without having to hear bad comments!"
Takuma Sato (18th): "It is a fantastic result for us. I think that the boys in the garage deserve to be happy because they worked so hard to get us here to Bahrain. Although today we had radio communication and fuel rig problems, which is why there was some confusion during our pitstops, I think that everyone in the team has done a really good job. It is a positive step for us and I am very happy with today's result. It was only a shame for Yuji that we could not bring the two cars' home, but it is the great start that the team needed."
Yuji Ide (DNF, Mechanical): "I wanted to finish the race very much but the engine just stopped. I had the same problem as I had on Friday. Earlier in the race I couldn't put the gear into neutral so I over-ran at the pit stop. I don't know what I could do to make the car better but I know the mechanics have been working hard so I feel bad for my lack of experience. I will review the problem with engineers and I will do my best to finish the next race in Malaysia."
Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: ""Well this race was like a test for us. All that happened and what we were testing was something we should have done during the winter season. We will learn through each race and today was a good lesson for us. I spoke to both drivers before the race and told them that the most important thing for us to do today is to finish and from that experience, learn as much as possible. Taku did a good job. Yuji told me that he really wanted to finish the race, but he will have to improve step-by-step - so every single race will be a great lesson for him. He just needs more experience and the team will improve the car for both drivers."