TURKISH GP - SUNDAY - TEAM QUOTES

Start, Turkish GP 2006

Start, Turkish GP 2006 

 © The Cahier Archive

Renault

Fernando Alonso (2nd): "We were a long way from Ferrari on Friday and during qualifying, but we were confident that it would improve - and we showed that we were right to be confident. It was a normal race, pushing to the limit, until the third stint when it was all about track position, not just speed. I knew that Michael only had two chances to overtake, in turn 12 and turn 14. That meant I could use the engine to get a bigger gap at those places by turning it up to maximum revs on the straights before, and It was enough to keep second place. I think this afternoon also showed that we needed something more to fight with Ferrari for the win, but I am very optimistic for these last races. Monza will probably be the hardest one to win, looking at the characteristics of the Ferrari car. But everybody at Renault, and our partners at Michelin and Elf, is very focused on those four races - and I am confident we can find what we need to win again. Today was a good step forward for my chances in the championship, and we are expecting more good days between now and the end of the season."

Giancarlo Fisichella (6th): "In the end, it was a good race for me and I showed today that I was quick, and the car was too. I got a good start and was close to the guys in front. Michael was weaving quite a lot on the track, and the other drivers were having to avoid him. I braked quite late, but there was the risk of a collision with Fernando, so I braked even harder which locked the rears and put me in a spin. After the pit-stop to replace the nose, it was a case of pushing hard and making up as many positions as I could. The safety car helped but I overtook a lot of people out there this afternoon. We did some very long stints on the tyres with a one-stop strategy, and they held up really well. Our performance was closer to Ferrari today than in qualifying, and I think we can be reasonably confident for the next races. Of course, the next Grand Prix is in Monza - my home race, in the middle of a big battle with Ferrari. We are still leading the championships, and we need to build the gap in the coming weeks."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "What a fabulous race. Fernando's result hinged on the first stop under the Safety Car, and the tyre behaviour in the second stint. We gained an advantage on both fronts, and we could see that Fernando would be able to keep the gap at the final stop - but also that he would have to defend hard from that point on. He did the impeccable job we are used to, and this second place feels as good as a victory would at most races. We must not forget to congratulate Giancarlo today, who put in a fantastic drive. He put himself off at Turn 1 to ensure that he did not collide with Fernando, which was a very sporting move. After that, his drive from the back of the field on a one-stop strategy was a pleasure to watch. The race this afternoon severely tested the tyres, with a demanding circuit and track temperatures well into the 50s. The Michelins held up beautifully, allowing Fernando to hold off Michael and letting Fisi run a successful one-stop strategy. We are now emerging from the test ban, and we have plenty of new ideas to be tested at Monza next week - both on the tyre front, and on the car as well. I expect the battle to go down to the wire, and we will be fighting hard to come out on top."

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "This was a fantastic day for the team. We didn't have the performance to beat Ferrari in a straight fight, but the events of the race helped us - and we seized every opportunity, with no mistakes. Fernando drove like a champion, soaking up the pressure and opening the gap in the championship again. Giancarlo put in a strong drive after a tough opening lap, and brought home valuable points. Overall, this has been a good day for the Renault team and we are still leading both championships. Now, we need to push hard in testing this week and race from the front in Monza."

McLaren-Mercedes

Pedro de la Rosa (5th): "A good result coming from 11th position. There was mayhem at the first corner following Fisichella's spin and I just made it through despite lots of debris on the track. It was a tough race with the one-stop strategy as I had to look after my rear tyres and this made it challenging to be consistently quick. However my race pace was good and I could even overtake a couple of cars. With a higher grid position a better outcome of the race would have been possible."

Kimi Raikkonen (DNF, Accident): "It got very messy at the start. I tried to avoid a spinning Fisichella, but then Speed hit my left rear tyre causing a puncture. I drove for almost a whole lap with a damaged tyre in order to get back to the pits to see what could be done. The team changed my tyre, but I think the car must have incurred quite a lot of damage at this point. When I re-joined the race, I came into Turn 4, had no rear end grip, got sideways, ran out of road, hit the tyrewall and that was it. My back is a bit sore but nothing to worry about. I'm obviously disappointed that my race was over so quickly, but there was nothing we could do."

Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Pedro drove a very good race, using our one-stop strategy to achieve a solid fifth position. Kimi's accident was the result of Fisichella's incident at the start which led to Speed hitting Kimi from behind, damaging his left rear tyre. The subsequent tyre failure damaged the bodywork, as Kimi was making his way back to the pits. This changed the aerodynamic characteristics of the car and on re-joining the race Kimi ran wide at Turn 4. The impact jolted his back, but our team doctor is optimistic that Kimi will be able to test as planned at Monza this week."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A good race of Pedro's starting 11th and finishing fifth. He stayed focussed and made the best out of the one-stop strategy and kept his cool. It's a pity for Kimi - the crash at the first corner was not his fault, but if you start lower down the grid you are in danger of such incidents. We now will continue to work hard at next week's test in Monza in order to be in good shape for the Grand Prix in a fortnight."

Ferrari

Felipe Massa (1st): "Today is an incredible day that I will never forget. To take my first race win, especially with Ferrari is a historic moment and I am thinking of all the people who have helped me get here - my family, my girlfriend and my friends and all those who gave me the strength to achieve this. The team was sensational and they gave me a perfect car to win. I am very emotional and very happy. The race? I had a very good start and the car felt very well balanced. As we left the grid, I could see Michael and Fernando fighting but I was able to pull away from them immediately. After the Safety Car and the pit stop the car was still working well and that is how it stayed in all the stints of the race. It has always been my dream to drive for Ferrari and to take my first ever Formula 1 with them, makes this day even more special. It is an amazing dream come true for me. The championships are still open with four races to go and both titles are still within our reach."

Michael Schumacher (3rd): "First of all, I want to congratulate Felipe, who once again today did a fantastic job, clearly deserving to win. Obviously, this weekend things did not go my way, either yesterday in qualifying or today in the race. For some reason, in the second stint, the car was not going as well as it had done in Friday's free practice. It was rather nervous and the fact that it had a pretty heavy fuel load certainly didn't help and neither did my mistake at Turn 8 on lap 28. On top of that, the set of tyres in this stint did not perform as well as the others and they also blistered. In the end I tried to stick with my rival in case he made a mistake. Today, I have lost two points in the Drivers' championship but I still believe I can win the title."

Jean Todt, Team Principal: "We are very happy about Felipe's win, the first of his career having driven impeccably. Today, we had the potential to finish first and second, but the arrival of the Safety Car on lap 14 compromised our chances of achieving this result. The fact we were unable to use all 100% of our potential takes the edge off the satisfaction in finishing first and third, but it is comforting to know that we have everything in place to succeed in the forthcoming races. In Monza and at the three races outside Europe, we will have many changes on the car and, thanks to the great work being done by our technical partners, first and foremost Bridgestone and also Shell, we will be in the best possible shape to try and win both championships."

Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "A really fantastic result for Felipe, who drove exceptionally well all weekend. My compliments to him and to his team of engineers and mechanics, who got his car to work really well. He had great pace and the arrival of the Safety Car did not really do him any harm. However, it was frustrating that the Safety Car came out at a time that really did affect Michael's race badly, because today, our cars were fast enough, the Bridgestone tyres were very good and I think that we could have finished first and second. We then tried to recover the situation for Michael, but for some reason which we will need to look into, we picked up some blisters on his second set of tyres and he was unable to push in the middle stint, when of course it was crucial to close down the gap to Alonso. However, we remain confident: all the elements are in place for us to win both titles and we will fight right to the very end to achieve that."

Toyota

Ralf Schumacher (7th): "It was always going to be hard work starting so far back on the grid today so it was a big achievement to score two points. Of course there was also the danger of being caught up in an incident at the first corner here and so it proved. It was chaotic and unfortunately I lost my front wing. I lost time when I pitted to replace it, but at least we were able to fill up with fuel so we would need only one more stop. Early on in the first stint I struggled with understeer on the heavy load but that improved after the safety car and I was able to make up some ground. The balance was good after my second stop and I was able to push hard. Again we have shown a lot of potential this weekend. Now it's just down to us to get it right and avoid any more small problems. That way we can challenge for the podium again soon."

Jarno Trulli (9th): "That was a difficult afternoon for me, beginning with the confusion at the start. The first corner here is hard, braking downhill and it will always make for treacherous starts to the races. Today was one of those days and when I was hit from behind I could not avoid hitting a car in front of me. I lost positions and it was a hard battle from there. I enjoyed the first part of the race and made up ground but the main problem for me was the safety car, which came at just the wrong time for me. The car in front of me also slowed down excessively before the field had closed up and it all meant that I lost a lot of the gap that I had gained. But the main problem for me was that my tyre choice was a bit too conservative for the race. Yesterday I was confident because I knew from practice that they would be consistent. But they behaved just as they had in qualifying and it was not enough to challenge any higher."

Tsutomu Tomita, Team Principal: "Considering the poor grid positions from which we started the race, today's result was reasonable. But the first part of the weekend left us with too much work to do to compete with the top cars in the race. Then the race got off to a bad start when both our drivers were involved in the first corner incident. When Ralf pitted for a new front wing we used the chance to fuel him up and change our strategy to an effective one-stopper. He also damaged some aerodynamic parts and he complained about the balance in the early part of the race. But the safety car played into his hands and from then on his balance improved and he scored a strong points finish. Jarno had a different race and he struggled for grip just as he did in qualifying. So that meant we probably chose tyres that were too hard. He did well in the early laps but the safety car did him no favours considering his strategy. From then on he could not find a good balance but he did well to bring the car home. During the race I was frustrated that our lap times were a bit off the pace of the top teams. We have four races remaining and we have more new aero parts planned for the remaining races. So we will continue to push hard right to the end of the season."

Williams-Cosworth

Mark Webber (10th): "It was going fine until the safety car period given our plans to go long. I just managed to clear the safety car before it came out on the track, and then I pitted. The stint following the first stop was very hard to keep going because I was carrying quite a bit of fuel and had very poor rear grip. The last stint was much better, but then it was too late. All in all it was disappointing not to make it into the points today, but circumstances weren't easy for us."

Nico Rosberg (DNF, Water Pressure): "On the one hand it was a good day for me today because I had a good start and was also able to claim several places on the first lap due to the accidents. But the main positive aspect today was that the car felt good and I had confidence in it in contrast to yesterday. We made a few electronic changes before going to the grid and they really helped. Racing was great fun again and I was pushing without being worried about making mistakes - it was good to see our car showing a strong pace. The other side to the day was much more disappointing. Half way through the race my engineer told me we had lost water pressure. It was a disappointment not to make it to the end."

Sam Michael, Technical Director: "Today was disappointing because we looked good for some points. We had a long first stint strategy today, so the safety car on lap two was the worst thing that could have happened. We took the decision at that point to split the strategies by bringing Mark in and leaving Nico out, but it was pretty difficult to recover from this situation. Both Mark and Nico drove well, had good starts and first laps, but we had a failure in the water system on Nico's car and we will have to investigate this further to establish the cause. We'll look forward now to bringing some improvements to the car for Monza."

Chris Jilbert, Cosworth: "Today's race was one of very mixed fortunes indeed. Both cars were looking very well placed following the incident on the first lap, with Mark & Nico gaining positions. Nico's car developed a water leak before his first pit stop, at which point we had no option but to call him in, which was a great shame given his strong performance. Unfortunately Mark was unable to capitalise on his early gains, finishing outside the points. The engines have been reliable, but again we have been very unfortunate not to get both cars to the end of the race."

Honda

Jenson Button (4th): "It's been a great race for the team today and it's good to get both cars in the points. We just didn't have the pace of the Ferraris or Alonso in the Renault but we know where we're weaker and where we're losing out to them, so when we get on top of that we're going to be very competitive. The last stint was very strong for us. We had a lot less tyre graining and I was getting quicker and quicker. Not quite as good as my result in the last race but a good weekend nonetheless."

Rubens Barrichello (8th): "I'm really happy that we finished with two cars in the points today. We had a competitive car today so it was a shame that someone pushed me wide on the first corner which lost me a lot of time. Without that incident I could have been up there fighting closer to the front. We had the pace and we certainly had the will today, so I think that the team certainly deserved the result as well. It was really good to hear the Brazilian national anthem at the end of the race for my good friend Felipe Massa and I congratulate him on his first win."

Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "What an exciting race! We are very pleased to have both cars in the points, which is a great result at the end of a generally satisfying weekend. Jenson was fortunate to not get caught up in the first turn incident and drove a faultless race from there, pushing very hard all the way. In the end though, we weren't quite quick enough to challenge for the podium today. Rubens was less fortunate in the first turn and lost quite a few places, however he showed excellent speed and determination as he drove back through the field, fighting until the very end. Both engines performed reliably in their second race, even though Rubens used all the revs possible throughout the race. In summary we leave Turkey happy but aware that there is still some improvement needed. Congratulations to Felipe Massa on his well-deserved first win!"

Red Bull-Ferrari

Christian Klien (11th): "That was one of the toughest races this season. It was so hot and Turn eight is such a long corner, it's very tough on the neck, but I kept pushing until the end. The car was good in the first stint and had good balance, but I suffered with understeer in the second part. In the last section, the car was a little better again, but we were not really racing here today. It's frustrating to start tenth and finish eleventh."

David Coulthard (15th): "Not the result we wanted today. The balance of the car was okay and improved after we adjusted the front wing and tyre pressures during the first pit stop. We were competitive in sections of the race compared to the cars around us and towards the end of the race I was catching Webber. I thought I could overtake him, but I had to retire with a gearbox problem."

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "A disappointing result. From a good position, Christian unfortunately slipped back. He had some damage to his car's front left bargeboard, which caused some understeer. David retired with a gearbox failure after showing reasonable pace - it's frustrating."

Sauber-BMW

Robert Kubica (12th): "My start was quite okay, but at the first corner Giancarlo Fisichella spun so I had to go wide with Rubens Barrichello and lost a lot of positions. I was then able to overtake some drivers but the Safety Car came out and we changed tyres. The second stint, like the first, was not that bad, although there was too much graining on the tyres. On the first lap of the last stint the tyres were already graining and the pace was massively too slow. It was our choice but this time it didn't work. It was not all bad, as when the tyres were working I had some good fights and that was okay for my second race in Formula 1."

Nick Heidfeld (14th): "I had a super start, especially in direct comparison to Giancarlo Fisichella, as everyone knows this is something the Renaults are very good at. I also went into the first corner well on the inside, but then Fisichella spun and hit the front of my car. On the way back to the pits the wing got stuck under my car, which meant I had no grip and also the floor was damaged. On top of this the rear tyre damaged the rear wing, the balance of the car was ruined and I lost the grip."

Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "With our grid positions, we expected both cars to be in the points, therefore, this result is very disappointing. In the first corner after Giancarlo Fisichella spun Nick lost his front wing, and on his way back to the garage his car's floor was damaged - with all of this his race was over. For Robert the tyres were the decisive factor. We took a risk but it didn't pay off, and this was especially so with his third set as they only stopped graining at the end of the race. This cost him a place in the points."

Willy Rampf, Technical Director Chassis: "After his collision in the first corner Nick lost any chance of a good result. The front wing, the rear right tyre and the floor were all badly damaged. Nick had to cope for the rest of the race with a badly balanced car, but made the best of the situation. Robert had earned himself a good grid position, but lost positions during the Safety Car period. At the end of the day the reason for his lack of pace was due to our decison to use the softer tyre compound, and it was not the right one for Robert."

MF1-Toyota

Christijan Albers (DNF, Accident): "This could have been a very good race for us. We put in a strong qualifying performance yesterday, and our race pace allowed us to fight for positions. I can definitely tell now where we're gaining time on the others and where we're losing time, so we have to work on that. But overall, I think it's been very positive, because we're catching up to the cars ahead. It's just a shame that we made a mistake during the second pit stop. At the end, though, I made a driver error: just going a bit too wide and touching the grass, which caused me to slam pretty hard into the guardrail. My shoulder is a little sore, but otherwise I'm OK."

Tiago Monteiro (DNF, Spin): "This is one of the most frustrating situations for everyone: the mechanics, engineers and myself. It's probably the worst thing that can happen, because we worked so hard all weekend, only to be knocked out before the first corner. What's even worse is that I think we were on the right strategy for the race, being on the harder tyre, which would have worked well here, given the extremely hot temperatures. It could have been a really good one. Unfortunately, I got caught up in a racing incident. Everybody was trying to avoid a car that has spun, and I think one of the cars behind turned into me as it was trying to avoid another car. It happened so quickly; I had no time to react. He hit my wheel and my radiator and that was it. But anyway, I'm looking forward to testing at Monza this week. Our performance is improving and we have a lot of items to test, so we need to put this behind us and keep pushing ahead, because there are still four races left."

Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "I think Christijan drove a great race today. We were looking very competitive relative to the cars in front of us and our times were quite close to theirs. Unfortunately, we had a problem during his second pit stop that cost him a few positions and his race ended shortly afterward. But it was a spirited drive that showed what he and the M16 are capable of. Tiago had some bad luck on his opening lap, but I know he will come back strong. We are testing more new parts next week in Monza, so hopefully we will continue to gain ground on the teams ahead and make the most of the remaining races."

Johnny Herbert, Sporting Relations Manager: "It was a pity that we didn't finish today, because Christijan was doing a good job of staying ahead of several cars, for example, and having some good battles with the Toro Rossos. He fought all the way, but unfortunately he had the off at the end, which put us out of the race. Tiago never had a chance - he got tapped, spun around, damaged, and put out of the race. So that was just one of those horrible situations that's probably happened to us far too often this year. But overall, I think it was a positive weekend where we were able to show some good speed. Hopefully, that should hold us in good stead at the test in Monza next week, plus the race that follows."

Dominic Harlow, Chief Race Engineer: "Obviously, we're very disappointed not to have any cars at the finish. We think Christijan looked very, very strong in the opening stages of the race. Our strategy for him was playing out quite well until his second pit stop, at which point we encountered a problem with refuelling, so that's something we'll have to examine. Unfortunately, he had an off shortly afterward, and that's something else we'll have to look into. Tiago's race doesn't leave much to be said, because it was over in a first-lap shunt in which he was a completely innocent victim."

Toro Rosso-Cosworth

Scott Speed (13th): "I don't know what happened on the first lap accident, maybe I got hit from behind, but the road was blocked with no way of getting through. I lost the wing and came back to the pits, but we got a lucky break as the Safety Car came out which allowed me to close up again to the back of the field. Obviously, a good finish was no longer possible after that extra pit stop but at least I gained some useful racing experience, having a couple of good battles out there."

Vitantonio Liuzzi (DNF): "I had a good start, but then I did not really have the pace to stay with the front runners. But pretty soon, I had some problems with the car and began to gradually go slower and slower. Then on lap 12 at Turn 1, I think the rear axle locked as I turned into the apex and I could not avoid the spin. That was the end for me as the engine stalled at the same time. We will have to study the data to see exactly what happened, but now I am looking forward to racing in front of my home crowd in Monza."

Franz Tost, Team Principal: "Scott was involved in the crash on the opening lap, but after that he had a good race especially in the first and second stints when he was very good. In the last stint he was unable to pass Kubica as we were not quick enough on the straight. Tonio made a fantastic start going from 18th to seventh. Then he struggled a bit, complaining of graining. Finally he spun at Turn 1. We have to find out why, but we think it was a mechanical problem. Now we look forward to another "home" race in Monza."

Super Aguri-Honda

Takuma Sato (DNF): "It has been another challenging weekend for the team. Obviously we knew that if we took the decision to bring the new suspension here we would have completed very little running before Qualifying and the race. But I think that, considering our chassis related problems yesterday, we have managed well this weekend. At the start of the race I overtook at least two or three cars going through to turn one. Unfortunately somebody ran into the back of my car, so I took quite a lot of damage to the chassis and the rear tyre and came back to the pit. Quite a few laps down we got back out on to the track after the mechanics did a fantastic job in such a short amount of time. Unfortunately the car wasn't fully repaired, so I struggled a lot for the rest of the race, but at least we have collected some very important data for the new suspension. We will bring this car to Monza for the test next week and hopefully we are able to have a good race at the next Grand Prix."

Sakon Yamamoto (DNF, Spin): "I'm disappointed that I couldn't finish the race, because I really wanted to finish here in Turkey. After a successful start, when I avoided the incident at turn one, I made up several places and continued to push and have a good fight with the Midland's and Toro Rosso's. But unfortunately later on I spun and the engine stopped which ended my race. We will test in Monza next week and continue to improve the SA06. As I have not been able to finish a race yet, I am already looking forward to the Italian Grand Prix."

Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "It was not a good race for us today. Right at the beginning Taku was a victim of the accident at turn one but the mechanics did a great job fixing his car. Although several laps down when he rejoined the race, Taku went on to collect some valuable data until he crossed the finish line. Sakon made a good race start and managed to avoid the initial incident. It was due to inexperience that he made a mistake at the first corner later on and spun out of the race. However, it was very important to him and the team that he completed these laps and we now look forward to developing the SA06 further in Monza next week."