Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Italian GP 2006

Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Italian GP 2006 

 Â© The Cahier Archive


Giancarlo Fisichella (4th): "This wasn't an easy race by any means, starting from ninth position and running with a heavy fuel load for long parts of the race. But the Michelin tyres were extremely consistent, the car balance was good and I managed to make up five positions. Obviously, this has been a tough day for the team, with Fernando retiring and Renault losing the lead of the championship. On a personal level, I have made up ground on Massa for third in the drivers' title, and the encouraging thing is that our performance was very strong at this circuit. We have a small deficit in the constructors' championship, but will keep on fighting to the end. The team will be doing everything to win both titles."

Fernando Alonso (DNF, Engine): "There is not too much to say on a day like this. When you start from tenth, you have to push everything to the limit - yourself, the car, the tyres and the engine. I was going to easily finish on the podium today, and we showed that without the penalty, the car had the pace to fight for the victory. Michelin have shown a great response with the tyres for this race, and I am not worried about the title. We have three rounds to go, and we will be getting stronger and stronger with new developments for the car, the tyres and the engine. But the verdict on this weekend is simple: the race was decided off the track on Saturday afternoon."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "This was a tough weekend for the team in every respect. We all feel very sorry for Fernando, who endured troubles on and off the track here in Monza. It was a bitter blow to lose an engine for the first time in nearly three years with a failure in the bottom end, and especially after he had overcome his qualifying penalty to secure a podium finish. Fisi drove a strong race today, and his fourth position is well deserved. Looking at the standings, things are clearly very tight. At Renault, we have nothing to lose, and will be racing aggressively until the last lap of the last race. We know the car is quick, and that we have plenty of upgrades coming in the weeks ahead. To all intents and purposes, the World Championship starts here."

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "Nobody is ever happy to break an engine, but that is part of the sport. The problem comes when it is not just the sport that influences the outcome of races and championships. Fernando did the maximum possible from his grid position, and would have finished on the podium easily. The team did a fantastic job in the pit-stops to get him out in front of Kubica; in fact, they performed faultlessly all weekend. Giancarlo drove a strong race too, and his points will be important in the constructors' championship. Now, we have to prepare properly for the three final races of the season. The team is strong, and we are still fighting very hard."


Kimi Raikkonen (2nd): "I'm happy with my second place here in Monza. All in all this was a good weekend for us, and the team has done a fantastic job. We have improved our starting system, which helped me a lot on the run to the first corner. I was controlling the race until my first pit stop but the fact that Michael was able to stay out for one more lap than me eventually decided the outcome of the race."

Pedro de la Rosa (DNF, Engine): "I lost a place at the start to slot into eighth. After that I was stuck behind cars, so I never really found out how quick I could have been. My first pit stop went as planned. We put a lot of fuel in the car to ensure a long second stint which was aimed to get me in clean air at the end. However all of sudden the engine failed, I had to stop the car and that was the end of the race for me. It is a pity as our package was very competitive today."

Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A good drive from Kimi. A single lap of more fuel in the first stint could have turned second into a possible victory - but that's racing. Pedro suffered a rare engine failure, which meant an early end to his race. The result shows how the team's relentless efforts and disciplined approach throughout this weekend led to a positive result. Irrespective of the announcement of Kimi's future - and of course we wish him all the best - the entire team will continue to focus on the balance of this season where race wins are still possible as illustrated by today's result."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Second position, pole position, fastest lap and finishing as best Michelin team is a good job by the team and Kimi. We have been close to Michael Schumacher and not too much was missing to win today. Congratulations to Michael. For me it is sad to learn that he will retire after this season. With his retirement an era of Formula One racing ends. As already stated in our separate press release we all wish Kimi who will leave us at the end of the year all the best. Unfortunately Pedro suffered an engine failure, the cause of which is currently investigated. We will now work hard before the last three overseas races in order to do one better than today."


Michael Schumacher (1st): "A marvellous win in front of our fans. Being on the podium alongside Jean was an indescribable feeling. From up there, we could see a sea of fans and you could feel the love they have for Ferrari. Super! If I had had to talk about my decision at that moment, I would not have managed to get the words out of my mouth....The race was relatively straightforward. We were hoping that Kimi would pit before us and he did. Everything went according to plan with no particular worries. The most emotional moment was the final lap. After the chequered flag I came on the radio and told all my friends in the team what I was about to announce and it was really difficult to keep my emotions under control. This win is very important in terms of both titles. We have taken the lead in the Constructors' and as for the Drivers,' we are no longer dependent on our rivals' performance."

Felipe Massa (9th): "To lead the Constructors' championship is fantastic. I am very happy for the whole team and also for Michael, who deserved this win and it's great that he took this victory on a day that is so special for him. Michael is an amazing guy and I am honoured to have had the opportunity to race alongside him. He is an example to us all. Now we must try and reach the targets that we want so much. Right from yesterday's qualifying it was clear this was not going to be my weekend. Today, I was always in traffic, never able to use all the car's potential on a track which, while very quick is definitely not easy to overtake on. Then, when it seemed like I could bring home a good fourth place, I flat-spotted my right front tyre when I had to brake on the oil from Alonso's Renault. It was too bad to continue and so I was forced to pit to change tyres, losing any chance of a points finish. Now there are three races to go, in which we will do all we can. I can tackle them with the added motivation of helping Michael and the team win both championships. As for me, I am proud to have the opportunity to be racing with this great team for the next two years."

Jean Todt, Team Principal: "I don't know if I should start by talking about my feelings after this fantastic victory or about those that stem from the announcement of Michael's retirement. Of course, I had known for a while that this was his decision, but the news breaking alongside this great win makes today special. It is very gratifying to win here, in front of our Ferrari colleagues who packed out the grandstand at the Parabolica and in front of all our fans. The car, the Bridgestone tyres and the team were all great. This result sees us move into the lead in the Constructors' classification and it also considerably reduces the gap between Michael and the leader of the Drivers.' I am sorry for Felipe: an unplanned stop prevented him from bringing home a good result in a race where he never really managed to get the most out of the car because of traffic. It's a shame, because all weekend he had been very competitive. Now both championships will be decided over the three races. We are up against very strong opposition but we are very determined and motivated to win both titles. We must remain concentrated and united to make Ferrari even better and to bring to a close in the best possible way this magnificent chapter in our history, which began eleven years ago when Michael arrived."

Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "Winning the Italian Grand Prix on the day Michael announces his retirement is the best possible way for this news to be delivered. He drove brilliantly and was always in control of the situation. The car went well, helped by fantastic Bridgestone tyres, not forgetting the valuable support from Shell. We knew that our tyres, while possibly giving a little away in qualifying, would be superb in the race. This win is the result of the great work carried out over the past few months by our partners and our test team. It's a shame for Felipe, who never really had the chance to push as hard as he could, being nearly always stuck in traffic. Now there are three races to go which we will tackle giving our all. We have many new parts coming, including a new aerodynamic package that we will test over the next two weeks. I am confident about this final part of the championship and we will fight right to the end to tryandwinbothtitles."


Jarno Trulli (7th): "That really was the maximum we could have achieved today so I will go away happy tonight. I made a reasonable start and just made sure to avoid any kind of accident on the first lap, and from then on I had a pretty good race. It all went pretty smoothly, especially considering that I had Barrichello in front of me on the first stint slowing me down. Otherwise I could have gone slightly better but nevertheless the car's balance felt good throughout the race. It was also a trouble-free race for me so thanks to the team and everybody involved for the good job they have done this week and at last week's test. Now I look forward to the last three races which I believe will suit our car better."

Ralf Schumacher (15th): "We were always going to face a difficult afternoon today starting from so far down the grid and that was the way it proved. I have struggled for balance throughout the weekend and that continued throughout the race. I found myself in traffic and we just didn't have enough speed to overtake down the straights. So all in all it's been a difficult event for me. Luckily Jarno scored a couple of points so well done to him. We have had a fast car in the last few races and we expect to improve our performance at the coming races. Of course I would also like to mention Michael's decision to retire. I am sure he has thought long and hard about his decision and I respect it. I've enjoyed racing with him and I wish him all the best both for the championship and for the future."

Tsutomu Tomita, Team Principal: "We came here expecting unsettled weather but in the end all three days have been fine. We also expected more from this weekend but we struggled with the performance of the car on Friday and Saturday. It was a pity that we missed out on Q3 and it meant today was always going to be hard work. But today was much better and our pace was closer to what we expected from the whole weekend. Given our grid positions the only sensible choice was to go for one pit stop and everything worked well. Jarno had been happy with his balance on the first two days but he was short of top speed. But today he had a very strong race considering his grid position, so well done to him for going up to 7th from 11th. He made no mistakes and pushed hard all through the race on his way to the points. Ralf spent most of the race in traffic so it is difficult to judge what he could have achieved but he still brought the car home. Our tyres were consistent and reasonably fast so we have achieved the best we could have managed today. The car configuration we will use at the last three races of the year will be different and we are confident that we will be able to improve our level of performance. We will head to Shanghai with a target of challenging the top cars again."


Mark Webber (10th): "I got a reasonable start and did some of my passing work in the first chicane, some in the second. Early on the first stint I had a good fight with one of the Red Bulls and I managed to get past. Then I tried to stay with Trulli as I expected him to be on a one-stop strategy too, but I couldn't hold the pace because the rear of the car felt quite loose, so I consolidated my position to get the car to the finish."

Nico Rosberg (DNF, Driveshaft): "One of the driveshafts was damaged at the second chicane. It's unfortunate because we have been running through that chicane for three test days last week and the whole GP weekend and nothing untoward happened. My weekend had been pretty good up until my retirement, so it makes it more difficult to accept a DNF. We need to take some big steps to improve our performance, but we can do this by working together as a team and I think we'll get there very soon."

Sam Michael, Technical Director: "Mark had a good start and drove a consistent race all afternoon to finish p10, which is where the car is currently at. On Nico's car, we had a problem with a driveshaft and he lost drive, the exact cause of which is not yet known and we will investigate this later. Nico was looking good for a points finish, but it was not to be. Apart from that, we still have some work to do to close the gap to the front."

Mike Janes, Cosworth: "Although it was frustrating not to score any points today, this was tempered slightly by achieving our engine performance targets as planned with respect to Mark's engine for this weekend without any major issues. His CA012 has reached the end of its two event life having run to our most aggressive duty to date, while Nico's engine, run to a similar duty, has plenty of performance left in it for Shanghai."


Jenson Button (5th): "This is a good team result although we were looking for more from today. The balance wasn't anywhere near as good as we'd hoped for. We made some adjustments at the first stop but we were still not as quick as we needed to be. I think we can feel reasonably pleased with this result at the end of a challenging weekend."

Rubens Barrichello (6th): "I suffered a little bit at the start because I was quite heavy with fuel. Unfortunately since the start of the weekend we didn't have good straight line speed which is why Fisichella was able to pass me quite easily. From there on I was struggling with rear grip and I was really just 'surviving'. When you consider where we started from after the problems on Friday I think this is a good result for the team, getting two cars into the points once again."

Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "I think we can feel reasonably happy with our result today. Another double points finish for our team in a weekend that started with some difficulties. We decided on different strategies for Jenson and Rubens, but in the end they were as closely matched this afternoon as they were yesterday. The balance of our cars was not quite as good as it was during practice and qualifying therefore we lacked a little pace to put up a stronger challenge for higher positions. Otherwise we have no problems to report; the engines ran well and the pitstops were smooth and fast. We leave Europe reasonably satisfied with the progress we have made but still pushing for further improvement in the last three races."

Red Bull-Ferrari

Christian Klien (11th): "It was a difficult race as we were on a one stop strategy and had a very heavy car at the start. I was too slow on the straights to be able to overtake anyone so had to follow the others, but actually the strategy worked well. I stayed out for a long time and overtook a couple of people at the pit stop. Finishing 11th from 16th is not too bad and I don't think there was much more we could have done in this race, so I'm pleased with my performance."

David Coulthard (12th): "Very little to say other than disappointing. Regarding Michael's retirement - it was a fitting way for him to announce it with a victory. Irrespective of whether people are believers in Michael's race ethics or not, you have to recognise he's been a great champion and it's the end of an era."

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "Unfortunately Christian headed a not particularly fast Red Bull train today, with 11th and 12th being the net result for our two drivers. This circuit was always going to expose our inherent weakness within the current package, but the important thing is to learn from it and act upon the lessons learnt for next year. So, a disappointing race with the only positive factor being that we got two cars to the finish."


Robert Kubica (3rd): "Before the race some guys from the team came to me and told me they would like to see me on the podium, I thought it was a joke and now we are here. This time we knew we had good tyres, not only for qualifying but also for the race, unlike in Istanbul. When we got easily into qualifying three we also knew we had quite a consistent car for the race. I had a good start, but unfortunately locked the front wheels in the first corner, had flat spots and the first stint was quite difficult as I had a vibration. It was always a tough race as I had to fight with Massa and Alonso. Lapping the guys did not help as I was the first one of the group to lap them and I always lost one second. I came out of the second pit stop side by side with Alonso. Then his engine blew up and it was really risky as there was oil, Massa went off and I think had a puncture. The end of the race was quite easy for me and I just had to bring the car home. I now have the first podium of my life in Formula 1. I want to thank the team for giving me this opportunity - we all are very, very proud."

Nick Heidfeld (8th): "It is a fantastic result for our team. Yesterday I was third in qualifying and today Robert is third in the race. Over the last few GP we have made real improvements and I hope we can keep up this momentum for the overseas races. Of course, I am not too happy with my own result today. I had a superb start. I was ahead of Michael when we entered the first corner. He came alongside me and I had to move onto the dirt, but the manoeuvre was okay. I got a lot of dirt on the tyres and this was my handicap for the whole of the first lap. Later the pace was good, but then I got the drive through penalty. Towards the end of the race I was faster than Trulli, but couldnít attack. I had an opportunity in turn one, but Alonsoís engine oil was on the line I would use for this."

Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "Third and eighth in the race are the crowning glory of a fantastic weekend for our young team. In qualifying our cars were quick with and without fuel, and we confirmed this in todayís race. I am particularly happy with our second podium within five weeks because it also justifies our decision to put Robert in the race car. Nick also drove a strong race. Unfortunately he broke the speed limit during his first pit stop, but despite the penalty he managed to score a point. Compliments to our team in Monza, Hinwil and Munich."

Willy Rampf, Technical Director Chassis: "A fantastic result for the entire team. Robert made an excellent start, improving from sixth to third. Later he was under big pressure from Massa and he withstood it without making any mistakes. He drove a perfect race and got us our second podium. After a diffcult race Nick also managed to get one point. Both cars not only ran trouble free over the entire weekend, but were also very competitive. This is thanks to the superb preparation work by the entire team."


Christijan Albers (17th): "We finished the race but it 's not a good result, and that's a shame because it was our first one with the Spyker name. First I had a flat tyre, which pretty much killed my race, and then two laps later, I developed a problem with my transmission. We know what the problem is, though, so hopefully we'll be able to solve it once and for all. It's disappointing because the pace was there and I was able to compete for positions, which is similar to the situation at the last race in Turkey, where our performance was quite good. One thing I know for sure is that we'll come back fighting in China."

Tiago Monteiro (DNF, Brakes): "Obviously, that's not the result we were after but I must say, the car was going quite well. In fact, once the tyres warmed up and we were able to burn off some fuel, I was catching up to the group ahead of me, so that really motivated me. The only weakness, I would say, was that we were losing ground on the straights, and this is something we will have to work hard to improve. Unfortunately, after my first pit stop, I developed a serious brake problem that would crop up randomly. It was causing the car to behave quite erratically, which is dangerous at a high-speed circuit like Monza. There were a couple of other issues that compounded my problems, and eventually I just had to retire because the car was becoming too unstable. But I'm encouraged by the fact that we were catching the cars ahead before these problems occurred, which proves that we are improving. At this time, I'd also like to thank Mr. Shnaider for all his support, and for giving me the opportunity to get my start in F1. I'd also like to welcome our new owners, and look forward to making more progress under the Spyker banner."

Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "I think the performance of the cars was very good. Christijan's puncture ruined his chances for a good result, and Tiago had some brake problems that prevented him from finishing. But if you look at their times, they were quite competitive. Considering this is supposed to be the worst circuit for us, that's quite encouraging."

Johnny Herbert, Sporting Relations Manager: "Today was a disappointment. It's never a good thing to be going through problems, and we seem to having more than our fair share lately. Christijan had a puncture early on when he was racing well, but obviously that put us completely out of contention. Tiago had his own set of issues and he eventually had to stop because of brake problems. It was just a shame, really, because I think we had to pace to finish well today. But, we move on, and hopefully we'll have a stronger race in China."

James Key, Technical Director: "This was a difficult race, which is a shame, because obviously today is a special day for the team, with our new owners being introduced. Christijan was racing extremely well at the beginning and was able to run with the cars around him - the Red Bulls, the Toyotas and the Toro Rossos. He was battling to overtake Klien when he suffered a puncture. He came in and then there was an issue with the clutch that delayed him going back out. We're not sure what it is - whether it's a sensor problem or the clutch itself - but that led to him effectively losing a lap. Tiago was following a long first-stop strategy and doing quite well, but then he developed braking issues toward the end of the race. We brought him in a couple of times to have a look, but then we thought it would be safer to just retire him. An unfortunate race, really. It could have been better given the pace we'd showed in the beginning, but we'll see what we can learn from this and move on with more optimism for the last three races."

Toro Rosso-Cosworth

Scott Speed (13th): "I had a good race, fighting with David and Ralf and I was able to keep ahead of them at first. But then I was really unlucky in the pit stop as I had to let the leaders go by as soon as I came out of pit lane and David made up all the ground I had over him in the first stint. But it was an okay race all in all."

Vitantonio Liuzzi (14th): "I had a problem at the start and so I lost a lot of ground on the first lap. The car performed well today and I was happy with its handling, but in terms of power I would be on the rev limiter going down the straight so I could not pass anyone. As I tried to pass David, he squeezed me towards the wall and we made contact, after which I had a lot of understeer. I was still quick though and I was catching Ralf and Scott but there was no way I was going to be able to pass them."

Gerhard Berger, Team Principal: "Both our drivers did a good job and given that this is our performance level and not many cars ahead retired, we could not really expect more. We showed good speed through the race and both cars finished, so well done to everyone in the team- a good effort. Schumacher's retirement? It is a pity for Formula 1 to lose such a great champion, but the time to stop comes to everyone. He put on a fantastic performance again today and because of what happened to Alonso, everyone here and all the fans are going to be treated to a great end to the championship."

Super Aguri-Honda

Takuma Sato (16th): "It was a hard race for us. We had a hydraulic problem on the way to the grid so I had to abort the lap, come back to the pit, change into the T-car and start from the pit lane. We were carrying fuel for a one-stop strategy and everything seemed okay at first and I just tried to catch-up with the group up and overtake the cars infront. We had good pace and it looked like we had a strong package - it was encouraging to catch the Midlands' gradually. But I started to struggle with a chassis related problem and after about 20 laps you can see that my lap time fell two seconds off the pace immediately. I did all I could just to stay on the circuit, come back to the pit and do the tyre change, but I realised that I must have a serious problem. After the race we could see that the floor had delaminated, so I lost a huge amount of downforce. It is a shame, again, that we couldn't show the full potential of the SA06, but I think everybody has worked hard and obviously we have got to solve these problems. During the next two weeks we go to the Silverstone test which is incredibly important for us for the last three races and so I believe that we can improve the car there."

Sakon Yamamoto (DNF, Hydraulics): "We had a good start and good pace. After a couple of laps we realised that we had a problem with the car that we fixed quite quickly. But in the end we had a hydraulic problem which forced me to retire from the race, which is a shame, so at the Silverstone test in a couple of weeks I want to improve the car for the next races in China and Japan."

Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "Taku had a tough race today and did a good job to bring the car home. Sakon suffered a hydraulic problem and I am sorry that once again he was unable to finish the race. We will work hard at the coming Silverstone test to try to solve the problems that we are encountering with the SA06 so that we can look forward to the last flyaway races and especially our second home race in Suzuka."