BRAZILIAN GP - SUNDAY - TEAM QUOTES
Fernando Alonso (2nd): "What a wonderful feeling this is. We have done a fantastic last part of the championship, scoring 26 points out of 30 possible, and that was enough to make us double champions. It is such a special moment to win both titles on the same day, and the atmosphere in the team is unbelievable right now. I have to say thank you; thank you to everybody in the team, to all the people at Enstone and Viry, to Michelin, to my team-mate Giancarlo and to Heikki, who has done so much good work this year. In 2006, they have taught me many lessons: to always stay fair play, to put in the effort, to keep the focus and the determination to win. It has been up and down for us, but they never forgot the target, and we have done it now. My memories from this season will be from the win in Barcelona, and also these times now, celebrating with the mechanics - and the celebrations to come in the next weeks in Spain. This is the right time to enjoy what we have done. I am proud to have been racing with Michael as well. It is an honour to have won the final two championships of his career, and I think they will mean more than any others I can win in my career. He is retiring as the man with all the records, and it has been big pressure to race against him - and a big privilege as well."
Giancarlo Fisichella (6th): "I am so happy this afternoon. Psychologically, this was a tough race at the end of a very hard season. But we went out there today, and did the job. For me, the key parts of the race were with Michael Schumacher in the first laps and towards the end as well. He was so quick today, that it was nearly impossible to keep him behind. The first time, he overtook me and we were side by side into the first corner - then I saw him have big oversteer in the second corner and got back past. But the key point in the race was towards the end, when he was behind me for five or six laps. I knew I had to keep him there for as long as possible, so he couldn't make up more positions, and I did my best. Eventually, I braked very late on the bumps, locked the front tyres and he got past. But I did enough. For me personally, I am fourth in the championship, which is my best ever result. It has been an incredible season, and we will be celebrating this evening."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Today's race was an incredibly exciting end to a thrilling championship, and probably one of the most stressful races of my career! But in the end, the whole team is ecstatic with the result, and it is a fitting end to our partnership with Fernando. He is a thoroughly deserving world champion, and we wish him all the best for the future; he will be a tough competitor, but we relish competition! Congratulations also to Michelin. The work they have done, particularly in the last two months, has been exemplary and they retire with their heads held high. We also wish all the best to Michael. He has played an important part for me personally in my career, and has been a worthy competitor to the team for many years. We hope to see him again, and wish him the very best for the future. The final word, though, goes to this amazing Renault team. These world championships are for every member of our organisation, from top to bottom. Those of us who travel get to enjoy these moments at the track, but our team-mates in Enstone and Viry have given us the tools to do the job this season with their unstinting effort and commitment. This victory belongs to each and every one of them."
Alain Dassas, President: "Renault's achievement in becoming double world champions, twice in a row, has nothing to do with luck. We have done it because we were quicker and more reliable than our rivals - and because we were able to raise our game compared to 2005 by scoring more points and finishing more races. One of the greatest satisfactions was to feel the entire Renault Group behind us at every stage, pushing us towards this victory. We were determined not to let them down, and the team has done Renault proud. As for our departing champion Fernando, he deserves this second title like no other. He has been an extraordinary part of our team, and we will miss him. However, Formula 1 is all about reacting to change, and meeting new challenges. We will begin a new adventure next year, and that is the thrilling challenge of this sport."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "It was an incredible fight with Ferrari this year, and first of all I want to congratulate Michael on an amazing race this afternoon. But we have done the job, and we deserve these titles. The whole team, from Fernando to all our colleagues in Enstone and Viry, have had a very difficult time this year. There have been many ups and downs, but we have never backed down, we never gave up and we are champions. As a team, we made fewer mistakes than our rivals, and Fernando made fewer mistakes than Michael. We must not forget Giancarlo, who has had a very strong season, and his points have made the difference between finishing first and second. Of course, none of this could have been possible without our partners - Mild Seven and Michelin, who will be leaving us this year as champions, and every group that has been part of this success. Thank you to them, to our supporters and to the Renault Group for their commitment to this team. They are all worthy world champions."
Kimi Raikkonen (5th): "This was a very difficult race. My car was not easy to drive today because I didn't have much grip. The straight line speed could have been better as it was not easy to overtake slower cars. I ran wide once towards the end of the race which allowed Michael Schumacher to close in, and despite all my efforts I couldn't keep him behind. As this is my last race for Team McLaren Mercedes I want to thank everybody in the team who have supported me throughout my five years here."
Pedro de la Rosa (8th): "A very tough race for me. I was on a one-stop strategy and obviously this was a little too hard for the tyres. As a result I couldn't really attack, but at least I scored one point for the team. On the occasion of this last race of the season I want to thank my team for giving me the opportunity to race, it was a pleasure and an honour to compete for Team McLaren Mercedes this year. I would also like to congratulate my compatriot Fernando Alonso on winning his second Drivers' World Championship."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "A disappointing outcome and not the way to finish what has been a difficult season. However next season already starts tomorrow. Congratulations to Fernando for winning the World Championship again. We will work hard to give him the same opportunity next year. I would like to wish Kimi all the best for next year, but as you would expect we will be doing our very best to ensure that we beat him."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "The result is not what we expected today. Obviously we didn't have the race speed to achieve a better position from second place on the grid. We will now focus all our efforts on the next season in order to definitely do a much better job. Congratulations to Fernando Alonso and Renault on winning both the Drivers' and Constructors' Championships. I want to thank Kimi for the five years he has competed for us and we are looking forward to race against him next year. As this was Michael's last race of his career I would like to wish him all the best for his future life, Formula 1 will be different without him, but I always will have great memories of his 15 years in the sport."
Felipe Massa (1st): "Today is another dream, the dream of my life has become a reality. The car was perfect, the Bridgestone tyres were perfect, I drove an impeccable race and all of this at my home grand prix! I always had the situation under control, slowing just a bit when Michael was in front of me, after his puncture, as I did not want to pass him. I want to dedicate this race to my family , to my friends, to all those who helped me in my career and to the Brazilian people who, today, made me feel their warmth through all the fans in the grandstand. Michael now stops driving for the team, but already I know I will miss him. I have always felt his support and his friendship and I know that it will be a big responsibility to replace him. Over the last few laps, I was trying to maintain concentration, but I could not stop myself from watching all the fans celebrating in the grandstands!"
Michael Schumacher (4th): "I am very happy for Felipe who drove an amazing race. It is great for him to be the first Brazilian to win at Interlagos since Ayrton Senna. It would have been nice if I could at least have made it to the podium alongside him. I would also like to congratulate Fernando. Today, my race was compromised after the puncture I picked up on lap nine, when I had just passed Fisichella. I was unaware of it until the team told me about it on the radio. I had a good climb back up the order, thanks partly to an amazing car and exceptional Bridgestone tyres. Today my racing career comes to an end. Obviously, it is a special moment for me and I am proud to have lived my career with some fantastic people, namely everyone who is part of the Ferrari family. There is so much I could say about them, but it is difficult to find the right words..."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "Despite an extraordinary victory from Felipe and a race which for so many reasons was an historic one for Michael, in the heat of the moment I feel very disappointed. We would have liked Michael's career to end differently, but destiny had other plans. We must look at the positive aspects of this season: our team has taken the most race wins - nine in total, seven with Michael and two with Felipe - and despite getting off to a poor start, we were in the hunt for both titles right up to the final race. However, the championship is made up of eighteen Grands Prix and so we accept this result and our compliments go to our rivals. Now we have to look to the future and start a new chapter, taking into account the lessons we have learnt this year. We go into 2007 with new rules, a new driver, just one tyre supplier, but these are things we can discuss later. Today, I want to thank everyone in the Gestione Sportiva, Michael and Felipe for the great job they have done, with the support of our technical partners, especially Bridgestone and Shell and the commercial ones, first and foremost Philip Morris. Whatever the outcome, the Ferrari family has lived through a memorable season."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "Everything was extraordinary today: the car, the drivers, the Bridgestone tyres and the team work. It was really frustrating that we were unable to see Michael bring his career to a close with a win. His race was compromised by a puncture caused by the collision with Fisichella, whom he had just overtaken. It's been a very tough season. The car was competitive right from the beginning but we did not get off to a great start. Then, we staged a great comeback thanks to the work of the team and our technical partners, especially Bridgestone and Shell, to the extent that we had the best package as well as the best drivers. Today, I am very happy for Felipe, who represents the future of Ferrari. He drove an exceptional race and it was a great way to finish the season."
Jarno Trulli (DNF, Suspension): "There was a problem with the central element on the rear suspension. The car was jumping around a lot and I was not fully in control - probably the bumps here at Interlagos made it worse. It is very unfortunate because I was having a strong race. After the safety car period, my tyres were just getting up to temperature and I was attacking Raikkonen. I am very disappointed because my car was extremely quick this weekend and we had a good strategy today. It seems every time I have been doing a good race this year I have had a problem and have had to retire. It has been a very difficult season for me, very unlucky. I lost one podium in Monaco, one probably in Magny-Cours and once again here. But I have to thank all the team because in a hard situation they have pulled together and worked fantastically to face our problems."
Ralf Schumacher (DNF, Suspension): "That was the hardest possible way to finish the season. We made a reasonable start and were initially in good shape. Unfortunately, immediately after the restart following the safety car period, we developed a problem at the rear of the car with the central element on the suspension. That made the car impossible to drive. It was not safe to continue like that so I had to retire. It was the same problem for both cars and the same as the problem Jarno had in qualifying at Indianapolis earlier in the season. It is a particular pity because things were looking good for the team. We both qualified well and we were expecting a strong result today. Unfortunately it was not to be today but I know how hard the team has worked all year so I would like to thank them."
Tsutomu Tomita, Team Principal: "Before the start of the race everything was okay - we were looking fine, the car was quick and the two drivers were motivated. The start was good but just after starting the race we suffered from serious problems - it was like a bad dream. It is still unbelievable for me. We were obviously very fast and we had fuel for 23 and 24 laps as a result of the safety car so we were a bit heavier than most of the other cars around us. According to what we have seen from the other cars we had a good chance of taking second place. Both cars experienced a rear suspension failure of the central element, which was not a new part. Ralf made it clear he had a problem immediately after the safety car and then Jarno suffered the same two laps later. It is probably due to the bumpy nature of the track but of course we knew that would be the case here at Interlagos and we should have been prepared for that. I have to say we are very sorry to Toyota's fans and the Toyota family companies. We are very disappointed but this is racing and sometimes it is good and sometimes it is bad. However, we believe we are moving in the right direction and now we will have to work hard for next year."
Mark Webber (DNF, Damage): "Such a waste. It was an interesting first few corners, I was fighting with Jenson and Pedro going into the first one and putting a bit of pressure on Pedro. It was shaping up to be quite fun, but I braked a bit later going into turn four and then I was hit from behind. I lost the diffuser and that was that. It looks like Nico lost his braking point. He was very deep going into the corner and I didn't think he was going to make it. It wasn't nice to see Nico with a puncture and then colliding with the wall, but he's ok. It's always bad when team mates collide, but he didn't do it on purpose. This is the game we're in, there are no rewind buttons, so when it goes wrong, it goes wrong. This isn't the result we were hoping for and it's a real shame for the guys."
Nico Rosberg (DNF, Accident): "I was really hoping I could do something good in the last race. After the start, I was trying to get out of traffic, gain some ground and get back the place I had just lost to Jenson so I was close behind Mark going into the corner. I think he braked hard and maybe an extra metre too early, perhaps because something had happened next to him, and I hit him. It probably seemed a big accident from the outside, but it didn't feel so hard in the cockpit and I am fine. I am sorry for the team, of course, because I wanted to finish this season in a better way. It has been a difficult year, but I have learned a lot. We now have the winter ahead of us and we will all work together very hard to be prepared for next season."
Patrick Head, Director of Engineering: "It can only get better from here, but obviously the result is massively disappointing. The Bridgestone tyre was quite clearly superior today. It's meaningless, but I think we could have had quite a good race. This is the second year in a row in Brazil that we've been out of the race with both cars before the end of the first lap and it's really very disappointing for everyone in the team. However, we can now only go back and make sure we have a much better car and look forward to a stronger season next year. Well done to Fernando and very well done to Renault for winning both Championships. With Michael retiring today, we saw all his fighting spirit come out in what were difficult circumstances and obviously he'll be a major loss to the sport. It is very sad that this is the last race for Cosworth in F1 for the immediate future. They have done a great job and have been a pleasure to work with. I hope the Cosworth name returns to F1 very soon."
Chris Jilbert, Cosworth: "Not quite the way that we had envisaged our current involvement in Formula One to draw to a close, but I guess we can genuinely say that we ran both engines at 20,000RPM for the whole race! It really does not seem possible that there will be no Cosworth-powered cars in the F1 paddock in 2007. It is an incredibly sad day for everyone who has been involved in making our Cosworth F1 engines so powerful, reliable and successful and I'm sure that these comments will be echoed by the numerous people up and down the pit lane who have either worked at, or with, Cosworth in the past. We pride ourselves on being world class and can proudly state that we have been able to deliver what is possibly the most powerful, most reliable engine in Formula One during the 2006 season, despite not having the backing of a manufacturer. Let's hope that Cosworth can return to its rightful place on the grid in the future. My thanks go to everyone at Cosworth for all of their dedication, commitment and resolve through what has been a very difficult couple of months."
Jenson Button (3rd): "I'm thrilled to end the season on the podium, especially coming through from 14th on the grid yet again and after the problem we experienced yesterday. This result came out of a genuine fight, with the car showing great competitiveness. It was one of the most enjoyable races I have experienced. It's only natural to think about where we could have finished if we had been able to start further up the grid, but we shouldn't take anything away from a great result and a very strong second half of the season. My thanks to everyone in the team, and all our partners and fans. This is a fantastic way to go into the winter when I'm sure we will all have the motivation to push harder for a much stronger 2007 season."
Rubens Barrichello (7th): "It was tough for me today. I couldn't get a rhythm in the car and I was having some difficulties with the handling, but still we got two cars in the points once again. Jenson had a good race coming from the back to get on the podium, so it's a strong end of the season for us. I have to say that I struggled this year with the car but we have the winter to work hard with the benefit of all the lessons we have learned this season. I would also like to congratulate Felipe on his fantastic win today. We all get in life what we deserve, and he has had a great weekend. My thanks to everyone associated with our team for a great first season with Honda. Now I'm looking forward to 2007."
Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "What a great way to finish the season and what a spectacular drive by Jenson to come all the way from 14th to the podium once again! Jenson had a good start and made up a lot of places on the first lap. After that he was flying, executing some brilliantly judged overtaking manoeuvres. Once he caught up with Alonso, he put up a good fight to try and pass him for second. Rubens raced hard throughout, posing a strong challenge to Fisichella who was on a similar strategy. Today is a day of many milestones. First of all, well done to Fernando Alonso on a much-deserved second World Championship title. Many congratulations and best wishes to Michael Schumacher on a brilliant and inspiring career that brought many F1 fans a lot of joy over 15 years of spectacular racing. Many thanks also to the founders of this team, British American Tobacco, and title sponsor Lucky Strike, in what is their last race, for their confidence, support and vision. Lastly we should also thank our partners - particularly Michelin - and the many talented Honda team members in Japan and the UK for the tremendous effort and dedication which has culminated in this great final result of the season."
Robert Doornbos (12th): "Professionally, today was a disaster for me. The car felt very bad to drive and we struggled big time. We finished the race and I had some battles with the Toro Rossos, but there were no real highlights during the race. I'd like to thank the team, they're a great bunch of guys and they've really helped me during the last three races. I wish them a good season in 2007."
David Coulthard (DNF, Retired): "I had a gearbox problem. Initially I thought it was the clutch, as it started to slip coming out of Turn three, but I think fourth gear was broken. It's a disappointing weekend but, that said, even when you're starting towards the back of the grid, racing is what it's all about and I was having some fun with the guys I was battling with. We've got to look at the positives of the year - the team achieved its podium. We haven't moved on in the Constructors' Championship, but a great organisation like Williams has finished behind us, which puts into perspective our season. I'm looking forward to the first test with Bridgestone and working towards next year."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "David unfortunately retired with a gearbox problem after making some progress in the early part of the race. Robert managed to make up a few positions from where he started on the grid, to bring his car home in 12th place. From a team point of view, we finished seventh in the Constructors' Championship again, ahead of Williams. Obviously it's been a frustrating season, but I think we can look forward with a lot of optimism."
Robert Kubica (9th): "The race started okay and I overtook Nick on the first lap, but after ten laps we didn't have any more speed. I was driving as hard as I could and pushing but we were just too slow. This was our last race working with Michelin and I would like to thank everyone in the tyre company for their hard work and also to say grazie to Piero, my tyre technician."
Nick Heidfeld (17th, Accident): "It was a busy final race and I would have liked a better result for myself. My start was okay, but in the first corner it was extremely tight as Michael was on the inside and Ralf on my right side, but this situation worked out fine. Then in the fourth corner it was close between me and Robert and I felt something had happened to my front wing, but my speed was okay although I lost some positions and got stuck behind one stopper Pedro de la Rosa. After my first stop I got back on the track behind Vitantonio Liuzzi and tried to overtake him, but unfortunately we touched. With the damaged car I lost a lot of downforce, but the lap times were still okay. I then made two mistakes. In the first corner I went straight on and then slid off because I got on the marbles when I let Felipe Massa pass. At the end I think something broke on the car, which may have been caused by the earlier collision, and I crashed."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "Although missing scoring points by a small margin, in the last race in Sao Paulo we achieved our goals and claimed fifth place in the constructors' championship. We also took an engine for homologation for the next years across the finish line. All in all with the BMW Sauber F1 Team we achieved more than we could have expected in our debut year. We made it into the points 15 times and even scored two podium finishes. This means we are clearly ahead of our own targets. What makes me even happier is that during the season our team improved in comparison to our competitors - going forwards and not backwards. This is the best signal that the measures implemented in Munich and Hinwil strengthened our challenge. On the drivers' side, we are well prepared for the future.
"We are still in the middle of a two year ramp up phase, and in the coming season we want to take the next step and make it on the podium on our own merits. I would like to thank everybody in the team for their dedication and the work they have done. I am looking forward to the challenges that lay ahead of us in this project. We will take them together and I am convinced achieve them."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director Chassis: "It was a race with a lot of incidents. After what happened in the beginning we thought something might have been damaged on Nick's car, but at the time everything was fine. Following Nick's collision with Liuzzi the radiator temperature went up and we pitted early for Nick's second stop. He received a new front nose as well as some other work on the car. We still have to investigate the reason for his crash. Robert in the early laps gained a few positions, despite a heavy fuel load. In his second stint he was slower than expected, therefore, he could not defend the positions he had gained."
Christijan Albers (14th): "We already knew at the start of this weekend that our pace was not going to be as competitive as the last two races. It was still good for two Spyker cars to finish the race. I think it was a reasonable result but not good enough performance wise. Let us use this as a good moment to really push for next year and concentrate on the new car in 2007."
Tiago Monteiro (15th): Here we are, we have finished the last race of the season. We took a gamble with the strategy and it wasn't too far from paying out. We had expected the safety car and had it come at the right moment we would have had a better result. The car behaved very well, even under heavy fuel. It was a really intense race for me as I had a lot of track fighting with a number of cars, which meant I was really pushing from the beginning to the end. I enjoyed the race and I want to thank every body here at the team for these great two seasons including Alex Shnaider, Colin Kolles, Michiel Mol and Victor Muller for having faith in me and I look forward to starting testing and announcing something very soon."
Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "The end of the season finally seals a great deal of hard work by the entire staff of Midland F1 Racing and now the Spyker MF1 Team. Throughout the last year everybody at the factory in Silverstone and the wind tunnel in Brackley has worked tirelessly to produce a competitive package. It has been another interesting year but I can feel real optimism as we look towards 2007 and our arrival as the Spyker F1 Team. I would also like to thank Toyota for their commitment to our campaign this season and wish them well for the future."
Dominic Harlow, Chief Race Engineer: "It was good to have two cars at the finish as we had decided to run two different strategies which actually played out very close together. We had hoped for a break of some kind as we would have been able to capitalise on any track incidents. This didn't happen in the end but both drivers did a good job getting the cars to the finish."
Michiel Mol, Director, Spyker Cars: "I think its time to thank the team for all the hard work they have done this year. There have been a lot of changes and I am really looking forward to a good year next year. After a good night's sleep I think our thoughts will turn to 2007 to ensure we make it a good one."
Victor Muller, CEO, Spyker Cars: "First of all, thanks to the team who have performed fantastically. My thoughts immediately turn to next season where we will have a new car and a new engine partner, Ferrari, with whom work has already begun and we have started an intense and fruitful co-operation. A year lies ahead with tremendous potential and opportunities and in which we will see the gradual influence of Mike Gascoyne's entry into our team. I just can't wait to be in Melbourne in March."
Scott Speed (11th): "A decent race, we were a lot more competitive than we thought we were going to be. I was surprised at the pace of the Aguri guys though. I have learnt so much this season with every passing race. Even out there today I was learning something new. I think now it is going to take me a couple of weeks to digest this whole season. I think I will be able to come back stronger next year."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (13th): "After the start, the car felt good, but I was held up by the two Toyotas and the BMWs and that cost me some ground compared to Scott and Kubica. Then I collided with Heidfeld who missed his braking and came down the inside of me. The contact damaged my left front suspension and affected the camber. Then I got caught up with some backmarkers and got slowed by the traffic. I don't think I could have picked up a point but I could have finished a bit higher up the order. This year, the team has made a big step forward and they are working well together. Well done guys! We knew it would be a tough season and we missed out on a few points that should have come our way such as in Australia and Canada."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "Scott drove one of his best races this season, with consistent lap times and he also fought well. After Tonio collided with Heidfeld, we think he damaged something on his front suspension, because his lap times slowed. The team did a good job, with both cars finishing and in reliability terms we are the fifth best team overall this season and have ended up ninth in the Constructors' championship. The team itself has learnt to work together, gathering useful experience over this season and that will be a good starting point for next year."
Takuma Sato (10th): "This is an absolutely fantastic result. Following our performance in Suzuka we couldn't have asked for anything more. This was another great team effort and the mechanics did a fantastic job in the pit stops. I felt comfortable in the car and so I really enjoyed it. At the start of the race I was taking the corners side-by-side with the other cars and we overtook the Red Bull and Spyker cars. After the safety car went in we were really able to push and take it to the two Toro Rosso's, so for the whole time I was racing and I really, really enjoyed it. A big thanks to all the team, it has been a long and hard season, and I'm very happy to finish in 10th position for the last race of the year."
Sakon Yamamoto (16th): "First of all I'd like to thank everybody who has always supported me. I was able to push from the start of the race to the finish. At the end I was pushing as fast as in qualifying and battled with Spyker all the race. I want to thank the whole SAF1 Team for their hard work - the car was fantastic. Finally I was able to enjoy a race from start to finish and it feels great."
Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "I am very happy today as both SAF1 Team cars finished the race and Taku finished in the top 10. This is an amazing and incredible achievement for the team. Both drivers' lap times were also very quick and consistent and the mechanics did a great job during the pit stops. It was a perfect race result to end the season and now we will focus on next year and on coming back in an even stronger position! Congratulations to everybody."