Australian GP - Sunday - Team Quotes
Fernando Alonso (2nd): "What a great way to start the season and my career as a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver. Of course it's always better to win but Kimi was a little bit quicker than us today, however we scored the maximum points that were possible, and I'm really pleased. My start was a bit strange with both BMWs being very quick off the line, and I was so busy defending my line from Heidfeld on the outside that it was not possible for me to stay ahead of him. I was then behind Lewis for a while and was just focusing on keeping up with him and sometimes dropping back to allow the car to cool down. I took second after the second pitstop as I was able to stay out for an additional two laps. Originally it was meant to be one lap but because I was behind Lewis I managed to save enough fuel for one more lap. Both of the Bridgestone Potenza tyre options worked well. We will now continue to work hard to give us the best opportunity to beat Ferrari at the Malaysian Grand Prix."
Lewis Hamilton (3rd): "I'm absolutely ecstatic - today's result is more than I ever dreamed of achieving on my Grand Prix debut. A big thank you to the team who have worked so hard during the winter to make sure I was as prepared as I possible could be. I made a good start but the BMWs were quick off the line and Kubica managed to get past. There was no room on the inside so I got on the left and managed to outbrake both Kubica and Fernando coming into the first corner to take third. The race was intense, and I was working very hard. I made a few mistakes but nothing major and really enjoyed myself. It was great to lead the race for a few laps, but I knew it was only a temporary thing. Fernando got past me at the second pitstop as he was able to stay out a bit longer and I lost some time behind backmarkers. We now have a lot of work ahead of us with the Malaysia test and the rest of the season, but there is no doubt that we can build from what has been achieved today."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Of course as always we came to Australia to win, but a somewhat unexpected strategy adopted by BMW was very disruptive to our race. Following Heidfeld's first pitstop the gap was just too big to realistically close it and the additional range from our strategy was subsequently wasted. Both drivers did an excellent job giving us a narrow lead in the Constructors' Championship. A special thank you to the test team and the workforce back at the McLaren Technology Centre who have worked so hard during the winter and contributed so much to the faultless reliability that we have enjoyed throughout the weekend. The coming Malaysian test should give us every opportunity to further improve the competitiveness of our cars."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "The season started well with Fernando and Lewis scoring 14 points out of 18 possible on their debut race for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. Fernando showed with his performance exactly why he is the double world champion whilst Lewis made a perfect start to his Grand Prix career and proved absolutely worthy of the confidence we have had in him for the past ten years. Although we still have to work hard to further improve our technical package we showed today that throughout the winter we have made improvements. We will now focus on the Malaysia test and are looking forward to the next race. Thanks to everybody in the team in Woking, Brixworth and Stuttgart, all their efforts will pay off."
Giancarlo Fisichella (5th): "The race proved more difficult than we had expected. We knew that we were not on the pace of the leaders, but we had hoped to make up some ground - and now, I think we realise there is a lot of work to do. From a personal point of view, I got the best that I could from the package today, but I was struggling with overall grip from the start. The car was handling well, and we had good reliability - but so did the other teams at the front. Hopefully we can begin catching up from the next race."
Heikki Kovalainen (10th): "This may have been my Grand Prix debut, but to be honest, there is very little to remember from it - and lots to forget. I didn't have a great race: there were too many mistakes, and my performance just wasn't controlled enough. I had hoped to be able to move up through the field and gain positions. Straight away from the start, though, I was struggling even to hold on to other cars. My feeling right now is that the next race cannot get a lot worse. But I will stay positive, work hard and try to make sure I have a better weekend in Malaysia. I will be driving all three days of the Sepang test in ten days' time, which will help me learn the circuit and give me a good starting point for the race weekend. Then, my objective will be to improve in every area for my second Grand Prix."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Today's race reflected the trends we have seen in winter testing but, contrary to our expectations, somewhat magnified them too. As a team, we clearly have some work ahead of us before we can challenge at the front. Giancarlo's race was well-structured and he resisted well against intense pressure from Massa at the end. Heikki spent most of his race in traffic, but he pushed hard all the way. A couple of mistakes cost him positions, and he found the car particularly difficult to drive on the last set of tyres. We now have a much clearer idea of the car's performance, and three days of testing ahead of us in Malaysia before the next Grand Prix. Our focus must be on improving our performance so we can take the fight to the current pace-setters."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "This afternoon showed us that we have a lot of work to do to be competitive again. It wasn't a strong race for the team in any department. Giancarlo drove hard to defend his position at the end, and did a good job, while Heikki had a very tough start to his career. But we were expecting more at every level, and we need to work hard to find the performance."
Kimi Raikkonen (1st): "A fantastic victory! It is great to be winning again with my new team whom I want to thank for giving me a great car. The race was not as easy as it might have looked from the outside, partly because shortly after the start, the radio failed so it was almost impossible to talk to the pit wall. Fortunately we had prepared well for the race and I knew what I had to do, but there were a few difficult moments. I was not flat out all the time, adapting my pace to the way the race was going. It was nice to hear my national anthem again on the podium as it had been a while. I have to say that last year it seemed to be the Italian one I was hearing usually. This is a great way to start the championship. We know we have a very competitive package but we still have to work to make it even better and above all, reliable."
Felipe Massa (6th): "After what happened in qualifying yesterday it would have been difficult to do any better than this sixth place. I was able to run at a good pace even with a full fuel load facing a race that would be one long climb through the field. The F2007 was very competitive and so I am optimistic about the next few races. But I cannot forget the disappointment for the failure in qualifying, which meant I had to start from the back of the grid. If not for that, I would definitely have been fighting for the win. But I am happy with the overall result in terms of what it means for the team and I am happy for Kimi who won on his debut with Ferrari."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "That was an exciting Grand Prix! We started with our drivers at opposite ends of the grid, with Kimi on pole and Felipe in last place because of an electrical problem in the gearbox management that had hampered his qualifying yesterday. Both of them put on a great performance. Kimi maintained his first place after the start and then did a very good job of managing the race, while Felipe staged a great climb through the field to take him up to sixth place. A new chapter in Ferrari's history has got off to a very good start. The chassis-engine package proved to be competitive, the team worked with dedicated professionalism and the drivers were impeccable. This all means that we can look forward to the rest of the championship with prudent optimism, even if we have seen there is some very strong and well prepared opposition and some very talented young drivers. We have not yet reached the desired level of reliability and we have to do a lot of work on this as well as on improving our performance. I was very happy to get two telephone calls, the first from Michael as I was going up to the podium, which I handed to Kimi and the other from Luca di Montezemolo who was jumping for joy as if this was our first win in a decade. And indeed that is the feeling for us all!"
Luca Baldisserri: "This is a very important result for the whole team, as it is the result of the hard work from everyone in the Gestione Sportiva throughout the winter. We took on a significant reorganisation and seeing its efforts rewarded like this is further motivation for pushing on even further. We picked up thirteen points thanks to extraordinary performances from our two drivers. Starting from pole, Kimi was able to control the race right from the start, while Felipe, hampered by yesterday's gearbox failure in qualifying, started last and put on a really impressive climb up the order to finish sixth. The F2007s were competitive and the only problem was a radio malfunction on Kimi's car, which happened soon after the start. Now we must carry on working to improve still further our competitiveness and to get the overall reliability that is still eluding us."
Rubens Barrichello (11th): "I feel like we had a competitive race today, even though I finished outside of the points. The tyres were working well and our strategy also worked to our advantage. I was losing time behind Jenson in the first part of the race but that's the way racing goes. We have no team orders so I had to find my way past and go on from there. Apart from that, I thought we could quite possibly have scored points here. I think we got the best from the car today so we have shown that there is a lot of work to do to improve. At least we know where our problem is and we have some ideas on how to fix them. I'm sure we can make some progress before Malaysia."
Jenson Button (15th): "Not a very good day or result unfortunately. I was running heavy with fuel in the first stint and had to pit early because the car had a massive amount of understeer. At my first stop I requested front wing but because of a radio problem the team was unable to respond. When I pitted again, we had to put a lot of wing on but it didn't make any difference. So the problem may be in the front end aerodynamics. If that proves to be the case, then it is something we can certainly address straight away. Then of course I had the drive-through penalty which just compounded things. Going forward, once we know where our problems lie and what we need to do to fix them, we have three weeks and a test in between to start addressing them. Hopefully we will be able to demonstrate some improvement as early as the next race in Malaysia."
Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director: "On a positive note, both cars ran reliably today. Rubens drove a strong race from 17th on the grid to 11th place, less than nine seconds outside of the points. Jenson's car balance was not good at any stage of the race, which we believe to be a front end aero problem. On top of that, a drive-through penalty made him lose several places. We now have to improve our race pace as we target points-scoring positions. We have three weeks between the races and we will do everything we can to give our drivers a more competitive car at the next round."
Nick Heidfeld (4th): "I had a very good start, which was an even better one than Kimi and managed to pass Fernando. Of course I hoped to stay in front of him, but realistically I knew the McLarens were quicker than us. Thinking about how happy we are, you should not forget where we came from as we started last season eighth in the constructors' championship. Our pace is really good and fourth is a super start to the season. I feel very sorry for the team with Robert's retirement, as he was also very strong. My tyre strategy to take the softer ones first was riskier. I knew after the first stop there was the danger of getting stuck in traffic, and this is what happened, but I took the risk anyway. The race was a lot of fun, but in the final laps I was a bit lonely. Mechanically my car was perfect."
Robert Kubica (DNF, Gearbox): "My pace was good but unfortunately we had a gearbox problem. I was stuck in fifth gear and that was the end of my race. The only good thing is we know what the problem is and we now have to resolve it. In the race I was much heavier than Nick and was able to match his speed. My strategy was to attack towards the end of the race. My last stint was going to be very short, so I would have had an even better performance then, but unfortunately I didn't get that far."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "Nick drove a good race and his fourth has earned us five points in the season curtain raiser. He was on soft tyres for the first stint and we didn't think they would last very long. In hindsight, we could have done a longer first stint. Robert was strong and showing the same pace as Nick when his gearbox stuck in fifth on lap 36. Now we have to focus on getting our reliability sorted out. The most important lesson today is we have been able to match our testing performance. We have clearly been the third fastest team, and that is a good baseline for the next races."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "Nick's fourth place is a very good result and reflects our qualifying performance, as we were the third quickest team in that. We ran our cars on different strategies as the new tyre regulation stipulates you have to use both compounds in the race. Another reason was the new Safety Car rule which says the pit lane will be closed until the cars are in their proper order on the track. You have to make sure you don't go into such a period with the cars on the same pit stop strategy. Nick was on the softer compound for the start and Robert would have used it at the end, which obviously didn't happen. Both our drivers were quick and strong."
Ralf Schumacher (8th): "We had expected to be in the top ten but to bring two cars home is a good result in the first race. The conditions were good for the race but the car was a little difficult so it was hard work at times. Towards the end of the race we had a problem with pneumatic pressure but we made it to the finish and it's good to come away with a point. We became faster towards the end and the strategy worked well, we just need to work on the speed now. We have some performance to catch up so we have to develop our car to get closer. I remain confident because the chance is there to improve. It will just be a matter of concentrating on each area and working hard."
Jarno Trulli (9th): "That was a difficult afternoon for me and it was a pity that I just missed out on the points. The car made a poor start and I lost two places into the first corner. I made a good move to gain one back on the first lap but then I was held up behind Ralf for the first stint. I lost more time when Fisichella pulled out of the pits in front of me. I couldn't get past him and because he was heavy on fuel I lost ground. From then on I was unable to make much more impact. The balance of the car was not too bad but there was no way to gain places. Later I had trouble with my brakes so my pace dropped further. Still, we made the finish and after our hard winter of testing it has been a reasonable weekend."
Tsutomu Tomita, Team Principal: "After the first race of this season we have a valuable one point from Ralf so that is a good start. The starting grid positions were not bad but the race pace of both cars was not quick enough compared to the front-runners. So we are definitely too far away compared to where we want to be and we have some work to do. Jarno had an oil spillage as he left for the parade lap but that was not a major issue. Later on Ralf had a pneumatic consumption problem and it was marginal to reach the finish. Jarno also had trouble with his brakes but in the end it was successful because they both finished the race. After our trouble with reliability during winter testing that is gratifying. The tyres were good but there was some degradation during the final stint on soft tyres. Nevertheless, in good track conditions and good weather, we were not competitive enough so we have to keep working hard to develop our cars."
Mark Webber (13th): "It was tough race today, the first pit stop didn't go very well and when I went back out, I was having trouble maintaining my speed going into the corners. I wasn't able to get the pace back that I'd had in the first stint, which was very frustrating. Nothing really went right today, but that's the game we're in, some days give you a good feeling and the next day it isn't so easy."
David Coulthard (DNF, Accident): "I tried to have a go down the inside of Alex Wurz's car at Turn three, but I was too far back and screwed it up. I went for the pass, but it was over optimistic on my part. The collision was my fault, not Alex's, so apologies to him for that."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "It's a shame for Mark not to score points as he was driving well. Unfortunately, his car had a fuel flap problem, which cost him a lot of time at his first stop and then it stuck open, which affected his car's aerodynamic performance. It's a shame, as he deserved a couple of points out of the weekend. David was always looking to make up ground from a low grid position. He was making good progress and his lap times looked respectable, but an optimistic move on Wurz unfortunately resulted in his retirement."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "I think that we concluded our first Grand Prix weekend on a positive note. We looked quite competitive, especially in the first stint. In spite of the incident with David, we were pleased to see Mark's car make it to the finish. The chassis and engine teams have worked very hard during the past few weeks and I truly believe this is a promising start. We now look forward to Malaysia where we hope to continue our progress."
Nico Rosberg (7th): "I wasn't perhaps expecting today would turn out so well, but I started last year's first race from 12th place and finished 7th, so I thought I could maybe do it again given my qualifying position. I have taken the best out of our car today and I was particularly happy that overtaking Ralf (Schumacher) was successful - I was taking a chance of course, but you've got to try it and it was good for the team. The new regulation requiring us to use both tyre types mixed it up a bit and although I did suffer some graining late in the race, it didn't matter because I didn't have anyone close in front or behind me. At the next test in Malaysia we have to improve to keep progressing."
Alexander Wurz (DNF, Damage): "After his second stop, I was aware that David (Coulthard) was close behind me on the track. Suddenly I felt an impact and the next thing I knew, I was his landing pad as the impact had sent him airborne over my car. It looked pretty spectacular, but I'm fine. It's a shame my race ended the way it did, as soon as we got back to the paddock David came to apologise to me and he was a gentleman about the incident. Unfortunately though this doesn't help AT&T Williams nor me, but that's just how it goes sometimes. Nico proved today that our race pace is good - I wasn't able to show our speed so much, just because of the constant traffic I was among, but let's look forward to a better race in Malaysia."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "We had a much better race than our qualifying performance yesterday, which is something we will look at for upcoming Grands Prix. Nico had a great race, did everything right and although he didn't have many laps with a clear track, the ones he did he used properly. It's a shame that Alex was taken out by Coulthard, but he is okay. It's great to get our relationship with Toyota off to a good start by scoring points in the first race."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (14th): "A big thank you to everyone in the team who worked so hard so that I could see the chequered flag here today. As we have been struggling all weekend, this has been a tough race for us. It was important for us to finish to get more kilometers under our belt, as we did very little testing this winter. Fourteenth place is not the result we were looking for, but it was a positive day for us as we have got plenty of data from it to build on for the future."
Scott Speed (DNF, Tyre): "By the end of the first stint I was pretty much at the pace of the guys right in front of me, but I was struggling to keep the wheels on the track. Then, after the first pit stop the situation got worse and I had a bit of understeer, because evidently, we had a slow air leak in both front wheels."
Gerhard Berger, Team Principal: "In one respect I am quite happy, because we got one car through to the finish, even though we did very little pre-season testing, while the other car had a puncture, the cause of which we will have to investigate. With our late start, to get it all together for the race is a big compliment to the team. Tonio drove a good consistent race with no mistakes. We knew we did not have the right set-up to get the most out of the car. We did the most we could with what we had, the cars ran reliably and consistently and we will get a better understanding of the car at the next test and then we can improve it."
Adrian Sutil (17th): "I got a good start and made up a few places, but I had the coming together with Davidson and dropped back. When I did get some free space I found I could push the car and was running similar times to the group in front, but I was disappointed to have the two drivethrough penalties in the mid point of the race. I guess it's down to experience and I can only get better."
Christijan Albers (DNF, Accident): "I started the race in the spare car as I wasn't happy with the balance of my race car after Qualifying. I had a good start and put in some fast times in the first ten laps, but unfortunately I made a mistake and went off the road. It's a shame for the team but we can only improve on this performance in Malaysia."
Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "We can be quite positive about the weekend. Adrian and Christijan did a good job with the times they set in the race and showed that we are closer to the others in race trim than we are in Qualifying. We know we have to work on ultimate Qualifying pace, but we can improve in Malaysia."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "Our target for the race was to get two cars to the finish and obviously we didn't make that. Christijan was pretty competitive during his opening stint but unfortunately he made a mistake that ended his race. Adrian too set some competitive lap times however made a couple of errors that earned him drivethrough penalties, which dropped him back into traffic and then the gap was too much to make up. Fortunately you only do your first race once and now he's got all his rookie mistakes out of the way. Now we look forward to Malaysia, where we'll be making some significant aero updates and hope we can be much more competitive."
Takuma Sato (12th): "Firstly, well done to everybody in the team. It is a positive start to the season, with two reliable cars finishing the race. I had quite an exciting start and first lap amongst the pack, which I enjoyed. But with the differing track conditions, I was struggling a bit with the balance of the car which meant that we could not make the most of it. But I take this as a positive learning experience and something that we shall have to work on from here. During my second stop we lost some time and that affected our finishing position. That was unfortunate, but I think we've shown good performance and made a very solid start, so I am looking forward to having another good race in Malaysia."
Anthony Davidson (16th): "The car went into anti-stall at the start, which is such a shame as I didn't go anywhere, so obviously I was then in last place as we went into turn one. I collected myself and thought that maybe I'd get some early positions back. I went round the outside of one of the Spyker's and they hit me quite heavily, even though I thought I'd given them enough room. The car got pitched into the air and landed very heavily and I hurt my upper back. The jolt also winded me a lot making talking on the radio difficult. I think that we've got to work on our pace for the next race, so we need to do some more long runs and understand what happens to the balance during the test in Sepang. My car suffered a lot of damage, the whole right side of the bodywork was gone, the floor's broken, and I must have lost a major amount of downforce and that obviously slows you down a lot. It was a fight, but I got to the end of the race and saw my first Grand Prix chequered flag."
Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "I want to say thank you very much to everybody because this winter has been extremely busy for the team with testing and all of our staff, mechanics and the drivers have done a good job. We were very good in Qualifying yesterday, but during the race we were a little unlucky. Anthony did not start well because of the anti-stall and Taku, who did a good job in the race, was unlucky in his pitstops. His first stop was slow and there was traffic in the pitlane during his second stop which meant that he could not leave the box in good time. On the positive side, our two cars finished the race today and so I think that it is a good start to the season."