Brazilian GP - Sunday - Team Quotes
Fernando Alonso (3rd): "The result today is of course disappointing but we already knew that it would be difficult starting from fourth to win the race and the Championship today. I predicted at the start of the season that it was going to be very close and that it would come down to the race here in Brazil, I just hoped that it would have been in my favour, but that is not the case and I just have to accept that for this year. It was a difficult race for me. During the first laps, I thought I was able to match the Ferraris' speed; however, when they began pushing they were just too fast. Our car was fast and competitive throughout the year and I won four races. I am still satisfied with this season"
Lewis Hamilton (7th): "Obviously I am pretty disappointed with the result today, having lead for so much of the season and then not to win the Championship. However I have to put the result into perspective, this is only my first year in Formula 1 and overall it has just been phenomenal. I am still very young and have plenty more years in me to achieve my dream of becoming World Champion. I have to thank absolutely everyone in the team for everything they have done for me this year, without them and all their hard work I wouldn't have even been in this position today."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Having fought a close and thrilling battle in the Drivers' Championship all year and then not to win it at the final hurdle is obviously extremely disappointing. However, we as a team can only feel very proud of all our achievements this season and the way in which we have conducted ourselves. To come into this championship showdown with two drivers both with a chance of winning is a testament to all the hard work and dedication everybody in the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team has put in throughout this difficult year. We would like to congratulate Kimi on his achievement today."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Not the result today we wanted to achieve with both Lewis and Fernando having been so close to winning the World Championship. But even two times 109 points is not making up for 110. It hurts very much if you are missing just two points to win a Championship. However, I want to thank the entire team for their hard work during this season. It is sad for everybody in the team that we couldn't capitalise on our second chance following China. Congratulations to Kimi and Ferrari on winning the World Championship."
Heikki Kovalainen (DNF, Accident): "We were planning to run a very short first stint, and with the car light on fuel, I made a good start. I went right on the way to turn 1, hoping it would then give me the inside line through the next corner, and was running alongside Ralf Schumacher. I think Fisico got hit because his car suddenly moved over, setting off a chain reaction and Ralf hit my car. At first, I thought the front left suspension was broken, but as I drove back to the pits I thought it was maybe just a puncture. That proved to be the case, so we fuelled the car longer and went back out. Unfortunately, the time I had lost put me right in a group of cars lapping me, so I drove with blue flags all the time for the first stint: I was quicker than the guys in front, but because they were a lap ahead, I had to let them all past! Eventually, I got out of the traffic, and was just looking to bring the car home to the finish. But then, going through turn 2 I felt a vibration at the left rear, and as I lifted off, the back end snapped and put me in the wall. It's a real shame to retire like this and not manage to finish all the races, but that's the way it goes. All I want to do now is move on to the next challenge: firstly the New York Marathon in November, and then focusing on next year. If I want to become world champion, which is my aim, I need to be even better prepared mentally and physically than I was this year. I want to start working towards that goal as soon as I possibly can."
Giancarlo Fisichella (DNF, Accident): "This has been a difficult season for the whole team, but I had hoped that the last race would last for a bit longer than two laps. I got hit in the rear at the start, which damaged the car. Then, on lap 2, I went off fighting with a Williams on the way into turn 1. The car was very hard to control or slow down on the grass, with very low grip, and that meant that when I came back onto the track, I was involved in a collision with another car. It was just a racing incident, and I am sorry that it ended both of our races. It is a shame to leave the final race empty-handed, after a year when we had to fight so hard. But thank you to all the guys: no matter how hard it got, they never stopped working, and they deserved more from the end of the year."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Giancarlo's race was very short: when you have two accidents in two laps, it's probably a sign that it's not going to be your day. As for Heikki, after his problem in qualifying we decided to do things a little differently as there were no points to be had from a conventional approach. We intended to run a very short stint on the supersoft tyre, and it turned out to be even shorter than expected, as he was forced to pit with a puncture on lap 1. He continued to race hard, even when a lap down, but ultimately he crashed at turn 3. We need to find out why, but it appears to have been the result of a car problem. We set our standards high at Renault and while our championship position is nothing to be ashamed of, it doesn't meet the goals we set ourselves. It only makes us more determined than ever to come out fighting in 2008."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "We have had a difficult season, and it finished with a hard race. The team expected a tough end to the year because we have been working towards 2008 for a long time already, and when you start in the midfield, the kind of incidents we saw today can happen. In spite of this, though, we were prepared to take some risks today and perhaps they could have paid off. The most important thing after a year full of challenges is that we demonstrated our character and determination. The support from Renault, from ING and our other partners never wavered, and we thank them for their commitment. Our next challenge is to show that we can come back stronger next year, and regain our place at the front of the field. I am confident we can deliver."
Kimi Raikkonen (1st): "It is very difficult for me to explain in words what I am feeling at the moment: it is an incredible emotion. I want to thank the team for everything they have done this year. Even when we went through some difficult times and it looked as though there was no way to fight back, we never gave up and this work produced its reward today. Thanks also to my parents, to my wife Jenni and everyone who believed in me. I have achieved what I have been after for a long time. Now everything else will be an extra. Today, Felipe's help was vital and he was amazing. We had to get a one-two and then see what the others did. This time, things went our way and the unexpected did happen. This has been a very nice year for me during which I have enjoyed Formula 1 like never before. In Ferrari, I have found a great family and I am proud to have won the title with them."
Felipe Massa (2nd): "Today is a great day for the team and for Kimi, who has won the Drivers' title. Of course I would have liked to have won my home race again this year, but I am happy to have helped my team-mate, who was the only one of us still in with a chance of taking the title. I am proud to have done it for Ferrari who believed in me even when I was not in Formula 1. It is thanks to the people in Maranello that I am here and it is with them that I have grown as a driver and as a man. After everything that has happened this year, both on and off the track, today it is great to be able to celebrate two world titles. Today I had a fantastic car and I could have gone even quicker on track than I did. I also want to thank all our partners for all their support."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "A dream that it seemed would be impossible to come true was transformed into reality at the end of a race which the drivers and the team managed superbly, which is self evident from looking at the details of the race. We had to get a one-two and then see what our main competitors could do. We needed a "helping hand" from others, both those in the running for the title as well as those out of the running to bring home both titles. And yes, because not only have we taken the Drivers' title with Kimi, but we also numerically confirmed the Constructors' title that we acquired after the decision of the FIA World Council back on 13 September. Two titles, nine wins, four one-two finishes, nine pole positions, twelve fastest race laps: these are exceptional figures in a season which included some difficult moments, but in which we never gave up the fight. Today was our reward for all this work. I wish to congratulate Kimi and thank Felipe, who again today demonstrated his loyalty to Ferrari: without his help, we would have not reached this result."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "We needed a perfect race and we produced one. However, even that on its own would not have been enough and we needed a little help from the others. Our two drivers were fantastic and the car was up to their level. This result is a dream and we were so keen to win it on the race track. It confirms we are a fantastic group."
Rubens Barrichello (DNF, Engine): "A disappointing end to a very hard season for us. Our position wasn't looking too bad before I came in to make my second stop but unfortunately there was an engine problem and that ended my race early. I would like to say thank you to the whole team for the effort they have put in this year. It was been a very difficult experience but the team has done a lot of growing together and we will work very hard over the winter to improve our situation for next year."
Jenson Button (DNF, Engine): "Not a great end to the season for us. We had a problem with the engine overheating in the very high temperatures. We have to look forward now, put the experience of this year behind us and focus on 2008. I would like to thank the whole team for the commitment that they have shown this year. It hasn't been easy for anyone but we have stuck together as a team and worked so hard to take something from every race. I would also like to say a special thank you to my physio Phil Young who has been with me at every race for seven years and is now moving to a new life in Australia."
Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director: "First of all congratulations to the new World Champion! Unfortunately our race was less successful. With our race strategy both drivers might have been in points contention today. Despite the fact that the car balance was a little too much on the understeer side, the lap times were competitive for both Rubens and Jenson. Unfortunately both retired early in the race with engine failure before we were able to capitalise on the strategy."
Robert Kubica (5th): "The race started pretty well, especially after my problem in qualifying. I had to push right from the start because of my three stop strategy. Everything was going all right until I got the call to reduce the rpm of the engine because the temperatures were too high. Then when I was behind Nico Rosberg I was losing a lot of time each lap. In the last ten laps I was having lots of problems with the tyres and I was just trying to keep the car on the track. In the end if was a good season for the team."
Nick Heidfeld (6th): "We have cracked the hundred points' milestone, and it was a fantastic season. At the start Robert passed me, as he had the advantage of a lighter car and the clean line on the grid. During the race graining was an issue with the front tyres as well as the rear tyres, and this resulted in a couple of mistakes, but this must have been the case for everybody. But still in the final stint I was fourth until Nico Rosberg outbraked me. The manoeuvre was hard and on the limit, but if I had not opened the door we would have crashed. We both went on the dirt a little bit and Robert squeezed through. At the very end I was faster than him again but couldn't go by. I find it unbelievable that Kimi Raikkonen has won the World Championship."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "First of all congratulations to Kimi Raikkonen who won the world championship title in a real thriller today. For our team it was a great finish to a very good season. With positions five and six we reached the 100 point mark in the final race and scored almost three times as many points as in the previous season. I would like to thank the drivers and the whole team - not only here at the track, but especially in Munich and Hinwil. With this we have created a good basis for the coming season."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "For us it was a very good ending to the season which gave us 101 points in only our second season with the BMW Sauber F1 Team. We went into the race with two different strategies - Robert with an aggressive three stopper, Nick with two stops. Both paid off well. Compliments to the whole team for the great job everybody has done during the season. Congratulations to Kimi Raikkonen who was crowned champion in a very dramatic race."
Jarno Trulli (8th): "I am happy because we finished the season with our first finish in the points for a long time. I have been trying hard for many races without luck and finally today things went more smoothly. We all had a battle with the tyres today. We took the gamble to go for a three-stop strategy and in the end 8th position was quite a good result. It is also good for the motivation of the team as we head into the winter. I would like to thank everyone because it has been a hard season but we never gave up. That is the most important thing because we have to look ahead to the future, to improve the car and the performance. I believe we have the potential and next year I think we can bounce back up the grid. This was my last race with Ralf as a team-mate. We've had a fair and competitive battle over three years and we've worked together to develop the team. Now I wish him all the best for the future."
Ralf Schumacher (11th): "It was a very hot day today but that wasn't a problem and the car was good to drive. In the beginning it was a bit tough but after that it was fine. At the start of the race I was in a Toro Rosso sandwich and I lost a bit of ground. But it was a relatively good race from there. It is my last race for Toyota and for sure it is a pity to be leaving after three years. This has been a difficult season in terms of results but we tried our best and it simply didn't work out. The team has worked really hard and we have made a lot of changes to the car during the year. It has been a pleasure to work with the whole team, both at the factory and at the races and tests. I have enjoyed my time here and I am looking forward to seeing some of the guys for a drink in the future."
Tadashi Yamashina, Team Principal: "We scored a point at the last race so we are very happy with that. Jarno did a good job and this type of race is what we have been aiming for. It is important to keep the grid position on the first lap. If we can do that, then we can do this kind of race. Unfortunately Ralf did not have such a good first lap but he too did his best and he could have made the top ten. He lost some aero parts at the first corner and he had a problem with a damaged wheelnut at his first pit stop which cost him a position. I would like to say thank you very much to Ralf for the last three years. His contribution to the team has been huge and I wish him all the best for the future. This was also the last race weekend for third driver Franck Montagny but he will continue to test for us for the rest of 2007. Of course we will use this return to the points as a springboard and we will do our best to develop the best possible car for next season."
David Coulthard (9th): "I thought we might get into the points today, but unfortunately I didn't have enough pace relative to the cars in front. I came together with Nakijama towards the end of the race, which knocked my front suspension out and the car was moving strangely around left-handers for the last ten laps. We just weren't quick enough today.
"I would like to thank every member of the team, both race and test and everyone based at the factory, for all their efforts this year. As difficult as this season was, it's only going to get more difficult as we move forwards - but I'm up for the challenge and I'm sure they are too."
Mark Webber (DNF, Transmission): "I had a good start and our pace was not too bad - I hoped to get some good points, but then something failed on the car. It's pretty unbelievable really. The guys saw a disconnect between the engine and the gearbox, which is another new issue by the looks of it, but it's early days and we need to investigate it further to see exactly what happened. We were on for some good points, so it's a real shame."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "It was a promising start from Mark and obviously it's disappointing for him to retire reasonably early in the race with a transmission failure. With David, we struggled a little with some graining on his tyres. We rolled the dice and adjusted his strategy when it was obvious that he couldn't pass the cars ahead, and decided to fuel him to the finish. He then had a knock with Nakijama, which cost him a considerable amount of time. It's frustrating to have started in such strong grid positions, but to come away ultimately with nothing.
"I think the whole team's worked incredibly hard this year and we've seen some very positive signs in the car's performance over the last quarter of the season. However, the transmission train has let us down too many times this year, so we need to go away, do our homework over the winter, build on the momentum from the last few races and make sure that we carry that in to 2008."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "Mark had a strong start, which was quite promising for the rest of the race, but he finally had to retire owing to a transmission problem. David, on the other hand, kept his position throughout the race. Williams were stronger this weekend and I'd like to congratulate them. We are disappointed of course, but it was a great and promising season with our partner Red Bull Racing and we are now looking forward to the next one!"
Nico Rosberg (4th): "I am very happy! This is a super result for the team, and for me, because fourth is my best result in F1 so far. Thanks to my engineers who improved the car a lot throughout the weekend, their efforts definitely helped me out in qualifying and then in the race. My strategy was very much on the limit; a heavy fuel load on the second stint was really tough on the tyres and I was struggling a bit, but I could make up the pace with my last set which were good. The pressure was on today because everything was on the line, the Constructors' position for the team and my position in the Drivers' so I am very pleased with the outcome. The best thing is that this race was my personal best result which means I can go into the winter happy - that's going to be fun!"
Kazuki Nakajima (10th): "First of all I would say I'm really sorry that some of my mechanics were injured during my pitstop and that I hope they're ok. It was a good first race for me but it was slightly overshadowed. My start itself was as good as the others around me, but I lost some positions because of the collision in front of me going into the first corner. I was then held up by Sato for quite some time before I could overtake him. Car balance was almost perfect, especially in the third stint on the option tyres. I really enjoyed the race and I did well physically. I would like to thank the team for giving me this great opportunity."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "Obviously our first concern is with our mechanics who were injured during Kazuki's pitstop, they are undergoing medical checks at the moment. Today's race brought a very good end to the season and we've claimed fourth place in the Constructors' Championship. The team have done a fantastic job. Nico drove a first class race to get fourth place, and to take us to fourth place in the Championship. Kazuki also drove well today. His lap times were strong and he overtook a number of cars. I would like to say thank you to everyone at Grove and at Cologne for all the hard work they've put in, their efforts have delivered a big step in performance and reliability since last year. Our focus now is to improve again for next year."
Patrick Head, Director of Engineering: "Congratulations to Kimi Raikkonen who drove a great race to secure the Drivers' Championship. For us, it was a strong end to the year. Nico had a fantastic race and Kazuki drove well on his debut. His lap times were impressive and he's set a marker for a future in Formula One. Some of our mechanics were injured today, they're having some checks done now and we send our best wishes to them. On behalf of myself and Frank, I'd like to thank the team who have done a great job this year to put us in fourth place in the Constructors' Championship."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (13th): "The first corner here is always difficult. I saw Giancarlo lock up the wheels and go straight and I expected him to miss the corner, so I went down the inside but he came back and clipped my nose and that ruined my race, as I had to pit. Then, for the first stint I was struggling as I think front wing debris went under the car and it was really undrivable. In the last two stints I was quite strong, but coming back from last, the race was over for me. A shame, as I was in a positive frame of mind about this race before the start. Now, I am looking forward to my future and I hope to know where that future is quite soon."
Sebastian Vettel (DNF, Hydraulics): "I had to retire with a hydraulic problem on the car. First I lost the gear shift and then the power steering. Up to that point I think I was very competitive and the last few races have shown we are getting better, also in the dry here. So that is positive, even if retiring from the final race is disappointing. I loved the fantastic atmosphere here with this incredible crowd."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "In the early stages, Sebastian was running at a good pace. Unfortunately, Tonio had a collision with FIsichella and lost the front wing. Later on he too ran a good race. The second half of this season, especially Fuji and Shanghai showed an improvement in performance. We have finished seventh in the Constructors' and this is what counts. From tomorrow, we start preparing for the 2008 season. I also want to thank Tonio after his last race for us. Especially in the last few races, he produced a very good performance and everyone at Toro Rosso wishes him all the best for the future. I would also like to congratulate our engine supplier, Ferrari, for today's Championship win."
Adrian Sutil (DNF, Damage): "At the beginning the race was good, I could put some pressure on other cars but then there was the accident just after my first pit stop. I tried to brake for the first corner, but suddenly there was no deceleration and I crashed into Davidson. I could carry on as the car was OK, but then I started to lose brake pressure and I even had to pump the brakes on the straight. We couldn't fix it, so ultimately we decided to retire the car. It was a bad way to finish the season, but we have to look forward now."
Sakon Yamamoto (DNF, Accident): "It is a very bad result for me as the set-up and strategy looked good so I really expected to have a better race, but unfortunately at the start of lap two, Fisichella went off and just came back onto the circuit. He just came back onto the racing line. It's a strange situation as normally when you go back on you avoid going onto the racing line, but he didn't so I couldn't do anything other than crash into him. It's a really bad situation as I wanted to have a good race but it was over so quickly. But thanks to everyone who has supported me this year, I appreciate all their support and particularly all the team members. I am now going to look forward to testing and I will try to give it my best."
Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "I would like to say thank you to all the team, our partners and suppliers for supporting us through what has been a very hard season. It is a shame that we could not give everyone a better result to end the season on, but I am certain there is more to come from us next year."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "A disappointing end to the year. We wanted to get two cars to the finish, but perhaps that sums up our season quite well. Both cars suffered damage from accidents - Sakon's race was really over before it started when Fisichella came back onto the track and there was nothing he could do to avoid a collision. In attempting to pass Davidson Adrian had some contact which heavily damaged his sidepod and he started to have problems with his brakes. We tried to get the car to the finish but unfortunately the problem just got worse and we had to retire the car in the end. A disappointing conclusion to what's been a difficult year, but I would like to say thank you very much to all our partners, particularly Ferrari - Rui de Castro and his team have been incredibly hardworking, professional and supportive, and also to Bridgestone. Most importantly thanks to everyone in the team, back at the factory and at the track, who in difficult circumstances have done a fantastic job. I am very proud of them and with our new owners I think we can look forward to doing something much, much better next year."
Takuma Sato (12th): "It was a tough, but exciting race. I did not get a great start off the line, but into turns one, two and three I was side by side and overtaking lots of people, in fact the whole lap was full of exciting moments and I really enjoyed it. I then started to struggle with the balance and pace, but I think that we had done everything we could and it was a tough race for the team. It has been a fantastic season and we have achieved so many things. Our result has been a great achievement. I would like to thank the whole team, the factory back in Leafield and our colleagues at Honda, our sponsors and fans for all of their hard work and support."
Anthony Davidson (14th): "It was a fun last race. The car didn't quite have the pace to match our stronger competitors in the mid-field, but we had reliability on our side again. The team did a fantastic job in all the pitstops and considering I got taken out by Sutil early on in the race I thought that my pace was really good towards the end on the prime tyre and I really enjoyed it. It was a good race to end the year on and I would like to thank everyone in the team, back at home in Leafield and in Japan, for their hard work this year."
Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: "The team has done an excellent job here in Brazil this weekend. Our target for the year was to end in a top ten position and with a Championship point and we have achieved this, so I am very happy. I want to thank everyone in the team, our Drivers, sponsors and all of our supporters and fans."