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Belgian Grand Prix
What the teams and drivers said - Sunday
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What the teams and drivers said - Sunday
Jean Todt: "I am happy with this win, which coming after victory in the two championships shows that our will to win is as strong as ever. A further cause for personal satisfaction is that this is the fortieth win for Ferrari since I joined the team. Briefly, the grand prix lost its importance as all thoughts were focussed on Luciano Burti and thankfully he emerged from the accident without any serious injuries. Once we knew this, we got down to work again. Michael produced a perfect race, but it was more difficult for Rubens, who nevertheless put on a good show, managing to pick up two points, even after he had to change the front wing. This win is Michael's 52nd, which is a new record. It is a great present to celebrate his ten years in Formula 1. The entire team did a great job. The cars worked well and proved reliable on a tough track like this. The Bridgestone tyres also worked very well. Another cause for celebration is the fact this is the two hundredth Formula 1 victory for our partner Shell."
Ross Brawn: "A great race. Of course it was a difficult afternoon because of the re-start. We were reassured that Burti was not in a serious condition and then we just concentrated on our race. The car was good. We got Rubens out ahead of Hakkinen, but unfortunately Hakkinen got a run at him through Eau Rouge and managed to get past. That made his race very difficult. He clipped the cone and took the front wing. After that, it was a case of recuperating. I guess fifth place was not too bad given the problems he had. The tyres worked well."
Michael Schumacher: "Certainly the problems Williams had at the starts helped us, because I am not sure I would have beaten my brother off the grid. But we did not have to find out. I must say, I don't know where Giancarlo came from. He must have had an amazing start. Then, because he was slower than me, I was able to build up a very big lead, have a clear race and I am delighted with the result. I pushed flat out until the second pit stop, because I was planning to build up enough of a lead to make an extra stop if we needed to. I made one mistake at Turn 15 when I lost concentration. I was playing with too many buttons on the steering wheel. I ran wide and almost hit the barrier. Spa is one of the circuits which drivers value highly, so it is always special to win here. I have a lot of good memories over the ten years of racing here. Now we go to Monza, where we will have reason to celebrate at home, whatever the result. But we want to do well there, which I think might be more difficult as the opposition will have a strong package for that type of track. As for Burti's condition, we were informed before the re-start that he was conscious and not badly hurt.”
Rubens Barrichello: "I am not exactly feeling great right now and it has nothing to do with the race, as I am referring to what happened to my friend Luciano. I was not sure what condition he was in, but I still concentrated on the race. I did not make the best of starts the second time and Fisichella managed to pass me. That compromised my performance as he was also quicker than me in a straight line. Then, at my first stop, I lost two places. While fighting with Hakkinen, I hit the bollards at the Bus Stop and broke the front wing and so lost even more time at the second stop when it was changed. I also had a hard time with Alesi who was very quick on the straights. Luckily, at the end I was able to pick up two important points for the championship. Today, the balance of my car was not perfect."
Ron Dennis: “As a result of Fisichella's early pace we were unable to contest the lead. However in the circumstances our second and fourth places at least achieve the consolidation in our Championship positions, but as always we are here to win so that will be our focus between now and Monza. All of the team wishes Luciano a speedy recovery."
Norbert Haug: "A good result under the circumstances and with the grid positions we had to start from. The technical package ran reliably and our strategy was good - well done by the whole team. Anyway the best information we received after the race was that Luciano Burti's accident did not have life threatening consequences.”
David Coulthard: "'I'm pleased with today's result particularly considering my start position. Fortunately Spa is one of the tracks where you can overtake. The guys in the team gave me a reliable car, which is what is important. I was surprised by the speed of Fisichella and unfortunately he was quick in all the right places i.e. La Source and Stavelot, so it was very difficult to overtake. I knew my best chance would be in the pitstop but just before coming in I caught up with a backmarker and lost some time. I knew we had to be quick, but we just weren't quick enough and I was unable to pass him when I rejoined. Fisichella's car was losing a lot of oil so both my car and helmet were covered. I soon ran out of visor tear-offs and had to wipe the visor on the straights, which was a bit of a distraction. We caught up with a backmarker at La Source on lap 27, which upset Fisichella's rhythm and I was able to get past him at Eau Rouge. I'm pleased that I have extended the points gap to Barrichello and Ralf Schumacher and consolidated second place in the Championship."
Mika Hakkinen: “This was a dramatic race. My second start was reasonably good off the line, and I could get up to third place on the first lap. However then I lost two positions to David and Rubens before I came in for my first stop. I had a good battle with Rubens afterwards until he had to replace his damaged nose, which was not a result of contact between the two of us. Unfortunately I couldn't charge the last part of the race to make inroads on Fisichella because of a handling imbalance, so I had to settle for fourth.”
Mike Gascoyne: "This has been a fantastic result for the whole team and I am as proud of the staff at Enstone and Viry as I am pleased for them. Giancarlo drove a fantastically strong, controlled race and all credit to him. He has helped carry this team through some difficult times and he deserves this success more than anyone. Michelin gave us excellent tyres and we were confident with our race strategy. Our drivers made great starts both times, but unfortunately Jenson suffered a little bit of understeer that held him back before he retired."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "This was a brilliant result. Our new aerodynamics package has made the car much more competitive. It is easier to drive, easier to set up and it has much more grip than before. The race balance was great. We had a little bit of understeer at the beginning, but after that the car was perfect. We are expecting a new engine development at Monza and hopefully that will take us further forward still. I decided to change just my rear tyres during my stops because the car was better balanced that way. Newer front tyres had a tendency to grain, so this was the right choice. I made two amazing starts from eighth to fourth at the first one and sixth to second at the restart. I am very, very happy with our performance. This has been a great day and I would like to thank the whole team for a great job!."
Jenson Button: "I made a good start and the car was great for the first couple of laps, but then my front tyres began to grain. I didn't have a chance to bed them in this morning for a variety of reasons that cost me track time. I crashed out of the race because I clipped one of the new marker cones that they are using with the latest kerbs here. The car was fine when I turned left, but it didn't want to turn right because the wing had fallen under my wheels and so I hit the wall. I am pleased to see Giancarlo do so well however, and I hope we can both repeat that kind of performance in the races to come."
Eddie Jordan: "Considering how badly we did during qualifying, it is amazing to come away with a point. It's something I hadn't expected. The race seemed to get better and better for us. Jean made a brilliant start in the first part and Jarno in the second. We were looking good in fifth and sixth places and then Jarno went out. It was a great shame because, for me, Michael Schumacher apart, the people who were outstanding today were Jarno, Jean and Giancarlo Fisichella. Jean is such a fighter, holding on to sixth place at the end. That's exactly why we chose him."
Jean Alesi: "It's a very good result for me. When I signed for Jordan, I understood the team needed points. I was under a lot of pressure because, even though I knew I could do a good job, I also knew it is very hard to score points in Formula One at the moment. So, having the reliability, I was able to do it in a race like this. It was a fantastic fight and I hope this is the first of many points for me and Jordan."
Jarno Trulli: "I felt really upset when the car stopped. I had fifth place, no problem, but it was not to be. It had been a good race for me, I was attacking, I had been very aggressive at one point. I was side-by side with two cars at the end of the straight and I overtook them. Very exciting! I was pulling away from everybody and then the engine just went. Very disappointing."
Patrick Head: "Just as we got quite a few things right yesterday, we made some very severe errors today both in the settings of the car and with problems that occurred on the grid. The important thing is we understand what we have done and make sure we put it right in the future. It is quite clear we have still got a lot to learn."
Dr. Mario Thiessen: "We had enough problems for a whole season in this race. On the first start Juan Pablo's engine died and then on the second start Ralf's car was not ready in time. Then during Ralf's pit stop the air gun malfunctioned, and overall we just didn't have the pace we needed today. This makes zero points at the end of the day, and this is what we deserved."
Ralf Schumacher: "This was a difficult race and with each set of tyres I suffered from understeer to begin with and later on oversteer. The car was also too slow, and furthermore we made mistakes. There are many things we can learn from today."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "I am really sorry about what happened to Luciano and I hope he is going to be okay. On the first start, the car fired up but as soon as I pressed the clutch it stalled. On the second start I went off like a rocket and was looking good until de la Rosa who had been hit by Heidfeld ran into me. Then the car was pulling to one side and I was a bit scared something was going to break so on the first lap I took it quite easy. I was pushing pretty hard past three or four cars and past Ralf it was kind of exciting. Then the engine just went. Weekends like this are just racing!.”
Craig Pollock: "This was a disappointing day for the team. Everyone worked very hard all weekend and we were encouraged by the reliability of our car in the race. There will definitely have to be a lot of hard work and analysis back at the factory and at the test in Mugello next week. We have to improve the car now to get crucial Championship points."
Jacques Villeneuve: "Today wasn't such a good day after our qualifying performance yesterday. We weren't quick enough in the race and the car was quite difficult to drive. It's disappointing but to be able to challenge here at Spa you need to have a very quick car and today we did the best job we could with our current pace. Now we have to work hard for Monza and the rest of the season if we are to finish in the points and get to 4th in the Constructors' Championship."
Olivier Panis: "It was a very difficult race for me today. We decided on two pit stops after the re-start and I think this was the best strategy. After the first stop I got a 10-second stop-go penalty for crossing the white line which obviously pushed me back down the field. On my second pit- stop we had a problem with the fuel nozzle and had to change to Jacques' rig. I haven't had much luck all weekend but we have to stay positive now and keep our concentration. There is a lot of work to be done in the test next week to prepare for Monza and help us improve the car."
Alain Prost: "We were hoping for a good result today, but things turned out in a totally unexpected way. Heinz-Harald had a very difficult race, but most of all, we have been really frightened by Luciano’s accident. It is almost a miracle that he is now out of danger, considering the violence of the impact. This confirms the constant safety improvements of both the F1 monocoques and of the circuit equipments. We are now a bit relieved and all the team is looking forward to see him recovering very soon. All our thoughts go to him and his family."
Henri Durand: "After good practice sessions and a very respectable morning warm-up we had good expectations for the race. However Heinz’ stall on the grid did seriously compromised his chance of a good result. We do not yet have a full explanation of the reasons for that and will investigate it in due course. As a result of his stall, he started from the back of the grid and had an encounter with two other cars very early on, which damaged his bodywork and compromised the aerodynamic balance of his car. Following Luciano’s accident, it was difficult for us to keep focused, but we knew Luciano was in good hands and we tried to do our best to recover Heinz’ race. While the safety car was out we tried to put enough fuel in his car to go on a one-stop strategy which was in Heinz’ sight a mistake. The combination of him running high fuel load and damaged bodywork meant that his car was lacking balance and grip for the whole race. We come empty handed from this weekend but with a certain relief that Luciano is OK. For sure in any aspect our next race will be better."
Heinz Harald Frentzen: "Unfortunately it started in the worst way with a stall on the grid. I had a dog to dog in the gearbox, I could not shift into first gear quick enough, so I tried to push the neutral, and to switch into first gear again, but the last light of the start procedure was almost off and I probably clutched too early. It was a very confusing situation. But the worst was to see Luciano’s accident, it was really terrible and it was nice to hear before the second start that he was conscious and able to speak. For the rest, we tried to adapt our strategy as I had to start from the back of the grid. But my car’s balance was really affected by an early impact with Montoya, which broke the side pod and the floor. I lost a lot of downforce. Finally it was really not a race in which we could fight for points."
Luciano Burti: suffered a high speed crash as a result of a collision with Eddie Irvine. His condition is stable but is suffering from a concussion.
Graham Taylor: “Having suffered a traumatic Saturday we managed to negotiate the potential pitfalls of a disjointed race well. The team did a good job today as there was a lot of work to do on Bernoldi's car on the grid before the second restart as he had debris damage but they stayed calm and got on with the job. The pit-stops were good and both Jos and Enrique drove a strong race."
Jos Verstappen: "At the end of the day we finished the race which is good for the whole team. I pushed to the maximum throughout and really enjoyed the close racing during the early stages, especially with Panis. I got a good start every time which is always a good thing. I'm pleased I could finish in front of all the Dutch fans and must say it was good to see all those Orange flags waving. Also I'd like to send my regards to Luciano. I hope he's okay"
Enrique Bernoldi: "On the second restart I got away well but just didn't have the speed on the straight to keep my position. It was a tough but enjoyable race as Spa is a fantastic track. There was a problem with my differential towards the end of the race which made life a little difficult so it was good to get the car home"Paul Stoddart: "It turned out to be an action-packed Spa afternoon that saw two races with mixed results for a number of teams. Unfortunately, Fernando retired on the third lap of the first race with what looks like a gearbox problem, while Tarso must now hold the European Minardi record for the most number of race pit stops – six – in the course of the afternoon. Nonetheless, he pressed on and finished 13th, which was a good effort. On behalf of all at European Minardi, we sincerely thank Tarso for a fantastic effort in what has been a difficult year. We’re very pleased he will be staying with us as test and reserve driver for the remainder of the season."
Tarso Marques: "This was a tough race. I had to pit before the red flag after a tyre was cut, perhaps by some of the debris from the accident, and then some sort of suspension problem developed, which I stopped to have checked. It’s a shame because the balance of the car was good and, without the difficulties, we could have had a better result. Nonetheless, I would like to say a big thank you to European Minardi. Despite this season being a bit of a struggle at times, I have enjoyed my time with them this year very much."
Fernando Alonso: "What can I say? I feel so sad because I was terribly unfortunate here at Spa, which is my favourite track. This morning, I had an excellent warm-up. The set-up was perfect, I had a very good feeling for the car, and I put in the 15th fastest time just a few minutes before the end of the session. The accident on my final lap was certainly a spectacular one, but luckily I was unhurt, even if my car was seriously damaged. It is a shame but, after only three laps in the race, I was no longer able to select gears."
Niki Lauda: "A terrible weekend for Jaguar Racing. Not the best first weekend in charge, but I learned a lot. There's nothing one can do about bad luck, but there are plenty of other areas that need addressing before we are happy. We didn't take full advantage of the weekend and a better qualifying performance should have been ours. The race situation was out of our control and I'm not apportioning any blame on the drivers today. They did their best, but we as a team should be doing a lot better over a three-day weekend. It's no good putting all your eggs into the race and we must arrive on the grid in far better shape and far higher up the order. With only three races left, our quest for points is paramount, especially with Benetton scoring more points again and in the process, making our lives even harder."
Pedro de la Rosa: "What a terrible end to what could have been a points-scoring race for us. There really isn't too much to say. I got a relatively good start and as I was going into La Source, I noticed Heidfeld's Sauber coming-up on the inside. He obviously misjudged the situation and hit me. The impact forced my car over to the left of the track but there was somebody there and I felt another impact. I suffered a rear puncture and when I came into the pits for a new tyre the team also identified damage to the rear suspension. That was really all there was to it. Another racing incident, I know, but that's little consolation."
Eddie Irvine: "I was taking my line out of Stavelot and into Blanchimont. There wasn't anything unusual about my entry into the fast left hander but midway through the corner I felt an impact on the rear and after that I was a passenger. I knew Luciano was there, but I simply didn't expect him to have a go on the inside of that corner. He hit the wall very hard indeed and I'm glad he's OK. The head and neck restraint system played a key role in saving Luciano from serious injury today. I was the first on the scene and his head was literally pushed over to one side with the weight of the tyres. The head and neck restraint system obviously absorbed the impact of the tyres. There's nothing more I want to add at this stage. There's a Steward's Meeting after the race and only then will we have the facts as presented by both parties. I'm just thankful that Luciano is OK."
Peter Sauber: "This was a weekend when we needed a thick skin to cope with all the problems that we encountered, especially as we know just how fast we could have been in the race. But unfortunately, Nick was unlucky. Kimi suffered another transmission problem, and we must now work very hard to solve it."
Nick Heidfeld: "I didn't make a particularly good start the second time, but I made back some places until La Source, when Jos Verstappen touched my car. Then I think it was Pedro de la Rosa who came across and hit me, breaking the front wing and the front suspension."
Kimi Raikkonen: "I made a good start and moved up from eighth to sixth by the fourth lap, but just after the accident scene between Luciano Burti and Eddie Irvine, my car suffered the same transmission problem that I had in practice so I had to stop. I'm really disappointed because the car felt fantastic in the warm-up this morning."