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2002 Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix
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Teams and driver Quotes - Sunday
Ferrari ( Michael Schumacher - 1st, Rubens Barrichello - Retired )
Jean Todt: “First race of the season and first win for Ferrari, having come to Australia with the modified F2001. Things went well for us right from Friday and yesterday, we had two cars on the front row. It was a very chaotic start, with around half the field wiped out. We lost Rubens, while Michael went off at the first corner in fourth place. Michael drove a fantastic race, fighting his way to the front before building up a good lead, leaving the others struggling to match his pace. This victory is the result of a great performance from Michael, the team and the car, as well as the exceptional Bridgestone tyres. It was important to start the season like this. I must say we did not expect to be this far ahead with the F2001. Now we head back to Maranello for an intensive week of testing, working on development of the F2002 and tyres. Once again today, we have proved our motivation and determination.”
Michael Schumacher: “The start of the race could have been a lot better! But for me this was the ideal start to the season, although a one-two finish would have been preferable for the team. I didn’t see everything at the start, except that cars were flying everywhere. I was afraid to turn in for the first corner so I went straight on over the grass. It was the right decision to avoid being hit. It was an interesting fight with Juan; a straight battle with pretty equal cars. I lost a bit of ground after the first Safety Car, but Juan braked on oil at turn 3 and I could pass. Then Trulli always closed the door on me and I was worried because Juan was getting closer. At the second Safety Car, Juan ran wide and so did I, but he got a good run at me and passed me easily. When I got back the position, I went to the outside of the corner to get a better exit and it worked. Tyres influenced our battle as, at first I had trouble getting temperature into mine and then when mine were good, Juan’s went off. I did not think we could win here, but things change quickly and from the next race I expect it to be much closer. We would like to use the new car as soon as possible, but only if it is better than this one and reliable. The team will be testing with it next week.”
Rubens Barrichello: “These things happen in racing and it is a shame that Ralf and me finished out of the race immediately. At the start, I tried to defend my position and then I had to brake. I don’t think I did it too early. In fact I think, quite the opposite, I braked later than usual as I was worried something like this might happen. It was a heavy impact and I reckon Ralf was flat out. I don’t think he would have got round the corner.”
Williams ( Juan Pablo Montoya - 2nd, Ralf Schumacher - Retired )
Sam Michael: "It was a good result for the team to achieve some points in the first race of the season. The reliability of the cars was good. Juan drove a very good race and he had to be defensive several times. The strength of Michael and Ferrari was very evident. That is something we and our partners have to work on. We had a bad incident with Ralf at the first corner, when he was blocked. Well done to the race team and to the test team, showing that two months of hard work ended up with a car in a podium position."
Dr. Mario Thiessen: "This was an extremely exciting race. It is a shame that Ralf could not realise the benefit from his excellent starting position. Juan drove a very strong race and has had a really good battle with Michael Schumacher. We are also pleased that our new P82 engine has passed the acid test and finished its first race."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "I had a pretty good battle with Michael but when I passed him I thought that I could get away but I quickly realised that in fact I was holding him up as he had more speed than me and it was only a matter of time before I lost the lead. Then after my pit stop I saw Raikkonen exiting the pits alongside me and I feared that I might lose my position but when I saw him braking so late I thought that he wasn't going to make it and he didn't! It's good for the team that we collected some points at the first race."
Ralf Schumacher: "I had a great start and had already passed Michael and wanted to pass Barrichello, so I tried to dive into the inside but he closed the door. I then went to the outside and he closed again. I made my last attempt going to the inside and he closed the door and braked at the same time. I cannot complain about the braking, as we were going into the first corner, even if I thought it was a bit too early, but he definitely changed direction twice and we are only allowed to do it once. I felt like a passenger on an aeroplane and I was really lucky because I ran off in the right area and didn‘t trip around. Charlie Whiting took the right decision by not stopping the race, as he had made it very clear to us that he would not stop a race unless it was for safety reasons and this wasn‘t the case. This accident was a true shame, as my car was very good and we had no problems at all."
McLaren ( Kimi Raikkonen - 3rd, David Coulthard - Retired )
Ron Dennis: "Another race of mixed emotions. David's gearbox problem ultimately took him out of the race which is very frustrating as we had completed 7500 KM of on-track testing. However we must take some comfort from Kimi's excellent drive, fastest lap and third place."
Norbert Haug: "A turbulent start to the Grand Prix season and a super drive by Kimi. Today David's and Kimi's performances showed that the team has the potential to compete at the front of the field. Our engines didn't miss a beat all weekend and we are looking forward to the next Grand Prix."
Kimi Raikkonen: "It goes without saying that I'm happy with my first ever Formula One podium finish and its great that it happened in my debut race for the West McLaren Mercedes team. I got caught out in the incident at the first corner but managed to get back on the circuit without too much damage to the car. I went into the pits where they put on a new nose and removed some debris from my seat and I re-joined the race in last place. I made my way back up the field to third and was doing what I could to catch Montoya. However after my pit stop I went wide as I re-joined the track and lost me second place."
David Coulthard: "At the start, I managed to find my way through the debris to take the lead. However my car developed a gear box down selection problem and when the safety car pulled in it put itself into neutral which caught me out and I went off the track. I managed to rejoin but the problem continued and eventually the car jammed in sixth gear and that was the end of my race. Obviously I'm disappointed as we would have been in with a good chance today but that is racing and we must now look forward to Malaysia."
Jaguar ( Eddie Irvine - 4th, Pedro de la Rosa - 8th )
Niki Lauda: "We are obviously very pleased with the result and to have scored three points from 19th on the grid is great news for everybody at Jaguar Racing. Nonetheless, we have a lot of work to do on this car when we get back to England. We were a little unsure as to how reliable we would be today and I am happy that Eddie finished the race with no reliability issues. Pedro, however, was not so lucky. He probably would have scored points too had it not been for an electrical misfire. We witnessed a highly unusual race today and while we were lucky, we must credit ourselves with having taken the opportunity presented to us. The attrition rate was high by any standards and to have both cars finish is just reward for what had been up to now a very bad weekend for us."
Eddie Irvine: "What an incredible race! We were certainly very lucky today, but we finished and the others didn’t. I had to be very careful out there because the car was not handling very well at all. It was extremely difficult to drive and today’s result doesn’t change the fact that we have an enormous amount of work ahead of us. After the weekend we’ve had, these three points mean an awful lot to everybody in the team. As I entered the first corner after the start, I couldn’t believe my eyes! There were cars lying all over the place and having weaved through the carnage, I found myself in 5th place. My thoughts immediately turned to who was behind me and I just kept pushing and pushing until the end. It’s not everyday that eleven or so cars go out at the first corner and there can’t be any illusions about how we got this result today. Nonetheless, the team did a great job today and three points is a brilliant start to the season."
Pedro de la Rosa: "That was a
great result for the team and had my car not suffered from an electrical
fault, we would have scored points with both cars. We were obviously lucky
today, but my car didn’t feel too bad during the race. It proves that
keeping your focus and head down pays dividends. When I first reported my
problem to the team, it became clear that even though the corrective
measures may take some time in the garage, it was still worth re-joining a
race which was far from over. We must, however, extract more speed from
this car. There is no doubt about the lack of pace we suffer from and
while the team’s three points have been very well received, it doesn’t
change the mountain of work ahead of us. Overall, I am disappointed not to
have scored points but, at the same time, I am delighted for Eddie and
everybody at Jaguar Racing."
Minardi ( Mark Webber - 5th, Alex Yoong - 7th )Paul Stoddart: “It doesn’t get much better than this! Even if neither of our cars had completed the distance today, I would have felt we had a fantastic week here in Melbourne, but to score points in the first race of the season, and for Mark to accomplish that in his debut Grand Prix, is almost beyond belief. This isn’t just about one or two people, though; this is a team effort and everyone at KL Minardi Asiatech, both in Italy and the UK, deserves credit for their part in today’s performance. It is also tremendous that we have been able to share our joy today with representatives from many of our sponsors, especially Mr Lim, the President of Magnum Corporation Berhad, which was our first Malaysian commercial partner. Without significant commercial and technical support, no team in Formula One is able to progress, and I want to thank all our sponsors for helping us achieve this result today.”
Mark Webber: “That was a really tough race and I had to push the whole way. We had a bit of drama at the pit stop, when the refuelling flap didn’t open, but we recovered and didn’t lose the position. The thing that got to me the most, though, was in the last couple of laps – every time I came down the pit straight, I could see the crowd in the grandstand rise, but there was no chequered flag, and I wasn’t sure if the race was over or not. I have to say, I was relieved when I came around and finally saw it being waved. On a personal note, I’m really pleased that we got the car home and that we scored points in what is my home Grand Prix. I’m just really proud of the team and of the fantastic support we’ve received from the fans here in Australia.”
Alex Yoong: “The team deserved that! As for my race, I had a bit of a hard time with a ‘long’ brake pedal. We had set up the car for the wet and the handling was definitely challenging in the race, which turned out to be dry from beginning to end. Mark’s two points are simply fantastic today, though, and I am really, really happy for the whole team.”
Toyota ( Mika Salo - 6th, Allan McNish - Retired )
Tsutomu Tomita: "After the start of the race I was eventually very relieved we still had one car in the race. Both drivers did an excellent job in our first Grand Prix. Of course Allan was unfortunate but with Mika finishing in 6th but we have a good base for Malaysia."
Mika Salo: "We had a great race
today. I was hit on the first lap and we had to change the track rod at
the rear, but the car felt quick and reliable after that. I am very happy
for the team, they have worked really well this weekend. I have had
championship points before but this point is probably the most important."
BAR ( Jacques Villeneuve - Retired, Olivier Panis - Retired )
David Richards: "Today has been a real missed opportunity. After the elimination of half the field we had something to play for. The end result is in itself very disappointing, and even prior to his retirement we did not do a good enough job on Jacques' car. It clearly crystallises in my mind just how much work there is to do in the team."
Malcolm Oastler: "Unfortunately for Olivier, he never made it past the first corner. After that, we decided to roll the dice a little with Jacques' strategy but we never got to see how that would have worked out because the rear wing broke off. We won't know why until we get the bits back and have a look at what caused the problem."
Jacques Villeneuve: "There was smoke everywhere after the crash at the beginning so it was just a question of trying to get through the mess. Then the rear wing broke off on my 27th lap, possibly because it was faulty or maybe it was something that we didn’t pick up in testing. We’re not sure why yet. It’s frustrating to finish the race like that, especially after the hard work that everybody has put in over the weekend."
Olivier Panis: "I felt very positive going into the race. I made a good start and we had a good strategy. Then, in the first corner, the crash with Ralf Schumacher caused a few drivers to spin off, first of all Fisichella I think. I tried to avoid the other cars and was pushed on to the grass. It was wet so I hit somebody then stalled. I’m very disappointed because everyone worked very hard to improve the car after qualifying yesterday and I think we could have finished well today. It was not to be so we have to look forward to the next race now."
Arrows ( Enrique Bernoldi - Disqualified , Heinz Harald Frentzen - Disqualified )
Mike Coughlan: “Today was a missed opportunity - there were points there for the taking. Believe me when I say this is one mistake we will learn from!"
Enrique Bernoldi: “It's a bad start to the year for the whole team. Looking at how the race finished we could have been in the points today. We tried to get back into the race in the T-car but it was over for us. A difficult start.”
Heinz Harald Frentzen: “Well my engine just stopped on the grid and that was really the end of it for me. I just didn't see the red light at the end of the pitlane - it was a mistake. There's not really much else to say apart from that it can only get better from here.”
Jordan ( Takuma Sato - Retired, Giancarlo Fisichella - Retired )
"Clearly a very disappointing day, which is all the harder for the
team to take because of the incredibly hard work everyone has gone through
to get Takuma’s race car ready after yesterday’s accident. The
mechanics and engineers have been absolutely flat out, working until the
early hours of the morning, so we all feel gutted that both cars went out
Giancarlo Fisichella: "I am really very angry about what happened today as I believe the car was good enough for us to win some points. It has felt good all weekend – even better than I had expected – and I was looking forward to a good race. When I saw Ralf go flying through the air, I slowed down to avoid the collision, but was hit by Heidfeld who hadn’t slowed down and had gone off into the gravel and lost control of his car. It isn’t in the first corner that you win the race, so I am not too happy with what he did! To be fair to him he came up to talk to me after the race and explained that he just lost control of the car when he saw Ralf go off. I also think it is ridiculous that the race wasn’t stopped as most of the drivers were left to watch the race on TV."
Renault ( Jarno Trulli - Retired, Jenson Button - Retired )
Flavio Briatore: "Although the result is disappointing, we were pleased to see Renault at the front of the field on their first race back in Formula 1, and I think we can be encouraged by our performance."
Mike Gascoyne: "After a strong showing in qualifying and the race, the team are obviously frustrated not to have scored points. Jarno was running strongly in second, holding off Schumacher, before he spun. We will have to analyse exactly what happened, but we think there may have been oil on the circuit. Overall, we can take a lot from the weekend, and I'm sure we will have a strong season."
Jarno Trulli: "I had a good start, and was running well in second, holding off Michael. Everything seemed fine until I suddenly lost control of the car on the exit of turn 1, possibly because of oil on the circuit. A disappointing way to finish my first race for Renault, but I'm encouraged by our performance while it lasted, and particularly want to thank all the team for their hard work over the winter and throughout this weekend."
Jenson Button: "I made another excellent start, although I got squeezed out by Massa and Fisichella, before Heidfeld came down the inside on the grass at the first corner and took me out. Obviously, it's a disappointing end to the weekend, but I'm looking forward to getting back in the car in Malaysia."
Sauber ( Felipe Massa - Retired, Nick Heidfeld - Retired )
Peter Sauber: "I'm sorry for both Nick and Felipe because they did a good job all weekend, and I'm sorry for the team, which brought two very competitive cars to the grid. Now we will just focus on our preparation for Malaysia, where our season will really begin."
Felipe Massa: "I didn't intend my first Grand Prix to end this way! I made a good start and then saw the big crash in front. I slowed down and went to the inside, and I got through the first corner without hitting anyone or anything, but then Fisichella caught me from behind and that was it. My race was over."
Nick Heidfeld: "I could see a big accident developing ahead of me and tried to keep to the inside to avoid trouble. Unfortunately I couldn't avoid getting caught up in the aftermath. It would have been better for me if the race had been stopped, but that's racing"