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Austrian Grand Prix
What the teams and drivers said - Sunday
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What the teams and drivers said - Sunday
Jean Todt: "It was an action-packed race and thankfully both Heidfeld and Sato escaped serious injury in their accident. We witnessed Ferrari dominate from start to finish. Rubens drove an incredible race, rounding off a fantastic weekend. He was the moral victor today, which is why we sent his race engineer, Gabriele Delli Colli onto the podium. Sometimes one has to take difficult decisions and today was one of those times. In the past we have lost the Driversí Championship at the last race three times in a row and we know we are up against strong opposition. We therefore have to make the most of every situation. The extra points Michael picked up today could come in useful later in the season. The car and engine were fantastic and the Bridgestone tyres performed exceptionally well. We must work to maintain this performance level."
Michael Schumacher: "I take no joy from this victory. I enjoyed the race but not the last hundred metres. It was a team decision. Only at the end I was called on the radio and told Rubens would move over. I know the decision is not popular, but imagine if we had lost the championship by this number of points at the end of the season. The team would look stupid in that situation. Rubens did a superb job and he outpaced me all weekend. This is a challenging situation having him pushing me. I am sure he will win races this year. If the team had taken this decision in the last race with the title still open nobody would be saying anything about todayís events."
Rubens Barrichello: "I was asked to move over. It was a team decision and I have to respect it. I did as I was told even if I would have preferred not to have been asked to move over. Todayís event has not affected my determination. I feel I am going through a good time in my life and driving better than ever. I feel my time is coming and there is no point in complaining or arguing. As for the race, the team ran a fantastic strategy and everything, the car, engine and tyres worked very well. I was not pushing too hard and I was being careful, especially after the Safety Car period. I would like to dedicate the trophy to my wife as it is her birthday and of course to my mother as it is Mothers Day. I am looking forward to racing hard in Monaco, which is like a second home race for me."
Sam Michael: "First of all I hope that Sato is okay. Regarding our team it was well done from Juan Pablo and from Ralf, both did a good job today. I think our strategy with one stop each was the right one, but of course we did not take into account the two safety car periods. During the second safety car we might have had a chance to change our schedule a little bit by calling Ralf in earlier, but we had to keep the pit lane clear because it looked at that time as if Juan had a problem with a damaged front wing. In fact it was okay. At the end of the day both of our drivers had solid drives."
Gerhard Berger: "For us it was a flawless race. This circuit is very demanding on the engines, which we had known in advance and which was highlighted by several engine failures during the race. We have got both the cars to finish the race and both the drivers did a very good job without any mistakes. The different strategies - one stop for us and two stops for Ferrari - might have distorted the comparison a little bit, but it is clear that we are still a big step behind the red cars."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "The safety car today decided the race, actually it made my race. I lost some time at the start due to the high fuel load but I had decided to go as far as I could before the pit stop and that paid off. Our decision to go for the hard tyres also paid off. The tyres were very consistent and I could keep them on until the end of the race. With regards to the accident between Heidfeld and Sato I was very lucky because my car wasnít touched at all. I was on the inside of Sato then I heard a big bang but I couldnít even see what had happened."
Ralf Schumacher: "For me everything was just perfect - the car, the engine, the tyres and the pit stop. I think that without the safety car periods I could have defended my third position. Due to the action packed race and the different strategies it is difficult to say how big Ferrari's advantage really was here on the A1-Ring. We have to continue to work hard, this much is clear."
Eddie Jordan: "I never thought we would have scored points today, and I have mixed emotions at the moment. Takumaís accident was horrible and it took my mind away a little until I had spoken to Professor Sid Watkins and knew that Takuma was OK. Giancarlo drove like a champion and the teamís stop strategy worked out perfectly. This result has changed the morale in the team, and for everyone at the track and at our headquarters, this is just reward for all our recent efforts."
Gary Anderson: "Takumaís shunt was very unfortunate, an accident that we think was caused by suspension failure with Heidfeldís Sauber. Giancarlo did well to score us two points, and itís a relief that the EJ12 was reliable and consistent, delivering a strong race finish."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "Itís been a very, very good day for me, as I didnít expect to score points. But, the most important thing is that Takuma is alright. I had a good start, although the beginning of the race wasnít easy. When the safety car came out, we timed our pit stop perfectly and refuelled to get the end of the race. Afterwards, we had good balance and grip, and I didnít make any mistakes. When I was behind the McLaren, it was quicker on the straights, but I was confident on the corners, and then David hit an oily patch on the track and I had my chance to take fifth place. It felt fantastic when I crossed the line and I would like to say thank you to the team, especially because we made the right pit stop decision."
Takuma Sato: Involved in an accident
Ron Dennis: "The level of our competitiveness should have given us no more that fifth and sixth assuming both Ferraris and both Williams finished. The lack of an oil flag following another car's engine failure left David with no warning and his subsequent off track excursion allowed Fisichella to pass going into the chicane. Another disappointing and short race for Kimi. We know what we have to do to improve our performance, it will take time to achieve it, but we haven't forgotten how to win."
Norbert Haug: "Our performance today was disappointing. The reason for Kimi's engine failure has to be investigated. We have to work hard to get both performance and reliability."
David Coulthard: "I had an interesting race with lots of action right from the start where I managed to pass both Massa and Kimi. It was then fairly quiet until the safety car came out following Panis' incident. I saw the accident involving Nick Heidfeld and Sato as Nick and me were side by side going into the braking zone quite hard. It's absolutely critical to get your braking right after you have been behind the safety car for so long. I'm really relieved that both Nick and Sato are OK. I then had a good battle with Fisichella but he slipped by me when I ran wide because of oil left on the track. I was able to keep up with Fisichella but couldn't get by."
Kimi Raikkonen: "I don't know what caused it, but the engine just lost all the revs. Obviously it's frustrating that I was unable to finish the race but I know the team has been and will continue to work very hard."
Pat Symonds: "A disappointing end to a hard weekend for the team. Although our performance in the race saw us running much closer to our competitors, we were unable to achieve a points finish. Itís frustrating but there was nothing we could have done, neither in terms of strategy nor car set-up."
Dennis Chevrier: "We competed at a level much closer to our usual rivals today, which further underlines our disappointing performance during qualifying. Even so, only one of our drivers reached the finish following Jarnoís retirement. Taking into account the analyses that still need to be conducted, we have identified a loss of fuel pressure, but it is still too early to know the real cause of the problem."
Jenson Button: "Once again, itís a disappointing end to the race. The car felt good all day, even though we were losing some time out of turn two. Towards the end, I was as close as I could get to Coulthard Ė there really wasnít anything else I could do.Ē
Jarno Trulli: "Following a good start, I was lucky to avoid a number of incidents at the first two corners. After that, I was running well just behind McNish. Our strategy meant I gained a number of places when I stopped, and everything was going well after that. I was fighting with Fisichella and Coulthard Ė Iíd even say I was a little bit quicker. Then I simply lost fuel pressure and had to retire."
Ove Andersson: "Another strong performance from the whole team. We again showed our reliability with no major problems. The safety car upset our race strategy and I believe we could have had both cars in the points. We were much improved in terms of our competitiveness at this particular circuit, so things seem to be on the way up."
Mika Salo: "It was a good race until the safety car came out and we made a mistake with the timing of my pit stop. I think these are the things we are learning from this year. After that I was held up by a lapped car for several laps and I lost contact with the group in front. Another two-car finish is however a very positive result for the team."
Allan McNish: "Overall it was quite a strong race for us and a lot of physical activity at the start. The deployment of the safety car harmed us a lot more than the others, but the car ran very well and we put in some respectable times after a conservative first few laps. It was good to get both cars to the end of the race again."
David Richards: "A race where neither car finishes can hardly be described as a good weekend but on the other hand you have to look on the positive side. We did more laps than any other team without any technical problems and our overall race strategy would have delivered a result for both cars. I can only hope that our luck changes sooner rather than later."
Jacques Villeneuve: "The car was quick in the race, except towards the end when I had the first signs of a problem. We took the decision to run a two-stop strategy because of where I was on the grid and that was really working out for me for the first half of the race. I was able to pass a lot of people and took advantage of the first safety car to come in for my first pitstop. What really cost us today was the penalty. The second safety car stayed out for quite a long time but it was too early in our strategy to make my second pitstop. Towards the end of the race we knew there was a problem because we were losing hydraulic pressure, then the engine let go on the last lap. It's been a better race for me than the rest of the weekend though. I'd forgotten what racing is like and today was a little reminder."
Olivier Panis: "My start was very good but I lost places because I was very heavy on fuel. I still felt quite confident though because, as we now know, one-stopping would have been the right strategy. On the 3rd lap I felt something happen with the car; it suddenly felt a little strange. I kept pushing but in the end the engine blew as I was coming down the straight to start my 23rd lap. Sure, I'm a little disappointed, but we have to keep pushing and stay focused now. I really feel that I got the best out of the car here this weekend. We made good progress with the set-up and I qualified well so it's just a question of making it through the race with no problems. We are still going forward and I'm sure that my luck will change soon. I'm ready for Monaco!"
Mike Coughlan: ďBoth drivers had good starts but unfortunately Enrique knocked into Heinz at the first corner. This damaged the diffuser on Heinzís car and resulted in ultimate retirement for Enrique with a broken wishbone. Heinz was then pushed off by Villeneuve at the second corner and we didnít stand a chance after that. Weíre going to go home and lick our wounds and look forward to a better weekend in Monaco.Ē
Heinz Harald Frentzen: ďMy race was spoiled at the very beginning. I got a push from behind from my team-mate into the first corner which didnít hurt me too much but then at the next corner Villeneuve pushed me off. After that it was purely a case of playing catch-up and I was struggling with oversteer throughout the race. Iím glad to hear that Taku is okay. I didnít see the accident but I could tell by the aftermath that it was a big one.Ē
Enrique Bernoldi: "I had a good start but ran out of room at the first corner and touched the car in front which I think was my team-mate. The track was pretty slippery at the start and, with such a tight corner and so many cars, I had nowhere to go. Itís unfortunate as I could have had a great race today.ĒPaul Stoddart: "In an action-packed Austrian Grand Prix, KL Minardi Asiatech experienced a day of mixed fortunes. Our first thoughts are for the wellbeing of Nick Heidfeld and Takuma Sato, and thankfully, we hear at this time that both of them are okay. The ensuing confusion played perfectly into Markís one-stop strategy and the team genuinely believed he was fighting for a top-10 position. This appears, however, not to have been the case, as Mark received a drive-through penalty. We really feel for him, as he drove a fantastic race and fully deserved a better result today. Alex also drove a very solid race until his car stopped due to a mechanical failure. We now look forward to Formula Oneís most prestigious event of the year, the Monaco Grand Prix, in two weeksí time."
Mark Webber: "It was really a frustrating race today. First of all, at the start, we had a problem getting the car off the line. I had to go to first (gear) again and pull away normally, so I was last away by miles. After that, everything was going well until the first Safety Car deployment. I had been up with (Eddie) Irvine and a group of cars in front, but when the Safety Car came out, I was behind Barrichello, and there was some confusion about our track position. After the second Safety Car incident, we thought we were fighting (Mika) Salo for position, but it wasnít the case. Thatís why I got a penalty. All told, a frustrating race, because I felt I drove well. In any event, we now look forward to Monaco"
Alex Yoong: "We ran on the softer, Option tyre today, but didnít really have a chance to scrub them in as much as we would have liked. We had a lot of understeer for the first three laps and then oversteer as the run progressed. On the positive side, the car was running reliably until we had the engine problem, and I think we could have finished in a reasonably good position. It is always disappointing not to finish a race, but Iím now looking forward to Monaco."
Niki Lauda: "Pedro suffered today because of a throttle problem, frustrating, yet we were very lucky not to have caused an incident at the start. Pedro was hard on the throttle at the time and did well to get out of the way of the drivers behind. We were going well with Eddie today but we suffered a hydraulic issue forcing him to retire on lap 38. We are of course pleased however, that no one has been seriously injured today, there were some nasty incidents, but of course not unexpected at this circuit."
Eddie Irvine: "The race was action packed as I expected. I am pleased to hear that Sato is ok, it could have been a lot worse. The various on-track activities allowed me to be in 10th position at one time, encouraging. Our race strategy was good today and even with the safety cars out it worked well. We very nearly got something out of nothing, and at one stage there was even the outside chance of aiming for a point. This chance faded when on lap 37 I suffered hydraulic problems. I was reluctantly forced to retire on lap 38. Frustrating, yes!."
Pedro de la Rosa: "I had a really good start today and was understandably surprised when I suffered a throttle problem on turn two. The drivers behind me were very lucky as the resulting situation could have been quite different. Not a lot to say other than I hope Sato is ok."
Willy Rampf: "We suspect that Felipe's suspension problem was a result of damage sustained in the first corner, but in any case we have already begun an investigation. It appears that Nick was obliged to brake hard while the discs were still cool after the safety car period, but the main thing is that both he and Sato escaped an unpleasant accident without injury."
Nick Heidfeld: "I made a great start to beat both BMW Williams and held third place for the first lap. After they overtook I was comfortable in fifth place and everything was going well. But after the first safety car incident Coulthard and I were side-by-side going down to the hairpin. I saw a cloud of tyre smoke as Yoong braked really hard and early ahead of us, and maybe I pressed the pedal too hard as a result while the brakes were still cool. The car got away from me and next thing I knew I was going backwards down the grass. I'm just thankful that Takuma is okay."
Felipe Massa: "Raikkonen forced me wide in the first corner and I lost three places, but I was attacking when I felt something go wrong with the left rear suspension in Turn 3 on the seventh lap. My right front wheel was coming off the ground and I could feel the undertray scraping the track, so I came in to retire."