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Malaysian Grand Prix
What the teams and drivers said - Sunday
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What the teams and drivers said - Sunday
Patrick Head: "That was a great effort from everybody and a well earned success for Ralf and Juan, who had a hard job to recover. The drivers, the team, the engines, car and tyres, today everything worked perfectly. It is very pleasing for everybody and a good reward for all the hard work in the winter time."
Dr. Mario Thiessen: "This is a sensational result as it is the first one-two victory for BMW engines in the history of Formula One. Even on our way to the championship title in 1983 this did not happen. The drivers and the team were just brilliant today. And of course we are a bit proud of the performance and reliability of our engines in the extreme heat of Malaysia. I want to thank our team in Munich, which I hope is celebrating now as well. The only thing we did not achieve this weekend was pole position so we have something to go for ! Talking seriously, we will work as hard as we can in order to continue on this level."
Ralf Schumacher: "This was a wonderful day, everything went simply the perfect way. Of course I had a bit of luck and I could take advantage of the first corner incident. I am sorry for both Juan Pablo and Michael, but sometimes it works like this. Two weeks ago it was Michael to take advantage of my accident. My car was wonderful to drive, especially after the pitstop. Our Michelin tyres were great as well and I am happy Juan Pablo and myself achieved the first one-two for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team."
Juan Pablo Montoya: "At the start Michael went completely to the right side of the track, which was easily predictable, but when we both came to the first corner I gave him enough room but he had a bit of understeer and touched me, and that was it! It was a bit frustrating because the car was very good and the tyres also seemed to be there from the first lap. I think it was unfair to penalise me with the drive through penalty, because in my opinion I did not cause the collision and this was a normal racing accident which was also confirmed by Michael in the media conference. The climb through the field was very exciting, even if I had to do it twice."
Jean Todt: "After yesterday's qualifying performance, today's result can only be described as disappointing. It was a shame for Rubens, who for the second time in a row has failed to score points. Today, he could have finished at least second. Now we have to find out what happened to the engine on his car as this sort of problem is unusual for us. Michael's race was naturally conditioned by the first corner incident. This is the second time that an incident immediately after the start has cost us dear. Michael left the pits in last place and gave the race his all from then on, to end up on the third step of the podium. We knew this year's championship would be very close and that has been proved today. It is a great battle between great teams, great engine manufacturers and tyre companies. However, we must not forget that we have yet to race the F2002 which should be quicker than the modified F2001, even if that car has proved to be pretty competitive. Finally, I am happy that Sauber has scored points here in Malaysia."
Ross Brawn: "Realistically, we were lucky to finish on the podium in the end. But it was not our best weekend, as Rubens struggled with the car before suffering an engine failure. Apart from the problem with Rubens' car we struggled a bit today. At the beginning of the race we tried to increase the pace with Rubens but we really were not quick enough. However, it might have been closer without Michael's incident and the strategy we used was the best we could have done with the cars we had."
Michael Schumacher: "That was an exciting race and my car was reliable and consistent. As far as the accident was concerned, maybe Juan could have given me more room, but he chose not to and we just touched. Thatís racing. It was only a little touch, but I had to pit to change the front wing. As for the rules regarding penalties, I think they should be made more consistent, although that might be difficult to achieve. I decided to push right to the end and if I had not, probably I would not have caught Button, who obviously had a problem. We have brought the old car to the first two races and did not really expect to have 14 points in our account at this stage. So to pick up 4 today is fine and I am happy and relaxed about it. From my point of view, given that I had to fight through the field, a two stop strategy was the right one."
Rubens Barrichello: "I gave it my best shot. I made a good start and managed to stay on the clean side of the track and avoid the accident taking place in front of me. I think the choice of a two stop strategy was the right one for us, because we might have had tyre problems doing just one stop. Given the performance of our main rivalís car-tyre package, I think I could have finished at least in second place, which would have been pretty good."
Flavio Briatore: "Jenson's performance is a good result for everybody involved: for the team, for the driver, and for Renault. Too bad we didn't manage to get Jarno's car to the finish as well."
Denis Chevrier: "In terms of engine performance, Jenson had a completely normal race, without any problems at all. Jarno was forced to stop by overheating and a loss of engine power which meant that he was unable to defend his position, so we brought him into the pits before any more damage was done. In spite of the disappointment of Jenson's problem in the last laps, we performed at the level we were expecting under full race conditions, confirming the speed we have shown so far."
Jenson Button: "An excellent race for me, in spite of the problem at the end. I drove very consistently, pushing hard all the way through, although the Williams and Ferraris were clearly quicker than us. After Montoya's second stop, I decided it was safer to let him past as his straightline speed was much better and Michael was a long way behind. After that, everything was looking good until I felt a problem with the suspension two laps from the end, and the car began running on three wheels. Obviously, I'm disappointed for myself and the team not to get our first podium, but it's still a good result."
Jarno Trulli: "I had a good start, and gained a lot of positions during the first lap, including overtaking Fisichella under braking. I was following Jenson when the engine lost power and started overheating at the end of lap one. The problem kept on getting worse, so I brought the car into the pits as the race was over for me."
Peter Sauber: "To have both cars in the points at our 'home' circuit in Sepang is fantastic, especially as this is such a tough race. Everyone in the team did an excellent job, not just in the race but all weekend. It was not easy to lift ourselves and to recover our momentum after what happened in Melbourne, but we have done that in style. This success is for Petronas because it's the first time we've scored points here. But it is something we can all celebrate."
Nick Heidfeld: "I made a good start and almost got David (Coulthard) before he closed the door, and after that I pushed as hard as I could. The car was great today, strong and reliable, and even when Michael and Juan Pablo came by me I was able to race for my position. You always hope for more, but fifth place today is a great result for the team after the disappointment in Australia. I think I got the most out of our situation."
Felipe Massa: "I am so happy to score my first World Championship point in only my second F1 race. It feels wonderful! People tell me I touched another car in the first corner, but I didn't feel anything and I managed to keep clear of the other trouble. I think I had a bit too much downforce because I couldn't pass anyone on the straights, but once Bernoldi stopped I was free to run my own race and I'm happy that I didn't make any mistakes. I thought if I finished I could score a point, and though this circuit was very difficult in the circumstances today, that's how it worked out."
Ove Andersson: "It is only our second race and we got both cars past the finish line. Okay we had some problems - an electrics problem on Mika's car and a bit of confusion during Allan's final pit stop, but that is all part of the learning process. We were actually competitive in the race and in a points scoring position before those problems so it is a very good result for the whole team."
Allan McNish: "Obviously I am pretty happy considering where we started on the grid. The car felt more comfortable to drive - a lot more than it was in qualifying and on Friday. Today I was able to race with cars that I didnít think Iíd be racing with at this stage. We can now look ahead to Brazil with a lot more confidence."
Mika Salo: "It was a reasonable day. The early laps were very good and I was keeping up easily with the guys in front of me and making some passes. I had an electronic problem with the traction control after the first pit stop, which ruined my race really. But it is encouraging to see our two cars finish and good for the team."
David Richards: "Both drivers and all the team put in an enormous effort over the weekend, but our problems were there for everyone to see. Despite the fact that Jacques finished 8th, we very clearly have an enormous mountain to climb and we won't achieve our goals without some radical changes."
Malcolm Oastler: "We had a few problems with Jacques' car and we had to compromise our performance a little to guard against the problem we experienced with Olivier's car. Then we encountered a problem with the steering as well. Jacques drove like a hero to keep the car going, and to keep pushing for the points, but 8th was the best we could do. Unfortunately for Olivier, we had a recurrence of the clutch bearing problem we suffered with this morning. We need to look at the data now and use next week's test to resolve the reliability issues and lift the performance of the car to an acceptable level."
Jacques Villeneuve: "We finished the race, but that's the only positive thing we can take away from today. I had no grip at all and then I started having problems with the steering. Clearly we have problems that need to be addressed if we are going to improve. We're not expecting anything new until Imola now so we have to look forward to what those developments bring."
Olivier Panis: "I made a fantastic start and was behind Jacques after the first corner. I was on the same strategy as him and I think if I had finished the race we could have brought both cars home in the top 10. Unfortunately, I had the same clutch bearing problem as this morning and I had to stop. We have to keep our focus now and continue to work hard for Brazil. That is certainly my intention when we test next week in Barcelona."
Eddie Jordan: "It was encouraging to see both cars running without a hitch, but clearly upsetting to see our two drivers have an incident. There's no doubt today was a lesson learnt for Takuma and that he cost Giancarlo possible points. But the way both drivers dealt with a difficult situation says a lot about them; Taku not only apologised to Giancarlo, but also went round the entire team to say sorry. Giancarlo took it all extremely well - a clear sign of his maturity."
Takuma Sato: "I am really sorry about what happened with Giancarlo. I apologise very much, it shouldn't have happened. I saw a Toyota pushing him going into the first corner and then into turn 2 they were side by side with me right behind them. Unfortunately I moved across and went into the back of Giancarlo. I damaged my steering and front wing in the accident but the mechanics were able to change the wing in the pit stop and I coped with the steering problem. Obviously I am very happy to have finished the race in the top ten, but this is marred by the fact that I damaged my team mate's chances of scoring points. I apologise to him immediately after the race and he took it extremely well which I think says a lot about his good character."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "It was good to see both cars finishing the race without any problems, but there is no denying that Takuma made a mistake by hitting me and that this damaged our chances of scoring points. Anyway he clearly feels pretty bad about it and he came to apologise immediately after the race. There is no point dwelling on it - I think he has learned a lesson! Otherwise the race went without incident, the car was a little tricky to handle but I am really encouraged by the reliability."
Niki Lauda: "We should have scored points today, but both our drivers were involved in accidents and that cost us. Eddie may have dropped out anyway because of the hydraulic pressure loss, but Pedro should have been higher up the order. Nonetheless, we have again proved that regardless of starting at the back of the grid, we have the capability to fight for race points. Qualifying higher up the grid will make our lives a lot easier in this respect and my immediate priority is to find more speed. We will test the R3 against the R2 in Barcelona next week and that will determine what we do from here. We will, however, race the R3 in Brazil. That is for sure. We do not have the capacity or the time to develop three R2s in time for Brazil. Should we decide to revert to the R2 for a few races, Imola could be the starting point, but not Brazil."
Pedro de la Rosa: "That was a very tough race indeed. The heat conditions were very extreme. Nonetheless, I pushed as hard as possible out there. The car felt reasonably well balanced, but I didn't help myself by hitting Panis. I thought he was going to leave some room for me to overtake and in the end, I had nowhere to go but hit him. It was my fault. Given that I was on a two-stop strategy, I kept attacking but lost downforce every time I got behind Sato's Jordan-Honda. Finishing 10th highlighted the relative reliability of the R3 in a race that saw many retirements through attrition. Speed is what we lack and our attention now turns to our three-day test in Barcelona next week where we will conduct back-to-back tests with last year's R2."
Eddie Irvine: "That was a tough race - while it lasted! We had no choice but to push hard and that's what I did. I was up to 9th place when I came up behind the Minardi of Alex Yoong. He was being given the blue flag and that was my cue to overtake. He moved over and as I went past, he cut right across my path and took the front wing off. I came into the pits and the team did an excellent job in replacing the front wing. I re-joined the race in 11th place and while the car was a challenge to drive, I felt we had a chance out there today. Our race pace was quicker than Jordan-Honda, Toyota and BAR-Honda. Then, just before the pit-stop, I lost hydraulic pressure and that meant that I couldn't engage the clutch. We had no choice but to retire. Again, we've had a difficult weekend and I am now looking forward to making progress in Barcelona next week. With Niki and Guenther at the helm, I am very confident of finding a way forward."
Mike Coughlan: ďAnother troubled start for us as there was a problem with Heinz-Haraldís launch. Once we had recovered from that he drove an excellent race for us and completed the first race distance for the A23 in arduous conditions so weíre pleased that the reliability and the pace are there. Enrique also drove very well today and was on course for a top 10 finish. He was on his way in for his first stop when we had a fuel pick-up problem. All in all, weíre pleased we lasted the race distance but disappointed as the result could have been much better. The team did a fantastic job all weekend in sweltering conditions and Iíd like to congratulate them all on their determination.Ē
Heinz Harald Frentzen: ďThe start was pretty disappointing as my grid position was good. Once I got running the car felt good and we were able to learn a lot about the car as this is the first time we have run a whole race distance. It was a pretty lonely race for me but I was able to compare the A23 to a few other cars on the track. I think our race pace was good so it is a real shame the start went wrong.Ē
Enrique Bernoldi: "Even though I couldnít finish the race today I have to say itís one of the most enjoyable ones Iíve had so far. My start wasnít the best but I managed to pass a few cars on the first lap so I was pleased with my position. I had a great battle with Michael (Schumacher). He got past me but then I got past him which was fun. I was due for my first stop on lap 21 but the car stopped when I had just half a lap to go. Itís a shame but I now have renewed confidence for my home race in Brazil.ĒPaul Stoddart: "Itís disappointing that neither Mark nor Alex was able to finish todayís race, but both drivers and, in fact, the whole KL Minardi Asiatech team, again gave maximum effort in the extremely hot conditions. We are very pleased we were able to help Alex make a little bit of Formula One history today, by becoming the first Malaysian driver to start his Ďhomeí Grand Prix, and itís tremendous that he was able to do that in the presence of senior representatives from the Malaysian government, as well as from the Malaysian companies that support the team so enthusiastically. Weíll aim to get a better result for them in Brazil."
Mark Webber: "It looks like we had a problem with the car in the end. The one-stop pit strategy was working well, and although it made the car very heavy at the beginning of the race and it was not too easy to drive, I knew if we could get through that stage, then we might pick off some people. I wasnít too sure how our competitorsí tyres were standing up either, so it seemed like there was a chance we could get a useful result. I just kept pressing on and, ultimately, got some good experience here in Malaysia. The guys did a great job on what has been a hard weekend and a very hot weekend for everybody. Itís a shame we werenít able to finish in the top 10, which would have been a reward for all the effort expended, but Iím now just looking forward to the next race, at Interlagos."
Alex Yoong: "The race was going quite smoothly, despite the refuelling rig failing to deliver any fuel on my first stop. With attrition and a bit of luck, I definitely think we could have finished in the top 10 and given our Malaysian fans something to cheer about. Unfortunately, fourth gear went after the second stop. I tried to drive without it, but then fifth and sixth also went, and there was no choice but to park up and get a lift back to the pits."
Ron Dennis: "A disappointing outcome to a race that I believe would have seen our strategy delivering podium finishes. Our Michelin tyres worked well today, and we are already looking forward to the challenges of Interlagos."
Norbert Haug: "Two engine failures in this Grand Prix is a very bad outcome for us. We certainly need to do a much better job next time. We will now analyse in detail what caused the engines to fail to ensure that these problems donít occur again."
Kimi Raikkonen: "Itís a shame to end a race like this as I had a car, which was capable of finishing in a top position. My start was good despite the heavy fuel load as we were planning a one-stop strategy, which would have been perfect. I was lying in second place when all of sudden my engine let go at the last corner and that was it."
David Coulthard: "Iím disappointed with todayís result because I believe both Kimi and myself could have secured a couple of good finishes. All of a sudden the engine went onto nine cylinders. I didnít know exactly what caused the problem but the team decided it was safer to retire. Itís been a difficult weekend, really. However we have to stay focused and I know we have a package which is capable of winning races, but we just need a bit of reliability."