Sunday's Selected Quotes - Brazil
Juan Pablo Montoya - 1st: "That was a lot of fun. I had a really good fight with Kimi and it was definitely not easy keeping him behind. He came especially close after the second pitstop but not close enough. I got past Fernando at the first corner when the Safety Car came in and then managed to maintain the lead for the rest of the race, but it was tough. It's great to win in Brazil for the second time in a row particularly as a lot of Colombian fans come here to support me. I'm so pleased for everybody in the team who have worked so hard that we finally got the one-two which has been so close a number of times this year. I think we definitely deserve the Constructors' Championship and I can't wait for the last two races. Also well done to Fernando."
Kimi Raikkonen - 2nd: "Congratulations to Fernando, but he better be prepared for me and the team to fight him hard for the rest of the season and next year. Today's race was quite difficult and my car was not easy to drive. I carried a bit more fuel than Juan Pablo, but I still was not able to get past him in the pitstops, and he drove a good race. Of course I'm disappointed that my fight for the Drivers' World Championship is over, but we sort of knew it was going to happen. I will now focus on winning the Constructors' title for the team and go flat out for the last two races."
Ron Dennis: "A phenomenal and well disciplined race by both Juan Pablo and Kimi. Our strategy meant that our actual qualifying performance was masked as we were running with a lot of fuel. We are delighted to be in the lead of the Constructors' World Championship but are disappointed not to be able to challenge for the Drivers' during the last two races. However, today's performance makes us confident that we are in a position to end the season on a high. Apologies to Kimi and Juan Pablo for the missed opportunities this season. Congratulations to Fernando and I'm sure he will be worthy World Champion. Now he has to raise his game as he faces a significant challenge to beat us in the remaining races."
Norbert Haug: "A perfect double win and a great achievement by both our drivers and the entire team which put us in the lead of the Constructors' World Championship. Our strategy worked well and gave us the opportunity to use our strong technical package to the maximum. Congratulations to Fernando and Renault for winning the Drivers' World Championship he and Renault deserve it."
Fernando Alonso - 3rd: "It is too early to realise what is happening to me, and I think I will only understand properly in the days to come. So far, I have spoken to the King of Spain, the Prince and the Prime Minister - it is impossible to really say anything about it now. I thought we could fight with the McLarens today but it was clear after the first stops that we couldn't keep their pace, so I just concentrated on controlling Michael Schumacher behind me, and managing the tyres. The engineers were also worried it might rain, so in the last laps I was really focusing on that, and preserving the tyres, and I was sure there were strange noises coming from the car, so it was only when I crossed the line that I realised I had become World Champion! I want to dedicate this championship to my family, and all my close friends who have supported me through my career. Spain is not a country with an F1 culture, and we had to fight alone, every step of the way, to make this happen. A huge thank you to the team as well: they are the best in Formula 1, and we have done this together. It will say that I am World Champion, but we are all champions, and they deserve this. Now, I can go to the last two races and enjoy them a bit more. We made some conservative decisions in some of the last races, and now we will be able to race with nothing to lose until the end of the season."
Giancarlo Fisichella - 5th: "I had poor rear end grip at the beginning of the race, and that meant I was struggling with oversteer in the high speed and low speed corners, and just trying to keep the car on the circuit. To be honest, I was a little disappointed to finish fifth because we should have been able to beat the Ferrari today, but the really important thing is Fernando becoming World Champion. I am very happy for him, he has done a great season with no mistakes, and I wish him all the best. But we still have a second crown to race for, and we need to keep fighting against McLaren to get back the lead. I though we were much closer to them this weekend, so their pace in the race was a surprise. We're not giving up though, and we will fight to the very end of the season."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "I am just delighted today. For Fernando of course, who has been fantastic all season, and for the team as well. They have produced a fantastic car and even if McLaren has been quicker, the points tell the only story that matters, over nineteen races. Fernando is just 24 years old, and he has been an incredible leader in this championship. The team works to make the car quicker, and he transforms that into results: that gives the team amazing motivation. Of course, we have to thank the team back in Enstone and Viry, all the partners who have supported us to make this championship possible, and everybody at the Renault group: they have all been part of a fantastic adventure. Now, we need to do our best in the Constructors' Championship, with Fisico and Fernando both pushing hard. We are doing our best to get closer to McLaren, and to take it down to the final race."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Fernando is a worthy champion, and thoroughly deserves every success he has achieved this year. The race itself was not dramatic for either driver, but it certainly produced a spectacular result. Now, we will be focusing 100% on the Constructors' Championship. There is no doubt McLaren are quicker than us, and we relinquished our lead today - albeit by a slender margin. But the team is working hard to develop the car and improve our speed, and we were certainly closer to them this weekend thanks to the developments at Enstone and Viry. We fully intend to take the fight to McLaren right up until Shanghai. But first things first: we will be celebrating a worthy champion this evening, and letting the feeling sink in properly!"
Michael Schumacher: "First of all I want to congratulate Fernando and his team on winning the title. They have done a great job and from a personal point of view it is nice for me to see some of the guys I worked with at Benetton looking so happy. I look forward to fighting them again next season. We had a reasonable race today, certainly better than the last few. The Constructors' Championship is important to us and from that perspective this was a good result. Maybe this afternoon's positive tendency can continue in the final two races."
Rubens Barrichello: "I had a good race, but I was blocked by the people ahead of me and I had nowhere to go really and could never really push to the maximum. It was a shame. I had a particularly exciting battle with Jenson which was a bit crazy because it was a bit wet on the inside line. I just tried hard not to create any problems for myself. If it hadn't been for the difficulty in qualifying yesterday, I could have had a much better race as the car returned to normal today. The only problem I had this afternoon was with twenty laps to go, when the power steering started pushing me to the left. Sixth was the best I could do. Congratulations to Fernando. He deserves this title."
Jean Todt: "Today, we did the best we could, getting the most out of the package at our disposal. This result means we can consolidate our third place in the Constructors' classification. Today, Fernando Alonso took over the Drivers' title that Michael had won with Ferrari for the last five years. Fernando has put together a perfect season, supported by Renault, led by Patrick Faure and Flavio Briatore and Michelin. Congratulations to all of them. There are still two races to go. Along with Bridgestone, we face a lot of work to develop the tyres. We must do our utmost in these next two rounds, because they can produce precious data that can even be useful for next year. Today, our cars proved reliable, the team worked very well and the drivers gave their all."
Ross Brawn: "Our race went pretty well. I am pleased that we beat Fisichella and it showed we had a good strategy with Michael. The team carried out the pit stops very well. Of course, we would like to win races, but we are not in a position to do so at the moment. However, I think that all weekend here, we performed to our maximum doing the best that we could at this point in the season. It is a shame that Rubens was unable to start a bit higher up the grid, as he could have been up there as well. The cars worked well as did the tyres. We just need to find some more performance."
Jenson Button - 7th "It was a difficult day for us. Our pace was slow and we suffered with rear graining right from the start. We were on the hard tyre as well, so we didn't expect to get the graining. In fact that's the reason why we took that tyre. I struggled particularly on the last section of the circuit, through the fast corner and onto the straight, where we had big oversteer. So not a great day but at least we picked up a couple more points and have a decent qualifying position for Suzuka. I would like to offer my congratulations to Fernando Alonso, the new World Champion. He's done a great job this season."
Takuma Sato - 10th: "We started with damp conditions today and I had a lot of fuel on board which meant the car was very heavy. l also had a low downforce set-up so it was very difficult to get heat into the tyres for the first few laps. The car was tough to drive with low grip and sliding quite a bit. As the track dried and the car got lighter, my pace picked up and we were on target for our strategy. I then had a mechanical problem with the rear suspension so the car was bouncing a lot and losing stability. At least I am pleased to have brought the car home safely. I now look forward to my home race at Suzuka."
Gil De Ferran, Sporting Director: "After a promising day yesterday, this developed into a difficult day with both cars. Jenson had a bad start and was plagued with an imbalance which prevented him from finishing in a better position. The story was similar with Takuma as he also was unhappy with the car. Obviously we will analyse what caused this unexpected problem and hopefully we will have a better understanding of the issues prior to Suzuka. On the plus side, the Honda engines ran well and we look forward to returning to Suzuka for our second 'home' race. All that remains for me to say is congratulations to Fernando Alonso on behalf of everyone at BAR Honda."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development: "It was a difficult start to the race after the accident off the grid, but at least the weather stayed dry throughout. I had been expecting it to rain and make life a lot harder. Both engines ran very well but Jenson struggled with a rear tyre graining problem and was unable to challenge for a podium finish. Takuma suffered with a non-critical mechanical problem in the second half of the race and was unable to fight for a points finish. Our running positions for qualifying in Suzuka are not too bad, so we will put this weekend behind us and focus on a much better home Grand Prix for Honda."
Ralf Schumacher - 8th: "That was a pretty tough race for us today. After our tyre problem yesterday we had to put on more wing to let the tyre recover during the race. But the car was very difficult to drive all race, especially early on. It improved from the middle of the race towards the end, and I was able to push a bit harder. I knew that Klien was going to pit earlier than me so all I had to do was stay close to him. Then I was lucky because I had to let Raikkonen past during my crucial extra laps but I didn't lose too much time. After all that, one point is better than nothing."
Jarno Trulli - 13th: "It has been a weekend where everything went wrong for me. First we had the engine change yesterday which lost me ten places on the grid. Then I had to avoid the incident at the start of the race where I almost got hit by a spinning car. My race really lasted only a few laps when I was out of traffic and I was able to do some good lap times. The rest of the time we were quick but not quick enough to overtake cars at the only place you can here, on the straight. So that was a weekend to forget, but we'll hope to do better at Suzuka in a fortnight."
Tsutomu Tomita Team Principal: "It was good that Ralf made the points but he could have had so much more. During qualifying he had some severe understeer on his car because he was not satisfied with his particular set of tyres. We are very disappointed that this happened, but because of the strong racing and commercial relationship between Michelin and Toyota over many years we are confident that this situation will not arise again. Ralf should have started further up the grid and it certainly didn't help his race balance so in the circumstances he did very well. It was a frustrating race for Jarno. He did well to avoid Pizzonia in the first corner but then spent much of the race in traffic without a real chance to attack because it's so hard to overtake here. It all means it is now very difficult to chase third position in the Constructors' Championship, but we will keep pushing. We are especially keen to show our best performance at home in Japan in two weeks' time."
David Coulthard - DNF: "I made a good start and got my front wheels inside the two Williams' of Webber and Pizzonia. As we approached the first corner, I was between the two cars and thought it was going to come down to what happened in the braking zone, but we never made it there. Antonio was moving over from right to left, to try to get the better position, but as Mark (Webber) was on the other side of me, there wasn't anywhere for me to move to. All the cars touched, Antonio spun in front of my car and, I think, also hit Mark. I lost my front right wheel and that was pretty much it, I was out of the race. I'm surprised if Antonio didn't know I was there as I didn't make a dive under braking, but had gained position through acceleration from the start line. In that situation, everyone should maintain position. If the cars start to squeeze together, I can't make mine invisible! It's brings to an end what's been a pretty shit weekend."
Christian Klien - 9th: "As we expected, we were not quick enough today in the long runs. I was struggling with rear traction, especially when the car was carrying a lot of fuel. It was easier to drive when there was less fuel, but we just didn't have the pace today. I had quite a good start and made up a place, but was pushed to the outside by Michael (Schumacher) in Turn two. I had to go quite hard on to the kerb and lost a couple of places."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "Christian drove a faultless race this afternoon, made no mistakes and maintained a good pace, but, unfortunately, it wasn't enough to contain our rivals. Looking at the results, there are two McLarens, two Ferraris and two Renaults in the points; a Honda and Toyota ahead of us and a Honda and Toyota behind us. It's therefore frustrating that, after such a strong drive, Christian didn't get any points. Nonetheless, it was a very good effort he put in this afternoon. David's incident was an unfortunate way to finish what has been a frustrating weekend for him."
Chris Jilbert - Cosworth F1 Race Engineering: "Congratulations to Christian for driving a great race, it's a shame he narrowly missed out on a Championship point, but great disappointment for David with his first lap retirement. Both Cosworth 12 Series engines ran without issue throughout the course of the weekend, and will now be checked and readied for use in Suzuka."
Jacques Villeneuve - 12th: "My car was very fast today, but not in a straight line. That was why I had such a hard time stuck behind Doornbos in the early laps. I just couldn't get a tow from him. Partway through we changed the strategy from a one stop to two, but really it just wasn't our day today."
Felipe Massa - 11th: "I didn't make a great start because my side of the grid was slightly damp. Then I got stuck behind Ralf, and after a while the balance got so bad with oversteer and very poor traction that I thought the rear tyres were finished. Later on I got stuck behind Sato and Trulli, too. In the last 15 laps the balance improved again, but by then it was too late. It was not an easy race for us today."
Peter Sauber (Team Principal): "We had a handicap when we had to start Jacques from the pit lane because of the infringement with the rear anti-rollbar on his car, but even if he had started from his 11th place on the grid it would have been very difficult for us to challenge for points today. All of us at Team Sauber Petronas would like to congratulate Fernando Alonso on becoming the youngest-ever World Champion. He has had a fantastic season and deserves his crown, as do Renault their success in winning the drivers' World Championship."
Christijan Albers - 14th: "I think it was a reasonable result today, as we finished in front of the Jordans, although Tiago's car appeared to suffer an engine failure. One thing for sure is that we had a good race strategy, as we had a heavy fuel load to start. That gave me the benefit of being able to make my fuel stop a little later than Karthikeyan, and I overtook him. Many thanks to the team for all their efforts this weekend, and I think it is clear we continue to make progress. I would also like to congratulate Fernando for winning the World Championship today - it's great to think that a driver who started here at Minardi has been able to achieve such a result."
Robert Doornbos - DNF: "I didn't finish the race, which was unfortunate. It's still a sport with a mechanical content, however, so as a driver you have to get over such disappointments. It was frustrating, though, as the race strategy we had was very good. I lost a couple of seconds to my team mate in the first stint, but we were able to fight the Jordans. We had a good first pit stop, which put me back in the Jordan 'sandwich' again, and I was catching Narain and Christijan with good lap times, but then I started to lose performance and there was smoke coming out of the car. As a result, we had no choice but to abort the race. We now look forward to Suzuka and Shanghai, the last two races of the year, as well as to having a good 2006 season."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "On a day that Minardi produced its first-ever World Champion in Fernando Alonso, it was fitting to see him on the podium. I believe he will go on to be a very worthy champion and a tremendous ambassador for this sport. Like many drivers, Fernando started his career with Minardi, and even in those early days, there were obvious signs of his huge natural talent and ability. It was equally clear that with the right team and the right car at the right moment, today was always going to happen. We wish both Fernando and Renault all the best, and I think they have every right to be very proud of a job well done. As for our own race, I think it's fair to say we've been having our own private battle with the Jordans all weekend, but Christijan drove his heart out this afternoon to finish ahead of both of them. In the end, his determination allowed him to bring the car home in a well-deserved 13th place, despite struggling at times with the set-up. As for Robert, sadly, a broken oil pipe brought his race to a premature conclusion, which was a great shame, as both drivers gave their all this weekend. There are still two races to go, however, and the team and drivers will be putting in maximum effort to achieve strong results in both."
Narain Karthikeyan - 15th: "I made a decent start and kept up with Sato and Trulli for quite a while. Then I had to make my first pit stop and when I went out, I had to give way to the leaders and therefore lost two to three seconds a lap for two consecutive laps. This cost me a lot of track position. However, I was then catching Albers but, coming to turn 1, I had a flat spot and had to make an extra pit stop which again cost me some time. The car after that was very good but it was too late. I am nevertheless happy to finish another race this season."
Tiago Monteiro - DNF: "My consecutive race finishes had to stop at some point. It is a pity as everyone was hoping we could make it to the end of the season. I had a mechanical problem but this is racing. It happened to me in the past and it will happen again in the future, but it is still frustrating. Until then, it was an amazing weekend, I started 11th on the grid due to Villeneuve's penalty. I was going very well during the race but you cannot control mechanical issues. There is nothing we can do about it. Now we are thinking about the next two races already."
Adrian Burgess - Sporting Director: "Today was a difficult afternoon. Both drivers were doing good jobs. Narain had a flat spotted tyre, which we had to change on safety grounds as it was too dangerous to risk carrying on with it. This extra pit stop spoilt his afternoon. Unfortunately for Tiago, his race finish record had to come to an end as we had a mechanical problem with the car. He has had a fantastic reliability this year and it is a pity it had to come to an end so close from the end of the season. Apart from that, we all want to congratulate Fernando Alonso on winning the Championship this afternoon."
Mark Webber - NC: "I had a reasonable start and got away ok from the grid but right then David Coulthard, came between me and Antonio and I didn't see him until the last moment. It was very, very tight and I was looking to get away from the damp area at turn one. Unfortunately, when David tried to pull out of the position he was in he clipped the back of Antonio, who then spun into me. I could see the bodywork was damaged but I didn't know how heavily so I went back into the garage and jumped out of the car so that the mechanics could fix it. At that point it was important to join the race again in order to possibly gain a better starting position for qualifying in Japan and to see what we could learn about our race pace after a poor qualifying session."
Antonio Pizzonia - DNF: "I am very disappointed for sure, as I finished my home Grand Prix before the first corner. My car was in a straight line and I was on full power, I still hadn't started braking when I just felt a sudden impact from behind. I watched the replay of the accident and I saw it was Coulthard. I am very surprised he did this because he has many many Grands Prix under his belt and is not someone who usually makes such mistakes."
Sam Michael (Technical Director, WilliamsF1): "This is a disappointing result. After the start incident we lost a lot of time in the pits repairing Mark's car. Although we could not repair everything, we did enough to make it a safe runner. We did this in order to improve Mark's qualifying position for the next race, which we managed to do. The pace of Mark's car was really strong considering that he was running on low revs in order to keep the engine fresh for the next race. Antonio suffered too much damage to his car to be able to continue So, the pace of the car was good and I think that points were definitely possible today. Well done to Renault and Fernando on winning the Drivers' Championship."
Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): "Well done to Renault and Fernando Alonso, who today wrote a new page in the history of F1, becoming the youngest World Champion. There is not much to say about our race. Both of our drivers were involved in an accident even before the first corner. Antonio's car was damaged too much to continue whereas Mark came back to the pits. The mechanics changed in record time the floor, radiator, suspension and some bodywork. Finally he was able to race. We now have to check if the engines were damaged in the accident or if we will be able to use them again with no risks in Japan. We hope we will have a positive end to the season."
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director: "We offer our congratulations to Fernando Alonso and the whole of Flavio Briatore's Renault team. When it returned to the sport in 2002, team president Patrick Faure said he hoped to be challenging for the world title by 2005 and Renault has done rather more than that. I'm very happy that Michelin has helped the team fulfil its ambitions. Fernando and arch-rival Kimi Raikkonen have driven impeccably all season and the title has been settled over 17 races, rather than just today, but we can be proud of a magnificent effort by all our partners during this year's F1 campaign. Michelin's tyres have had the upper hand all season and we will spare no effort to maintain our dominance during the final two races."
Nick Shorrock, director of Michelin F1 activities: "Today marks the culmination of a magnificent success for Fernando Alonso and everybody associated with Flavio Briatore's Renault team. It is a fitting tribute, too, to all those who have contributed to Michelin's world title effort, both here at the circuit and in our offices and workshops at Clermont-Ferrand.
Hisao Suganuma - Technical Manager: "Both the Ferrari drivers had good strong performances today, especially Michael who was able to run quite a good pace up with the front runners. We are pleased that our tyres showed speed and consistency today and even towards the end of the race, Michael was able to push and keep the rest of the field behind him. Even though there were some wet patches on the track and it was slightly damp in places, our tyre performance did not seem to be affected, which was good to see. It was a good fourth place for Michael and a good sixth place for Rubens at his home Grand Prix. We have been encouraged by this weekend's performance and shall be incorporating these results into our future developments. I'm sorry to see Tiago's record stop here but we expect him to bounce back in the final two races. And finally, our congratulations to Fernando Alonso who has proved himself a worthy successor to Michael Schumacher this year."
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