Sunday's Selected Quotes - Malaysia
Fernando Alonso - 1st: "Physically, it was a very demanding race and I really felt how hard it had been on the podium afterwards. But it's a great feeling to win here, and the way I was able to do it demonstrates that we are competitive with our rivals this season, on every type of circuit. Everything went well from start to finish: the car, the engine and the Michelin tyres. A big thank-you to the whole team: they did a fantastic job this winter in Enstone, Viry and Clermont-Ferrand at Michelin. At this stage, I think we have a real chance to fight for the title."
Giancarlo Fisichella - DNF: "It was disappointing not to make it to the chequered flag, but I had a difficult afternoon. The car was not very well balanced at the start of the race, and after my first stop, I lost a lot of front downforce: I think something broke. I was up to two seconds slower than the race pace, and the car was understeering everywhere; so there was no grip at all. As for the collision, Webber got past me into turn 14, then I overtook him again on the straight afterwards. I was ahead, and he was on the outside when he took his line into the corner. As I was braking, the rear of the car slid and Mark had left no margin for error, so we collided. For me, it was a racing incident."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "This was a great success for the whole team, and for Renault. We must thank Michelin for extremely good tyres, and all the partners who contribute to our success. We have shown that the team is competitive with both cars, and all the hard work until now is beginning to come good: I particularly want to congratulate my colleagues at Viry, as our engine had no problems at all during the weekend. Fernando drove a fantastic race from start to finish: he was very cool, and managed his lead comfortably, as Giancarlo did in Australia. As for Fisico, I feel bad for him: it is a shame he had to retire, but we don't blame him. We are very happy to have two drivers like Fernando and Giancarlo; it makes Renault a very strong team."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Fernando drove a splendid race, just like in Australia. He made full use of the excellent equipment at his disposal: chassis, engine and Michelin tyres. We saw afterwards that it had been a long, demanding race, but he made no mistakes and this was a drive of somebody who has the makings of a Champion. Giancarlo's car was damaged after his first stop, and he lost a significant amount of front downforce, which allowed his rivals to catch him. As for the accident, I don't want to make any judgement before taking a closer look."
Jarno Trulli - 2nd: "I had an excellent start and was easily keeping my second position behind Fernando and extending my lead over Giancarlo. From there, I had an absolutely trouble-free race and could control those cars behind me. I want to thank everyone in the Toyota team and all the engineers, mechanics both here and in Cologne for giving the car with which I could score Toyota's first ever podium finish. It was a great result and I am sure the start of even greater things to come. It was a real challenge this weekend with the tyre and engine regulations, as well as the extreme heat which makes it tough for the drivers. Luca Marmorini and his team have done an absolutely exceptional job on the engine and we had no reliability issues in either of the first two races this season."
Ralf Schumacher - 5th: "This is a wonderful result for the team. First and foremost I am happy for my teammate, but also for myself. I think it was a good, but difficult race for me. I could not overtake for the first ten laps and then I had either heavy graining or blistering. After that, I had the get together with Webber after which my car was aerodynamically affected, causing some big vibrations. I am happy to have finished the race altogether and I am pleased to have contributed to our double points-finish today to take us to second in the Championship."
Tsutomu Tomita, Team Principal: "It has been four years of preparation and three years of racing for Toyota to achieve this fantastic result. The style in which we did it was even more rewarding. I would like to firstly extend my thanks to the drivers, everyone at Toyota Motorsport, Toyota Motor Corporation and the team's sponsors whose invaluable support made this result possible. We have experienced so many challenges this weekend in terms of the technical regulation changes for the season. I am especially pleased that our engine has completed eight free practice sessions, four qualifying sessions and two demanding races without any issues. Toyota always rises to the technical challenge and this has been no exception. This is how racing can be done and should be done. We know have to consolidate this result, but I will happily take this for starters."
Nick Heidfeld - 3rd: "I am very happy, this was the most exciting race I ever had in F1. I pushed hard from the start since I had to recover from my 10th grid position and I had a good race with some exciting overtaking. It was real fun. At a lot of stages I got involved in battles with two other cars and we had several good fights, but in the end I got the upper hand. The car performed well and so did the BMW engine and our Michelin tyres. Still, as usual in a hot race when it is the last thing you would like to happen, I had a problem with the drink bottle from the very first laps, which made my life more difficult."
Mark Webber - DNF: "I had a pretty good start and set it into a reasonable rhythm and after the first pit stop I started to catch Fisichella who was holding me up quite a lot as his tyres were finished. I had Ralf behind me and I knew he could pounce anytime. We had a tight fight but I got in front of him in the end. Then with 20 laps to go I closed up with Fisichella again. His tyres were getting worse and worse, I passed him at turn 14 and left him plenty of room. Then Giancarlo came on the inside on the next corner and I knew it would be difficult for him to stop on the dirty side. I went back onto the clean side and I think Fisi braked too late, locked his tyres on the dirty stuff, lost the rear end and took my car out."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was a good day for us showing that the car performance is improving steadily. Nick proved himself to be a fantastic racer with all the overtaking he did without causing any incident. He drove the second fastest lap of the race and finished third coming from tenth. We have scored some points which we definitely needed and it is a shame that Mark had this coming together with Fisichella. However, that's racing. Today the car has been competitive. But we know we need to push hard to close the gap to Renault. We had no mechanic problems."
Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "It is pleasing to come away with a podium from this tough challenge. Both the drivers showed strong racing today. I am especially happy for Nick. After a bad qualifying he managed to find his way onto the podium. Before his accident, it was Mark who had third place in sight. Both engines came through this very hot race absolutely trouble-free, thanks to our crew in Munich. The telemetry on Nick's car failed to work until just before the 2nd pitstop therefore until that point our engineers had no data about the engine's condition."
Juan Pablo Montoya - 4th: "We scored some good points and getting from 11th to fourth is quite good, but obviously we want to win. The race itself was not too bad physically despite the heat. However quite early on I flat-spotted my front left tyre, which not only put the car out of balance but also caused a lot of vibration which hampered my vision - things like this make it difficult to get the best out of the car."
Kimi Raikkonen - 9th: "A disappointing end to a race, which looked quite promising immediately after my first stop where I had gained two positions to take fourth. However early on during my out-lap a tyre valve failure caused a puncture to the right rear, and I was forced to go almost a full lap in order to get back to the pits. My times during the race showed that I was able to go at the same speed as the leaders. I got past Felipe Massa and closed the gap to Christian Klien and Michael Schumacher, but when I got there it was too late for an attack."
Ron Dennis: "A challenging race for everybody. Juan Pablo struggled with a flat-spotted tyre and Kimi's race was effectively destroyed when a tyre valve failed. It was disappointing not to be able to take advantage of the durability and pace of our Michelin tyres. On the positive side Kimi's fastest lap and Juan Pablo's fourth place despite his problems are a small but worthwhile consolation, and we are already looking forward to Bahrain. Congratulations to our partner Michelin for a dominant performance in such extreme conditions."
Norbert Haug: "Kimi achieved the fastest lap of the race and had the speed for a podium finish. The valve failure which damaged the tyre prevented this. The gap to the leaders stayed the same during the rest of the race. Juan Pablo scored five points and the team has showed that the reliability and speed are there. We are looking forward to the next races to transform these into good results."
David Coulthard - 6th: "Our car ran faultlessly but it's more difficult to drive here than in Australia and I got caught out on turn 4 on one of the laps but apart from that it was okay. I think we have to be satisfied. It's been an encouraging start to the season so we should say congratulations to everyone in the team. Special thanks should go to Cosworth because they are doing a good job with the engine. Let's count the points and head to Bahrain."
Christian Klien - 8th: "That was a sensational race, I am really happy. I think I was a bit more confident this year because I now have more experience but it was still tough and I was happy to get to the finish line! The start was not very good but we know what we have to work on. I lost two positions at the start and it was very hard because of the heat and most of the time I was behind other cars, which made things more difficult. The car was pretty good although I had a little bit of understeer and lost a little bit of grip on the rear tyres but overall it was a great race and I'm pleased for the team."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "It's another great result for the team. We now have eleven points so we've outscored Jaguar's 18 races in just two events! Both drivers did very well, we tried very hard to get Christian ahead of Michael Schumacher but ran out of laps. Both drivers deserve full credit, as does the team and Cosworth for their reliability. We just have to keep looking forwards and today's performance endorsed the potential of the car."
Gunther Steiner, Technical Director: "Again both cars in the points which is great for the team and the hard work they have done. We just have to find more speed but we are working hard on this. If we continue our hard work this is what will keep bringing us the points."
Bernard Ferguson, Cosworth Racing: "We are delighted for the team and so proud of Cosworth for being the only engine supplier to get both drivers in the points at the first two races with the same engines. No compromises were made in reaching this unique achievement."
Jean Todt: "There can be no excuses after a race like this. After qualifying, we knew the race would be one of fighting our way up the order and so it turned out. We were beaten by opponents who proved to be stronger than us. We have won so often thanks to the work of the team and our partners and now we have to work together to turn the situation around. Once again, this shows how difficult it is to win. We know we have all the elements required to succeed. Our will to win and our readiness to work hard remain the same as ever. We already have three days of testing scheduled for next week at Mugello to develop the F2005 and the Bridgestone tyres. After that, we will make a decision as to the programme for the new car."
Michael Schumacher - 7th: "Of course, seventh place is not exactly worth celebrating, but I feel that I did the best I could have done today, coming up from 13th on the grid. My car ran reliably and with no problems. I was a bit conservative in the early stages, to be sure of having a competitive car in the closing parts and, given the situation I can be happy with two points. A Formula 1 car is very complex and there is not one single factor to blame for our poor performance. We are simply not strong enough in several areas at the moment. We are well aware of that and we are and we will continue to work hard to deal with that. Now I head to Mugello to drive the F2005 for the first time. Driving a new car is always something special, so I am looking forward to that."
Rubens Barrichello - DNF: "The race was going quite well at first and I was able to fight for at least sixth place. All of a sudden the car developed quite a lot of oversteer. I radioed the team and they told me that they could tell that there had been a change to the aerodynamics on the car and the handling was transformed: it was very bad. Then, when I pitted again, they found that a piece of rubber had got attached to the wing. But, because I had run for at least 20 laps with too much oversteer, it ruined my rear tyres. It's a shame, because until then the balance of the car was good. I wasn't quick enough to win of course, but I could have ended up in the top six."
Ross Brawn: "This was a very disappointing race. We had been optimistic that track conditions might suit us during the race, but that did not happen. We were not competitive today, so I think we and our technical partners must look at what can be done over the next few weeks and months, to put us back where we need to be, because clearly we were not good enough today. We have been in this situation before and it might well happen again at some time in the future. But I have every faith in our own ability and that of our partners to rectify this situation. Regarding Rubens' problem, we discovered that a piece of rubber got wedged in the rear wing. That upset the balance of the car, but he kept going and eventually, the handling imbalance damaged the rear tyres. Michael did as much as we could have expected. He paced himself well during the race, the strategy was good, he pushed when he needed to. A couple of points could prove vital at the end of the season."
Felipe Massa - 10th: "I think our race pace was reasonable compared to qualifying yesterday and this morning, and I was able to follow Michael for many laps. After my second stop I started having a problem with oversteer in Turn 12. On one lap I had to take a lot of the kerb because of that, and after that the car seemed to lose a lot of rear downforce and was almost undriveable at competitive speed."
Jacques Villeneuve - DNF: "From the start of the race I was aiming to be as consistent as possible. I was able to build on the progress that we started to make with the car in qualifying yesterday afternoon and again this morning. In particular I am gaining more and more confidence with the brakes and was locking the fronts momentarily going into Turn One, the way I like to. Then on lap 27 I locked the rears braking hard into the corner and spun, and couldn't get restarted."
Peter Sauber: "This was a difficult weekend for us, especially here in Petronas' homeland where we had so hoped to perform strongly. But what we saw today were the facts, and I'm sure that everyone in the team understands that we have to redouble our efforts in order to improve quickly."
Narain Karthikeyan - 11th: "Finishing in 11th position here at Sepang was very good especially because of the hard weather conditions. The car was very reliable but the race was a bit boring for me."
Tiago Monteiro - 12th: "I had a good start and took a few positions. I could have almost caught Villeneuve but this manoeuvre would have maybe been a bit risky. Then after a few laps, there was oil on the track left by a BAR that made me spin and I thought I had a problem at the rear but fortunately it was only oil on my tyres, but I still lost some time. The rest of the race was a bit boring and long for me, as it was like racing on my own. It is just a pity I lost contact at the beginning. I am very happy both of us finished the second race and we were able to bring a lot of useful information to the engineers. Therefore I would like to thank the team as we did not encounter any technical problem throughout the weekend."
Trevor Carlin, Sporting Director: "We are very pleased we were able to bring both cars home again. We would like to congratulate our engine partner Toyota on their first ever podium finish. It is a testimony to the engine department in Cologne that all four cars powered by Toyota again finished the race."
Christijan Albers - 13th: "First of all, I want to thank the team for all their effort. To be honest, I wasn't happy with my qualifying performances this weekend, but the start of the race was good, as I was able to overtake three cars on the outside of the first corner, but then I suffered a temporary lack of power and Karthikeyan was able to re-pass me. I was able to keep Monteiro behind me for another lap, but I couldn't hold him off any longer than that. I also lost a position to Patrick, but then after two or three laps, the power started to improve and I was able to follow Tiago. Toward the end of the race, while I was moving over to let some of the faster cars through, I went wide over a curb and lost one of the bargeboards. This meant the car lost downforce, and there was more understeer, and this was reflected in the lap times. Overall, though, I learned a lot and I'm happy to have finished this race, as it's the toughest of the season."
Patrick Friesacher - DNF: "To be honest, I am a little disappointed. My start was not that good, but then I was able to pass Christijan and was right behind the Jordans. On the second lap, I just touched the brakes going into the first corner and lost the rear of the car on what I guess was oil from the BAR cars. That was it, really, and all we can do is put this race behind us now and look ahead to the next one, in Bahrain."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "First of all, congratulations to Toyota for their first-ever podium position in Formula One. They have been there or thereabouts all weekend, and thoroughly deserved today's result. Turning to our own race, sadly, Patrick's afternoon was over early as the result of spinning on oil that had been dropped on the track. Christijan soldiered on to finish his first Formula One race, however, setting some impressive times by Minardi standards. Unfortunately, when his car lost one of its bargeboards, it spoiled the aero balance, but nevertheless, it was a gutsy drive in gruelling conditions to take the chequered flag. Special thanks go to the whole team for their efforts in improving the car since Melbourne, and their relentless drive throughout a tough weekend."
Jenson Button - DNF: "It goes without saying that I'm incredibly disappointed and frustrated. I felt I was one of the quickest cars on the circuit - our pace was so strong that I was easily able to take the Red Bull cars and then get close enough to Raikkonen to pass him. In light of how our strategy would have played out versus the competition we've let ourselves down today. I'm disappointed for myself, for Anthony in his first race for us and also the team who've worked so hard all weekend in extremely tough conditions. We have to sort this out in time for Bahrain."
Anthony Davidson - DNF: "It's so disappointing to end my first race for the team like this. It's been a challenging weekend and I'd like to thank the team and my physio for all their help in getting me ready to race here. It's just a shame that we weren't able to see the hard work come to fruition. It looks like we have a lot of work to do in testing next week, when we'll work to ensure the problem is put right for Bahrain."
Geoff Willis, Technical Director: "This was a bitterly disappointing end to our race weekend, particularly since Jenson got such a good start and was easily making places in the early laps. The car was handling well and we were confident that our race pace and strategy would bring very good results. It was also very disappointing for Anthony who, having stepped into the car at short notice, did such an excellent job but was deprived of an opportunity to race."
Nick Fry, Chief Executive Officer: "The team has worked incredibly hard between Melbourne and Malaysia, developing improvements that would have put us in a points-scoring or podium position today. I would like to thank them and I can only apologise to everyone, including the drivers, our fans and partners, that we were not able to make best use of a fast car and good strategy. However, we must now look forward, fully investigate the problem and I'm confident that, with the strength, skills and resources of B·AÂ·R Honda, we can soon turn the situation around."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development: "We're sorry to the team and drivers about the engine problems. At the moment we think it is the same problem as yesterday. We will be getting a countermeasure in place in time for the Bahrain Grand Prix."
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director: "The combination of fierce heat and a punishing track will almost certainly make this the most challenging race of the year for tyre manufacturers - and Michelin passed with flying colours. That bodes well for the rest of the season. We have shown that we can produce a full-race tyre for such extreme conditions. Now we can go away and do a little fine-tuning for the forthcoming circuits, which are a little less demanding but remain challenging nonetheless.
"We had no concerns at all about any of our partners' cars running into tyre difficulties. The rate of wear was higher than we experienced in Australia two weeks ago, but all the Michelin cars finished the race with usable tyre life to spare. Although Kimi R?ikk?nen's McLaren suffered tyre deflation, that was caused by a broken valve.
"The Michelin tyre chosen for this race proved to be incredibly effective and, once again, allowed several of our partners to challenge at the front of the field. This was a very good race for us - and clearly a very disappointing one for our rivals."
Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport: "Obviously we are disappointed that our tyre performance was not up to our usual high standards this weekend but we will leave Malaysia with some positive feedback which can be carried forward into our future tyre development. It is often the case when a good result has not been achieved that we gain a valuable insight into our tyre performance and this was certainly the case this weekend. Admittedly our tyre performance was not enough but we are pleased that we supplied safe tyres in extreme weather conditions. We are now looking ahead to next week's test in Mugello where we shall assess the best candidates of tyre specifications for the forthcoming Bahrain Grand Prix. We will react as quickly as possible to turn around the situation."
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