Sunday's Selected Quotes - US
Jean Todt (Ferrari team principal): "This was our first win and our first one-two finish of the season, obtained under very unusual circumstances. To be put this result in boxing terms, we and Bridgestone won with a technical knock-out. We witnessed a very close race between our two drivers, even if today's main aim was to bring the cars home without any problems, whatever the finishing order. I am particularly happy that this is the hundredth win for a car produced under the technical direction of Rory Byrne, that coincides with the eightieth victory for the Scuderia since I have been running it. For Ferrari, this is an important win, coming as it does in a country that is our number one market. It was pleasing to see that, even in these circumstances there were so many of our fans and so many Prancing Horse banners in the grandstands right to the end of the race. I am very surprised by the situation that arose today, but would prefer not to comment on things that are not directly my responsibility. Bridgestone is doing an extraordinary job. There are now ten races to go to the end of the season and, as usual, we will do our utmost to reach our targets."
Michael Schumacher (Ferrari): "This was a strange grand prix and it was odd seeing the other cars go into pit lane at the start. But then Rubens and I had a close race - there was only the two of us really. I suppose it was not the best way to take my first win of the season and it was sad for the fans. But I am glad so many of the Ferrari supporters stayed to the end to see how this strange race would end. It is just a shame we could not fight in a normal way, because I think that, even with the other cars, we could have won as we had a strong car. The situation we had today was out of our hands and I don't know all the details of the problems the others had. But I do know that we left at home tyres that had more performance and less durability, but we and Bridgestone made our choice knowing how much stress there is here on the tyres. I lost the lead to Rubens because we had long pit stops to check the tyres and mine was longer than his and he was pushing very hard."
Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari) : "This was a sad day for the race fans and it was also sad to see the other cars pull into the pits, but I guess their problem must have been a serious one. I am also disappointed that I missed out on getting 10 points today. Once I got in the lead I pushed quite hard and I managed to open a gap to Michael and I also had a tremendous out lap. I tried to stay ahead but it did not go my way. Bridgestone and Ferrari had worked so hard that I think we could have won here anyway. We had the quickest car and I was quicker than Michael at the start but I could not find a way past him. Formula 1 has never looked very strong in the States and I think it is worse now."
Ross Brawn (Ferrari technical director): "We had no problems during the race and the tyre performance was consistent throughout. Our drivers were pushing one another quite hard and it got exciting after the second pit stop. We tried to put on the best show we could under these circumstances. During the pit stops we were being cautious simply because we had time to spare."
Tiago Monteiro (Jordan): "I have mixed feelings today as it was a strange race with no one being there. However, for me, it was still a race. I had to fight with my team mate and competitors at the beginning and push as hard as in a normal race. The most important thing today was to finish. I am very happy for the team because they have been working very hard the whole time. This is my ninth consecutive race finish this season and now I have scored some points so I am very pleased with that. I know these were weird conditions but nobody can take this away from me. Having raced in America in the past, I am sorry for the fans but the decision had nothing to do with us."
Narain Karthikeyan (Jordan): "These are my first Championship points in Formula One and it does not really matter how they come. Points are points. This is the first time an Indian driver has scored points in Formula One so I am happy. Due to the circumstances, our main job was not to make any mistakes and finish the race. My car was very reliable this weekend and I am very pleased with that."
Adrian Burgess (Jordan Sporting Director): "Today was an unusual race for Jordan Grand Prix. With the extraordinary circumstances, we did our best to bring both cars to the finish and we were there to get the points. We have done the same job as we normally do in a race and made sure we did not make any mistakes or take any useless risks. Now our main focus is on our test next week in Barcelona and to keep on improving the cars."
Hiroshi Yasukawa (Director - Bridgestone Motorsport): "A disappointing day for race fans and we fully understand their displeasure. That aside, Bridgestone is pleased to have been able to provide our teams with a safe and suitable product for our teams this weekend. Our technical and support staff have worked hard with our teams to prepare for this race and I am pleased to see all our runners cross the finishing line safely. My congratulations to Michael, Rubens and Tiago who finished on the podium. Obviously this afternoon's race was not run under normal circumstances but we now look ahead to returning to Europe where we expect to see a fully competitive field."
Hisao Suganuma (Technical Manager - Bridgestone Motorsport): "I am pleased to see all six Bridgestone runners finish today's race under tough conditions. Our tyre performance was strong and consistent on the Ferrari, Jordan and Minardi cars. It would have been easy for our teams to have held back today, preserving their engines, but I am pleased to see them pushing themselves. Congratulations to Michael and Rubens but especially to Tiago on his first F1 podium. It was not an easy situation for all our drivers today and they were very composed. Naturally we are disappointed not to have been able to demonstrate our tyres within a fully competitive environment but I am pleased that Bridgestone has been able to meet the FIA's requirements."
Paul Stoddart (Team principal, Minardi): "First of all, our sincere apologies go out to the race fans, both here at Indianapolis and indeed, around the world, for the farce that took place at Indianapolis this afternoon. This really was a time when Formula One needed to put sport above politics, but sadly, this did not occur. Earlier on today, nine of the 10 competing teams had agreed that, in the interests of safety, a temporary chicane needed to be placed before the final turn, and that unless that took place, the nine teams would not compete. This idea was rejected by FIA President Max Mosley, and in no uncertain terms, the teams were told that, should this occur, there would be no race. This, in my opinion, is clearly not in the interests of the sport, the American public, or Formula One fans around the world.
"I have complete sympathy with the Michelin teams, and can take neither satisfaction from, nor interest in, this afternoon's race, if you can call it that. For the avoidance of doubt, Minardi only participated when it became clear that Jordan had changed its decision to compete from this morning. I sincerely hope that valuable lessons are taken away from here today before we destroy the sport we love with politics. A solution, which would have allowed the United States Grand Prix to have proceeded unaffected today existed, but was resisted by the FIA and not supported by Ferrari, who claimed it was not their problem."
Nick Fry (Chief executive officer, BAR-Honda): "We tried until five minutes before the pit lane to find a solution to this. We've been advised by our tyre supplier that the tyres are not safe to run, and we have to respect that. We can't put our drivers in a situation that we're told by a major company that it is not safe. I think it's the worst possible advert for Formula One at the moment. To only have six cars running, and none of them in contention for the championship. It's a great shame. Unfortunately, in the interest of safety, this decision was made. We all wanted to race, the drivers, the teams, that's what we came here to do. Unfortunately, a solution couldn't be found. We had to take the advice of our tyre supplier."
Ron Dennis (Team principal, McLaren Mercedes): "We had a detailed written confirmation from Michelin that the tyres were unsafe to run unless there was a chicane put in to slow the speed into this (Turn 13) corner. This was confirmed again (at) 5 o'clock this morning, and since that time we've been trying with other teams to convince FIA to put a chicane in the circuit, and they refused. (So you have to think about the spectators, the 150,000 that come in here and all the spectators at home. What do you think about that?): Our primary responsibility is to the safety of my drivers, and I fully understand the consequences for Formula One are severe, and certainly enjoyment for the spectators here.
"But we gave many hours notice that we had severe problems, and the explicit, absolute explicit documented information from Michelin prohibited us from racing on these tyres unless we were able to reduce to corner speed of the corner leading onto the pit straights. The teams had no alternative. We were for this to be a non-championship race; we were prepared to race later; we were prepared to do virtually anything other than to race through that corner at high speed. And that's an unacceptable risk.
(So you're not pointing the finger at Ferrari and the FIA?): "Not pointing any fingers whatsoever; I'm saying we did everything we could along with nine other teams to find a solution to this problem, and as you can see, a solution wasn't found. (Could this possibly be the last time that Formula One comes to the United States due to this situation?): I sincerely hope not.
(Please give me a synopsis of this day): "It's a bad day for Formula One, but a clear demonstration of the difficulties the teams constantly have with finding solutions to problems. We initially were informed by Michelin on Friday, and the data coming to us has become more severe. The final tests in Europe were found to clearly demonstrate that we were unable to run on our tyres and subject them to the forces leading to the turn onto the straight. Michelin has not hidden from their responsibilities, but their only solution was to put a chicane prior to this corner to reduce cornering speed, and this was rejected by the governing body."
Christian Horner (Sporting director, Red Bull Racing): "Obviously, it was a very difficult decision to take. We acted on the advice of Michelin, who as you can see instructed all teams that the tyres were unsafe to race here this weekend without the introduction of a chicane prior to Turn 13. Unfortunately, we were unable in the interest of safety for both our drivers, teams, and spectators to start the race today. Obviously, we've come here to race. We are extremely embarrassed about the situation, especially for all the guys who have paid to come here this afternoon to watch the race. I can only apologize on our behalf, and I'm sure of all the teams that we haven't put on the show that we wanted to this afternoon.
(If chicane was put in): "I think if we could have been able to slow the cars before Turn 13, then there wouldn't have been a problem. (About having drivers slow cars down without chicane): The problem is they are all racing drivers at the end of the day. How do you tell them to slow down, you know? When they are racing, they are pushing, they are defending, and they're attacking. It would be an impossible situation to police. (About easing any driver frustration): David says he is a racer, and he would have taken the risks. But, you know, it is my responsibility as a team principal to act in the best interest of safety. And on the instruction from Michelin, the decision was very straightforward. We have seen several big accidents here due to tyre failures. Michelin were adamant that they didn't want the cars to run this afternoon, so we have really operated on their response."
Flavio Briatore (Team principal, Renault): "We said we didn't want to race with this situation like this. We wanted a chicane, and it would take less than one hour to put that in and make everybody happy. (What message to the Indianapolis fans?): Only that I am sorry, I'm sorry for the fans, but there was no question for us to race here. (But how can a multi-million pound sport that that travels around the world has global exposure find itself in this situation?): Sometimes you have a problem with a car, you break the suspension, and you tell the driver come back to the garage. This was a technical problem, and we needed to sure the problem was cured, but all we asked for was a different configuration this year, that was possible to change.
(So why did that not happen?): "You need to ask the Federation. (We have reports that some fans are throwing things onto the track): We are sad, our mechanics are sad, the drivers are sad we want to race, we want to race. We don't care if Ferrari started up front. We wanted to race for no points."
Norbert Haug (Vice president, Mercedes Benz Motorsports): "We took the decision. We offered a compromise that was not possible. We would have liked to have raced for the spectators especially, but this is not the case which said. We just followed the advice of our tyre partner, Michelin, and if they had safety concerns we cannot race. We offered a compromise that was not possible. That is why we have a race with six cars right now.
(Will this hurt Daimler-Chrysler in America?): "No, everyone will understand if there are safety concerns. We cannot influence that. We have a partnership with Michelin, and I find it very brave of them to say we have some concerns and react accordingly. (Will there be legal issues with IMS CEO Tony George?): We cannot race if we have tyre problems. That is quite obvious. It is sad. We offered a compromise, which wasn't taken. I understand the rules are the rules, but at least we tried to find a way to do it."
Tsutomu Tomita (Team principal, Toyota): "First, we would like to apologize to all the race fans and sponsors watching, both here and around the world. We are sorry to have to take this decision, particularly in the light of Jarno Trulli's pole position here yesterday. But the safety of our drivers always has to come first. After a detailed explanation of the tyre problems encountered this weekend, we could not legitimately send our drivers out for a race distance. Therefore, we did not race either car this afternoon. We look forward to returning to the track at the French Grand Prix in a fortnight."
Sam Michael (Technical director, BMW WilliamsF1 Team): "We are extremely sorry to all the fans that turned up today to see a race. We are all racers, as well, but unfortunately we could not deliver today. It was too much risk to us. We had an instruction from Michelin, our tyre supplier, this morning to say that the tyres in the current circuit layout were not safe to race. They would not condone us racing on them. At that point the only way they would condone it would be if Turn 13 was slowed down through the use of some sort of chicane.
"That did not happen. So we took the grid and the formation lap for the fans so they could at least see the cars and the drivers on the grid, and after formation lap we had to come into the pits. We could not put the cars in a racing situation. Unfortunately we can't risk the drivers' lives. It is a mistake for Michelin. We've tried everything over the last 18 hours, since last night, to try and get some sort of compromise where we could race for the fans. It did not happen, so we had to withdraw the cars after the formation lap. We are extremely sorry to all the fans that turned up here to see a Grand Prix. We are all racers. We want to race, but we could not do it today. I'm sorry.
(What would have been a realistic compromise?): "The compromise that we suggested was to put a chicane at the entry to the pit lane. It has been done before. It was done in Barcelona, in '94, with no problems at all to run with the chicane. That was the compromise we offered. We also offered, because it was a Michelin problem, and not a problem for Bridgestone, we offered that all six Bridgestone cars would take the top six grid positions and Michelin drivers would form up in their qualifying order from seventh place down. That was the offer that we made, and it was rejected."
Bernie Ecclestone (Chief executive officer, Formula One Management Ltd.): (What is your feeling for the fans?): "I feel sorry for them."
Ricardo Zonta (Toyota): "Of course, I would have liked to race, but in the conditions we had today it was really, really risky. Any car could crash on Lap 2, Lap 5 or Lap 70, so it was very dangerous, and nobody wants to damage himself. All Michelin teams decided it was better not racing, of course, for safety."
Christian Klien (Red Bull Racing): "I think it is sad for everyone. We are all very disappointed for the racers, especially the spectators. They all came here to see a good race, but if (the drivers) crash going around the track, it is definitely not good for the sport here in America. There was a safety issue, and we were advised by Michelin to don't race. Safety is first. (About what could have happened): For sure, the tyres wouldn't have lasted. That's for sure. It would have worked out with a chicane in the last corner, but it didn't, so we couldn't race. (About why they pulled out): I mean, that's Michelin and all the politics of Formula One for why we didn't race."
Jacques Villeneuve (Sauber Petronas): (About pulling out of the race): We have no choice. The tyres are dangerous. Probably every car would have blown their tyres, which is also dangerous for the crowd. So, it was a Michelin decision, and that was the only decision they could make. We could have raced with a chicane, if a chicane had been put before the banking, but Ferrari didn't accept. (How do you feel for the fans?): It's extremely disappointing, but there are three teams still racing, and one of them didn't agree to the chicane. It could have helped the sport, but I understand their position. It's not their fault that our tyres aren't working.
(How bad is it for Formula One, especially here in the U.S.?): "It's terrible, but there's nothing we can do about the tyres. We arrive here, and there's something wrong (with the tyres). There are rules, and right now the race is going on according to the rules. (How embarrassing is this for F1?): It is embarrassing, but if you had 14 cars in the wall within 20 laps with tyres blown and the risk of hurting the public, then that would have been more embarrassing. (Could a chicane have been built in that short timeframe?): Oh yeah, definitely, that would have been very easy, but Ferrari didn't want to, I think. With the chicane, the tyre would have been safe. We were just hoping a chicane would have been put in, because then we could have raced. (Does this mean you are onboard with the decision?): There's nothing I could do. It's not in my hands. But if the tyres are judged too not be safe, then it is the right decision. (Have you ever been in a situation like this?) No. Never."
Felipe Massa (Sauber Petronas): "I mean, it's not my decision. It's the decision from Michelin and from FIA. So I don't have anything to say. (Have you ever been in a situation like this?): No, never, never. (About not being in the race): It's very bad, but I feel like every Michelin driver. This is very bad for the sport. I feel also safe because I know that with these tyres they maybe could have been even worse in the whole race, maybe worse even -- dangerous. (If a chicane had been built, would you have felt comfortable racing?) Yeah, but they need to give us at least some laps to learn the track with the new chicane."
David Coulthard (Red Bull Racing): "We have been acting under instruction on the grounds of safety from Michelin that there was no choice to go race. (On why chicane was not built): I can't answer that. I believe there was a disagreement for Ferrari to accept, and that would be the case. And obviously Charlie (Whiting) made his position on behalf of the FIA quite clear that he didn't feel that they should have to alter the track. I think this is a unique situation. I think it was one on the grounds of safety they could have taken that stance. I know it is going to be one of these scenarios now, 'Who should have done?' and 'Who could have done?'
"The reality is that mature adults were not able to come to a resolution that would have allowed us to put on the show that everybody wants to see in Formula One. We wanted to go racing. It is a very sad day for this sport, I would have to say. I am so, so sorry for what we've done, because there was a way out. There was a way to create a solution to let us go racing. Yes, it wasn't the fault of Bridgestone that Michelin had a problem here, but we are all traveling the same circus together and we are all working together, and there has to be a compromise that allows a way of penalizing the Michelin runners and benefiting the Bridgestone runners because of the fault that Michelin had. But this extreme of not having cars on the racetrack, there are going to be a lot of people in Formula One turned away from the sport because of this.
(About how he feels): I feel terrible. I have a sick feeling in my stomach. I am embarrassed to be a part of this. I wish we could have found a solution that had us out here on the racetrack. (About what he would have decided): I absolutely respect the instructions of Michelin. They are our technical tyre partner. They understand how their product operates. Do I feel fear about running on this circuit with our tyre? No, not at all. I am a racer. If I had fear in my body, then I wouldn't be out on a racetrack for starts. FIA said to me on the formation lap, 'Let's go racing.' I said when we pulled away from the grid, 'If it is turned to me to make a decision, then let's go racing.'
"But we have to respect Michelin. We have to respect the other teams for all standing by with their instructions, as well. What we have to be disappointed at is that we couldn't come to an agreement for the good of the sport. Forget whether Ferrari are getting 16 points here or not. And they may both blow up, and then you may see two Jordans getting first and second, so it's by no means guaranteed that they will get the points. It is just terrible that we ended up with this situation. (About how this affects the future): This just sets a precedent that I guess we are going to see at other times in the future. It's unfortunate. There only are 10 teams. If we can't find a solution that is good for the sport ... The crowd there is wondering what in the hell is going on. It is embarrassing."
Takuma Sato: (BAR Honda): "I feel very bad for the people who came here to support today. Sorry. (Did you want to race given the conditions?): Of course, everybody wanted to race."
Jenson Button (BAR Honda): "It's disappointing that we can't race, but we're not going to race if it's not safe. (About the fans): It's very disappointing for them, I'm sure. They have to realize that if it's not safe to drive, we have to be careful because we're traveling at high speed. There's not much we can do about it. We can't do much. We have to think about our safety first."
Nick Heidfeld (BMW WilliamsF1 Team): "Basically, Michelin took the decision that it was too dangerous. It is very unfortunate for all of us, especially for the spectators. I am sorry, but we didn't have a choice. This decision was made on the grounds of safety. They do not want to hurt any drivers, and they do not want to hurt any spectators. It is very bad, but at least we do not try to kill anybody. There was a problem on one of our tyres. Only a small one, but we didn't know how it would be if we were to continue. There were a lot of problems on the other cars. We have seen last year how bad it can be. In the end, it was simply Michelin's decision. They are our partners, and they advised all the teams that it would not be safe to run and asked us not to do it. To be honest, I think this is a disaster for Formula One in the United States. As drivers, we would have liked to drive, but there is nothing we could have done from the driver's side."
Mark Webber (BMW WilliamsF1 Team): "The long and short of it is that we are not prepared to do the race from a safety point of view. We are drivers, and we want to go, but it is not safe for us. There is no gray area with this situation. It is either working or it's not. That's the problem with us. There is so much unchartered water that we don't know where the tyre is. Hopefully we can come out the other side of it. We have seen bad days before, and we have come out the other side. We have to move on."
Patrick Friesacher (Minardi F1 Team): "It was quite bad because only six cars were on the grid. It's a shame for the sport, I think, and really not good for Formula One. At then end it was bad, really bad for the sport. (We knew about the Michelin teams) early this morning because they wanted to put the chicane in the last corner, and I guess nine teams agreed to it and one team didn't agree, and it was decided. We knew the Michelin tyres, they already said, that they can not do more than 10 laps."
Jarno Trulli (Toyota): (How do you feel?): "It's a shame for Formula One, in general. But we couldn't avoid this situation. We all knew all Michelin teams to run and finish the race was too dangerous. I think that today Formula One and the sport as one somehow we didn't give the show to the USA people and supporters. But that's life. Sometimes these things can happen. (Did you personally feel safe enough to stay out there?) It's not a question if to feel safe or not to make a decision. We have analyzed data, and Michelin has analyzed data. They felt we were in danger today. So it was as simple as that. (What did you feel when you were told that you were not to race?) I feel that the decision for us not to race is sad. But it had to happen here in Formula One as we all knew we were in danger for us as a team, as a driver, and for the spectators and was too dangerous to race. So we had to stop. It is very unfortunate in front of the USA people, but these things happen.
(If this decision was up to you what would you do?): No you cannot race. We were in danger. It's so clear, it's also written in the rules, when it is not safe you cannot compete in a competition. It's very unfortunate that it has happened here in the USA and really sorry for all fans and supporters. But we tried to avoid this situation, but unfortunately other teams regularly stand up and say, 'No, we cannot accept anything else rather than the normal rules,' and this is how it ended up. (How badly do you feel for the fans who have spent thousands to come here?): It's really bad and hope we can recover from it and try to do something. We have done it not only for us as a team, as a driver, but also for them. For the fans, because they don't want to see drivers crashing into the walls or taking too many risks. It's already enough risk in Formula One, in motorsport in general, and the reason was calculated: We had a problem with the tyres.
(How frustrating is it to know that you were on the pole and now do not have the chance to just get out there?): In general as a driver, I'm frustrated not to be driving today. But we have to understand the situation, that there was a danger. (Are you frustrated with Ferrari at all because if they would have gone along with the chicane you would be racing right now?) No, I think we cannot claim Ferrari as the guilty. Ferrari was right where they expect the rules were clear from the race director. That's the rules. If you cannot race, you do not race.
(Thoughts on what message is being put across here): "I think Formula One has sent the message that there more sensible priority to be safe, and today we prove that we're sensible people. Someone has made a mistake, and we are sorry it every and all fans that we couldn't race. (Who took the ultimate decision on not to race?) The team managers just took the decision with all things together. It was very clear that it was unsafe and that we couldn't race. But I am really sorry for the USA fans because they came to support us and see our show
Christijan Albers: (Minardi): "Yeah, of course, it is not really good for Formula One. Also you have to be fair in life. Michelin has always had some advantages to Bridgestone. I think they were always a little bit maybe on the limit. I don't know. I have no clue. The Michelins were not strong enough for here, and the Bridgestones were strong enough, so you have to give Bridgestone the advantage. This is the result. What shall the teams be really glad with? Even when it is not good for Formula One. But this is life.
(Any issues with Turn 13?): "No, not at all. It was no problem for us. We had a really good weekend. (About today's effect on future F1 races): I think that a lot of people just learned a lot from this and from the mistakes. We have to see what's going on later on."
From being lapped by his own team-mate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...
As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing windtunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places
After winning his past few Formula 1 titles at a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit
OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences
OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining
Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives
There was simply no stopping Lewis Hamilton on Formula 1's first visit to Qatar. The Mercedes driver eased to pole position and led every lap to secure an utterly dominant victory - even without a key Mercedes weapon in his arsenal to increase the heat on Red Bull heading into the final two races of the gripping 2021 title race
John Surtees and Enzo Ferrari parted ways amicably but could have achieved more together. On the weekend that Formula 1 makes its bow in Qatar, a country best-known for staging bike racing, NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls the career of the formidable ‘Big John’ - the first man to achieve success at the highest level on two and four wheels