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Team Quotes - Sunday 22 May


2005 Monaco GP

Team Quotes - Sunday 22 May

Jean Todt: This weekend ended much as we expected. Although we had a car-tyre package that was very quick in the race, the characteristics of this circuit meant that neither of our drivers was able to overtake slower cars which would have allowed them to exploit the potential of the car. On the track, Michael's race was conditioned by what happened during the incident behind the Minardi. He could not avoid colliding with Coulthard, which broke the front wing. Michael therefore had to pit earlier than expected. Rubens also had some troubles. As he was about to leave the pits after his stop, his engine stalled and, as he rejoined the track he broke the pit lane speed limit and had to return for a penalty. The outcome of the race shows once again we have to work very hard on improving the performance of our package in qualifying. Our rivals have built the basis of their success on the one flying lap which leaves us to fight an uphill battle in the race.

Ross Brawn: It was a bit of a frustrating afternoon, because you could see in the middle of the race that our car had huge potential. Michael set the fastest lap when he still had a lot of fuel in the car. But this was typical of the type of race you can expect to have at this circuit if you do not qualify well. Basically, we had to follow other cars and were not able to use our pace. The tyres were perfect for the race, but we were not able to qualify well and here we paid very heavily for that. Things might have been different if Michael had not got caught up in the mess behind the Minardi, while Rubens stalled in the pits which cost him a lot of time. So, a lot of potential, but we could not use it.

The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team experienced a challenging afternoon at today's Monaco Grand Prix. The team scored five points, taking its total in the constructors' championship to 63 points, thanks to Fernando Alonso's fourth place finish.

The race began strongly, with Alonso running second and Fisichella third in the opening stages, and when the race fell under safety car conditions just before half distance, both drivers were called into the pits for their only stop. After this, they rejoined the race in 3rd (Alonso) and 8th (Fisichella) positions. Prior to the race, the team's engineers had predicted that rear tyre wear might prove severe on the R25, even on the harder compound tyre chosen by both drivers, and the effects of this began to show from mid-race onwards.

Fisichella lost speed after his stop, reporting a lack of grip which continued to worsen until the end of the race; the lack of rear grip cost him traction and braking stability, and he was unable to defend his position against his direct competitors. He finished the race in 12th place. Fernando Alonso resisted longer, the Spaniard fending off the two Williams until the final ten laps. He was nevertheless able to finish fourth, maintaining his position atop the drivers' championship, and salvage five points from a testing afternoon for the team.

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: The only way to analyse a race like this is to look at things calmly. On the negative side, our competitors did a better job than us this afternoon and we need to understand why our car had such severe problems with tyre wear; on the positive side, it was a day when it would have been easy to score no points at all, and we still got five. Fernando worked miracles to finish fourth, while Fisico couldn't do anything as his tyre wear was even worse. This is not a performance that puts us under pressure – we already were, as always in Formula 1. The season will be a long one, and we now that we all have to work hard to maintain our position at the top of the table.

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: We gave the drivers a very difficult task today, and they responded fantastically: to finish the race with both cars in circumstances where it would have been extremely easy to crash out, is a real accomplishment. We chose the harder tyre for the race because we knew that rear tyre wear might be a problem on our car, but unfortunately, it exceeded even our most pessimistic predictions. We took a risk in pitting both cars when the safety car came out, but that wasn't the critical factor today – it was the tyres. Now, we must analyse why we suffered so much with rear tyre wear where our competitors did not.

Both BMW WilliamsF1 Team drivers achieved their career best Formula One results at the most important Grand Prix of the entire season. Nick Heidfeld finished second in Monaco while his team-mate Mark Webber joined him on the podium having followed Nick over the line in third position.

Sam Michael (Technical Director WilliamsF1): It was a good job from the whole team and it was fantastic to see Nick and Mark side by side on the podium. We raced a tyre that was perfectly suited to Monaco. This is a circuit that rewards cars with a lot of downforce and an ability to look after the tyres. From today's result we were clearly the closest to McLaren. On the strategy we made ground during the safety car period by stopping both of our cars. On the second stop we took a risk with Nick by calling him in earlier. We then did the same with Mark but unfortunately for Mark he lost a place to Nick.

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): This was a Monaco Grand Prix with all sort of highs and lows which are typical for this unique race. Both drivers got stuck behind slower cars for most of the race distance. Only the overtaking manoeuvres at the end set them free. At the end of the day we have a great result for both drivers and the entire team. It is the best result of our season so far and reminds us of the Monaco Grand Prix of two years ago which marked a turning point.

West McLaren Mercedes driver Kimi Raikkonen won the 2005 Monaco Grand Prix in dominant form never once losing the lead in the 78-lap race after starting from pole position. Today's race was also the 200th Grand Prix for Mercedes-Benz. It's the Finn's fourth Formula One victory and his first in Monaco. This is the 13th victory for McLaren in the Principality which is more than any other team. The most recent win for the West McLaren Mercedes team was in 2002 (David Coulthard). Juan Pablo Montoya finished the race in fifth place having started from 16th position on the grid. Both drivers were on one-stop-strategies which saw Kimi coming in on lap 42 (10.5 seconds) whilst Juan Pablo did his refuelling stop on lap 46 (9.5 seconds). Kimi has moved to second in the Drivers' World Championship with 27 points whilst Juan Pablo is eighth with 14 points. West McLaren Mercedes moved to second in the Constructors' Championship with 51 points.

Ron Dennis: A tremendous result for the team. Kimi drove an absolute faultless race coping well with the need to pace himself to not only conserving the car but of course also the tyres. The safety car deployment caused minor confusion with our strategists working to double-check the data before making the final call on whether to bring Kimi into the pits or not. Clearly they were right and the outcome obvious. Juan Pablo had an impressive drive through the field which coupled with our strategy gave him a well deserved fifth place. A special mention to our Partner Michelin who clearly gave us the best tyres today.

Norbert Haug: A race with thrills and excitement. A fantastic performance by Kimi and Juan Pablo and an excellent job by the entire team. Our strategy was ideal and Kimi extended his lead to over half of a minute and was able to look after the car and the Michelin tyres. With his fifth place overall; Juan Pablo made the best out of his 16th starting position on the grid. We now look forward to next weekend's race at the Nürburgring which is the first of two Mercedes-Benz home Grands Prix.

Sauber drivers Felipe Massa and Jacques Villeneuve finished ninth and 11th respectively in today's Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo.

Peter Sauber (Team Principal): "We had a perfect strategy for the race today and some very good work by the pit crew brought us up to a very strong position after the first incident that brought out the Safety Car. However, the incident caused by Jacques cost us five valuable championship points that would have enabled us to close the gap on our direct competitor, Red Bull. What happened today is the most depressing thing that a team can experience."

A frustrating day for Red Bull Racing at the Monaco Grand Prix. After qualifying in seventh position, David Coulthard's race came to a premature end on Lap 23 when he was the victim of an incident involving Minardi driver Christijan Albers. After spinning in his Minardi at Mirabeau, Albers blocked the track ahead of David Coulthard and Michael Schumacher. David was able to slow and avoid the stricken car, but Michael's Ferrari clipped the rear of Coulthard's car, causing floor, back-wing and rear-suspension damage. David's team-mate Tonio Liuzzi retired when extensive rear tyre wear unbalanced his car and he hit the barrier on lap 61. Both drivers retired their cars in the pit lane.

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: It was a frustrating incident for David and the second time he was hit over the weekend through no fault of his own. He had looked in good shape with the amount of fuel that he had in the car, so it's disappointing he wasn't able to capitalise on what was a very good grid position. Tonio struggled with excessive tyre wear, which ultimately caused him to hit the barrier and end his race. It's a frustrating finish to the weekend; ultimately it promised a lot, but failed to deliver.

Günther Steiner, Technical Director: The impact of Michael's collision with David broke the rear suspension, rear wing and floor and we had no choice, but to stop him. Michael was lucky as he just broke his front wing, was able to go into the pits and finish in the points. For Tonio, it's disappointing that his tyres went off. The weekend was looking very promising, but in the end was not so good.

Simon Corbyn, Head of Race Engineering, Cosworth: George Lucas pointed out on Friday that Darth Vader isn't known for his tolerance of failure, therefore I'm relieved to be able to confirm that Cosworth had no engine concerns throughout the Monaco GP weekend. Once more both TJ2005 engines ran reliably throughout their second events & we had no performance or driveability problems on the demanding street circuit.

Panasonic Toyota Racing's Ralf Schumacher was delighted after he went from the back of the field to take 6th place at an incident-strewn Monaco Grand Prix. Ralf passed a number of cars before taking advantage of a hectic day to take three points. Team-mate Jarno Trulli had an even more eventful afternoon, running as high as 2nd for a long period before dropping back after an audacious passing manoeuvre at the Loews hairpin. He eventually finished 10th. Ralf's points keep Toyota in the top three of the constructors' championship on 43 points.

Ralf Schumacher had the most difficult job of all today after starting from the back. But he made up four places in the early laps before moving further up during the safety car period. He ended up fending off the two Ferraris on his way to three points for 6th place.

Last year's Monaco Grand Prix winner Jarno Trulli ran as high as second during the safety car period. He then pulled off an outstanding manoeuvre to pass Giancarlo Fisichella at the Loews hairpin. But he pitted soon after, complaining of a handling problem. His eventual 10th place was hard earned and he remains in the world championship top three.

An exciting afternoon of racing around Monaco's twisty streets saw mixed fortunes for the two Toyota drivers. But Ralf Schumacher's three points are another useful addition to the team's haul for the year.

Tsutomu Tomita – Team Principal: "It was a very good race from Ralf and it was a very good, richly deserved result. After his crash yesterday, to drive a completely rebuilt car from last to 6th is a very good performance. It shows again that in Monaco anything can happen at any time. You just need to keep up there until the very end. By contrast, Jarno was very unlucky. Because we were on a one-stop strategy the safety car period didn't play into our hands and he ended up stuck behind another car. When he tried to pass him he went over the kerbs very heavily and then he reported a handling problem. We checked the car in the pit stop and didn't see anything which was why we sent him out again. It's a pity he missed out on points but both drivers performed very well and in terms of a spectacle this was one of the best races of the season."

After a difficult final aggregated qualifying session due to unbalanced cars Tiago Monteiro and Narain Karthikeyan qualified in 15th and 16th position respectively. Both drivers experienced mixed fortunes during the very demanding 78-lap Monaco race. Narain Karthikeyan had to retire on lap 23 after he had a contact with the barrier, which damaged the hydraulic system of his car. Tiago Monteiro, however, had a good start, managed to avoid race incidents and finished 13th. The team is going now straight to Germany to prepare for the European Grand Prix in a week's time.

Trevor Carlin: Unfortunately Narain Karthikeyan retired after a small broach with the barriers and damaged the hydraulic system on the car. Tiago Monteiro did a good steady job and brought the car home even though he had a few handling problems. This is another race finish for Jordan Grand Prix and a 100% finish rate for Tiago.

The 2005 Monaco Grand Prix didn't yield the result that been hoped for, but the Minardi F1 Team will nevertheless leave the Principality substantially encouraged by the events of the weekend. At the top of the list, Christijan Albers' 14th-place finish in today's event marked the first Formula One race finish for the Minardi Cosworth PS05, introduced at the recent San Marino Grand Prix, and indicates that the hard-working Faenza squad has made substantial progress with vehicle reliability. In addition, the pace of Albers and team mate, Patrick Friesacher, both in qualifying and in the race, shows the team is beginning to unlock some of the undoubted potential of the new car. Driving in their first-ever Monaco Grand Prix, both Minardi drivers had eventful races today. Albers spun at the hairpin on lap 23, but eventually took the chequered flag after a gritty drive, while Friesacher, on a two-stop strategy as opposed to his team mate's single stop, put in a series of impressive laps up to his scheduled pit stop on lap 24. Unfortunately, the handling of his car had deteriorated after the stop, with the result that the young Austrian had an encounter with Monaco's notoriously unyielding barriers that caused his retirement from the race.

Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, Minardi Cosworth: Considering this marks the first Formula One finish for the Minardi Cosworth PS05, and we were ahead of our nearest rivals on race pace, I really feel that serious progress has been made this weekend. Despite both cars struggling to maintain grip during certain stages of the race, Christijan soldiered on to achieve a well-deserved finish, while Patrick, having had his best weekend in Formula One thus far, sadly did not get to see the chequered flag. The whole team has put in an outstanding effort this weekend, and it's now onwards and upwards to the next race.

Bridgestone Motorsport's engineers were boosted today by the race pace of the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro cars in the 63rd Monaco Grand Prix which saw Michael Schumacher set the fastest lap of the race. Although he and Barrichello crossed the finishing line in seventh and eighth respectively, the competitiveness of their car and tyre package was evident. Hampered by a poor first qualifying performance on Saturday, the pair started the 78-lap race from eighth and tenth on the grid. Unfortunately, a spin by a back marker brought out the Safety Car, followed by Barrichello stalling in the pits and a subsequent drive through penalty for speeding in pitlane stacked the odds against the pair. The Scuderia team now lies fifth in the Constructors' Championship. Tiago Monteiro and Christijan Albers of the Jordan and Minardi teams will both be pleased to have finished one of the most challenging and prestigious races on the F1 calendar. Unfortunately their teammates did not fare so well and Patrick Friesacher in particular will be disappointed after looking strong all weekend.

Hisao Suganuma – Technical Manager – Bridgestone Motorsport: Overall we're pleased with the performance in the race today but disappointed with the final result. During the race we saw the two Ferraris looking very quick with Michael setting the fastest lap on lap 40. We are also pleased with the status of our tyres after the race, we didn't experience any problems with wear or blisters, everything was fine and we kept the performance during the whole race. However, it is a shame that the Ferrari drivers could not qualify in a better position and the overall qualifying performance of the car and tyre package needs to be improved.

Ross Brawn – Technical Director – Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro: That was a very frustrating race because the potential of the car was huge in the middle of the race. Michael set the fastest lap with a lot of fuel still in the car but it is a typical Monaco race if you don't qualify well as you end up following everybody else. In the race, the Bridgestone tyres were very good, they were perfect for it but we couldn't get the qualifying lap and we paid for it here. In amongst all that it was unfortunate that Michael got caught up in the mess behind the Minardi as things could have been different. Rubens stalled in the pits which cost him a few places as well. So, not a great weekend with bags of potential.

Kimi Raikkonen scored another dominant Formula One victory in today's 52nd Monaco Grand Prix. The Finn led away from pole position, pulled more than a second clear of his rivals on the opening lap and was never seriously challenged thereafter. It was his second consecutive F1 success and fourth in all – as well as a seventh on the trot for Michelin.

"Monaco is only worth 10 points, just like any other race," said Kimi, "but it does give you a special feeling. I almost won here two years ago, but was narrowly beaten by Juan Pablo Montoya, so it's nice to do it at last. We have worked hard, and I think we have the best package out there at the moment. One again thank you to the entire team and everybody at Michelin."

Ron Dennis, McLaren Group chairman: "This was clearly a challenging race for the tyre manufacturers and I'm obviously delighted with Michelin's performance. We've had no problems at all this weekend. A special mention to our partner Michelin who clearly gave us the best tyres today."

World championship leader Fernando Alonso and Renault team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella initially ran second and third, but their cars proved to be harder on rear tyres than those of some rival teams and they were forced to defend stoutly during the second half of the race.

Alonso only ceded a podium position in the closing stages, when the Michelin-shod Williams- BMWs of Nick Heidfeld and Mark Webber passed him at the harbourside chicane to finish second and third – career-best results for both and a maiden F1 podium for Webber.

Sam Michaël – Technical Director Williams F1: "It was a good job from the whole team and it is fantastic to see Nick and Mark side by side on the podium. We raced a Michelin tyre that was perfectly suited to Monaco."

Alonso was unable to relax even then, because Juan Pablo Montoya led a snake of cars that was closing fast. After recovering from 16th on the grid – he was penalised for causing "an avoidable accident" during Saturday's free practice – the Colombian finished fifth, just 0.160s behind Alonso.

Ralf Schumacher completed an all-Michelin top six – and he had to work hard, too, after starting last in the wake of a qualifying accident. He was just half a second behind Alonso at the flag… and 0.046s in front of brother Michael's Ferrari. The latter's team-mate Rubens Barrichello completed the top eight.

Of the other Michelin runners, Jarno Trulli initially looked set to challenge for a strong finish but went straight on at the chicane and made an unscheduled stop to check for damage. As a result, he dropped to 10th.

Felipe Massa finished ninth, despite losing time when team-mate Jacques Villeneuve forced him down an escape road after a failed overtaking manoeuvre at Ste Dévote. After being elbowed aside by Trulli, Fisichella – who also lost time in the pits when his refuelling flap refused to open –eventually finished 12th, behind Villeneuve.

Red Bull team-mates David Coulthard and Vitantonio Liuzzi were the only Michelin drivers not to last the distance. Coulthard ran seventh initially, but was first car on the scene when Albers spun. Although he jinked around the Dutchman, the following Michael Schumacher was unable to stop and ran into the back of the Scot, inflicting terminal suspension damage. Liuzzi retired after sliding into a barrier.

Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director: "Today we witnessed another excellent result for Michelin and its partner teams – but we also saw clearly how alternative set-ups and traction control maps can influence tyre wear in different ways. The top three drivers used two different prime and one option. From the tests we previously conducted we knew that the result for the level of wear for the two prime specifications was similar."

"The wear rates in the race were pretty much what we predicted and it was very satisfying to see Kimi Raikkonen and McLaren-Mercedes continue our unbeaten run. To annexe the top six places with four partner teams once again illustrates Michelin's ability to provide competitive tyres for a wide range of different circumstances."

"I think we have witnessed both ends of the wear-rate spectrum this season. The compounds we used in Australia would probably have lasted for three race distances, but some teams have pushed their tyres right to the limit today. As always, we will go away and put these lessons to good use as we strive to maintain the advantage our Formula One partners enjoy at present."

Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula One, Team McLaren Mercedes "Our Michelin tyres were excellent today. We worked very diligently during the build-up to Monaco because there's a delicate balance to be struck between traction and grip. We concentrated hard on that and were able to attack at the end of a race in a way that some teams weren't.

"I'd like to thank Michelin for providing tyres that gave both our drivers tremendous confidence."


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