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Team Quotes - Sunday 8 May


2005 Spain GP

Team Quotes - Sunday 8 May

Jean Todt: We knew this would be a difficult race, but it turned out to be tougher than expected. In the middle stint of the race, it seemed we might be able to produce a repeat of our Imola performance, with Michael on a great climb up the order, thanks to a strategy of going for a longer first stint than his rivals. Unfortunately, on lap 44, a loss of pressure in the left rear tyre meant Michael had to pit to change it. A similar problem, this time to the left front, occurred on lap 46 and Michael retired at this point. All our chances now rested with Rubens, who despite his best efforts and a one-stop strategy, finished just outside the points, having started from the penultimate row. We have to accept that in this first part of the season, our opponents are stronger than us. But we will not get discouraged and we will absolutely not give up. We will tackle the rest of the championship with the same will and determination that has characterised our approach for so many years.

Ross Brawn: At the end, this was a very disappointing result. And it was all the more frustrating as I think we were in a strong position with Michael at one stage of the race. I do not think he could have won, but a podium finish would have been possible. We had two consecutive problems with the left side tyres, so now we need to find out exactly what happened. I know Fisichella had to pit because of debris, so maybe Michael also picked up some of that. Rubens did well, considering where he started. He drove well and pushed hard and did the best he could. We switched him to a one-stop strategy and it was a shame he could not stay ahead of Coulthard. It is clear that now, we need to regroup and go forward to improve the situation.

The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team took twelve points, and its sixth podium finish of the season, this afternoon at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona. Fernando Alonso took second place in his home Grand Prix, his fifth consecutive podium finish, while Giancarlo Fisichella came home fifth after a difficult race during which he lost time through a bodywork breakage. This saw the team advance his second pit-stop in order to solve the problem, and meant the Italian relinquished second position.

The team nevertheless has further extended its lead in the Constructors' Championship, scoring 12 points this afternoon to take its total to 58 points, 18 ahead of closest rivals Toyota. Fernando sits atop the drivers' championship with 44 points, while Giancarlo is 4th with 14 points.

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: You can't win all the races in a season and on days like this, you need to be able to think about the championship as well. Today, we have scored a fantastic result for the team: we got both cars home in the points, one on the podium – and would have had two there apart from Fisi's problem. Giancarlo drove a great race, and we have to say sorry to him for the problem with his car that cost him a podium. Fernando didn't make any mistakes, and deserved his second place in front of the Spanish crowd. We also congratulate McLaren on an impressive performance this afternoon.

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: First of all, I would like to congratulate McLaren – they simply out-paced us today. Fernando's race was reasonably controlled, although a little rear tyre blistering caused him problems in the early stages and once it had cleaned up, it was too late for him to be able to mount a challenge on Kimi. Giancarlo drove an excellent race: he looked set to take second position until a problem with the bodywork around the floor of the car slowed him dramatically during his second stint. The team reacted very quickly, and Fisico made a very early second stop to fix the problem. His challenge from then on was to maintain his pace and climb the order as others pitted, a task he accomplished faultlessly. It was a small consolation to see him record the fastest lap on the final lap of the race.

Mark Webber collected three points today for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team, finishing in 6th position. Team-mate Nick Heidfeld fought his way up from 17th on the grid to 10th place.

Sam Michael (Technical Director WilliamsF1): With Mark's car we did not achieve the best possible result. Considering he was 5th after first qualifying yesterday we took a bit of a gamble on strategy by going for a short first stint. But the start was not good enough to make the strategy work so we then changed our schedule when Mark pitted for the first time, after 18 laps. Regarding Nick's car, we raced with the handicap that he had to start from the back of the grid. His race obviously was hampered by traffic but we had no mechanical problems in the race.

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): After qualifying we were hoping for more. Mark had a very bad start and was never in a position to benefit from the strategy that he was on. Nick improved from the end of the grid to tenth position. He was quick when he had no traffic, which was not very often the case. The engines which were built over Friday night in Munich worked fine.

West McLaren Mercedes driver Kimi Raikkonen took a dominant victory in today's 66-lap Spanish Grand Prix from pole position. The Finn claimed his third Formula One victory never losing the lead and at the end he crossed the finishing line 27.652 seconds ahead of current Championship leader Fernando Alonso. Team mate Juan Pablo Montoya finished seventh after a two race absence due to an injured shoulder. The Colombian was forced to make an additional pitstop when the fuel rig malfunctioned during his first scheduled stop on lap 30 (4.246 seconds) and he came in the following lap (10.019 seconds) and on lap 56 (4.711 seconds). Kimi came in for fuel on laps 24 (8.250 seconds) and 49 (6.786 seconds). Kimi has moved up to third in the Drivers' World Championship with 17 points whilst Juan Pablo is eighth with 10 points. West McLaren Mercedes is third in the Constructors standings with 37 points, now only three points away from second.

Roy Dennis: "A tremendous race for the team and a truly dominant performance by Kimi. His only problem was to find the discipline to actually slow down, once he had established a significant lead. Juan Pablo's race could have been so much better but an electrical problem which activated the safety system on the fuel rig almost certainly cost him a podium finish. Throughout the race, the performance of the Michelin tyres on both cars was great and certainly contributed a significant amount to the outcome."

Norbert Haug: "I would like to thank the entire team for a perfect job. Everybody has worked extremely hard to make this victory happen. I am really pleased for Kimi. He performed impressively by leading the race throughout from start to finish. Juan Pablo had the chance for a better result. However due to a problem with the fuel rig at his first pitstop he had to come in one more time. But again; great result, a baseline on which we can build."

Sauber driver Felipe Massa was classified 11th in today's Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona. Unfortunately, Jacques Villeneuve had to retire on lap 52 and was not classified.

Peter Sauber (Team Principal): "After our strong showing in Imola we are obviously disappointed as we were expecting more here. But we look forward to the next race."

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: David drove a very good race today, he stuck with it all the way through and he managed to extract another point. With five races and five point scoring finishes he maximised the cars potential, despite a heavy look up, which cause him a big vibration from early on in the race. We can see again, our potential is there as we were competitive with our rivals in lap time in the second half of the race although, we need to make further step in qualifying. Tonio, obviously, had a disappointing race. The car got away from him in corner 7 and unfortunately eliminating him from the race. He is testing next week and I'm sure he'll be in better shape for Monaco.

Günther Steiner, Technical Director: I am happy with David's result. His car did not have any problem. His tyre usage was on the limit but he managed it very well and brought home a point. We will now check the car very carefully so that the vibrations did not damage it. Toni had a disappointing race but these things happen. He wasn't happy with his balance and complained about turn in understeer and snappy oversteer in corner exit. And that is what happened to his car.

Dave Prigg, Cosworth: Overall a pleasing weekend's performance from Cosworth, with the TJ2005 engine having now powered Red Bull Racing to point in every round of the 2005 World Championship.

Panasonic Toyota Racing kept up its impressive start to the season at today's Spanish Grand Prix as Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher took 3rd and 4th after an epic race. The pair fought hard all day, running nose to tail for much of the race under the Barcelona sun before Jarno took his third podium in four races. The result keeps the team in second place in the constructors' championship with 40 points.

Jarno Trulli took a hard won 3rd place around the Circuit de Catalunya to take his points total for the season to 26 after a race-long battle with team-mate Ralf Schumacher. The pair could barely be separated all afternoon but Jarno ended up edging home for his third podium finish of 2005. The result consolidates his second place in the world championship.

Ralf Schumacher had a fine drive on his way to an eventual 4th place in today's Spanish Grand Prix. He ran with his nose under team-mate Jarno Trulli's gearbox for two-thirds of the race before finishing a fraction of a second behind. The result moves him up to equal 4th in the championship with 14 points.

After taking 3rd and 4th places at today's Spanish Grand Prix, Panasonic Toyota Racing has kept hold of second place in the constructors' championship. Both drivers performed strongly and the team's third podium in four races is another cause for celebration.

Tsutomu Tomita - Team Principal: "We're very happy to have made the podium successfully yet again, so I would like to congratulate both drivers for their excellent performances today. Either of them could have come away with the podium, but both earned a lot of points for Toyota. So it was a good race and a good day for the team all round. The reliability of the engine, chassis and transmission was perfect for both cars. So congratulations are due to the aerodynamics department and the manufacturing department, particularly composites, at TMG. It was an almost trouble-free race. We had a bit of a moment at Jarno's first pitstop when some fuel caught fire, but there was no damage to the car. We had been concerned about tyre wear before the race but it was effectively no issue at all. A good day, then, but we still finished behind two of our competitors so we still have a long way to go. Now we have to keep pushing."

There was mixed fortune for Jordan Grand Prix drivers in the second qualifying this morning. Tiago Monteiro experienced an engine failure, after qualifying in 14th position, and therefore had to start the race from the back of the grid. Narain Karthikeyan had a clean lap and qualified 13th. As for the race, both drivers were satisfied to finish today's 66-lap Spanish Grand Prix in 12th and 13th positions, giving them more valuable race experience and mileage. The drivers are encouraged by the recent improvements made to the car and are going now to prepare, physically but also more particularly mentally, for the special challenge that Monaco will present in two weeks time.

Trevor Carlin: It was really a tough race for both our drivers. We are glad to have finished again, as we were quite a long way off the pace. We were a bit disappointed about that but we knew from the start that this was going to be one of the hardest circuits for us. Now we have to look forward to the next race in Monaco.

Despite promising signs of progress on Friday and Saturday, the Minardi F1 Team had what could only be described as a disastrous 2005 Spanish Grand Prix. Starting from 14th and 15th places respectively, drivers Christijan Albers and Patrick Friesacher were unable to get away from the starting grid as the result of an electronic control problem. After some frantic work by the team, the engines were restarted and both cars joined the race, albeit two laps down on the rest of the field. The drivers then pressed on, determined to retrieve whatever they could from the event. Unfortunately, Friesacher retired on lap 13, when his car ran onto a dirty section of track and spun into a gravel trap, while Albers pressed on for a further eight laps before a suspected gearbox problem ended his race prematurely.

Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, Minardi Cosworth: Motor racing is often about highs and lows, and today was definitely a low. All in all, it has not been a good weekend for the Minardi team in Spain, so let's hope Monaco, in two weeks, will be better.

After a promising start to the Spanish Grand Prix, round five of the FIA Formula One World Championship, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro's Rubens Barrichello was the highest placed finisher of the Bridgestone runners this afternoon, crossing the line in ninth place. Unfortunately for his teammate Michael Schumacher, the loss of air in first his left rear tyre and then his left front tyre, forced a premature end to the reigning world champion's race. It was a disappointing end for the driver who had steadily climbed from his eighth place starting grid position to a certain podium place. The Scuderia now lies fifth in the Constructors' Championship with 18 points while Michael Schumacher and Barrichello have ten and eight points respectively. Encouragingly for Jordan, both their drivers, Tiago Monteiro and Narain Karthikeyan finished the 66-lap race but it was a disappointing day for Minardi's Christijan Albers and Patrick Friesacher, neither of whom finished the race. All of Bridgestone's runners will now be looking ahead to the next round in Monaco, the only street circuit on the F1 calendar.

Hisao Suganuma – Technical Manager – Bridgestone Motorsport: Today's result was certainly disappointing. Neither Minardi nor Jordan experienced tyre problems this weekend and we were hopeful that both Ferrari drivers could finish well today. Unfortunately Michael Schumacher suffered a loss of balance and then a loss of air in his left rear tyre in the latter stages of the race and after pitting to change the tyre, he then had a loss of air in his front left tyre. Safety is of course our first priority and we have already started a thorough investigation into the cause of this loss of air. What we can say, however, is that the wear on Michael's rear tyres was within acceptable boundaries.

Ross Brawn – Technical Director – Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro: A disappointing end to the weekend as Michael was in a strong position and was starting to put pressure on Alonso. The race was coming together and certainly a podium was within reach. Unfortunately he then lost air in two tyres, both on the left side of the car. Obviously we shall now investigate fully what caused these problems. It's possible that Fisichella's earlier pitstop was caused by similar problems. Rubens on the other hand did well, given where he started on the grid. We shall now regroup and hope to go forward.

Kimi Räikkönen (Team McLaren Mercedes) dominated the Spanish Grand Prix to end Renault's four-race winning streak. The Finn led all the way from pole position to beat local favourite – and world championship leader – Fernando Alonso (Renault/Michelin) by almost half a minute.

The event began in slightly chaotic fashion when Minardi team-mates Christijan Albers and Patrick Friesacher were left on the grid. The stewards sent out the Safety Car to allow the stranded cars to be removed and the race didn't start in anger until lap three. Räikkönen was able to pull away at will from Alonso – who had outgunned front-row qualifier Mark Webber (BMW WilliamsF1 Team/Michelin) off the line.

The Finn was never seriously troubled all afternoon and afterwards paid fulsome tribute to his tyres. "We knew this would be a hard race on rubber,” he said, “but the Michelins have been fantastic all weekend."

Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula One, Team McLaren Mercedes added: "This is a great result for our team – and Michelin is part of that. Kimi has done a fantastic job all weekend. He hasn't put a foot wrong and I'd like to thank Michelin for its input. Our Michelin tyres were very good throughout qualifying and the race. We kept telling Kimi to make sure he looked after his equipment, but even so he was able to set a string of really quick laps. Michelin played a major part in this victory."

Cheered to the rafters by his home crowd, Alonso took a comfortable second place to extend his lead to 18 points in the title chase.

Alonso dropped behind team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella after the first round of stops, but the Italian had to pit out of sequence on lap 40 to have a new nose section fitted. He fought back to take fifth place, however, and set the race's fastest lap right at the end – on a set of Michelins that had completed almost 400 kilometres (240 miles) in punishing heat.

Toyota team-mates Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher were closely matched throughout the 66 laps. The Italian vaulted ahead of Schumacher after the first refuelling stop and they ran nose to tail until the end to take third and fourth, ahead of Fisichella and Webber (the latter of whom was delayed by a brief off-course excursion).

Juan Pablo Montoya (Team McLaren Mercedes) finished seventh on his return from injury, despite an unscheduled pit stop, and David Coulthard (Red Bull Racing) completed Michelin's clean sweep of the top eight positions

Of the other Michelin runners, Nick Heidfeld (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) started at the back, after being penalised for two unscheduled changes, and worked his way up to 10th. Felipe Massa (Sauber-Petronas) pulled off with a broken wheel with three laps to go, but was still classified 11th. A technical problem forced his team-mate Jacques Villeneuve to retire after 51 laps.

Promising newcomer Vitantonio Liuzzi (Red Bull Racing) was an early retirement after spinning into the gravel while running 13th.

Michelin took a clean sweep of the top eight positions and remains unbeaten so far this season.

Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director: "This was a fascinating event from a technical perspective. When we selected compounds for the Circuit de Catalunya, the weather forecasts suggested that conditions would be cloudy and quite cool but it has been a beautiful, sunny day. This placed extra demands on tyres that would have had to cope with significant loads even in ordinary circumstances, but now the chequered flag has dropped we can see that our hard work during the pre-race build-up has paid off. That is a tribute to the whole Michelin team – both here and at Clermont-Ferrand.

"There were times during the race when we saw a little bit of blistering, but that was to be expected given the hot conditions and the situation stabilised very quickly. At the end of the race, it was gratifying to see Giancarlo Fisichella set fastest lap on a set of tyres that had covered the best part of 400km over two days. That underlined the excellent long-term performance Michelin is able to offer its partners."


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