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Team Quotes - Sunday 24 September


Lenovo Japanese Grand Prix

Team Quotes - Sunday 24 September

Red Bull

Christian Horner: "Once again it was a phenomenal performance from the Team. I have been saying it all year, but really, this kind of season would be impossible without the hard work that goes on behind the scenes from all the different departments both back at Milton Keynes and here at track. From the crazy hours that they work through to the relentless pursuit for better, it is a true Team effort and one to be immensely proud of. So that is 6 for us and an amazing moment for the Team. We will take tonight to celebrate and regroup tomorrow as we look towards Qatar and a possible driver Championship. Only a Red Bull driver can win it now so there will be more celebrations to come in what can only be described as a monumental season in the team's history! Ichiban Oracle Red Bull Racing."


Scuderia Ferrari leaves Japan with 20 points, courtesy of a fourth place for Charles Leclerc and a sixth for Carlos Sainz, thereby closing the gap to Mercedes in the fight for second place in the Constructors' classification. Today, on a track that was always going to be a stern test for the SF-23, the team managed to get everything out of its package with a tidy, error-free race.

At the start, Charles maintained fourth place and Carlos had a brilliant getaway to get ahead of Sergio Perez for fifth. The two Ferrari stayed in line astern even after the first pit stop, which came on lap 17 for Charles and next time round for Carlos. In the second stint, the fight was joined with Mercedes. On lap 34 Leclerc made his second stop to switch to Hard tyres, followed in by Lewis Hamilton, while George Russell stayed out, adopting a one-stop strategy. Carlos was due to stop next time round, but the team worked out that Hamilton would have emerged ahead of the number 55 Ferrari so the Spaniard's stint was lengthened so that he would have fresher Hards in the closing stages, when his rival's tyres would suffer a performance drop. Charles passed Russell easily to retake fourth place, while Carlos made up the ten seconds that separated him from Hamilton, catching him just as Lewis came up behind his team-mate. The two Mercedes swapped places and two laps later Sainz also passed Russell to set off in pursuit of Hamilton. However, in the final three laps Carlos could not get past and had to settle for sixth place.

A break before Qatar. The Championship resumes in a fortnight's time with the second Qatar Grand Prix taking place at the Losail track on 8 October.

Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal: First of all, congratulations to Red Bull for winning the Constructors' title. They have done a great job this season. As for our race, I think we did the most we could have done today, making up another four points on Mercedes.

At a track we knew would be difficult for our car, we always had our situation under control: Charles did well to manage his tyres, while after Carlos was undercut by Lewis (Hamilton), we decided to extend his stint on the Mediums, hoping to get the benefit towards the end. It's very close between ourselves, Mercedes and McLaren and the order can change depending on the track, as we saw in Singapore.

Obviously, we can't be happy with a fourth and a sixth place but, having gained some ground on our closest rivals, we will stay focussed and prepare to give our very best at the upcoming races.


Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished fifth and seventh in Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix.

Lining up on the fourth row of the grid, Lewis suffered early contact from Sergio Perez at the start; fortunately he suffered no obvious damage, although both Lewis and George dropped a position on the opening lap.

Lewis was able to run a conventional two-stop strategy, stopping on lap 16 and lap 34 for the Hard tyre on each occasion.

George was able to attempt the one-stop strategy, boxing for the Hard compound on lap 24.

Despite a valiant effort, George was unable to keep the fresher-tyred cars behind. A team effort to get both cars ahead of Carlos Sainz ultimately proved too much but Lewis was able to secure P5, representing a good recovery from the first lap on a day when we struggled for outright pace.

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director: We realised early on that we were not going to be able to challenge those further ahead for the podium. Our race today therefore ultimately turned into minimising our points loss to Ferrari. We split our strategies to give us the best opportunity to do this. Being able to get one car in between the Ferraris was useful damage limitation, given they both started ahead of us. At the end of the race, the odds of George holding back Sainz were relatively small because his one-stop strategy left the Ferrari with a sizeable tyre advantage. The reason that we committed to that strategy though was that we had very little to lose. He had no threat behind Sainz; it was a difficult strategy to pull off and he did a good job. Ultimately though, the tyre degradation was too high to make it work. Given this, we had to protect Lewis from losing the position to Sainz, as he was the more likely car to finish ahead, and therefore gave the instruction to invert the cars on track.


BWT Alpine F1 Team secured points with both cars in today's Japanese Grand Prix as Esteban Ocon finished ninth and Pierre Gasly tenth at Suzuka.

With the ninth and tenth place result firmly wrapped up in the latter stages of the race, the team aimed to chase the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso in eighth place; swapping positions between Esteban and Pierre to give the latter, on fresh tyres, the opportunity to gain for the benefit of the team. While Pierre got close to closing Fernando, ultimately, he ran out of laps and the team swapped places back with Esteban finishing ninth and Pierre tenth at the chequered flag.

Next up for the team is the Qatar Grand Prix in October at the Losail International Circuit.

Bruno Famin, Interim Team Principal: "It's been a positive Sunday effort from the team today with both cars in the points and it was good to put behind a slightly out-of-position Qualifying. It was an interesting race for strategy with many different plans across the field. Towards the end of the race we looked to capitalise on our tyre advantage and pace from Pierre by targeting eighth place. The opportunity was a close one and we decided to swap positions on track with a view for maximising the team result by giving Pierre the chance to chase eighth place. In the end, we ran out of laps and pace and we made the decision to swap the drivers back. Making these calls is never easy, however, all decisions are taken with the best interest of the team first and foremost. It's been a busy two weeks - points on the board and certainly encouraging signs across two different circuits and conditions - so credit to the entire team for delivering upgrades and slick execution towards these results. We all need to keep pushing for more."


Andrea Stella, Team Principal: "This week in Japan we've reached an important milestone in our journey at McLaren. For the first time this season, we finished with both cars on the podium. It's also the first podium for Oscar in Formula 1. That's a phenomenal achievement in his rookie season. We're delighted for him and so pleased as a team that we've been able to make it possible.

"The remarkable job done by the whole team trackside and factory side is what has made the difference; I want to thank all of the team once more. We look forward to the remainder of the season with optimism. It will be tough to repeat this kind of result, but we'll give it our best shot and hope we can take that final step in performance."

Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake had its work cut out at the Suzuka Circuit, as opening-lap incidents compromised the team's drivers' races from the get-go. Valtteri Bottas saw his race come to an early end after just a handful of laps, after he sustained damage in two on-track collisions which forced the team to retire his car. Teammate, Zhou Guanyu, was affected by the fracas on the opening lap, and mostly drove a recovery race after he was required to pit to change his front wing - managing to climb up to 13th place and recovering six positions on track by the chequered flag.

It was a challenging Japanese Grand Prix for Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake: the team will now make its return to its base in Hinwil, to regroup and analyse the performances of the Asian double-header in order to come back in competitive form in Doha at the beginning of October.

Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative: "There are still some positives to take with us from this weekend, although we come back from Suzuka with no points: we had reasonable race pace today, compared to our direct competitors; Zhou was able to perform a solid race, despite having been forced to pit to change his front wing because of damage. After the opening lap accident, Zhou managed to regain positions on track, thanks to a two-stop strategy which saw him running on soft tyres for most of the race and then change for hard in the final section, ultimately crossing the line in 13th place. After a very good start in which he gained two places, Valtteri was squeezed between Albon and Ocon, and forced to an early pit to change the damaged parts on his C43. Even though he was able to quickly recover thanks to the Safety Car period, Valtteri's race unfortunately came to an end when Sargeant took him out: the damage on the car was too heavy, and it was not possible for him to continue. Still, our team proved once again to be able to recover from less-than-ideal qualifying placements, which is why we must look at the next races with optimism: we are not too far from our direct competitors, as it is often just a matter of hundredths of a second. If we work at the top of our performance from FP1 on Friday onwards, we'll be able to extract more performance from our package and make that extra step forward to get back into the top ten."

Aston Martin

Mike Krack, Team Principal: "Realistically, with the performance we had this weekend, we achieved the maximum possible result with Fernando this afternoon - there wasn't much more he could have done out there. He brought home some useful points for us. Lance also raced well - he made a good start, passed some cars and was on course for a top-10 finish when we noticed an issue with his rear wing. We chose to make a precautionary stop and had to retire his car. He deserved more from today. Now it's time to refocus ahead of the next race in Qatar."


MoneyGram Haas F1 Team finished with Nico Hulkenberg 14th and Kevin Magnussen 15th at the Japanese Grand Prix, Round 17 of the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, held Sunday at Suzuka International Circuit.

Hulkenberg took the start on Pirelli P Zero Red soft tires from 18th place but weaved his way through to 12th across the frenetic opening stages, after which the safety car was called for debris littering the track. Hulkenberg stopped on lap 8, taking on Yellow medium tires, racing on the outskirts of the top-10, undertaking two further stops, on lap 21 for White hards, and again on lap 38 for mediums. The German finished the race in 14th position.

Magnussen, who started on mediums, had to take evasive action on a chaotic opening first lap, the Dane still gaining a position to run 14th. Magnussen remained on the fringes of the top-10 but was tipped into a spin at the hairpin by Red Bull Racing's Sergio Perez, who received a time penalty for causing the incident. Magnussen lost crucial race time and had to come into the pits, taking on hard tires, before making a second stop on lap 32 for another set of the compound. Magnussen took the checkered behind his teammate in 15th.

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal: "It was a tough race I'd say, but the positive is the team did the best they could with what we've got. We got close to fighting our opponents, we were on a different strategy with Nico, and it almost worked out. I know almost is not good enough but with Kevin we lost out because of the spin when Sergio Perez hit him, so we fell back. In the end, we know it's tough at the moment, but as long as we keep on delivering with what we've got that's a positive, and when we get a better car, we'll be there ready to take it."


Jonathan Eddolls (Chief Engineer): "Having saved only one medium and one hard tyre set for the race, we knew that with these track temperatures, we would be at a slight disadvantage to those cars around who had two hard compound tyres left. Equally, we had expected the medium tyres to behave similarly to the hard compound. It was always going to be a race about tyres. We started both cars on the soft compound, and after the incidents at the start, both our cars emerged in P9 and P10. The stint on the soft tyres was short, and we reacted to Hulkenberg. With good in laps from the drivers and great pitstops, we kept both our cars ahead. Our main issue was the pace of the medium compound in the middle stint. We had high degradation, and this was where the damage was done. This will be the main focus of the post-race work, as other teams were able to make it work. Our pace on the hard compound at the end was competitive, but by this stage, we had already lost out to the two Alpines, ending up with both cars just outside the points. Although we lost some positions in the race, there are some positive signs from the weekend. The package is working as demonstrated by the good qualifying performance and the pace in the race, which has taken a step forward compared to before. We are continuing to develop the car, and we're so close to being able to score points on merit, so we'll keep fighting to the end of the season."


Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: We were forced to retire both cars today after both sustained early damage from contact with other cars. Both sustained front wing and floor damage and whilst we were able to change the front wings, the floor damage worsened, and it was no longer possible to continue with either car. It is very frustrating not to finish the race with either car, but we can now get back to Grove, regroup and get ready to tackle the Lusail International Circuit in Qatar, which we last visited in 2021.


Max Verstappen rounded off a perfect weekend, dominating the Japanese Grand Prix from start to finish. Thanks to the Dutchman's 48th win, Red Bull today clinched its sixth Constructors' World Championship title, with six Grands Prix still remaining this season. The Milton Keynes squad is now also sure of taking the Drivers' crown as only Sergio Perez, who retired today, can theoretically stop Verstappen from picking up his third title.

Joining Max on the podium were the two McLaren drivers, with Australia's Oscar Piastri securing his first Formula 1 top three finish. This was Norris' tenth trophy winning result, his podium appearances split equally between second and third places.

For the start, 13 drivers went with the Medium for the first stint, seven for the Soft. Apart from those who had to rapidly change their plans because of collisions in the opening moments of the race, it was clear to see that the great majority of drivers had opted for a two-stop strategy, making the most efficient use of the sets of tyres available. In fact, those who had two new Hard sets used them both, with the exception of Russell who - having done a good job of managing his Medium set from the start - tried to mix things up by going for a one-stop strategy, using the Hard for no fewer than 29 laps. The Mercedes driver also did the most laps (24) on one set of Medium tyres, while Zhou (Alfa Romeo) did the most (19) on the Soft.

Mario Isola: "First and foremost, I want to congratulate Red Bull for their achievement in taking their sixth Constructors' title as well as ensuring that only Max or Sergio can now take the Drivers' crown. The team led by Christian Horner is making its mark on the current Formula 1 era, beating all the records and this amazing result is well deserved.

The Suzuka track is one of the toughest on tyres and this year we saw higher temperatures than usual which increased the demands on them. This afternoon, everything went as we had expected and all three available compounds were used, thus creating a situation where we saw several different strategies between the teams and drivers. After studying the data from free practice, we reckoned that a two-stop strategy was the quickest and that was confirmed. Those who tried something different, Russell for example, had to give best in the closing stages to their two-stopping rivals. Compared to Friday, we saw that the Medium was the most used, even if the difference in terms of degradation when compared to the Soft, also today, was not that big. Clearly the C2 offered greater flexibility in terms of management and that's why the majority of drivers opted to start with it."


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