Atlas F1 News Service
Today's Selected Quotes - San Marino GP

Sunday April 9th, 2000


Michael Schumacher: "That was an exciting race and I hope the tifosi are happy with the result! I made a very bad start with massive wheelspin. But I managed to keep my second position. Our strategy remained as planned. We did not know what Mika would do and we had to guess. The four laps before the second pit stop was the decisive moment when I pushed very hard. Maybe we did not have the best tyre choice for today's conditions. I had a worrying moment when I tried to lap Diniz. He tried to be nice and let me pass, but it was the wrong place and I very nearly hit him. Apart from that, the race was good fun. It was like Qualifying from start to finish. We have a good lead in the championship, but we have seen it will be a tight fight and we must continue pushing."

Rubens Barrichello: "I am happy for the team, but I am equally disappointed with my own performance. The set up was not ideal and it was hard work. We tried to change yesterday's settings, but it did not help much. I was a bit unlucky at the second pit stop, when Coulthard passed me. He was quicker than me, but I could have kept him behind me as it is virtually impossible to pass here. I had a problem with the lower part of my belts and I could not maintain a good pace as my legs were moving around too much. All weekend, I was not on the pace as I was in Australia and Brazil and now I have to work out why. Fourth place is not good enough."

Jean Todt: "It was a very tough race. Therefore we are very happy to have got both cars to the finish. For the first time this season we have had a proper race from the first corner to the last. We knew that overtaking would be very difficult here and unfortunately we lost a place with Rubens in the pits. He also had a problem with his belts, which caused him some pain. After the first stop, we knew the second one would be decisive. When we saw Hakkinen come in on lap 44, we thought we could get ahead. We tried and it worked. After three races, we are in an encouraging position in the championship. Today's race has shown it will be a long hard road, but that is an incentive to work even harder. The drivers did a great job, as did the whole team. Now we can look ahead calmly to the next round."


Mika Hakkinen: "I'm happy to score points, but I should have won the race. Just before my first pit stop I hit a piece of debris on the circuit which damaged the front floor of my car and made it hard to drive for the rest of the race. Also just before my second pit stop my engine cut out on the main straight and I lost time to Schumacher which meant he was able to take the lead following his second pit stop."

David Coulthard: "I was squeezed a bit by Schumacher at the start and Barrichello managed to get by. He was pretty slow but still difficult to pass. I opted not to take a risk and wait and see if our strategy was right. My car got stuck in first gear in my first stop but I soon caught Barrichello again. At my second pit stop the crew did a fantastic job allowing me to take third place in the pits. I have been quick throughout the weekend and believe that if I had not been held up by Barrichello I could have given Schumacher a hard time."

Ron Dennis: "We are delighted that both cars finished and Mika and David did an excellent job. Mika suffered two problems, the first of which was a damaged floor caused by debris on the circuit sustained early in the race putting his car out of aerodynamic balance. The second problem was a yet to be analysed electronic fault, which triggered an engine reset which cost him three seconds a few laps prior to his second stop. These two problems coupled to a late stop from Schumacher lost us the lead. David's race was frustrated by a somewhat over zealous blocking manoeuvre by Schumacher at the start, which dropped him behind Barrichello who was clearly struggling. A great second stop by the mechanics moved David to third. His subsequent speed was an indication of what his true potential was. At the end of the day of course this wasn't the result we wanted, but there are 14 more Grands Prix and it's clear that we still have the potential to win. We are certainly looking forward to Silverstone."

Norbert Haug: "A very close race, which was motor racing at its very best, and we have scored ten points. Mika drove a fantastic race, but unfortunately an electrical problem cost him three seconds just before his second pitstop. David's and the mechanics' performances were superb. At the second pit stop David got past Rubens Barrichello and showed which lap times he was able to do."


Jacques Villeneuve: "I knew we could fight for points in the race as the car was pretty good yesterday. I made a really great start. The clutch bit straight away and I got no wheel spin. I passed the guys in front really easily and then I had to brake hard to avoid a collision with Barrichello and Coulthard. My first pit stop was great work by the team, keeping me ahead on the track. We have shown today that we can be the best of the rest behind the Ferraris and the McLarens. Our biggest competition this year I feel is going to come from Ralf Schumacher. We have some new engine developments to come before Silverstone, along with some new aerodynamic revisions, so I am really looking forward to the next race."

Ricardo Zonta: "I had a good start and then made up a couple of places on the first lap. The car was working well and I was able to hold position quite easily. Then just after the first stop I felt a sudden loss of power. The team told me it was probably a broken exhaust and so I kept going. I was having to brake very early for the corners to try to keep the other cars behind me. It was difficult, but at least we made it home."

Takefumi Hosaka, Managing Director, Honda R&D: "We really appreciate Jacques' performance today. His start was fabulous and then during the race he did an excellent job, not only because the car was difficult under braking but also because of the pain in his back. Early indications of Ricardo's problem suggest that it was something to do with the exhaust, but we cannot be sure until we can look more closely at the car, but he managed very well to bring the car home. Of course we are very pleased that both cars completed the race and we can now progress the engine development programme. We will be testing this week at Silverstone to confirm the new specification engine for the British Grand Prix."

Craig Pollock, Managing Director: "This was another excellent result for the team and will undoubtedly give everyone a boost going into the British Grand Prix. We are ravenous for points and you can be sure we will be going to Silverstone looking to fight for more."


Pedro Diniz: "The start was not great for me. Ironically I lost some time in the first chicane when Mika got a little sideways and squeezed me a bit, but it was just a typical race incident. After that the car felt good, and I'm happy that I did a good race. The only other problem was when I slightly overshot my pit during my second stop. My laptimes were very competitive - I just needed slightly better fortune."

Mika Salo: "I'm really happy to score a point, after the problems I had during qualifying. Today the car felt fine, with good traction and no understeer. I made a mega start, and was absolutely flat out all the way. The trouble is that Jacques Villeneuve is an experienced driver who doesn't make mistakes, so there was no way to pass him even though I was quicker. But I'm happy that the team is at the same level we had in Melbourne, and I'm really looking forward to the Silverstone test this week."

Peter Sauber: "I'm very happy, not only with the point we scored today but especially with the performance of the car and both drivers. The only cars that lapped faster than ours were the Ferraris and the McLarens, so we have confirmed the promise that we showed in Australia. Congratulations again to the team for an excellent job the whole weekend, and for reacting so positively to all the pressure we had during the first two races. It's a great start to our European season."


Alex Wurz: "I had a bad start and we had chosen a one-stop strategy which was probably the wrong choice. So the car was really hard to drive especially over the bumps and I had no chance to make up any positions. It was a tough race because of this and it is very frustrating not to have scored any points, but it is the first time I have ever finished a race in Imola so this is a small consolation."

Giancarlo Fisichella: "As I was starting from 19th position, we opted for one stop in the hope of making up some positions but the car was really hard to drive and I struggled for the whole race and wasn't able to overtake. Naturally I am hugely disappointed with the weekend especially as it is my home race."

Flavio Briatore: "We didn't manage to have a competitive car for either of the drivers for this race and we also made a mistake in the choice of tyres on Fisichella's car. So this was a race to forget and we must now just look ahead to Silverstone."

Pat Symonds: "Obviously a very difficult race for us. We have suffered from a lack of performance all weekend and tried to take a very conservative strategy to make up for this. There was a high finishing rate and the strategy didn't really pay off. Obviously there is a lot of work to be done before Silverstone, but we have some new developments for the car there which we hope will improve the situation."


Gaston Mazzacane: "I had a competitive car which did not give me any mechanical problems at all over the weekend. In the race I managed to keep up a steady and relatively quick pace and stayed close to cars considered to be quicker than mine. Unfortunately, on the first few laps, when I was behind Fisichella, I had a spin and thought I had damaged something on the car; so it was vital for me to push as hard as I could while at the same time trying to complete the race. I now have to turn my thoughts to testing, during which we will further develop the M02 and I will try to make further progress in this direction with the Team."

Marc Gene: "I hope that my full quota of bad luck for the year has now been used up over this weekend. In the warm-up we showed we have a good machine. If I had had my car yesterday, my qualifying result would have been different. I was feeling very positive about the race and I knew I had to make a good start. Which I did. I was very close to Wurz and believe that I would have been able to get past him. Unfortunately, I had the misfortune to find Button in front of me right when his engine blew going into a fast bend. My car went over the oil and spun off. It's a shame it ended this way because the car was performing really well today."

Gabriele Rumi: "Marc Gene was putting up an excellent fight after a good start. Unluckily, Button's engine blew right in front of him, causing him to spin off the track. His race ended there when he was keeping up a good pace. Gast?n also had a problem due to a sudden slowdown by Fisichella and he went into a spin to avoid hitting him. This had a negative impact on a race in which he too was up there with most of the group. The potential is there, even on a circuit where horsepower is important, and we can only hope that things go better in the future; In fact, I hope this is the last time that I have to say I hope things improve in the future."


Jos Verstappen: "I made a very good start and I think I overtook five people. Then the car was running fine until on lap 11 something happened with the right front wheel. I had to pit to make sure everything was fine. I changed tyres and then everything felt all right. During the rest of the race I was able to do consistent laps and the car ran without any further problems. It is a shame but now we are off to the next race."

Pedro de la Rosa: "There is very little to say. It was not a great race as very early on, after about seven laps, I was having problems down shifting, losing a lot of time on braking and downshifting, the gears just didn't come in. I just tried to keep pushing with the problem, and then ten laps from the end it felt as if something broke at the back of the car coming into Piratella and I went off. On the laps I didn't have a problem I could follow Fisichella in front of me, but it kept coming back and costing me a lot of time."


Jarno Trulli: "It seems I don't have any luck in Imola since I have never finished a race here! I had made a good start and moved up to sixth place and the race went without any incidents until right near the end when I lost fifth gear. There are still plenty more races to go where we can be strong."

Heinz-Harald Frentzen: "Today wasn't a good day for us. After only four laps I had a gear-shift selection problem and couldn't shift down from sixth gear so I had no choice but to come into the pits. It is too early to say what caused the problem and we will have to look at the information to find out exactly what happened as it is too easy to jump to conclusions."

Eddie Jordan: "After the good boost we had in Brazil, today was particularly disappointing. We wanted to come to Europe and win more points, but it did not work out that way for us, despite really strong performances from Heinz and Jarno for most of the weekend. We now have some thinking to do and hope to come back stronger for the British Grand Prix which will be Jordan's 150th race."


Jenson Button: "Just before it stopped I heard some strange noises, then it was out. I'm very disappointed. It's been a difficult weekend for me and I was looking forward to a good race. In the warm-up session I felt I'd cracked the problems I'd been having learning the track. It all made a lot more sense than it had in practice and qualifying. I'd found some answers myself and also I lapped with one of the McLarens which gave me more of an idea than in the qualifying session when you tend to be circulating on your own. I'm just looking forward to Silverstone now."

Ralf Schumacher: "It's a disappointment, particularly since my car was going so well. I made a good start but then had to back off to avoid hitting Coulthard's car. That lost me a couple of places but then the race began going really well. I was in sixth place most of the time, but I felt sure I could run quicker than Jacques Villeneuve ahead of me. We were just approaching our pit stop time when suddenly there was no power and I pulled off. I'm confident the team would have got me out ahead of him. I think we would have finished fifth at the very least, maybe even fourth. I'm disappointed in one sense but in another I'm greatly encouraged because the car was just so good."

Dr Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "After our good beginning to the season, now it is our turn to have neither car finish," added . "We always knew this would happen some day, and we were prepared for it. But also we are very encouraged by the pace of car. We will now analyze both engines to find what the problem was. Reliability now has to be our main focus as we approach Silverstone."

Gerhard Berger, Co-director: "Ralf would probably have finished the race fourth or fifth, which is great, but we didn't finish. This is part of the sport and we cannot be too disappointed. This weekend promised great things for us in the future."


Jean Alesi: "I did not have a good start, as I had to jump on the brakes because of a Benetton which was blocking ahead of me. It is very difficult to overtake here at Imola, especially when you are in 15th position on the grid. I was on a two-stop strategy, the first one for very early in the race. My car was handling fine, just like in this morning's warm-up. My pit-stop went very well but unfortunately, soon after, I had to slow down because I felt my throttle was not responding. I had a failure in the hydraulic system which forced me out of the race. It's very frustrating because this was an important race for us considering our difficult start to the season. I am very sorry for the team who have made so much effort. Only by continuing to work together will we overcome all of this."

Nick Heidfeld: "The team has been very unfortunate during the whole weekend. However, we had managed to find a good set-up this morning during the warm-up, which made me feel confident for the race. On the grid, my engine stalled and the team tried to help me during the last seconds before the formation lap, unfortunately, we went overtime and that is why I got a 10 second stop and go penalty. Then from the 6th lap on, the team saw that the hydraulic pressure was going down and I finally had to retire. It is really a pity because the car was going quite well in terms of lap times even though I had to start a lot further back, maybe 50 seconds behind the field. I hope we will make some progress during the next tests and get more competitive."

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