2008 Singapore Grand Prix, race: Team quotes 

Written by David on September 28th, 2008 at 7:35 pmLast Update: September 28th, 2008 at 7:35 pm

2008 Singapore Grand PrixFranz Tost: “Once again, a strong performance from Sebastian Vettel. Until the first Safety Car, he was a solid fifth, but really the SC came out two laps too early for us. After that, he drove a fantastic race and at his second pit stop the team did a very good job as we were able to keep Heidfeld behind us. Sebastien Bourdais did what he could given his grid position. We feel the characteristics of the next circuits on the calendar should better suit our package, so we are really looking forward to racing in Japan in a fortnight.”

Tadashi Yamashina: “Considering our practice and qualifying performances, when we found the car was not so well suited to the bumpy conditions, the team did a very good job. Our strategy proved to be very complimentary considering the expected safety car periods and we were looking good until Jarno’s issue, which cost us a lot of points. Both drivers performed really well and pushed as hard as possible despite the difficult conditions. We are pleased with fourth place but we should have had both cars in the top six. We must analyse Jarno’s hydraulic problem and find out why it happened. I have to say, some drivers’ races were ruined by the safety car rules and we have had a lot of intense discussion on this matter, so I think it is time the situation was improved. Now of course we turn our attentions towards the Japanese Grand Prix and we will be pushing ourselves really hard to get a good result at Fuji Speedway.”

Mario Theissen: “Another spectacular chapter was added to the Formula One history book. The first night race was a total success. My compliments go to the organisers. The race itself was turbulent and influenced by the first safety car period. Unfortunately the safety car rule meant Robert was completely out of contention in the race, whereas Nick was able to stay out just long enough until the pit lane was reopened. This was a shame for Robert because he was well on his way to score important points for the championship standings. By finishing sixth Nick made up three positions and scored three points. Everything didn’t go according to plan either for our direct competitors as, apart from Nick, out of the top six only Lewis Hamilton scored points. Congratulations to Renault and Fernando Alonso for the win in this exciting race.”

Willy Rampf: “The race start was okay for our drivers. Robert managed to defend his position and Nick gained a place. After that the race went according to plan for both cars and they were able to open a gap over the cars behind. However, then the first safety car period ruined Robert’s race completely. We had to refuel although the pit lane was still closed. The penalty dropped Robert into a hopeless position at the end of the field – and this on a circuit where anyway you can hardly overtake. In the end Nick scored three points, so this means we have still scored championship points in every Grand Prix this year.”

Ron Dennis: “Today’s race was a very exciting one, full of incidents, triggering Safety Car interventions that had a significant influence on the final outcome. In the last few laps, having seen Kimi’s accident, we advised Lewis not to attempt to overtake Nico but instead to settle for third place and the seven-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship that the resulting six points netted him. Heikki’s race was spoiled by having to queue in the pits. Overall, then, the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix was a hugely successful event, and we’re delighted to have emerged from it with the lead in both the Drivers’ and the Constructors’ Championships.”

Norbert Haug: “A great Formula 1 premiere at night. Lewis extended his championship lead with third place which is a good result. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes leads now in the Constructors’ rankings as well which is also not bad. Thank you to the organisers and Bernie and his team for their efforts – this spectacular event will create a big response.”

Mike Gascoyne: “Although it is slightly disappointing not to get two cars to the finish, overall I think we had a good race. We narrowly missed calling Adrian in during the first safety car period, which would have been to his advantage, but with Giancarlo running a long stint we kept him out and that worked to his benefit. Both defended their positions from strong opposition and without Adrian’s accident we would have had a strong two car finish. All the same it’s been a tough event and we’ve all pulled together and I think we can be proud of our performance.”

Vijay Mallya: “It’s been a difficult weekend for us, but the team has worked really hard and the teamwork has been excellent. We now move on to some races where the team were very strong last year and we can look to get back to the form of the last three races.”

Stefano Domenicali: “A black day, there’s little else to say. We had the potential to finish first and second but we didn’t even pick up a point. We are very disappointed but that doesn’t mean we are downtrodden. We have always shown our ability to react, especially at the most difficult times and we will do it again this time. The situation in the two championships has become more complicated but there are still three races to go and a lot of points up for grabs. We know what we have to do to reach our objectives. The first part of the race showed that today our car was the quickest on track. The Safety Car came out at the worst possible moment, but we are not looking for excuses because this uncertain factor must always be taken into account. Then the team made a mistake at the pit stop during the Safety Car period, which cost Massa the race. I am very sorry for Felipe because he was driving a very strong race following on from a great pole yesterday. I want to point out that it was Felipe himself who went to console the mechanic who made the mistake, which shows the team spirit that we have between us: we win together and we lose together. Kimi managed to get into the points but then he ended up in the barriers at one of the many tricky points around this track. A shame, as it would have meant precious points for the Constructors’ classification. We must look ahead and prepare ourselves as well as possible for the remaining three races.”

Luca Baldisserri:
“It’s hard to put into words today’s disappointment. We had everything in place to get the best possible result and unfortunately we ended up with nothing. Felipe was controlling the early stages of the race, while Kimi, after a few difficulties at the beginning, was running at a great pace. The Safety Car threw our plans into the air. First and foremost, we had to go for a double pit stop – the best choice in this situation – but it penalized Kimi. Then we made a mistake in letting Felipe go and that ruined his race. We could have made a significant step forward in both championships but we ended up going backwards. Now we must roll up our sleeves and prepare as well as possible for the coming races. There is still plenty of time to recover but there is no more room for error.”

Sam Michael: “It was a fantastic result from Nico, obviously the penalty for refuelling under the safety car could have been a problem, but he still managed to open up a sufficient gap to achieve a second podium this season and his career best finish. Kazuki did well to hang in there and score a point too, all-in-all it was just what the team needed. We didn’t have any technical problems and everything went without a hitch, so it was a great effort from everyone concerned.”

Christian Horner: “After putting ourselves in a great position with a good call that enabled us to get both cars fuelled, serviced and back out on track before the pit lane closed, it’s really frustrating for Mark to lose a definite podium with our first mechanical failure during a race this year. David thereafter was doing a great job. He held Lewis (Hamilton) off for a large part of the race, but then dropped three seconds on his in-lap when Fernando (Alonso) popped out from the pit lane just ahead of him. He then lost more time at his final pit stop. That cost David what would have almost certainly been fourth position. So seventh, albeit his first points score since Canada, leaves us feeling that we should have come away with more. Congratulations to Renault on their win with Fernando. Well done to our mechanics too, who have done
a fantastic job this weekend. The technician who was knocked over during David’s final pit stop has damaged his ankle ligaments and burned his thumb, but fortunately other than that he’s okay.”

Fabrice Lom: “A very frustrating day, we should have been second with Mark and it’s a big disappointment. We should also have been better with David, but he was blocked by Fernando (Alonso) when he came out from his second pit stop, which destroyed his chance. Congratulations to Renault, they won the race so well done to them.”

Ross Brawn: “We decided to put the cars on two different strategies today, the rationale for which was in part due to the predicted safety car outings. The first safety car played into the hands of Rubens and those on a similar one-stop strategy. Moreover, on the pitwall we anticipated that the safety car would be called out and brought Rubens in to refuel him before the flags went to yellow. We would have been in an extremely good position for the balance of the race, however he stopped shortly after leaving the pits with an electrical problem. In as much as that situation helped Rubens, that was the safety car window that hurt people on the same two-stop strategy as Jenson. He was forced to pit with the pack which handed the advantage to one-stoppers. Later in the race the traffic situation was such that Jenson was unable to improve, so we decided to pit him early for his second pitstop and he was one of the first cars to fuel to the end of the race. This was purely a gamble in anticipation of another safety car, which did eventually come but it was too late and unfortunately the timing was such that Jenson simply had a heavier car as a result.”

Flavio Briatore: “This is an amazing victory for Renault and for Fernando. Since Friday we knew that the car was very competitive and we were very disappointed at the end of qualifying. Today the car was extremely quick, stronger than the Ferrari and McLaren, and although we had some luck when the safety car came out, we deserved this victory. It’s a very important result for Renault after two difficult seasons and helps us prepare for 2009 in the best way possible.”

Pat Symonds: “I think the luck we had in the early part of the race was nearly a cancellation of the bad luck we had yesterday. The car has proven itself and so has Fernando. The whole result is a tribute to the team and this wonderful circuit is a tribute to Singapore!”

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