2010 European GP, race: Team quotes 

Written by David on June 27th, 2010 at 7:07 pmLast Update: June 27th, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Mike Gascoyne: “Obviously it was a very disappointing end to our 500th race. Jarno got hit at the start, and we had to change the nose. He also took a hit at the back, and that caused a gearbox problem. We were able to fix that and send him out again, although he was three laps down. He was held up by some of the other slower cars, but at the end of the race he was able to push and really show the car’s pace. Heikki had an accident with Webber – he was defending his line and racing for position, and that’s what we will always do in that situation. It’s just a great shame, and we’re very glad that neither driver was hurt.”

Tony Fernandes: “Heikki’s accident is part of racing. It’s a shame as both cars are coming on really well, but there is some good to take out of this. Despite being hit, Jarno managed to finish the race, and at the end it was great to hear him say ‘the car is bloody good! Overall it’s been a very positive weekend, with a good Qualifying session and lots of very positive meetings and good decisions made for next year. It’s also been a pleasure having the Chapman family here, and now we’re all looking forward to bringing Lotus Racing back to the UK and racing in front of the British fans.”

Franz Tost: “We have often said we need to improve our qualifying performance if we want to score points on a regular basis and yesterday, Buemi did exactly that to start from eleventh on the grid. Today he got the benefit of that and picked up another eighth place to follow on from the same finishing position in Canada two weeks ago. For a long time, he ran in sixth position which was also down to an excellent strategy from the team, in terms of managing the pit stop during the Safety Car period. However, Buemi is one of nine drivers under investigation by the stewards regarding a possible infringement during that Safety Car time, so we need to wait and see. Unfortunately, at the very last corner of the race, he lost seventh place to Kobayashi who was running on a very new set of Soft tyres. But we have scored points again, so well done to the team.”

Peter Sauber: “What a fantastic race, particularly considering where we were on the grid. The team and the drivers did everything right today. Pedro delivered a very solid performance and scored one point, and Kamui was absolutely amazing. The lap times which he put in while he was in third were stunning. They prove how much potential there is in this car. Congratulations to the whole team and the drivers!”

James Key: “It was a very good result for the team and an excellent race from both drivers who managed to bring the cars home in the points, which we needed and the team deserved. Given our qualifying performance yesterday, we decided to split our strategy, and the plan was to go as far as possible for Kamui on the harder compound. For Pedro we chose a more standard approach. He started on the option tyres and stopped during the safety car period at exactly the right time. He was able to complete the race on the prime tyres, which lasted very well. With Kamui we decided to leave him out and keep a very close eye on his lap times and also the traffic behind him. His performance in the race when he was holding third was absolutely outstanding. He was putting in some very quick lap times, and holding Button behind him without coming under much pressure. We should be very happy with this result. It was a great effort from the team and the drivers.”

Martin Whitmarsh: “Speaking before the stewards have finished their deliberations, I suppose I have to say I’m reasonably pleased with this afternoon’s events. Short of a win, second and third is pretty good – especially so when you bear in mind that we’d brought only a modest set of modifications here whereas some of the other top teams had introduced substantial upgrades. We’ve accepted Lewis’s penalty, but in truth we reckon it was a pretty marginal call. Okay, it didn’t deprive him of his second place on the road, but it did prevent him from being able to take the race to Seb, which had been our intention. And I think Lewis’s strong pace in the last few laps showed that, having saved his fuel and tyres early on in preparation for mounting an attack on Seb, he would probably have been in a position to have a fair old crack at it had he not been given a drive-through. So, yes, his penalty was frustrating for Lewis, frustrating for us, and ultimately I suppose you’d have to say it was frustrating for the spectators, at the track and in front of their TV screens, too. But, as I say, you have to accept these things and move on. Jenson drove a very solid race – although it was of course irritating for him to be stuck behind Kamui for so long. Having said that, in the chaos that always ensues with an early Safety Car, our engineers called the situation really well, with the result that we were able to change the nosebox on Lewis’s car [following contact with Vettel's car on lap one] and send our cars back out in second place and fourth place. Actually, of course, Jenson’s fourth place was in effect third place, because Kamui was always going to have to make a pitstop for new tyres at some stage in the race. So it was a shame for Jenson to be stuck behind Kamui for so long too – but, again, racing can be frustrating and sometimes there’s simply nothing you can do about it. Assuming Jenson retains his third place in today’s race, he’ll remain in second place in the drivers’ world championship – not far behind Lewis, whose name still tops the list. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes leads the constructors’ world championship too, which is particularly satisfying for all our employees who work so hard back at our HQ in Woking [Surrey, UK] as they prepare for our home grand prix, at Silverstone, the home of British motor sport, in two weeks’ time.”

Eric Boullier: “To finish fifth with Robert is a good result and we’ve made up some ground on Mercedes in the championship. We managed to react quickly to the Safety Car and adapt the strategy, but I still feel we could have come away with a better result. It’s disappointing to see Vitaly miss out on points, especially after his good performance in qualifying. When you are in P15 after the first lap it’s very difficult to get back into the points, but at least he had pretty strong pace today.”

Alan Permane: “Robert’s fifth place today is a reasonable result considering that we started sixth. We reacted very quickly to the Safety Car to stop Robert, but unfortunately we had already planned to stop Vitaly on that lap and the mechanics were waiting in the pit lane with his tyres. So there was a dash into the garage to swap the tyres over, which cost us some time and meant we lost a couple of places to Button and Barrichello. However, because we reacted so quickly, we managed get ahead of both Ferraris so we stayed fifth overall. Robert then spent the rest of the race behind Barrichello and, although we turned up the engine towards the end of the race, it’s so difficult to overtake here and we had to settle for fifth. As for Vitaly, he lost places on the first lap which made for a tough race. He recovered a couple of places at the pit stop, but just missed out on points today.”

Remi Taffin: “For this race Vitaly had a fresh engine, while Robert’s V8 was on its second race. Despite it being a very hot afternoon, there were no issues with the engine and we were able to get the full performance from them for the whole race. In terms of the result today, the points we have scored over Mercedes are important and we have taken 10 points out of their lead. The only disappointment is that we could have come away with a better result because some of competitors did a better job during the pit stops under the Safety Car. Looking ahead, we will continue pushing hard to develop the car for the next race, as we have done all season.”

Ross Brawn: “Today’s race was a disappointing outcome to our weekend in Valencia. The car was reasonable today but again we suffered from our qualifying performance which is an issue that we need to get on top of quickly. Nico got caught up at the start therefore we made an early pit stop which was unfortunately compromised when the safety car came out and we lost any benefit. From there, Nico’s race was about consolidating his position as we had some concerns over brake wear which he did an excellent job to manage. With Michael, we were looking to benefit strongly from the safety car. As the leaders had not been picked up, Michael was waved through and that gave us a golden opportunity to make his pit stop as our predictions were that the option tyre would hold up for the remainder of the race. However, when Michael came to exit the pits, the red light was showing which cost him a significant amount of time. In our view, the regulations are clear that the exit light should not go red until the line of cars has formed behind the safety car, and we would like the FIA to look into this. There was no line formed and over 18 seconds between Hamilton and Kobayashi when Michael came in. It was a good effort from Michael to try and recover from there but ultimately a very frustrating afternoon.”

Norbert Haug: “Michael could have finished quite high today if the red light at the pit exit had not been switched on. This happened contrary to our understanding of the rules which say the pit exit remains open until a line has formed behind the safety car. That clearly was not the case as there was a gap of over 18 seconds behind Lewis Hamilton whilst Michael was in the pits. He would have fitted in this gap if the red light had not have made this impossible. So Michael’s race was ruined even though he posted quick lap times throughout the afternoon. Despite three pit stops and a long wait at the pit exit, he finished 6.5 seconds outside of the points. Nico had to look after his brakes throughout and was therefore handicapped. It’s been a weekend to forget for our team but we will be stronger soon.”

John Booth: “A great effort from our team in the Race today and throughout the weekend. Both drivers have done a good job here and Lucas in particular deserves to feel happy with his Qualifying and Race results. Congratulations to the team on an excellent job in the pits where we secured the fourth fastest pit stop of the Race. With both drivers performing as well as they are and a clear demonstration of our car performance moving in the right direction, we have good reason to feel positive as we head towards the midpoint of the season and into our home race at Silverstone in two weeks’ time.”

Nick Wirth: “That was a clear step in the right direction for our team. Not only were both cars running strongly at the finish, but it’s very clear from the driver feedback and our race pace that our performance developments are working, so I must congratulate everyone behind the scenes for this work. To finish only one lap down on the leader is a clear indication of our progress since Bahrain. The next step is to bring some more of our aero developments out of the digital domain and on to the race car, so we’ll put that right at Silverstone, and the whole team can’t wait to see what happens at our fantastic home Grand Prix.”

Christian Horner: “The most important thing today is that Mark Webber is safe and OK. After a very nasty accident, he’s fine. Sebastian drove a very mature race and controlled his pace perfectly. After some bad luck recently, this result will be a boost for his confidence. Finally, congratulations to all members of the team for the relentless hard work that is getting performance to the car at each race. We now look forward to Silverstone in two weeks time.”

Vijay Mallya: “With street racing anything can happen and that’s what we saw today. We took advantage of the safety car period for Adrian, which moved him up into the points and then he did a great job to bring the car home sixth. Tonio was unlucky not to be able to benefit in the same way, however he still drove a very gutsy race and again demonstrated that in race trim the car is very competitive. We’ve come away from the weekend with some more points and I think sixth is a good reflection on where we are right now in the field. ”

Fabrice Lom: “Very mixed feelings, we are very happy for Seb, he won the race, from the beginning to the end with no trouble and the engine worked very well – it was the perfect weekend for one side of the garage. Unfortunately we had a bit accident with Mark and we are very, very happy that he is safe, he is OK. Overall it was a good weekend for the car, the performance was very good. We lose some points against McLaren but not that much.”

Colin Kolles: “We started on different strategies into the race. Bruno started on prime tyres and Karun was on options. We decided to do Karun’s pit stop during the safety car period and to win some positions thereby, as the Virgins were on a different strategy. Unfortunately, there were two incidents where both drivers’ front wings were damaged.”

Sam Michael: “That was a good performance today by both cars, and definitely a step forward. Unfortunately, an exhaust failure cost Nico a possible point today and we will be investigating the cause back at the factory. The team is now looking forward to its home race at Silverstone and consolidating the step in performance we’ve made with further upgrades for the FW32.”

Stefano Domenicali: “The outcome of this Grand Prix leaves us with a very bitter taste. We had everything we needed to clinch a good result and we have ended up with a handful of points which is even less than we brought home from our worst race, a month ago in Turkey. It is a real shame because over this weekend we have shown that we have made a good step forward in terms of performance and the opening stage of the race looked promising. Then came the unfortunate blow linked to the safety car period, which arrived at the very worst moment for us in that both our cars had just gone past the pit lane entry and therefore were forced to do a full lap behind the Safety Car. And that definitely compromised our race. I think that the incidents linked to the neutralisation put some questions on the table regarding how to manage situations like this and the eventual penalties linked to them. We have to ensure that our sport remains credible in the eyes of those involved and those who follow it, at the track and in front of their TV screens.”

Chris Dyer: “We are very disappointed with the outcome of this race. The arrival of the Safety Car on track ruined what should have been a very good race for us, given the potential at our disposal. It is very, very difficult to overtake at this track therefore our race was totally compromised by an innocuous occurrence like a Safety Car period. In performance terms, this weekend has shown that we have made a step forward, but at the same time, we still have a lot of work to do to be where we want to be.”

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