2011 Australian GP, Race: Team quotes 

Written by David on March 27th, 2011 at 1:11 pmLast Update: March 27th, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Christian Horner: “It was a fantastic performance by Sebastian today. He’s been dominant all weekend and to turn up and win the first race with a faultless drive was fantastic. It’s testimony to all the hard work that’s gone in over the winter and to have book-ended the two championships by winning the last race in Abu Dhabi and the first race here is a fantastic achievement. We’re also very proud to have won Pirelli’s first race on its return to Formula One. The tyres were as expected in the race, with a combination of two and three stops and, while it was a bit of a voyage of discovery with the new rules, it was fantastic to come here and dominate a race that we’ve historically struggled at. Unfortunately things didn’t work out for Mark at his home grand prix and we need to understand why. We took a slightly different strategic route with him running the harder tyre second, as his degradation seemed to be higher than Sebastian’s. It’s something we need to look into on Mark’s car, as it was an unusual difference between them this weekend that we don’t normally see. I’m sure that will be back to normal for Malaysia.”

Cyril Dumont: “An excellent race for Sebastian. I think it’s the first time that he’s finished this race and in that position is very good! Regarding Mark, I think he got a solid result, although I am sure he will be disappointed. We’re sure he will come back strongly in Malaysia. For Renault to have two engines on the podium this weekend is a very good result.”

Otmar Szafnauer: “It was good to see both Force India cars run a consistent race today. It is, of course, disappointing to finish just outside the points, but we have to look at the positives and what we have learned this weekend. Paul drove an impressive first race, looking after his tyres and showing that he has made a comfortable transition into F1. Adrian made up five places from the start and gave a good performance today. Moreover, the team’s results confirm that our reliability is there, what we need to work on now is our race pace to be genuinely in the hunt for points.”

John Booth: “First and foremost we have to be happy that we achieved our objective of a two-car finish. To move forward we have to maximise our track time and gather as much data as possible to feed back into the development programme and I am comfortable that we have been able to demonstrate such promising reliability. The problem with Timo’s wheel is disappointing and even when he was back out on track his progress was hampered as a consequence of the damage sustained. Jérôme delivered a good debut race performance so he can feel very proud of what he has achieved this weekend. Finally, congratulations to the team for a big push for the start of the season.”

Nikolay Fomenko: “I would like to congratulate Vitaly Petrov for a great drive today which saw him become the first Russian driver to stand on the Formula One podium. It’s a great day for Russia, Formula One fans and a good step on the road to the new Russian Grand Prix in Sochi in 2014.”

Eric Boullier: “The podium today is a huge relief and a big reward for all the work which has been done by all the team, and obviously I am very happy. It shows that the decision we took to be aggressive with the design of the car was the right call, and it’s something we can build on going forward. The performance of Vitaly was very strong and it shows that we can deliver strong results this season. In fact, I have no doubt that both our drivers can be fighting towards the front at the next race and that we can build on the competitiveness we have shown this weekend.”

James Allison: “I’m utterly delighted for everyone in the team because it has not been easy getting here. I would be lying if I said I thought we’d earn a podium like we did today, but Vitaly’s place looked very good in qualifying and we knew we were competitive. We thought we were in with a shout of a good fight with the Ferraris, and we did exactly that. Going forward we will have more aero updates for the car in Malaysia, which are worth a few extra tenths. It should allow us to build on our strong showing today.”

Riccardo Penteado: “A fantastic result for Lotus Renault GP today and a dream start to the season. Vitaly drove a great race, under lots of pressure from former world champion Fernando Alonso, but he didn’t make a single mistake and showed that the car has a huge amount of potential. He drove every lap like a qualifying lap and therefore we were a bit tight on the fuel towards the end of the race, but both he and the team managed the economy very well and finally it worked out how we wanted, in fact even better, with a podium. Nick’s race was compromised by some damage to the car. From the engine side we’re obviously very pleased with how it’s gone today and are already looking forward to Malaysia.”

Peter Sauber: “I would call this a dream start to the season, as we could not have expected this. It is also a well deserved reward for both drivers. Kamui’s eighth place was a superb job. I have no explanation for what Sergio did, and how he managed to do 35 laps with a set of used soft tyres setting consistent lap times.”

James Key: “This is obviously a very positive day to get both cars to the finish and into the points. Both drivers did exactly what we needed them to do. We had nail biting last few laps but Sergio did a superb job to finish the race with those tyres. Also for Kamui, the race and strategy worked well. He had to stop twice because of the tyres he used in qualifying. We are very happy with this start to the season and are looking forward to Malaysia very much.”

Martin Whitmarsh: “Early on, Lewis was more or less able to stay in touch with Sebastian, but once his car’s undertray had been damaged he was no longer able to keep the leading Red Bull in sight. Even so, he drove a great race, in difficult circumstances, to finish second today. Jenson drove hard and well all afternoon too, but was thwarted by two separate pieces of bad luck: first of all he got bogged down at the first corner, losing a few places, and after that he received a drive-through penalty for his passing manoeuvre on Felipe, even though he felt he’d been forced off the road by Felipe as he made good his pass. Had he not been given that penalty, he’d have been spraying champagne on the podium with Sebastian and Lewis this afternoon, but I guess that’s motor racing. Overall, though, when you consider where we were a few weeks ago, you’d have to say that for us to come away from Australia with 26 world championship points is a pretty decent outcome. More important, though, it means that we’ve got a very promising platform from which to develop our car and compete for world championship honours this season. Roll on, Malaysia!”

Sam Michael: “After problems with the sector settings on the moveable rear wing, Rubens’ FW33 had a strong opening pace and he was progressing well through the field, setting competitive lap times. We then had a slow leak on the front tyre so we stopped to avoid a failure. Rubens made a good recovery and was making progress when he came together with Rosberg’s Mercedes and the front wing failed. We chose to continue in order to gather data on the tyres and KERS. Towards the end of the race, Rubens retired with a suspected transmission issue. We had a transmission failure on Pastor’s car early on in the race, we are currently investigating both problems. We take away quite a lot of data from this weekend.”

Thierry Salvi: “That is a good result for us. We were not able to finish the race with Heikki but with Jarno we saw some encouraging signs from the car’s behaviour and I think we will be able to extract more performance from it in the next race after we have been through the data in more detail. For the first race with a Renault Sport F1 engine in a Team Lotus car this is a good day.”

Mike Gascoyne: “After a pretty tough weekend I am very pleased with both Jarno and Heikki’s race performances. We had an issue with water leak on the radiator on Heikki’s car and soon after his pitstop that unfortunately brought an end to his race. He had been very strong on the options so that was a shame, but he had looked good until that point which is obviously encouraging. Jarno struggled early on with the prime tyres so we swapped him onto the options and he quickly found his pace. Our speed in the race was much more representative of the pace we had shown in testing so for Malaysia the target is to make sure we achieve that level throughout the whole weekend. In summary it was good to get one car to the end with solid pace and thank you to the whole team for some very good work all week.”

Tony Fernandes: “I am happy. After a tense day to see Jarno have a strong finish in 15th and show good speed in the race is very pleasing. We knew we had a potential issue with the radiator on Heikki’s car so when he had to pull over it was not a surprise, but the main thing for me today is that the pace we showed in the pre-season tests is back. We were able to stay with the midfield teams and that has been the stated target for this year so now we know we have a base to build on for the season ahead and some time to fix the radiator issue before we go home to Malaysia for the next race. With the work ethic and spirit in our team I am confident we will take another step forward in Sepang and we are all very excited about coming home again for the next race.”

Ross Brawn: “This has obviously been a very frustrating weekend for our team. Michael’s race was spoilt almost immediately with a collision which eventually caused sufficient damage to force us to retire the car. Nico was running reasonably well, however an over-ambitious move from Rubens, which the stewards also agreed with, brought his race to an end. It’s a disappointing end to a disappointing first weekend of the season. We will demonstrate our strength as a team, put this race behind us, regroup and go forward from here.”

Norbert Haug: “This was the toughest weekend of our 20 races. From the first practice session, we had various technical problems which we did not experience during our pre-season testing preparations of more than 5000km. Nico and Michael were handicapped in their ability to set the cars up in the best possible way and our performance was not where it should be. In the race, Michael was hit after the start with the impact damaging his car enough that we had to call him in on lap 21 for safety reasons. Another car drove into Nico shortly afterwards which was the end of his race. We need to resolve our problems ahead of the next race and everybody will work very hard to achieve that within the next ten days. Sorry for all the hard-working people in our team for not having a better start to the 2011 season but we will improve soon.”

Stefano Domenicali: “There is no point in denying that we leave Australia with a sense of disappointment. Again today, our performance level was not a match for that of the best, especially one of the Red Bulls. Nevertheless, we managed to pick up some valuable points, especially with Fernando, who drove a great race, recovering from what happened to him on the first lap. Having made a strong start, Felipe first defended himself with real determination against attacks from Button, but then in the second part of the race he suffered more than expected with overheating rear tyres. Now we will have to study everything carefully to work out what prevented us from being as competitive as we had expected this weekend. Then we will have to react immediately, starting with the next race in Malaysia. One of the main themes is the level of downforce at the front: we must find out why we did not get on track what was predicted by the data. One of the few bright points was reliability, especially on the engine side and with the KERS.”

Pat Fry: “We have a lot of work ahead of us, that’s for sure. This weekend, the 150° Italia was not as competitive as we would have liked and that’s a fact: both in the race and in qualifying, Red Bull and McLaren were quicker than us. In terms of how we managed our strategy, I think that with Fernando we made the right choices, given what happened on the opening lap, when he found himself back in ninth place. Thanks to the pit stops and some good passing moves, the Spaniard managed to move up the order to fourth and he was fighting for a podium finish right up to the final lap. However, with Felipe we probably made a mistake towards the end, which cost him maybe one place. Now we all have to roll our sleeves up, at the track and back home, to try and arrive in Malaysia in better shape.”

Franz Tost: “A good result for the whole team, because to score a point in the first race proves that everyone at Toro Rosso worked well over the winter and everyone here at the track, back in the factory and at our wind tunnel deserves praise for that. Buemi had a good start, but unfortunately, at the first corner, Alguersuari drove into him and this had a negative impact on the performance of Buemi’s car for the rest of the afternoon. Nevertheless, Sebastien performed well and did a very good job. Given all the negative comments we heard over the winter about their tyres, Pirelli should also be congratulated on their performance here, especially when you consider that one car finished in the points making just one pit stop throughout the race. Finally, well done to Sebastian Vettel for starting the season with another win for Red Bull. We can now prepare for Malaysia, with the confirmation that we have started out on the right foot and we must work to maintain this momentum.”

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