Malaysian GP: Post race quotes from technical personnel


Christian Horner, Team Principal Red Bull Racing: “An action packed race with the rain coming down on the grid at the start. Before the race was red flagged, both guys had a reasonable starts. After the re-start we made the right call to change onto the intermediates with Mark and then a lap later with Sebastian. For Mark, the advantage of being the first car into the pit lane is that you get a clear run into your box, but the disadvantage on that occasion was that half the grid followed him in behind and we couldn’t release him until we had a clear space. After the stop Sebastian made a good move on Rosberg and set about trying to close the gap to Hamilton ahead. His race was going well. As the track dried, we went onto the slicks pretty early with Mark and a lap later with Seb. We had lost all radio contact with Sebastian, which meant we could only speak with him via the pit board. After his stop he came up to the HRT who hit him and caused a puncture. The incident caused damage to the rear brake duct, which went into thermal runaway, so we wanted to stop the car before the end from a safety point of view. Seb didn’t hear us on the radio and continued. Thankfully his car got to the end without failing, but the incident cost Sebastian at least a fourth place finish today. For Mark, after his final stop his pace on the slicks was good and he started to catch Lewis in the last third of the race. He finished in fourth position after what was a very eventful race.”

Cyril Dumont, Renault: “Unfortunately for us, today is a race to forget. There is already a lot of gambling when you have these conditions and if you add the issues we had – which was no radio communication with Seb for most of the race and with Mark for parts of it – then it made it even more difficult. The race was going okay until Seb had the incident with HRT which caused a problem with the left hand wheel. For Mark fourth place was not too bad, but we would have preferred for him to have been on the podium. We have two weeks away from racing now and will be pushing to get back to where we need to be.”

Martin Whitmarsh – Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: “Today certainly wasn’t the day I was expecting! Firstly, this was a terrific race for Ferrari and a great result for Sauber – congratulations to both teams. It’s frustrating for us, as the race didn’t really go our way, but today’s result is great for the sport of Formula 1.

“For Jenson, it was simply a bad day in the office – losing a front wing in tricky conditions was always going to make it a hard afternoon for him. Lewis was somewhat unlucky, too: Ferrari’s ‘double-shuffle’ pitstop meant we were obliged to hold Lewis in his pitbox longer than we would have liked, but that’s motor racing. Nevertheless, he brought home some extremely valuable world championship points – his 15 points today consolidate Vodafone McLaren Mercedes’ position at the top of the Constructors’ Championship.

“Today’s conditions were always going to represent something of a roll of the dice. We didn’t quite manage everything today, and we’ll go back and analyse our performance, but in normal dry conditions we’ve shown that we’ve got decent pace. There’s a long season ahead, and with one victory and two strong podium positions, we can return to Europe extremely encouraged about the forthcoming races.”

Ross Brawn – Team principal Mercedes: “It’s a very disappointing end to what had been such a positive weekend here in Malaysia. Clearly we have a conundrum with this car that we have to unravel. After such an encouraging qualifying session, and indeed the fuel runs that we did on Friday, we struggled to get the tyres to work properly in the race today. There were little windows when we seemed to get them working and other times where we fell out of them completely. I don’t believe that we are abusing the tyres, just not using them properly, and it’s a problem that we have to solve if we are going to move forward with the car. It is especially disappointing after the potential we have shown, however I am confident that we have enough strength and the right people to unravel the problem. We will be getting our heads down back at the factory next week and doing just that.”

Norbert Haug – Head of motorsport Mercedes: “From P3 Michael did not have the best start but was still in a top five slot when he was spun around during the first lap and passed the start and finish line in P16. After the restart, things did not go any better and we never really could cope with the wet conditions and the drying out track on which nobody has had the opportunity to test before the race. Other teams could obviously handle these mixed conditions better and all credit to them. Both Ferrari and Sauber did a great job today so congratulations to those teams, Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez. We obviously did not have the set-up to make the best out of these tricky conditions today. We brought Nico in and put him on slicks which was a calculated risk that finally did not pay off. Our car has got speed and we will continue to work hard to generate this speed in the race as well as in qualifying.”

Eric Boullier, Team Principal Lotus: “Today’s result is a bit frustrating. Whilst it’s good to have a car finish in the top five after starting from tenth in conditions which were very tricky, we can’t help thinking that we could have achieved more from this race. Obviously, it’s disappointing for Romain, as it’s another DNF for him in the early laps of the race. He had never driven in the rain with these intermediate tyres so we have to take that into account. He had a very good start off the line, but the contact with Michael ruined his race. At the restart, we recovered well from our position and on the plus side, the car looked strong again. Kimi had a flawless race. He was very consistent in all conditions and his best lap shows what could have been without his grid penalty. I’m sure when we have a ‘standard’ weekend – without bad weather, penalty or interruption – we will do very well.”

James Allison, Technical Director Lotus: “What we would give for a normal race! We had to fight back from a grid penalty for changing the gearbox on Kimi’s car. We also had two drivers learning Pirelli’s wet tyres for the first time today. This made for a difficult time here at Sepang. Our pace at the end of the race on dry tyres looks extremely promising from the perspective of both degradation and pace. Give us a normal race, with two clean getaways from the good qualifying positions of which we have shown we are capable, and I think we’ll be able to collect a good reward.”

Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader: “Another points scoring finish for Kimi here. Again it was a shame for Romain but over the course of the weekend we confirmed the pace seen in Australia of the Lotus-Renault package. The changeable weather made it very difficult to manage fuel consumption. We burned a lot of fuel at the second start, which allowed us to be lighter towards the final laps. This played out well as Kimi set the fastest lap of the race on lap 53. Overall the engine has worked perfectly and we’re now looking forward to China, which presents a very different challenge.”

Robert Fernley, deputy team principal Force India: “Today’s result is thanks to a tremendous team effort with everybody rising to the challenges presented by the tricky conditions. It was an especially busy race on the pitwall, but on the whole I think we made the right calls, especially the timing of our switch to the dry tyres, and both drivers delivered very strong performances. It was important to pick up points on a day like this and given where we started we have to be happy with eight points. The race was not without drama, though, and Paul was lucky to emerge unscathed from the contact with Maldonado, which occurred in the very wet conditions. Both Paul and Nico came on the radio to say how poor the conditions were, and it’s to their credit that they managed to stay largely out of trouble. We now head to China determined to carry on this momentum and hopefully add some more points to our tally.”

Peter Sauber, Team Principal Sauber: “What a great result! Sergio drove an outstanding race and rose above our expectations. What surprised me most was the fact that he was very competitive in all conditions and with all tyres. Whether they were wet, intermediate or dry tyres he was always one of the fastest drivers on track if not the fastest. This obviously also shows the huge potential of the car. And I want to pay a big compliment to Giampaolo Dall’Ara and his team for doing a great job with the strategy. Thanks also to everybody in the factory in Hinwil. I’m sorry for Kamui who had to stop due to a technical problem. Nevertheless it was a great and important day for the team.”

Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Track Engineering Sauber: “It was a very strong race for our team. We made a good call on the weather conditions, and then Sergio took over. He drove a brilliant race. His pace was excellent on a wet and dry track. For Kamui it was an unlucky race. First we should have called him in earlier, but there was a chance of rain. This judgment was wrong. Secondly he had a leak in the brake system which stopped him, and we are sorry for that. We have to investigate it. However, it was a great performance and a great result for the team.”

Franz Tost, team principal Toro Rosso: “In Melbourne we scored points with Daniel and now in Sepang, it was the turn of our rookie driver, Jean-Eric, to secure his first Formula 1 points with a strong drive to eighth place. As is often the case in Malaysia, we witnessed a very exciting race in which Jean-Eric did an excellent job as it was the first time he has raced a Formula 1 car in wet conditions. He made no mistakes and produced really good lap times and so this eighth place is well-deserved. These four points are also the result of excellent work from the team, making the correct decisions as regards pitstops and tyre strategy as well as managing the complicated situation while the race was suspended. Daniel lost too much time in the early stages of the race to fight back into the points, but his laptimes in the later part were very good. The STR7 performed quite well this afternoon in both the wet and the dry and finally congratulations to our engine partner Ferrari for this important win.”

Mark Gillan, chief operations engineer Williams: “It was a real rollercoaster of a race and the whole team are delighted to get our first points of the season. Bruno drove very well finishing in sixth, having been last at the restart. Unfortunately we had to retire Pastor with an engine problem with only a few laps left whilst he was running in 10th.”

Laurent Debout, Renault Sport F1 team support leader for Williams: “Our feelings are obviously very mixed. It’s very satisfying to score the first points for the new Williams-Renault package with Bruno’s sixth position, but very frustrating to lose a potential double points finish due to an engine failure on Pastor’s car. We are still looking into the problem but apologies to the team and we’ll look to make amends in China. There’s a long gap between now and then so we have time to fully investigate.”

Mark Smith, Technical Director Caterham: “From the technical perspective that was an incredibly busy race. With the constantly changing conditions we had to make a number of calls to give us a chance to fight and while that paid off for Vitaly, for Heikki it was a much tougher afternoon. He had to change a front wing after going off track and that effectively ended his race, but it is good to see how hard Vitaly was able to push, and to see the lap times he was putting in on the inters.”

Tony Fernandes, Team Principal Caterham: “I’m happy with how the race went today. We recorded our first two car finish at our home race in Malaysia, and we definitely gave the fans here something to cheer for, particularly with Vitaly battling with the likes of Ferrari, Williams and Toro Rosso. We showed good pace and with a bit more work ont he strategies I think we can keep demonstrating that we keep edging ever closer to what is clearly an intense battle in the midfield. The fact we are now fighting with some of the most famous names in motorsport is a huge achievement in what is only our third season, and now we will keep fighting to close that gap which is already so much smaller than it was last year, and streets ahead of where we were in 2010.”

Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 Support Leader for Caterham: “Conditions like we saw today can make the race a complete lottery. We worked well all afternoon with the engineering team to adjust the engine strategy to deal with the red flag and the safety car period, and we can be reasonably pleased with how well the car performed against the teams ahead, so now we will focus on China and Bahrain and make sure we use this as a base to keep progressing.”

Luis Pérez-Sala, Team Principal HRT: “Yesterday after qualifying we were satisfied and today, thankfully, we are again. We met another target which was to finish the race with both cars. There are aspects that need improving, without a doubt, such as reliability and the speed of the car, but by completing the race we have accumulated a lot of data which will be of great use to continue progressing. We also need to improve pit stops and team coordination but it was the first time they did it and from the first stop to the second you could already tell the difference. Today I want to highlight the work everyone did and thank them for their effort these past weeks and today’s result is a small reward for that enormous amount of work that is taking place.”

John Booth, Team Principal Marussia: “A fantastic end to what has been an important weekend for the team. It is extremely encouraging that we are seeing progress in every area, the most significant of which is in terms of performance. The small upgrade that we brought on Friday was the result of some very hard work in the factory over the last few weeks by the aerodynamics department and we have certainly seen the benefit of that here this weekend. However, we can’t rest on our laurels and this is now the start of what is going to be a very intensive and exciting development programme for us. It was an interesting race today, with plenty of twists and turns to keep us on our toes, which the race team handled admirably. We were particularly impressed with the way Charles held off Kovalainen for so long, losing out only at the pitstop. Equally worthy of note was Timo’s performance in the drying conditions, which was superb. We now look forward to evaluating the findings from these two races so we can come back stronger again in China in three weeks’ time.”

Paul Hembery, Motorsport director Pirelli: “This race had echoes of Canada last year, which was also suspended due to rain. Once more, that created an intriguing set of circumstances and some stand-out performances, such as Alonso and Perez at the front, who were the class of the field. After the re-start, it was important for the drivers to look after the intermediates – which showed great versatility in very mixed conditions – in order to keep them within their operating temperature range.

“The top two finishers adopted a completely different tyre strategy, with Alonso on the medium tyre and Perez on the hard tyre in the final stint, which shows how our decision to close up the performance gaps between the compounds has led to even closer racing. We’d also like to congratulate Bruno Senna, who scores his best-ever grand prix result in sixth.”

 

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