Quotes of the week UPDATE #2 A new quote from Max Mosley has been added.
MAX MOSLEY, President FIA
"Jackie Stewart's latest comments are as misconceived as those he made prior to the McLaren World Council hearing in September," Mosley said. "It is not the role of the FIA to court popularity by supporting one party or the other. It is the role of the FIA to ensure that the rules of the sport are respected and that fairness is applied consistently for all competitors. The bandying of partisan and ill informed comments in the media may well result in increased book sales for his new autobiography but they can do little more than confirm my view that Jackie is in no position to provide useful observations upon issues of motor sport governance." (Max Mosley has dismissed Sir Jackie Stewart's call for him to retire as FIA president. Mosley even suggested that Stewart's continued outspokenness could be related to the release of his autobiography, entitled 'Winning is Not Enough'. Stewart's latest comments were made at a signing for the book.)
10/15/07 A new quote from Sir Jackie Stewart has been added.
SIR JACKIE STEWART, 3-times F1 World Drivers Champion
Stewart said Mosley's decision is "poor" and a "dangerous precedent". He said "Formula one is a domain in which the owners pay the drivers and recruit the mechanics to design the car, and the governing body should have no say in the internal workings of any team. It is also hypocritical. Can you imagine the FIA going to Ferrari, while Michael Schumacher was at the helm, and insisting that his no.2 Rubens Barrichello or Eddie Irvine, was accorded the same privileges and that both men had to race on an equal footing? There is an escalating awareness that Mosley is being called into question over the proper governance of the FIA and his authority is being undermined, to an increasing degree, largely because we are in the most exciting F1 campaign there has been for years, and yet the papers are full of negative publicity. The governing body is damaging the reputation of the whole sport and bringing it into disrepute. They are acting in self interest and I believe there has to be greater accountability," said Stewart. "Perhaps Max Mosley has been in the job too long. I definitely think that he should consider his position and that a new president should be head hunted from outside the sport, so there is no conflict of interest." (Sir Jackie Stewart, who was recently derided as a "certified halfwit" by Max Mosley, has hit back by calling on the FIA president to quit his post as motor racing's most powerful figure. The triple world champion, who caught Mosley's ire by describing the espionage affair earlier this year as a 'witch hunt', has now slammed the FIA's decision to install a special observer in the McLaren pits in Brazil to ensure driver equality.)
KEITH WIGGINS, co-owner Champ Car World Series team, Minardi Team USA
“You have to look at this [Champ Car World Series] as a business as much as possible,” he says. “It’s no secret that that’s been a challenge the last few years. I think the writing is on the wall that we have to get our s**t together. It needs some good, hard common sense. The reality is something’s gotta change. We all know the reasons (for the recent driver changes). The reality is that it appeases the latest fire. Now that we’ve plugged a couple of Mexicans in for Mexico City, Mexico is happy. Nelson is popular (in Australia) and people were also saying ‘What about last year’s winner?’ But what do we do about next year when we get to Assen and people start asking ‘What happened to Jan?’ Do we just plug him back in again?
RON DENNIS, Team Principal, McLaren Mercedes Formula One team
“The problem was rain, and his tires were in the worse condition,” said Dennis. “We weren’t at all phased about Kimi (Raikkonen), we didn’t care about him, we weren’t racing him, we were racing, basically… He was racing Fernando, and Kimi winning [with] Lewis coming second was adequate, but it just didn’t work out that way.”
LEWIS HAMILTON, leading World Drivers Championship contender, Mercedes McLaren F1 team
"He's [Kimi Raikkonen] like flat-lined, and I think my subconscious is pretty much like that," said Hamilton. "I've been in these situations before many times, needing to close out championships, and I know how to deal with it." (Commenting on media criticism to the mistake he made in the Chinese Grand Prix which left the World Drivers Championship wide open.)
"I've not really thought about that, to be honest," said Hamilton. "(Massa) will be going out there to do his own job and I think perhaps, if the team ask him, maybe he will try and get in the way," he added. "Even if Kimi's in the lead and Felipe's behind him and holding me up, that's not really a big problem for me. I'll only need to finish fifth, so it's not a big issue," he said. "I'm not going there thinking, 'Shit, I've gotta watch out for Felipe.' I'm going out there to beat them all. I think we still have to approach the race weekend by trying to take pole position, lead from the start and win the race. Some part of my mind will be focused on the end result," he is quoted as saying, "winning the world championship (and) not the race, but I go to win." (Felipe Massa, who won the race near Sao Paulo last year, has pledged to help Raikkonen to win the title next Sunday if he is in a position to do so.)
FERNANDO ALONSO, reigning 2-time World Drivers Champion, McLaren Mercedes
"This isn't the treatment a two-time winner deserves, much less a normal person," Alonso was quoted as saying by the Spanish media. "From outside the team, I had a different image, serious and very professional. I came here after winning two world championships and I improved the car all I could. I expected a lot more, we all expected a lot more," he said. "We all know how the team celebrates the victory of one team member and the other," Alonso said. "And when you hear the declarations of your boss saying that he feels a paternal sentiment for one of your teammates and rivals, then you know that you can never have much trust in what that person will do. From what they've said and done it doesn't look as though they are very keen and that they've got enough with one of the two drivers that are here and I've no problem with that," he said. "There are another 10 or so teams that are interested in me." Alonso added, "He [Lewis Hamilton] will deserve it if he wins the title. If I don't win this year it's because someone has scored more points than me, and if that's the case it's because he has done a better job."
NIGEL STEPNEY, fired Performance Director, Ferrari
"I got information about when they [McLaren] were stopping (during races)," Stepney said. "I got weight distribution, I got other aspects of various parts of their car from him [Mike Coughlan]. Ferrari got off lightly. I think they should have been docked points," he said. "The question is 'Did I use the information, did I talk about it?' I spoke to some people about it. I can't prove it, there are no e-mails or anything. As well as McLaren having an advantage, did Ferrari have an advantage? I think so." (Nigel Stepney, who was fired from Ferrari after the scandal broke in July, said he was able to supply the Italian team with details of McLaren's cars thanks to an exchange with its chief designer, Mike Coughlan. Stepney said he also knew information from McLaren tests, including fuel levels.)
MAX MOSLEY, President FIA
Mosley said [Sir Jackie] Stewart's description of the spygate affair as a witch hunt was "ill informed". He added, "To make this and other unfounded and partisan accusations without viewing any of the evidence was not only inept but thoroughly irresponsible. Such comments could do nothing but damage to the sport. I have no apology to make and I am more than happy to repeat this view about him now and in the future. Some members of the British motor sport establishment consider Jackie Stewart to be a national treasure," Mosley continued. "I have known Jackie for almost 40 years, and understand their view, but they must forgive me if I do not share it."
SIR JACKIE STEWART, 3-times F1 World Drivers Champion
"That [legal] option is still very open," Stewart said. "My lawyers advised me that I have every right to do so, and that's an option that I am able to take up. We're in communication - I'm not personally, but my lawyers are in communication with Mr. Mosley. I think it was very wrong for Max to do what he did, because it's unbecoming for the president of the body that governs this sport to be speaking in such a fashion," he said. "I don't think you would see the chairman of the Olympic movement saying such a thing. And that of course is much higher than Max, but nevertheless it is an international organization. I think it was an act of misjudgment by him, but he must have been very upset - for no apparent reason, because any criticisms that I have made are no different from many other people aired with respect to the severity of the penalty of the McLaren thing, and the manner in which the case came together. So I think I was observing and I have the privilege of doing that as an individual opinion, but he obviously has not used to people questioning some of his judgments. And in this particular case I didn't do it against Max Mosley, it was just my opinion of the whole business that took place. But I think it is unfortunate that he behaved in the fashion that he has. It is libelous, and I think that's really all I can say."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion, Hendrick Motorsports
“Now it’s kind of coming to a point with us both [Johnson and Jeff Gordon] racing for the championship. But week in and week out we’re racing against one another and having to deal with a competitive friendship relationship throughout the entire season, so things really aren’t any different. There’s a lot more on the line now than at any other time but I think both of us are excited for our own individual opportunities and also for the company. We’ve been working real hard and we’ve been working great as teammates and that’s not going to change.”