Quotes of the Week
“It’s pretty awesome. We should’ve won here last fall and we should’ve won here yesterday. It was a good day for us. The Snickers Toyota was really fast. We knew it was fast. We knew it was going to be a good racecar coming here from our performance last fall. We fine-tuned on it a little bit here and there. We need to work on the qualifying package a little bit. Ultimately, it doesn't really matter where you start here. You have to bide your time, take it easy when you have a car that’s good. It was a very satisfying day today. The second to last stop when we went from second to Denny, we went from second to third, I told the ladies to man up, get the job done on the last stop, which they did. I'm proud of 'em for doing that. When the time mattered most, they got the job done." Kyle Busch, NASCAR driver, Joe Gibbs Racing, winner of the Bristol Motor Speedway race. The win was Busch's 14th in his career and second at Bristol.
The good people at IZOD are spending over 6 million dollars this year to promote Ryan Hunter-Reay and the Indy Racing League. One small problem. We’re two weeks away from the season opener, and Hunter-Reay still doesn’t have a ride. He’s going to be in Keith Wiggins car at Sebring in a couple weeks. If the IRL has any sense, they’ll spend whatever money it takes to make sure this kid is in a car or they are going to lose one of the few good sponsors that have come along in the last ten years. Robin Miller, Veteran Open Wheel Racing Journalist
"It’s an absolutely fantastic feeling. Wow, what a race – the fastest ever race at Sebring covering a record distance. Winning with such a young car which had completed low testing miles in dry weather before we got here is amazing. I won here on the debut of the R8, then the R10 TDI and now the R15 TDI – thanks to the know-how and experience of the crew. Everyone at Audi Sport, and all six drivers here at Sebring, have worked very hard to be in a position to beat Peugeot here at this very difficult track and after an extremely hard fight. I’m proud to be a part of this team – it’s a cool feeling." Tom Kristensen, Audi driver, Audi Sport Team Joest, winning team of 12 Hours of Sebring. Kristensen won his record fifth overall race at Sebring and also owns a record eight Le Mans victories.
"This is a great result for a brand new car which came to Sebring with less mileage under its wheels than we had planned. We’ve seen not only the fastest 12-hour race in Sebring history, but also one of the most exciting with so many lead changes and a very tight battle between Audi and Peugeot – and this in the 100th ALMS race since 1999. I can remember that four cars have been setting almost identical lap times at Sebring for such a long time. Little things have been decisive in the end. It’s a shame that our second car, which was also running at the front for most of the race, lost some time at the end. I’m very happy with the debut of our new Audi R15 TDI and I would like to say a big thank you to everybody who made this success possible." Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport
“[Tony Eury, Jr.] just wanted to do this for a living, just like I do, but I’ll take the fall. I would rather be crucified than him. Every time I read in the paper that people are on his case, I feel like I am sending my brother to jail for a crime I committed, you know what I mean. I feel bad for him because he just wants to work and have fun. I put myself in this position. I'm willing to accept the ups and downs and the goods and bads that come with it. We haven’t run like we want to, like I think we should. It’s alright for everyone to point that out.” Dale Earnhardt, Jr., NASCAR's most popular driver, Hendrick Motorsports, commenting on his crew chief, Tony Eury, Jr., being blamed for Earnhardt's mediocre results
"I guarantee whoever wins the races in Melbourne will be told they are cheating, and it doesn't matter who it is. In this case it seems two teams, maybe three, certainly Toyota and Brawn, have interpreted the regulations in a different way to the other teams. The FIA at the moment says that interpretation is correct, but possibly some other teams will put in a protest before Melbourne. It won't affect racing but will be looked at after." Bernie Ecclestone, President and CEO of Formula One Management and Formula One Association, commenting that it appears as if the rules have been interpreted differently by different teams with each believing their diffusers are the right way to go.
"The teams must wake up. The truth is that they are run basically by engineers. They all want to prove they are smarter than everyone else so what happens? The costs go up. The teams have reacted badly because they haven't yet read what the technical regulations for 2010 will be. I have said it for years: we must reduce the money the teams have to spend to be competitive." Bernie Ecclestone, President and CEO of Formula One Management and Formula One Association
"I find it really absurd, serious and dangerous that one week before the start of the season we have created a situation of this nature which is very negative for our credibility, the teams, the constructors, the supporters, the journalists and the sponsors. I would like this climate to become more responsible, the teams have already reduced their costs by 50 per cent. It's important to create a more serene climate and to avoid continuously changing the rules, things that provoke trouble and worries for those doing the work." Luca di Montezemolo, President, Ferrari, stepped up his opposition to the Formula One rule changes, including the new 'gold medals' scoring system
"It seems to be that Formula One wants to die and we will all have to go and race in some other championship. It is right to try to give the public more, to improve the show, but it shouldn't distort the spirit of Formula One. I am very, very worried." Trulli added that the 'gold medals' system runs the risk that if one driver dominates the season as in 2002 and 2004, the championship will be officially over even earlier than usual. Jarno Trulli, Formula 1 driver, Toyota Racing, commenting on the latest FIA rules changes
"It's like saying Coventry can play with 30 players against Manchester United with 11. Or in tennis, we'll lower the net for you because you don't have as good a racket, and we'll put it back up again for the other guy. Sometimes it's hard to see where we are going (in F1). Rewarding yourself for doing well is about knowing other people have had the same opportunity to do well and you've done a better job than them. I'm not too bothered about it because I think it will change." Mark Webber, Formula 1 driver, Red Bull, backed suggestions that the voluntary budget cap scheme for 2010 is contrary to the spirit of Formula One. He agrees that the two-tiered system contradicts F1's DNA.
"You have to say that KERS is a risk for all the teams using it, with the new restricted testing regulations. There are, as always, certain question marks before the first races but this is what makes the whole thing so attractive isn't it? I doubt the same goes for the new rules given out at such late notice prior to the start of the season. It's something which is to me really, well, astonishing, as in previous years when the majority of teams wanted a rule change for a good reason, the FIA always said that it would not be possible in the short-term, or so late before the start of a season. I cannot imagine those changes will help F1, especially regarding the new system to find the champion. I cannot see how it makes sense to eventually have a World Champion who could have less points than the driver coming in second, even if I also think it is a good move to try to strengthen the winner's position. Generally we should also make sure that F1 remains the top series of motorsport, by also displaying its competition with the highest levels of technology." Michael Schumacher, 7 times World Champion, commenting on the late Formula 1 rules changes.
"It's a very clever device [diffuser] and you can make a very good case for saying that it's legal and a very good case for saying that it's illegal. It's going to be difficult. What's actually happened is that teams are saying 'We think it's illegal for this and this reason.' I think the thing will probably come to some sort of a head in Australia. One possibility is that all the teams agree that it is illegal, and therefore all the teams shouldn't have it from Barcelona. But then those teams who say it is legal will say 'Why should we do that?' And those that say it's illegal will say 'Why should we lose an advantage for four races?' And so probably what will happen is it will end up going to the stewards, who will make a decision. That will almost certainly be appealed by whichever side is disadvantaged. And then that will go to our Court of Appeal and be hammered out. It's not straightforward. I have an open mind on it at the moment - I can see it going either way. I really can. But somebody has to make their mind up and fortunately it's not my job." Max Mosley, President, FIA. The 2009 F1 season kicks off in Australia in one week, but 'diffuser-gate' is likely to drag on at least until the teams return to Europe after the first two races.
"It was a weak response. They knew we were considering a budget cap, but I don't think they expected us just to do it like that. The complaint was that we didn't consult them. Well, we've been talking a lot to Force India and Williams, both of whom were very supportive. I've not spoken recently to (Red Bull's) Mateschitz but I would have thought it might appeal to him too. All we've had from the teams so far is 'we've done a fantastic job, we've reduced costs by 50 per cent'. So what? It has come down from $300-400 million to $150-200 million. Well, that's admirable, but I'm dubious as to whether they will still have $150-200 million in 2010 and 2011. I actually think it could be done for 25 million (pounds) but that's just my opinion. All my advisers think it should be more. When people calm down a little bit they will see that all of this is brilliant for Formula One. It won't hurt the DNA of the sport -- 30 million is still vastly more than any other series." Max Mosley, President, FIA, commenting on budget capping, affording teams more technical freedoms and a return to engineering innovation. This is at the center of Mosley's vision, although he concedes that the 33m euro cap for 2010 is "provisional".
"[Honda's pullout] was a shame! I was part of Honda and always gave my support, but the management and the program were a shame! Based on how they managed things in the later years, I think they should never take part in F1 again. Honda should be ashamed for how things went. The philosophy was very different from the one of the '60s. Back then we didn't have enough money to send the engines back to Tokyo, so we didn't have the engines to race. And when I thought we found the way to win consistently with the car we should have had, the 1969 one, Mr. Honda and the banks didn't agree and stopped the project. But Honda was a society which raced and made people grow to send them to the race team: when I was with them they did mistakes, but they improved and built winning engines. This time they can't act a part as it was before. Japan doesn't seem to be an excuse for the bad organization.” John Surtees, former Formula One and motorcycle world champion
“The most brilliant driver we have today is Vettel, he's a good example of a real driver! Look at Button instead, frankly, I wouldn't have confirmed him. I would have replaced him because if you don't give 100% even when the car is not so good, you have to be sacked! You can't be good just when you have a good car, but even when you don't. I think that rather than constantly changing the rules for the team, they should support the young drivers more.” John Surtees, former Formula One and motorcycle world champion
"I never want to hear that kind of thing. I think you [reporters] know I am not [arrogant]. I know where I am and what I am capable of. But what I do is, I take it [the criticism] and try to understand why it is being said. Everyone makes mistakes and for sure there is maybe a point where I have been arrogant and come across as being arrogant. So I have to accept that. You have to -- you can't say everyone else is stupid. So you just have to deal with it and correct it. I have not got stresses from anywhere. Things are good. Sponsors are happy. My boss is so freaking happy. And now I've got all that stress off my shoulders. I love this sport. I love this job. It is damn cool." Lewis Hamilton, reigning Formula 1 world champion, has vowed to correct the perception that he is arrogant.