Quotes of the Week
"What is happening with the diffusers is stupid, forcing teams to spend money in a time of crisis. It is also about safety: we have already put similar pieces in our wind tunnel and it gives 14 per cent more downforce. That is not in the spirit of the regulations. (And) once they are developed we could be talking 30 or 40 (per cent additional)." Flavio Briatore, Managing Director, Renault
“I want certainty. It’s not right to start a season with question marks as far as the rules are concerned. If the diffusers are conform to the rules it has to be said and decided as soon as possible, but we and other teams don’t think so; or they are not conform to the rules and also in this case it has to be clear fastest possible. Who interprets the rules not in line with them, creates a performance inequality, which is unacceptable.” Luca di Montezemolo, President, Ferrari
"If I'm frank, I didn't say 'look, we're going to do this diffuser if you don't accept this rule'. Because I'm not going to tell people what we're doing. But I explained that I felt we should have a different set of rules to simplify what needs to be done and I offered them and they were rejected. So my conscience is very clear. And those rules that I put on the table would have stopped a lot of things. It would have stopped the diffuser and all those bargeboards around the front, it would have cleaned the cars up. Nobody was interested then, they are very interested now." Ross Brawn, Team Principal, Brawn GP, commenting that the diffuser controversy could have been avoided if those teams now protesting had embraced proposed rule changes a year ago
"I am happy because I just wanted some justice, and I got it. I am happy for myself and for the team, and have to thank the FIA because it's not very often that they reconsider something; it must have been really hard for them, but they had the common sense to really try and understand what was going on. I have been always honest and it has paid off." Jarno Trulli, Formula 1 driver, Toyota. Trulli lost the third place and six points he scored in Australia following an incident involving McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, for which the McLaren team has now been disqualified having been found guilty of "deliberately misleading" the Melbourne inquiry.
"I was instructed and misled by my team manager [Dave Ryan] to withhold information, and that is what I did. I would like to say a big sorry to all my fans, who I showed who I am for the past three years, and it is who I am. I am not a liar. I am not a dishonest person. Every time I have been informed to do something I have done it. This time I realize it was a huge mistake. I am here to apologize to everyone and I assure you it won't happen again. I've never felt so bad. Try and put yourself in my position and understand that, like I said, I am not a liar. And so for people to say I am dishonest and for the world to think that, what can I say? That was not my aim. That is not something I do. I earn my points and my positions through hard work, and that is not the way I think." Lewis Hamilton, F1 driver, McLaren, commenting on lying to FIA stewards in Australia about the Trulli incident for which the McLaren team was disqualified.
“As you can imagine it is a very sad day for the team. I had to take an incredibly difficult decision, [and] we have suspended our long-standing sporting director, Dave Ryan. He has been with the team for 35 years. I have personally known him for 20 years, and I think anyone in this paddock who knows him knows that he is a very straightforward, dedicated, committed and hard-working individual. I think anyone who knows Dave will know that he did not set out with any deliberate intention to mislead the stewards. He went to that stewards meeting with Lewis, I am sure, with the intention of being very clear and straightforward. I think what the stewards should rely upon is that when the teams are called before them, they will give a totally true and open account of what happened – and there was a belief that a true and honest account would get the result of the positions being reversed. However, it has become clear from discussions with Dave last night and through into this morning that during the stewards meeting he was not entirely full and truthful in answers that he gave the stewards – and consequently we had no alternative today other than to suspend him. The case is that Dave made a very serious error of judgment in going into that stewards meeting, and he is paying the consequences of that. I think that Lewis was not entirely truthful, but Dave was the senior member of the team. I think they were trying to deal with the situation but they got it wrong. Dave, as part of the management of the team, has to take responsibility for leading that process. It is something that he deeply regrets, [that] Lewis and I and the team regret, and it is something that we have got to put right. I think Lewis got out of the car and gave a truthful account of what happened. I believe that whilst they were at the stewards, Dave – who had been party to what had happened in Spa – was highly sensitive, and I think in the heat of the moment his judgment was to not give a true account, and I think Lewis was then led by that." Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal, McLaren
"Of course it reminds me of 2007 [GP of Hungary]. This is not the first time they [McLaren] have been to the stewards, it is not the first time they have lied to the stewards, so sooner or later they had to be caught and punished." Fernando Alonso, 2 time Formula 1 World Champion, Renault
"Dave Ryan is only an employee. Does he act on his own?" Bernie Ecclestone, President and CEO of Formula One Management and Formula One Association, suspects the McLaren veteran is a "scapegoat" when he and Lewis Hamilton lied about the Trulli incident in Australia
"The main focus today is hope that he [Helio Castroneves] gets off, and all of this gets behind us because this causes a lot of problems with the fans, certainly with his career in the future, which I’m concerned about. He had 155 consecutive races with us, and today here at St. Pete he’s not in the car. What I’ve said to him, and I talked to him this morning, I said 'If you’re cleared next week, you’re going to be in the car at Long Beach.' " Roger Penske, Helio’s longtime car owner, Team Penske, commenting on Helio’s tax evasion trial
“What a crazy race! It was really exciting out there and I'm delighted that we came out on top today. I didn't have the best of starts and was surprised at the lack of grip on my side of the grid. I was happy with the car and our pace was good but the weather really threw the race wide open. Choosing the tires was difficult but we made the right calls at the right time, particularly when it started raining so hard and so quickly. I have to say a massive thank you to my engineer Andrew Shovlin who was on the podium with me today and the whole team for their work on the strategy and in the pits. Last weekend we said that we had a fairytale start to the season and I am so proud that has continued here.” Jenson Button, Formula 1 driver, Brawn GP, commenting after winning his second straight victory for Brawn GP in the rain shortened Malaysian Grand Prix
"This is our first race of the season and it's such a great feeling to kick it off with a race win. The conditions were tough; it was very tricky on restarts. The tires would get very cold and it would be very slippery. It was a challenge to keep it between the white lines and off the wall. I had some strong challenges from behind, but my car was very strong today and I was able to hold them off. At the end there, we had some restarts and I was able to get Justin Wilson down on the inside. I had a great car with Team Penske today. Roger Penske calls my strategy and it was just absolutely perfect." Ryan Briscoe, IndyCar driver, Team Penske, commenting after winning the opening race of the IndyCar season at St. Petersburg
"How ironic is this that when we go into this streak and we end it here in Texas, a place that's just eluded us for so long. Incredible team effort. This whole year has been amazing. What a great car. I've never had a car like this at Texas. We finally had one and put it in position." Jeff Gordon, NASCAR driver, Hendrick Motorsports, commenting on his first victory at Texas Motor Speedway after a 47-race winless streak