Best Quotes of 2009
Oh, man, that was a gray time period, trust me. I tell you, until I'm old, I will never forget seeing Milka Duno climbing out of her car and being envious of the speed she put on the clock…and then thinking, 'How has it come to this? I'm looking at Milka and thinking, ‘Wow! You are an awesome driver. Ryan Hunter-Reay, IZOD poster boy and the oft-rumored fourth car for Andretti Autosport, on his car for the 2009 Indianapolis 500 - a Vision Racing machine with which he struggled mightily to put in the field.
"This year, with my luck, if I had a duck it would drown." AJ Foyt, IndyCar team owner, AJ Foyt Enterprises, commenting after his driver Ryan Hunter-Reay ran into the back of a slowing Raphael Matos during the Camping World Grand Prix at the Glen
"In a lot of ways, terrible to say this I suppose, but apart from the fact that Hitler got taken away and persuaded to do things that I have no idea whether he wanted to or not, he was in the way that he could command a lot of people, able to get things done. In the end he got lost, so he wasn't a very good dictator because either he had all these things and knew what was going on and insisted, or he just went along with it... so either way he wasn't a dictator." Ecclestone also sharply criticized democracy claiming: "It [democracy] hasn't done a lot of good for many countries - including this one." Bernie Ecclestone, President and CEO of Formula One Management and Formula One Association
"All this is a big misunderstanding. In the interview we were talking about structures and that it can sometimes be good to act and make strong decisions without reservation. I wasn't using Hitler as a positive example, but pointing out that before his dreadful crimes he worked successfully against unemployment and economic problems. It was never my intention to hurt the feelings of any community. Many people in my closest circle of friends are Jewish. Anyone who knows me knows that I would never attack a minority." Bernie Ecclestone, President and CEO of Formula One Management and Formula One Association
"No team should work with him [Bernie Ecclestone] any more – a boycott would be more than appropriate." A spokesman for Germany’s Central Council of Jews called for teams to abstain from working with Jew Bernie Ecclestone.
"I was surprised, and I'm still surprised. I don't really understand. I'm disappointed that he [Tony George] didn't want to continue. He's got a lot of confidence in who he's got, and he just felt he didn't want to get in their way. It really wouldn't be like that. There are other things to do. We'll keep our fingers crossed and hope everything goes well. I don't know what's going to happen next." Mari Hulman George, Chairman of the Board for Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp., said she still can't explain why Tony George vacated the position of CEO of the IRL after being replaced as President and CEO of Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp. and Hulman & Co.
"If Tony George had a good support system 19 years ago instead of butt kissers, guys with grudges and people with agendas, he might still be in charge at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway." Robin Miller, Veteran Open Wheel Journalist
"All I know, and anyone with a brain knows this, is that the [IndyCar] series needs strong, clear leadership, otherwise potential sponsors aren’t going to be interested. This weekend, there are only 19 cars – and if you include Milka, 20. The frustrating thing is, two years ago, we had two series with 36 cars, and now we’ve got one with 19. It doesn’t add up. Even the ride-buyers aren’t around, because we’re halfway through the year, so even the fat wallets have gone thin." Paul Tracy, IndyCar driver, KV Racing Technology reporting from Watkins Glen on the grim state of IndyCar racing
"Bernie [Ecclestone] claimed he didn't read the FOTA association letters because his dog always ate them before he could get them in the shredder." Martin Johnson, Reporter for London's Times newspaper.
"Thank you, everybody. It's been a very interesting situation and a mix of feelings, obviously. It feels like I just woke up from a nightmare. (Crying) I'm sorry, everybody. Everybody knows that I'm a pretty emotional guy. And to go through this with my family, it was very difficult. But the family, not only the family but the fans, they were amazing. As Roger [Penske] said, so many people sent messages. So many people sent prayers through Facebook, through the Internet, through my website. And I tell you one thing: I never lost faith. Sometimes I questioned it a little bit, but those prayers that people were sending me, it kept me really strong. It kept me really focused. And without everybody, without those prayers, it would have been very difficult to go through what I did. But, again, my message is believe the guy upstairs, believe in the Lord, because he will not let you down. And today just proved that he did not let me down." Helio Castroneves, IndyCar driver, Team Penske, speaking at a press conference in Long Beach where he competed in the IndyCar race after being acquitted at his tax evasion trial.
"It could ruin it. It would be a disaster and they'd destroy the sport. I would hate to see any kind of takeover happen because it would be badly managed. They can't even run their own teams. They can't agree on anything. If the teams owned it they would destroy it." Bernie Ecclestone, despite earlier sympathizing with the teams' dislike of the proposed budget cap, he now believes unfettered spending "could be the curse of our sport".
"You're all loonies. It is the nature of the loonies that you don't really have a leader, that you are all loonies together." Max Mosley, FIA President, blasted the rebel FOTA leaders.
"Basically, the teams don't want agreement - they want sporting power and money. Many have already been paid half of their participation fees until 2012 up front and in one case they would have to pay back £100m, while others will run to tens of millions The amounts involved could be massive if we go for damages to Formula One. Breakaway? Pure fantasy, they know it is fantasy. It is never going to happen. If they set up the Golden Steering Wheel Championship, who will want to watch it? It is not the FIA Formula One World Championship. That is what counts. I know because I once tried to set up a rival series with Bernie Ecclestone. I am less likely now to step down in October because any thoughts I had about retiring are fading. If I dropped dead tomorrow they will probably get someone worse than me, with far less understanding of F1." Max Mosley, FIA President
“What will happen now is that this discussion will continue for a while and then at some point we will find that when it starts to get important to know what is actually happening, which won’t be for some time, we will find some of the teams, the FOTA teams, will then come into the championship,” he said in an interview with the BBC. Other teams will already be there. And how long that will take is very difficult to predict because people take entrenched positions and so on, but nobody wants this. It is not greed, it is more about power,” he said about the dispute. “There are one or two individuals… well there is one individual who fancies himself as the Bernie [Ecclestone]. Whether he could do the job or not I don’t know. I think Flavio Briatore sees himself as the Bernie. He is fully entitled to that view, but I think Bernie would feel if he wants my business, or CVC’s business, then he should come and buy it, he can’t just take it. As far as the governing body is concerned, I don’t know whether any of them actually want to make the rules, because they can never agree on the rules. And when they do agree on them, they disagree on what they mean. The famous double diffuser was entirely drawn up by the teams and then we had to settle who was right in their interpretation of the rules which they had drawn up. There is not a lot of future in that. This is what it is all about – certain people would like certain positions and you can understand that, but there are correct and incorrect ways to get it. The thing is we have got very good legal advice and it is very strong and very clear, so we are very confident.” Max Mosley, FIA President, believes the standoff between teams and the FIA has been caused in part by the desire of individuals to take control of running the sport — and he singled out Renault boss Briatore in particular.