Quotes of the week

ROBIN MILLER, Veteran Open Wheel Racing Journalist
"Mr. Forsythe has evidently changed his mind about the price or maybe the length of Paul Tracy's contract [four years remaining at an estimated $2.5 million a year], which is certainly within his rights. But it's the wrong time, the wrong guy and the wrong message. Because, to be completely honest, Tracy is all that Champ Car has left with the fans, general public and what little of the mainstream media that still pays attention to this series. If it somehow survives the next couple years, Graham Rahal will emerge as the poster boy but, right now, it's just the crazy Canadian. Tracy still packs star power and still sells tickets because he still hangs his ass out at speed, still takes chances and, bless his heart, still says whatever comes to mind. In the worst case scenario, PT refuses to renegotiate, gets cut loose by Forsythe and is out of Champ Car. Can you imagine having three races in Canada without Paul Tracy? The Toronto promoter can't. The best case scenario for Champ Car is that Paul Newman, Carl Haas and Mike Lanigan sign him to replace Sebastien Bourdais and team with young Rahal. But, if I was Tony George, I'd do whatever it took to get Tracy into an Indy Racing League ride. Honda always had a good relationship with him and maybe they'd help with his salary like they have other drivers. Because, if the heart of Champ Car ends up in the IRL, this insane, costly, brutal open wheel war would be over. Game, set and match."

RON DENNIS, Team Principal, McLaren F1 team
"I will not be forced out of Formula One. I'm not going to quit. That is 100 per cent," Dennis said. "I know there are people out there who want me to retire, but I'm not. I do not think it would be in the best interests of the team," he said. (Ron Dennis has defiantly rejected claims that the conclusion to the Stepneygate scandal could cost him his job. After his team last week issued a groveling apology for not knowing how far Ferrari secrets had penetrated its Woking headquarters, and voluntarily freezing aspects of its 2008 car, some sections of the press surmised that the logical next step would be for Dennis to retire.)

MARTIN WHITMARSH, Chief Operating Officer, McLaren F1 team
"We respectfully request that the members of the (World Motor Sport) Council consider the significant disruption that has occurred within the team as a consequence of this matter," chief executive Martin Whitmarsh wrote in a letter to the FIA body recently. "Apart from the morale sapping consequence within the team, its ability to continue its task of generating investment has, as I am sure anyone can imagine, been made virtually impossible," he added. (Not only was McLaren excluded from the 2007 championship, the team has frozen development of three areas of its 2008 challenger while admitting that the damage to its image affected investment far beyond the $100 million fine.)

TUNCER YILMAZ, Turkish taxi driver
"It was the coolest ride of my life. And the fastest," Yilmaz, who drives a taxi around Coburg in Bavaria (Germany), said. "It was crazy having Schumi driving, with me in the passenger seat," the Turkish taxi driver was quoted as saying. Yilmaz said Schumacher drove "at full throttle" around corners while overtaking "in some unbelievable places", as his wife Corinna and two children also sat in the Opel mini-van. But the taxi driver refused to say how fast the German drove his cab. "I don't want him to get into trouble," he insisted. (Tuncer Yilmaz found himself the subject of media headlines after he told the Munich newspaper Abendzeitung that Schumacher had given him a 100 euro tip on top of the 60 euro fare after asking to take over the wheel in order to get his family to the airport on time.)

“I didn’t start off very good but it’s turned out to be a nice event. At the end of the day everybody wants to win The ROC. To come here in front of all the spectators to this nice event, for me I really enjoy it every time. I wouldn’t say it’s that easy, whether it’s seven-time Formula 1 Champion or four-time Touring Car Champion, all of the drivers are very good. If you get your rhythm going, any one of them could win. The track layout was a bit more technical this time after France last year. The first turn on the outside was really demanding." (On winning the Race of Champions)

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER Seven-time Formula One World Champion
“It has been truly quite a thrill! I’ve been here twice, and twice it has been a big pleasure. I wasn’t so good in the Solution F; there is something with me where I need to see my wheels! I’m no good if I don’t see them, I have been very bad in saloon cars in the past. We came here to enjoy ourselves, to be here for a good reason: for the ICM charity and finally to race. We do this as good as we can and sometimes one is better than the others. We can all live with this because it’s not a championship so there’s no pressure. This is my first time racing after my retirement. In previous years if you race F1 you have a lot of pressure. You are determined and focused and at one stage, at this time of year, I just liked to switch off. In 2004 I could do it but normally after a season I’m just empty by the end of the year. Now it’s different so I’m open for fun events such as this. I hope I get an invitation next year!" (After finishing 2nd in the Race of Champions)

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