Team chiefs give verdicts on 2003 season 14 Oct 2003
Ferrari - Constructors' championship: 1st, 158 points
Japanese Grand Prix: 1st (Rubens Barrichello), 8th (Michael Schumacher)
Jean Todt, Sporting Director: "We have won both championships, writing another page in the history book of this sport. No team has ever won five consecutive Constructors' titles and no driver has ever had his name at the top of the record books six times. First and foremost, I want to thank Luca di Montezemolo, who has always given us his support. Thanks must also go to our shareholders who have always believed in us, even in the really difficult times. I think Gianni Agnelli would have been proud to see the car which bears his name win seven of the twelve races in which it competed. I am proud to be in charge of this dream team; which is united, determined and never gives up. Now we will enjoy this success, which comes at the end of a very difficult season, up against very strong opposition. I can assure you that we have not lost our hunger for more victories in the future. Enzo Ferrari would have been proud of what we have accomplished."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "This is a dream come true. I am so proud to be part of Ferrari. All the guys and girls have shown what kind of team they are. Our partner Bridgestone also did a great job. Now we go and karaoke!"
Williams - Constructors' championship: 2nd, 144 points
Japanese Grand Prix: 12th (Ralf Schumacher)
Frank Williams, Team principal: "It was a disappointing end to a brilliant F1 season, but there remains much encouragement for us for the next year."
Patrick Head , Technical Director: "We fought very hard all year but we started too weakly and that put a lot of pressure on us at the end, which I don't think was really the problem but ultimately the results in our last few races of the year have been very poor, although the car speed has been very good. We will be going home now and analysing what has happened and we'll try to make sure we do much better next year. I want to give credit to all the people in the team, both in Grove and Munich and the support from our partners and sponsors because everybody has worked very hard this year. Second in the Constructors' Championship isn't first but still the team has improved enormously through the year and that's pleasing to see. Well done to Michael and Ferrari!"
Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "This last race reflected the whole season for our team, it was just like a rollercoaster. After a weak start to the season we had the Constructors' Championship within reach but in the last few races we have to acknowledge that our team is still not quite strong enough. There were too many mistakes and this includes today's race. It is a small comfort to us that the P83 engine did not experience any failures in all of the 16 races. With hindsight, we can still say that it is clear that this year we made a big jump forward. With four victories, including two one-two finishes, this was our strongest season so far. We managed to keep the Constructors' title undecided until the last race. The developments for 2004 should ensure that we will be competitive from the start of the season. Congratulations to Michael Schumacher and Ferrari for having won both titles. They have been a little too strong for us, this time."
McLaren - Constructors' championship: 3rd, 142 points
Japanese Grand Prix: 2nd (Kimi Raikkonen), 3rd (David Coulthard)
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "It was quite close and anything was possible in the (last) race. Kimi and David performed well, and we had a good strategy for both cars. However it's the combined result of the 16 races which decide the World Championship but we were able to fight until the very end. The entire team is already working hard on planning our 2004 season."
Norbert Haug, Vice-President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: "Kimi is runner-up in the World Championship two points behind, which is a good result at the end of an exciting season. The whole team did a great job and worked very hard to keep Kimi in contention for the title until the last race. David showed a strong drive coming home in third today. Congratulations to Michael Schumacher on his sixth World Championship title - at least he can't say we made it easy for him. Thanks to all our team members for their hard work during 2003. We will all continue our efforts in order to finish one better in 2004."
Renault - Constructors' championship: 4th, 88 points
Japanese Grand Prix: 5th (Jarno Trulli)
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: "The results don't show it fully, but the team did a very good job this weekend. Both drivers put in excellent performances, especially Jarno from the back of the grid, and it was frustrating to see Fernando retire. It is a shame to end the season like this, but it has been a fantastic year for Renault and the whole team. The winter will be spent working hard, and we should be even stronger in Melbourne next March."
BAR - Constructors' championship: 5th, 26 points
Japanese Grand Prix: 4th (Jenson Button), 6th (Takuma Sato)
David Richards, Team Principal: "This is just fantastic! To have this result at Honda's home track, with Taku driving his first race with us is amazing. Jenson had one of his best races, driving with real maturity, and showed he had the pace of the top teams. We had an excellent race set-up and a perfect fuel strategy, which leapfrogged us over Saturday's light fuel teams. I like to think that this weekend's performance is significant in a number of ways, and going into the winter break, gives us the confidence that the changes we have made are all positive. Both Honda and ourselves have ambitious plans for next year and we will be pushing very hard when testing resumes in November."
Sauber - Constructors' championship: 6th, 19 points
Japanese Grand Prix: 9th (Nick Heidfeld)
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "Of course we all are disappointed that we couldn't keep our fifth place in the World Championship for Constructors, but we must not be ungrateful. Before the last race in Indianapolis we were only ninth in the Championship and only climbed to fifth thanks to the fantastic performance of the drivers, the team and, of course, Bridgestone. We thank Nick Heidfeld and Heinz-Harald Frentzen for a good and professional job in a very difficult season for us. Hats off to BAR-Honda for a great result today and for taking fifth place in the Championship. And congratulations to Ferrari and Michael Schumacher. With this unique success they write themselves into a completely new chapter of motorsport history."
Jaguar - Constructors' championship: 7th, 18 points
Japanese Grand Prix: 11th (Mark Webber), 13th (Justin Wilson)
Tony Purnell, Head of Premier Performance Division: "We began the season with a fast car but one which was unreliable at times and with the benefit of hindsight, we lost points as a consequence. As the season progressed, however, our competition got quicker and reliable to the extent that today's race was out of our reach. That's motor racing and while we have lost out today, I take a lot of pride in the fact that we have achieved the target we began the season with - 'respectability'. That was the objective and I'd say we have achieved that. Sauber were fortunate to have bagged ten points in Indianapolis by being out on the right wet tyres at the right time otherwise we would have finished the season in 6th place. Nonetheless, the work and effort that has gone into turning this team around must be recognised and the fact that we are on the right path leaves us with a lot to look forward to next year. It is going to be a tough winter but we will come out kicking and fighting in 2004."
Toyota - Constructors' championship: 8th, 16 points
Japanese Grand Prix: 7th (Cristiano da Matta), 10th (Olivier Panis)
Ove Andersson, Team Principal: "To take two points in our home grand prix is a very nice feeling and we can return to Cologne with our heads held high. We finish the season in eighth position in the constructors' championship, which is where we probably should be after only our second season in Formula 1. My ambition tells me that I would have liked to be further up, but it was a more difficult year than our debut season, and one from which we have learned a huge amount. I want to thank the team for the hard work and effort that every single person has put into this season. We will back racing next year with a better car and even more determination to be successful and to give our competitors an even harder time."
Jordan - Constructors' championship: 9th, 13 points
Japanese Grand Prix: 14th (Ralph Firman)
Gary Anderson, Director of Race and Test Engineering: "I can't deny that (our Suzuka result) was a disappointment. In Ralph's first pit stop we had a problem with the fuel rig connector which lost a lot of time for him. We were forced to pit early as well because he had a fuel pick-up problem - we think one of the pumps in the tank failed - and he had to run with quite a high fuel load to the end, to try and keep it from cutting out. In Giancarlo's first stop we didn't get the quantity of fuel we thought we had during refuelling, so he was a lap short and ran out of fuel just before his second stop. There have been a lot of lessons learnt this year and the whole team is already working very hard to ensure we come back next year with a much more competitive package."
Minardi - Constructors' championship: 10th
Japanese Grand Prix: 15th (Jos Verstappen), 16th (Nicolas Kiesa)
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "First of all, congratulations to Michael Schumacher and to Ferrari for a job well done. As for Minardi, the year ended on a positive note, with both cars yet again taking the chequered flag. Overall, though, 'frustrating' is the way I would describe the season, in that our engine and driver line-up deserved more, but the lack of funds to develop the car cost us dearly, despite a fantastic effort from all our staff throughout what has been a most difficult year. I'd like to thank all our personnel, not only on the race team, but also in the factories at Faenza and Ledbury. Together with our technical and commercial partners, they have given 110 per cent throughout 2003."