Michael Schumacher: & ...
“ The start of the race could have been a lot better! But for me this was the ideal start to the season, although a one-two finish would have been preferable for the team. I didn’t see everything at the start, except that cars were flying everywhere. I was afraid to turn in for the first corner so I went straight on over the grass. It was the right decision to avoid being hit. It was an interesting fight with Juan; a straight battle with pretty equal cars. I lost a bit of ground after the first Safety Car, but Juan braked on oil at turn 3 and I could pass. Then Trulli always closed the door on me and I was worried because Juan was getting closer. At the second Safety Car, Juan ran wide and so did I, but he got a good run at me and passed me easily. When I got back the position, I went to the outside of the corner to get a better exit and it worked. Tyres influenced our battle as, at first I had trouble getting temperature into mine and then when mine were good, Juan’s went off. I did not think we could win here, but things change quickly and from the next race I expect it to be much closer. We would like to use the new car as soon as possible, but only if it is better than this one and reliable. The team will be testing with it next week.”
“ These things happen in racing and it is a shame that Ralf and me finished out of the race immediately. At the start, I tried to defend my position and then I had to brake. I don’t think I did it too early. In fact I think, quite the opposite, I braked later than usual as I was worried something like this might happen. It was a heavy impact and I reckon Ralf was flat out. I don’t think he would have got round the corner."
“ First race of the season and first win for Ferrari, having come to Australia with the modified F2001. Things went well for us right from Friday and yesterday, we had two cars on the front row. It was a very chaotic start, with around half the field wiped out. We lost Rubens, while Michael went off at the first corner in fourth place. Michael drove a fantastic race, fighting his way to the front before building up a good lead, leaving the others struggling to match his pace. This victory is the result of a great performance from Michael, the team and the car, as well as the exceptional Bridgestone tyres. It was important to start the season like this. I must say we did not expect to be this far ahead with the F2001. Now we head back to Maranello for an intensive week of testing, working on development of the F2002 and tyres. Once again today, we have proved our motivation and determination.”
“ Michael drove extremely well and the race itself, apart from the accident after the start, was also very entertaining,” commented the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Technical Director.
“ Regarding the accident with Rubens, I cannot comment at the moment, as I have not had a chance to study it carefully and as for the question of a re-start, well, we have to live with the rules that exist.” Brawn was particularly pleased with the performance of the Bridgestone tyres.“ It was exciting in the early stages with Michael fighting Montoya and Trulli,” he said.“ But it was not until Michael got past Montoya that we were able to see how well the new tyres performed. We won the race because of a combination of all the work we have done with the car over the winter and the development of the tyres. Bridgestone did a fantastic job".
Brawn admitted that he had been reasonably confident before coming to Melbourne.“ I did not want to say too much before,” he admitted.“ But the car was so good in Suzuka and we have developed it a lot since then. But of course, we will continue to develop the new car, as we are testing next week. From what we have seen here this weekend, I would be surprised if we are not competitive in Malaysia.”