Giorgio Pantano gave a strong drive today to bring his Jordan Ford EJ14 home in 14th place at his first Grand Prix, while Nick Heidfeld experienced a clutch problem which prevented his car from stopping on his final pit stop and then forced his ...
Giorgio Pantano gave a strong drive today to bring his Jordan Ford EJ14 home in 14th place at his first Grand Prix, while Nick Heidfeld experienced a clutch problem which prevented his car from stopping on his final pit stop and then forced his retirement from the race. In the pit stop incident two Jordan pit crew members - Giorgio Pantano's number 1 mechanic Matt Deane and spares co-ordinator and pit stop re-fueller Mick Gomme were hit by the car and suffered some bruising, but are without serious injury.
"I enjoyed my first Grand Prix and am very glad that we made it to the end. We kept ourselves relatively close to the field and finished just two laps down from Michael Schumacher which I think isn't too bad for our first race. I'm learning about the car very quickly and it will all keep coming together. Finishing the race was the target for this, my first Grand Prix, and I did it."
"What happened in the pit stop has never happened to me before and I was pretty afraid for the mechanics. Luckily they are fine and that is the most important thing. It's not a problem we have had before but we noticed something wrong with the clutch and at the pit stop it didn't work at all so the car just kept pushing whilst stuck in first gear. It was the same problem that forced me to retire. In terms of our performance, I actually expected we would be better in race conditions, however I struggled with tyre graining throughout most of the race. We definitely have a good basis to improve the package and find that performance level for the next couple of races."
James Robinson, Head of race and test engineering:
"It's good to get one car home at the first race of the season and it's been good for Giorgio to get some miles under his belt - that's the longest distance he has ever done in the EJ14. There were some very good pit stops by the boys and it was great to beat Fisichella out on Heidfeld's second stop. More admirable was the good recovery from the problem in Nick's last pit stop, staying solidly at their posts and doing the job. We've got plenty of homework to do now and we are eager to see how we can get the most out of the next race."
Eddie Jordan, Chief executive:
"It was great for Giorgio to finish his first Grand Prix and it was in tough circumstances so well done to him. Nick was pushing on but he had a problem that caused an incident in his last pit stop and I'm glad to see that the guys who got run over are safe and in good shape. As we've seen, this year is not going to be easy and I expect a tough season but I think that for the team and our "fightback", this is a good start and promising for the future."
Giorgio Pantano: 14th
Nick Heidfeld: DNF