The Prost team didn't get off to a good start in todays Australian Grand Prix with Jean Alesi having to start from pit lane in the spare car after engine problems in his race car. His day didn't get any better though, as he retired on lap 29...
The Prost team didn't get off to a good start in todays Australian Grand Prix with Jean Alesi having to start from pit lane in the spare car after engine problems in his race car. His day didn't get any better though, as he retired on lap 29 due to a leak in the hydraulic system.
"I started this race with the spare car after having an engine electro-hydraulic problem on my car," the Frenchman said. "I had to start from the pits in a car that was prepared for my team-mate. I had a lot of physical problems and the set-up was not adapted for me. In the end, my race ended early with an engine problem. It is the end of a difficult week-end in which everyone has worked very hard; but there is still a lot to do before the next race."
Nick Heidfeld finished tenth in his debut race, two laps down and last, but he was pleased that he actually completed his first race. "I am truly happy to have finished this race in particular for the whole team," he said. "However, it is evident that we lack a lot of reliability in certain areas. Jean had some engine problems and I was worried by my brakes, which caused me to come back to the pits. Unfortunately, at the same time, we had a radio communications problem and the team was not ready when I came in. I think my times on the track were not bad in the end even if I would have liked to have done even better. We are now going to do all we can to improve from our experience of this opening race."
Alain Prost knew that this first race of the season was going to be a test for the team and he is relatively pleased with the outcome.
"We knew this first race was going to be a big test, our first real one," he said. "And despite all the problems we have had this week-end, we are relatively satisfied with the 10th place achieved by Nick, encouraged by the level of reliability despite the brakes problem he experienced. As for Jean, it was a pity he could not race in his racecar. In terms of performance, it would have been interesting for us to see him fighting his way through the field longer than he could. Today, he had the capacity to do so. Clearly there are a lot of problems to fix in the brief break and this is a big job for the team to tackle together in full cooperation."
"We knew the first race of the season would be very difficult," added Corrado Provera, Peugeot Sport Director. "That Nick Heidfeld finished the race, in effect our first full distance this year in real conditions, should be considered quite satisfying. Plenty of problems remain to be resolved to improve our reliability and make us more competitive. A very important job has been done by both Prost Grand Prix and Peugeot Sport in conceiving and developing the AP03 in often-difficult conditions. This first chequered flag which few observers believed we would see has given us all encouragement and a strong motivation to work."