Juan Pablo Montoya came fourth today in the last race of the 2002 season, the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka and secured his third place in the Drivers' Championship. It did not go so well for team-mate Ralf Schumacher celebrating his 100th GP...
Juan Pablo Montoya came fourth today in the last race of the 2002 season, the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka and secured his third place in the Drivers' Championship. It did not go so well for team-mate Ralf Schumacher celebrating his 100th GP start, who experienced an engine failure with four laps to go when he was running in a strong third position. Ralf finished the season in fourth position in the Drivers' Championship. The BMW WilliamsF1 Team had previously secured second place in the Constructors' Championship two weeks ago.
Juan Pablo Montoya
"The strategy for me today was really bringing the car home and this is what I did. The car was a bit oversteery in the first part of the race but it improved after we made some little changes during the pit stop. I started closing the gap to the cars in front of me but then towards the end I thought that it was really pointless to push anymore and jeopardise my position. After Ralf's failure I was told to take it easy and this is what I did. I am obviously delighted that I have achieved third place in the Drivers' Championship in my second season in F1. It's been a good season and the only regret I have is that I could not get any race victories."
"I was having a good race today, my car was well balanced and third place was only four laps away. The fact that I had to retire is therefore even more painful. Now we are going to collectively concentrate on the next season in order to do a better job."
Sam Michael (Chief Operations Engineer, WilliamsF1):
"It is a shame to have one car fail in the last race. Ralf did a good job with a solid drive for 3rd place but then unfortunately retired due to an engine problem. Juan brought home his car in fourth place to secure his third place in the drivers' championship. We had good pit stops today and our pit crew has shown a good step forward in the pit lane throughout the season. Today's race highlighted again that we have a lot of work to do before the next season starts in Melbourne. Ferrari has dominated the whole year as they did here in Suzuka."
Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director):
"Ralf drove a fantastic race, with no mistakes. He missed the podium position that he was hoping for at the very last moment due to an engine failure. We will clarify the reason for the failure in Munich by stripping the engine. It is cold comfort for us the fact that in the 2002 season we have completed the highest number of laps of all teams."
Juan Pablo Montoya: 4th
Chassis: FW24 04
Fastest Lap: 1:36,757 lap 38 (4th overall)
Ralf Schumacher: DNF (engine failure on lap 49)
Chassis: FW24 06
Fastest Lap: 1:36,590 lap 26 (3rd overall)