Ferrari are world champions for the thirteenth time, the fifth in a row, while Michael Schumacher took his sixth title, the fourth in a row with Ferrari. Rubens Barrichello gave the Scuderia its eighth win of the season. This was victory number...
Ferrari are world champions for the thirteenth time, the fifth in a row, while Michael Schumacher took his sixth title, the fourth in a row with Ferrari. Rubens Barrichello gave the Scuderia its eighth win of the season. This was victory number 167 from 686 grands prix starts for Ferrari, the sixth in the Japanese Grand Prix. For Rubens it was the seventh victory of his career, his second this season.
"It has been an historic day. Rubens put on a fantastic performance, while Michael drove a defensive and cautious race to bring home the point which would guarantee him the title. 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. Then there are our technical partners - first and foremost Bridgestone, Shell and AMD and the commercial ones, some of whom have been with us for a long time, like Philip Morris and more recent ones such as Vodafone and Olympus. 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."
"I am so proud to have helped Ferrari win four of their titles and to win this race on what is considered a driver’s circuit is another reason to be proud. Along with Silverstone this year, these are the two best races of my life. I want to thank everyone at home in Brazil for staying up to watch and this victory pays them back. All the team, the engineers and mechanics have done a fantastic job to give us a car with such reliability and performance. My race was very tough until the final stages when I could ease up a bit. After the start, the track felt slippery and at Turn 12 going into Spoon, the car went sideways, I backed off and Montoya got past. He was very quick, but then I began to catch him, but I was having trouble with my visor fogging up, there was also oil on it and I had to concentrate very hard. I kept pushing because I was very worried it might rain, in which case I could have lost everything in just one lap. You cannot compare drivers from different generations, but what Michael has done today is a fantastic achievement. I think I have had a much better year in terms of my performance, compared to last year, when I had more points and was higher in the championship."
"I find it difficult to say what I am feeling at the moment because, honestly, this has been a tough year, a tough last part of the season and today was one of my toughest races. But I can say what I feel about the team: they are more important and again today did an incredible job and Rubens had a fantastic drive winning in great style. After we had been written off earlier in the year, we never gave up. The team is always fighting and that is its strength. We are a big family and we can all be proud to be part of it. Personally, I feel empty and exhausted after this race. I went flat out after I lost my nose, because I knew Montoya was out and the two McLarens were behind Rubens. I was a bit messy after the accident and it was a strange race, cutting through the traffic, especially with Da Matta and Ralf. I knew I had to finish eighth, because although Rubens was in the lead, in Formula 1 you always wonder if the car will finish and think of the worst situation. After the incident with Da Matta, I had a huge flat spot on the tyre and the vibration was so bad I had vision problems down the straight. I was also worried about a puncture and was just trying to get the car to the flag. It feels strange, as usually I have won the championship with a victory, but now I am here in eighth place, so there are some mixed emotions."
"This was a very tough race, especially with so much at stake. Rubens did a fantastic job at the front, but we wanted to get Michael in the points just to be sure. It was very exciting. That early incident made life more difficult for us but we knew we still had a chance. We had a recovery strategy which worked okay. We did not catch Ralf at the second stop, as he took on less fuel than we did, but we managed to get him at the third one. It was very close and tough today. I think I am getting too old for all this excitement! But you always know with Michael that you have a chance. It was important to get that one point, because you never know what can happen at the front. It was actually tougher to get that point than it was to win the race. We were lucky to get away with the incident at the chicane with Michael and Da Matta. I guess Da Matta must have braked early as Michael almost hit him. 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!"