Ralph Firman delivered a strong drive to finish his first full Grand Prix in tenth place. In his single pit stop, which was delayed by a pit launch problem, the planned volume of fuel was not completely delivered, so his second stint, which...
Ralph Firman delivered a strong drive to finish his first full Grand Prix in tenth place. In his single pit stop, which was delayed by a pit launch problem, the planned volume of fuel was not completely delivered, so his second stint, which offered a ninth place finish, was restrained by a low fuel level and he lost a place on the last lap. Giancarlo Fisichella was unable to start due to a launch control problem following a mistake when forming on the grid.
"It was a good race with the car showing reliability. It was very very hard work but I had some good battles and it's great to finish. In the pit stop the car wouldn't pull away with the normal system, I don't know why, but we did a manual start and that was okay, but I lost a bit of time and it is a shame I ran out of fuel on the last lap. The team has done an excellent job this weekend and I'm looking forward to Brazil.
"I had a problem with launch control. We don't know what was wrong as we are still investigating. I have to look ahead to the next race."
Gary Anderson, Director of race and test engineering:
"The way the race turned out for us was quite disappointing because there were points to be had and in the end we didn't get them. Giancarlo made a bit of a mistake at the start when he got in the wrong grid slot and had to do a bit of manoeuvring. After that the clutch got too hot and the launch control wouldn't work correctly. Ralph drove very well and his one stop strategy worked but unfortunately we didn't get all the fuel in during the stop. He had to drive the last stint, which was the long stint, with a lean mixture and low revs to make it to the end, and on the last lap we noticed a couple of fuel pressure spikes, before he lost a place to Frentzen. There was a problem getting away from the pit stop and we won't know exactly what it was until we see the data. Ralph did a good race - he learned a lot about the car and a lot about racing. It bodes well for the future.
"This is just what Ralph needed as it's all about confidence at this stage. It will make him feel better and more confident in himself, and so he should because he'll never get a more hostile environment in his racing career than a Grand Prix in this heat. We made it more arduous by asking him to do a one stop strategy and he came through it. He did it like a man with a lot of spirit and speed."
Martin Whitaker, Director of Motorsport, Ford of Europe:
"A strong performance by the team, and in particular Ralph, in these energy-sapping conditions. Ralph's application throughout the race was professional and to have finished his first Grand Prix in such heat and humidity will have done his confidence a power of good."
RALPH FIRMAN: 10th
CHASSIS NUMBER: EJ13-02
GIANCARLO FISICHELLA: Retired - Lap 1
CHASSIS NUMBER: EJ13-04