2004 United States Grand Prix Postscript Sato's sizzling podium drive stirs fans; M. Schumacher, Barrichello praise Sato INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, June 21, 2004 -- Fans at the United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on June 20 ...
2004 United States Grand Prix Postscript
Sato's sizzling podium drive stirs fans; M. Schumacher, Barrichello praise Sato
INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, June 21, 2004 -- Fans at the United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on June 20 cheered wildly not only for Ferrari teammates Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello, who finished first and second, respectively, but also for Takuma Sato, who celebrated on the podium for the first time in his Formula One career.
Sato brought his Lucky Strike BAR-Honda home third.
The F1 fans at the Brickyard are among the most passionate and vocal of any track on the F1 tour. Sato marveled at their enthusiasm and support.
"It was great," he said. "We have been supported from the all the fans in United States and America the whole weekend, even walking into restaurants, everybody cheering us, not only for me, but all the drivers. I felt huge energy in Indianapolis as a big dome.
"When we finished, we could hear the cheering of the crowd, and on the podium, everybody was happy, and obviously I was happy. It was an unbelievable experience today for me."
Sato is only the second Japanese driver to finish on the podium in a Grand Prix. Aguri Suzuki finished third in the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix driving a Lola-Lamborghini.
Suzuki is now the co-owner of Super Aguri-Fernandez Racing, which fields a car in the IRL IndyCar® Series for 2004 Indianapolis 500 Bank One Rookie of the Year Kosuke Matsuura.
For Sato, the next step will be to win a Grand Prix, but he realizes that will be a big step.
"Obviously, everybody wants to win, and everybody is aiming to be best of the best," he said. "You have to be sort of step by step. For me, I was waiting long time to have a result like this, and this is only the first step.
"But this is an important day today, and now we have a car with the tires matching with consistency. And then going back to Europe, it will be challenging. We want to win, I don't know when, but obviously we will try really hard the rest of the season."
Podium memories: While Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello have been frequent visitors to podium after finishing in the top three places over the years, they still remember their first podium finish with fondness and delight. And they could relate to the joy Takuma Sato experienced in Indianapolis with his first career podium.
"It was back in Japan (in 1994)," Barrichello said of his first podium finish. "It was a great feeling. It's always a great feeling to finish on the podium. I guess we were quite honored to have him (Sato) there as the first time because it's pretty special to be up there."
Barrichello has 50 podium finishes in his career so far, and Schumacher has 130.
"It was Mexico in '92," Schumacher recalled of his first podium finish. "Obviously, in a way, it's probably similar (to what happened to Sato) because at the time there was the Williams (which were very competitive), and we (Benetton) were unexpected to be quick enough to be even near the podium.
"It was probably like Minardi today, scoring a point; for them it's sort of a victory, and it was sort of victory for me at the time. So I can imagine how Takuma must feel today and how excited he is. In a way, we have a car which allows us to be there pretty consistent, and to get there you must put into good effort. He got a good welcome on the podium, in terms of champagne, as well."
The second half begins: The United States Grand Prix was round nine of 18 and marked the midpoint of the 18-race 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship.
Most of the teams will test in Spain this week, and then they will head for round 10, the French Grand Prix, on July 4 at Magny-Cours.
Montoya's disqualification: Juan Pablo Montoya was disqualified from the 2004 United States Grand Prix for changing to the spare car in a way that breached Article 85 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.
Article 85 reads: "No change of car is permitted after the start of the race and, any driver wishing to change car, must have got out of his original car and left the grid before the 15-second signal which immediately precedes the start. A change of car will be deemed to have taken place once a driver is seated in his new car and such change may only take place in the pit lane or the team's designated garage area."
When the Williams-BMW mechanics were unable to start Montoya's car on the starting grid, he jumped out of the car and ran to the garages to climb into the spare car. But he made the switch within the final 15-second period before the cars began their final formation lap. Montoya got off the grid with about 13 seconds to go, and thus was two seconds "late."
"Juan's car was disqualified because according to Article 85, if you decide to change your car on the grid, the driver must be off the grid himself, not necessarily the (stalled) car, within 15 seconds of the start," said team owner Frank Williams. "We were off (the grid at) about 13 seconds. Juan is very unhappy about it, but I guess you could say we got some mileage on the car for the sponsors."
Schumacher looks forward to wins, not backward at records: With his win in Indianapolis, six-time World Champion Michael Schumacher continued to add to his impressive F1 statistics. He now has seven victories in eight starts this season, and 78 career wins in 203 starts.
But statistics and records never have interested Schumacher, who prefers looking forward to his next victory. He still savors every win almost as if it was his first.
"Formula One is the ultimate motor racing sport," he said. "We are in a position, and we can be proud of being on the Ferrari team in a way, and to win with Ferrari is just the best what can happen to you. It was such a great team, and for that success we have to work very hard, and I know each of us works very hard.
"And if you win, you just be excited. It doesn't matter how long I am there. Each one of them is special and is different in a way, and it's always a big thrill.
"Today was hard work. Rubens (Barrichello) pushed very hard. He was quick all weekend, and I wasn't really expecting the win today. I thought I'd have to settle down with eight points (second place) today."
Fisichella fastest: Giancarlo Fisichella set the fastest speed of the race at the speed trap located at the end of the main straight during the race. His Sauber-Petronas was clocked at 221.581 mph (356.6 kph).
Supercomputer for Sauber: Shortly after the commissioning of their new wind tunnel, Sauber-Petronas now is increasing focus on the field of computational fluid dynamics (CFD).
Sauber Motorsport has signed a three-year partnership agreement for a supercomputer with DALCO. The software for the project is supplied by Fluent, and AMD are providing the requisite processors. This high-performance computing system -- one of the most capable of its kind both in F1 and the automotive industry -- will enable Sauber to perform CFD calculations at much higher speed and to solve particularly complex computing tasks.
With regard to the aerodynamic development of a racing car, CFD is an important complement to the work performed in the wind tunnel. Several different versions of such components as the front and rear wings or turning vanes are calculated and tested on the computer before the most promising versions are built as 60-percent models and tested in the wind tunnel.
"CFD is an extremely important element in the entire complex of aerodynamics, helping us to make particularly efficient use of the capabilities of our wind tunnel," Sauber Technical Director Willy Rampf said. "The new system will be opening up new dimensions for Sauber in the field of CFD."
USGP tickets: Tickets for the 2005 United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway can be purchased online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com or by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.