2003 RACES - PART 1

Pre-Season Review
“It’s a wild time in Formula 1 at the moment. Never have there been so many changes so quickly.”

“I think [the new regulations are] generally improvements. I think everybody agrees that there needed to be some change. Technology and showbiz has got a bit out of kilter, I think, and the fans can’t get their juices flowing thinking about fifty software engineers halfway around the world doing a good job.”

Jim:: “[Has] Norfolk had any other drivers [apart from Ralph Firman]?”
Martin (who is, of course, Norfolk born and bred): “Yeah, you can’t beat a good old Norfolk boy, y’know. But he’ll have to get some designer orange twine now to hold his trousers up [down on the farm].”

“Friday is absolutely gonna come alive now.”

“The car feels really good, fits you like a Savile Row suit.”

Qualifying 1
“We’re not really seeing the ragged, supersonic laps that we’re used to in qualifying, I have to say.”

“Villeneuve with a sensational effort there, for [only] his fifth lap of the day!”

“After some of the things Jacques has said about Jenson Button over the winter I wouldn’t give him the time of day, let alone give him some critical information!”

“If you brake five metres early [at Turn 1], you’re a wussie.”

“It’s a terrible lap from Pizzonia – he’s driving like a, well, not even a new Formula 1 boy, he’s driving like an amateur.”

“Friday used to actually be a bit of a yawn, didn’t it ; there is a lot more focus and a lot more interest today.”

Saturday Warm-Up
“I think they need to loosen up the T-car rule. We had the silly situation this morning of Kimi Raikkonen watching the TV cos he couldn’t use the spare car, while the fans couldn’t watch Kimi Raikkonen.”

“I still can’t believe anybody will go [into the start of the race] with 20 kilos of gas and pit after two or three laps, cos that will look too silly for words.”

Qualifying 2
“I was somewhat hard on (Pizzonia) in qualifying yesterday but I think deservedly so, frankly, because he was all over the show and he’s not been much better today.”

“Trulli has truly blown it.”

“It’s been a mère of an afternoon for McLaren.”

(The following quote submitted by David Crick:) James has been waxing pessimistically about how poorly Schuey had been doing over the weekend. Michael just starts his hot lap and after the first corner JA asks, “How’s he getting on at the moment, Martin?” Martin replies: “Spot on. He was perfect,” sounding both amused and in (semi-)awe.

The Grid Walk
“Welcome to Nightmare on Pit Straight.”

Justin Wilson: “We might be lucky, we might get through the first corner and stand a chance.”
Martin: “Yeah, but you’ve gotta get through the first corner ; to finish first, first you must finish! And I can see you doing a few giant-killing acts today on those Bridgestone intermediates.”

The Race
(The following quote submitted by Rob Davison:)
“Can you remember in the many years since - going back to the early eighties - that you’ve been involved in Grand Prix racing that we’ve started a Grand Prix with so many questions marks hanging in the air?”
Martin: “No, not at all. There’s no doubt about it, everybody is slightly upside down.”

“I said to (Wilson) on the grid he’s gonna do a bit of giant-killing – he certainly is, he’s four tenths of a second ahead of Ralf Schumacher!”

“You know what’s great? I’ve no idea who’s gonna win this Grand Prix!”

Louise: “Minardi haven’t given up yet – they’ll get points for perseverance if nothing else.”
Martin: “‘Percy Verance’ was always a quick driver.”

“You can always rely on changeable conditions to give us an unusual and unpredictable Grand Prix. Maybe the new rules should just be they should randomly water a couple of corners and not tell the drivers til they go round on the outlap.”

“That was excellent driving from Raikkonen, if a touch rude!”

“[Schumacher’s Ferrari] is looking like a Meccano set that hasn’t been put together properly – bits falling off it left, right and centre!”

Driver of the Day
“Coulthard kept his head – certainly my driver of the day.”

Qualifying 1
“Forty six degrees now, the track temperature, 34 the air temperature, 46 per cent humidity, it’s absolutely sweltering, isn’t it? Even just walking outside the commentary box it’s like stepping into an oven.”

“Unusual camera angle there, mostly grass in the beginning but then finally picking up the flying Columbian.”

James: “Villeneuve runs a little wide.”
Martin: “He runs quite a lot wide, actually.”

“(Fisichella) is now 30 years old, no longer a young man, and he needs to be cutting the mustard pretty soon in his mustard coloured Jordan.”

“The cars are only doing one lap at a time so there’s not that much lappery going on.”

Qualifying 2
Mark: “(The drivers) are gonna lose about two to three litres in sweat.”
Martin: “Amazing they still cuddle each other on the podium ... Look at these – palm trees! You don’t see too many of them on a wet Sunday afternoon in Magny Cours.”

“I’m told that those are not anywhere near the latest spec Cosworths in these (Minardi) cars – in fact they could be due for an MOT quite soon.”

“Raikkonen looking like he was having a battle with an octopus.”

Ted: “(Ralf) is looking like he messed up.”
Martin: “Naah, I think he just didn’t drive fast enough.”

The race
“Fisichella didn’t get away from the grid because of launch control problems. I imagine he didn’t trigger the system because he was busy three-point-turning on the grid.”

“How do the Finns do this? They win the rallies but there’s only five million of them; we’ve had Keke Rosberg, Mika Hakkinen, now Kimi Raikkonen, it’s a big percentage from a small country isn’t it?”

“The first two races of this season – I’ve been doing this six/seven years now and certainly [they’re] in the top ten of Grands Prix I have enjoyed commentating on, so whatever they’ve changed for whatever reason, something’s working cos it’s certainly put a nice twist of spice into it.”

Driver of the Day
“It’s a close call between the two young guys, isn’t it, Raikkonen and Alonso. On balance I think you have to give it to Raikkonen.”

Qualifying 1
“Button’s not even got to the Start line yet and he’s frightening me silly!”

James: “Talk me through this rear wing coming off. I mean, he hit what looked like polystyrene.”
Martin: “Yeah he did, but he was doing 150 miles an hour at the time!”

“It’s great entertainment for us; [the drivers] have got 1 minute 25 of terror, really, if their tyres are not connected to the ground.”

Qualifying 2
“This is the crunchy bit in the middle [of the lap].”

“Panis is certainly giving it plenty, and being a bit of a rock-ape in turns 1 and 2.”

The Grid Walk
[Martin stands in the pouring rain] “We’ve got a problem – we’ve got a major problem … The manufacturers elected crazily to go for inters which, if you know the history of this race, that was never going to work. We’re beginning to wonder how much fuel they’ve got in the safety car because they may have to refuel that later on.”

The Race
“An hour ago we suddenly saw up on screen – and it had Kimi Raikkonen jump up out of his chair and leave his lunch to go and look at what they were doing – there was a fire engine and a hose; they were washing the track which was a bit bizarre because obviously so much water’s gone [down already].”

“After 75% of the race distance covered, which must be - James, you’re a clever bloke, how many laps is that?!”

James: “Raikkonen is having a go at Barrichello – can he make it stick?”
Martin: “Can he make it stop?!”

“I had lunch with (Raikkonen) today and he was more relaxed than I was!”

“If you back off too much speed you lose downforce and you’re more likely to aquaplane and join the party in the hedge.”

“I tell you what – if moving it to one wet tyre was to save money, they’ve blown all that in the wall today.”

Martin: “Save of the day, then, for Mark Webber – that was amazing! Looked like he was on his surfboard at Bondi Beach, didn’t he?”
James: “Best save since Gordon Banks!”

James: “Rubeno is out of the race. Oh My Goodness.”
Martin (disbelievingly): No. Nobody could be that unlucky.”

“(Rubens) is such a nice bloke as well ; he’s such a genuine proper bloke. The emotions must be going through his head now : ‘What have I gotta do? What have I done wrong? Who have I upset in another life?’”

James: “If ever you wanted a bizarre day, this is surely it.”
Martin: “Take it easy to the airport!”

San Marino
Qualifying 1
“I’ve heard that in Formula 1 a few times, I have to say, where you go to the first practice session [of the season] armed with new horsepower figures, new torque figures, new aerodynamic downforce figures and all sorts of wonderful … I mean, you’re gonna run into the back of yourself according to some of these numbers!”

James: “(Heidfeld) is one of the most anonymous Grand Prix drivers.”
Martin: “Yeah, you’re right. I hadn’t thought about it – and that actually confirms it, doesn’t it, really?! I’ve never really thought about Nick Heidfeld! He’s about as neutral as Switzerland, isn’t he?! But his handling of his car’s not at all neutral – it’s all over the place at the moment.”

“We talk about 4½ seconds [off the pace] as if your plane’s just been delayed 3 hours, it’s that sort of feeling, but I can assure you it still looks pretty dramatic at the wheel of that car.”

Qualifying 2
“There isn’t really a fast corner around here worth its name – it’s all very much stop and go, point and squirt stuff.”

The track guide
“Use all of this kerb on the way through. The car takes off momentarily, you’re in charge of an aeroplane – you just hope it’s pointing in the right direction when it lands.”

The race
“There’s gonna be some sweaty palms in the pits because the mechanics’ll be looking at this, thinking, ‘Oh-oh, it’s gonna be down to us this afternoon’.”

[In-car shot of Villeneuve’s backside poking into the camera as he gets out.]
“A rather inelegant view there from the camera on the airbox of a driver getting out complete with tubes and HANS device around the neck and all the belts getting in your way and tucked up in your overalls. It’s a really clumsy job to get out of a Formula 1 car.”

[Pizzonia arrives unexpectedly at his pit – the crew aren’t ready for him.]
“Isn’t it awful when you know you need gas and you turn up and you think it’s a 24-hour gas station and when you get there they’re closed?”

“Fascinating to see the Italian director choosing not to show Raikkonen getting his second prize trophy – he cut to the Ferrari flags instead!”

Driver of the Day
“It’s a close call, isn’t it, between Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen. I think it has to go to Michael Schumacher.”

Qualifying 1
“[The design of the cars] marches on so quickly in Formula 1. I mean, the 2002 [Ferrari] that was so dominant suddenly is an old bus.”

Ted: “I was talking to (Montoya) … he was complaining about every bit of this Williams.”
Martin: “I bet you edited out a lot of words in that little report, Ted, didn’t you, if I know Montoya – he’s learned his English in the Formula 1 paddock and tends to be a bit ripe sometimes.”

“(Heidfeld) half a second down on Michael and that’s – what – little more than a click of your fingers and you think, ‘Just go faster, then! Don’t brake as hard, turn in with more speed, get on the throttle early, surely you can pick half a second up!’ But you can’t – it’s an eternity, you can’t do it without the grip.”

Qualifying 2
“This Minardi yesterday looked like a very bad horror movie.”

“It makes you about as welcome as a toothache if you run over your own mechanics.”

“I’m in total admiration of Jacques Villeneuve’s driving, always have been, in terms of the way he’s always wrung the neck of anything he’s driven.”

“What was amazing for me was that the [Ferrari] changed up a gear in the middle of Turn 12, which is normally hang on for grim death and with your eyes on stalks coming through there.”

“What we really need is for Michael to go off so he starts alongside Raikkonen on the back of the grid – that’ll give us a bit of spice for tomorrow afternoon!” (Sadly Michael gets Pole instead!)

The Grid Walk
Martin: “Last year I spoke to you here, the bloody thing didn’t get off the grid! Can you do it this year?”
Rubens: “This year, we hope!”

Martin: “Can we have a quick word with you for British television?”
Roberto Carlos: “No English!”
Martin: “You do understand English!”
Carlos: “No English!”
Martin: “A little bit of English! I don’t speak Portuguese.”
(Carlos speaks Portuguese each time Martin speaks to him. Eventually Martin gives up and walks away.)
Martin (in a peeved voice):
“OK, that’s good, no comprende.”

The Race
James: “(Raikkonen) has nothing to lose, coming from the back.”
Martin: “Contrary to that, James, I think he’s got a lot to lose, mainly his front wing.” (Martin showing his prophetic skills again.)

The following quote submitted by David Hutchison:
(Just back from the commercial break during the Safety Car period after the start [on or about lap 4].)

James: “And here is a replay of the start from Alonso’s perspective.”
Martin: “Yes, so, Alonso in third place on the grid, then, tries to slot between the two Ferraris. Michael Schumacher covering his ground well – he’s allowed to move once – and then does not swerve back to the outside. Alonso follows him towards Turn One, and then really just brakes a little too late when he gets there.”
“Why this is a good quote, at least from my view down here in Australia, is that while Martin was describing the replay that the ITV viewers were seeing, the Host Broadcast stayed with the wreck of Pizzonia’s Jag being hefted onto the flatbed, then went to a crowd shot – Channel Ten didn’t get the replay. While I didn’t see the replay, I for one could still figure out what Martin was talking about.”

James: “Tell us what you see in this young man [Alonso].”
Martin: “I see a lot of people rushing around tomorrow morning seeing how watertight his contract is.”

James: “As [Ferrari’s] Chris Dyer said to you on the grid, it’s only beautiful if it wins.”
Martin: “I suspect it’s about to look extremely beautiful, then.”

“(Alonso) speaks better English than Roberto Carlos as well, that’s for sure!”

Driver of the Day
“Alonso [put on a] really superb performance and [is] comfortably, easily my driver of the day.”

Qualifying 1
“Watch (Coulthard) on the steering wheel there. Let’s hope we stay on board for a little while here, if the Austrian director will give us a chance to see Turn 2 from the cockpit – and almost as if he’s wired in to us, he doesn’t!”

Martin: “(Ralf) still feels that this new Williams really can get the job done.”
[Ralf promptly spins into the gravel.]
“Not like that, it can’t!”

“I like hearing interviews with Alonso : ‘Yes’ is always his first answer. He’s so positive about everything!”

Qualifying 2
“We haven’t seen a car go off here [before]. That’ll surprise (Alonso) – it certainly surprised us. That is slightly strange and he’ll be – if only he could get to his head without his crash hat on – he’ll be scratching it.”

Heidfeld (talking to Louise): “Unfortunately I had to drive quite early, so you can expect that a couple of cars will be quicker.”
Martin: “He’ll be very happy if just a couple of them are quicker than him – I think he might be being a bit ambitious – mind you, ‘a couple’ means ‘two or more’, I think, absolutely specifically in English!” [Some time later:] “Heidfeld said to us, ‘I think a couple of them will pass me’ – at the moment there are only two in front of him!” [with only Michael still to go out]

“Raikkonen has put them on notice and they’ve all gone wobbly trying to match his stunning 1.09.1.”

The Race
“Isn’t it great when it rains?! It always throws a double-six somewhere.”

“We know (Michael)’s a bit light on fuel because they set fire to half of it!”

[Montoya’s engine blows but he limps the car back to the garage.]
“Montoya says, ‘I’m not walking back – I’ll bring it back’. That’ll be in thousands of pieces inside there and the engineers hate that because they can’t necessarily find out what broke first.”

James: “Ferrari will be asking a lot of questions about the refuelling rigs here after delays for Barrichello and fires for Michael Schumacher.”
Martin: “Yes, I wouldn’t want to be working at InterTechnik tomorrow morning, there’ll be some fireworks ... probably the wrong expression, actually!”

Driver of the Day
“It’s gotta be Michael Schumacher – just for that image of him sitting in the pitlane totally calm while everybody was running around, his car was on fire ; just wiped his visor, got on with it and won the Grand Prix.”

Qualifying 1
“You scare yourself silly trying to slow down for the chicane.”

“Michael was the man making me most want to run away from the edge of the barrier on the exit of those corners this morning.”

“Tabac, where I tried unsuccessfully to kill myself once in a Tyrrel.”

“[The circuit is] just a regular street full of regular rubbish.”

“Cars do not go forwards very well when they’re up in the air.”

Qualifying 2
“Put it on your list today – your ‘must do before you die’ list – come and see a Formula 1 car going through there at Casino Square, it’s absolutely brilliant.”

“I sound like a sad old geezer in rose-tinted glasses saying that it was always better in the good old days but [the modified circuit] is definitely less intimidating.”

“I wouldn’t be that camera man sitting there. Send him a beer after the weekend’s finished – if he’s still around!”

The Grid Walk
[The studio team sing ‘Happy Birthday to You’] “Oh stop it, that’s embarrassing! [they carry on singing] Look, I’ve got places to go! ... Let’s dive into this amazing jungle of people ... there’s a few megastars in here, it seems as if Formula 1’s trendy and sexy again ... [he struggles to get through a horde of photographers] This is unbelievable, this is the grid of the major race of the year, for goodness’ sake, look at this! So much kissing and slapping – I should imagine the drivers are staying to one side wondering what on earth is happening around here ... I just trod on a lady’s toe – I’m very sorry, dear! ... [the press of people gets worse] I think the only sensible thing to do, cos the camera man’s gonna fall over, is to go back to the studio.”

The following quote submitted separately by Kevin Marshallsay and Alexander Keep. I wasn’t initially going to include it as it isn’t really a Martin quote but as two people asked for it, here it is:
Martin: “Quick word, Ralf? [Ralf nods] Top man. What’s the track like after that amazing Porsche race where they spilled oil and water everywhere?”
Ralf: “Well, I won’t call it amazing, but anyway as you can imagine it’s pretty dirty and shitty, so, er ... sorry for that, I know it’s not the finest English!”

The Race
[Frentzen made a rookie mistake and smashed into a barrier]
Louise: “Are you a bit annoyed with yourself?”
Frentzen: “Yes, a bit.”
Martin: “He didn’t seem quite as gutted as [I imagined] – I thought he might be hanging from a rope out the back somewhere.”

“Montoya’s absolutely flying at the moment, he’s about to set some kind of stunning lap time ... Montoya goes over the line with a – 15.1?! You what?! Where did he get that from?! Unbelievable!”

“There’s ‘please let me join the party’ Rubens Barrichello.”

Driver of the Day
“I wouldn’t mind Montoya in my team today, he’s certainly done a great job, hasn’t he?”

Qualifying 1
[Raikkonen heads down the straight in the pouring rain while birds are standing on the bend that he’s approaching]
“Look, even the seagulls are enjoying the racetrack more than Kimi Raikkonen.”

“I just don’t understand why they’re not on full wets because it’s a no-brainer now ... that’s why Trulli’s 6¾ seconds adrift and apparently on a skateboard rather than a Formula 1 car.”

Qualifying 2
[Pizzonia wiggles his car down the straight to warm his tyres up]
“Pizzonia making a corner out of a straight.”

“Not entirely sure why we say ‘the track is green’ – obviously the grass is green, the track is black!”

The Grid Walk
Martin [who really should have known better than to attempt this interview!]: “I wanna have a word with this guy because he’s a complete and utter fruitcake ... Ozzy! Good to see you. Sharon had some good news this week, I hear.”
Ozzy Osbourne: [rambles incoherently about a musical he’s writing instead of talking about his wife.]
Martin: “Alright – I’ll try and think of a question for that answer! Did you bring the dogs with you?”
Ozzy : “No, they’re all at home shitting.”
Martin (embarrassed): “Excellent, thank you very much! I think we’ll move on! [to us] Now, what else can I tell you about the race today, cos you might be slightly more interested in that!”

The Race
“Now they’ve got half an acre of tarmac on the outside of the turn where it used to be a gravel trap, a barrier, and the biggest tree I’ve never wanted to run into.”

“Justin Wilson up to P10 now in the ‘Ecclestone Minardi’!”

Driver of the Day
“Alonso, no doubt about it.”