2003 RACES - PART 2



Europe
Qualifying 1
“Bit of local wildlife getting caught up on Coulthard’s camera.”
[A bird dropping splatters onto DC’s onboard camera.]

“Maybe they’re carrying a barn door on the back.”
[Martin tries to understand why the Renaults are so slow.]

“Slicks is still the answer – there’ll be a cross-over point soon, and actually we’ve now arrived at it – now he needs to be on wets!”

[Da Matta spins, and sits sideways in the middle of the track for ages before getting going again.]
“He’s thinking, ‘D’you think anybody noticed? Maybe I got away with it’!”

The track guide
Mark: “(Michael) asked the track to make the changes, they couldn’t pay for it – they’re gonna have a Michael Schumacher Day in September, the money in from that pays the way.”
Martin: “Amazing they need to have a bring and buy sale to change a Grand Prix circuit these days.”

Qualifying 2
[After his mechanics have changed his engine in a record 18 minutes, Heidfeld spins on the first corner and then inexplicably stalls.]
“I just imagine somebody with a box of bits back in the garage saying, ‘Where should these ones have gone?’”

“Full bananas right up to the top of the hill.”

The Grid Walk
Jim: “The good news is that Ozzy Osbourne’s not on the grid today; the bad news is that Greg Rusedski’s looking for you!”
Martin: “We’re gonna use lots of four-letter words today like ‘grid’, ‘fuel’, and the ‘race’, of course.”

Martin: “Are you up for a quick word, Kimi? [Kimi walks past muttering something.] He’s got what?! [to us:] He’s got another panic wee-wee, I think, that’s the second time he’s been over there! Norbert – can we have a quick word? You were so excited yesterday when Kimi got the pole.”
Norbert Haug: “Already got a bollocking from Mr Dennis because I was so excited!”
Martin: “Don’t use those complicated German words, you’ll get me into trouble; I’m in trouble enough already!”

Martin: “Talking of four-letter words, did I see Bernie wander past?! Bernie, we wanna know who you think’s gonna win today.”
Bernie: “Williams.”
Martin: “Why?”
Bernie: “Cos they’ll be quicker.”
Martin: “Why not Michael, then, he seems pretty handy?”
Bernie: “Don’t let him hear what I’m saying!”

The Race
[Da Matta’s team change his nose in under 15 seconds.]
“Looked like that nose was held on with Lego bricks or Velcro or something, that was a tremendous nose change!"

[Raikkonen’s engine blows but he keeps driving around the track, dropping fluid everywhere.]
“He’ll be about as popular as a toothache if he keeps driving it on the line like that.”

“Montoya did absolutely nothing wrong – if they penalise him for that and fine him I’ll personally pay the fine, because that would be outrageous.”

Driver of the Day
“Ralf drove extremely well but it’s gotta be Montoya for that move around the outside of Michael Schumacher.”

France
Qualifying 1
“Watching this new [track] layout, one word keeps coming into my mind : why?

“I’ve crashed a Formula 1 car there – I’ve crashed a Formula 1 car in most places, actually!”

James: “(Button) hasn’t done a single lap around here and he needs conservatism rather than anything else.”
Martin: “Yeah, he needs a traffic warden down there to tell him where the track goes towards the end.”

“Anybody fancying a bit of a laugh in the last few runners should be out there on slick tyres.”

[And after the teams have taken Martin’s advice:]
“ ‘Minardi 7 seconds faster than Ferrari’ is tomorrow’s headline!”

Qualifying 2
“Panis got a cake for being in Formula 1 ten years. I used to hate all that sort of thing! Louise gave me my cake for my 150th * when we both worked at Jordan and you’re sort of thinking, ‘I don’t want anybody to know I’ve been around this long’, so Panis will be grimacing at a ten year cake.”
* [presumably he meant 150th race, not year! ;)]

“I can’t quite cope with these big green ‘get out of jail free’ cards they’re given around there now. Nurburgring was such a challenging chicane – if you got it wrong, you dipped a wheel in the gravel, you were going off to have an enormous accident ; now you run completely off the road and get some payback for it!”

The Race
“[The inboard camera] peeping over the head of Coulthard – it’s a better view of the racetrack than he’s got as he peers over the top of the monocoque and down the road. It’s a lovely cosy feeling inside a Formula 1 car, you feel very safe and very secure and very fast in there.”

“Barrichello’s gonna be spitting feathers.”

James: “Martin, we really need to talk about this tyre situation because it’s so black and white at the moment.”
Martin: “Black and round as well, isn’t it?”

Driver of the Day
“It’s between the two Schumis, isn’t it – it’s gotta be Ralf.”


Britain
Qualifying 1
“It’s very much an act of blind faith that the car is going to stick, otherwise you’d end up somewhere in Northampton if it didn’t.”

James: “Firman complaining in the newspapers that he hasn’t got a girlfriend ... most Grand Prix drivers manage to find pretty lovely girlfriends, so probably only a matter of time.”
Martin: [pauses, then laughs] “I’m lost for words, actually! I was trying to think of a good one-liner there but none of them were printable!”

“His shirt’s full of sponsors, you’ve gotta go to his socks and his underpants next, there can’t be any space left on Verstappen!”

“Michael will give his views of being fastest in Qualifying 1 where he’ll say it’s not really important, it doesn’t affect the weekend, and that’s why he tried so hard when he did it!”

The Grid Walk
“Dunno what all this tosh is about losing this Grand Prix ; bit of mischief going on out there but the good guys are gonna win this one.”

Martin: “Frankie, welcome to the grid. First time for you on the grid of a Grand Prix?
Frankie Dettori: “First time in my life and I’m dying to get in that car. They got 900 horsepower in there, I only got one! ... You can smell the atmosphere growing and the smell of the tyres and the engines and I hope it’s gonna be a fantastic race.”
Martin: “Yeah, it must smell a whole lot better than the start of a horserace!”

Martin: “Let me see if I can find Rubens Barrichello – he’s talking to an extremely attractive young lady, so I’ve not got a prayer!”
Rubens: “I’m going from two nice ladies to an old ...”
Martin: “... to an ugly old teammate!”
[Danilo from Germany tells me that the lady who then did the ‘joint’ interview with Martin was actually broadcasting live, and so Martin was briefly on German TV as well!]

[After his chat with Rubens] “He’s a nice guy, I’d love to see him win the Grand Prix today.”

The Race
“That’ll have serious implications for the British Grand Prix that a man can get on the racetrack and be running down the middle of the Hangar straight, for goodness’ sake, with the whole pack coming towards him, very nearly killing himself, and any driver that hit him would be in serious, serious, danger of his life too, but that is the last thing this event needed.”

“You don’t know where to look next, do you?!”

“The Ferrari hooked up in the middle of two BARs – is it a Ferrari sandwich or is it a bar snack?”

“It’ll be a brave man that doesn’t re-sign (Barrichello) for Ferrari.”

Driver of the Day
James: “I have to ask you about your driver of the day.”
Martin: “No you don’t.”
James: “No?”
Martin: “Well, you don’t, because it’s easy, isn’t it?”
James: “Is it?”
Martin: “It’s gotta be Rubens Barrichello surely, don’t you think? Brilliant pole, he wasn’t light on the front of the grid and any one of his moves was worth watching this afternoon.”


Germany
Qualifying 1
“The problem that Rubens has got is that there is no problem.”

Qualifying 2
“I asked (Ferrari) this morning, did Michael have a puncture when he spun off and they said, ‘No, it was a slight deflation of the left rear’ – sounded like a puncture to me!”

“The tension I felt in the pits this morning, I haven’t felt that for 2 or 3 years now in Formula 1 – it’s really building up in these last five Grands Prix.”

The race
[Louise reports that Raikkonen has gone to the medical centre but he walked to the medical car and so probably isn’t too badly injured.]
“They’ll probably throw a few ice packs on the Ice Man.”

“(Coulthard) is murdering them in the middle section.”

“Trulli did the only sensible thing and ran (Michael) off the road.”

[Michael gets a flat tyre.]
“Kimi Raikkonen, that’ll fix the bruise on his leg – he’ll be leaping up and down!”

“It’s sad, but that’s all we racing drivers talk about – how was your oversteer, how was your understeer, what was your fastest lap?!”

[Trulli feels faint before the podium ceremony.]
“It’s when you stop and all the adrenaline fades away [that] you start to feel much much worse ; that’s the moment when you start feeling sick and weak and the last thing you want to be is up there [on the podium] to a certain extent but you’d never want to miss the moment.”

Driver of the Day
“Pretty easy, isn’t it, today. Montoya – he’s barely breaking into a sweat.”


Hungary
Qualifying 1
“What we need this weekend is for Ralf Schumacher and Barrichello to have a great weekend and for Michael Schumacher and Montoya to run into each other.”

“It’s such a shame they’ve taken away that fast flick-flack chicane. Alright, it wrecked a few chassis but it was really really tricky to drive, and it’s just turned into another boring ninety degree right-hander.”

Ted: “Da Matta’s been having problems with his automatic gear shift system.”
Martin (sarcastically): “Yeah, you’d hate to be the poor soul that had to flick those micro-switches and do that gear shift all by himself out there.”

The track guide
Mark: “This is another corner that’s been diluted. Yes it used to be blind on the entry, it was off-camber, that kerb in there used to rip the bottom of the car off but every driver loved it.”
Martin: “Did indeed. Maybe we can put a lot of cotton wool down and make it safer even more for the future.”

Qualifying 2
James: “(Baumgartner)’s not completely going into this blind but still a big challenge for him.”
Martin: “Yeah, it’s a little bit like climbing Everest with some slippers and a pac-a-mac.”

“Dunno what’s going on in the world of motor racing. We’ve got twenty cars in Formula 1, there’s only fourteen cars in Formula 3000, money’s tight but there’s not a lot of quality out there in young drivers coming through. There are some great young drivers around but I have to say that Baumgartner and Kiesa, they’re not the sort of people I would expect knocking on the door of a Formula 1 seat. And strangely you’ve got people like Wurz, de la Rosa, Massa in testing roles and it’s all percolating to the top end where they’d rather be third or fourth driver at McLaren than they would be hustling one of these things [a Minardi] round, and I’m not sure I blame them.”

The race
[Barrichello’s suspension fails and James wonders if Michael and Ferrari should consider parking his car up for safety reasons.]
“Don’t know any driver that wouldn’t carry on driving and just take the risk. You would take the chance, that’s what you’re out there for.”

“If it can go wrong, it has gone wrong for Michael today. But at least he’s still running [and] you know him, he’ll probably find three places on the last lap with other people’s problems.”

“Eight winners in one Grand Prix season and it’s not over yet.”

Driver of the Day
“That’s pretty easy isn’t it? The kid just went out there and did it.” (Alonso)


Italy
Qualifying 1
“(Ralf) locks the right front over the chicane – will not be penalised for that in terms of cheating on the track but in terms of lap time it’s horrendous, of course! ... He’s only 77 thousands behind – actually, if he pops a quick one he might get penalised!”
[Ralf does indeed have his time discounted.]

“I’m really fearful we’re gonna end up with [only] two British Grand Prix drivers in the 2004 season.”

Qualifying 2
“Baumgartner another driver who wants to get into the corner before he’s arrived.”

“There is another Sauber driver poking around on the dashboard at a couple of hundred miles an hour.”

The race
“Alonso being lapped, the winner of the last Grand Prix. That’s how it goes in this sport.”

“Alonso had a bit of a cartoon weekend but he still scored a World Championship point.”

“My Driver of the Day is Marc Gene.”


USA
Qualifying 1
“Montoya tripped over his team mate [in Turn 1 last year] ; if Ralf has one of his dizzy moments this weekend, it could happen again."

“Remember, [a Formula 1 car] is an aeroplane upside down.”

[After Louise has interviewed Ralf:]
Martin:What is all that about, James? ‘I don’t know how I’ll feel tonight’?!”
James: “Maybe he’s going for a curry.”

“A lot of people think, with the single lap qualifying, maybe the championship could be decided on a running order and that’s not correct, that’s not how a championship should be decided. I don’t follow that logic, because it can be decided on a back marker, a sticking wheel on a pitstop, a dodgy refuelling nozzle – everybody’s got the same chance out there.”

Qualifying 2
Ted: “All credit to the Renault boys. (Trulli) is in his race car – it’s all fixed.”
Martin: “Hope all the wheels are pointing in the right direction.”

The grid walk
“Michael could barely raise a smile when I saw him this morning ; Montoya talking very fast and quite hyper in a way ; and Raikkonen you’ll find reading some car magazine.”

“Listen carefully – I’m only gonna confuse us all once with this.”

The race
“(Montoya) looks like Granny creeping down to the supermarket.”

“Go and put some wets on, DC, for goodness’ sake!”

“Car 5 – David Coulthard – under investigation for something : being on the wrong tyres, possibly?!”

“I don’t see anybody else out in the pitlane drying their pit garage box for their driver. I imagine there’ll be a hundred Ferrari people out there breathing on the first hundred metres to give him a good getaway!”

(The following quote submitted by David Crick:)
[Button’s car fairly obviously blows up:]

Martin: “It’s a replay of Jenson Button blowing up.” (later) “We’re hearing hydraulic failure for Button, which rather surprises me.”
[Then Villeneuve’s car also fairly obviously blows up:]
James: “Another big big retirement for BAR – that looked like a pretty terminal engine failure.”
Martin: “They’ll put that down to electronic problems, I would imagine; [they’ll say] the piston went through the wiring.”

“Montoya’s about to frighten Fisichella off the road.”

Driver of the Day
“I think it just goes to Kimi Raikkonen.”


Japan
“... a lovely sweepy sweeping section ...”

Qualifying 1
“Montoya and Raikkonen are both saying, ‘I don’t care if I come third or second in the championship’. Don’t believe a word of it.”

“At 130R you do not need any surprises [or] a magical mystery tour.”

Martin: “I realised this weekend that I will never be a journalist because I was sitting with someone when Jenson’s engine blew up and they said immediately, ‘Well, what do you expect? Honda’s favourite son’s in the other car’. As if they’d put in an engine that’s gonna blow up! How silly, but my mind wouldn’t even begin to think about that logic!”
James: “All these years in Formula 1 and you lack cynicism!”
Martin: “Yeah, I must go and buy some. ... What can Button do? If he can get anywhere near a 1:31 I think he deserves some kind of medal.”

James: “I think back to something you said at the beginning of the year when these two were put together – Villeneuve and Button – you said whichever one of the two of those comes out on top, it’ll ruin the other one’s career, and it’s been proved absolutely correct.”
Martin: “Yeah, well, luckily for Jenson. I mean, Jacques’s just 32 years old, for goodness’ sake, he’s not exactly an old man, is he?”

Ted: “(Wilson)’s been teaching himself how to do the S’s here. He was saying the problem is if you don’t lift you run wide and lose time, if you lift too much you understeer through and lose even more time. What’s he gonna do now?”
Martin: “Get it right, really.”

“Olive, as he’s fondly known in the paddock – such a nice bloke, Olivier Panis, and he’s the handshake specialist of the world. The French do all the handshake stuff – I remember when we were teammates he would go round the whole factory and shake everybody’s hand, remembering the ones he’d already shaken.”

Qualifying 2
“As my son says, ‘If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space’.”

“(Alonso) has the demeanour of an angry young man when he’s walking around the place. I looked at him last night in the hotel – he looked like he was likely to come and nut you on the nose.”

“I’ve no idea why they’ve messed around with the format for 2004 – they look like they’ve made a right pig’s ear of it.”

The race
“Now let’s just remind you, if you haven’t read it a thousand times and heard it another two hundred ...”

“If you had to say what was the most interesting [Grand Prix] of the year – I mean, there’s half a dozen stunning races to choose from this year in terms of surprises and thrilling action. I think the new regulations played a part in that. Let’s hope they don’t fix the regulations in the week as they’re proposing at the moment cos I don’t think they’re quite right.”

“That’s been one of the great surprises and pleasures this year is that with no warm-up – and they’ve not been pulling the cars apart anything like as much, they’ve been in Parc Fermé - we’ve seen even better reliability than in the past.”

“Michael Schumacher now lapping three seconds slower than he was a few laps ago – he’s just like, ‘Just stay away from me – I don’t wanna see anybody, I’m not going near anybody, this’ll do me just fine for the rest of the afternoon, thank you very much’.”

James: “I wonder whether we’ll see Villeneuve again in a Formula 1 car?”
Martin: “Who knows? But it’s not a very ... it’s a bit smelly how that all happened this weekend.”

“ ‘Proper bloke wins Japanese Grand Prix’ should be the headline tomorrow – really nice guy, Rubens.”
[In the London ‘Metro’ newspaper the next day there was a summary of the 2003 Formula 1 season, including details of the final race where it said:
‘Proper bloke’ Rubens Barrichello won the race ...
so at least one journalist took note!]

Driver of the Day
“I think there were some good drives out there : Sato’s been good, Barrichello’s been solid, Montoya put a lot of manners on him on the first lap. I’ll go for Jenson Button in fourth place under difficult circumstances – I think he’s done a stellar job for the team this weekend.”

Driver of the Championship
James: “Who’s your Driver of the Championship?”
Martin: “... Thanks for that little curve ball there, James! Umm, Driver of the Championship ... you’ve gotta give it to Michael, haven’t you? Other people under pressure didn’t deliver enough pace or went a bit wobbly in the head, made silly mistakes ; and although he had a good attempt at that today, Michael’s the man.”