Mallya taking positives from Monaco GP crash (Interview)May 28th, 2008 - 6:19 pm ICT by admin
Chennai, May 28 (IANS) Adrian Sutil gave Force India plenty to cheer with his brilliant drive in the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix race Sunday. However, the young German, running fourth after starting from the back of the grid, was knocked out of the race with only a few laps remaining when world champion Kimi Raikkonen rammed his Ferrari into Sutil’s car from behind.
Sutil was virtually inconsolable at having lost a great opportunity to log some points after a disastrous start to the season.
The race was an emotional roller coaster for everyone in the team and co-owner Vijay Mallya felt there were quite a few positives to take.
Q: You must have gone through every kind of emotion during the Monaco GP. Looking back, how do you feel about it now?
VM: We were obviously shattered. We were so looking forward to a spectacular result, which was not to be. It has, however, done two things, and we need to take away the positives. First that Adrian Sutil has a lot of ability and talent, and we’re glad and proud to have him in our team. Some people started questioning my decision to keep him when he didn’t finish a few races at the start of the season, but I think he has more than redeemed himself.
Secondly, I think our strategy and our whole team came together. The race strategy was right, the set-up was right, and to see a Force India car running fourth in Monaco was a great pleasure while it lasted. We were seven minutes from home. It was unfortunate, but I guess that’s what racing is all about. I can’t say that I am not feeling sad, because I am, but we’ll get over it, and we will take away a lot of positives.
Q: Q: You must have been ecstatic when he got up to fourth.
VM: Absolutely! Our strategy was one stop. We filled ourselves up with fuel. I told both drivers to stay out of trouble on lap one. We have normally started very well and had incidents on the first lap, so I said stay right out of trouble, take your time, you’re going to go for a one-stop strategy, bring both cars home. We knew that we were good in the wet, Adrian has demonstrated that before as well, and everything worked to perfection until that fateful moment!
Q: What went through your mind when Adrian had to retire?
VM: We were well clear of Raikkonen until the Safety Car came out, and then we knew that he was going to attack us. So we warned Adrian on the radio that you have Raikkonen right behind you on your tail. And of course we did not want him to get pressured and do anything stupid, because if he wasn’t fourth he would have still finished fifth and that in itself would have been a huge accomplishment. But you know what happened, Kimi just rear-ended him. It wasn’t as if it was an overtaking manoeuvre, something drastic must have happened, because you wouldn’t expect a World champion to run into somebody. It was sad for us, that moment was a very emotional moment.
Q: Were you almost in tears when it happened?
VM: I was, and so were many of us actually! I’ve had quite a lot of SMS messages and phone calls from supporters in India, all of whom were highly emotional. But such things happen in racing, that’s what I’ve been telling everyone. F1 wouldn’t be F1 if it wasn’t as unpredictable as it is.
Q: Overall, was Monaco a great weekend for you personally, for the team and for Kingfisher?
VM: It was a great weekend for us, and what better than to have demonstrated the improvement in this team as we did.
Q: Canada is next, another race that often features rain and Safety Cars. Do you see it as another good opportunity to score points?
VM: We don’t want to base our earning points on exceptional circumstances. The team has got to be good and competitive, and that’s what we’re driving for, and everyone is doing his best to make that happen. I just hope that some of these efforts get rewarded soon.
Tags: adrian sutil, co owner, crash, emotion, emotional roller coaster, excerpts, ferrari, force india, formula one grand prix, india car, kimi raikkonen, laps, monaco gp, pleasure, race strategy, spectacular result, vijay mallya, world champion