A tough race for Ferrari
Malaysian GP - Ferrari - Race Report

Today's Malaysian Grand Prix didn't end the way Ferrari had hoped with their drivers crossing the line in second and sixth places. After failing to have a representative on the podium at the season opener, it was Rubens Barrichello standing on the second step alongside winner Kimi Raikkonen and third placed man Fernando Alons, the Brazilian lucky to escape the shunt that saw his teammate fall back down through the field.

'After the start I was running almost alongside Michael and then I noticed a car spinning towards me. I had to take avoiding action and then Trulli ran wide and I had to move back inside and that cost me a lot of time. There was a lot of debris from other cars and I was lucky not to hit everything. I found myself behind Heidfeld, but we had good straight line speed and I was able to pass cars,” he explained. “The car set-up was fantastic but having fallen back, I had to catch up and that compromised my race.. After that it was trouble free. When I was running with nothing ahead of me, I could tell that Kimi was managing to pull away a bit. After the second stop, I had a slight misfire, but I kept pushing until, with 15 laps to go, the team told me to hold position. I must thank the Stewards for allowing me to race without the HANS system. Sid Watkins checked me out and agreed that I should not use it, as I have got a small hernia which is quite painful. I tried all weekend to make the HANS work and for the next race, we will have a solution which should fix the problem.'

The flashpoint of the race came at the second turn, where Michael Schumacher was at the centre of a dramatic shunt. The German driver, who started third on the grid, attempted to beat Jarno Trulli on the inside and smashed the Italian off the track when the Renault driver rightly cut across to slam the door.

Schumacher came off worst in the incident, though, damaging a front wing, which needed to be replaced with an early pit-stop, and picking up a drive-through penalty from stewards for causing the accident in the process. This left Michael scrapping away amid the back-markers, but he fought his way back up to finish in sixth.

'It was a tough race with an unfortunate start. I made a mistake and hit Jarno and I have apologised to him,” Michael said. “That was the decisive moment of my race. It came as a big surprise that I was still able to fight for points after I pitted for the drive-through penalty. So, I am happy enough in the circumstances. I have no complaints about my car, which worked very well, thanks to the team. Let's hope the next race will be better.'

'It was a very tough race, as indeed we had expected. The start was the critical moment, when Michael collided with Trulli and Rubens lost a few places. On lap 3, we called Michael into the pits to replace the front wing, damaged in the incident. This same incident also saw Michael given a penalty and he drove through the pit-lane on lap 9, losing ground even more. All things considered, Michael's sixth place is significant for the Drivers' championship. Rubens drove a good race to take second place,” added Jean Todt. “We have therefore picked up a total of eleven points, which are important for both championships. We knew our competitors had made progress and this race only serves to confirm that. Now we have to work along with our technical partners Bridgestone and Shell to be as well prepared as possible for the next race in Brazil, where we will continue to race the F2002. In the meantime, we will continue with the development of the F2003-GA, which we know is more competitive than the current car.'