AUGUST 22, 2003
HUNGARIAN GP - FRIDAY - QUALIFYING REPORT
Trulli quickest in friday qualifying
Rubens Barrichello (5th, 1:22.892): "We did not exploit all of the car's available potential, but a place in the top five today puts me in a good position to fight for a front row place on the grid tomorrow. In qualifying, the balance of the car was very different to the way it was in free practice this morning. In the end, my quick lap wasn't too bad, although I had a lot of oversteer. We still need to work on the car set-up. The track was very dirty, especially on the new part of the circuit."
Michael Schumacher (9th, 1:23.430): "At the start, when it was my turn to do my run, the track was very dirty, partly because of the cars which ran on track in between free practice and qualifying.All in all, the result is not too bad, especially in terms of the battle for the title. In fact, my main rivals are pretty close to me. Therefore ninth spot can still be good for tomorrow. I am confident for the rest of the weekend and I think that overall, the situation is better than the one we experienced in Hockenheim."
Jean Todt, Team Principal: "This first day at the Hungaroring has allowed us to form initial impressions on the handling of the cars and performance of the tires. Obviously, the results of first qualifying were heavily influenced by track conditions, which improved significantly after the start. We know we still have work to do on defining the cars' set-up, which is not yet at its best. We also have to work with our partners at Bridgestone to make our tire choice. We still have ninety minutes of free practice tomorrow morning in which to do that. The decision as to how much fuel to run with in qualifying will be very important, both as far as deciding the grid positions and also in terms of strategy for Sunday's race."
Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "We had the usual difficulties, especially with Michael, that go with being first out on a track like the Hungaroring, which is always dirty. Neither driver was completely satisfied with the balance of the car, which was different to the morning free practice. It is therefore difficult to get a clear picture of the true situation from this afternoon's performance, given the track conditions. We will work on the set-up and will wait for track surface conditions to evolve before making a tire choice for qualifying and for the race."
Ralf Schumacher (2nd, 1:22.413): "I am fairly happy with my qualifying lap. This morning I had some problems with the set up and we made quite a few changes on the car which seem to have been in the right direction. The track is slippery as it has always been here, especially if you come off the line. For sure you don't want to be the first car to go out on track. The new track is nice, even if in a way I preferred the old corner because I thought it was a bit more technically demanding, but with respect to sorting out the bumps, they did a really good job. We should be strong here."
Juan Pablo Montoya (8th, 1:23.305): "I didn't put together the best lap, really. My first sector wasn't good enough as I braked a bit too early into the first corner of the chicane. The balance of my car wasn't as good as I expected, especially at the start of the lap. In this morning's Free Practice I was seven tenths quicker than in qualifying. The track was very dirty when I went out but it improved during qualifying as it got cleaner and cleaner. However, I believe our package should be pretty competitive here. We've got the pace."
Sam Michael, Chief Operations Engineer: "During today's qualifying session the change of grip of the circuit was quite significant due the dust, so it was difficult to see what our true pace actually was. Now we are looking forward to tomorrow and working on the race set-up. We can be pretty competitive here."
Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "We can be happy with this today's performance. The engines didn't experience any problems and this morning both the drivers could complete their set-up program. Ralf had a good qualifying session and Juan Pablo could not qualify any better than 8th as he was penalized by his early start position. Looking at the times of the first three drivers who went out on the track for qualifying, one can tell that the track was very dirty and didn't provide very good grip. During the session the tarmac became cleaner and cleaner and allowed the drivers to set better lap times."
David Coulthard (4th, 1:22.786): "A tidy lap and I'm sure we can work to find more speed to further improve the package overnight. I was a bit tentative going into turn one on my qualifying lap as the circuit had a bit more grip than previously, but apart from that an OK lap. The new track lay out might provide a few overtaking opportunities as it slows down the cars at two significant corners, but the circuit surface is so dirty that it would be risky to go off the line to try and overtake. All in all a good start to the weekend."
Kimi Raikkonen (12th, 1:23.695): "We went through a lot of work during practice this morning, but we still have some way to go with the set up of the car, which we will look at before tomorrow's qualifying session. There is no doubt that the track was very dirty particularly after the support race just before the start of the session, which affected the people who were out early today. As a result I will start mid way through tomorrow's session, which is not ideal, but at least it will be the same for most of the other main championship contenders, so we will see what happens."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "With the circuit having been modified, and as a result of the debris from the earlier support race practice, the nominal advantage that the morning testers have increased and the early qualifiers struggled. Of course, as always it's about tomorrow afternoon."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "This circuit here is becoming significantly faster from lap to lap. The top three in the World Championship had to start the session early - a handicap that resulted in bad lap times."
Jarno Trulli (1st, 1:22.358): "It is a satisfying result after a difficult day: the track is very slippery, which meant that we weren't able to get the most out of our two hours this morning. I honestly didn't expect to be so quick, because the car isn't well balanced at the moment. I need to work hard with the engineers tonight to find a better balance and improve the car for tomorrow."
Fernando Alonso (6th, 1:22.953): "I'm in a good position for Saturday qualifying. Given that I lost a large part of the practice session this morning, and that the track conditions changed in the meantime, sixth is pretty good. At the moment, the car hasn't got enough grip, so I'm hoping to find more of that, and a little bit of luck, for tomorrow."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "Considering the balance of the cars is a long way from being optimized, we can only assume that our competitors are having more problems than us on this very low grip circuit. To see Jarno take the pole is a credit to the whole team, both here at the circuit and back at the factory, and I am sure that if Fernando had not lost time this morning, he would have been capable of matching his team-mate's pace. There are still many questions to answer, but we will work through them logically tomorrow."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "On the engine side, we worked well this morning, and it is obviously satisfying to see one of our cars set the fastest time. There is still a question mark over performance, though, as we saw some cars go slower this afternoon than during practice. That shows how fragile a good performance can be at this circuit, and also indicates that it will be a tricky exercise to set the car up correctly for seventy laps on Sunday."
Nick Heidfeld (10th, 1:23.482): "I am happy that now it has become obvious how much we have improved the C22's performance, because it was not so clear in the last two races. I have mixed feelings about today's qualifying because of my mistake in the first corner this afternoon, when I got into the dirt off line. I was able to learn quite a bit about the tire performance from the other drivers who did their flying lap before me, and therefore chose to run a rather conservative out lap to conserve my tires as they can start to grain quickly under these track and weather conditions. This decision turned out to be right and allowed me also to score this fast lap, but I could have been faster still."
Heinz-Harald Frentzen (11th, 1:23.660): "I think Nick and I have done a really good lap! Unfortunately I lost some time in the third sector due to graining and so the tires' performance decreased and I wasn't able to attack any more. In the morning I also suffered graining, particularly on the new sections of the track surface."
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "Friday qualifying is a pleasure again. The hard work of the last few weeks has reaped a dividend and I thank our development team and, of course, our drivers, for doing their jobs with such effective commitment today."
Giancarlo Fisichella (16th, 1:24.725): "I had lots of problems this morning and as a result we didn't have the opportunity to run my race car to try out and improve the set-up. I was using the t-car and the circuit was difficult during qualifying as it was very hot. I'm hoping for a better day tomorrow."
Ralph Firman (17th, 1:25.223): "Once again, it's my first time at this track. We had a good morning session but in qualifying I took it a little bit cautiously in the middle sector as the circuit has some quite blind and difficult corners. All in all the car's a bit more predictable than at other races but obviously we're not quick enough. I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
Gary Anderson, Director of Race and Test Engineering: "Giancarlo was only able to do a few laps in the private testing session as he had two engine failures, however Ralph and Zsolt had a reasonable session and got through the program which included some set-up and tire evaluation. In free practice Giancarlo had to use the spare car as there wasn't enough time to carry out the second engine change, so we had a bit of work just getting up to speed and doing some set-up work. In qualifying Giancarlo lost a bit of time in the first sector compared to this morning - the track was very hot and these slippy conditions offer us very little grip."
Mark Webber (3rd, 1:22.625): "I am very pleased with how today has gone. The team and I have been working hard on set-up and balance and the car feels generally quite good. The fact that we actually went out in tenth position today did play into our hands somewhat as we benefited from a cleaner track. The rising temperature, however, was almost too much as it meant that we spent much of this morning chasing the set-up as the temperature rose. We have lots of work ahead of us before Sunday and I know that Cosworth will be pulling out all of the stops in a bid to provide us with a reliable engine. The track, despite its new layout remains fairly twisty and narrow so I have no doubt that the race is going to be tough for us. I am pleased however to be back behind the wheel and I am looking forward to tomorrow already when we can go back on track and push the R4 some more."
Justin Wilson (15th, 1:24.343): "A frustrating morning for me as I was forced to miss quite a lot of the first session because of a gearbox problem. Despite that I have enjoyed driving the car as the balance and set-up is good. I am working well with the team in order to understand more about the R4 and Friday testing certainly helps. I enjoyed qualifying although the car was quite lively and on my in- lap I suffered an issue that forced the team to ask me to switch the car off and park it. I am not too sure what this was at the moment as the team are looking into it. I am generally pleased with 15th position although of course it will be tomorrow that really counts."
Mark Gillan, Head of Vehicle Performance: "It's been a busy day for us here at the Hungaroring with both drivers working hard to put as many laps in as possible prior to tomorrow's qualifying. We had a relatively good morning with Mark and Justin working on tyres and set-up. Unfortunately we did have two issues, one when Mark suffered an engine failure and then again when Justin suffered a gearbox problem. We are of course working with Cosworth Racing to ensure that we iron out these gremlins in preparation for tomorrow's qualifying. Justin has done a good job in the car today despite the fact that he actually missed a good deal of the end of P1, when the track was actually at its best. He is also settling into the team very quickly and we are pleased with how he is progressing. Mark as always has worked well with the team to prepare the car and in the end actually qualified in the T-car and as a result of the preparation of the mechanics secured an impressive third position this afternoon. However, it is important to remember that the track is always much cleaner nearer the end of a session and we certainly benefited from running slightly later than some of the front-runners. We will be working hard this evening and tomorrow morning to ensure that both of our drivers approach Saturday Qualifying confident that the R4 is operating at its optimum."
Jenson Button (13th, 1:24.313): "That was a very bad qualifying for me. We changed some settings following practice this morning and it worked against us. We switched to a lot less traction control for the session and the result was no rear grip and a lot of oversteer, as you could see in the slide through the first corner. I've lost a lot of time and we've made things harder for ourselves tomorrow, but at least we know which direction we have to go in from here. The track, as always, is very dusty and it doesn't tend to improve a great deal as the weekend progresses, so it's going to be tough but we can definitely improve from here. Following the track changes it will be interesting to see if are any more overtaking possibilities."
Jacques Villeneuve (14th, 1:24.333): "That was not a very good lap. I didn't manage to keep the front tires working for the last three corners of the lap but then I couldn't get the rear tires to work for the first part of the lap, so I think we are going to find it difficult to make the car work for a full lap in qualifying. It was important not to make mistakes today because the first few cars tomorrow will have a slow and slippery track. It's a very dirty circuit and the balance changed quite a lot from this morning but that's life. In terms of the changes they've made to the circuit I like the last part of the track but in my opinion the first section was better to drive before. I think the changes should make the circuit better for overtaking opportunities though."
David Richards, Team Principal: "A very difficult qualifying session in which both drivers were unhappy with the balance of their cars. We always expected this to be a difficult circuit for us and we have come prepared with a range of options which we will work through during tomorrow's sessions in order to find the optimum set-up. Nevertheless, we can't avoid the fact that there is a lot of work to be done ahead of final qualifying."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director: "We have struggled all day to generate good grip, particularly dealing with the differing characteristics of the front and rear tires in order to get one good lap on new rubber. Jenson found that, despite the set- up changes we made from the morning in anticipation of higher track temperatures, the car still had a big oversteer balance and although we had also made some traction control changes, these did not prove beneficial. Jacques had a better balanced car, although again suffering from low grip. Clearly we are disappointed with the performance this afternoon and know that we have a lot of work to do before tomorrow's running."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "Once again the times are pretty close today and the increasing track temperature made for an interesting session. Our guys definitely could have finished higher and I think we'll be up there tomorrow which is when it really counts."
Jos Verstappen (18th, 1:26.052): "That wasn't the perfect qualifying lap, as I made a mistake in the first corner that cost perhaps 0.6 secs - if not for that, I think a lap time of 1 min 25.3 secs or 1 min 25.4 secs was possible, which would have been good. As it worked out, that 0.6 secs wouldn't have gained us a position today, but it's just a shame for both the team and me that we didn't get the best lap possible. Anyway, we know there is more in the car, but with a heavier fuel load tomorrow, we'll just have to see what happens."
Nicolas Kiesa (19th, 1:27.023): "All told, it has not been a great day. We had a major engine problem this morning, which meant I lost the whole of the practice session while the engine was changed. I then had to use the spare car for qualifying, and it felt quite different from the race car. That, plus the fact the circuit had changed a lot between this morning and this afternoon, meant we just didn't get the best out of the car today. Still, we'll aim for a better outcome tomorrow."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "The day started out on a positive note when Jos finished the morning test session as the fastest Bridgestone runner - a very creditable performance, indeed. Mechanical gremlins put paid to Nicolas's session, however, with a spectacular smoke display down the pit straight. In the first official session, Jos also stopped in the same place with a fuel pump problem. P18 and P19 is not where we would have liked to be today, but given the conditions, it was not totally unexpected. We will just have to work harder tomorrow."
Olivier Panis (7th, 1:22.986): "Seventh place is a respectable result, however I am not really satisfied. I was really impressed by the competitiveness of the car this morning and the grip that we had, but for whatever reason the grip levels were not as good we had this afternoon. The Hungaroring is very dusty of the first day of the weekend, so it is not unusual for the track to change so much between sessions. Although I expected to do a bit better, we should still be encouraged by the start to this weekend."
Cristiano Da Matta (20th, 1:55.138): "I don't really know exactly what happened to cause me to spin towards the end of my lap. It could have been a failure of the traction control. It didn't feel like I made a mistake, but it happened so quickly we'll have to look into it. I had already gone through the difficult part at the entry of the corner, where the car can be a bit oversteery, so it was quite a strange spin. It is only the first day of this race weekend and we did some good work this morning, so I hope we can turn this result around tomorrow."
Ange Pasquali, Team Manager: "First of all, it was surprising to see how much the track conditions changed in the two hours between the practice and qualifying sessions. It was a shame that Cristiano's car span after a good start to his lap, but that's all part of racing. Olivier lost some time from this morning's practice, and that can probably be attributed to the state of the track, but we have to understand from the data exactly how much the lap time was affected. All in all, we have got a top ten result on the first day of the Hungarian GP, and the real qualifying comes tomorrow, so we should be quite satisfied."
FRIDAY PRESS CONFERENCE - 22 AUGUST 2003
TEAM PRINCIPALS: Ove ANDERSSON ( TOYOTA ), Eddie JORDAN ( JORDAN ), Tony PURNELL (JAGUAR) and David RICHARD (BAR)
Q: Gentlemen, you're battling over fifth place in the championship, but at this time of the year, the focus of the teams tends to drift away from this year to next. The testing ban is about to come to an end, how much are you focused on next year rather than this year? What sort of bits and pieces are you still producing to test for this year? Are you expecting to test at Monza ? And how important is fifth place in the championship?
Ove ANDERSSON: Well, obviously the first target is to try to do as well as we possibly can for this year. For sure, we will be testing in Monza and doing some more tests before the end of the year. There is some aerodynamics, there are some smaller bits and pieces. There's nothing major, but we still try to improve the car bit by bit and I also think this is good because we understand more what we have to do for next year's car.
Eddie JORDAN: Yeah, we'll be in Monza . I think we've finished - in all but one year of the 13 or 14 years of Jordan Grand Prix - we've never been outside the top six except for one year. So it is vitally important. It is very tough; it's us four, as you say. I never thought about that. But you have to fight right to the very end and we never give up fighting. Right to the last lap at Japan , we will be hoping and planning and developing and modifying the car in every way possible to make sure that we get the ultimate target which is the fifth place.
David RICHARDS: We're testing in Monza ,there is still a load of things coming on stream for the car as well. Many of them, of course, are carry-over parts for next year - not necessarily carry-over but experience that we can incorporate in next year's car which was started some little time ago. So it's a parallel program and the pressure really starts to come on as everyone returns from summer holidays and has to do the two things in parallel. Fifth place is clearly very closely fought this year and unfortunately the top four are well away from us.
Tony PURNELL: We'll certainly be in Monza . For us, it's a balance between this year and next year, dividing our efforts somewhat equally, but putting the concentration on understanding the package we have. But we're happy with the competitiveness of our car and I guess we're very unhappy with the competitiveness of the people around me. I think fifth place will go right down to the wire. It's neck and neck. I hope we will be shaking hands at the end of the season with nobody too disappointed but Jaguar very happy.
Q: Ove , fastest this morning, you're getting very very close. You had two drivers finish in Hockenheim . Is there just a little frustration because you are getting so close and yet not quite getting the results that you really want?
Andersson: Well, yes, I suppose there is a certain frustration, because I think there is potential but the team is lacking experience at the moment. We're learning every race and hopefully we can improve a little bit, step by step. I think the circuit got slower this afternoon from what it was this morning, but we obviously lost more time than we should have done and we're now analyzing, trying to understand why.
Q: You've had a strong team for a long time. Are you still looking to strengthen your team?
Andersson: When you are running a team, you would always be looking to improve the strength of the team and this is mainly? maybe sometimes looking to the outside and also of course, we are working with education and training inside the team. You always try to improve and I think today, if you want to be successful, you need a very very strong and well co-ordinated team that works well together and for me, starting the way we did, this is one of our biggest challenges: to get everyone to work together to pull in one direction.
Q: Eddie, you've had a tough time of it recently, but you're a racer, how can you turn it around, what needs to be turned around?
Jordan: Turning around, in any context, whether it be business, human relations or otherwise, is a matter of putting forward a plan, thinking how it's going to unfold, exercising and maximizing the best that you're going to do and hopefully all of these things? The difference I find and have found between going extremely well one race and probably not so good the next is so tiny that you just need to be sure that you have attention to detail and maximize all of the opportunities and I'm probably completely focused now on the issue in hand, with 25 percent of this season yet to go. Probably in the past it's been seen that when people write Jordan off they do so at their peril. The races we've won, we've always won them at the opportunities or times when we've least expected to win them, and I would hope that that can continue.
Q: One of the things that you have been good at is spotting new talent. Amongst the drivers here is Zsolt Baumgartner but what other new talent are you looking at and what can you say about Zsolt ?
Jordan: Well, I think this time last year was a big surprise. I think we all four of us are agreed about one thing, that there needs to be more of an input of excitement and local attention and detail to attract? maybe ten percent of the people who are coming here this weekend are Hungarians and in this case, that should be increased if at all possible. This time last year we gave Zsolt a couple of laps after the warm-up and before the race as a slight incentive for people, particularly Hungarian people, to see that there is an opportunity, that they have the potential of a world class driver in their midst and they should not ignore it. I'm really pleased that he was able to do such a fabulous job in Hockenheim and again here today, even more so. So there's no doubt that he's ready, in my opinion, for either a very top class team as a test driver or probably mid-running team as a race driver, and then grow. I think that's what it needs, and more variations on that is what's required. We need more excitement; we need more involvement, certainly at the races. On the TV, of course, it's the most exciting season we've seen for a very long time, so that seems to be looking after itself but in terms of things and things to do, there's too big gaps that nobody's paying enough attention to and we would be silly to ignore opportunities like running Zsolt at races like this.
Q: Continuing on that theme, David, I believe you're running the Arden F3000 drivers at Monza ?
Richards: Well, we have some other testing going on at the time. I don't know the exact schedule for it, but we're just giving them the opportunity to test one of the cars, that's right. We've got to introduce new talent into the sport. There's a big gap between actually running somebody in a car and looking at them from the outside and seeing what they might be doing in Formula 3000 or Formula Three or wherever they might be. You do need to have that opportunity and I think we've got to find better ways of giving young drivers an opportunity to get into the cars so that we can assess them. It's a gamble. You sign up a young driver and you're taking a big risk with a lot of money, especially if you sign them for a season.
Q: Inevitably the speculation continues over your line-up for next year; what's the situation with Jacques at the moment?
Richards: No decisions at the moment. We're still carrying on racing this year and that's the priority at the moment. We've had sensible discussions about it and we haven't made a decision as yet.
Q: Is there a timescale, when can we expect an announcement?
Richards: Well, I think we have to have it sorted by Melbourne next year. (Chuckles)
Q: Tony, another young driver, Justin Wilson, how's he settling in, what's his future?
Purnell: The first thing is that Justin's a fabulous human being. He's absolutely honest, his whole approach is thoroughly professional so so far I'm very impressed by the man. Clearly he's with us for the rest of the year. He's hoping to impress us, we're very much hoping to be impressed by him. I think it's a probability, and then, like David, we'll take stock and look at the next year and, as you know, it's a complex equation on who you decide to put in the car but we're very pleased that we've got Mark for another year or two and really, drivers are not one of my greatest worries, because it's a little bit of a buyer's market this year.
Q: Now, wearing your PPD hat, at the moment Cosworth are supplying three teams. Are you looking to expand on that? What's the situation?
Purnell: For sure, Cosworth are always looking to expand their engine sales. They're a commercial business, they want to supply as many people as they can. For next year, I would hope to be supplying three teams again. For sure, companies always like to expand their sales.
Q: What sort of specifications can you see being available?
Purnell: The devil's in the detail and the timing. It would be very hard to supply four, five teams with the latest spec engines. But the way we're planning it, for those customers we'll have, I think we'll be able to give them a very competitive package next year.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: To Eddie Jordan and Tony Purnell , I was in the Jordan motorhome talking to Eddie and I could not help but notice that four Cosworth engines blew up in practice which is a pretty dismal performance. Can I have your comments?
Purnell: I have received no technical reports on the engines so it is very difficult to speculate because these things are very complex. But without doubt we had a number of problems this morning and I would say it is not the performance that we or any engine supplier would be proud of. We want to perform with 100 percent reliability.
Jordan: I thought you were paying attention to me instead of watching the TV watching these issues. I didn't know there were four engine problems so I'm disappointed.
Q: The Canadian Grand Prix is one of the most popular races on the schedule and it is off the schedule for next year. What is your view on this whole thing?
Andersson: I think that, for me, it is one of the best Grands Prix and I think that Canada is a very important market for Toyota so we are definitely not so happy that it is not on the calendar for next year.
Jordan: It was the first place we ever scored a point, 1991 with De Cesaris and Gachot fourth and fifth. We've won the boat race there every year for four years across the canal( rowing basin), which is important to my team, and it is a great city, an emerging great technical center and if we are ever going to crack the North American continent then cancelling or not going to a place like Montreal doesn't seem at all logical to me.
Richards: Clearly it is a very popular race for us all to attend but there are commercial considerations as well and we have an agreement about the phasing out of cigarette advertising across all of motorsport over the next three years. Our sponsors have actually said they would consider running without livery if it made a difference to going back to the event. However, that has a commercial consideration for it as well and we would be looking to Bernie, if that was an extra event in the championship, to look at the proper compensation for going there.
Purnell: Just on a personal basis, I am disappointed. I loved going to Montreal . It was always well attended, it is in the North American market, which people have for years said is vital for Formula One, and it is a disappointment.
Q: Can I ask Eddie and Tony about the engine situation for next year? Firstly, is there a contract in place between the two of you and secondly what is the latest on affordable engines for independent teams?
Purnell: Certainly there is a contract between the two of us otherwise there wouldn't be Cosworth engines in the back of the Jordan today and looking forward we are hoping for a longer relationship and I am optimistic that that is a strong possibility. On the subject of fully affordable engines, a lot of people have worked very hard in the background ever since January to try and find solutions to making the supply to private teams more affordable. The culprit here is the fact that Formula One engines are very, very expensive. That is the real difficulty and even to supply them at an incremental cost is still very expensive and to date no-one has found an ideal solution to get the price right down but I know there is still work going on and I feel optimistic that eventually a good solution will be found to make life viable for teams without manufacturer support.
Q: Can I just ask for a clarification of the first part of that question. When the deal was signed between Ford and Jordan we understood the contract was initially for three years. Is that not the case?
Purnell: There is a contract in place, but all contracts have clauses which cover expected or unexpected events so that there are ways which it might be terminated and there are ways which it might continue. As I say, I am optimistic that it will continue and from the Ford point of view we would very much like to continue our relationship with Jordan.
Q: Eddie, Ford are saying, Tony is saying they want to continue the relationship with Jordan . Is that reciprocal?
Jordan: I think what Tony has said is an accurate and fair assessment. I think the worst thing for Jordan was the lucky break it got in Brazil because no-one ever really, with a new engine partner, expects to have that kind of a result as a privateer so quickly. So, therefore, there was in place, which is absolutely correct, a three-year contract, and like all contracts there are provisions for various sets of circumstances and I think this is not the forum to go through and detail some of those clauses but there is a willingness, certainly on the Jordan side, to continue with Ford. It is a very early part of the relationship and something that I have always wanted. In fact, it was one year ago that I finally realized that we would have a contract with Ford and I fought viciously hard to achieve that and it is something that I won't give up on easily. That's that part, so there is clarity there: Jordan wishes to continue with Ford and with Cosworth . The affordable engines? Yes, of course it is a concern because of different interpretations of what people understand as affordable. Some people talked about January, and we all know that there is an open letter about an offer or a position of offer of various different things about what the likely cost or the estimated cost that an engine should cost a private team. Sadly, that has not been able to be adhered to yet and possibly Tony has touched on that by the increasing cost of engines despite the one engine rule for next year, it still does not get away from the fact that, and I have no first-hand knowledge of this, but engines appear to be a very costly item in the overall structure of a Formula One budget. So I am not competent enough to be able to discuss what the 10 million Euro engine deal was, except that I believe that as privateer teams we were offered that and that went through the season. I would like, and I still believe, that whatever happens between Bernie, the banks, the GPWC, I believe that can be attained. I certainly hope so because I am relying on it in my budgetary format.
Q: Most of the engine manufacturers were saying 10 million Euros is not realistic, BMW say 20 million Euros?
Jordan: I don't think they would supply at 20 million Euros to be quite honest if you asked them. But that is not for me to answer because I don't think 20 million is probably the right price either. I am not sure what the right price is, but it comes back to the age-old question: Do we want privateer teams in Formula One or do we not? Trying to estimate what some person has to give an engine for or not, I am not sure how it can be structured. But the key issue here is: do the major manufacturers want three privateers in Formula One? If they do, I think that all of us as a unit, as a sport, as a lobby group, ten of us, should get together to see how we can keep all ten of us in the sport at affordable engines which was what was discussed on April 28 or whatever it was at the FIA meeting.
Q: There have been reports that you have been talking to Mercedes. Is that true or is that just a negotiating ploy?
Jordan: I think where a lot of that came from is that the original letter about the 10 million Euros came from Professor Hubbert and there may be some confusion and I just wanted to find clarification that this 10 million Euro engine was what we were all talking about.
Q: What is a realistic figure for you?
Jordan: I think this is not really necessarily the forum. Everyone has different views. Bernie estimates it to be five, certain letters indicate ten and other people estimated a reason why an affordable engine on that particular meeting was put there obviously had a very significant meaning. It is a little bit unfair. I don't want to have a row with Tony; Tony doesn't want to have a row with me. He knows what the engine costs him and he needs to get as much as he can from our participation and to be honest what we got this year in engines?it has now come to my knowledge that it probably costs Ford in excess of that amount of money so there is probably some form of subsidy and it is a pity that these subsidies should come from just one or two manufacturers only and everybody else takes the benefit.
Q: Do you have a ballpark figure in mind?
Jordan: My ballpark figure is that they should pay me 10 million to use their engine! I am in the real world, it is the rest of them that are not! (Laughter)
Q: But really, can you give us a figure?
Jordan: Yeah, I have just told you: Ten. Ten less five is five, less five for good behavior and you are zero. But we are not in the dreaming business - we are in reality. The facts are how much is the engine going to cost and I would like to be able to do a deal for 10 million Euros for the engine. And at the moment I am working towards that.
Q: Do you have a whole lot of choices?
Jordan: Honestly, I couldn't answer that because that would be giving any type of negotiating ploy that I might have away. Having said that, I don't want to negotiate, I am happy to work with Cosworth but I need to get to the figures that I believed that I had already pre-arranged the budget in terms of a proposal for my sponsors and the team going forward. Any manufacturer or prudent team will have a projection as to what the likely costs are going forward. In those projections I have 10 million Euros.
Q: After the German Grand Prix, Bernie Ecclestone criticized some of the drivers who could hardly bother to wave to the fans in the drivers' parade. What can your drivers do during a race weekend to give more back to the fans?
Purnell: I can say that our drivers are instructed to always co-operate with any activity that might be fan friendly and I would look very dimly on any behavior that brushed off fans. I am a fan of the NASCAR series, the way the drivers behave there, and I would like to see that duplicated in Formula One.
Richards: I think as a collective group? prior to one of the races recently we talked about some initiatives that would bring the fans closer to the sport and bring the drivers closer to the fans themselves and we talked about a range of ideas and we agreed that what was necessary was a proper co-ordinated approach to this rather than just ad-hoc bits and pieces. I think you are going to see a number of initiatives next year that we are going to get the drivers closer to the fans on an organized basis and I know that Bernie is very aware of this as well so it is not something that has been ignored. It is something that all the team principals recognize at the moment and we are looking at a raft of ideas to achieve that.
Q: David, could you tell us what the latest progress is on your becoming an owner of BAR?
Richards: I'm not going to tell you about the commercial arrangements between myself and BAT, I'm afraid. That's something between myself and BAT. I don't expect it necessary to make an announcement at all. They are not pressed to sell for some years yet, if ever, and I have a personal arrangement with them and that's that.
Q: Tony, going back to the affordable engines, you said it could be sorted out eventually. Considering that Ford appears to be a key player in this and there are teams who need an engine supply sorted out before the start of next season, when you say 'eventually', are you talking about months, years, weeks? Time is ticking on, isn't it?
Purnell: That one's above my pay grade. It's really involved with the big negotiation with the GPWC, the banks, Bernie Ecclestone and I await to hear what the outcome of that is.
Q: I would like to ask David that I understand you might leave Formula One in not too long a time, and the second question is how close have you been to (signing) Alexander Wurz who is now officially staying with McLaren ?
Richards: The second part of the question: I had coffee with Alexander in my motorhome about two races ago, and it appeared that some journalists were sitting in the motorhome and decided that he was about to join us. Alex has been a pal of mine, because obviously he was driving with me before. I keep in touch with him and his wife but the fact that he comes into my motorhome for a cup of coffee does not automatically mean that he's going to be driving for us next year. The first part of the question? I should clarify this point. What was being discussed was how I saw my future and what I was doing at the moment? Clearly I have a number of responsibilities, a number of involvements in World rallying, Formula One and with Prodrive and I said my objective, over the next three years, was to rationalize those into a position whereby in three years' time I could make a decision about one particular aspect. I enjoy doing everything at the moment, but clearly I would like to look at one particular element that I would focus on for the long term, or maybe just disappear and go and sit on a beach. I just wanted to rationalize my life over the next few years and put in place clear management structures in each of the organizations so that they did their job properly and I could make that decision. It was not necessarily that I'm going to sit on a beach in three years' time, not necessarily that I'm going to continue running a Formula One team but I want to be able to give myself that choice.
Q: Eddie, when do we have the pleasure of hearing your driver line-up for next year?
Jordan: I think Tony alluded to that earlier, that there seems to be a lot of very high quality drivers around at the moment and like everything, it always needs one major signing to kick-start the whole driver negotiations and to be fair, until speculation about Montoya does or doesn't go, or stay or doesn't stay, until that's put in place, then I think most teams like us will naturally take a back seat and see what is available when the time occurs. He also touched on the opportunity that there's 25 percent of the championship left, and this is a vitally important year for me because I've a bit of ground to catch up and the drivers are the drivers. I'm happy with the drivers. I could not lay any blame of what's happening on their side or why we've just lost our way in the last months and it's up to me to make sure I rescue that and support and commit and motivate my people in the maximum way to get something out of this season. So drivers, as we all here have said, are not quite as important this year as what you would normally see.
THURSDAY PRESS CONFERENCE - 21 AUGUST 2003
DRIVERS: Rubens BARRICHELLO (FERRARI), Juan Pablo MONTOYA (WILLIAMS), Kimi RAIKKONEN (McLAREN), Ralf SCHUMACHER (WILLIAMS) and Mark WEBBER (JAGUAR)
Q: Ralf, can we start with you? What are your feelings after the tribunal/appeal?
Ralf SCHUMACHER: Well, first of all I'm happy that the decision was taken like that, so that I can start from wherever I qualify, which is hopefully somewhere at the front. It was a very new experience and hopefully the last in my Formula One career, but it was very well dealt with and they gave us a chance to make our point which was very fair. I have to say thank you for that.
Q: Do you still feel that you were innocent, that you shouldn't have been penalized?
Schumacher: Well, I think that at the end of the day it was a racing incident but I don't think we should comment any more. I'm happy with the decision that was taken.
Q: Just a small detail, who pays the fine?
Schumacher: That's something? I have a meeting later on with Frank so I think we will speak about that then. It hasn't yet been decided.
Q: The inquiry into the Hockenheim accident still affects Kimi and Rubens as well as they are now under investigation, they're seeing the stewards tomorrow. Have you got anything to say on the subject?
Rubens BARRICHELLO: Nothing really. Everything has been said already. Tomorrow we have another meeting to express our views again. Unfortunately I was in the middle of a sandwich and that's pretty much it.
Kimi RAIKKONEN: Yeah, I guess I've said everything that I know and there's not much else to say to them, but let's see what happens. It's a bit weird that it's turned around suddenly, but they've made their decision already and we will see what happens. I'm not really worried about it at all.
Q: Kimi , I hear you were in Bratislava playing ice hockey, how was that?
Raikkonen: It was OK. Of course, you would rather enjoy your holidays than do those things, but actually it was quite good fun.
Q: Are you any good?
Raikkonen: Not compared with them (the other players) but at least I know how to skate.
Q: You've slipped back a little bit in the championship over the last few races; how are you feeling about it at the moment?
Raikkonen: It's not over yet. There are still four races to go and we need to fight back and try to do our best. OK, the last race wasn't good but hopefully we can get some good points here and get back in the game.
Q: Do you feel that you've had a lot of bad luck? You could say Hockenheim was bad luck too?
Raikkonen: Hmm, yeah. I don't know about a lot of bad luck but OK, it wasn't really the luckiest day. But that's racing and it happens sometimes. But I guess sometimes you have luck and sometimes not. It goes like that. We just need to do our best and try to score as many points as we can.
Q: Juan Pablo, how do you feel about the championship at the moment?
Juan Pablo MONTOYA: I think it's good, good for the team, good for myself, but there are still four races to go, a fair way, open, anything can happen. Every race we're looking better and better and better. But we have to wait and see what happens.
Q: I understand that you've been doing some training prior to this race for the heat, in Miami ?
Montoya: I've been doing training since the beginning of the year, last year, the year before. I always go to Miami during a break. It was about 38 degrees. I was just playing there, good fun.
Q: What comes up now in the next two or three weeks before the Italian Grand Prix? Is there a huge amount to test?
Montoya: Yeah, really, next week we can test, the week after we are testing for the race. I think everyone is going to be there probably. There's probably going to be quite a lot to test, but it's probably the only really low down force track there is at the moment and I think it's probably going to be quite important for the championship.
Q: Rubens, what about Ferrari? Is there a massive backlog of stuff to test?
Barrichello: Yeah, we're going to be there with three cars, as I understand it, and one car in Fiorano , so it's going to be a lot of work, just trying to find the best. For now, working for the future - it's quite an important test.
Q: What about Ferrari's position in the next four races? People are saying you might not be so good here, but OK in the three after that?
Barrichello: Well, to be honest with you, it was quite good for us here last year. We had quite a good advantage. We just have to see how the weather plays. We're quite optimistic on the tire side. Since Magny-Cours we have already said that we made aerodynamic improvements so I feel that we're quite strong. To be honest with you I felt that in Hockenheim , my car was running quite well as well, so it was a pity not to be part of the race, but there are four races which are depending pretty much on the weather and we can go quite well, so we just have to wait and see. Obviously, if you take Monza and Suzuka , they would probably be a little bit better but that doesn't mean that here and the States are going to be anything less. We just have to take it as it comes, be very open, test the car as much as we can, get a good and decent set-up and off we go.
Q: Mark, interesting attitude to the intended overtaking manoeuvre at the end of the race in Hockenheim . Tell us about it?
Mark WEBBER: Yeah, we spent the last few laps just trying to put some pressure on Jenson. Neither of us had any rear tires at the end of the race, so I thought I had nothing to lose by putting as much pressure on him as possible, and he was making a few mistakes in front of me when I was putting the pressure on, so it was a good little fight and it was all fair. But I just lost the rear on braking for the hairpin in the stadium and ran out of time.
The attitude was: try to get a point, it was the last lap, try to create pressure in the stadium to maybe finish the move in turn two or down at the hairpin. It's difficult to follow closely at turn one and even the last two right-handers in the stadium. He was very slow there, but I couldn't stay close because of the down force so it was really difficult. I'm happy that I tried.
Q: How are you getting on with your new team-mate, Justin?
Webber: It's fine. It's as it was with Antonio. Just another guy in the car. He's quick so hopefully it's good for the team.
Q: Do you expect more or less pressure from him than Antonio?
Webber: About the same really. Antonio wasn't slow. We know he was quick and Justin's quick as well. I just want to do the best I can for myself and get the most out of it.
Q: What about your feelings and prospects for the last four races?
Webber: To be honest with you, it's going to be a pretty tough finish for us. We don't have the mileage and resources that these guys have so we're just going to do the best we can with what we have, finishing the year. We've had a very very strong season. I think we've had some good races and it is going to be tough finishing the year out. We'll just do the best we can, try and get some points, but it's going to be very very tough because the reliability at the front is frightening. They're doing a very good job, the pace is quick. Juan nearly lapped the whole bloody field so it's pretty impressive at the front.
Q: Ralf, a couple of non-scores in the last couple of races which must have been frustrating and disappointing. How are you going to treat this race?
Schumacher: Well, definitely, it's cost me a lot of points, especially at that stage of the year. It's pretty dangerous, but we will have to wait and see. Two good races could put me in a totally different position again so I take it as it comes. I can't change it anyway. I was a bit unlucky, but that's the way it is.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: After what has happened after the last race, will you continue to race as hard as you always have done, or will you feel in some way inhibited by what happened in the tribunal this week?
Raikkonen: I'm gonna race as hard as ever and it was just one of those things that happens sometimes and hopefully it will not happen again.
Montoya: It doesn't really inhibit me.
Barrichello: I don't think it changes things at all. I mean there was the Silverstone race where I took it with some aggression because you had to go forward. I had just started in Hockenheim and there was no aggression at all, and all of a sudden there was a crash, so I don't think we were actually trying to fight. We didn't know we were so close. So I don't think it changes anything. We're just going to race the same, me in particular.
Webber: Yeah, I think the same. We're all making split second decisions out there and what happened at the start at Hockenheim was over in a blur. The kerb filters out to the left anyway, so I think what Ralf did was absolutely normal and Kimi was on the other side, so that can happen again. We will race, make the decisions we think are right at the time and we're not going to be worried about having a touch here and there.
Schumacher: Hmm. As I said, I thought it was a normal racing incident but at the same time, I think that what they are trying to do from the FIA side, from the stewards' side is just to make sure no more dangerous action is taken on a circuit. It's good for us. I think the approach is right, but at the same time, sometimes from the outside it's very difficult to judge these things which I understand, and it's fair for someone who has never been in a racing car.
Q: Rubens, you said that you were disappointed at Hockenheim and you thought that you were in good shape for the race. Were you on a different fuel and tire set-up to Michael?
Barrichello: Different tires, I think everybody knows that. That's pretty much it. I was quite confident that the tires were the right ones. For some reason Michael chose the other ones. I felt comfortable with the tires for the whole weekend, not enough to beat the Williams in qualifying but my tires should have worked quite well in the heat on the Sunday, so I was looking reasonable for the race.
Q: Juan Pablo, do feel that your people in Colombia are more engaged than ever with your car racing? Does this put more pressure on you or is it business as usual?
Montoya: Aaah . I think it's business as usual. I think a lot of people are very intrigued to see what happens, they are really supporting me and I think that's really good. But for me here, it's the same thing: just get out there and drive the car and see what happens.
Q: After the last race Bernie Ecclestone was very critical of the drivers, saying they were chatting on the drivers' parade and did not wave to the fans. What can you as drivers do to give more back to the drivers here at the track?
Webber: It's hard to keep everyone happy but I agree that we should do more for the fans. Ralf's not happy but?The fans get more out of us being in individual cars, let's say. Small things make a big difference: all of us being on the trucks, of course we are going to talk to each other. We are not going to not talk to each other. But other things, you see at motorbike races that it is a little bit more open, potentially, to be closer and maybe get some interaction with the fans and the drivers, which I think is important, but we have to draw a line, which is not easy to keep everyone happy. The demands are always going up, whether it is from sponsors or it is from the teams, but I think we really have to respect the public.
Schumacher: I read this article as well but basically I am not affected by it because I am basically waving to the crowd all the time and facing towards them. But at the same time, getting more activities to the fans might be a thing but our workload, even if you don't believe so, it is quite hard with marketing and debriefs and interviews and other things we have to do so there is not much free time left.
Raikkonen: I guess they answered it quite well. I don't have anything to say.
Montoya: We always smile, we always wave and I don't know ,you can always have ideas. I think Williams is the only team, for example, who take their drivers to the merchandise stands. I don't know which other teams do that, but that is the way to give it back to the fans.
Barrichello: I think we can do a lot more. I mean, in America , as a public, you can have a lot more options with radios, autograph sessions, things like this. We could do something more but if you look at the other side as well, we work so hard and when you are working for the whole time sometimes you meet with a friend or with a driver and you talk. I mean, it is the only chance you have, so it works both ways. Of course, you are there to wave to the people, there are flags there, it's quite nice, but you shouldn't blame somebody that in this precise spot I haven't waved. It's not the point.
Q: Mark, how was your Tour de France?
Webber: Pretty good, yeah. I did some of the rides in the mountains. It was hard work, quite hot, but I really, really enjoyed it. There was a lot of old people who were passing me, which is not a good sign, and they were there at the top drinking wine, amazing. Really good fun.
Q: So what was the tour?
Webber: Just some of the climbs really, the stages, the Col de I'Iseran which they did a few years ago and some of the main climbs down near Val d'Isere . It was good fun.
Q: Mark, one of the Australian papers last week had a headline saying 'Jaguar boss tells drivers to put foot down'. Was that the case?
Webber: I don't know much about that one. I can't push the throttle any harder at this stage. We are doing the best we can. I think there is no indication I have from people above me saying that we are not doing good enough with the steering wheel in our hands, so I think they are pretty happy with what the drivers are doing at the moment.
Q: Ralf, we have read a lot of things about team orders coming from Germany , what is your opinion? Are you ready to support Juan Pablo?
Schumacher: Regarding team orders, I know you come from Italy but that's not the fact in England . I think on the other hand Juan Pablo doesn't need my help, as he proved at Hockenheim pretty impressively. We haven't come down to this stage so let's wait and see what the season brings.