MARCH 19, 2005
MALAYSIAN GP - SATURDAY - PRESS CONFERENCE
SATURDAY PRESS CONFERENCE - 19 MARCH 2005
1. Fernando ALONSO (Renault), 1m32.582s
2. Jarno TRULLI (Toyota), 1m32.672s
3. Giancarlo FISICHELLA (Renault), 1m32.765s
Q: How is it to be on provisional pole position here?
Fernando ALONSO: Yesterday, we had a few problems, but the engineers did a very good job last night and we again found a quick and easy car to drive this morning. And now in qualifying you can't make a mistake on the single lap, but you have to push. And that's not only today; you have to have a little gap for tomorrow's qualifying and this is quite difficult, but at the end we managed to do a good lap and this first position is a great result for us.
Q: It was a very intense-looking qualifying session, everybody running light fuel, new tyres and very, very close...
Alonso: Yeah, very close. Since yesterday, the sessions have been very, very close. The times are maybe closer than ever here in Sepang and this makes the qualifying even more interesting, and for tomorrow as well.
Q: Jarno, you were quickest this morning. We could talk about the rain in Melbourne, but here there's no doubting your speed and that great lap you put in....
Jarno TRULLI: Yeah, I'm pretty happy about the result and especially for the team, which has been working really hard to give me an updated car aerodynamically and all my mechanics who have worked really hard to give me a fantastic car. We look pretty competitive here. At the moment, I have mixed feelings as I'm sure I'm happy about my result, but on the other hand I'm shocked because I've just heard the news that a friend of mine has just died, so I want to dedicate this front row to Stefano.
Q: Giancarlo, coming off that win in Australia, the momentum continues for the Renault team. Talk us through that lap in the closing minutes of qualifying?
Giancarlo FISICHELLA: Yeah, not bad. It's nice to be here again. I'm third quickest and considering a bit of under-steer and a couple of mistakes, it's not bad, I'm happy. We are still competitive, we can still fight to get on the podium and maybe to win the race again. I'm happy to be here with Fernando and Jarno. Tomorrow there is another important qualifying session. Even with high fuel the car balance - I mean the potential was good yesterday, maybe the car balance wasn't fantastic but today was better and for tomorrow we are quite optimistic.
Q: With the new engine regulations we're going into uncharted territory now in Formula One. You'll be running the engine with which you won the Australian Grand Prix, how does that feel - race two with the same engine?
Fisichella: Honestly, yesterday, as soon as I went full throttle, I was really scared because the power is much less because it's much hotter than Australia, but then the engine is still consistent, it's still strong. I saved the engine in the Australian Grand Prix so I think my engine is quite fresh. You never know, but I'm quite optimistic about that.
Q: Fernando, coming back to you, 53 degrees track temperatures when you were out today. Talk a little bit about the heat and what that's like from the driver's point of view, and also from the car's point of view...
Alonso: Yeah, well it's a little more difficult to drive with hot track temperatures. The steering becomes quite heavy, and you suffer a little bit of over-steer normally and this will be important for tomorrow's race, with the hot temperatures and only one set of tyres. For the driver, I think we all feel the same: very hot temperatures inside, we sweat a lot in the helmet and it's a little bit uncomfortable to drive like this, but, anyway, I like the Sepang circuit so much that it doesn't matter if it's too hot.
Q: Fernando, what is it about this circuit that makes you love it so much?
Alonso: I always felt very comfortable here in Sepang. For me, it is the best circuit in the world in terms of the driver. I like all the corners here, like Spa, from the drivers' point of view - high speed, low speed, it is very wide and not bumpy, so you have everything here to enjoy the lap.
Q: Giancarlo said he noticed his engine was down on paper because of the heat, what about you?
Alonso: The same. Down on power because of running with these very hot temperatures and high humidity. In Australia, I think I used more of the tyres, from that point of view, because I was pushing every lap and I think the engine revs were more or less the same through the whole race. I am totally confident. I am 100 per cent confident that the engine will not have a problem at all in the race.
Q: Following the rain-affected session in Australia, this is the first 'proper' qualifying so now how do you approach tomorrow?
Alonso: I am more confident than I was in Australia. I was nearly crying after Friday and now I am smiling. I think in Australia I was competitive on Friday and Saturday morning like I was here this morning and then in qualifying I did not show the potential of the Renault car and I was lucky to have a good race afterwards. Here with normal qualifying, we have shown again that both Renault cars can be in the top three and this is fantastic news for the team.
Q: Jarno, obviously this is confirmation of the speed of the Toyota over a single lap. Is that a surprise to you?
Trulli: Not really. This morning we were competitive and during the whole weekend we have been always quite good. I have to thank the team because they have been working really hard at the factory to bring some up-to-date aero package so we are moving ahead and this is what I expected at the beginning of the season. Things will be improving for the future because everybody is pushing hard and I want to thank them because the car here has been competitive, easy to drive and hopefully also will be good during the race.
Q: In Australia, you had the problem of going, well, not quite backwards...
Trulli: Well, yes, Australia - it was not expected what happened. We, I, had a problem with one of the rear tyres which made my race pretty difficult by the end of the first thing to the end of the race, but here I think is slightly different, so we have to just wait and see.
Q: You are pretty confident of maintaining your pace and being more consistent?
Trulli: From what I have seen yes, the car has been quite consistent for a long run. Actually with the heat you can expect anything and again any problems with the tyres will be really bad for this kind of race because you are not able to change the tyres anymore.
Q: Giancarlo, third... Are you happy with that?
Fisichella: Yes, I am happy. I am. Honestly. I had a bit of under-steer and I made a couple of mistakes so apart from that third is great. Fernando is first quickest and the quickest today and that means Renault is still strong even on this circuit, which is a very important circuit. There are lots of high speed and slow speed corners. So the potential is very good. Yesterday the car balance wasn't fantastic, but today it's better. And we are optimistic for the race. We have another important qualifying session tomorrow with high fuel load, so, yes, it is good.
Q: You obviously want to bump him off pole position and yet the two of you will be in briefing together. How do you approach tomorrow?
Fisichella: Well I will do my best. It is going to be different with a lot of fuel. It will be important to do 100 per cent, but if you make a small mistake you can lose a good chance to be at the top two or three rows. It is important to do a clean lap. I hope do well, to be in the first row. We will see tomorrow.
Q: Did you do a low fuel run this morning?
Fisichella: I was lower than yesterday but not completely empty like a qualifying session.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi - La Gazetta dello Sport): Jarno, a clarification from you please. Shortly before, on television, you dedicated your front row place to Stefano. Can you tell us some more about who he is?
Trulli: Well he is a friend of mine and he is a rescue pilot. He pilots 'Canadair' and yesterday there was a fire I think in Italy and he was really unlucky - after landing on the water and taking off I think he has hit the electrical cables.
Q: ( Jose Carron - La Tribune de Geneve): Can you be a bit more precise when you say you are a bit down on power from Australia because of the heat, but how much?
Alonso: We don't know. We just press the throttle and we feel it. We don't know the numbers, but this has been normal always. It happens. We break all the records in the winter tests and things like that because it is cooler and everything is working better.
SATURDAY PRESS CONFERENCE
RED BULL CHANGES TACK
SATURDAY TEAM QUOTES
QUALIFYING 1 RESULTS
PRACTICE 4 RESULTS
CHINESE TO RESCUE FIAT AUTO?
PRACTICE 3 RESULTS
MEANWHILE IN GOSSIPVILLE F1
EXCLUSIVE: TAKUMA SATO OUT OF SEPANG