JUNE 10, 2005
CANADIAN GP - FRIDAY - PRESS CONFERENCE
FRIDAY PRESS CONFERENCE - 10 JUNE 2005
TEAM REPRESENTATIVES: Flavio BRIATORE (Renault), Christian HORNER (Red Bull Racing), Colin KOLLES (Jordan), John HOWETT (Toyota)
Q: Colin, obviously the burning issue is Trevor Carlin, why did he leave?
Colin KOLLES: He left basically because of personal reasons, as I said today to the press, he called me on Monday and he told me he would prefer not to come to Canada because the basic idea was we started to build up a team from scratch and the stress is too much for him, driving each day from Surrey to Silverstone, one and a half hours in one direction and one and a half hours in the other direction, and all over the world, and his other projects are growing with the A1 engagement, so that is basically the reason.
Q: So, could he just have not come here and then carried on, or did he not want to do that either?
Kolles: No, he said if I wanted him to be here he would be here. He is still a consultant to us, but not on a daily basis.
Q: The other questions, obviously, the team, is it still for sale?
Kolles: As Alex said it is not for sale. At the end of the day everything is for sale and if you speak to sponsors, yeah, and this particular sponsor has been approached by an agency in Russia before all these rumours started, long before, so he said he wants to commit for a long engagement in Formula One, to sponsor the team for a period of four or five years, and then the question came up if can he have some shares in the team, and this is how it started. But there are no detailed discussions about this, or detailed meetings or anything, and it just came out in the press from some people who need maybe some promotion or something, I don't know.
Q: What about the future, next year, what is in place for the design team, the engine, and so on?
Kolles: I think with the engine, there will be some announcement very soon, I think the relationship between Jordan, Midland and Toyota is not so bad, I think that we are working very well together, it is very positive, and regarding the engineering side, you know that we started with Dallara, building up the team from scratch with the engagement of Dallara. This is continuing until December 31 and we are building up also to improve the intellectual property of the team, bringing in new people, new young people, and new ideas. The decrease in number of personnel has basically stopped and it is increasing now.
Q: Finally, is there a possibility of Franck Montagny driving at the French Grand Prix, either on the Friday or for the whole weekend?
Kolles: You have to ask Mr Briatore this question. I think that Franck Montagny did a good job at the Nurburgring and we are looking forward to this, for sure. We will try to find solutions.
Q: John, would Jordan get V8s or V10s for next year?
John HOWETT: I think our intention, from a supply point of view, it is much easier to supply the same engine that we are running, so a V8.
Q: What is the situation with the V8 at the moment?
Howett: It is on line in development plan, it is running on the dynamometer and we hope to run in the chassis in July, the end of July, before the summer break.
Q: The figures that we hear, sort of over 20,000rpm, are you up to that level?
Howett: I wouldn't like to tell you!
Q: In the last couple of races the team seems to have just gone off the boil a bit. Do you agree?
Howett: We made a mistake on the grid otherwise Jarno would have been on the podium in Hockenheim and we were a little bit unlucky with the safety car and some other action in Monaco, so yes, we haven't delivered, but in terms of competitiveness of the car we are still there and fighting for podiums on a fairly regular basis.
Q: So you expect to be doing that?
Howett: Yes, this weekend, we hope so.
Q: One more question about the testing, because you are part of the 30 day testing accord, which I believe is intended to save money. How is it saving money when you send one test team to Monza and one to Silverstone and fly the drivers between the two?
Howett: These costs are minor. The main fundamental cost is in component use - brake discs, carbon fibre components. All these items are lifed, and I can clearly say, managing the budgets on a daily basis, 30 day testing saves us a lot of money.
Q: Even sending two test teams?
Howett: You have to realise, you have the fixed assets of the trucks, and diesel fuel is not a high cost. But when you are changing items like brake discs or carbon fibre suspension components or gears, which are lifed, it is a very high cost. In our view, it is the right direction and it is making a positive contribution to budget saving. We have a strong view that other teams should support that direction, because ultimately we will be forced to increase testing if we lost competitive position.
Q: Christian, from your point of view you seem to have a lot of drivers at the moment, in that you have four competitive drivers with David Coulthard, Christian Klien, Tonio Liuzzi and Scott Speed as well. What is the policy with those drivers?
Christian HORNER: Well, it is a very pleasant problem to have, to be honest. We have a very good balance within the team, with David and his experience, he has contributed a huge amount to the development of the team in its first year in Grand Prix racing. In Tonio and Christian Klien we have the first two products of the Red Bull junior programme and we have a very healthy situation within the team where we have been looking very closely at their development, their performances, and obviously this is a building year for the team, which is why we have not been afraid to move the drivers around a little bit. Scott Speed is an emerging talent coming through the GP2 category at the moment. With a gap in that calendar and with obviously the two North American races, it made complete sense, following some very impressive tests he had done for us, to put him in the car here and at Indianapolis next weekend.
Q: Some people have been saying you said it had nothing to do with being American.
Horner: No, he is here because of his ability. Obviously Scott is the first product of the driver search in the US, but he wouldn't be driving the car if he didn't have the ability to drive the car and he clearly demonstrated that in the lower formulas in Europe. He has tested very strongly in Barcelona and at Silverstone last week, he is very much here on merit and I think it is positive for Formula One that there is a real emerging talent from the US.
Q: Can you finally tell us what the situation is with Ferrari? Is there progress being made or is it too early to say?
Horner: Obviously we are delighted that we have secured a two-year agreement with Ferrari to supply engines. They, like Toyota, are working hard on the development of the V8, on dynamometers, and I am sure engines will no doubt run during the latter part of the summer, but we are happy with the progress that we have heard and we look forward to seeing the engines in due course.
Q: Due course is the earliest you can say?
Horner: Well, it will be towards the end of the year, you know.
Q: Flavio, first of all, let's go back to the question of Franck. Is he likely to have any role in the French Grand Prix?
Flavio BRIATORE: I don't know yet. Franck is doing the 24 Hours of Le Mans. I talked to him today, let's see what happens, we will see, I want to talk with Franck. He is really concentrating now on doing the best possible in the race in France, and let's see. I don't know, if it is possible to have somebody doing it, no problem at all, and especially Jordan. Alex is a good friend, Kolles is a good friend, but it depends on the driver, what he wants to do.
Q: In the previews for this race, you have talked about the spectacular races that we've had so far, a mixture of risk, strategy and racing. Is anything else needed?
Briatore: Sure. No, I believe that this year Formula One is very interesting. It is not because Renault is winning but McLaren is there, Toyota is there. We have three or four competitive teams. At the beginning of the season Red Bull and David was very competitive. It's not like last year. I believe it is a lot better for the spectators and a lot of people. Somebody says that the television audience has gone down, but it may go down in some places but goes up in others. It may be down two million in Italy, but it's up seven million in Spain. In the end, overall, it is up. It is normal. You have some countries with different situations. I believe Formula One is great and it's better than the last two years, it's the best we've ever had.
Q: Fernando is obviously having a fantastic season at the moment, what can you do about Giancarlo?
Briatore: What can I do about him? He is racing. He is doing the best he can. Some drivers are lucky sometimes and some are a bit unlucky. That's life. We're doing everything possible to put Giancarlo in the best situation. But you know, he won the first race. We're talking about him as though he's dead. He won the first race and finished in the points and helped the team on Sunday. He did a fantastic job to finish in front of Montoya. This was our target. Today he was very, very competitive all day, and obviously competitive tomorrow. Giancarlo is part of the team and trying to do the best that is possible for the team.
Q: I know that this is working in your favour, but the fact is that if Kimi won every single race from now on, and Fernando finished second, Kimi still would not be champion...
Briatore: I don't think that is right in Kimi winning every race. I don't see Kimi winning every race.
Q: Don't you think the points situation, which kills off the championship so early...
Briatore: I don't think this is killing the championship. If we stop two races he is there. Thirty point is a lot but also nothing. If we stop in one race, it happens, it happens to everybody, or we are dead lucky... I mean the championship is fully open. I'm sure Michael, if he is competitive in this race it is possible he could be part of this. If Toyota with Jarno... Thirty points is a lot but it's not enough. We will see, we saw in Monte Carlo that it was great somebody else winning the race again, winning the championship. And we had a good race in Germany. It's part of the sport, it's very difficult to predict where you are but we are in good shape, the car is good, the engine is maybe not the most powerful engine in the business but we're working on that and I'm sure we have a good package.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Mike Doodson) Two questions for Mr Kolles. The first is, when we went to Australia we learned that your chief designer, Mr Smith, had left the company and you promised severe action to make sure that he stayed with you. I wonder if you can tell us what progress you have made with that move?
Kolles: Wait and see.
Q: Is there progress, are you going to continue?
Kolles: I am not going to answer this question, I am sorry. Wait and see.
Q: (Mike Doodson) The second question is that we read a lot from Mr Shnaider particularly saying that the company could be for sale if the right offer would be achieved. We never hear anything from either you or him about winning races which appears to be the business of Formula One. Do you have any ambitions to win races ever, or Mr Shnaider has, and if you can tell us what progress you're making towards that?
Kolles: I can tell you this: first of all you have to be realistic, and this year, if I told you we wanted to win races this year it would be completely unrealistic. Because you have to remember that when we took over on January 23, it was a bankrupt company with four old monocoques. So you cannot win races immediately. I think that we have to build up this team and it will take some time. Mr Shnaider is committed. But these rumours are coming around and they are part of the game. I cannot tell you more than this. I will talk about wins when we are able to win but we are not able to win at the moment.
Q: (Mike Doodson) The question I asked was do you have ambition to win?
Kolles: Of course I have ambition, I would not be here if I did not have ambition to win. But I am also a realistic person and we have to work very hard to get to a point to be able to win, and even if you are able to win, then you also need a big portion of luck to win races. And then I can talk about winning races. But at the moment, if you are three seconds off the pace we cannot win races. But we are doing a lot to change the situation.
Q: (Kurt Cavin - The Indianapolis Star) Mr Horner, could you assess Scott Speed's performance. He had a good strong run this morning, it appeared, and then this afternoon had an excursion. Could you talk about both of those and his day in general?
Horner: Scott had a very positive session this morning, the fundamental role of the third driver is tyre comparison work and he completed his programme well this morning. Obviously he had never seen or driven this circuit before and certainly performed quite impressively. This afternoon he had an excursion, he had a spin. The reason behind that we are not entirely sure at the moment, it was quite an odd incident but we are investigating it. I think he has learned a great deal from this weekend already and I'm sure he will be looking to put that into action next weekend in Indianapolis.
Q: (Kurt Cavin - The Indianapolis Star) Mr Briatore, can you talk about the real strengths of Fernando? It seems his consistency this year has been really something and as we've watched him develop over the last couple of years, he just consistently runs well.
Briatore: I think Fernando is very mature for 23 and the car is very good as well. You need the right package. You need super driver and a super car as well, and this year we've made very few mistakes, very consistent and what I can say? It's surprising because for a young driver to be consistent in the races as he is and qualifying all the time is amazing and he's done a fantastic job. But he's got a fantastic car as well. Aerodynamically the car is very good and as I've said before, maybe McLaren have a better engine at the moment, a few horsepower more than us, but we're working on that.
Q: (Mike Doodson) Flavio, I understand that you have or will have a guest this weekend from Las Vegas. Can you tell me if this is true, and if so is this an indicator that we will possibly be having another race in North America?
Briatore: You know, I think so. North America is very important for Formula One. You know Bernie has tried very hard to have a race in Las Vegas and we have a few friends from Las Vegas visiting Formula One this weekend and I hope we start talking, because Las Vegas really is... North America is very important, it's important for everything. It's important for Formula One and I hope one day we will have a race there.
Q: (Mike Doodson) Could you identify your guests and secondly could you give us an assurance that if we go to race in Las Vegas that we don't do so in a car park?
Briatore: No I promise you. If you give me an assurance that you're going there to gamble, you're there with the people. What kind of assurance can I give you? Sure Formula One is something magic, something unique and now in America people are starting to appreciate Formula One. It would be magic to have another race in North America. This is why I believe everybody, every team and every sponsor would be happy about that.
Q: (James Roberts - Motorsport News) Flavio, Colin says everything is for sale at a price. Is Fernando for sale?
Briatore: Nothing to do with the price. Fernando is part of the team, he is racing with us, driver price is... he very much wants to stay with the winning team. When you have somebody special you want to win, and to win you need the team, the car, you need the effort, you need the investment and Fernando is very happy with Renault.
Q: (James Roberts - Motorsport News) So he is not for sale at any price?
Briatore: Any price. You buy the world at any price. You put in an offer and see what happens.
THURSDAY PRESS CONFERENCE - 9 JUNE 2005
DRIVERS: Rubens BARRICHELLO (Ferrari), Christian KLEIN (Red Bull Racing), Kimi RAIKKONEN (McLaren), Jacques VILLENEUVE (Sauber)
Q: Christian, tell us about not racing.
Christian KLIEN: It is not so interesting than racing a car. It was a bit of a difficult time for me, a bit frustrating to step back and to be third driver, but I knew in the beginning of the year that me and Vitantonio (Liuzzi) would share the car and that was the case for the last four races. I am really looking forward to it, I am happy to be in the car again and try to do a good job now.
Q: But the team seems to have Scott Speed, Vitantonio, David Coulthard, and it is almost as if there is two teams there really.
Klien: Yeah, we have too many drivers! Scott is driving this weekend, it will be his first time in a Formula One car during a race weekend and I think he will have a lot of fun and it will be a great weekend for him. But yes, for me it is the most important thing to actually be back in the car and I focus on that.
Q: Does a driver look over his shoulder and think, ooh, there is a lot of people queuing up behind me.
Klien: You could think about it all the time but I focus on what I do, I try to do the best job I can do, try to be quick in the car, try to impress the people around me and the people in the paddock and see that I am quick and I cannot do more than that.
Q: Has it been a surprise how competitive the team has been this year?
Klien: Absolutely. I think we were also surprised at the beginning of the season how strong we are. For sure, it will get more difficult during the season because the bigger teams can develop the car more than us, but we saw at the Nurburgring that we are still competitive and with a bit of luck we can both drive in the points and I hope we can get some points this weekend.
Q: These two races you think you can be as competitive?
Klien: I think so, yes. I mean, I was still in the car, I did third driver in the Friday tests, so I saw how quick I am relative to the other drivers, I was quite quick in testing, so I am pretty confident that I can go back in the car and be quick again and, for sure, try to beat my team-mate and be in front of him.
Q: Jacques, here we are, back at home with you. One thing I noticed at a press conference yesterday is that it was mentioned you have a contract for next year, so you still have a year and a half's worth of contract. Can you just clarify that?
Jacques VILLENEUVE: It has always been the case. It is not a surprise. That's what was said last year, that's what was said in winter, and that's what was said for the last few months, yes.
Q: So the rumours about you perhaps being replaced, they have got to overcome that first?
Villeneuve: Well, rumours are part of everyday racing. There have always been a lot of rumours. I have no idea where it comes from, but I guess it is easy to make rumours because there have been rumours about people getting more involved in the team and, who knows, with money people think they can start buying anything out, so I guess that is where the rumours started.
Q: What is needed for you to get back into the top ten?
Villeneuve: We just need to go faster to get into the top ten. There is nothing else we can do. We had a good step in Imola and it looks like we got it right and most other people got it wrong and that suited us. The other track where we were competitive was Monaco and that was it. At the beginning of the season we hadn't been very competitive and the car is not difficult to drive, it is quite neutral, but it is just not fast enough on the lap time.
Q: You had a big test at Monza last week, has that provided some encouragement?
Villeneuve: Not really, no. The car was working fine, but once again not fast enough.
Q: So, what are your thoughts about these two races?
Villeneuve: I have no idea what to expect. There is new asphalt here, which will be a surprise for everyone, and it is just a matter of getting it right. When there is new asphalt like that you need to luck-in a little bit and that could work out for us. Also, if the tyres are on the limit, like Monaco, that suits us because we are quite easy on our tyres so that is what I am hoping for.
Q: That's the only thing you can hope for is it?
Villeneuve: Yeah, when you are not fast what can help you is rain, because that balances everything.
Q: Do you feel there is anything missing in yourself?
Villeneuve: No, not at all.
Q: That part of it is perfect?
Villeneuve: You always improve. There is always room for improvement and to learn and that happens with work. But right now there is not much we can do with the car. We are where we are and that's about it.
Q: Rubens, a good result at the Nurburgring. Was that an encouragement for you?
Rubens BARRICHELLO: Yeah, I think so. We knew the car was going to go quite well in the race, there was a weak point in qualifying as we saw for both cars, then as the race developed I had quite a good chance, because I almost always had the track open for me, so I was able to push and use the three stops, so that was quite nice.
Q: What about testing since then? Is there a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to tyre performance?
Barrichello: Well, we made improvements. It is not night and day, you make small steps, but also you want to see how much you want to go faster in qualifying. If you go faster in qualifying and still have a reliable tyre like we have now, probably the best tyre in the race at the end of the race, how much do you want to lose? If you have the qualifying and you still have the tyre for the race that is fine, but if you don't then that is not so good. So we need to take a balance between them. Silverstone last week was a bit too cold to get an opinion on things, we were not testing things for Canada specifically. It was probably our last test in Silverstone and we were testing other things apart from tyres. So you just have to balance yourself. We had two cars, we had another one in Monza, which was more to do with here. Things are better and we most definitely think our car is a fast car, it is the tyres, so we just have to take a balance and see where we are.
Q: But it is a compromise, you can't have both?
Barrichello: You know, at the start of the season Renault seemed to have both. They were qualifying ahead and racing ahead and that was good enough. Now the competition has upped the game a little bit, not just with us but I think McLaren, sometimes Williams, everyone really, just challenging for the win, and I don't think you can have both right now. You have to have a combination that allows you to be at the front but be ahead in the race, which is the most important.
Q: Looking back at the Nurburgring and the predicament that Kimi was in there with a flat-spotted front tyre, do you think that is too much of a predicament to be put in as a driver?
Barrichello: I don't want to go too much into his problem, but it is just separating things and I think if it was me driving that car I would most certainly have stopped, not because it was dangerous and I am afraid to have a crash or die or something like this, but just because it was not going to work. It could have worked at the end, but you have to have a proof to change your tyre, you cannot do it when you are pitting for fuel, so you have to do it another time. Sometimes in life you have to go backwards to go ahead, so I think it was better to get eight points.
Q: Kimi, obviously you were placed in a difficult position at the last race. Would you have changed anything when you look back?
Kimi RAIKKONEN: No, I don't think so.
Q: Obviously, you had the support of the team. It was interesting to hear Rubens say he would have come in. Was there much of a discussion?
Raikkonen: Not too much, because in the end we need to try to gain more points than Alonso and he was behind me, so I didn't see any reason to come in and change the tyre and lose points to him because we were in a position to score maybe two points more. Maybe we were a little bit unlucky that the car didn't last one more lap, but we took the gamble and it didn't pay off. But I would still do the same thing.
Q: How difficult is it for a driver, when you were having to make the overtaking move on Jacques, that you might flat-spot your tyres and it could compromise the whole race. It must be difficult to bear that in mind.
Raikkonen: Yeah, but I don't complain to anyone else, that is my mistake and it cost me quite a bit. It is always easier to say afterwards that maybe if I braked a bit earlier it wouldn't have happened, but then it was a bit bumpy and I just locked the rear and couldn't turn in again so we went in a bad shape, but you always try to lap people as quickly as you can because you don't want to lose so much time. I lost a lot of time on the Jordans before so I wanted to get past people quickly and not lose any more time, then I made a mistake and it cost me a lot.
Q: What about your thoughts for these two races?
Raikkonen: We had a very good test, the car is quick, I think it is better than it was in the last race, so I am pretty hopeful that it will be good here. For sure the car is good in the USA, because so far every car has been pretty strong there. This one is a bit of a question mark but I still think it will be good here because every circuit since we have changed the car a little bit has been good, so I don't see a reason why we won't be strong here.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Rob Martier - CJAD 800) Jacques, after the races the press releases and the comments that we read from your team and Peter Sauber are by and large negative. Does he ever take you aside and give you any positive and constructive criticism?
Villeneuve: I have never thought about it. I have been racing long enough that you take criticism for what it is. If it is fair then you accept it, if it is not fair then it goes in one ear and out the other.
Q: (Dan Knutson - National Speed Sport News) Rubens, after so many years of winning and now the last seven months, can you describe the feeling in the team?
Barrichello: To be very honest, the mood is quite good. When I first came to Ferrari the team was kind of let's try to do this and that, and obviously after three or four races things changed and there was a smile there, we were winning, we won the constructors' since 2000 and everything was really simple and the smile was there. Right now you see we went back a little bit to the trying mode, because we haven't won a race yet, but we know the potential is there. We know that if Alonso, for example, finishes all the races in the points then it will be very difficult to win the championship, but there is a lot to happen yet and it might change, you never know. On the constructors' side we just need to improve a little bit more and points will be there, so the mood is good. You get the first meeting on a Thursday is quite an encouraging one, looking at the testing we have done and the improvements we have brought to the racing track. The Sunday afternoon one, up to now, has been a little different, just because we didn't have the first trophy there, but it is still on the up, they definitely didn't give up.
Q: (Mike Doodson) Jacques, you suggested that there is nothing wrong on your side of the equation between yourself and Sauber. Peter Sauber seems to be saying something different, quite regularly. When you joined Sauber everything looked good, Ferrari engine, great wind tunnel, you seemed happy with the team. Do you now regret having joined Sauber this year?
Villeneuve: Well, it is too easy to have regrets. We are all disappointed with how uncompetitive we are because as soon as we bolted the Michelin tyres on the car at the end of last year the car was extremely fast and the new car was never fast and nobody seems to know why. The car is balanced to drive, it is not difficult to drive, it is just slow. There is very little we can do, we don't have the budget to just try different suspensions and re-design stuff, so we are stuck with what we have and that is how it will be until the end of the season. As long as there is an active work being done on next year then that will be alright.
Q: (Mike Doodson) So, no regrets?
Villeneuve: No, not at all. I am much happier to be racing than to be at home watching it on television.
Q: (Pierre Durocher - Le Journal de Montreal) Kimi, how do you see the situation with Alonso, he's 32 points ahead of you with 12 races to go. How do you see the whole picture?
Raikkonen: Of course, I think we are pretty much in the position where we were after Imola. We have some points back but it is not easy to gain too many points because as long as they keep finishing races and in the points we cannot gain so much. It really depends; there are many races to go and so many things can happen. As long as we can keep finishing the races and hopefully in front of them, I think we have a good chance of catching him, but it is never going to be easy. We just need to do our best and hopefully it's enough.
Q: (Randy Philipps - The Gazette) Kimi, how much did you know about the damage to your front wheel and suspension, how much could you feel or were you aware of at the time? What was your immediate response when it happened? What was your reaction?
Raikkonen: Of course, I saw the tyre in the pit stop, although luckily when I stopped it was just on the top of the tyre, the part where I had the flat spot so I could see the inside of the tyre, it was in a bad shape, but when it happened it wasn't too bad, but when you have to use the same tyre it just gets worse and worse all the time. The last three or four laps it was pretty bad because I couldn't see anything any more. I didn't have much choice so I kept going as fast as I could and everyone knows what happened in the end. OK, I was angry but what could I have done? It was just a bit unlucky because I was thinking it would just last the last lap because it had lasted so long, but it didn't.
Q: (Jean-Francois Begin - La Presse) Kimi, would you have made the same decision, here and/or in Indy, where you have a lot less run-off areas than you have at the Nurburgring safety-wise?
Raikkonen: Yeah, I was not thinking about the run-off areas because I was thinking of getting to the end so it doesn't matter on which circuit you are.
Q: (Adrian Rodriguez Huber - Agencia Efe) Kimi, which are Alonso's strengths for you and most importantly for you, does he have any weak points where you can catch him?
Raikkonen: The car is a very reliable package, and that's what has been very good for them. OK, they were very strong at the start of the year. I think we have as good a car at least as they have, and we can definitely fight against them, but I don't really know what are his weak points or what are his strong points. We just try to beat them and hopefully we are stronger at every point than they are.
Q: (Wolfgang Rother - Premiere TV) To all of you, after your crash, Kimi, Team McLaren has been accused of risking your life by keeping you out on the track so long with the damaged tyre. Do you guys think the tyre rules are leading you into a risky position?
Raikkonen: I think in one race it is a bit difficult to know how bad a tyre needs to be before you are allowed to change it without being penalised. Nobody really knows. Now they say afterwards that it was bad enough but how could we know that before? But then racing is always dangerous. I wouldn't say that they put me in a position. It was my decision, I could have come in if I had wanted so I'm not complaining to anyone else.
Barrichello: It is definitely not the team's call. It's your call, you are driving the car, you know how dangerous it is or not and that's pretty much it. The new rules allowed some overtaking, even though the overtaking we see is that somebody has a problem with a tyre and then they are going two or three seconds slower and then you are not overtaking. I think the year has gone with a little bit more... it seems that the public like it a little bit more in terms of as soon as we got away from the two qualifying sessions, it has been better in terms of a show but in terms of driving, I've been saying that since the beginning of the year, I used to drive on old tyres because I didn't have enough money to buy new ones when I was driving go-karts. That's pretty much it.
Villeneuve: In the past there were races with one stop, where in Kimi's position you would have tried to reach the end of the race, so the rule doesn't have any effect on that. You would have done at least as many laps.
Klien: Yeah, I think there is definitely a little bit more risk. It's quite easy to flat spot a tyre in a race, but in the end you have to make sure that you don't flat spot the tyres, and to drive to the end.
Q: (Adrian Rodriguez Huber - Agencia Efe) Rubens, how far or how close are you from the first and second you gained here last year?
Barrichello: This year, you mean? It is very difficult to know. As Jacques said, the track has been resurfaced. There's going to be a difference. It's a little bit of a challenge for the tyre manufacturer just to get the right tyre because of that. I have heard so many stories about the weather, maybe a bit of rain during the weekend, so it's difficult really to know. I don't think we are that far... let's put it this way, I don't think we still have the quickest car out there but we are not that far from being first and second.
Q: (Dan Knutson - National Speed Sport News) Christian, you have worked as the test driver and as a race driver; what advice would you give Scott Speed and what will you be asking him to contribute to you and David working for the rest of the weekend?
Klien: I think it is not easy for him. He has not had many tests so far, so for him we need him to make the tyre choice, to do long runs on both sets of tyres, but it will be quite difficult for him to drive the car on the limit without having enough tests, without knowing the car exactly. But still, I'm pretty sure we will get some information out of him, and it is a good opportunity for him to make the step to Formula One and to be at the race weekend, to see how a Formula One weekend goes.
Q: (Mike Doodson) Back to the tyres, in the past Michelin's rain tyres have not been as wonderful as the Bridgestone rain tyres but I understand, Kimi, that you've done some wet weather testing on the latest wet Michelins. What can you tell us about those, do they appear to be competitive?
Raikkonen: I think the intermediates are pretty good. At the beginning of this year we had some opportunities to use them and they seem to be pretty much as quick as the Bridgestones. The full wets are still not on the same level, but they are definitely improving all the time. It depends how much water there is on the circuit and the situation. But I think they are pretty good already. We don't know what Ferrari was doing at the last Silverstone test when it was wet on intermediates but then I think we seemed to be quite quick but I don't think we should have any major problems even if it's raining.
Q: (Jean-Sebastian Gagnon - La Presse) Rubens, how is the relationship between you and Michael now? It was a little bit tense after Monaco. Now, a race later, how is it?
Barrichello: It is not a problem. I got out of the car, told him what I thought I should have said. After that the team really calmed me down and there was not a problem. On Thursday at the Nurburgring the press was trying to hush things up and saying things that I didn't say and he didn't say, so it was a bit of a mess with the press at Nurburgring but it is not a problem. I am still entitled to have my opinion and that is pretty much it. But we don't have problems anyway.
Q: (Dominic Fugere - Le Journal de Montreal) For all of you, do you find it harder than you thought to nurse the tyres during an entire race distance?
Raikkonen: Not really, I think our car is very good and the tyres had already won this last race, but that was my fault, otherwise the tyres were in a good shape. For me, it has not been a problem. I have been very happy with the whole package because the tyres are working well with the car, so there is no problem.
Q: (Dominic Fugere - Le Journal de Montreal) What I'm saying is that aside from regular wear there is always a thought of a flat spot or something similar happening?
Raikkonen: Yeah, but even if you have brand new tyres and you lock the brakes in the first corner the same thing happens, so it is nothing to do with whether it's old or new tyres, it's just how you use them, it is just a mistake if you do that.
Barrichello: I think the moment you go into racing and you have to look after the tyres too much you brought the wrong tyre. Even if you have one tyre for the whole race you always try to be flat-out. I was flat out in the Nurburgring the whole way through. It was a good race. Of course you can make mistakes and with Formula One cars the way they are, and with some bumpy areas you can lock up and you can have some bad situations as happened to Kimi and as happened to Alonso in Nurburgring, when he went off trying to avoid the flat spot. But those situations actually bring some good shows to Formula One and gives a chance to somebody else.
Villeneuve: I have always enjoyed when you actually have to save your tyres because you can work on your set-up and the way you drive, and this year any time when the tyres are too soft it seems to suit us because we are very light on our tyres, so there's something we can get out of that.
Klien: I thought it would be even more difficult but like in the first two races, where I pushed flat out through the race, and fortunately our car is quite good on tyre wear and I didn't have any problem. I thought maybe at the beginning of the year you have to take care of the tyres during the race, slow down a bit in the first part to have good tyres in the end but it is not like this.
Q: (Adrian Rodriguez Huber - Agencia Efe) Jacques, you were team-mate with Fernando for three races last year. What is your opinion of him as a person and as a driver? Do you think he's going to make it this year and if he does, will you be happy about that?
Villeneuve: He is very strong, he is a very strong racer. He is actually better in the race than in qualifying so that's good to work on the championship. He is a very reserved person as well, so you need to spend time with him to actually get to know him a little bit and he was very nice, he was very positive and helpful last year which was good. Right now he is on a cloud, the whole team is behind him: Flavio is behind him and nothing can go wrong. As long as they keep it like that then it will be very difficult for Kimi to fight, but I'm sure that if he gets under pressure we might see some cracks. That happens to everyone and that would make F1 interesting during the season.
Q: (Pino Allievi - La Gazzetta dello Sport) For everyone, the TV audience has gone deeply down everywhere in Europe since two years and even here the press is not so full as in the past. Who is at fault?
Klien: Maybe it is me, because it is my second year. (Laughter) I have been in Formula One two years! To be honest, no, I think this year is quite interesting and I see no reason why it should go down.
Villeneuve: No idea, it just depends how you promote it, what you put out and a lot of that is what the journalists write. I am not blaming anyone. Everybody works on this together and I guess people want to see good races, they also want to see heroes, but somehow, I don't know whether it's the team owners or the media or something, there was a while when heroes were not wanted, they just wanted robots to drive the cars and anyone who opened his mouth and said one word, then suddenly it was hushed up and that person was bad. In the long run people lose interest because OK, they want to see nice cars but they can go to a museum to see nice cars.
Barrichello: There is not much to add really. To be honest, I didn't know that for two years we have less... Right here, for me, it seems to be more people than last year to be very very honest. There were more people at Barcelona as well. Alonso is attracting a lot of people and it seems we can see more flags everywhere. Brazil, as far as I understand, is sold out already and the audience there is not bad at all.
Raikkonen: I don't know much about the whole situation. I have heard there are plenty of people watching television, at least in Finland it is more than normal, so I don't know.
Q: (Gerhard Kuntschik - Salzburger Nachrichten) Kimi, can you give me a judgement of all your team-mates' performances so far this year?
Raikkonen: They are all different. I think at the beginning when I came to Formula One it was more difficult, of course, because everybody has more experience than me, but in the end I have done quite well against all of them. For sure, the first year was always more difficult than any other year...
This year's? Oh, sorry. They are all good guys, nice guys. Everyone works in a slightly different way. I only raced against two of them. Alex has only done Fridays. I think they are good drivers and I don't really want to get involved in talks like this because you always try to get some little fight between team-mates. In the end, I only try to do my own thing and I am not too interested in my team-mates or other people, in racing or whatever they do. They are good, but you can say how good they are, who is best and who is not.