British Grand Prix Silverstone Thursday 9 July, 1998 "Thursday Four" press conference -- Drivers: Johnny Herbert (Sauber), Damon Hill (Jordan), Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) and Jacques Villeneuve (Williams) Q. Johnny, we usually...
British Grand Prix Silverstone
Thursday 9 July, 1998
"Thursday Four" press conference -- Drivers: Johnny Herbert (Sauber), Damon Hill (Jordan), Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) and Jacques Villeneuve (Williams)
Q. Johnny, we usually open our discussions by asking the local drivers about the extra pressure they might feel to be racing at home. Are you in fact aware of this factor?
JH: I don't believe that it gives anything extra just to be racing in your home Grand Prix. A drivers wants to be doing his best in every single Grand Prix, and he has to [to do his best], because if a driver only tried really hard in his home race he wouldn't have a drive the following year. One good race per year is not enough.
Q. Do you expect to be with Sauber again next year?
JH: I am very happy there, things have gone fairly well over the past couple of years, and I think Sauber can do very well in the future.
Q. Damon, you had a poor start to the season with Arrows in 1997. Is it fair to compare your situations, then, and now, with what is happening at Jordan this year?
DH: Yes, unfortunately it is very similar. We would very much like to see a repeat of this race last year, when [I] actually scored [my] first points of the season. It is all a bit late coming for all of us from Jordan-Honda. So we are very hopeful that we can do something more in keeping with the performance that we believe we can reproduce at each race. All things being equal, it is going to be hard for us to tackle the McLarens and the Ferraris.
Q. Have the modifications tested by you really fixed the handling difficulties with the car that you have described?
DH: Well, the car has felt a lot better recently. After Monaco we really had to think hard about the way we were going about things. Since then there has been a lot of hard work at the Jordan factory -- and also with Honda -- and we are steadily making progress. What we have to be sure of is that we are making more progress than the people at the front, to be sure that we are actually closing the gap.
Q. How would you compare the power of your engine with the teams at the front?
DH: Honda has been helping us out a little bit there. It is not as much [extra power] as we would like, just yet, and we consider there to be a fairly substantial deficit when you compare our engine with those being used by McLaren and Ferrari. I believe something is being done on that front. As you know, the Honda people have made it known that they plan to return to Formula 1, and when they do make that decision I would very much like to see them come in with Jordan, and then to provide us with the [powerful] engine that we know they are capable of building.
Q. Jacques, are you encouraged by Goodyear's advances here?
JV: In Magny-Cours we had pretty good tyres. Here the conditions weren't very good to compare tyres. It was very cold and difficult to put any heat in the tyres.
Q. Are the modifications to the car better suited to here than Magny-Cours?
JV: Yes, definitely. The car is more stable. We have some aerodynamic improvements for this race which will suit the high speeds quite a lot. It should look better for us than it did in Magny-Cours. To reach the McLarens and the Ferraris is still a big fight, but we are getting closer and closer, and I hope we will be able to fight them now.
Q. Would you prefer wet or dry?
JV: We haven't really worked on this car in the wet, and the way our rear end works I don't expect it to be very competitive in the wet.
Q. There has been quite a lot of talk about you joining Craig Pollock at his BAR team in 1999. What are your own feelings? Would you join a brand new team like that?
JV: That there has been a lot of talk. It's normal, because we are very god friends with Craig, so it's normal that people start talking about that. But if all the indications were that it could be a winning combination, then why not? But you need to be assured of many things before you do that because it is a big risk.
Q. David Coulthard has suggested that he will leave the GPDA because he feels that there needs to be a driving code of conduct in F1. Do you think there needs to be one, and could you all agree on what that code should be?
DH: It's not for the drivers to decide, it's for the FIA to apply the rule of the sport in the right way at the right time ... so that everyone competing knows where they stand. I would urge David not to consider leaving the GPDA. That is the completely wrong course of action. And I'd urge Jacques to join it as well, because he hasn't yet decided to do that. He might contribute something.
JH: The FIA does have its rules, and we've got to abide by them. It's very difficult to agree something on paper because there is always a different circumstance that might make that piece of paper more difficult [to interpret] when it became necessary to apply the rule.
MS: I had a personal chat with David about this in Magny-Cours, and didn't really have the feeling that he wants to leave. He wants to see that certain things change, that we have a stability that we don't have because we have had over the past years different incidents and accidents which have had different results, unexpected results, which we don't understand. Obviously there is a guide line there which should be followed, and it should be followed consistently. The rule is [made] by the FIA, we have to follow it, and they have to give us the guideline. Maybe we can improve that system slightly.
JV: It would be very difficult to have a written code of conduct. It is very difficult from the outside to know what somebody is doing inside his car. You just need the mutual respect. Once you know what people do, then you just pay them back. /end