Present: Christian Klien (Jaguar) Q: Christian, Hockenheim is quite a lucky circuit for you, isn't it? Christian Klien: It is, yes. I have had here a couple of races and it is nearly my home Grand Prix because I live just two and a half...
Christian Klien (Jaguar)
Q: Christian, Hockenheim is quite a lucky circuit for you, isn't it?
Christian Klien: It is, yes. I have had here a couple of races and it is nearly my home Grand Prix because I live just two and a half hours from here and every race that I raced here I was on the podium. I really like the circuit. I also liked the old layout, it was maybe a bit more fun to drive, a bit more history in the circuit, but I also like to race this circuit so I am looking forward to racing here in a Formula One car.
Q: You have several developments on the car. What do you know about them and how much testing have you done with them?
CK: We have a new aero package for this race weekend. We tested it last week in Jerez and had a good three-day test there. There is a bit more downforce so I think it is a good step for us and I am looking forward to driving it in the race.
Q: What about the engine, because that is the one thing, we are told, that really is lagging behind a bit?
CK: We did a good step in Magny-Cours, it was our new engine, especially for qualifying and also for the race. Yeah, for sure a good step, we try and work still on it and try to make it better and better to the end of the season.
Q: There is a classic history of Jaguar not being very good with their second drivers, perhaps. What have you got to do between now and the end of the season?
CK: First of all the first half of the season was more or less to get used to Formula One and know how to work with the team and everything. Now, the second half is for me to build up on these things that I learned there and I think it is a good opportunity to really show my talents. It is important to get a good race weekend with a good qualifying performance, which is important for the race, and have a good race. So I try to fit it all together and, for sure, the goal is points, it is difficult to get it but we are on a good way, I think, and with a bit of luck it is possible to score points.
Q: We've just had six races in eight weeks - how does that feel for a young driver like yourself, the youngest in the field?
CK: It is quite tough these back-to-back races but I did not feel too much of a problem. Especially in Canada, I was really happy that the next race was just one week later because I had a bad race weekend and I proved that I could make it better on the other weekend and the same was true for Magny-Cours and Silverstone. Especially for a young new driver you have to learn a lot and especially every race weekend you are learning and you get more experience and so you can build it up and make it better in the next races.
Q: Just going back to the aerodynamic package that you have for this race - is that intended to cure a problem with the car or is it just a development to find more performance. I mean, is there a problem with the stability of the car?
CK: I would say it is not a problem. The car is sometimes a bit nervous on the rear, especially in braking, but at the last race it was not an issue and with this aero package it will be even better and I think it will be for sure a good step and help, as a driver, to push a bit harder on brakes as well.
Q: You have just been training at home I believe. Tell us what you have been doing.
CK: I was at home for four days after three days testing in Jerez last week, which was a pretty hard time there, it was 36 degrees, so I was happy to go home to Austria where the temperatures were a bit cooler! I went up to the mountains, did a bit of cycling, hiking, and it is always nice to be back home and to see friends and relax and, for sure, train as well under very nice conditions.
Q: Mark reckons he is a bit of a cyclist in the mountains as well. Are you going to invite him in these next three weeks, see how he can cope up the Austrian passes?
CK: Yeah, for sure. I said to him he should come to Austria and we could make some good tours. He is really good on the bike, he is doing a lot of road cycling and, yeah, perhaps I show him the mountains because that is different.
Q: And mountain biking as well, he does mountain biking.
Q: So, what have you got planned for the three- week gap?
CK: I think to just stay at home. You know, you are travelling so much during the year so when you have two or three weeks holiday I stay at home. I have all my friends there and I live in a nice country, I have everything there that I need so there is no point to drive away.
Q: Now the next race, obviously in Hungary after this one, do you see it as a bit of a home race for you?
CK: Absolutely. It is one hour from Vienna, lots of Austrian fans I think will come to this race and it is, for sure, also a home Grand Prix for me. For me, Hockenheim is closer to where I live but I think lots of Austrian fans are there, it is good motivation for me, so I try to make a good job there.
Q: You know this circuit. How many of the remaining circuits do you know?
CK: Um, I know Hungary and I know Spa from Formula Renault, I know Monza and then China, Japan and Brazil are again very new for me. But when I came to the first circuit that I knew, that was in Imola, I knew it from Formula Renault, and I thought it helps more if you have raced there before. But when I came there in a Formula One car it is completely different - the speed, the braking points, the bumps feel different, you use the kerbs differently, so it is more or less you have to go on the circuit new. Normally on a race weekend it takes the whole Friday testing to get used to the circuit, to get up to speed, and on Saturday you can start to work on set-up with the engineers to improve the car.
Q: How useful has it been having Bjorn Wirdheim and obviously Mark as well - having three drivers on the Friday?
CK: It is very useful. Especially, Bjorn Wirdheim can do the tyre testing for us, can try different set-ups, so that is a massive help for us. And also as a young driver like me I can learn a lot from Mark because he is always on Friday very quickly up to speed so I can see from the data exactly where I need to improve so it is a good help for me.
Q: Christian, there were reports in the British press - quotes from David Pitchforth - that maybe he felt you came into Formula One a little prematurely. Do comments like that spur you on to drive harder or do they knock your confidence?
CK: I mean, sure, sometimes you get those things in the media but for me it's important to concentrate on my thing and I am absolutely confident and absolutely feel good in my team, in Jaguar Racing and so there is no point in getting upset and it is not good when you think too much about these things because the important thing is to perform well and try to do your best and still improve during the year.
Q: Christian, what is the most difficult thing to learn or to master in Formula One, and what was something maybe you thought was difficult but which actually turned out to be very easy.
CK: First of all I think it is very difficult, on a high-speed circuit like Barcelona and also, I think, Spa will be one of these circuits, to get up to speed quickly on a race weekend in the high speed corners because you need good confidence to use all the downforce of the car, to be as quick as your team-mate or the other drivers in these corners. I think that is a difficult thing. And what is easier? Nothing. Everything is difficult in Formula One. It's all at the maximum and especially in the first year, when you come from Formula Three, you have to learn so many things. Even after twelve races you learn in every test day, you learn in every race situation you learn and you improve yourself.
Q: Presumably with the test ban coming up you are looking for a fairly major improvement from this weekend, because it's going to be the same for the next couple of races?
CK: It is, yeah, so this test in Jerez was very important for us. I think we did three very good days there. Also, for me as a driver, it's always good to have test days to improve yourself, to work closer with the engineers, to get a feel for the car, so it's also very good for the driver, and of course, we improve the car. And that will be for the next three races.
Q: Do you think your motivation is as high now as it was at the start of the year or do you feel a little tired, particularly after this recent run of races?
CK: No, it is absolutely the same, I think maybe even higher because now I know how difficult and how tough it is in Formula One and you have to do everything the right way and everything 100 percent, so there is no time to drop your motivation and to slow down.
Q: Here is a strange question which you may or may not be able to answer. Last year, you won the Marlboro Masters Formula Three race at Zandvoort, that's coming up in the next couple of weeks, who do you think is going to win it this year?
CK: I think the Formula Three Euro series is very strong again this year. There are ten drivers at every race who can win the race, but Jamie Green is very often in front, especially with the French team, the ASM team, and I think he has the experience and he could win it. But Nelson Piquet was also very quick there last year, he was on pole and then finished second behind me in the race, so I think he will also be somewhere in the front there.
Q: Concerning the break, you will be driving a race car in the next few days, the classic event in Austria, the Ennstal Classic, alongside guys like John Surtees and Stirling Moss. What are your feelings about that and what car will you be driving there?
CK: I am driving the Ennstal Classic in Austria next week and so on Saturday I will be there and driving an old Jaguar E-type. At the moment I don't know exactly which car it will be, but it will be a good opportunity to drive in such an old and historic car and I think it will be great fun, especially with all the old racing legends there.