Malaysian GP: Saturday press conference

1. Fernando ALONSO (RENAULT), 1m37.044s 2. Jarno TRULLI (RENAULT), 1m37.0217s (+ 0.173s) 3. Michael SCHUMACHER (FERRARI), 1m37.393s (+ 0.349s) (Lack of sound means this is regrettably incomplete) - FIA Q: Jarno, obviously you've been with the...


1. Fernando ALONSO (RENAULT), 1m37.044s
2. Jarno TRULLI (RENAULT), 1m37.0217s (+ 0.173s)
3. Michael SCHUMACHER (FERRARI), 1m37.393s (+ 0.349s)

(Lack of sound means this is regrettably incomplete) - FIA

Q: Jarno, obviously you've been with the team for a while now; talk us through what is going on in the team at the moment?

Jarno Trulli: Well, it's really pleasing at the moment, with these results for everybody, because we've been working very hard with some difficult moments but we managed to stick together. So at the moment everything is looking great. We solved a lot of the reliability problems: car, chassis, the engine is getting stronger and stronger and for this we only have to thank all the people working at the factory, not only the people which are working here.

Q: How was your qualifying run?

JT: It was tough. I was really really pleased. Honestly, I didn't expect to be there, given the strategy -- let's see what happens tomorrow - but I'm sure I will do a good job, especially as I have to prove this week. I lost a friend during this week, so I really want to go for it.

Q: Michael, a strange day for you I suspect. What were your thoughts as qualifying unfolded as you could see Rubens and the Williamses not being as quick as they should be?

Michael Schumacher: I saw the Williamses obviously. I didn't know exactly what was Rubens's position. I got the time but I couldn't relate the position with the time. In qualifying, it doesn't matter, honestly, you just go for it, you maximise your opportunities and you see what comes out. That was third position today and we hope it's good for us. Obviously we hope our strategy works out at the end of the day, but that's what we find out tomorrow.

Q: You're behind the two Renaults in qualifying; what are your thoughts about the two Renaults in qualifying?

MS: Well, the single lap is obviously quite an interesting thing, there's no doubt about that. The other thing is like we had this morning, we had a problem on the gearbox side, and it doesn't allow you to make any mistakes and we were able to fix things thanks to the great works of the mechanics, they have been able to fix the problem. But imagine that you have another problem and then you can't even do your qualifying, whereas in the past you had other possibilities, you had more time available and you didn't have just one run available. So in this respect it is give and take and the way it is, we have to use it and maximise it.

Q: But if it does turn out tomorrow, if, that Renault are on a very different strategy to you, how will you feel about not being on the pole?

MS: At the end of the day you care obviously what happens in the race, that is the most important thing. If you can make it to the top in qualifying, and reach pole position, it's fantastic but obviously the way rules are, you have to concentrate very much on the race. I don't know what the Renault guys have done. Obviously they've done a good job, otherwise they wouldn't be on pole. I don't want to take any credit from them but at the end of the day we will wait and find out.

Q: Fernando, there's a bit of a rumour going round that you had a fever yesterday; how are you feeling at the moment?

Fernando Alonso: Not yesterday, today. It started this morning. I feel a little better now but tomorrow, I guess, will be a very hard race for me.

Q: Potentially up to two kilos in fluid loss in the race; what are the preparations going to be?

FA: Tonight: relax and eat a meal, stay in the hotel probably, take some medicines, drink a lot as usual here in Malaysia, and try and finish the race in the best condition.

Q: Well done Fernando. What does it feel like?

FA: The feeling is fantastic. For me it's a very special day. It's my first pole position. I'm 21 years old, it's my first year in a big team like Renault and at the second race to get the pole is an amazing feeling. The important race is tomorrow but it's a good starting point.

Q: Can you hold onto it? That's the point?

FA: The important thing tomorrow, we have to score some more points but at the moment I'm dreaming.

Q: Various factors changed quite a lot during that session. It started off with a track temperature of 50 degrees and went down to 37. That's a fairly major alteration during the session. How much did that help you?

FA: I don't know, really, with the track conditions, if it was an advantage or not for me, but obviously we were very strong all weekend -- yesterday, this morning as well. So I was very confident in my lap in qualifying today, because I knew we could get a timed lap and start in a good position. I didn't think we'd be in pole position or on the first row but at the end everything was better than we expected and we are first and second. For the team this is fantastic and so tomorrow I hope for a good race for us.

Q: Sitting where you were now was your team boss Flavio Briatore yesterday and he said that the car was down on power. It's not that much down on power or else you're down on something else to get where you are ...

FA: (laughter) I don't know. I'm driving the car, not preparing the car. We need to improve a few things in the car. Also, for me, it's the very first year in a big team so I need to get some experience, I need to learn a lot of things this year so we need to improve a couple of things, but at the moment we are quite competitive as well.

Q: Tell us about the lap.

FA: The lap was a normal lap. It wasn't a fantastic lap but it was not a disaster like yesterday when I did a few mistakes and the timed lap wasn't good. But today was a normal lap and when I crossed the line I saw the time and said to myself this time is maybe good at the end of the session because a 37 zero will be a good time, difficult to beat. But when qualifying was finishing, with the last five or six cars, I thought that maybe I would finish qualifying fifth or sixth. But then the cars went down and down and in the end I saw Michael's lap and when he crossed the line I thought I'm on pole position. It's a very strange feeling

Q: Jarno, fantastic for the team as well. Are you basically on the same settings, on the same fuel loads? You're not going to tell us how much fuel you've got. But what about the team? Are you, roughly speaking, the same?

JT: I'm happy with what I have. That is what I can say. Very happy. Honestly, the car has been performing very well all weekend and we are growing up, getting better. It's a fantastic feeling at the moment because, for me, after one year's experience, everything is easier to work with: the engineers, the team, everybody. There were some difficult moments through the winter time, the car was getting better but we had some reliability problems but in a few weeks they just solved it and now we are getting better and better. I'm sure this will be a very strong season from Renault.

Q: Yesterday, Flavio was hoping that you might be on the podium. What are your chances, do you think?

JT: A lot. I think we have a lot of chances, especially because in Melbourne we ran well all weekend and in the long run I performed highly, very consistently and everything is looking perfect for me. I was a bit surprised about my qualifying result, but, definitely, very happy.

Q: Everyone says that you'll be going up an extra stop from last year so are we going to see multi-stops do you think?

JT: I don't know. Let us wait and see tomorrow. Everybody has got, I'm sure, different fuel loads, everyone has got a different point of view on strategy. I'm not talking about us, I'm talking about every driver in the paddock, so we will see. We will find out tomorrow and it will be a really interesting day.

Q: Michael, you seemed sort of amused when I was watching you in the unilaterals just now as though you are perfectly happy even though your crown here, your pole position crown, has been taken away. So you're fairly happy with third?

MS: I don't call it my crown, first of all. I'm quite happy for those guys, honestly, for their achievements. That's one point. The other point is at least we hope to have the right strategy and it will pay out for us tomorrow. But, maybe it's wrong.

Q: Were you pretty happy with your lap?

MS: Basically, yes. I didn't have any problem in the lap itself. Just to say the boys have done a great job, in getting the car ready.

Q: Did you alter it between the warm-up and your lap?

MS: There was not time for alterations, we just had to get it ready. We had a problem on it and we were able to fix it.

Q: So the problem was during the warm-up, the gearbox problem?

MS: Yes.

Q: So that was totally cured?

MS: Yes.

Q: How do you feel about one lap qualifying these days?

MS: As I said last time, when you're in the lap you go for it, you concentrate and before you have a weird feeling. You know it's only one possibility. At least, for me, when I'm in it I'm in it and I just do the job and don't think there is no other chance.

Q: What about the track conditions? The heat changed quite a lot.

MS: I would be a little bit careful on your numbers because I have very often seen that the FIA temperature number is not corresponding to the true numbers we measure with proper measuring systems. So I don't know what is exactly the difference because it sounds very high. But, naturally, the cooler the circuit is the better it is so it should have been an advantage, rather for me and probably Jarno and, to be fair, to Alonso.

Q: Bearing in mind that Ferrari is the fastest car and you're the number one driver, with the new system do you still think you need pole positions to win races in the future?

MS: That's what we have to prove. Obviously, we are in a bad position now. He is in pole position and I am third so we'll find out tomorrow whether we still can win or we can't. As you said, we have a very good car and we have good opportunities. Basically, to be first, first you have to finish, and we have to do this.

Q: If this is how the new system works, do you think you can keep on winning like all those years before this?

MS: I'm very sure we will find a much more competitive and closer season this year and I think Australia, to some degree, indicated that, and it won't be as lonely for us as it has been last year due to the simple fact that the others will do a better job.

Q: Michael, a question about the new system, which adds a very nice note of unpredictability which has a very nice result like today, but I have heard some suggestions that some teams might even run with low fuel and soft tyres, even at the risk of handicapping themselves in the race in order to get good grid positions. I wonder if you'd be interested in changing the system so we can see the weight of the cars when you come onto the weigh-in bridge immediately after qualifying?

MS: You know, I think it would be far too boring for you guys because then you couldn't do any speculation. Now you have room for speculation (laughter).

Q: The question is to Michael. Last year, Williams, with Michelin tyres, did just one pit stop, your brother won the race, and you did two pit stops. Do you think this year you will be prepared to make just one pit stop if it's faster?

MS: I think last year we were simply down in performance of the tyres, I think, in all honesty. I think we have a good car, I think we proved that in Australia, but on the tyre side we couldn't cope with the performance of our competitor which I think is different this year. We have brought a better tyre here which holds up very well, but we have to prove it tomorrow.

Q: Yesterday, Bernie Ecclestone said that he doesn't like the new qualifying system and maybe there will be some changes mid-season. All of you, what's your opinion?

MS: (to others) Be careful.

JT: The format is not bad, with the one-shot qualifying lap. Obviously, there is the fact that you cannot refuel. It means that you have to go for a different strategy or different fuel for qualifying so we don't really have any more the emphasis we had on pole position that we had up until last yea,r because, basically, qualifying is just like the first three laps of the race. What we have to do is our best on one lap with what you have and try to save fuel and tyres on the in-lap, which is what we are doing at the moment. I wouldn't say it's not spectacular, because it's very spectacular -- you can see every driver around the track -- but it doesn't really give you exactly the performance of every car, of every driver, but for the moment it's going very well for us.

FA: Nothing to add.

MS: I don't know the proposal of Mr E. Simply to say that he wants to change, maybe we should know what are his ideas.

Q: There is a lot of feeling amongst even the teams themselves that to have this unknown as to how much fuel everyone is running is not transparent enough for the spectators, that it isn't necessarily the fastest car on pole position.

MS: Yes, true. I don't think it matters very much if we express our opinion honestly because it's other people taking the decisions. In all honesty we have expressed our opinions all winter and in the end there is a decision from someone and we have to respect this.

-fia-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jarno Trulli , Michael Schumacher , Fernando Alonso , Flavio Briatore , Bernie Ecclestone
Teams Ferrari , Williams