San Marino GP: Thursday press conference

Present: Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari), Giancarlo Fisichella (Jordan), Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams), Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), Jarno Trulli (Renault). Q: Giancarlo, your feelings about the start of the season? Giancarlo Fisichella: Not ...

Present: Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari), Giancarlo Fisichella (Jordan), Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams), Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), Jarno Trulli (Renault).

Q: Giancarlo, your feelings about the start of the season?

Giancarlo Fisichella: Not fantastic, you know. After last year, I had a very difficult season. I thought this would be better, and especially when I drove the EJ11 in the winter, I was very confident, very comfortable in that car. Then with the new car, I was confident too, but unfortunately the power is not enough and we are struggling a little bit. But I am very confident because Honda is pushing very hard. Here we already have a little step forward on power and for the future, I think in a couple of races, in three or four races, we will have a much bigger step.

Q: Is it just power or is it more than that, the chassis, the tyres?

GF: Well, tyres, you know in the first race, in Australia, I think Bridgestone was better than Michelin. Maybe in the last two races, Michelin was a little more competitive, but it's the package: engine, a little bit chassis - not bad.

Q: What's it like to be back with the team, Jordan?

GF: It's good. The atmosphere is very good. Already the first time when I went to the factory in December for a seat fitting, I felt to be back at home and the atmosphere is very similar to how it was two years ago. We are pushing, we just need to be more competitive, but we are confident.

Q: Has Eddie changed much?

GF: Eddie? No he is always the same!

Q: Juan Pablo, you were a favourite for the last couple of races, but things didn't turn out the way you expected them to. Will you change things, your approach?

Juan Pablo Montoya: Not really. I think we've had a bit of bad luck, things happened, but in racing you can't really expect everything to go your way. We've got a competitive car, I think the team has done a really good job. I had a new engineer this year, and we managed always to get the car right for qualifying and a good car for the race.

Q: You were pretty upset after the Brazilian Grand Prix. Have you worked things through in your own mind?

JPM: I have my point of view and I still have the same point of view. For the stewards, it was a racing incident and so we will see what happens from here on. I'm not really going to change the way I approach the race in any way. You've got to race and that's what you're here for.

Q: How worried are you that it might happen again?

JPM: Not at all, if it happens, it happens. That's racing.

Q: Jarno, have you been surprised at how competitive the Renault team has been so far this year?

Jarno Trulli: Well, during the winter tests we managed to do many laps and understand a lot about the car and we understood that the car was good. But until you race with it against everybody else, you don't really understand how good is your potential, how high it is. I was definitely surprised during the first three races to see how competitive we were in qualifying and the race. So at the moment I am really happy and pleased about the job which the team has done over the winter time. It's thanks to them that we are performing very well, so it's very good.

Q: And yet you've had a certain amount of bad luck yourself - do you sometimes feel that you could turn that around? Could you turn that luck around?

JT: I'm joining a new team. The first three races weren't very good for me because I didn't manage to finish races, but I think Jenson definitely showed that we have a good car. I'm hoping for the rest of the season that we can keep improving our car and get better and better. I'm sure the results will come. It's just a question of time. I'm confident. I know that destiny was sometimes not on my side but I'm also confident that I can turn it the other way. I'm sure, very soon, hopefully from this race, I can score my first point.

Q: Can you see the team challenging for third, even second place in the Championship?

JT: At the moment, it's difficult to say. At the beginning of the season, we really wished to be the fourth in the Constructors' championship at the end of the season but obviously we have started the season much better than what we expected so now we are challenging McLaren which is really nice, especially for the motivation of the team so we want to keep pushing as hard as possible. The team is doing a great job because they keep developing the car every single race and then we will see. At the moment, we can see that Ferrari and Williams are very strong. We know very well that McLaren can be very strong as it is a very good team. And right behind them we are also doing a good job. If we keep developing the car as well as this team did last season, we can probably try to challenge the McLaren, even if it's a bit difficult, but I'm sure we will all try.

Q: Rubens. An F2002 for this race. What are your feelings about it.

Rubens Barrichello: Very good. Two days testing again in Mugello the car feels just like it felt in Barcelona three weeks ago or a month ago. It is better than the old one, so I am feeling good. It is really good to have it here.

Q: It really does fell a lot better?

RB: It feels better, how much we don't know yet. It just feels better.

Q: You have had an unfortunate start to the season. Are you changing your approach a bit, or are you just staying calm and going for it?

RB: I just think it is like golf. You play a bad hole on the first one, you have got to think it is going to be better on the second one. If the second one is still bad you have got to think the third is better. So I am on that. The fourth one has to be a better one so I am positive about it but I am not too concerned about the bad luck I have had. It happened already. I have zero points and I have just to look ahead and see what I can do here. It is not to be conservative or anything. I am here to enjoy myself.

Q: A story came out at the weekend that you will have to take a pay cut to stay at Ferrari. What can you say about it?

RB: In fact I just heard it from Ross. He said it was in the British press. I mean it is such bull shit that it is not even worth to comment because I am here to race and Ferrari keeps me here because they love me racing the car so if they don't like me to be there they are going to tell me to go home or to go and find another team. But a pay cut because of what? What did I do wrong? In the first three races I was leading, in fact, when I had my problems, so it is just somebody else, when they have nothing to do, just inventing things. I never told my salary so nobody is going to ever know anyway.

Q: Michael. Last year a bit of a funny race here. Would you change your approach this year in terms of tyre choice for example?

Michael Schumacher: I don't think our performance maybe or disadvantage was down to the tyre choice itself in all honesty. We saw in Rubens' race it was very competitive. We had the chance of a one-stop strategy which Rubens did. We were just not very fortunate to have a good qualifying which meant we were in a bad position to tackle the race. Plus we were not strong enough in total. That was the simple fact. Not because of tyre choice or anything specific. Plus then we had a mechanical failure which hopefully we have learned from that and sorted out the problems.

Q: Looking back at the last race, with Ralf behind you all the time, a lot of people have wondered, if the roles had been reversed, if you would have perhaps mounted more of a challenge than your brother did.

MS: The problem is that people outside Formula One, who don't really sit in a Formula One car, don't understand why it is not possible to simply get close and overtake. We have been talking about this for years and years that you get to a certain point close to a car in front then you are in the dirty air and that is about it. If you are not substantially faster you never get into the slipstream, you never get into being very close and to trying to overtake. I would have been in exactly the same position, most likely, to Ralf, and I wouldn't have had any chance to overtake and there is basically only one chance and whatever driver is around we are all going to be in the same position. I saw Ralf's sector times and I analysed the race. He was giving it all. It just wasn't enough because we had a good car, we did a good job all of the weekend and that is it.

Q: You have had two incidents with Juan Pablo in the last two races. Are you worried it is going to happen again?

MS: As I have said. We both want to finish the race so whatever happens will make us more clever for the next race, in my view.

Q: There have been newspaper reports that Juan Pablo could be your subsitute when you retire from Ferrari. In your point of view is he the right driver for Ferrari?

MS: First of all I don't intend to retire. I have made this comment very often. But your problem is if one newspaper as a joke writes it everybody is following that story and has to write about it because it seems to be the most interesting story. I am not intending to retire so there is no point in looking any further. I think Jean Todt answered this very clearly this morning. He is obviously very fast but there are 22 other Formula One drivers who are also fast. Sure there is one better than the others and that one is doing a very good job.

Q: Juan. Could you imagine to drive for Ferrari next season or maybe later on?

JPM: Maybe in the future but I don't know, I am happy where I am at the moment. You've got to take things year by year and as far as I know we haven't talked anything about it.

Q: Juan Pablo. The last race, I believe you described Michael's conduct as 'ungentlemanly'. Do you still stand by that and how will that affect the way you race this weekend?

JPM: I don't think it is really going to change the way I race this weekend. He made this one move down the straight and I thought I could go down the inside and I guess I moved before him and I was too close to him. He came in front of me and he touched my nose and I was out of the race. But the stewards thought it was a racing incident so it is good to know you can do that as well.

Q: Is that how you intend to perform this weekend?

JPM: No. From my point of view if you look at the first three corners I gave him the room and that's it. That's what he wanted to do and if the FIA see that is justice it doesn't mean it doesn't mean I am going to go away and do it. It am very happy with the way I have been racing. I believe you have to race fair. If someone is racing genuinely then you have to race the same way. It doesn't mean you have to let them by but everything has got a point.

Q: Michael. Can I ask you to respond to that. Do you believe you were racing in an ungentlemanly fashion?

MS: I see where you are heading to and I am not getting involved in your sort of story. I don't see I need to respond.

Q: Michael. Is it difficult when a fellow competitor is your brother. How fine is the line?

MS: We are not competing, we are not fighting each other, a lot of the papers will tell you. For him it is a great time to beat me, and for me it is a great time to beat him. We have a fair attitude and that is what we have been practising many times in the past. For some people this seems to be too difficult to believe or to understand. If you look at the racing situation we have had we have never given each other anything. You compete to some degree, like you compete with anyone else, and that's it. We drive for different companies we have different interests.

Q: Michael. After the race you said you didn't see anything in turn four. Have you had the chance to see video images and what would you say?

MS: Yes. I think we were very close together and he touched me from the back and he lost his front nose.

Q: We have seen you have won more than 50 races. How do you evaluate the race in Brazil considering I don't think anybody else, I don't know about Rubens, but I think everybody else on Bridgestone tyres was running on one stop and you had considerable pressure behind you from what seemed to be the fastest car in the race. How do you evaluate that one?

MS: It is not worth ranking it, but you could imagine that after qualifying and after the experience we had seen in Malaysia where in qualifying we had been competitive but then in the race we had not been competitive, we were not sure what was going to happen in the race. Myself, I was surprised that the race went that way, that we were so competitive. I didn't really expect it. If you turn a non-calculated victory you are obviously very excited. So I was after the race, but to put a ranking on it I don't think it is necessary.

Q: Is there a possibility that you could have gone for two stops?

MS: Yes, but we did one. And when you choose a one-stop strategy you don't stop for two stops!

Q: Some people say that after Ferrari's win in Brazil, this race could be almost better for Williams to win. Do you agree with that?

JPM: I think every race you have to try to get the most points out of it. If you can't win you try to finish second, you are always going to try to do the best you can and in the end you have got to see where you are, where you stand. I think every race is as important and you want to make sure you are in the points every race. And as long as we do our best we should be good enough.

Q: To Michael and Juan Pablo. What do you think of Ross Brawn's comments after the Brazilian race that drivers have to understand the race does not finish after three corners?

MS: He is right.

Q: Juan Pablo. We saw the incident from the rear wing of Michael's car just briefly. It seemed he closed very quickly before the contact was made. Do you think that it could have been you were surprised he was on a one-stop, heavier load and braked earlier?

JPM: He was not braking. As far as I know we still were about 150 metres from the corner so it was not about braking. I got in his draft and when I moved out he moved after me. He should have looked before he moved, from my understanding of the rules. You can talk as much as you want and speculate as much as want. It is not going to change anything that has already happened, last race and this race, it is not going to change anything.

-fia-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Williams , Jordan