Bridgestone event driver Question & Answer session transcript Marcus Winkelhock - Etihad Aldar Spyker F1 Team Q: How has life been since you led your debut grand prix at the Nurburgring? MW: It has been a nice time since then and for me it...
Bridgestone event driver Question & Answer session transcript
Marcus Winkelhock - Etihad Aldar Spyker F1 Team
Q: How has life been since you led your debut grand prix at the Nurburgring?
MW: It has been a nice time since then and for me it was a fantastic moment to lead [my] first race, for sure it was a lucky decision. But anyway, for me it was a fantastic experience and I enjoyed it absolutely.
Q: You led the German Grand Prix thanks to inspired tyre choices for first the wet and then the extreme wet Bridgestone Potenzas. Who made those choices: you or the team?
MW: In the warm up lap, and the formation lap at the grid, I saw already some spots on my visor so I asked the team if maybe we should take the risk and they said: OK we take the risk and come in. It was a lucky decision because I went out with wet tyres and after two or three corners it started to rain, and so it was a lucky decision.
Nelson Piquet Jnr - ING Renault F1 Team
Q: You had great GP2 Series success here last year with pole position, a race win and fastest lap. Even though you are not driving this year, what are your secrets for success here?
NP: Well, I think last year it worked out because the whole team, the whole strategy was good, the car was very well, the team was working, the set up was very good with the tyres and I think those are the main secrets of the race weekend. Istanbul is the kind of track I like because it has a lot of high speed corners, because it is big, it's wide, it's quite difficult so it's the kind of track I like, it suits me very well. I was very comfortable here last year and that was one of the most important factors to win the race.
Q: How good a training ground was the GP2 Series to get you your current position of test and reserve driver for the ING Renault F1 Team?
NP:I think GP2 is very important, it's a similar car to Formula One, it's the same size, the power of the engine is quite similar, of course it's slower but it's still the same level as a Formula One car. You drive most of the [same] tracks as the Formula One cars, so you learn the tracks and you learn how to drive in a very competitive, very similar car to Formula One, it's basically really, really important. I think every driver should go through it before doing a Formula One season. For me it was very important to show the Formula One teams and to show Renault I was capable of doing a good job and in getting my seat here.
Robert Kubica - BMW Sauber F1 Team
Q: You were on the front pages of newspapers after your big crash in Montreal. What are your feelings now looking back on it?
RK Yes, it was a massive crash but fortunately nothing happened so I could come back quite quickly in France. I missed one grand prix in Indy and nothing changed.
Q: What will be your approach to the Turkish Grand Prix this year?
RK: Well, this is my second time here. Last year I have done not really a good grand prix, we had some problems. We hope for some better results this year and our car is performing much better compared to last year and we are looking of course to score as many points as possible for the team and for myself.
Felipe Massa - Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro
Q: You scored your first pole position and won your first grand prix in Istanbul last year - this place must have pretty good memories for you?
FM: Yeah, definitely, the Turkish Grand Prix was the first victory I had in my career, and the first pole position so it was a great weekend I had here last year. For sure it gave me a lot of luck so I hope this time I can have the same luck for me again this year and for sure to try to win this grand prix a second time.
Q: When we compare your performance with last year, this year your performance has improved. What is the reason for this do you think?
FM: I think a lot of practice, a lot of testing, more experience. I think step by step we are getting better and better. The team, for sure, is a great team. I think you know everything day by day you grow up even more and you get even better. I hope to carry on this up hill improvement day by day and hope to be even more successful in the future.
Nick Heidfeld - BMW Sauber F1 Team
Q: Is Istanbul an easy or difficult track to learn?
NH: It's not an easy circuit to learn especially because of the famous Turn 8, and it's quite a new circuit. It's very good fun. Physically it's not good because there are a lot of long straights it might be quite difficult this year because it's very hot, even early in the morning, but it's very enjoyable.
Q: You are very close to Robert Kubica in the races and you are among the top five in the championship. Do you think that this competition with your teammate takes your team to the top?
NH: Well of course we hope so. We always have good fights on the circuit next to each other, and if we are not on the circuit it seems quite OK. I think we are pushing each other's limits definitely. The team has performed better than we expected. BMW has only been here for two years and we are already third in the constructors' championship. It's a lot more fun if you have a strong teammate. Of course, it's easy if you have a slow teammate but it's definitely more fun if you have to push.
Alex Wurz - AT&T Williams
Q: As a driver who's been putting in some strong performances through the season, where are the overtaking opportunities in Istanbul?
AW: Well, I don't know the circuit that well. I have been here last year as a Friday driver. But still I think Turkey offers a few overtaking possibilities but I have to say that overtaking in Formula One is generally very difficult because you are against some of the best drivers in the world and usually they don't make big mistakes. And the cars, as well as the tyres, are usually on a very equal level. Nevertheless, in Turkey I think you have Turn one and after the long straight some guys are over driving a bit and sliding wide so you have a few overtaking opportunities.
Q: In Montreal you did a very long stint on the softer Bridgestone tyre despite conditions not favouring that tyre. What are your tips for maximizing tyre performance?
AW: Well, Montreal was a special race. We decided, with my jeopardized grid position to go with a very extreme strategy. I knew I had to drive very carefully with my soft tyres because of the graining this tyre had on this circuit. I was lucky with one safety car period which, during this period, I knew I could get rid of this tyre graining. And then my tyres performed very well and I could get close to Nick Heidfeld to challenge him for second position. I caught up with him at nearly two seconds a lap in the very end of the race. Nevertheless, I was happy with third position and it was one of those races where you have to drive to the finish and make a strong race - and that brings good points.
Jarno Trulli - Panasonic Toyota Racing
Q: What's the key to a quick qualifying lap in Istanbul?
JT: Well Istanbul is quite a difficult and challenging track. You have to get it right a little bit everywhere as it is very long track with a very long straight. Obviously Turn 8 is one of the most challenging corners where you can make or lose a lot of time, as well as the last hairpin. So basically a good and balanced set up really can help you to have a good lap.
Q: Last year you were very successful in qualifying but you were less so in the races. But this year you are having more success in the races. Is this due to the development of the Toyota car?
JT: I really think that our car is really improving recently. I like this track, I always have done pretty well. I think we have a real chance to race well this weekend and score points. But the weekend is long, we have to get it right and we need to qualify well and work at the start in order to prepare the good race performance. But, in general, I think we can have a good race weekend.
Anthony Davidson - Super Aguri F1 Team
Q: You were fourth fastest in Friday practice here last season. What were your impressions as a Friday driver of the Istanbul Park circuit?
AD: It's definitely one of my favourite circuits, one of the best new circuits that has been made recently. I had a good run on Friday last year to go fourth quickest. It's a difficult circuit to overtake, even in practice last year I had a few problems with that. But when you get the car in a good condition here it's very enjoyable to drive. And I'm looking forward to getting back out there again tomorrow.
Q: Are you looking forward to the opportunity to finally race here?
AD: Of course, it's every single circuit this year that I driven on before and it's great to finally get a chance to race on all of them. This one especially will be quite special. Obviously it will be the first time I will have raced here, in any class, so I'm really looking forward to that as well. I just hope we have the continued good weather that have here and hopefully everyone enjoys a good race.
Rubens Barrichello - Honda Racing F1 Team
Q: With an anti-clockwise nature and gradient changes does the Istanbul Park remind you of your home circuit Interlagos?
RB: It does a little bit because it's very tough on the neck so at the end of the race it's quite a hard track for the neck. And it's a good preparation for my last race in Brazil as well. So, I do love coming here and I think the layout of the circuit is quite nice, as everyone said, but it's tough for the neck for sure.
Q: You have been a Formula One driver for a long time now. What is your impression of Bridgestone's tyres?
RB: Well, I have been driving with Bridgestone for such a long time. And the reason for me to get better this season in terms of my own pace is because I do enjoy the tyre very much and the driving style for me. It's just very good to drive with the tyre.