An interview with Adrian Fernandez Max Papis Part 3 of 3 Q: Adrian, obviously a heavy impact there in Vancouver. Glad to hear you're making progress. Adrian Fernandez: Thank you. Q: Clearly, Bruno [Junqueira] came through the side of...
An interview with
Part 3 of 3
Q: Adrian, obviously a heavy impact there in Vancouver. Glad to hear you're making progress.
Adrian Fernandez: Thank you.
Q: Clearly, Bruno [Junqueira] came through the side of your car. Can you talk about the safety implications, whether the car did its job or whether more needs to be done there to prevent the intrusion in the chassis?
Adrian Fernandez: Absolutely. I believe that we need to still work on trying to find a solution because if a car is hit on the side by another car, there is so much strength put in these cars on the side. But the nose is so strong, and the nose of Bruno's car basically wasn't damaged. It was basically like a rocket. When he broke, he went underneath the side, hit the top, broke the top, hit the carbon fiber and I believe the carbon fiber basically saved me. It made a huge hole in the car, then basically hit my right side in my hip, my butt, everything.
As for the noses, maybe there is something we can do that when it hits the car, maybe it can dissipate some of the energy, and a structure that can take some of the impact and then make it hard after that in a bigger surface area so it doesn't penetrate. What we have to do is study with CART and try to learn something from here.
Also something that I believe has to go is corners like that like in Vancouver, either they make it more visible or they have to go. It's absolutely too dangerous. I was a little bit mad on TV really to just watch the broadcast that nobody made comments about how the accident happened. They don't even mention it. The only thing you hear is [Alex] Tagliani saying, "I got hit by Fernandez." They don't even make a story of what really happened.
You watch the broadcast and it's very easy to see what happened. I mean, what happened was [Patrick] Carpentier lost the car, he was lucky not to hit anything. So lucky he was, he didn't put his hands away from his steering wheel. He basically gave up. Suddenly he found himself straight again and didn't hit anything.
But then you can see in Tagliani's in-car camera, he went down two gears, broke right at the exit of the kink, broke very heavily, and went two gears down. I wasn't that close to him. So when I came out of the kink, the first thing I saw was Tagliani almost parked. I had no chance- absolutely none. It was completely blind. That's when I hit him. That's when my car veered to the right and that's when Bruno, who was one lap down, wanted to do a fake start, so he didn't get involved in any crash. He came out of the corner completely blind, he saw me sideways, had no way to go and completely t-boned me on the side.
That corner is flat out, but it's not that easy flat out because is very bumpy. So, you're asking for a disaster to happen sooner or later. I'm going to talk to CART, because I think out of all the corners in the series, no other corner is like that. This is very fast. This corner needs to be changed or opened so we can at least have some preventive moves in case somebody spins. We need a little bit of a chance to see what's happening ahead of us. The radio or yellow flags can help you because it happened so quickly. So that needs to be looked at. The system of the nose has to be changed.
[Tommy] Kendall really needs to try to see exactly what happened. Out of thousands, thousands fans in Mexico, I saw the broadcast, and it almost sounds like I was the guilty part of the accident. So that really made me a little bit mad.
Q: Max, what do you think your realistic expectations are for the weekend?
Max Papis: First of all, I'm very glad I'm not going to be joining you at the commentating booth, as was the plan.
Realistically, I would be pretty happy if I would walk away from Mid-Ohio with a top-five finish. But you can never put a number on your goals actually. I feel we've got all the tools, equipment and people here to be able to create something unbelievable. So I'm going to put my head down, do the best job I can, and see what comes out of there.
I'm always a very realistic person. That means that I know that I have a lot of hurdles to go through. But in my career, in my life, I've been able to jump pretty high over the hurdles. As you guys well know, I feel that if there is something that doesn't lack in me, it's the will to go out there and achieve my goals despite every difficult situation. I'm going to apply once again my positive thoughts, my will and my determination, and we see what comes out over there.
I'm looking forward to going out there and meeting all the race fans that have been so kind to me through these months when I was home, looking around for different things. All these race fans have always been behind me. All the people, they've been supporting me, I'm sure they're going to make a difference when it's going to come down to a time where people have to make a decision and have to say who is going to be the best guy in the car for next year, or who is going to be the most loved person. I think all those things make a difference, even if people don't realize, but they do a lot.
I'm really looking forward to be out there, especially in a car that is so loved by people, like Adrian's car. I've always been kind of, you know, envious of him. He always had his pickup truck on the parade lap, full of people. Hopefully this time they are going to be with me.
Adrian Fernandez: You'll have them.
Q: Adrian, I'm not really clear how happy you are with your current situation. I wondered if you see a change in the future that would involve Max long-term.
Adrian Fernandez: Well, right now I believe that I still have a few years of driving for myself. I have accomplished a lot of my goals in racing and business. Even more, I have surpassed a lot of those goals. But I haven't finished my business racing in CART. I want to win races for Fernandez Racing. I still have a few years left in me.
We had some difficulties in the last few races. I mean, the team has definitely raised their game from last year. Our pit stops are better. The organization is a lot better. But for some reason or the other, in the last few races, our race car was absolutely lost. The setup of the car was lost. We were very, very slow. We came to Vancouver trying to understand what was happening. The car was a lot more competitive. We did some things that for some reason just took us a little bit longer to get of or to find. But the car was a much more drivable car, it was much more competitive.
I feel that Max will benefit from these last things that we found in the race car. I'm trying to get back into the race car. Like I said before, it will be a very good thing if we can find the money, find the support, and hopefully try to get Max to drive the other car. I think for both of us, it's actually better to have two drivers than just one driver. That would be our first priority. Right now, to be honest, I haven't thought about retirement yet.
Q: Looking ahead, at the town meeting [CART President and CEO]Chris Pook said he wanted to encourage all of the Champ Car teams to develop the ladder system, Atlantic teams. Adrian, have you looked toward this possibility for next year?
Adrian Fernandez: Well, we in a way are helping at Telmex, with Mexican drivers. I was involved in that process and in that development. We are basically helping six to seven to eight drivers in different series from Mexico, to Barber[Dodge Pro Series], to Atlantics. In a way we have already started.
I don't think right now it's appropriate for the team to do that. We are still young and we need to first cover our bases, be competitive and win races. After that, we'll think about it.
When you go too quickly sometimes you overgrow yourself, you don't do what you were supposed to do. I don't want to bring the wrong message to our sponsors right now, like Quaker State and Telmex, that we're not focusing on what we're trying to achieve.
At some point in the future we may consider it. At this time I don't feel that we should be doing that because we are already doing it in a way.
Q: Pook also mentioned, not starting under the caution, but starting under the green, bringing back standing starts to the series. What do you think about that?
Max Papis: I think the show is good enough even without standing starts. If you are thinking about standing starts, you have to revise a lot of the tracks we are going to race on, a lot of the first corners we're going to race on.
I think you can focus in other places. The show is already pretty good. I think that it's a minor thing. I think it's a minor thing right now from my point of view.
Adrian Fernandez: I agree. I agree, too.
Merrill Cain: Adrian and Max, thank you both for joining us on the CART media teleconference this afternoon. Adrian, we wish you the best of luck in your recovery. We hope we do see you at Round 12 at Road America at Elkhart Lake in a couple weeks.
Adrian Fernandez: Thanks.
Merrill Cain: Max, we'll be looking forward to seeing you in action this weekend in Round 11 of the CART FedEx Championship Series, the CART Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Again, congratulations for the opportunity. We look forward to seeing you this weekend.
Max Papis: Thanks a lot. Let me say congratulations, because it's kind of offensive towards what happened with Adrian. Let's say go out and do the best you can. That's what I'm going to do.
Merrill Cain: Thank you. This Sunday's race will be seen live on CBS television at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Thanks again to everyone and have a great afternoon.
Fernandez, Papis press conference, part I