IRL: Gil de Ferran press conference, Part II

Teleconference with Marlboro Team Penske Driver Gil de Ferran March 31, 2003. Part 2 of 3 Coordinator: Mr. John Oreovicz of National Speed Sport News, you may ask your questions. J. Oreovicz: Hello, Gil. Greetings from Indy. We hope...

Teleconference with Marlboro Team Penske Driver Gil de Ferran
March 31, 2003.

Part 2 of 3

Coordinator: Mr. John Oreovicz of National Speed Sport News, you may ask your questions.

J. Oreovicz: Hello, Gil. Greetings from Indy. We hope you're feeling better.

G. de Ferran: Hello. How are you?

J. Oreovicz: Not too bad. Thanks. Gil, I'm trying to find a delicate way of asking this, but you've accomplished a tremendous amount in your American racing career including two national championships in the CART series. What is there left for you to achieve over here and how much longer do you see yourself pursuing those goals?

G. de Ferran: Well, the way I look at my career, it's not really about setting historical marks. It's not about becoming the winning driver. It's not about winning a certain number of championships, because that would make it historically significant or anything like that. For me, racing has always been a very selfish pleasure where it's about beating my own limitations and expanding my abilities, and becoming better and better during that process. It's about enjoying your own work and your own performances at the racetrack and really getting a kick out of driving the car and winning races and winning championships. It's about wanting to do a good job or a better job than anybody else, and that's really what keeps me going.

I think the day that I perceive that I'm no longer better than I was yesterday or I no longer can do as good or a better job as anybody that I can think of, is really when one should start considering one's future. Certainly to this day I still feel I'm driving better. I still enjoy tremendously working for, especially working for Penske. I really get a tremendous enjoyment out of the competition. I may sound arrogant, but I don't think there's anybody else that I can think of that I can say, "If I sit this guy in the car, he'll go quicker." Do you see what I mean?

J. Oreovicz: Sure.

G. de Ferran: I don't feel that way, and I have no data to substantiate that either, so I keep going. I guess if I think well, maybe I could have done a better job two years ago when I was younger, if I ever think that, then really I should seriously start considering my future.

J. Oreovicz: Sure, but there's no thoughts then of retirement at this point in your mind?

G. de Ferran: Not at this point. At this point I've been focusing on trying to recover. I certainly don't like this humongous accident, but I guess when you play in the rain that's what happens.

J. Oreovicz: Isn't that the truth. Well, we look forward to seeing you in the six-car here at the Speedway.

G. de Ferran: All right, man. Thanks.

J. Oreovicz: Bye.

Coordinator: Evan Jones of Reading Eagle, you may ask your question.

E. Jones: Hello, Gil. How are you doing?

G. de Ferran: Very good, Evan, and you?

E. Jones: Oh, not too bad. Not too bad. A very couple of quick questions for you. First off, can you remember the last time you weren't behind the wheel this time of the year?

G. de Ferran: Well, let me think. I think that was in 1991, and it was for similar reasons then than this time. You know, I had a big accident in Formula Three when I ran end over end about a million times and again ended up with a concussion. I had to miss a lot of months there, so I guess that's the last time I missed some races in the mid-season.

E. Jones: You've had another major injury less than a year ago. You remember we talked about coming into the season. You were sort of putting this behind you. How tough is it on you mentally that you're hurt and off the track this quickly?

G. de Ferran: Well like I said earlier, I think what bothers me the most is the head injury. Certainly I'm in pain and it's hard for me to walk and sit down and stand up, etc., so that's certainly frustrating. But I think what bothers me the most is really not being 100% up in your head. I guess you're still smart enough to realize that you're a bit dim, and that is not a fun sensation. From an emotional standpoint, that's really what I struggle with the most.

E. Jones: Are you able to spend more time with your family, time that you might not necessarily have this time of the year?

G. de Ferran: Yes, absolutely. I mean, I spent the whole last week lying down, so you spend a lot of time at home. But it's a shame because I can't really play with my son in the pool and stuff like that. I've got to ask him not to get close to me because I can't really wrestle with him like we usually do.

E. Jones: Okay. Thank you.

G. de Ferran: You're welcome.

Coordinator: Dick Mittman of Indyracing.com, you may ask your question.

D. Mittman: Hello, Gil.

G. de Ferran: Hello, Dick. How are you ?

D. Mittman: I hope you're doing better than you were a week ago.

G. de Ferran: I'm certainly better now. Thank you.

D. Mittman: Yes. You know back in '96 Buddy Lazier got injured getting ready for the second race, and missed the race and came back and won the Indy 500. Do you think you can rebound and put on a similar performance?

G. de Ferran: Well, all I can tell you is that if I didn't feel I could drive 100% and have all my faculties with me good enough that I wouldn't have a shot at winning the race, I would decline to drive the car. Because if I don't feel that I am fit enough that I can at least fight for the win, I would decline to drive the car.

D. Mittman: On this head injury thing, have you checked with any specialist or anything to see that you're going to not have any problems?

G. de Ferran: Yes. Certainly since we've been down here, Doctor Olvey has looked after me for several years now. I've been in touch with him and we talked a lot about this head injury thing, and I should go again and get myself checked up this week. It's a constant monitoring process that I'll be doing here with Dr. Olvey and the specialist in each field, not only in the back, but also in the head.

D. Mittman: Right. With Alex Barron in the car, were you going to talk to him before he leaves and describe how the car handles and that kind of thing?

G. de Ferran: Yes. I mean, I'm planning to talk to Alex if he feels that will be beneficial to him, because certainly my main interest is to help him and the team accomplish a good result in Japan.

D. Mittman: All right. Okay. Well, get well quick.

G. de Ferran: Thank you, sir.

Part III

-mtp-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Buddy Lazier , Gil de Ferran , Alex Barron
Teams Team Penske