IRL: Gil de Ferran press conference, Part III

Teleconference with Marlboro Team Penske Driver Gil de Ferran March 31, 2003. Part 3 of 3 Coordinator: Damian Dottore of the Orange County Register, you may ask your question. D. Dottore: Hi, Gil. If I remember right in seeing what I've...

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

Part 3 of 3

Coordinator: Damian Dottore of the Orange County Register, you may ask your question.

D. Dottore: Hi, Gil. If I remember right in seeing what I've read, this is like your third concussion in the past four races. Is that true?

G. de Ferran: No, it's my second concussion in four races, and it's my third concussion ever.

D. Dottore: Okay, but seeing as you've got like two in pretty close succession, does that at all give you any more concern?

G. de Ferran: Certainly. I mean, from what I understand talking to the doctors and also doing some reading myself, having a number of head injuries in a short period of time is not a good thing. Now, it also depends on how short is that period and it depends on the severity of the head injury, so that's really all I can tell you about that.

D. Dottore: Does this one feel any different than the last one you had?

G. de Ferran: Yes. This is slightly less severe than the last one I had. I remember more than what I did the last time. Really the last time the whole weekend was kind of a bit fuzzy, and this time I remember pretty much up until right before the accident.

D. Dottore: When would you like to get back in the car? When do you think is the earliest you will?

G. de Ferran: When I feel I'm 100%. Certainly now we are aiming for late April/early May, but that timeline can be constantly adjusted as I do tests and try to determine whether I'm 100% or not.

D. Dottore: All right. Thank you very much.

G. de Ferran: No problem.

Coordinator: Mike Hollander of Racing Information System, you may ask your question.

M. Hollander: Thank you. Good morning, Gil.

G. de Ferran: Hello. How are you?

M. Hollander: I'm terrific. How are you?

G. de Ferran: I'm better.

M. Hollander: Well that's good. Should there be a limit on how many concussions people can have and still drive a racecar?

G. de Ferran: I have no idea. I'm not a doctor there. The understanding that I could get from the research I made and talking to the doctors is this is a field where there's been a lot of research done, but it's a highly active field of research where people are getting a better understanding of head injuries and the long-term effects of head injuries currently. So I don't think I'm qualified to say that, but all I can say is there's a lot of very smart people working on that very question.

M. Hollander: When you had your first concussion a very long time ago, how long was it after that one that you felt that there was absolutely nothing, no effects at all left over?

G. de Ferran: I think if I recall well, this was in '91, about 12 years ago. If I recall well, it was about a month, but the effect was different that time. That one I had problems with my vision and seemingly nothing else. I didn't black out or anything like that, so every head injury is a little bit different, I guess.

M. Hollander: Terrific. Thank you.

G. de Ferran: No problem.

Coordinator: Mark Armijo of Arizona Republic, you may ask your question.

M. Armijo: Yes. Gil, what issues exactly are you having with your current injury with your head? Are you having headaches or equilibrium problems, or what?

G. de Ferran: I have a few headaches and I'm certainly a little bit dizzy. Your whole thinking process also gets a little bit affected as well. Apart from the obvious feelings of headache and balance problems, your thought process gets a little bit funny, like you had a couple of drinks I guess, a couple too many drinks.

M. Armijo: So I guess there's still a possibility you might not be ready by Indy?

G. de Ferran: Well, at this point the best prediction that we can make is that I will be okay for late April/early May running. That's the best prediction that we can make right now.

M. Armijo: Lastly, Gil, I don't know if you've seen the replays of the accident, but Michael was adamant that he thought maybe that you were the instigator in the accident. I don't know if you remember it. Do you see it that way, or how do you see it?

G. de Ferran: Well, I reviewed it this morning because I certainly didn't feel like I was good enough to review it last week, but obviously I knew that this call was coming and I knew that perhaps there was a high likelihood that this subject was going to come up, so I decided to review it this morning. Like I said earlier, all I remember is the lap before. In reviewing the tape, I really think Michael's comment about the thing are predictable.

I think all I can say is that the lap before I had to pull out of there in a hurry because I was alongside him, but my front wheel was slightly behind his head, and I had this feeling that he was just going to turn down, and indeed he did and damn nearly took my front wing off. I remember slamming on the brakes real hard and having to pull out of there. Then on the next lap, I guess from what I see on the video, because that's the part I don't remember anymore, but what I see in the video is that indeed I pulled alongside him, and indeed I'm right next to him as we go into the turn.

My view of it is different from what he's claiming. I think he just turned in like I wasn't even there. I don't know if he didn't see me or the support didn't tell him how far alongside I was, or how close we were, or whatever. But to me, he just turned in as if I didn't even exist. I'm certainly disappointed about that. That's all I can say about it.

M. Armijo: Thank you very much, Gil.

G. de Ferran: No problem.

Coordinator: Ann Proffit of Motorsport.com, you may ask your question.

A. Proffit: Hello, Gil. I'm wondering what kind of therapy you can do with these head problems, both for your head and for your back. Are you pretty much immobile? Can you do any walking or running as time goes on, or are you pretty much chained to the house?

G. de Ferran: Well, right now currently I have to stay resting, really. I mean, I can't do much therapy at all apart from resting and not doing much movement. Hopefully this week I'm going to go to the doctor and see how well I'm healing and hopefully do some therapy, which will include some work in the swimming pool and stuff like that, because certainly I need to get back in shape for when I get in the race car, and that includes a lot of exercising.

A. Proffit: Okay. What about the damage to your back and neck? They said it was slight fractures. How slight is a slight fracture?

G. de Ferran: That's a good question. I don't know actually. I asked myself this question. How slight is a slight fracture? I mean, certainly the vertebrae didn't split in half. There are cracks in two vertebras and there's a chip off one vertebrae that came off, so that's really the extent of the injuries from what I understand.

A. Proffit: So it's mostly your head that's the big problem at this point, and probably the less you do at this time, the better off you're going to be by not rushing it?

G. de Ferran: No. I have to stay immobile because of the back injuries.

A. Proffit: Well I hope you feel better really soon, and I do hope you're able to run at the speedway. But I know that whatever happens you'll make a wise choice.

G. de Ferran: Well, thank you. Like I said, at this point we are hoping to run at the Speedway, and that's what we're planning on.

A. Proffit: Thanks, Gil.

G. de Ferran: Thank you.

Coordinator: At this time we have no additional questions.

S. Crowther: Well I just want to thank everybody for calling in. Like I said, if you want a copy of the transcript, we'll have them available hopefully later today, if not, by tomorrow. Thank you.

Part I

-mtp-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Mike Holland
Teams Team Penske