Argentinian GP Friday Press Conference

Friday's free practice press conference Question: Olivier, is your car still having problems with the gearbox? Olivier Panis: Yes. Today we again had many problems with the gearbox and the electronics. I am sure that the ...

Friday's free practice press conference Question: Olivier, is your car still having problems with the gearbox? Olivier Panis: Yes. Today we again had many problems with the gearbox and the electronics. I am sure that the [potential] performance of the car is quite good, but these problems make it too difficult to improve the car. Question: This time last year you had already been on the podium in Brazil. Is it a big disappointment now to be so far away? Olivier Panis: Not a big disappointment, because I am sure the car is quite good. Unfortunately the car arrived too late, with too many problems in the gearbox. Within two Grands Prix, and with some testing, I am sure the car will be much better. Maybe it will be good for Monaco. Question: Ross, Ferrari tried the new front Goodyear tyres today. What effect do they have on the car's performance? Ross Brawn: In testing the difference has been about half a second with the new front Goodyear, under the right circumstances. But it is difficult to judge the absolute performance yet at this circuit because we have just moved from the old tyre to the one, which leaves us no means of comparing them. But I am confident that it is a good step forward. Question: Which engine specification will you use in qualifying? Ross Brawn: We intend to use the latest 'D' spec V10, which Michael raced in Brazil. Tomorrow we hope to be running it on both cars: work on it continues on the Ferrari dynomometer, and unless we see any problems we will race it again on Sunday. The [performance increase] is measurable: often it is difficult for a driver to feel the change when he gets a different engine, but this is a change which is quite noticeable for the driver. It amounts to a few tenths improvement in the lap time. Question: You have also been a new exhaust system with the outlet on top of the sidepods. What can you tell us about that? Ross Brawn: The rules have changed since last year, making it a little more difficult to situate the exhaust system. At the beginning of the season we devised a system which overheated the rear suspension when the car first ran. We then had to come up with a quick solution, which involved routing the exhaust through the diffuser. The system we have been testing has involved running the exhaust through the top of the body. It is a small step forward, and we may run it in the next race, at Imola. Question: Jean, has the circuit changed since last year? Jean Alesi: It seems as though it is more bumpy, although on the new tyres it is difficult to judge. Two or three corners have been resurfaced, which has created some more small bumps, which is not so good. But we have always had problems on this circuit with bumps. Question: This morning you slid off the circuit, very close to your team mate. What happened? Jean Alesi: Let's say that for me it was massively ... embarrassing. I wasn't really concentrating and I missed my braking when my team mate was on the line in front of me. I could see there was no chance for me to avoid crashing into him, and it was a very bad experience. The steering column was broken on my car, and we had to fit a new one. Question: Are you enjoying working with Sauber and your team mate Johnny Herbert? Jean Alesi: I am very impressed with the people who look after my requirements. We are working together well as team mates, too. After five years with Gerhard Berger I was not used to changing team mates, but I got a very good welcome from him. Even this morning! Question: Tom, how are things at Arrows now that you are becoming the new Ferrari and building every part of your car? Tom Walkinshaw: Well, at least we don't have to look far to know where the next headache will come from! Over the last couple of months it has been fairly traumatic: the car was late for a variety of reasons, and then we had a series of problems with the gearbox and the electronics. We are getting on top of the problems now and we have made quite a lot of changes to the transmission, and although we were not able to do any testing after Brazil they seem to be working quite well so far. Question: At the last race, your drivers were complaining of poor straight line speed. What was the reason for that? Tom Walkinshaw: It is usually down to the engine, isn't it? With a brand new engine it takes time to improve, and I think you will see some big changes during the year. There is obviously a lot of scope for improvement, but at least the engine has been fairly reliable so far, which is a good start. Now we have to get more power out of it. With so many problems, we have had to run it very conservatively in order to ensure that it is an area which is out of risk. We will continue to do that this weekend. Once we get back to Europe we will start a serious test programme. Question: Esteban, this afternoon you were involved in an incident with Heinz Harald Frentzen. What happened? Esteban Tuero: It was only the first lap of the second session and I was taking my normal lap, braking at the usual point for that corner, when I felt something hit me from behind. It was probably [the other guy's] fault, but it is the sort of thing which can happen any time and I cannot be angry about it. I was braking at the limit, I couldn't have started braking any later than that. Frentzen would probably have gone off the track anyway, even if I hadn't been there.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Johnny Herbert , Jean Alesi , Olivier Panis , Gerhard Berger , Ross Brawn , Esteban Tuero , Tom Walkinshaw
Teams Ferrari , Sauber