Bridgestone Press Conference Transamerica Hotel, Sao Paulo, 1 April 2003 Rubens Barrichello, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro (RB) Felipe Massa, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro (FM) EugÃªnio Deliberato, President Bridgestone-Firestone Brazil (ED) Hiroshi ...
Bridgestone Press Conference
Transamerica Hotel, Sao Paulo, 1 April 2003
Rubens Barrichello, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro (RB)
Felipe Massa, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro (FM)
Eugênio Deliberato, President Bridgestone-Firestone Brazil (ED)
Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director Bridgestone Motorsport (HY)
Q: After two rounds with the new regulations where you have three laps for qualifying [1 out lap, 1 flying lap and 1 in lap], do you think the team has benefited from the new regulations?
Rubens Barrichello: I have no complaints. The results have not been what the team expected but the races were very challenging and the public liked them. For us drivers, we lost the chance to qualify with an empty tank, to take the car to its limit. Now with a full tank the car is harder to drive but it is the same for all the drivers.
Q: Two rounds and two rival tyre victories. Do you believe that McLaren is now stronger or that the new regulations are playing a greater role?
RB: We had some problems in Australia, but nevertheless we were fast and were fairly competitive. The Bridgestone/ Ferrari package is really excellent even though the results haven't been, but I am sure they will come soon.
Q: The statistics show that 1973, 1983 and 1993 were years when Brazilian drivers won the Brazilian GP. According to this, 2003 could be your chance. Do you feel this creates more pressure on you as you haven't had a lot of luck during the last few years at the Brazilian GP?
RB: I didn't know that until a few minutes before entering the room! I see it as a coincidence and will use it as a good thing on my behalf. I will work hard to win this race because it would be like winning the World Championship title. This is something I really want to accomplish. When Friday comes, I feel it is the same day of the past year, where I have been through tough times, but today I use the Brazilian GP as my best GP - it is my home race and I like to race here. In the past, the fact that it was my home race was against me. Nowadays I see it as a positive fact. I really don't believe in taboos or bad luck. This is my year and on Sunday we will see if the statistics are true. I hope it is good.
Q: The ex-driver Emerson Fittipaldi said in an interview that he thinks this will be your best season ever. Jenson Button believes you will be World Champion. Has Ferrari prepared a strategy for this to be true?
RB: I am very flattered to know that Emerson has said that. He was one of the people that I have looked upon as an example. Everything he has been through has helped me be who I am today, a calmer person. I am really very flattered. I do think this is going to be my season. Today I work with my present because I have suffered a lot with all the demands of the past. My family and my son are very important to me and to my balance and I will do everything possible to get a positive result this weekend. I hope Emerson and Button are right. I will share the prize money with them later!
Q: Felipe, describe your contract with Sauber. Are you still allowed to conduct tests for the team?
Felipe Massa: First of all, it is very exciting to be able to be part of a team that includes Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello and Luca Badoer, and to learn from them. I am gaining a lot of experience from the tests while we work on things like the development of tyre specifications. I am still very young and I want to learn all I can this season.
Q: Felipe, you talked about your work at Ferrari. Do you think you may become an official team driver in a couple of years, or do you want to gain experience and try other teams?
FM: The future is still to come. Right now I want to learn everything I can. The present will determine what my future will be and if by any chance I do become an official Ferrari driver I will be the happiest person on earth.
Q: Brazilians who live in Japan who are your fans?
RB: Japan is a very special country especially for us Brazilians. They like us very much and that has shown since Senna was alive. I know I have to work hard to have a good season. This weekend we will have the Moto GP race there [Japan] and I hope Alexandre [Barros] has a lot of good luck with his new factory team motorcycle. The only bad thing about it is that it is so far away but the race there is very nice.
Q: You have already driven the F2003. How do you think it is better than the F2002 and what needs to be improved?
RB: During the last test in Barcelona I was out on the track for 85 laps and its performance was better than the F2002, which really made me happy. If I am not mistaken, the Barcelona GP has 63 laps, we completed 85, so this shows it is durable. The aerodynamics are also improved, it is nicer looking and stronger - although people may not always notice the difference. The rear wing has also changed a little. My best lap time with the F2002 was 1min17s8 while with the F2003 it was 1min17s3. The F2002 is very reliable in finishing races and I am sure it will have a good 2003 season.
Q: In Malaysia, Renault took advantage of the new regulations and finished the race with a great result. Will Bridgestone use the information acquired at this GP to modify its compounds?
RB: Renault used a good strategy and took advantage of the accident on the first lap. About the tyres, I trust we will be very competitive in Brazil.
FM: I agree with Rubens. Renault was lucky with the accident and took good advantage of the situation. Regarding the tyres, I think that the high temperatures in Malaysia affected the Bridgestone tyre performance but it was good because we will be testing other compounds in the future.
Q: Before, the F2002 was known for its efficiency and the Bridgestone tyres. Have the new regulations dried out the favorable streak?
RB: I think the package is the best we have ever had. At the Malaysian GP I went into the pit stop 14 seconds behind Raikkonen and left the pit stop two seconds ahead of him. Our strategy was very good. In Australia it was different because we had a set-up for a rainy track and it changed, there was the Safety Car also, so I think that the Malaysian strategy was the correct one.
Q:What are Bridgestones plans for the 2003 season?
Hiroshi Yasukawa: We had two types of tyre specifications at each round last year for all our teams. This year we have many more specifications and that increases the cost of production. This is a reflection of the investment we are making. With the help of drivers like Felipe Massa and Luca Badoer I am certain that we have good specifications that will win races.