British GP Friday press conference

Drivers: Mika Hakkinen (McLaren) Eddie Irvine (Jaguar) Kimi Raikkonen (Sauber) Team personnel: Ron Dennis (McLaren) Tom Walkinshaw (Arrows) Sir Frank Williams (Williams) Q: Kimi, last weekend you had a strange weekend in Zurich I think. Kimi...

Drivers:
Mika Hakkinen (McLaren)
Eddie Irvine (Jaguar)
Kimi Raikkonen (Sauber)

Team personnel:
Ron Dennis (McLaren)
Tom Walkinshaw (Arrows)
Sir Frank Williams (Williams)

Q: Kimi, last weekend you had a strange weekend in Zurich I think.

Kimi RAIKKONEN: Yes. I had two PR days and then two... something else a bit boring.

Q: So what were you doing, there was a soap box race or something?

KR: It was a personal appearance. Just for the children, it was nice to see the little kids there had something to do. I also tried one of their little carts but didn't do too well. Not so quick.

Q: A lot of people are connecting you with Ferrari - what are your thoughts on that?

KR: That's just rumours, I haven't spoken with Ferrari at all. It would be very nice to drive for them but we will see what happens in the future.

Q: Mika, we've heard a lot of rumours about your career too and a story in the German papers yesterday that you wouldn't retire.

Mika HAKKINEN: Well to be honest since the French Grand Prix I haven't spoken to anybody - except at Monza I spoke to Nikki a little bit. Just chit-chat, you know, nothing to do with the future and I think Nikki's here and maybe she can confirm. The main thing is I haven't said anything to any other kind of journalists so it's just a rumour.

Q: So will you retire next year?

MH: Well, let's say it this way. The first part of my answer is no and the second part is the team has an option on me for next year and we are going through discussions with Ron and looking for good solutions for the future.

Q: But you get the feeling that Ron would like to hang on to you?

MH: Ron likes fast drivers, so...

Q: Will you help David?

MH: Obviously there has been a very little discussion in the team and in this season on how many points I have, I have extremely small chance to be there in the end. So we're going to work like a team very hard towards the end of the season and we'll see how the races develop and then we'll make decisions together when it is appropriate.

Q: Eddie - you've been your usual outspoken self about other drivers lately, Rubens amongst others. Anybody you've left out?

Eddie IRVINE: Just waiting for you, Bob. But you're a bit old to worry about so I haven't slagged you off yet.

Q: That's kind of you. What was all that about?

EI: I was just asked questions and gave logical, correct answers and the truth hurts sometimes I guess.

Q: What about your neck, you missed the last test, how is it now?

EI: It's not an issue, I missed the last test because I went out and it was hurting straight away and the two back-to-back races gave it a bit of a hard time. It was a perfect opportunity to rest it so we did because we didn't really have the bits and pieces that we wanted to test at Monza. It was better that I just rested up. It won't be an issue here, it'll hurt but as you drive around it sort of eases up. I need a three week break and Bernie's organized that for August.

Q: Do you feel this is your home race?

EI: I don't really feel as though any race is. My apartment's only 20 minutes away from Monza, obviously I raced in Japan for years but my home is Northern Ireland really and I guess the home race would be Kirkistown and that's not going to happen. So no.

Q: You had a good time with the fan club last night?

EI: It was good, they seemed well amused to see me so it's always good to nip over.

Q: Frank, this is very much your home race. Once upon a time the whole factory used to come - do they still?

Frank WILLIAMS: I think everybody who was offered a ticket for himself and his wife took the tickets, there will be many, many Williams people here tomorrow.

Q: Are they all in the same stand?

FW: They have two choices. I expect that they will be in the covered stand tomorrow.

Q: Cool wet conditions seem to be forecast, not ideal for you I think?

FW: That may be the case but our tyres have performed very well in the wet. I have no opinion whether we'll be good here in the wet or not, we haven't tested here in the rain, so if it happens to rain tomorrow or Sunday we should know then but I'm not frightened of the rain.

Q: Do you feel reliability has improved?

FW: You're only as good as your last race on reliability. It's improving but it hasn't improved brilliantly. I could complain but I learnt long ago not to do that! There's very little contribution I can make it's all to do with design and engineering.

Q: Ron, your home Grand Prix as well. Does your staff come here?

Ron DENNIS: We use the Sunday half of Frank's tickets - he comes on the Saturday... No, everybody comes. I think most of the British teams try to give access to their factory based staff and there's over 1000 at McLaren so there'll be quite a big contingent.

Q: In your statement regarding drivers yesterday you also mentioned young drivers - what is that about?

RD: We'll tell you when it's done but we've always had a commitment to try and feed drivers into the sport one way or the other. The only thing we have definitely decided not to do is support the three karting championships in the UK, we've done it for several years - six or seven I think - and so we've put those funds into a different initiative which is very different and will be announced in the next two or three weeks. So we're out of karting with the exception of supporting Niko Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, both of whom came out of tremendous success last year into a less successful season this year so they're getting the hang of what it's like to be less competitive. The other things will be announced in due course but we're trying to map the future of the team not just in terms of who drives the current cars or even next year's car but more importantly the long-term.

Q: What is the team policy at this stage?

RD: Absolutely no different than it was at the beginning of the season. Both drivers - and it's been the same for 14-odd years ever since we started as McLaren International - the contracts have in them an obligation to follow any instruction given by the team at any stage of the season. There is an appropriate time when that instruction is given but of course it's not something that is necessarily linked to a specific time in the season but more a specific moment in the season and for any driver to help another the track position has got to be right, the circumstances have got to be right, and it's at that stage the decision will be taken if it needs to be taken and I'm sure whichever driver's involved will follow that instruction. I think I can only remember in that time maybe twice giving any instruction to a driver.

Q: Tom, Autosport says you're going to be making an announcement on Cosworth engines this weekend - in fact today - so would you like to make it?

Tom WALKINSHAW: I need to ask them. Are they here? No, we're not making an announcement today but I read it in Autosport.

Q: So it must true.

TW: It's probably true sometimes.

Q: Have you decided on your engines yet?

TW: I think we're working towards a conclusion, yes. Within a matter of days I would say and I hope by the next Grand Prix we'll be able to make an announcement.

Q: Does this alter your potential driver line-up? You've signed Jos, what about Enrique?

TW: We've signed Jos, and we'll wait and see how the rest of the season goes. We're in no rush, we'll see who else is coming on the market. Before we started looking at drivers we wanted Jos to know that his position was secure so that's why we took up his option early because we think he's doing a very good job this year.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Andrew Frankl, Hungarian TV: Ron, you seem to be having some trouble from a magazine - can you tell us about that? And Tom, when do you expect the Russian Grand Prix to kick off?

RD: I suppose you're making reference to the new article - editorial - in one particular magazine. I don't really want to make any comment - first of all it's not true, secondly I think everybody knows the background to the situation. I'm comfortable, very comfortable with my period in motor sport. I'm far from perfect, but those people who know me well know what my values are so it's just rubbish. I'm not going to really give it any credibility by commenting further on it.

TW: On the Grand Prix, they're going through the process and doing all the geological surveys on the site. I think that's due to be finished in about another two weeks. Herman Tilke's here - I haven't met him yet but I'm due to meet him with Bernie later on to review his layout for the track so I think it's just in the normal course of evolution at the moment as they go through the course of the work. I think the key thing will be the window for the weather and that will drive whether it's ready for 2003 or whether it's a year later and I think that's about three months away from leaning that.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Mika Hakkinen , Kimi Raikkonen , Lewis Hamilton , Frank Williams , Hermann Tilke , Tom Walkinshaw
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams