Bridgestone Motorsport Press Conference June 10th 2004 Rubens Barrichello Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Hisao Suganuma Technical Manager Bridgestone Motorsport Q: Rubens, you've had five podiums and you're second in the overall standings. How would...
Bridgestone Motorsport Press Conference June 10th 2004
Rubens Barrichello Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro
Hisao Suganuma Technical Manager Bridgestone Motorsport
Q: Rubens, you've had five podiums and you're second in the overall standings. How would you rate your performance so far this year?
Rubens Barrichello: Well, this year is the best start of my career in terms of points. I'm not disappointed, but I must say with Michael winning six Grands Prix already I should have won at least some of them. So there are some mixed emotions in there. I think we are doing a superb job: the car, the Bridgestone tyres, and the engine. Some things are still lacking a little bit.
Q: Like what?
RB: I don't know. I had a lack of time in the car before I started the season, although my first race was really good, and it was the one where I put more pressure on Michael than the others. But in terms of strategy, in terms of something, I was missing a little bit. So I'm looking for a better five or six races beginning in Canada.
Q: Hisao, how would you rate your performances so far in 2004?
Hisao Suganuma: Of course as Rubens said it's the best start to the season so far compared to our previous years. From that point of view, we're quite satisfied. But our satisfaction never reaches 100 percent. For example, we lost Monaco this year, which we also lost in the previous two years. We really wanted to win that race, but unfortunately we lost. We need to consider how we can improve in that area, why we were behind our rivals. And then that data we will carry to next year's development, and try to win next year. We still have room to improve.
Q: Rubens, how important is the selection of tyres for Montreal?
RB: I think it's fairly important because it is a racing track where you use low downforce on the car, and by using lower downforce you use the tyres more. The car slides more, and the tyre has to have a big effect on it. So basically the selection of the tyres here is quite important. We could have quite an eventful Friday trying to choose between both our Bridgestone tyres, which I think are very good options. We need to see the numbers [lap times] that we as drivers put on the tyres, while they as engineers give us the information.
Q: Hisao, how important is the information you are getting from Rubens in terms of setting-up the tyres?
HS: Rubens is one of the greatest drivers in the world, so the feedback from him is very important. Based on that feedback we can advise the team what the set-up is going to be, how to use the maximum performance of the tyres. It means that it's very important, Rubens and Michael's information. It's not only Ferrari, it's the other Bridgestone teams [Sauber Petronas, Jordan Ford and Wilux Minardi Cosworth] the information of the driver is always very important.
Q: Everybody is happy that the Grand Prix has come back to Montreal. Can you give us your thoughts on that?
RB: I personally love to be here. In one of the most difficult periods of my career back in 1995 I finished on the podium. It is a city that welcomes me pretty well, but it's not just the reception, I love the city in general, and the racing track. For me it's never a problem racing here. I would do much more than just one race here.
Q: It seems that Ferrari has been splitting its strategies and it has been working really well for the team for example, you've been running a two-stop strategy when Michael was on a three-stop. Do you think you might run lower fuel at the start of a race?
RB: You learn all the time. I'm not trying to be critical for the past races. Being different gives you the chance to be better or worse. I think Michael had a race that was really fast from the beginning in Nurburgring, so there was no way I could have beaten him, because I was blocked. But for example in Barcelona it almost happened, because I was very close to him, and for one second I could have been in front of him. I think my priority is the qualifying, a little bit. It's something that I love; the best part of the weekend is to qualify. I haven't been qualifying that well in terms of everything, strategy, set-up. I think I've been putting in quite good laps with what I had in hand, but I need to improve that in order to pray for a pole position. And then you have the chance to win the race.
Q: Rubens, what do you like about Montreal?
RB: I just got here yesterday but I raced here since 1993. I don't know, I think it's the atmosphere. The people are quite nice, very much like the Brazilians, smiling the whole time, very upbeat. There's a nice reception. Whenever you like something you do well. You can see quite clearly that whenever a tennis player or a golf player says I don't like this place, the chances of them doing well are quite slim. Whenever you like the place, you do better. I have something in common with Montreal and I like it.
Q: What are your expectations for the race then?
RB: The best possible. As I said, Michael won six races and I have won none for the time being. I have the car to do it, and I have the engine and the Bridgestone tyres. So it's up to me to try to improve the situation. I hope it's as close as the race on Sunday.
Q: Rubens, there have been many comments about the new rules. If you were President of the FIA, what would you like to see being done so that it could be a bit more exciting?
RB: Hmm. I would have a lot of money and I wouldn't be here! I don't know. It's a difficult question, because at the end of the day it's a compromise. They have to have the opinions from everyone, and still get the job done. It's fair to say that the cars are much safer now than they used to be when I started back in 1993. But I think as a driver I had a better chance of overtaking in 1997, when I had my first year with Bridgestone on slick tyres. It's a little bit up in the air still, there are too many people talking about it. I still want to see the final version of what they want.
Q: What about the qualifying changes?
RB: I'm in favour of one lap, because one lap is like a final exam, when you study a lot and you have the one chance to graduate. Qualifying is pretty much like that. The only thing that is not good about qualifying is that you qualify with so many kilos of fuel inside the car. Every driver wants the car to be at its best, just to try it out. We could go back to low fuel and then you would definitely see who the best driver in qualifying was. Just take Nurburgring, for example, and the amount of fuel I had in the car. If I would take that out I would just try to beat Michael's time. But nobody ever saw that, because he won the race and I finished second, and everyone forgot it. With low fuel in the car it would have been possible.
Q: You were conducting tests at Silverstone last week. How was it?
RB: It was very good. Silverstone is one of the places I like, and I won last year. It was a fantastic win, and we had a tremendous tyre there for me to be able to overtake people. It was a good test. We did some good developing on the tyres, and I think we're looking good for that race. But not just for that race, we learned a lot on the tyre for future races, such as the next one in Indy.
Q: To conclude, what are your expectations for the rest of the 2004 season?
RB: We've run one third of the championship already. It's a long championship, and I think loads of things will be happening. I had some pretty good races, while some others didn't work so well, just because of that qualifying thing. I'm pushing as hard as I can. I think with determination and work, that's what makes results - stop talking and just get on with the right foot and try to do the job.