Q. Congratulations, Michael, on equalling Fangio's 27 Grand Prix victories. Why did you have to make that unexpected third pit stop? MS: I took it fairly easy after the second pit stop but immediately picked up a blister and had to...
Q. Congratulations, Michael, on equalling Fangio's 27 Grand Prix victories. Why did you have to make that unexpected third pit stop?
MS: I took it fairly easy after the second pit stop but immediately picked up a blister and had to come in to change them. After that we all know what happened in the race. We had already put in enough fuel to take me to the end of the race and it had not been our intention to stop again. Panis was able to get past me easily because I had blistered the rear tyres so badly and he was quick enough on straight line speed to go past me.
Q. Do you think you would have been able to catch David Coulthard if he had not stalled at his pit stop?
MS: We all had the same problem and it would have depended on how well he took care of his tyres at the end there. It depends very much: I don't know whether my fourth set of tyres would have lasted to the end, and the same probably applies to David.
Q. Jean, you've taken 2nd place here to add to the 3rd place you took in Spain. You must be happy to see your fortunes improving ...
JA: As Michael has said we are all sad about what has happened to Olivier Panis and we hope to see him fully recovered and back in his car soon. When you have seen a car in bits spread all over the circuit it is impossible to celebrate on the podium. But of course, it is always good to bring six points to the team, as we did today, and I am happy.
Q. Can Benetton continue to make progress?
JA: We did some very good testing in Silverstone last week and we will be testing again before the French GP. Our car will probably be very competitive there but it is not possible to say we will win.
Q. Giancarlo, congratulations on your first podium finish.
GF: I am very pleased. I set myself the target of getting a podium place this season, so be third here is incredible. But although I am very happy for myself I am not so happy about the Panis accident.
Q. Did you have any problems during the race?
GF: On the second set I had a problem with blisters on the front right. Apart from that, everything was OK.
Q. What did you think when Jacques went out to quickly?
MS: What do you think? If someone spins, you look for the next one who is coming. That was Giancarlo. At a certain stage he was pushing quite hard, when I wanted to save my tyres. Jacques could have made the situation more difficult for me. But apparently Coulthard was the one today who was to be beaten. He was very fast on his first stint, even though he was on a one stop strategy with a lot of fuel. Without their problems, they should have won today.
Q. What do you now do with the FIA about the safety of this circuit?
MS: You can be sure that we will study what happened. We will give our input on what we think should be done. Then it is up to the FIA to do what is necessary. The drivers will be involved in this and (help) the FIA to do the right things.
Q. Michael, did you notice the problems in the high speed corners in pre-season testing?
MS: It was there from the beginning, but believe me, at the beginning we didn't just have it in fast corners! We had it everywhere. If I take my first test in Jerez, I was quite far off the pace. Therefore I'm pretty pleased with what we are achieving with this car. I'm actually looking forward to the next couple of races because we are going to introduce some new parts into the car which should make a reasonable difference. I hope that will be enough to solve the problems we have at Barcelona, Silverstone, and Magny Cours.
Q. Are you surprised that the race wasn't stopped immediately after the accident?
MS: It is the same whether you are behind the safety car or stop the race immediately. It doesn't change the taking care of Olivier. Race control had to judge the situation and take their time. As soon as the safety car is out, we all go so slow that we are no danger for this situation.
Q. What should be improved safety wise at the track?
MS: There is no point in discussing this year with you. We want to discuss it with the FIA to achieve the most, and there is no point in going through the press with this.
JA: I have been here since 1989 and the circuit was very similar then. But many places were very dangerous. A lot of work was done already, but every year we must all talk together to suggest the necessary developments.
Taken from http://www.fia.com/presse/f1conf-a/lista.htm
--- David Goodwin