European GP Friday press conference

Drivers: Jarno Trulli (Prost) Alexander Wurz (Benetton) Team chiefs: Norbert Haug (Mercedes) Alain Prost (Prost/Peugeot) Jackie Stewart (Stewart/Jaguar) Jean Todt (Ferrari) Q. Jarno, can you tell us about the latest...

Drivers: Jarno Trulli (Prost) Alexander Wurz (Benetton) Team chiefs: Norbert Haug (Mercedes) Alain Prost (Prost/Peugeot) Jackie Stewart (Stewart/Jaguar) Jean Todt (Ferrari)

Q. Jarno, can you tell us about the latest EV7 evolution of the Peugeot A18 engine which you will be using here?

Jarno Trulli: Yes, we had the evolution EV5 version with the exhausts on top for qualifying in Spa and at Monza, and we have gained quite a lot of power, especially at Monza, where we could have been more competitive than I was until I had a mechanical problem and crashed the car in qualifying. Anyway, I was always close to the top [with this engine] and I am very happy about this evolution. It is important to see people still pushing to improve the car. Even though we haven't had the right results, it helps to keep morale high. We used the top-exhaust engine on both cars today and tomorrow for qualifying we will have the new EV7 version (there is no EV6) which is even stronger than the EV5. It's getting better and better, which is important with three races still to go.

Q. Alain, there have been so many rumours suggesting that Jarno may join Jordan for the final two races this year. What can you tell us about this? Do you expect him to stay with you?

Alain Prost: For sure we have a contract with Nick [Heidfeld] for next year, but the contract does not cover the end of this year. In that case, Mercedes and McLaren would obviously have to be involved, but like you and Jarno I have seen a lot of rumours in the press. If there something is to happen, I would first have to receive a request from Eddie [Jordan], and only then would I ask Jarno what he might want to do. I would also have to consider what was best for the team in the next two races, and also for the future. But unless I receive a request I have nothing to consider.

Q. So the process would have to start with Eddie Jordan?

AP: Yes, sure. I have not talked to Jarno about this situation because I am still waiting for something to happen.

Q. There has been a report that you would be happy to sell part of your team to Peugeot. Is that true?

AP: That was a comment that I made during the year when I was asked a question by an English journalist about the Peugeot situation. I told him that the best for the team -- or for any team in general -- would be to have an investment from a major manufacturer. As I said, it would be good for the long-term stability of the team, and to show the manufacturer's commitment to the team and to Formula 1. But it is not a very recent declaration ...

Q. Jackie, you and Jaguar made an important announcement last week. Is that much more than just a name change?

Jackie Stewart: It is a complete change of ownership. Ford Motor Company bought 100 per cent of Stewart Grand Prix, as an entity, and therefore that is a significant change. We made it with our eyes completely open. We saw the necessity for further investment, which has already been made, to facilitate our plans for next year and the year after. The purpose of the sale was to be able to advance to the next level in F1, which we hope one day will allow us to take on Mr Haug's and Mr Todt's teams at the front. As Jaguar's parent company, Ford wants to win. The Jaguar livery on the car for the year 2000 is the identity which the Ford people feel is best suited to their commercial needs. And as of the year 2000 it will be Jaguar Racing. I think it is a wonderful choice of product, and a very good fit.

Q. What will be your position at Jaguar, and your son Paul's?

JYS: Paul will be Chief Operating Officer. That is an American term, the equivalent of Managing Director. I am presently Chairman of the company, and its Chief Executive Officer. I will continue to be that until I feel otherwise. When we were still negotiating, I told [Ford President] Jac Nasser that I would agree to stay on as long as I felt comfortable. We are now in the transitional period, which will in my view will go on for a minimum of 12 to 16 months. I fully expect to continue doing the job I have been doing until I consider it feasible for me to perhaps take less of a day-to-day responsibility in the management of the team. As you will know, the media have speculated about the possibility of management changes, or of all sorts of people coming in. But at no time has that ever been discussed at senior management level within Ford. Ever. That was all speculation -- or possibly certain people being ambitious -- but it was never going to be the case.

Q. Norbert, it has been suggested that you are in a no-win situation here because Mercedes is expected to win on home ground. How do you feel?

Norbert Haug: In that case, I would prefer to win. Winning is never normal, and I am sure that all the guys up here with me would agree on that. I think we have showed that a win is always something special. If you're supposed to have the best package, you have to deliver. If you don't deliver, you're not winning and you won't pick up the points. The only thing that counts is what you've got in the points standing. Expressions which suggest we can only lose are completely wrong

Q. What are your feelings about team orders?

NH: Those two words are the words of the year! In the meantime, the reality is that we haven't had any problems so far with team orders, unless you count the Zeltweg and Spa issues together, which could have added up to 10 more points for Mika. But as you all know, we have had various other problems which have cost us points. But we don't have those points -- and the reality is that there are now four guys out there who can still win the championship. We want to get the best out of it. Two of them are our drivers, so the position is not so bad. I have to say, though, that I do not underestimate the opposition. A lot of people didn't expect Ferrari to be as strong at the Nurburgring as they used to be, but I think they will be strong here. We have to work very, very hard. Things change quickly in F1 and it would the wrong attitude for anyone to think it will be just a formality for us to deliver victory on Sunday.

Q. Jean, what can you tell us about the aerodynamic modifications to the Ferraris for Nurburgring?

Jean Todt: We have made some improvements to the overall package, including new turning vanes. As I have said before, we didn't manage to get the best out of the car in the last two races. We hope to have improved that situation for the remaining three races. The changes are mainly concentrated in the area of the turning vanes.

Q. Will Eddie Irvine have a new chassis here?

JT: It's not a new chassis, but it is a different one from the chassis he has used previously. When he did the shake-down last Saturday he had the choice of the three chassis, and he chose the car in which he felt most comfortable. We were happy to let him have it for this race.

Q. Alexander, tell us something about this circuit and in particular the back chicane, which gave your team mate Giancarlo Fisichella a bit of difficulty earlier today ...

Alexander Wurz: There was very low grip today and I must say that I also ran over that chicane, together with several other drivers. When you are searching for the latest braking point you have to jump over the kerbs, very hard. Each lap there is different: sometimes there is dust which has been thrown on the track by other drivers, but that is normal. It means you can lose a lot if you make a mistake.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Giancarlo Fisichella , Jarno Trulli , Eddie Jordan , Alexander Wurz , Jackie Stewart , Norbert Haug , Alain Prost , Jean Todt
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , McLaren , Benetton , Jaguar Racing , Stewart Grand Prix , Jordan