German GP: Thursday press conference

Present: Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Arrows) Nick Heidfeld (Sauber) Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren) Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) Ralf Schumacher (Williams) Q: Kimi, have you got over the disappointment of last weekend, how are you going to take your ...

Present:
Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Arrows)
Nick Heidfeld (Sauber)
Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren)
Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)
Ralf Schumacher (Williams)

Q: Kimi, have you got over the disappointment of last weekend, how are you going to take your revenge?

Kimi Raikkonen: Yes, pretty much. I don't know how I'm going to take my revenge. What happened is still a bit disappointing really, but it's passed now and I just have to forget those things and try to do a good race here.

Q: We were almost told, after the win in Monaco, to expect that McLarens wouldn't be that competitive until we got to Hungary. Does this mean there's a new level of competitiveness?

KR: Yeah, I hope so and the whole team hopes so but this is difficult here because it's different circuit to Magny-Cours and we know that we have a better engine for qualifying but, of course, we weren't expecting to be so strong in the race. I hope that we can keep it up and perhaps even improve more during the rest of the season and score more valuable points.

Q: So has a step forward been made from a technical point of view?

KR: Yeah, for sure, otherwise we wouldn't have been so quick in the last race but as I said, it's so difficult to say how we are going to be as quick here as in the last race, but I guess we're going to see tomorrow.

Q: Heinz Harald, there are one or two problems in the team. How are they affecting you?

Heinz-Harald Frentzen: I think we are ready to do this race in Hockenheim. We are going to plan everything as normal and I think we're racing here so preparation has been good. The cars are ready and we're looking forward to it.

Q: So you shouldn't have the same kind of problems that you had in Magny-Cours?

HHFy: I don't think so.

Q: How close were you to driving the Jordan? It was ironic given your problems a year ago...

HHF: Yeah, I think Professor Schukies from Deutsche Post had the idea that it made sense if a driver who had not qualified took one of their Deutsche Post cars at Magny Cours on Sunday instead of Fisichella, and I think the idea itself was not too bad. They know I'm a racing driver and would like to race and have a great pleasure of racing but I would say the contractual situation was a little bit more difficult to allow this move in the end. So in the end, for this reason, it didn't work.

Q: It was suggested that you're still in legal conflict with Jordan over matters a year ago.

HHF: Yes, additionally, that was a case.

Q: What would it have been like literally jumping into a car that you had never driven before?

HHF: Well, just from a technical point of view it would have been interesting to see how the car is, how the car behaves so I was a little bit enthusiastic because you never have a chance to have a quick go in the other cars during the weekend. But that was only a dream, anyway, so I didn't really follow it any further.

Q: The chances of you pushing the wrong buttons on the steering wheel would have been pretty high, wouldn't it?

HHF: Well, I thought about that as well, but being last on the grid it wouldn't have made a lot of difference if I'd made a mistake.

Q: This is a question for you and Nick and Ralf as well. Michael has just won his fifth World Championship title, what are your feelings about this?

HHF: I think he deserves it. He did a good job. I have to say that I admire the situation, having a team around, having worked so hard for so many years, and continuing to do good work. I think that paid off in the end and I think it's a congratulation to Michael, but also to the Ferrari team to show this strength of continuity and let's say congratulations a lot of times.

Nick Heidfeld: Yes, also my congratulations. I think it was quite clear a couple of weeks ago already that Michael and Ferrari would win the championship but I was surprised at how early it really happened. I think there's not a lot more to say about it.

Ralf Schumacher: In that respect, I don't see him as a competitor, I see him as my brother and I'm very proud for him and that he achieved it so early. I've sad that many times. It's unbelievable what they and he did this year and at the same time I hope that we can stop them one day!

Q: Nick, have you been confirmed for Sauber for next year?

NH: I don't think so. No, the chances are very big that I'm going to stay with Sauber next year but there's nothing confirmed yet because the situation is that Peter has got an option which he's got to take up somewhere around Spa and I think that he's going to take that option and then that's it. But for now there's nothing fixed. The chances are really big and I feel good within the team.

Q: It was written in an English magazine this week, when is someone going to give Nick Heidfeld a chance in one of the top teams? Do you share that frustration?

NH: Obviously I would like to get a chance in one of the top teams but I'm not frustrated at all. I'm having a good season at the moment, I think I'm still quite young and if I keep pushing like that, I think I will get my chance.

Q: Has there been any approach from Toyota? That's the big rumour.

NH: There have been a lot of rumours in the past few weeks and months but most of them are just made up. Obviously my manager is speaking to a couple of teams, but as I said, the chances are very big that I'm going to stay with Sauber.

Q: Michael, have you had a chance to celebrate, to relax a little bit since last Sunday?

Michael Schumacher: Basically, we had a very good party which was not pre-organised but went very well in the end. It started an hour or two after the race and finished on the Monday after. It has been nice to see the mechanics, the engineers enjoying themselves so much. It is something that hasn't been natural with the Italians to do so. Whenever we had a good moment we would celebrate together they were a bit stiff and in the meantime after all the years we have had a few occasions and this celebration we have had at Magny-Cours was very special as well, the one last year in Budapest as well was very special so it is really good to see them enjoying it.

Q: What are your aims for the rest of the season. Are you just as determined to win or are you going to be more relaxed?

MS: Certainly as the championship is, from the drivers' point of view, finished we just look for each event to win it. You know the way I look at it now, I try to win rather than to lose, naturally, so that is my aim, especially in Hockenheim, where my record is not very high. In 1995 here was my first win, so I would like to get a number two here.

Q: To what extent will you be helping Rubens?

MS: One thing we discussed with the team is that he is going to have the T-car from now on and, well, in the other situation, what happens on the circuit, I think statements have been made after Austria.

Q: I see you have got a new cap. Is it true you have a new helmet as well?

MS: Not that I know of.

Q: Ralf, it seems there was an improvement in the tyres at the last race. Are you encouraged by that, are you looking forward to a similar performance here?

RS: The performance in qualifying by the team was great, but we are definitely not looking forward to having another performance like we had in the Magny Cours race. Michelin brought a very good tyre to Magny Cours, so I hope they will be able to do the same here. There are many things on our side to sort out at the moment.

Q: What about the pit stops and strategy. That seems something that isn't going perfectly at the moment, the pit stops particularly.

RS: In what way?

Q: Well, you have had a lot of problems with pit stops, not you personally, but...

RS: No. Everyone tries to do a good job and sometimes it doesn't work out and I think that is only human. We have had a pretty good few pit stops in Magny Cours, I didn't see a problem there so I don't expect one in Germany.

Q: We are racing the new track. How much were the drivers involved in the design?

MS: I have been approached by the circuit designer and we discussed a couple of things. I don't remember exactly what the initial project was like and how it is now. I have not been on the circuit yet to see the final solution but the general trend to have a slow corner, a long straight and a slow corner, that is something that comes from the drivers to actually create overtaking possibilities. We see that we have a sort of S shape as a start to a long corner. I don't know what kind of input this will have, whether this will increase or decrease the opportunities of overtaking.

Q: Heinz Harald, given all the problems that Arrows have financially, have you been paid and are you happy that you are going to be driving for the rest of the season?

HHF: Well, I think Tom is trying to do all he can to keep the team together and I think that for everybody in the team it is a difficult time, so we are trying to solve this problem, we are trying to do our best as well as we can.

-fia-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Ralf Schumacher , Michael Schumacher , Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Nick Heidfeld , Kimi Raikkonen
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Jordan