"Friday Six" press conference Drivers: Mika Salo (Ferrari) Ralf Schumacher (Williams) Jarno Trulli (Prost) Team chiefs: Eddie Jordan (Jordan) Craig Pollock (BAR) Jean Todt (Ferrari) Q. Mika, you must have been happy...
"Friday Six" press conference
Q. Mika, you must have been happy with your result in Germany two weeks ago. Do you feel that you have now integrated yourself totally into the team?
MS: Yes, I was [integrated into it] from the beginning. No question. I was given all the help I needed, in fact I received even more than that. Anything I needed to know, they told me, in fact they even told me things I didn't need to know or which I forgot to ask.
Q. You said last weekend at Zandvoort that since finishing 2nd at Hockenheim you had received six offers of a drive in F1 for next year. Have there been any more offers since then?
MS: The good result [at Hockenheim] has helped me a lot, and I am really happy about the way things are going for me. I have to thank Ferrari for having given me the chance to show what I can do.
Q. Ralf, what are your feelings about Williams' future with BMW?
Ralf Schumacher: We are all excited about it and we obviously expect a lot from the association with BMW because it is our future hope. Our target is to be competitive again together with BMW.
Q. Jarno, after all the recent speculation there have now been reports that Peugeot will stay with Prost next year. Do you see your future with that team?
Jarno Trulli: (laughs) Well ... nice question! I have to wait, first of all because the option [runs out] at the end of this weekend, which will leave me free to decide whether to stay or to go away. For the moment I am working hard. I would like to say that I feel good in this team anyway. I have a good relationship, especially with Alain, and I work well with my engineer. But unfortunately for us we are not getting the results that we expected at the beginning of the season.
Q. Eddie, Jarno mentioned he might stay with Prost, although we have seen suggestions that he will be joining you next year. Any comment?
Eddie Jordan: I have heard that rumour as well. There are three drivers sitting here today who represent the future of Formula 1, three guys with outstanding talent. Jordan has traditionally had good results with young drivers and I enjoy creating a good atmosphere in which they can grow. I have heard the rumours, but they are not accurate.
Q. Is the Jordan team maximising its potential at the moment?
EJ: If you are asking me whether both drivers are delivering the best of their ability, at the moment Heinz-Harald is doing an outstanding job while Damon is fraught with all sorts of different ... problems. For sure he would be the first to say he is not giving what is expected initially. Be careful about what I am saying. There are a lot of things that have occurred which have caused this problem. There is the frustration of having an extra groove in the tyres, a change which some drivers find easier to handle than others. I also think that things have not gone well for Damon, certainly in the last couple of races, but when things are going OK for Damon, he does a very good job.
Q. Did you find the answer to his brake problem at Hockenheim?
EJ: We have sent the material away [for inspection] and we are still awaiting to receive a full analysis in various different things. Damon had two different types of brake system that weekend, but this is not something on which I want to dwell here. It is all well documented by now and it is not conducive for Jordan to be involved in any problem [involving Damon], whether it be with himself or his engineer and crew. My position is clear. As the leader of the team, I always want to give Damon the best car in order to help him to give us the points. For me, to dwell on what happened at Hockenheim is not a positive way to go about our racing. This weekend we are in Hungary and I have to deliver. Damon has never qualified outside the top four here, in any car, and when he has finished here he has always been classified in the top four. I want to make sure we continue in that trend, that is the important aspect of this race. [I am not interested in] dwelling on things that might give journalists a good story. I understand their situation, but that is not my business.
Q. Craig, how would you summarise BAR's first season in F1?
Craig Pollock: How short can I be in my reply? We had huge expectations at the start of the year and obviously we haven't achieved what we set out to do. We have under-achieved. Today we are sitting here with zero results and virtually no finishes. We are not exactly happy with that. We are trying to do our best and we are improving as we go along. But we have spent the season learning and it is a steep learning curve.
Q. Are the difficulties all to do with newness?
CP: If I could pinpoint all the problems, then we would not be where we are. We set out to create a race horse where we should probably have aimed for a cart horse. And unfortunately the race horse is falling at the hurdles. There are probably 3000 problems, and we have managed to work our way through about 2500 of them. But on the technical side, I am probably the worst person to answer questions on this subject.
Q. Jean, how would you describe what Mika has achieved for Ferrari in his two races with you?
Jean Todt: It is not difficult for me to say. He was put in a difficult position, having to join Ferrari and take over Michael's car in the middle of the season. This is probably the most difficult challenge for any driver -- and Mika has done unbelievably well. He deserves all our respect and support.
Q. Can you help put an end to speculation by telling us when Michael Schumacher is likely to return to F1?
JTo: Michael's recovery is going well. He had some surgery last Saturday in Switzerland, to remove two screws from the pin. I heard a lot of stories about that, but it was part of the normal medical programme, and the only question was when it should be done. It was decided that it would be better to do it immediately. After this extra week he is now doing a lot of training, walking with sticks and, we hope, from next week on without the sticks. After another discussion with the doctors it will be decided when he can start testing the car, and once he has been testing, it will be decided whether he goes testing again or does his first race.