"Thursday Five" press conference Participants: Rubens Barrichello, Alessandro Zanardi David Coulthard, Corrado Provera (Peugeot) Cesare Fiorio (Minardi - replacing Gabriele Rumi). Q: Rubens, is it true...
"Thursday Five" press conference Participants: Rubens Barrichello, Alessandro Zanardi David Coulthard, Corrado Provera (Peugeot) Cesare Fiorio (Minardi - replacing Gabriele Rumi).
Q: Rubens, is it true that four years ago there was a possibility to drive for Ferrari?
Rubens Barrichello: "It was a possibility, but I had to give an answer to Eddie much earlier than (I would get) the answer that I had to wait for from Ferrari. So that at time I could end up with no drive at all. It was a bit of a lack of experience at the time, and I was a bit afraid of losing the seat. So it didn't work out - I think to be my benefit to be honest. I went through, after Ayrton, I was never prepared to do it then. I'm prepared now."
Q: Was it true that that you hadn't signed a letter of intent before you signed the contract itself?
RB: "That's true. The first thing I signed was the contract. There wasn't any letter or anything like that."
Q: So what does to mean for you to be joining Ferrari?
RB: "First of all it means a lot, because Ferrari's Ferrari. I've done the deal because it's the chance of my life to get a competitive car. For sure in '99 with the Stewart-Ford I'm in a competitive car, but I'm sure with Ferrari the chances are even bigger for you to have a better car. And it's the chance to drive alongside Michael. Michael is one of the best - if not the best - driver in the world right now. So I think I have a chance to learn, I have a chance to work with the best, and it's a great challenge."
Q: Alessandro, do you think you are going to be strong here?
Alessandro Zanardi: "I tell you I'm going to be better than I was all year long, I hope. That does not mean that I'm going to be really good. It's disappointing, what I'm coming from, nevertheless the desire's still there. I think we had a very good test last week. The car was working really well, and I was extremely pleased with the performance of the car. If it hangs together I think we can have a good race."
Q: What's improved over the last couple of races?
AZ: "Quite frankly, it's difficult to say. We've kept working on all different aspects. But you see the point is that in F1 sometimes you have to improve your car just to keep up with other people. We didn't think that the entity of the package of improvements that we introduced into the car would be as good as shown in Spa, and in particular here at the test in Monza. We're very, very pleased and anxious to put the wheels down on the ground and see if we can really be where we left last week at the test. Personally I don't expect to go out and win the race, but it's not pure fantasy to say that we don't need any luck to score points in this event."
Q: Corrado, can you tell use the situation with regard to Prost this year and next?
Corrado Provera: "The situation is completely under control, if I may say. I have no news to announce to all of you! May I just remind everybody that this is an extremely young team. We worked hard last year, we are still working hard this year and we will be working even harder next year. As far as this year is concerned we will have some other engine evolutions to be tried in race and qualifying. Here in Monza we have top exhausts on both cars. We will have evolution five possibly for the last two races, and evolution seven, which is already using some items of next year's engine, in qualifying for the last two races. I have to also say also we are very pleased with the way Alan Jenkins is boosting the team technically. I would say the feeling inside the team is much better, much more positive, and this is something which is important to all of us. As far as next year is concerned work is going on very strongly. Everything is on schedule
Q: Cesare, can you tell us a little bit about the Telefonica situation? Everything seems to be hinging on that.
Cesare Fiorio: "In fact it is. I'm afraid you will be a bit disappointed because I have no news to give you on this subject, except that there is a strong interest from Telefonica towards our team. Which means we have more or less achieved our target of this year, which was to become attractive to investors. We have become attractive by improving the performance of the team, as I think everybody has noticed in the last races. But as far as Telefonica (is concerned), no deal has been concluded, although of course negotiations are going on."
Q: Might that allow you to get a Supertec engine?
CF: "Of course we have an interest in having the Supertec engine for next year, but nothing is finalised. I think there is a strong link between the finalisation of the Minardi-Telefonica situation, and the engine. When these things will be in place I think we will know which engine Minardi will use next year."
Q: David, we saw a rather unhappy team mate after the last race. Has all that been resolved now, between you and Mika?
David Coulthard: "As I see it there wasn't a big problem... As far as I'm concerned everything is normal, and there's nothing more for me to say on it."
Q: You've won this race, and he hasn't. How are you feeling about this one?
DC: "I'm looking forward to getting out there, and we'll see what happens. Winning in the past doesn't mean I've got any better chance this year. I think it is going to be very close between a number of teams, because of the nature of the circuit. It's not that technical in terms of the set-up. Once you've got your wings trimmed to give you a good aero balance, it's just a case of point and hold on."
Q: What about the positions in the World Championship at the moment. Have you got a chance of winning it?
DC: "While mathematically the points can add up, I've got a chance of doing it. But it's not what I think about when I get out of bed in the morning. I just come here to do the best job I can, and if I drive well, I have a chance of winning."