US GP: Friday Open press call quotes

DAY 1 -- Friday, Sept. 27, 2002 SAP UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX OPEN PRESS CALL QUOTES SARAH FISHER (Indy Racing League driver): (Start off with your overall impressions): "Very exciting opportunity for me. Because of my partnership with Tag...

DAY 1 -- Friday, Sept. 27, 2002
SAP UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX OPEN PRESS CALL QUOTES

SARAH FISHER (Indy Racing League driver):

(Start off with your overall impressions):
"Very exciting opportunity for me. Because of my partnership with Tag Heuer and their partnership with Team McLaren, it gave me the opportunity to feel what an F1 car is like. Any race-car driver in America will tell you that the ultimate is to at least drive these cars for a couple laps and see what it's like."

(What was the sensation, the feeling?):
"A race car is a race car, always. There's always going to be differences in every car you drive, from a go-kart to a sprint car, midget, Indy car to an F1 car. They're all a bit different. The biggest difference I found between an Indy car and a Formula One car was the acceleration and deceleration forces. The side-load forces of the car I drove today is quite the same as the IRL car. But we have a top force, where we have a lot of downforce going so fast at a constant speed, that maybe equals out the acceleration and deceleration. I don't know, because it's two different forces, but you have to be physically fit for both."

(When you accelerate, how much does it throw you back in the seat, the rapid acceleration?):
"The first time, a lot. The first time was like, 'Whoa, OK. Thank God it's got traction control.' It was great. It was fun. I didn't get to light it up very much. Obviously, I only had three laps to do it, and by the third lap I'm thinking, 'OK, at Turn 4 I can go in a bit deeper there,' and they came on the radio and said, 'OK, park it down on the bricks, you're done.'"

(Would you like to compete in Formula One?):
"Yes, if it was with the right team and the right people. I'm very big on people. I struggled for two years in the Indy Racing League with people issues. This final year, the past couple races I finally put together a team of people that were outstanding and fit my personality perfectly. My goal this winter was to keep that team together, and it looks like we accomplished that. It's not signed, but it's orally communicated as a promise. In F1, I'm sure it would only be twice as much, that same manner, to have the best people around you and the right people to fit your personality. So yes, if that was the case, I would."

(Yesterday Danny Sullivan announced the Red Bull driver's search, and one of the guys announced was Boston Reid, someone with a background similar to yours. How did it make you feel to see someone from your background get this chance to go to F1?):
"I think it's great. I know Boston from sprint cars. I ran sprint cars before he did, so I didn't get to race against him, but I know his personality and have talked to him several times. He has a great personality, and he's a pretty decent race-car driver. Every driver needs much to learn before they become world champion, and myself and everyone included, if you get to a point where you say, 'I can't learn anymore,' you fall off your driving talent and ability. We have a lot to learn, and it's great to see another open-wheel driver from sprint cars and midgets get the chance to perform in the big leagues."

(Other than great publicity that you got today, are there any other benefits that can be derived from today for female drivers or any American drivers?):
"American drivers, yes, because being in the States, F1 is only apparent in one venue. It makes it tough for Americans to follow F1 because in the IRL and NASCAR, we give American citizens the sport first-hand. We present drivers and personalities, and we air it all the time for them at the times they are awake and can watch it. It makes it tough for Americans to follow F1 because it's not apparent in their day-to-day, 9-to-5 lives. By doing this, it gives Americans a better chance to watch F1, to make it a bit more popular for areas that were unaware."

(Has anyone said anything negative to you about your -- or any woman's -- involvement in Formula One?):
"David Coulthard is a very nice guy, I want to point that out first. This morning when I came in to talk to him, he said, 'Sarah, if nobody has told you about these cars, I'd be happy to do so.' David is a very personable driver, very approachable and very accepting. Nobody has said anything negative to my face, and everything that has been said to me is positive."

(Why aren't there more women competing?):
"There aren't that many girls that start at such a young age. Luckily for me, my father and my mom got me started when I was 5, so I've been racing for 17 years. That's a long time for when you're only 21, turning 22 next week. When you don't have very many girls starting at a young age, they're starting in their late 20s or early 30s or late 30s as Shawna Robinson is, then it's difficult to find talent at a young age, talent that is capable of competing at that level of racing."

(Do you see any reason why a woman could not compete in F1?):
"No, I don't see any reasons why a woman shouldn't be able to compete in Formula One. I don't see any reason why they shouldn't be able to compete in the IRL. Every car is different, but every car is a race car. It has different techniques that you need to be able to modify your driving style for, but it's certainly something that's very possible, and there many women out there who are very good and very fast and could accomplish that."

(Would it be more difficult to come from an oval racing background and be able to compete at this level?):
"Not if I had the right testing. Each lap you get better, and each lap you strive to get a better product and better lap times and better corners."

(Niki Lauda mentioned something to you about doing a proper test. Is this something you would do? Come to Europe to do a proper test?):
"Nobody has asked me. He was the first to ask me. I don't know if he was serious."

HEINZ-HARALD FRENTZEN (No. 8 Sauber Petronas C21/Petronas 02A/Bridgestone):

"It's very important to know the characteristics of the car, so if you go on the limit, especially on short notice and compromises and all that, it's not that easy, but I try to go absolutely on the limit and see what the handling characteristics are and make valuable decisions because I want to help the team here in Indianapolis to replace Felipe (Massa). Only if I can get the best out of the car, that makes sense then."

(This is your third different car within a year. How does it compare?):
"You have to see the positive side of it. All those years with teams, I have done with short notice. Especially now, here, I had a phone call after Monza from Peter Sauber asking me to race here in Indianapolis. I was mentally prepared already because I saw the accident with Pedro (de la Rosa) and Felipe (Massa), and I heard the punishment from the FIA. So I knew there could be a phone call coming up from Peter Sauber. The advantage I have with joining the team at short notice is that I've had it before with Prost and with Arrows, so I'm a little bit trained for the circumstances. For the team, it is a very crucial situation at this point in the championship because they are fighting against the other competitors like Jaguar and Benetton, and it brings the team under pressure. Not only the drivers, but it's also the team which is responsible now. Therefore, they called me in that circumstance, and that's how I feel at the moment."

(What is more difficult, adapting to the new team or the new car?):
"That's the challenge. The car is handling differently, the team is working differently. For me as a driver, as well as the team, we have to adapt to each other. That takes time."

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 6 Williams-BMW FW 24/BMW P82/Michelin):

"Canada was a really good race. Even though we blew up the engine, we were looking really good there. My race in Spa, I was very happy with my result. We couldn't to anything with Ferrari, but we did good with what we had."

(Is the reliability of the car is where it needs to be?):
"You can't really speculate on the reliability of the car. For example, today I lost the second session because of the engine. It's part of racing."

(What is your favorite track):
"Suzuka, Malaysia and Spa are three of the best tracks there is."

(Compare this season to your second season in CART):
"When I was racing in my second season in CART, I could have won probably 10 or 12 races, and I won two. I ended up with gear levers in my hand. I was getting really annoyed then. At the end of the season, I learned that (stuff) happens."

(About passing):
"If the guy makes a mistake, you've got to take a chance. It could be the only chance you get to pass him. Either you do it or you don't. If you want to win, you've got to risk it a little bit."

(About racing Michael Schumacher):
"We're both drivers. We're both here to win. That's what we're here for. That's why I'm getting paid by Williams to try to beat everybody, including him. They don't exclude him in my contract."

(Why did you admire Ayrton Senna so much growing up?):
"It's just the way he never gave up on anything. He would try and try. He would push it further than anyone else."

(Do you miss Champ car racing at all?):
"I'm pretty happy where I am. I do miss a lot of things about CART. CART was a great series for me. I learned a lot."

(About Sarah Fisher doing a demonstration run for McLaren):
"It had to be so hard for her. To have never driven the car before, never been in an F1 car before, in front of her home crowd. It's a good thing. If I was in her shoes, I would love to do that. Ninety percent of the people she races against are never going to get to Formula One."

(What team did you grow up admiring?):
"Williams always gave me a hand and helped my career. It means a lot to me. When I was a kid, initially, McLaren was winning, and then Williams came and it was like it was unfair. It was like Ferrari is now. From '92 to '97, they won everything. Michael (Schumacher) won two championships because Williams threw them away, not because Michael won them."

(Is there a number one driver and a number two driver at Williams?):
"There's no real number one. We both have the same equipment, same guys. Whoever does the best job gets ahead."

EDDIE IRVINE (No. 16 Jaguar-Cosworth R3/Cosworth CR3/Michelin):

(About today's practice):
"It wasn't particularly good at the start. We were quick considering how bad the car was. We made a few changes and put on a new set of tires, went a little quicker than we thought we would go."

(You finished second in practice. Is this real progress for you?):
"I don't know. I don't understand it. I honestly have no comprehension about what's going on. We must have a very good engine, and the tires are helping a lot over one lap. Obviously, the changes we've made to the car have made a difference. Whenever we put them on initially, they don't make much of a difference, but I guess they all add up. And then we maybe improved the setup a little bit. I felt more comfortable. You know, the parts are greater than the whole."

(About his chances for this weekend):
"I think we're looking strong. I don't see how we can beat Williams, and I don't see how we can beat Ferrari, but you have to look at these other guys. If McLaren is running the fuel that we believe they're running, we can beat them."

(Have you changed much in the car the last few races?):
"Yeah, we changed the front suspension. We changed the rear suspension, I think, as well, and we changed a couple of things that I really don't want to say because I think that has a much bigger effect, and no one really knows what that is."

(Have you had a look at next year's car?):
"No, I haven't really asked. I'm not a designer, so there's not much I can really do. I can look at it and go 'Ooh, that's pretty' or 'That's ugly', but it won't make a difference."

(Can the success of the last few races carry on the rest of the season?):
"I don't understand it. I don't think we really understand it. We've fixed a lot of the problems with the car."

(Do you have to run more wing?):
"We have to run more drag to get the same downforce as other people. When you're out running maximum downforce, you can afford to do that. We've got a powerful engine that pushes us, so we can carry that extra drag. When there is lower downforce, we can have the same amount of grip as other cars, although we're less efficient than they are. We know how far away we are from McLaren, we know how far we are away from Benetton, but we have a much better engine than they have. So, certain circuits, like Monza, it swings a bit in our favor. It never swings in our favor, but it swings a little bit more our way."

(What qualifying position will you be happy with?):
"I have no idea. It depends. If it's a good session, and I couldn't have done better, you've got to be happy with that. But if I hit traffic or make a mistake, then I won't be happy."

(Which corner is the most difficult here?):
"I think they're all difficult. There are very few easy corners on this circuit. People say it's not a good circuit, but I find it's very easy to lose time here. The last corner on to the main straight I think is very difficult."

(What happened with Pedro de la Rosa today?):
"I think he was sleeping."

-ims-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Pedro de la Rosa , David Coulthard , Shawna Robinson , Sarah Fisher , Danny Sullivan , Niki Lauda , Ayrton Senna , Peter Sauber , Boston Reid
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Benetton