US GP Friday press conference

Drivers: Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) Eddie Irvine (Jaguar) Team personnel: Gerhard Berger (BMW) Flavio Briatore (Benetton) Eddie Jordan (Jordan) Frank Williams (Williams) Q: Back row, right to left: Eddie Irvine, Flabio Briatore and ...

Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)
Eddie Irvine (Jaguar)

Team personnel:
Gerhard Berger (BMW)
Flavio Briatore (Benetton)
Eddie Jordan (Jordan)
Frank Williams (Williams)

Q: Back row, right to left: Eddie Irvine, Flabio Briatore and Michael Schumacher. Front row: Gerhard Berger, Eddie Jordan and Frank Williams. Greetings. First of all, shall we start with Eddie Irvine? Eddie, you've had a new change in management at Jaguar, have you noticed any changes?

Eddie IRVINE: I think Nicky has got a lot of experience in Formula One. He's been at Ferrari for years, he's been in McLaren. I think he's seen how it's done. So I think that helps us because he knows where we are and he knows where we've got to get to. If you at least know where the goal posts are, it makes it easier.

Q: Have there been changes? I mean, have you noticed changes?

EI: It's not a flick of a switch, you know. But he has said things that he thinks need working on and I sort of agree with him, to be honest. So that's positive.

Q: Now, you've mentioned yourself a problem in qualifying. What's been going wrong? What can you say?

EI: This is sometimes - like I've been in the T car twice, I've had problems. I had yellow flags and red flags, to be honest, the last two races and the T car before that. But, obviously, it's still something you've got to look at yourself and continuously monitor. That's all I can do, keep pushing and try to figure out what's going on. You know, last year I qualified consistently in the top ten; this year I'm really struggling to get anywhere near it, to be honest. So I need to figure out whether it's the car, whether it's my approach or what it is. You know, it's just a series of incidents that have gone against me.

Q: Okay, thanks. Flavio, what's the aim of the team in the last two races? Can you tell us what they're intending to do, what are their hopes?

Flavio BRIATORE: We try doing better.

Q: Sorry?

FB: The last two races we try doing better. And the car is much better and the engine is improving and we are quite happy like was our program in the beginning of the season to start with the new engine completely. Our goal was to be competitive in the end of the season, preparing for ourself for Renault 2002. This was our plan and looks like the situation is much better. I hope this race and Japan we're looking stronger than before.

Q: Now, what are the chances of there being a truly Button team at Renault next year, particularly as they seem to come together rather a lot. (Laughter)

FB: Yeah, I think so. Basically, some accident racing involved Jarno and Jenson. But I believe it is nothing personal between the two drivers. And this is the team we have for next year and hope at the time in the same team less accident together at least.

Q: Thanks, Flabio. Michael, a difficult race, the last one. How have you built up your motivation again?

Michael SCHUMACHER: Pretty simple, being together with the family, and especially with the kids. I did mention that yesterday already that being together with the kids, they obviously don't realize very much what has gone on. They're too young for this. They simply want to go on. They want to play and they want to enjoy life. They want to educate and develop themselves. That's when you get over it after many days, you get back to normal life.

Q: Looking, if I might, look ahead to next year. The way this year's championship is ending, who are you going to fear most next year?

MS: I mean, fear is obviously the wrong word, but we will have strong competition certainly. One competitor will obviously be Williams. I don't discard McLarens because they're going to be strong, in my view, too. And we'll have to see who is coming up after that. We see various teams improving the pace in the situation and you should never forget them.

Q: Thanks, Michael. Frank, a couple of races ago when we were talking together, you said Juan Pablo Montoya still had a lot to learn. Since then he's won, of course. In what areas were you referring to really?

Frank WILLIAMS: A Grand Prix car is a very complex piece of machinery. It just takes a lot to understand which buttons not to push, in very simple terms; and it does require experience.

Q: His performance obviously at Monza must have been very encouraging for the team as well.

FW: It was for him, too.

Q: Do you think he's changed since then?

FW: He changed a bit after Montreal in his approach.

Q: That's the major change this year?

FW: Well, the keyword I use was "approach." That means a number of things, his own attitude, the way he goes to work.

Q: Now, in terms of Jenson, Jenson Button who you've loaned to Flabio, can you see him perhaps coming on next year more than he has this year?

FW: I should clarify. We didn't loan Jenson to Flabio. Jenson was free to look after his own affairs for two years if we didn't take up the option; and we didn't take up his option on his second year.

Q: So can you see him blossoming at Renault more next year than this?

FW: I'd say definitely the team, unfortunately from our point of view, is getting very strong now. They could have a winning vehicle next year.

Q: So Michael has got somebody else to worry about.

FW: I hope so. (Laughter)

Q: Thanks, Frank. Eddie, one of your driver's 200th Grand Prix for Jean Alesi. Perhaps you could comment on that. Is he any different to when he did the first one?

Eddie JORDAN: A little bit richer, perhaps. (Laughter) Hopefully a little bit wiser. I think it's inappropriate to be being barracked [Ed' note: part of the answer inaudible since Eddie Irvine taled at the same moment] here from behind with Mr. Irvine. But money is the least important thing in his life. (Laughter) But on that basis he told me just recently before he started one of his ex-teammates is no longer in Formula One because he was too nice a guy; and if you apply that logic, I reckon Irvine is here for life. (Laughter)

EI: The two of us.

EJ: But I also might make the point to the person, the journalist who's asking these questions, that I take offense and I think it's wholly inappropriate that you should be wearing a BMW jacket. (Laughter) Sorry, what was the question? (Laughter) Frank, what was he saying? He's a tosser, isn't he? Look at him. (Laughter)

Q: Your PR girl will explain why.

EJ: Go on. What do you want to know? Oh, yeah, Jean. He's got a better looking wife now. (Laughter) He's richer, he has a bigger boat, a better plane and he's a super guy. (Laughter)

Q: You tested Justin Wilson and Narain Karthikeyan last week and you have given them another test, I think. Why are you doing that again?

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Williams , Benetton , Jordan