US GP: Jacques Villenevue press conference

UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX PRESS CALL QUOTES Jacques Villeneuve, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2003 Q: Are you happy at the moment with your racing life, your driving? Jacques Villeneuve: Oh, definitely, yes. I feel quite comfortable. I have no problem...

Jacques Villeneuve, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2003

Q: Are you happy at the moment with your racing life, your driving?

Jacques Villeneuve: Oh, definitely, yes. I feel quite comfortable. I have no problem with that. It would be more difficult if I had been driving poorly, going off, if I had given up. Then I would not feel good with myself. But right now all that's happened on the racetrack has been out of my hands, out of my control.

Q: It must be terrible looking back on these five or six years that have kind of gone out the window for you?

JV: Even though the results have not been very good, there's been a couple of podiums, there's been a feel of achievement, and we had a good time doing it all. And we were all working in the same direction, so it was worth it. It's just the last couple of years that have been highly unenjoyable.

Q: Looking back to the time you made the decision to go with BAR, you don't have any regrets?

JV: No, the first contract I signed was an easy decision to make. It was just a big risk, but people could work themselves into understanding that, OK, it was fun to take that risk and find out what happened. The second one seems to be a lot more difficult to understand, but I was ready to sign in another team, but there was Honda begging me to stay. So I thought, 'If they're willing to put so much effort into it, it will be good,' so I stayed.

Q: How do you fight rumors?

JV: You don't. You try to use them to your advantage, that's all. Rumors are fun, so they will always exist - people need to have a little fun. It's important to know what the rumors are so you know what's going on, what people think or why they think it. Then you just have to throw the ball back, you have to start playing the game. It's not a game I like playing, but it's a very important game.

Q: Why don't you just ignore them?

JV: Because the media doesn't ignore them, the fans don't ignore them, the sponsors don't ignore them, the people who sign your contract don't ignore them, so you can't afford to ignore them yourself. You need to know what's going on.

Q: Is Formula One still your future?

JV: That's what I'm working on at the moment, but there's two things that are important. One is to be able to fight for a win, which cannot always be achieved, and sometimes you have to accept that that won't be possible; but the other one is to enjoy what you are doing, to be in an environment where you feel you are all working together for the same goal.

Q: Did it ever enter your mind that after a steep climb (1994-97), things could fall off just as fast?

JV: I knew it could happen to anybody, but I'm generally a positive person anyway, so I never considered it. But that's life. You fool yourself if you think that you're on top of the world and you will remain there. If you're on top of the world, that's where everybody wants to be. It's very easy to fall from there.

Q: Do you think you're driving better than ever?

JV: Yes, but it's not really showing because there wasn't many results this year, but I've never questioned that. Experience has helped my driving. I'm not worried about that, but you need the car to be there at the end if you want to do something good.

Q: Your attitude to others, how it has not changed since 1996?

JV: The thing is if that there is something I don't like, I'll say I don't like it. People prefer sometimes to be kissed, and then even though it's not the truth, it makes them feel good. But at the same time it earned me respect, so there's two sides to the coin, that's all. It will be used negatively if people don't want to work with me, but the other hand is also true. There's never been a complaint about how much I work; when I do something that's been prepared and organized, I do it as good as I can, in a positive way.

Q: What are your reactions to last week's IRL 207-mph average speed?

JV: The first few laps, when you're on the outside and you watch the cars go round, you think you'll never be able to do that - it looks impressive. Then you get in the car, and you try to go flat through the corners lap after lap but somehow your foot comes up, and the first time you do it flat you're fine. Then after a week it becomes slower, and that's when it becomes dangerous, because you don't realize any more how fast you're going.

Q: Are you in a situation now where either you find a satisfactory Formula One ride or nothing?

JV: That's not what I want to think. I've achieved my childhood dream, which was to win the F1 (title); I've won the (Indianapolis) 500 here. So even if I was forced to retire, I wouldn't wake up and feel sorry for myself. That is good. It allows me to do all my thinking with a clear mind. But I am definitely not ready to retire. Le Mans would be a fun thing to race, just because no one's ever won CART, the Indy 500, F1 and Le Mans, but right now I find it hard to imagine racing in anything else than F1. But once you don't have something any more, you start thinking different. Maybe something else would start exciting me.

Q: Some great drivers left F1 and came back. Is that possible with you?

JV: Normally they did that after winning, which works better! At the time they were happy to keep drivers who had achieved something and had a name and an image, but now it seems the more name and image you have the harder it is for you to stay.


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Series Formula 1
Drivers Jacques Villeneuve