US GP pre event quotes

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2000 -- Quotes from prominent Formula One drivers, team owners and personalities about the return of F1 to the United States with the SAP United States Grand Prix on Sept. 24 at Indianapolis Motor ...

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2000 -- Quotes from prominent Formula One drivers, team owners and personalities about the return of F1 to the United States with the SAP United States Grand Prix on Sept. 24 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

"I haven't seen the circuit in detail. I saw a map, but that is not enough to judge it on. I am happy to go to America. It is a great country. We hope we will have good racing there. I hope the circuit is going to be good and safe. Once we get there, it will be racing as usual. What I love is the way the American people are, and the way you can live while you are there. You can take some vacation in the days before (the race), so I'm looking forward to going there."
-- Michael Schumacher, driver, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

"I'm looking forward to going there because I did my first Grand Prix in the U.S.A. in 1991 in Phoenix. So it is nice to go back to the States and race there. We haven't raced at Indianapolis, so we don't know what the circuit is going to be like, but I think it is going to be exciting. It will be interesting to see what sort of welcome we will get and what kind of following Formula One will get from the public. That is going to be important for the continuation of Formula One in the U.S.A. I hope that the people will get excited, and I hope at that circuit we will get a lot of overtaking and exciting racing."
-- Mika Hakkinen, driver, West McLaren Mercedes

"It's great to go to the States. With Indy being one of the centers of open-wheel racing, it is quite good to go there. The only disappointment is that we are not going to be on the oval. So it is going to be strange to be there. It should be great. I just hope that the American fans don't get disappointed with the show because it is impossible to get the same kind of overtaking on a road course as you get on an oval."
-- Jacques Villeneuve, driver, Lucky Strike BAR Honda; winner of 1995 Indianapolis 500

"I've seen some video footage of the track, and it looks quite technical in the infield and quite challenging. And that is contrasted by running out onto the main straight. I've heard various scary stories of the tire pressures we need to run to handle the constant G that we are going to have to pull through Turn One (of the oval). Ultimately it will probably be similar form in terms of performance (between the cars) that we see during the year. I'm looking forward to going there because I hear that they have already sold 250,000 tickets, or something like that. I think that they only charged a couple of bucks (for a ticket), so that is maybe the race I should take all my family to!"
-- David Coulthard, driver, West McLaren Mercedes

"It's nice for Formula One to go back to America. It will be interesting to see how the people receive us there and how many spectators there will be. The circuit looks OK on the map, but you have to see in reality. I have gone on holiday in America, and I like America, but it is always nice to go home to Europe again. Last year I was in America for six weeks, and I had a great time because it is totally different to what I am used to."
-- Ralf Schumacher, driver, BMW WilliamsF1

"I will turn up at the track on Tuesday and have a walk around it and just have a look for bumps and things like that. Then I will get out on the track as soon as I can in practice, which is what everybody will be doing, so there is going to be a mad rush as soon as practice starts. The race should be good fun. I really can't wait. It is a new track for everyone, so I will not be at a disadvantage like I am at some tracks where the others have raced before. It is going to be pretty spectacular, with the biggest race an F1 race has ever had. Hopefully we can put on a good race for the fans. I have raced in America before, in go-karts, on the road course at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1995 and 1996. I really like America. If I wasn't racing in F1, I'd live in America, apart from England."
-- Jenson Button, driver, BMW WilliamsF1

"For me, it is fantastic to go back to America because America is a dream country for us Europeans, especially people like me from an Italian family. When we think of America, we think of dreams and good business, so I am extremely happy to go there. I will be reminded of my battle (for the lead) with Ayrton Senna in the 1991 Phoenix Grand Prix. I have been to Indianapolis just once, and I did a lap of the (oval) track in a bus with a lot of tourists!"
-- Jean Alesi, driver, Gauloises Prost Peugeot

"I am very much looking forward to that race. I guess everybody in Formula One likes to go there again. It will be very interesting to see how the people over there like Formula One racing. I have been to America twice before because my brother was an exchange student in Florida. The track looks good, but it is difficult to judge it by only looking at a map. Heinz-Harald Frentzen has been there, and from what I heard he liked the circuit."
-- Nick Heidfeld, driver, Gauloises Prost Peugeot

"I always wanted to go and race in America, even when I was in go-karts, and I never had the chance. So I am really looking forward to it. Finally I get there. I have never been to Indianapolis before."
-- Mika Salo, driver, Red Bull Sauber Petronas

"It's a great opportunity to go back into America at the highest level possible. I am sure that the Grand Prix teams will be trying their very best to give great value for money. I am glad that the straight (at Indianapolis) is very long so that people can pass. If it rains, it will be brilliant for the fans that have never seen very quick racing cars race in the wet at Indy. That should be quite a sight."
-- Frank Williams, team owner, BMW WilliamsF1

"For all of Formula One, it is important to go back to the United States. For the American market, it is important for us even though America is already Ferrari's number-one market. I am not sure that Formula One will really change something for our sales, taking into account that we are limited in the number of cars we can sell. So it is more important to make Formula One important in the States because it probably the only country where Formula One is not so important. Racing at Indianapolis will be very interesting. There is a long stretch taken at full throttle, so it will be interesting for the engine, as well."
-- Jean Todt, sporting director, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

"Speaking for Jaguar Racing, Jaguar Cars and the Ford Motor Company, we are all happy that it is coming back to America. It has been gone too long. America is potentially an attractive market for Formula One. I think that there is more interest there than is commonly recognized. We are doing what we can to properly inform the U.S. auto publications about the differences and what it is about Formula One that is unique, so we go there with high hopes."
-- Neil Ressler, chairman and chief executive officer, Jaguar Racing

"For Formula One, it is very important to be in the States with a serious race. Everybody knows about Indianapolis. I have heard that all the seats are sold. America is something we are missing in our (schedule). If we arrive in America at a crucial point in the championship, it should help a lot to get more spectators and curiosity from the television and newspaper coverage. I hope we can put one foot in Indianapolis and consolidate Formula One's position in America."
-- Flavio Briatore, director, Mild Seven Benetton Playlife

"It is very important to come back to America because we have noticed an increased interest from the sponsors in the American market. And Indianapolis is the mecca for American motorsports, so it is very important to be there."
-- Giancarlo Minardi, owner, Telefonica Minardi Fondmetal

"I worked (with March) at the Indy 500 for four years. It will be funny to go there for only three days instead of the whole month of May. It will also be funny to see the cars going so slow. But I am certainly looking forward to going back. I have a lot of friends there. How the Americans find Formula One is going to be pivotal because it is a very different type of spectator sport from superspeedway Indy-type racing."
-- Adrian Newey, technical director, West McLaren Mercedes

"I am looking forward to it because we have not been back in America for a long time. It is always a challenge to go to a new circuit. It is going to come at a time that is quite critical in the championship. There will be the challenge of coming to terms with a new circuit for the drivers and the technicians at a time that is probably going to be quite crucial in the championship. I hope it is a success. It is a different form of racing. But we do seem to have a lot of enthusiasts in North America. A lot of people come up to Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix."
-- Ross Brawn, technical director, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

"The first question is to know how good the track is, and we can only answer that after the first lap. But this is secondary. What we are really happy about is that we again have a Grand Prix in America, and that it will take place in Indianapolis."
-- Peter Sauber, owner, Red Bull Sauber Petronas

"I think it is great that we are going back to America. I used to love racing in Detroit and Phoenix. I've been to the Indy 500 a couple of times. It is a brilliant event. To have such a huge crowd at the Grand Prix will make a wonderful atmosphere. I have seen the new pits complex, and it is very impressive. As for the track itself, I will reserve judgment on that until we have seen the cars going around it. But having a United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis is great for F1. I am certainly looking forward to going there."
-- Martin Brundle, ITV commentator; former Formula One, sports car and IROC driver

"The United States is a very important market for us. We mainly sell Firestone tires in the U.S.A, but now we are starting to promote the Bridgestone brand, as well, through racing. Brand image-wise, racing is very important for us as we supply Firestone tires to the IRL and CART and Bridgestone tires to Formula One. Indy is a historic racing venue, and we are very interested in racing Formula One there, as well as the Indy 500."
-- Horoshi Yasukawa, director, Bridgestone Motor Sport

"I think it's great to see a return of the Grand Prix to the United States. There probably is not a better venue than Indianapolis because it's the Brickyard and the home of American motor racing. I am looking forward to watching the race on TV."
-- Ken Tyrrell, Formula One team owner from 1968-98

-Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Ralf Schumacher , Michael Schumacher , Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Jean Alesi , David Coulthard , Mika Hakkinen , Jacques Villeneuve , Nick Heidfeld , Mika Salo , Martin Brundle , Ross Brawn , Ayrton Senna , Flavio Briatore , Peter Sauber , Frank Williams , Jean Todt , Adrian Newey
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Benetton , Minardi , Jaguar Racing