Thursday, Sept. 26, 2002 MICHAEL SCHUMACHER (No. 1 Ferrari/F2002/Ferrari 051/Bridgestone): "I believe with what we achieved in Monza, it is very theoretical that he (Rubens Barrichello) shouldn't lose second position (in the championship), ...
Thursday, Sept. 26, 2002
"I believe with what we achieved in Monza, it is very theoretical that he (Rubens Barrichello) shouldn't lose second position (in the championship), especially with the strong package that we have. It's the dream result we were looking for, and we seemed to achieve it. Even if I win (Indianapolis), he would win his second position, so that means it is a free battle for the last two races, which I'm looking forward to."
(About finishing 1-2): "You should never be too confident. You know racing, and you know my statistics, and I haven't retired from one race this year, so one day it will hit me. We obviously hope it will not happen, but you know how it goes."
(About not passing Barrichello at Monza): "It's true that after we came out of the pits, then he was in front and backed off. He had fresh tires, and I had no chance to overtake him because he was very fast."
(Is Barrichello your strongest-ever teammate?): "I would think so, yes. I don't think, if you go through history, we have had a situation being so close together, so consistently."
(Could he provide a challenge next season?) "I think he did this year, as well. We will continue to do it and maybe see how long I can keep the upper hand."
(How important is it to beat McLaren's 1988 record of 15 wins in a season?): "It's not records that drive us. Our target was to win the drivers' championship, the constructors' championship, ideally to have Rubens in second position, and the rest is probably cosmetic where we still feel very challenged and motivated to go for races and drive for our fans and enjoy ourselves. I mean we work very hard in order to achieve such results."
(Did you enjoy the USGP more in 2000 or in 2001?): "I enjoyed it much more last year. The event is still there, the race I still want to win. I don't think (having won the championship) makes there any less pressure."
(Can you be unrecognized in the United States?): "Yes. For a couple of days before the race we were in California and it sort of ... if I'm 100 percent (recognized in Italy), I'm probably half a percent in America. Basically, I can watch the people rather than them watching me."
KIMI RAIKKONEN (No. 4 McLaren-Mercedes MP4-17/Mercedes Benz FO110M/Michelin):
(How would you sum up the season so far?): "Everybody thinks I have 10 retirements from 15 races, it's quite bad, but always when we have finished races, usually we have had quite good results. Even some of the races we finished we have had problems and not been able to go full speed through the race. If we had finished the races where we were running, we would be much better in the points. This is racing: Hopefully next year things will stay in one piece and we can fight more in the championship."
(Are you saying that consistency is the biggest thing for next year?): "Yes, I think so. Of course, we need more speed to beat Ferrari, but compared to Williams, if we had been more consistent in finishing the races, I think we would be ahead of them by now."
(How much have you changed and improved as a driver this season?): "I don't know - you're always learning, getting quicker, but I never think much about it. For sure, I know more things about Formula One than before."
(Still think you're progressing?): "I think so. I don't think I'm on the best level, but always when you have more experience, it's helping you."
(Was it completely different to begin with, going from Sauber to McLaren?): "There's more people helping you, but for me it was pretty much similar, but easier than going to Sauber, because at least I had one year of experience behind me."
(Juan Pablo Montoya is known as an aggressive driver and you have kind of an aggressive reputation. I don't know how many times you've been close to him, but is that fun, do you find that entertaining?): "It's challenging, but I wouldn't say that I'm very aggressive. I have had good fights against him, but it has always been fair and very clean."
(How much progress has Mercedes-Benz made since the start of the season?): "It's going the right way, especially in the last four races, they have been much bigger steps than at the beginning of the season, at least. It's still the engine that's not reliable: We're getting the horsepower there, which is a good thing, so over the winter they will find a solution for the problems."
(From what you have seen of the plans for the new engine and the new car, do you think you can challenge Ferrari regularly next season?): "Hopefully. It's also the tires: The Michelins had more ups and downs than the Bridgestones. We never know before we get the car running whether it's going to be good enough or not."
(Will this winter be easier for you because McLaren is a known quantity?): "For sure, next year will be easier in that way. At least I know the team, and maybe we can work more with the car and not have to start the way we did this season. Also with the experience you know more things."
(What does it mean to run here at a place like Indianapolis?): "For me it's just another race, but it is a bit different, the people are different supporting Formula One, but here Formula One is not such a big thing. When you're driving in Italy or somewhere you don't get anything like this - the high speed, the long straight, the very tight infield - so you have to work on the setup."
(On points you're behind David, but when it comes to qualifying you beat him. How important is that?): "It's important, of course, to beat your teammate. As I said, if I wouldn't have had so many retirements it wouldn't be this kind of situation in the points, but it doesn't really matter."
(How do you see yourself next year? Supposedly there is no number one and no number two in the team, but the impression from the outside is that you have more or less taken over as number one): "I think as long as both drivers get the same stuff, the same treatment, and it's always fair, then if it's like that it's up to the driver and the engine as to which one is going to beat the other."
(Could you have lived with the situation that Rubens has at Ferrari?): "Oh no. That's why I came here - I didn't have to do it. This was always clear when we were doing the contract, to make sure it would never happen."
(How long did it take to get over France?): "You always remember before you win your first race, and it was hard at that time."
(It looked as if you gave in a little bit when Michael was next to you. Could you have been a little tougher?): "Either one of us would have retired at that point if I wouldn't have moved. There was no point to have an accident. If the situation in the championship was different, it would have been different, but it was important to finish the race."
(You've been close to a win, close to pole. It's in there, it's just a matter of when. There are two races to go: Can you do either one?): "You never know: we'll see. But it looks like Ferrari is always strong, it doesn't matter where we go."
(Has it been a good year?): "All the retirements have been a bad thing. But it's been OK."
RALF SCHUMACHER (No. 5 Williams-BMW FW 24/BMW P82/Michelin):
"It's always great to be here. Apart from the rest of America, at least we'll be recognized here. People like to see us and we always run in front a full crowd, and it's really good to be here. The circuit itself is nice. It's something totally different than we're used to. Overall, the season has been successful. On one end, it's better than we expected, but certainly we've been so far away from Ferrari. We'll just have to work on it for next year."
(About next year): "I can't really tell you, I'm not a magician. At the moment, there's a lot going on at the factory, and I'm hoping we'll be closer for next year."
(About the offseason): "There's not so much testing going on this year. There's only a couple of tests before January where the main testing starts again. So, it's basically do some marketing work, get to the factory and see what they need there and enjoy the time off."
JARNO TRULLI (No. 14 Renault R202/Renault RS22/Michelin):
"It's always good to come back to enjoy the people, the experience and the atmosphere. The circuit is rather easy; it is not something really technical. You need to work out a way to be quick here. Definitely I would make it (the circuit) slightly quicker. The infield is slow, second and first-gear corners. There is no medium or high-speed corners. The city is something very different than what we're used to in Europe. It is something we all enjoy."
(About the season): "As far as we can see, we did well. We definitely achieved what we wanted to achieve in the beginning. To establish our goal to be fourth in the championship, we did what we wanted to do. We definitely struggled during the second half of the season - we struggled with reliability. Lot of problems. I personally lost some points because of some unfortunate races. At the end of the day, Renault made some big, big steps."
(About the engine): "I'm a driver - I don't know how to build an engine - but definitely we need to make good progress in terms of power and also reliability. The engine is a new project, different from any Formula One engine, continuing the evolution of the engine. But still we need some time to push it to the absolute maximum. We struggled big time this year to get the reliability and this hurt us on performance. We really hope that this will be right time to go the right direction to put out a good, reliable engine."
(About the weekend): "It's difficult to say or make a prediction because there are so many variables, like tires, weather, circuit conditions. We feel that this could be a good race for us if the tires work well. This is the first year for me with this team, so I can't predict what to expect. In Monza, we had very good tires, a new specification that we brought here. We definitely feel that others will be quicker on the main straight. We will struggle a bit - we know that - so we just need to concentrate on making a good setup for the backside of the circuit."
JENSON BUTTON (No. 15 Renault R202/Renault RS22/Michelin):
"I love this circuit. For the last few years, it's gone well here. The infield is very tight and twisty. Every circuit to me seems fine - there is no circuit I hate. There are a lot of circuits that have slow corners. It has several opportunities to overtake, which is a good thing. For us it's kind of a quiet city, but it's got nice elements. There are good restaurants here, and I think everyone does a bit of shopping because it's not as expensive as Europe. I like it - we normally turn up on a Tuesday, so we can get a day of relaxation."
(About the season): "It's good. The start of the season went very well; it's just since then we haven't had huge improvements. We're not as competitive as at the start of the season, which is a shame. But yes, it's a relatively good season, it's just disappointing we can't be up there racing with the top teams."
(About running for BAR next season): "I think it's a very 'homey' team, and the guys to work with seem very good. I'm looking forward to it. I have a four-year contract, so I hope it is a place I can find a good base and work toward a world championship."
(About the weekend): "I think we're going to be quite competitive. I mean, we're not going to be where we were at the start of the season, but we can qualify in the top 10. We had a good car at Monza - we finished fourth and fifth - so I think we'll have a good race car, and even if we start ninth and 10th, we'll have a good possibility to gain some points."
EDDIE IRVINE (No. 16 Jaguar-Cosworth R3/Cosworth CR3/Michelin):
"We have to try and get a result here. I believe you always have to give 100 percent every weekend or go home. I think we can get one or two points. We got points here last year, and I don't see why we can't get points again. It depends on the tire war. If we are at a disadvantage with Bridgestone we are not going to get points, if we are at an advantage we'll get points maybe. Michelin is slightly ahead, but Bridgestone has made a huge step from last year."
(About his future and what he did since Monza): "I had a lovely holiday in Miami; the phone rang a bit more, but I am still quite comfortable with what I am doing. I will wait and see what the story is. There is no rush, and I don't see any of my opportunities disappearing. You never know what can happen in Formula One. It is my decision; I'm quite clear what I want to do. I haven't got 100 percent of what I want, so I will just sit and wait. I have no idea what Jaguar is planning. It is something I haven't discussed with Niki (Lauda). I pretty much know what I want, so I am just going to sit and wait. I didn't speak to Niki the last couple of weeks."
(Is there going to be a challenge next year for Ferrari?): "No. Guys there are telling me they have made bigger steps for next year than they made from last year and this year, already. Kind of scary."
PEDRO DE LA ROSA (No. 17 Jaguar-Cosworth R3/Cosworth CR3/Michelin):
"We were testing in Barcelona. We did some engine work for Suzuka and tire compound testing for Niki (Lauda). Not much testing for this track because this is a medium-low downforce track, so all the testing in Barcelona was for Suzuka. I think it should be good for this race because it is very similar in downforce level to Spa and there we were very competitive. I think we should be not as competitive as Monza because Monza is a very special track but in the line of Spa."
(About being in the United States and Indy): "I love it. It is good for Formula One to come to the States and good to be in Indianapolis because it is the center of auto racing here."