US GP: Thursday press conference

Present Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari) Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams) David Coulthard (McLaren) Niki Lauda (Jaguar CEO and team principal) MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, the press conference is about to begin. The back row, left to right: David...

Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari)
Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams)
David Coulthard (McLaren)
Niki Lauda (Jaguar CEO and team principal)

MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, the press conference is about to begin. The back row, left to right: David Coulthard and Niki Lauda; and in the front row on his own, Juan Pablo Montoya. Rubens, we're told, may be a little late, which no doubt with the accompanying penalty. David, as you're in the back, can I start with you? It's been a long time. Last week?

David Coulthard: Last weekend.

Q: Was it last weekend? Oh, OK How did you find Brno? A lot of people don't know you were at Brno driving a Formula One car. A lot of people don't even know where Brno is. It's in the Czech Republic. How did you find it? What did you think of the circuit? Specialists.

DC: I thought the circuit was pretty challenging, a lot of high-speed corners. It's incredibly wide; it's 50 meters wide all the way around. So quite different to a lot of the other circuits we race on. And, yeah, I think it's -- you know, you think typically in the past when I've thought of the Czech Republic, I've thought of a long way away from where we normally go about our business, but it's only a couple of hours from Vienna. So it could well turn out to be a good place to go and do some testing.

Q: Principally a test circuit at the moment. I mean it has, I think you mentioned at the weekend it has long flowing corners, which is something that's missing at the moment in Formula One, isn't it?

DC: Yeah, typically the circuits we go to now are like the new Hockenheim, it's all point and squirt. There really isn't any corners to get stuck into, which is why the drivers talk so fondly of Spa. When we hear that Spa may not be on the calendar, you think what else is left that gives us that sort of challenge? So I guess it's unlikely that Brno will ever be a Grand Prix circuit, but from a testing point of view, it's quite enjoyable. If you have aerodynamic work to do, then at the moment you go to Barcelona, I guess. There only is a few fast corners there.

Q: Looking overall at the season, what sort of progress do you think Mercedes has made with the engine this year?

DC: I think they've made a lot of progress from where we started at the beginning of the season to where we are now. It's probably one of the biggest areas that we've improved. So coming to the circuit, which has I think one of the longest sections of flat out, 100 percent throttle, I'm quite optimistic that we can have a reasonable performance here.

Q: Looking at some of the early circuits, say at Barcelona, you were at the bottom of the speed trap times, yet at Monza you were well up towards the top. I guess that partially shows the progress.

DC: Yeah, it's a reference to look at the speed traps and everything, but it's not just as simple as engine. Aero plays a big factor on that, as well. Typically we've been quite slippery in the air over the years. I guess you could say as we're getting back up there, we're getting more potential use out of the car.

Q: Thanks, David. Niki, I don't know if this is the case, but have you been to Detroit since Monza on your way here?

Niki Lauda : No, I came straight from Monza to here.

Q: What is the latest word from Detroit? What sort of support have you had?

NL: For me there is no latest word because I was never told any different than keep on with the program, make sure that the car works, which in the beginning it didn't; and thank God in Monza it turned around a bit. So from this point, which is my responsibility, we're hard to make it better. Let's wait and see how it works here. But I think it can't be too bad here. So all I was concerned was this, I was never told anything different.

Q: Basically the atmosphere in the team, has that changed since Monza?

NL: Changed a lot because motivation means everything for people, for human beings, especially for the whole team, which worked hard the whole year and no results were achieved. So really this was certainly depressing. But thank God in Monza, with a little bit of luck, we finished third. So from this point of view motivation is highest, so people are motivated now, which is the most important thing.

Q: Now, what is occupying the press a great deal is your drivers. When can we expect an announcement, first of all?

NL: First of all, my biggest problem was to sort the car out. I'm not doing if myself but this was our main job. If a car is really bad like it was in the beginning of the season, I would ask any driver, would you drive for me, he will say yes with a lot of money because we have a car which is not really competitive. This is a bad situation we're in. So, therefore, we have been working hard to get the car better, to show the drivers that the Jaguar car is a potential. And now we're going to start discussing. Thank God in Monza late, but nevertheless, we could show something, now we have to discuss it. It is completely open for the time being.

Q: Is there likely to be an announcement before the end of the season?

NL: There has to be one by the end of the season, for sure, because next year we need to drive -- especially in November we start testing. So we need to have a driver there. So there will be, yes.

Q: There will be something before Suzuka, or at Suzuka or before?

NL: I can't tell you because nothing is sorted out yet and as soon as we know, we're going to say.

Q: Thanks, Niki. Juan Pablo, "Zorro," I think we should be calling you now; is that correct?

Juan Pablo Montoya: Yeah, something like that.

Q: That's your new nickname, is it, or old nickname?

JPM: Very old.

Q: But you don't like it?

JPM: I don't mind. Every year I've been there, he does basically the same thing.

Q: This is the David Letterman Show you were on last night?

JPM: Yes.

Q: How do you enjoy it?

JPM: It was good. I know David from before. He is part car owner and everything. So it's good fun.

Q: He asked the right questions?

JPM: He's pretty cool.

Q: What are your feelings about the season so far this year? Did he ask you that one?

JPM: Yeah, the same mantra, I think things have gone well, I think everybody wants more all the time. You know, I think the car did a big step forward from last year. We're ahead of McLaren and everything. Everybody was expecting we are going to beat Ferrari, and that's just not the case at the moment.

Q: That story about the 19,000 revs is just incredible, isn't it? For you, do you find that?

JPM: No, but for you because it is the first time you find out about it, but for us it was --

Q: Ordinary, normal. What about the chassis itself over the year?

JPM: I think we didn't get quite get first. We did two or three big steps but we kept up going competitive with everybody else, probably at the same rate. But if you keep going at the same rate as everybody else, then you're not really moving that much forward. So I think the biggest focus at the moment is next year's car.

Q: Your feelings coming back to Indianapolis where you've had success?

JPM: It's nice. I know a lot of people here. It's pretty special.

Q: Do you think there's a case for actually racing Formula One cars on the oval?

JPM: What's the point in that? I don't know. All you your life racing road courses.

Q: I mean the thing is once upon a time you had different circuits like Hockenheim with its straights, you've got Monaco with very tight and twisty, why not a difference?

JPM: Because I think a lot of people wouldn't really agree with that. You know, a lot of drivers wouldn't agree to it from what you hear. I wouldn't have really minded it, I've done it before. I think the car is probably safer than any other car I've raced in my life. You know, I crashed before on an oval and nothing happened. It hurts, and it hurts a lot but that's it.

Q: For Niki. In six weeks since the Hungarian Grand Prix and at one of these conferences we asked you some questions about the deal for the engines next year. And 48 hours later, Ford rather foolishly let Eddie Jordan talk about his deal. We haven't heard anything official from Ford about what the deal is with Jordan. Can you tell us more? What engines will they be having? Will they be year-old engines? Is it in the works still? How would you describe the situation for us, please?

NL: There are two different situations to be watched, which is the Ford side I am not talking about now, and the Cosworth side. The Cosworth is pretty simple. Eddie signed a three-year contract for Cosworth engines for his team. Next year we're going to use a new V-90 degree engine on the Jaguar car and he will use this year's engine. So the year after we will both have the same type of engine, V-90 degrees and from then on for the next two years. So we'll start with this year's engine next year and they will follow up. As soon as we have enough V-90s ready, then he will have that one. So this contract is signed and this is all I am responsible for. And I am very happy because Cosworth is an engine manufacturer on its own. It's not like BMW or Mercedes being part of a group. We just make Formula One engines and CART engines and rally engines. So, therefore, when we lost the Arrows deal, basically, which was my original start to supply engines to another team, it was obvious for me to find somebody else. That's Eddie Jordan, so I'm very happy about that.

Q: Can you confirm it is a customer deal, and the engines will have to be paid for by Jordan?

NL: The engines are going to be paid by Jordan, this I know. But there is another agreement Eddie has with Ford of Europe, which I am not aware of and which is really not my business because he's my customer at Cosworth, and that is what I am happy about.

Q: Niki, what is the angle of this year's Cosworth engine?

NL: 72 degrees.

Q: Thank you. Juan Pablo, can you tell us exactly what happened to your car in the Italian Grand Prix, whether going over the curbs is in any way to blame for what happened?

JPM: No, not really. Everybody else go over the curbs. It looked like it was something from Sunday morning, and it just started getting worse where the pickup isn't under the car. Started getting free play, free play until it actually broke. Because the car all weekend was really good. Here he comes. (Applause) The car was really good, and in the warm-up it lost a bit of a performance. In the race it just, you know, it got worse and worse. When I was behind Rubens, the only thing that was done was stand on the brakes and the car got sideways, couldn't really understand what happened. You look at my steering is straight and everything when I brake, so. And then it was moving around a little bit until it actually broke.

MODERATOR: We've been joined by Rubens Barrichello, for those upstairs who cannot see him. Rubens, welcome. One or two questions for you about the championship, for example. Win in Monza, what chances here? What chances -- second in the championship, it's good now.

Rubens Barrichello: It definitely looks good, but as I said, I mean since the beginning of our own fight, I mean it's been a good season even though at the beginning of the season I've had no -- had a lot of DNFs, but it's been a good season. So I was working my way to win more races and to be challenging for second position in the championship. Of course, last race by winning and then for Juan Pablo not to finish and even Ralf seemed to have a problem, it became a bit easier, but I'll be looking for a win here more than be conservative and looking for the points.

Q: What are your feelings about the circuit? Do you like it?

RB: I really love coming to the USA. I think it's a great place to come. I mean, I spend so much of my holidays in here, and I like the circuit. I think it's -- people could say it's a bit Mickey Mouse in some of the parts, but I think it's quite challenging. It is very difficult to set up the car for the long straights and for the small parts. So I really enjoy.

Q: How many of the Brazilian drivers are going to be here supporting you, American-based Brazilian drivers?

RB:: I have no idea. I know that Felipe (Giaffone) is back home in Brazil, he is going to be watching the race there, which for me is very unfortunate. We saw last year a lot of Brazilians and Colombians out having fun.

Q: Juan, could you talk a little bit about how you're received here? You seem to be really the fan favorite last year when you were out front for part of the race and the car broke, walking down pit lane, a lot of the fans getting down and wanting to touch you and get your attention and everything. Talk about how you're received by the fans in the United States.

JPM: Always been really good for me. The fan scene is really quite good. A lot of people like my style here. I've got a lot of fans behind me. You see a lot of Colombians coming here as well. So fans that were here when I won Indy, you know, fans from Colombia and everything. It's pretty special. It would be nice to win here. It's nice to win anywhere, but I think here will be a bit special.

Q: Niki, going back to the driver contracts, are we talking about both drivers changing next year, or is Pedro de la Rosa definitely confirmed?

NL: He has a contract next year basically, so it's Eddie's decision basically. But we haven't taken one, so it can go in any direction. Eddie can stay or someone else. It isn't decided yet, like I said before.

Q: Sorry, Niki, when you say it's Eddie's decision, you mean it's your decision?

NL: It's our decision on Eddie I mean, not Pedro.

Q: Juan Pablo, can I ask you one more question? What were your thoughts about Ralf getting that penalty at Monza? Do you think that was justified?

JPM: He went straight, you know, he didn't even try to make the corner. So yes.

Q: Niki, can you talk about, you know, when you were in your prime, do you think a guy like Michael Schumacher, a guy could win as many races as he has? When you were in your prime, did you ever think a driver would come along like Michael Schumacher and win as many races as he has?

NL: No way. I would have got bored, honestly, winning all the time and all the time. I would have tried to do something else with my life. But nevertheless, he's really the best, as long as I can think of racing, by producing results, and his consistency to always be better every year. He is far the best from my point of view. Nobody else could do this so far.

Q: Niki, if I can just go back to the Cosworth customer engine again. How much money will it cost Eddie Jordan to be the Cosworth customer next year?

NL: Unfortunately, I can't say because this is confidentiality between the customer and us. These are all in our agreement basically. But the numbers are always the same. Ferrari sells engines to Sauber, which is a combination of gearbox and engine. We only sell engines but basically in the same ball game because the costs are everywhere the same.

Q: To the drivers: This is the first race we're seeing the 10-position penalty. As a result, Felipe Massa is out of the race. What do you think about this? Should it continue? Is it good, bad? You can see the impact it's had on one driver's career right now.

RB: I don't know. I think it's kind of tough. I haven't seen on TV, I haven't seen the incident. I haven't really seen the move or anything like this. But if there is a penalty, it should be on the day. I mean just to postpone the penalty is a bit tough. I mean, you know how tough it is for overtaking in Formula One, so you're going to qualify 20 -- I mean 10th, you're going to be 20th, so it's a bit harsh. But at the end of the day, I haven't seen the incident. So I couldn't really say if it was deserved or not. So I'm a little bit on top of the wall.

NL: For me, it is a tough decision, but at least what I find funny or didn't understand it yet, is the team and the driver is seen as being together? Because basically the driver drives the car. If the car is illegal, the driver gets penalized. So if the driver does something wrong, it should always be the combination. But in that case, it's a simple driver's problem because what happened here is that somebody else is driving, Frentzen is driving, so the team even -- the driver with a restriction on can still continue. So it is only the driver who got the penalty. As he does not race here, the penalty is not really valid. If he would race again in Japan, nothing would have happened. So it's quite a funny rule, basically. Because all they did was change the driver, so Frentzen is back in the car. No penalty to the team. Poor Massa is sitting at home, penalty doesn't really do anything to him on the grid here, so I think it is interesting. I think the FIA sees it as a pure driver penalty. It means if the driver is changed, the team can continue with another driver. So there is no penalty on the team. But I think in the future this needs to be sorted out one way or the other.

Q: Surely that's exactly what it is, it's a penalty against the driver. As a driver, I'm sure you would know what it's like being banned for a race basically.

NL: Banned for a race, but let's say I get a penalty of 10 places behind, I have the flu for one race, so really nothing happened and the next race I race again and do something. So you can look at it at both sides; but I agree, it's a driver penalty. So, therefore, it was put in like this, but it's a little funny in a way. Either we're together, team and driver, or we're not. In that case we're not. If the other way around, if the car is illegal, why doesn't the driver then get the points and just the manufacturer points would disappear? But this is normally not the case.

Q: David, anything more to add on that?

DC: Well, I think that Niki makes a good point. Effectively Felipe doesn't get a penalty as such in racing, he misses the one race. But when he goes to Suzuka, he will qualify as normal. So it is a little bit strange. But I think it is difficult to put the penalty on the day because if you damage someone else's car and you go out as well, what can you do? I don't agree with financial penalties; that goes against my religion. (Laughter) But it's a difficult one. I think definitely there needs to be consistent strong action on things that are deemed to be dangerous, because, you know, what would happen otherwise is we wait until there's a big accident, someone gets hurt and then there's an action. So I think it's good to sort of pre-empt. But the 10-grid slot thing is a bit awkward, isn't it? Why 10? Why not two? Why not put you straight to the back of the grid? Because, obviously, if someone at the front got the penalty, they're not as badly affected as if you're in the mid-grid, then you go straight to the back. Probably should be a bit more consistent.

Q: There's movement at the moment to take young American drivers and bring them up through sort of the traditional European junior circuits. I'm curious what you folks think. Is that the way to go? Is that something that needs to be done? The second part of that is, is it important for Formula One to have American representation among the drivers? Juan, you answered that for me the other day, but I think I wonder if the three of you would like to address that.

JPM: Well, I think it is important to have I think people from all over the world, not only Europeans. It's just going to bring more public. If you really look at, for me with all the Colombians, it just brings more public to the racing. I think it's good, more spectators, more fun all over the world. It is a worldwide series, at the end of the day.

RB: I completely agree with that, because I think we've been searching, looking for racing here in the U.S. for such a long time after this period of just no racing here. So it's -- it looks good. I can see more Americans trying to race in Europe just to get into Formula One. So I think it's very welcome. I think it has to be like that.

DC: I was just going to say it's only good to have drivers from all over the world if they actually deserve to be there. Because we've seen in some countries, some nationalities where they have been fielding drivers for a number of years and haven't done anything. I don't think that actually helps that country feel particularly part of the sport and proud of their drivers. So, you know, there's no reason why there couldn't be an American in the right car do a competitive job in Formula One. I guess if you bring them through the same background that we've all come, which is the European racing series, then that's the best way to get into Formula One.

NL: First an American woman.

Q: This is for Mr. Niki Lauda. How do you analyze the Antonio Pizzonia performance in your car in Barcelona? And with all the experience you have as a driver, can you analyze the accident between Raikkonen and Sato in the Italian Grand Prix and Massa and de la Rosa in the same race?

NL: You mean in the Austrian Grand Prix, the accident between Heidfeld and Sato, Austrian Grand Prix?

Q: No, Monza --

NL: I missed that one, to be honest. Anyway, Pizzonia did good job in testing, he came there, was very analytical in the car, was basically good test information he gave about our car, which is always good to understand where we are in the car. And he did good lap times, so it was quite impressive. The accident between Massa and Pedro, I would blame Massa for it, really, because he passed him and then he just pulled over too early to the right and Pedro really, when you look at it very carefully, was all the way on the right side of the road. He couldn't go any further to avoid the accident because he would have ended up on the grass, which is even more dangerous. So from this point of view, it was just a misjudgment, I think, on Massa's speed. He thought he was by him, and he moved over to the right, but he wasn't over -- he hadn't passed him. So from this point -- but the other accident I didn't really see, to be honest, or maybe I forgot.

Q: Gentleman in the front row.

NL: Sorry, now I understand the Raikkonen-Sato accident. I think the problem was that he just didn't see him in the mirror coming. I think this was the real problem there. He was going in the middle of the road and did not expect Sato to come that quickly. Sometimes there's a deadpan in the mirror. So he would have never moved over there if he would have seen him if, that he would have come. This is the view I have of the accident. He just didn't see him.

Q: His best time in qualifying, and Massa lost 10 positions in the grid. Do you think honest judgment?

NL: But if Raikkonen was on his slow-down lap, I think, was he? Hot lap. So he was not qualifying. So, therefore, when he goes slow, he must watch the other traffic. There's no question about that. Which in this case, he didn't see him. So, therefore, it was his fault basically, the accident. On the other hand, you can say why did Sato drive in that quickly, but he was on his quick run, expected the other guy to basically drive to the rules. If you go slow, keep out of the way. Therefore, the accident happened. So the penalty was a tough one, but I benefited of it because Pedro was fifth. So for me it was good.

Q: David, are you enjoying your racing these days? A quick one for Rubens, what are your goals in the coming seasons?

DC: Well, yeah. If you're not running at the front, then obviously you actually race more, is the truth of the matter. Because if you qualify on the front row, you tend to just take your position and it's, you know, not on-track racing as such. A lot of enjoyment this year out of some wheel-to-wheel racing. Clearly I would give that up to have the performance again to win.

Q: Rubens, your goals?

RB: As I've said in the past, I wake up every day thinking I can win my day, whenever I'm racing or not. There's always room for a better day the next day. So, you know, people could say, OK, with Michael on the team it's going to be impossible. But I'm proving them wrong because it's been closer, it's been -- you know, we've been racing well together, especially in qualifying, I think it has been more together if we put it this way. But I think on top of everything, you've got to enjoy. I'm enjoying fully my season with Ferrari and, you know, it depends pretty much on the start of the season. We got to Austria on the fifth or sixth race, he had 44 points, and I had six, for one reason or the other. I couldn't blame the decision that was taken there. So I just have to feel free to do my own business and race the way I want and try to win. I mean, my dream would be to win the World Championship.

Q: Just to go back to the Massa penalty, Niki, you mentioned the Heidfeld accident in Austria, there was an example of a driver by his own mistake, he misjudged the effect of braking with cool brakes, and T-boned Sato at 160 miles per hour, had no penalty whatsoever. What do the four of you think about that? Can you compare what Heidfeld did compared with Massa?

NL: I fully agree with David, has to be consistency of the stewards of the meeting, what penalties they're going to do. I agree, it's completely -- nobody understands why Heidfeld did get nothing for a much bigger accident, I fully agree. Unfortunately, this is not our decision. At least from our point of view, this is the stewards of the meeting. But if there is more continuity and more clarification, more what rules are applied for what sort of accidents, would be easier for everybody.

RB: If I may say something, I think it's a completely different thing, because it's a bit of lack of experience in trying to judge, OK, the brakes in how they're going to be. They could happen to all the 22 of us. We're going to brake and it's going to happen, something. I mean it could happen. But not be aware that is somebody coming, that's, for me, that's a lack of respect. The penalty should be applied because there is a thing that he cannot see it, but there is, you know -- I don't rely, for example, on people telling me on the radio, you have two cars back. I keep on looking. When we start learning about driving, we had mirrors already. So we've got experience and we know. Formula One is a bit quicker and so on. But I don't think you can compare the braking in Austria to the accident they had in Monza. I think it's completely different. I shouldn't think there should be a penalty for Heidfeld for misjudging the brakes and so on, because that can happen to anyone. But not looking in the mirrors should be different.

Q: Any other comment from the other two?

DC: I was just going to say I still don't know if I have had a proper answer as to why we don't have at least one permanent steward. You can have a couple sidekicks coming along and teach you the races, but three different ones each time, I don't see how they can keep an even hand -- correction, I don't see how they can follow as closely what's happening race to race in form just by being at home watching the television. You've got to be here and have the 30 screens available and really, you know, that's level. I think there should be at least one permanent steward.

Q: Juan, can you describe the differences in your feelings in the start of the Indy 500 into Turn 1 and the U.S. Grand Prix into Turn 1?

JPM: I don't really remember. That was two-and-a-half years ago. It's a race, and it's not magic feeling of any kind. You know, you're racing, it's a running start, and last year was a standing start like every other week. You know, then I was in every race running a standing start. And you just get on with business, you know, get on the throttle and shift and whatever happens.

Q: Rubens, could you kind of reflect back on the little group of guys that you raced with in Brazil in go-karts and what they have gone on to achieve with Helio (Castroneves), Tony Kanaan and Felipe (Giaffone) and how much are you able to keep in touch with them throughout the years and follow their careers in the States?

RB: Very much. I was delayed because I was in Tony's house. This morning the breakfast was late. So -- but we keep in touch. We have a race, a go-kart race at the end of the year that we race all together. I think Brazilians, we keep in touch, pretty much sticking together.

Q: Felipe said you guys used to set up Helio while you were younger, used to play tricks on him and so forth.

RB:: I haven't raced Helio. Maybe Felipe knew how to make him mad, that's for sure. But I don't really know. In a way, we all together in this world, we had to leave home pretty early. So we see each other. For sure, Felipe I see more often because he's part of the family with my wife and so on. So we can see each other very often. But I can't recall the Helio thing.

Q: For the drivers, what's your opinion of the HANS device? Would you use it?

JPM: It's next year's rule. So it's a matter of getting comfortable with it. I've been struggling quite a lot with it trying to get a proper fit. Got a couple of ideas to Charlie (Whiting) to try to change it a bit, and that's what we're doing at the moment.

RB: I think the problem that we suffer is, you know, CART and IRL, they have all the same type of cockpit. So you have to fit it for your size and off you go. For us, we have all different insides and it hurts. Do two laps and it hurts quite a lot. So I couldn't use yet and feel comfortable. But I know, you know, guys are working flat out to give us the safety, and I assume that's better because everyone says it's better. So we've got to use next year.

DC: Same as Rubens.

Q: David, with so much telemetry now available and so much information, how much is the driver and his information and seat-of-the-pants responsible for the ultimate setup of the car? In other words, does the telemetry tell you what to do or do you just use it to confirm what you might feel or does it ever change the way you think the car is actually responding?

DC: Yeah, I think that I'm more certain today than any other time in the past that ultimately it's the driver that calls it. Because if you're saying you need less understeer to go quicker, then even if it's telemetry showing you've got some kicks of oversteer or something like that, it's not the telemetry that's driving the car. You need to feel confident. As a driver, ultimately you've got enough experience to judge. So it's there to enhance what you see and it gives a lot of feedback on loads and gives you, you know, great for simulation. So before we come to a Grand Prix, we can work out what speeds we're going to do at the end of the straight, work out gear ratios, things like that that you used to have to dick around with in the past. But ultimately it's down to the driver and the seat of the pants the engineer making the call. Which the engineer it comes from him instinctively as well. He's not going to say, "Hold on, I have to consult my computer." He's got to be able to make a gut feeling call on whether he's going to do front bar or rear spring or ride height or what he wants to do. The good news is there's still room for human beings in Formula One.

Q: Niki, what's the position with Minardi using your engines next season? Is the deal done or is there a deal done soon?

NL: We're negotiating at the moment. The deal is not fixed and done yet but there is a possibility.

Q: How much will it cost? (Laughter)

NL: Same as before. (Laughter)

Q: Will that be the end of it, three teams? That's enough, is it?

NL: Yeah, I have three different engines, to be honest. One is the best, which I have. Then is the second best for the time being for Jordan, and there's a third best. So we still have a lot of engines there, because we produced a lot of them. As long as we have them, I want to get rid of them in a positive way.

Q: There won't be a fourth best then?

NL: I doubt it. Now it's finished. We have only three. But anyway, we're negotiating. So it's not done yet. It could happen.

Q: For Niki Lauda. When you're trying to catch up like Jaguar has, how do you prioritize the budget expenses? What do you have those guys working on first, second, third?

NL: It's not really a budget decision, it was a technical problem we had with the car from day one. So basically the car was designed all wrong. So when we started testing it in January, it just did not work. So if we have a lot of things wrong on a car, you need to change a lot of things. Basically we had to change all the suspension. Then we found out that the aero package which was supposed to be 8 percent better than last year was 2 percent less. The wind-tunnel numbers we used here in America -- we didn't have our own wind tunnel -- were all wrong. Basically we started 10 percent less downforce than last year, which is a real joke. Then you start wind tunnel running in England starting on the first of April. So then we started to work in our own wind tunnel to reconfirm the old numbers and then make new numbers to improve the cars. Then we improved the car by roughly about 10 percent, but the time didn't come. Normally if you improve 10 percent down force, you should go one, two seconds quicker. We only went three-tenths quicker. Then we had to dig around one and then we found our monocoque was not strong enough. There was an ongoing problem starting in January till now. After we identified all the problem, which as I just said is not an easy job to do, then we started doing some changes. The first major change we did to the front suspension was done for Spa. The first time the car qualified in the first 10, we qualified in the last three basically, so we moved 10 places up. Then the first time we had hoped that the front suspension helped solve our Monaco problem, which it did. Then going to Monza where there is even less downforce on the car required, which helped us, the engine is good. So therefore we could qualify at sixth and with Raikkonen's problem we qualified fifth and then finished third. Basically we're going in the right direction but we had a lot of things to sort out. Therefore, it's coming late, our performance, but we are now back on track and we know what is wrong on the car now. It is better we finish the season, the easier it will be to make a better car for next year.

Q: Who is the chief designer of your new car?

NL: We now have a group of people, which are newly employed people. We have a group of four new aerodynamic guys and more chassis guys coming from Arrows and other teams. We now at the moment have a group of people. We do not have a technical director yet because we're still looking for one. But the group of people at the moment are doing a very good job. Because you could see as soon as they started working in harmony, the car improved. So from this point I'm very happy.

Q: May I ask a question for Juan Pablo? The success when you were in CART seemed to come so quickly and so easily. Could you describe for us how much of a step or how much more competitive have you found Formula One, if you have? Could you just describe?

JPM: I think both series are very competitive. The thing is when I went into CART, it was like driving a Ferrari in Formula One, and Ferrari is really strong at the moment. It makes their life a lot easier to win at the moment. It's not only the car, but the car is probably the quickest car there is at the moment. When I went into CART, I had the best team, and that really helped me out.

Q: Rubens, how much of a bold move or maybe even a risky gamble do you think Christian Fittipaldi is making going into NASCAR, leaving CART going into NASCAR? It's kind of a foreign type of situation for a driver with his background to go into.

RB: Well, but it's, on the other hand, you've got to think that, you know -- I spoke to him, and he loves racing. He doesn't know what's going to happen to CART next year. He thinks that IRL is just kind of a full throttle the whole time. So he wanted another challenge in his life. So he's opening a thing for new drivers for the future, basically. He says it's good fun to drive the car. So I don't blame him. I think as long as we have speed, we're going to be happy.


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