US GP Thursday press conference

Drivers: Mika Hakkinen (McLaren) Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) Jacques Villeneuve (BAR) Team personel: Craig Pollock (BAR) Neil Ressler (Jaguar) Q: First of all, Neil, if I can come to you. Apparently you had an announcement made...

Drivers:
Mika Hakkinen (McLaren)
Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)
Jacques Villeneuve (BAR)

Team personel:
Craig Pollock (BAR)
Neil Ressler (Jaguar)

Q: First of all, Neil, if I can come to you. Apparently you had an announcement made yesterday. For those of us who weren't here, would you give us a brief recap?

NR: Yes, we announced that Bobby Rahal would be joining Jaguar Racing in the role of chief executive officer and team principal. And then I'll stay on as chairman of Jag Racing and also chairman of PI and Cosworth, which has been the case for some time.

Q: So when does that happen?

NR: It will start officially December the 1st.

Q: And so he will basically be, say, what Jackie [Stewart] was in the past?

NR: Part of what Jackie was. He'll be the CEO but I'll remain as chairman of the three companies that I mentioned. And he will be moving to England viewing it as it is, a full-time job and a full-time commitment. He's anxious to get going and so am I.

Q: What sort of contract does he have? Are you able to tell us?

NR: Three years.

Q: Three-year contract.

NR: Yeah.

Q: Why did you specifically choose him?

NR: Well, I've been looking for a long time, actually, and considered the attributes you'd look for in a chief executive officer, somebody who has participated at top levels of motor sport, has business acumen, is good with people, shows good leadership capabilities; and he satisfied all those conditions and I managed to get him to come. So that's why.

Q: How do you feel about his Formula One experience? I know he did one Grand Prix quite a long time ago but --

NR: Well, you wouldn't say that he's been involved in Formula One. He's kept up with European motor sport far more than most people would guess. When I began talking to him back in May, I was surprised at how well informed he was on what's been going on in the European motor sport world and in Formula One in particular.

So I think that his demonstrated personal attributes will serve him well and that his learning curve will be steep and that he'll become a credible person in this job in a very, very short time.

Q: And for yourself looking after the team for the rest of the year?

NR: Yes. In fact, I'm going to stay in the factory. My office won't move. So we'll be a team and I think we'll be able to progress.

Q: Craig, in a way for both you and Jacques, of course, this is a return to Indy because, of course, you -- well, in many ways you were looking after Jacques at the time when he was here. How do you feel about coming back here?

CP: I feel fantastic about coming back here. I mean, I was here a few months ago looking at the track but it would be really nice to have the same results as we had the last time we were here. We were with a good team the last time and this time I think we've tried to build up the team to do it as well; but I think Jacques wants that result.

Q: Do you feel you're the most American of the teams here?

CP: I would say yes and no. I mean the name is British American Racing. The thing that we do have is we have probably the last true Indy 500 winner in Jacques and that certainly makes us feel American. He is a North American.

Q: What about the last race? Now, that was looking so good at one point. Was that a big disappointment?

CP: Of course, it's a disappointment. We hoped it was going to be our first podium. It didn't work out but that's racing. I still don't know exactly what happened. I hope to find out today.

Q: Any similarities between that circuit, Monza, and here?

CP: I think you should ask the drivers that. They know the similarities. It's a brand new circuit. It seems to be a beautiful circuit.

Q: OK. The drivers -- in fact, I'm not going to ask Jacques for the moment. It's for Michael and Mika. First of all, your first impressions, what do you think of it so far?

MS: Amazing paddock, I would say. That's all I have seen. I just arrived five minutes ago.

Q: But it's pretty impressive so far, isn't it?

MS: Yeah, pretty huge space here. I mean, it took us longer to walk here than we thought. That's why we were a bit late.

Q: Mika, your feelings?

MH: I just got here five minutes ago, too. I'm looking forward to see it later, what it looks like.

Q: What are your plans today? Are you going to have a look around? Are you going to go around the circuit?

MS: Go to the beach.

MH: I think it's a good idea.

Q: Michael, same?

MS: Certainly.

Q: A walk around the circuit or a ride?

MS: Whatever we're allowed. We have to find out.

Q: Mika?

MH: I think it better to do both, to go around with the car and go by foot, to look at the curves and understand the characteristic of the corners. And because the circuit, part of the circuit is banked, so it's important to understand how deep it is and if you can really use special lines in some places and also to understand if the circuit is bumpy or not. That's why it's better to do it by foot and also by car.

Q: Were you a bit surprised at the last race by Ferrari's pace? MH: No, not really, no. We just weren't quick enough.

Q: And yet you had been at the previous race?

MH: Yeah. It's -- I don't want to say it really, but the reality is, you know, you can't get it right every time. But that's what you're taught, obviously, is to try to get it right every time and try to get your set-up right and everything. But our car was not as good as it should have been in Monza and that's why the Ferrari was quicker.

Q: Michael, you said everything really came together at Monza. Is that the case?

MS: Yeah. As much as I said before, in other Grands Prix where we didn't do it, that we didn't get it together, in Monza we got it together and they didn't; and that's what I have said for several races. To me, our cars are pretty close and drivers are pretty close, it makes -- the difference is what you make out of it.

Q: Now you come to a circuit that neither of you have been at and, in fact, two circuits after this that neither of you can test at. So in many ways it's even more of a wild card from now on. Would that be the case?

MS: I mean I would say no, to be honest because we're all professional and we’ve been around long enough to understand the circuit quick enough. And we have simulations to somehow give us a rough direction how to get the car working; and then to optimize it is as difficult as other circuits. So it might be a little bit more difficult but not as much as what people may think.

Q: And yet, as Mika said, one can still get it wrong.

MS: Yeah, but like always.

Q: Either of you.

MS: Yeah.

Q: So you've got to get it right from now on?

MH: Have to get it right, yeah. And, you know, the circuit itself, it's obviously -- when you come to a brand-new circuit, it's very, very difficult to learn and to understand and understand the lines.

And a Formula One car is so quick, to really learn it, it is very, very difficult. Sorry, I cannot give you the right words for it, but it's going to be very difficult. But I think I'll have to follow Jacques a lot because he's been here before! Not for the full track, but part of it.

Q: We'll come to Jacques. Jacques, is it the case of the prodigal son returns?

JV: Sorry?

Q: Is it the case of the prodigal son returns in some ways?

JV: It's a long time ago and, see, when we raced here five years ago, the car was more competitive than it's been this year. So it doesn't look as good, but we have a small chance. If we look at Monza, the car was very competitive. We weren't on the Ferrari's pace but we could stay with the McLarens, which was interesting, and hopefully we can do a good thing here.

Q: What are your feelings coming back here given the last time you were here?

JV:     It feels great. I left here with great memories and I haven't been back
since.  So five years ago just comes back very quickly.

But yesterday I was standing on the starting grid and looking at Turn 1, the oval Turn 1, and I didn't remember it looked so impressive. You know, when you spend the whole month here, because when you race on the oval you spend the whole month here almost day after day driving, you just get used to it. When you come back it actually does look very impressive.

Q: If you can encapsulate the differences between, as you say, coming here for the 500, coming here now for this Grand Prix.

JV: The 500 is -- was the biggest race in the world with a lot of pressure and its own championship just in one race; where this is the first race in the States in a long time but it's also just another race from the championship.

Q: And from a road course point of view, from what you've seen so far?

JV: Well, the course looks quite interesting. It looks like a car that is quick in Monza should be quick here, so that's good. But the layout itself, the rhythm looked quite good. There's just a couple of very tight corners that don't seem to have any reasons for being there but the rest of the course has got a very nice layout.

Q: To both Michael and Mika: If you could comment on the possible dilemma with dealing with tire pressures and downforce for the entry into the high-speed portion of the circuit. Will you perhaps have to take risks with tire pressures and downforce in order to have decent grip going through the infield or will you sacrifice infield handling for safety in the entry to the banking there?

MH: What do you think, Michael?

MS: I think he answered everything because how can we answer without being here and driving it honestly? That's far too early to give you comments on that and we have to find out.

MH: Well, we have recommendations from Bridgestone, obviously, and that will be very helpful. It's really good. So we have to really trust them and believe what they say to us. I don't think there's any reason to take unnecessary risks to cause a problem.

Q: How pivotal -- for both of you -- how pivotal is this race in the championship points considering there's only two between you and three left?

MS: He's the leader.

MH: Really important.

Q: That's it?

MH: This is it.

Q: So it's your turn, Michael.

MS: Three races to go, two points apart, championship is basically almost within zero; and the three races will decide. So, obviously, it's a third of everything, I would say, or could be.

Q: This is for Mika: I was wondering, could you please tell a little bit about how you feel about returning to the United States after nine years? I believe the last time, the first Grand Prix you ever drove was in Phoenix in 1991.

MH: Yeah, yeah, hmm. Well, it was a great memory, '91, definitely to race in USA and Phoenix. It was fabulous. It's like yesterday, I remember it really well. Everything was organized really well over there. People is nice, everything seemed to work really fine over there. So I'm looking forward to now to be again in America and to race here. I will expect everything will work here even better than it used to work in '91. Let's say I just had a great memory. So I'm looking forward.

Q: This is for Jacques and possibly Michael: We just came back from a press conference with the boys from McLaren and David Coulthard said that it might take maybe ten laps in practice to get fully up to speed and fully acclimated to the circuit. Do you guys think that's about accurate?

JV: It's not only a question of how long it takes you, the driver, to go quick; but to get the last second, it takes more than ten laps. But the other thing is that it's a new asphalt or -- well, it's never been raced on in the infield anyway. Some of it is old asphalt, I guess. So the track is going to evolve a lot during the weekend anyway grip-wise, so we won't get the maximum out of the car until later in the weekend.

Q: I was wondering if you are worried about the safety of curve No. 12 and 13.

MS: Is that the last corner?

Q: The last two corners.

JV: You haven't seen it.

MH: I haven't seen it.

JV: It depends what speed we manage to get out of the last section into the banked corner. It's very difficult to know now. But if you think that the IndyCar goes through there at 230 miles an hour, I'm sure we're not going to be close to that speed, so it shouldn't be a problem.

Q: Jacques, you've been racing IndyCars and now you're racing Formula One, what's the difference for you as driver between those two series, those two cars?

JV: Well, one is mostly in North America, I guess, and the other one is very international. Of course, the technology level is quite a bit higher in F1, even though you use the same components and carbon in IndyCar but it's a car that's sold. So there's two or three manufacturers and you sell them to the teams. Of course, it's not going to be pushed to the limit as it is in Formula One where everybody builds his own car and evolves it race after race. There's also a lot more money involved in Formula One which pushes it.

Q: Do you think that American people are going to like Formula One as much as they like the CART series?

JV: Well, there's a lot of racing in North America, so it's going to be very difficult to get the American public into Formula One. I'm sure it's going to be easy to get them into Formula One at Indy once a year. But to then get them to watch and to follow the rest of the season, that's going to be a lot more difficult.

Q: In your simulations and your planning, do you expect to have more of a low drag aerodynamic package or a high down-force package for this track coming in?

MH: Yes. What do you think, guys?

JV: It doesn't look like one of the maximum downforce tracks, that's for sure; and not the lowest either.

MH: It's somewhere between.

Q: Jacques, knowing what you know about the American racing scene and Formula One, at what point would a young driver, an aspiring driver in the United States -- or even Canada for that matter -- have to commit to becoming, you know, to taking this step to Formula One and what would be the route that they would take?

JV: Well, you can only take the step if you have a door that's opened to get into Formula One in the first place. It's not something that you decide -- you don't decide, okay, now I'm going to Formula One, people, I'm coming. It's more people telling you please come and then you just jump at it. Before having that you need to have results in anything else that you do, but you need to have them quickly.

If you've been to Europe and then come to the States, it's probably more difficult to then get back into Europe than if you've just gone up the ranks and won quickly.

Q: Question for all three drivers: Jacques, if you want to put in on this one, too. Did you guys get a sense of history when you first pulled into this place, you know, with all the racing that's been going on here, the yard of bricks and the stands being so imposing?

JV: Well, I get some because I raced here in '94 and '95. I think this side of things, in motor sport anyway, is a little bit less important in Europe than it is at the Brickyard. I remember racing here in '94 and '95, you spend the whole month just hearing about who went to that toilet and which door they used. So the same door was left there for the last 50 years and stuff like that. That just doesn't happen in Europe. So it's something quite new when you come here.

Q: Any great feelings for either of the other two when you arrived here?

MS: Honestly, it's too short to be here. We walked in here and you see this massive place, but I really don't have any view of the circuit, of the environment yet. That's far too early to say. Let us get some laps in and see the place, see the town and then we may give you a little bit more detailed answer for this. It's too early.

MH: It's a bit too early. Obviously, if you look at the history and McLaren, what they have done in Indy in the past, obviously there is something in what the team of McLaren has done here in the past. So it's great to me to come here to race and try to bring something more again for the team to race here. Again, when you go around the track and you look at it, it probably will give you something, something, some kind of emotions later with that. And particularly after the Grand Prix and after the race here, you know, it's going to be something special to think about it after.

Q: Michael, a couple of things: One, you've achieved quite a few things in your career. What would a victory at arguably the most famous racetrack in the world mean to your resume? And second of all, you're arguably the most recognizable name on the Formula One circuit coming here. Reflect on any pressure that fans might expect from you here.

MS: I mean, first of all, I believe that the pressure can't be higher than what it has maybe been in Hockenheim or in Monza. These kind of circuits are, pressure-wise, the most intense because you have most of the spectators behind you. But what is pressure? I mean, everybody absorbs it in a different way. Usually I turn it around in a kind of motivation; because if you see all these people happy if you do well, then you feel well if it goes well. Most of the time, luckily, it has been the case. Whether this race could mean a lot to me or not really depends the way it goes. I mean a victory is not always a victory. If you have to fight for it, if it happens under special circumstances, that is when it means a lot. I mean I remember races in Spa being sixteenth and I still won the race. It's these unexpected circumstances which make you keep these particular races in memory.

And I don't know how this race will be. I don't have the feeling of the circuit, so it would be wrong to say yes or no.

Q: The local weather forecast is saying it's probably going to rain on Saturday and it may well rain on Sunday, possibly on Sunday. Jacques, you don't race here on the oval, obviously, when it rains. I guess that banked corner will be a bit of an eye-opener in the wet, will it?

JV: Probably at least in the wet the speed will be more relevant for that corner than in the dry. But at least that would be the first time that you would see cars racing in the wet here. So that's interesting.

Q: Craig, there's been stories over here and both in Britain that Barry Green could take your job at BAR. What could you tell us about that?

CP: Well, I've known Barry for a long time, he's been a very good friend. We've spent quite a lot of time in the last couple of days together. Literally in the last two years we've been discussing many different projects together and we're carrying on discussing these projects. That's really all I can say.

Q: Craig, to follow up on that, do you foresee bringing in somebody -- maybe not Barry Green -- to have something like Neil and Bobby where the two of you split the running of the team up?

CP: That's not up to me to foresee. It's a shareholder issue. So it's up to the shareholders to decide who they want to run the company.

Q: Michael, around the world there was a huge reaction to you shedding tears after Monza. Did that reaction surprise you?

MS: The only thing that would surprise you, naturally, is that people suddenly see you as a human, which I thought I was before.

Q: That's the point, that suddenly people have seen you as human.

MS: Yeah. If it is so many, then yes, but I don't know. For sure there are certain people, but there's a -- naturally, you're surprised about the reaction, yes.

Q: So you'd be happy to let yourself cry again, you know, you wouldn't try and stop it?

MS: Yeah, I guess there will be a few people thinking that it might be purpose or whatever. But, I mean, what -- I think it's natural situations that come or don't come. I mean, they have come in ten years the first time, so maybe have to wait another ten years.

Q: I have a question for Jacques and maybe Craig could offer something. Today Williams announced that this year's Indy winner is joining the Formula One team next year.

I wonder if you and Craig could offer some serious advice to somebody who's joining Williams for the first time, or should I say going back to Williams, but joining the Formula One team on the basis of your own experiences? JV: Well, I guess I would tell Juan Pablo that it's a very easy team to work with. Patrick Head is a very nice personality! It's a very good team to start with. It's a strong team. It's a team that has a lot of experience, that's won many, many races and championships. And they are racers at heart, both Frank Williams and Patrick Head, and they live to get results. They live to race. You just need to know what you want and to stick to your principles and make sure that there's a good amount of respect within the team. If that works, then normally the results should come by. Ralf seems to have adapted very well to the team and has done a good job. If you look, Button did the same thing this year. When Zanardi came last year, it just didn't work. I guess maybe there was a clash of personalities, it's hard to know. But Juan Pablo already worked with the team in '98 as a test driver anyway. So he's quite comfortable with the team.

Q: Craig?

CP: I think it's an excellent move for Juan Pablo; and I would agree with Jacques that Williams is a fantastic team for a young driver like that to go into. Jacques has managed it in the past and he gained respect by getting the results and getting early results; and I think early results for Juan Pablo would certainly help. The wrong team to go into as a brand new driver or young driver would be us, British American Racing, because we aren't experienced enough. And I think he's going into an experienced team. It's a good move.

Q: Could I go back to Jacques and ask whether -- Juan Pablo was the test driver when you were still at Williams, what sort of results do you remember getting from his work?

JV: That's not fair really of you to ask. He wasn't there to do any work for the team. He was there just to get up to speed and he was there to be tested himself, not to test the car. So, honestly, as a driver, we didn't pay much attention to what was happening on that side as he wasn't really there to do any work for us.

Q: Craig, you said that it would be a mistake to have a young driver in a new team. So do you think it was a mistake that you've got Ricardo Zonta for your first year?

CP: Maybe it was badly taken. It's not a mistake but it is not -- we wouldn't be the best team certainly in the last two years for an inexperienced driver to be with. You're not showing the potential of the driver. It's taken us really two years now to get a team up and running and working as one. It was just a very, very hard situation for Ricardo. Ricardo is a great driver, he's extremely fast and he's actually -- at times he's definitely pushing Jacques. So it's taken him two years. That's what I was meaning.

Q: Mika and Michael, your rivalry the last three years has kind of been important in Formula One. How is your relationships? Are you friends off the track? Do you talk to each other regularly?

MH: It's really bad, really bad! Well, let's not leave it at that. I think it's good considering, to be honest, considering the pressure that we are under all the time from public, from the team, and generally. We have to -- well, I am a person, anyway, who is fighting all the time to get the maximum possible result, try to win races. But I understand it's natural for all of us and I understand Formula One. So sometimes the fight is really tough and sometimes, because you want to win all the time, it's difficult to accept somebody else to win. So it's very difficult. It's maybe difficult to explain it and that's why it's hard to build a good relation with another competitor. But at the end of day, if you're grown-up person and you look at your life a little further, you realize Formula One and motor racing is not everything in your life. You have another side of your life, too, and that's what you have to look at it when you consider the people, what he really is.

Q: Michael?

MS: Actually, as we race, we test, we travel so much, it is honestly very difficult from that base to have a real friendship relation anyway; on top we're fighting for the championship. I mean to have a friendship for sure is the wrong word. But I think we have good respect to each other. We sometimes see each other. We sometimes have a drink together after the race and pretty natural, on a good base I would say.

Q: Jacques answered this yesterday but to Michael and Mika again: Everybody seems to be taking the approach of, well, this is really just another circuit, we'll figure it out when the time comes. Is it really that way or do you guys see that there may be some problems with using part of the oval that is just best not to worry about until you get there? Do you foresee problems or is it really just a "no problem, we'll figure it out, another circuit"?

MS: Well, how can you anticipate problems without really seeing the circuit, without having been on the circuit? For me it's simply that approach. Go out and find out what the circuit is like.

MH: Yeah, and obviously the team has done a lot of simulation work with the circuit and including, of course, Bridgestone again. They have done a massive amount of understanding about the circuit. So in terms of the car, I don't see there's a problem. And in terms of driving, that's what we have to see really tomorrow and see what kind of problems we will experience.

Q: Neil, would you explain the simulation work that a team can do before coming to a brand new circuit?

NR: Well, I think most teams have the capability to model the dynamics of the vehicle on a circuit. You have to have a map of the circuit to start with. We, and I suspect everybody else, have done simulations trying to understand optimal trajectories, optimal gearing, various down forces. So people come with as good an understanding of what will be encountered as can be achieved with modeling. Modeling isn't perfect, which is why we have to go testing. And we've done the same as everybody else has and think we understand what will be the best approach. One of the concerns was loading because there's about a nine-degree bank in turn one and it will impose different loads than we've seen in the past. There will be a greater normal load, you know, going into the circuit at nine degrees. Bridgestone has been involved in that as well. That's one of the reasons that we're going to run higher pressures than we've run elsewhere. In what I've said, I think I'm probably describing all the teams.

Q: On the map, it isn't just an ordinary --

NR: No, no, it's a digital map and most of them are three-dimensional. So it takes into account not only the position when looked at from above but also the changes in elevation, take into account the banking in Turn 1 -- well, I call it Turn 1 but it will be Turn 13 here -- and those models are pretty good. They're better than people might guess.

Q: Mika and Michael, your races aren't seen here often in prime time because of time zone differences, and the hype that's being given to this race, there's probably going to be many, many, many first-time televiewers in America. Could you just give some general things what they could look for? I mean, I know you can't go through a whole lot, but what would the first-time fan look for when he's on television, keeping in mind that he has the clicker in his hand? Could you talk about that a little bit?

MH: Yeah, it's a bit difficult. I think, you know, the TV commentators, this should be a question for them and they should really think about what they can tell about Formula One, for example, overtaking and things like that. It's really, really difficult to tell. But, you know, look at the McLaren, you know.

Q: Michael, could you comment on that?

MS: First, we have qualifying, which decides what grid position we will be in, whether we will be close to each other, apart from each other. From that base on we have to see what could be the race and, naturally, people will probably be interested in this fight going on between us. But how can you predict what it will be like? I mean, whether it will be the first row, both together, and then the start will be very, very important for both of us or whether it will be happening later in the race. But we'll find out on Sunday.

Q: Talk just a little bit about pit stops and how they might be different than what they're used to.

MS: I don't think they're different than in Europe. I mean, I have no clue what kind of strategy is predicted for here. We will find out over the weekend. But this is for sure, after the start, the most important part of the race to watch out for, what kind of strategies the two teams or the teams are running at and what will happen after. Then you really have to rely on some good TV commentators who bring over the actual position and can judge whether maybe one, two, three stop, whatever, and give a good picture to the spectators.

JV: Can I add something to this? Now, I think the biggest difference for the spectator is that we have a standing start instead of the rolling start. The rest of the race is very similar.

Q: For all three drivers: Under normal circumstances, how long does it take you to get comfortable on a new circuit?

MS: I think that varies from driver to driver. I mean some feel confident shortly, some maybe a whole weekend. It's really different. It been sometimes different from circuit to circuit, honestly, because some technically are more difficult and some are easier to learn. Usually you get into a sort of rhythm within a couple of laps and then you just develop from there on yourself and the set-up and you adapt it together until the final moment of qualifying and race where everything has to be really on top.

Q: Jacques?

JV: I guess you're comfortable once -- well, if you have the perfect set-up or if you're quick and you're in the front because that's the only two times where you don't overdrive. The rest of the time -- and I can talk about that because I've been in that position for three years now -- is you end up overdriving because you see the guys in front going quicker. Then once you start overdriving, it never feels comfortable because you're always getting out of shape and making small mistakes. So I guess both Michael and Mika will be comfortable quite soon during the weekend.

Q: Mika?

MH: Yeah, I think it's going to take quite a while to get absolutely understanding and feeling comfortable with the circuit. It can maybe take 50, 60 laps until you really able to maximize performance of the car and yourself. So it takes quite a while.

Q: Can you, any of you drivers, recall a race you started where you felt you really weren't thoroughly familiar with the circuit?

MS: No.

Q: Michael, what triggered your emotions at Monza?

MS: It's probably, I mean, difficult to see from the point of view you have. Because I'm up on the podium, I see all these people in front of me and actually have the possibility to watch into their faces and really feel what kind of emotions they go through and how delighted they are. And on the other side, coming back to the memory of Senna. It was quite a strange mixture of feelings I went through; one side being delighted, on the other side being reminded of what happened in '94 in Imola, and really strange. Obviously, I was the most happy man in the world and see all these people just being crazy for what we did there, and on the other side, again, the memories. So all of this combination was a little bit too much for me.

Q: Mika, looking back on the season on these 14 races, what were the best feelings and the worst feelings for you?

MH: It's a long story.

Q: Can you make it a short one?

MH: I hate to explain it short way, to be honest.

MS: Shall we go?

MH: There obviously has been up and downs, which is normal in Formula One. Greatest memory is probably, this season, probably was A1 [the A1-Ring in Austria] was a fantastic result for me. That was a great race, winning Austria. I don't really want to talk about the whole season. That takes quite a long time. I tell you later. Maybe tomorrow, please.

Q: Sorry, Mika, why would you rate Austria ahead of your victory at Spa?

MH: I'm sorry?

Q: Why would you rate Austria?

MH: Because it was the victory which was -- before that there was quite a long break until I was able to win it. Did you understand that?

Q: Yes.

MH: Good. I just checking.

Q: Spa was so exciting.

MH: It was great. It was great.

Q: For any of the drivers: Do you recall your reflections or reactions, rather, when it was announced in December of '98, that Formula One was coming here? And did any of the three of you get caught up in the history here, Fitipaldi, Unsers, Andrettis, Foyts? Do you understand how special the place is and just your reflections on that.

MS: Maybe you keep going so we understand a little bit of it! Sorry.

MH: It's difficult.

MS: We see fractions from it in maybe the news but I don't really watch the whole race live because to me, honestly, seeing this race, I think the last ten laps is probably the most exciting and that's what is interesting. But I'm not a fan of history anyway of motor sport. I mean, it didn't really interest me very much.

JV: The other thing is you're so busy with your own career. It's not like you're working one month of the year and the rest of the year you stay at home and you just read about racing. You're all the time either with the team testing, racing, doing some PR for the sponsors. So it doesn't really matter what happened 20 years ago. You don't have the time to go through it. I guess the day you stop driving, you're a grandfather, you talk with your grandchildren, then you maybe go through the history of racing. But while you're in the middle of it, in the thick of it, then there's no point in living with the history. You just want to go forward.

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , David Coulthard , Mika Hakkinen , Jacques Villeneuve , Ricardo Zonta , Bobby Rahal , Patrick Head , Barry Green , Frank Williams
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Williams , British American Racing , Jaguar Racing