2005 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX FIA Press Conference Sunday, June 19, 2005 1. Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) 2. Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari) 3. Tiago Monteiro (Jordan) Unilateral (no sound for first half) Rubens Barrichello: I couldn't have the...
2005 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX
FIA Press Conference
Sunday, June 19, 2005
Unilateral (no sound for first half)
Rubens Barrichello: I couldn't have the right strategy at that time, but I had a good race and a sad race.
Q: Any problems in your race in terms of track conditions, debris on the circuit?
Rubens Barrichello: Yeah, I could see the bits flying. If I had a microphone at that time, I would have quite rightly explained the situation to the guys. It's just sad because we've, as Ferrari, we have been into trouble here in the past and people didn't understand that. Then all of a sudden it seemed like we were the problem. But quite the opposite.
Q: Absolutely. Turning to you, Tiago, congratulations, podium finish for you. Jordan's first podium since they won the Brazilian Grand Prix, first ever Portuguese driver on the podium as well. Your emotions?
Tiago Monteiro: Obviously, mixed feelings. I can't be as sad as them, of course, because anyway, even if it was a weird race, strange race, no one was there. You had to finish, you had to be there. And hard fights at the beginning, and I managed to put a gap in between us. So I wasn't joking, no one on the track was kidding around. It was just less cars. So obviously I didn't know what to think. I was (like), "Where the hell are we?" It was a very weird situation but so happy, so happy for myself, for the team. You should have seen their faces, even if it was a weird situation, it's still a podium. I'm so excited and happy to be here. Again, nine races, my first year and to finish nine races in a row, including podium, this is great. I know it's weird conditions but still no one is going to take that away from me. I just have to thank everyone, they did a great job so far, amazing.
Q: Indeed you did. Your race was trouble-free from your point of view?
Tiago Monteiro: Yes. I was heavier than my teammate right from the beginning so I knew that even if he was going to follow me close by in the pits we could have done something, but I managed to put a gap pretty early and keep focus. I pushed, I pushed hard. I was quicker than my qualifying time. The tires, Bridgestone did an amazing job. They're getting better and better. No problems compared to Michelin, obviously, but also the race pace is getting amazingly better. So this is another good point. Of course, yeah, I saw the glasses and cups (debris thrown by fans) and stuff. In a way I can understand the public, but it could be dangerous for us. So it was a, I must say, a weird Grand Prix but so excited.
Q: Michael, finally back to you. You have huge support, you and Ferrari have huge support here in the United States. A few words for the Formula One race fans here in America.
Michael Schumacher: Obviously, I would have wished to fight this race under normal circumstances. As you say, there was a lot of support this year, we have been winning here three times so far. This is a victory number four. I think we had a very good car this weekend, which was strong-ish in qualifying but very strong in race condition. So I think we had a very fair chance anyway to fight for the victory today. But, yeah, it's in one way what is good is that so many supporters actually stayed to support us until the end and one could see how this very unique Grand Prix would finish.
Moderator: Ladies and gentlemen, here they are, Michael Schumacher, winner for the fourth time at Indianapolis; Rubens Barrichello in second place; and third place Tiago Monteiro, first time on the rostrum for him in his brief Formula One career. Can I just tell you two we didn't hear any of you on the unilateral and only a bit of you. If I ask the same question, we didn't hear the answers the first time. Well done, Tiago. So, Michael, probably the same thing as Peter asked, your emotions today.
Michael Schumacher: Naturally very mixed, very strange to see everybody pulling into the pits. Nonetheless, after that, Rubens and myself had a race going. I think we had a very good car today to fight for the victory, anyway. We were very strong in practice, always pretty heavy on fuel. Cars and tires were looking very reasonable. So it's sad, particularly for all the supporters, and there were very many until the end that have been here that we haven't been able to fight that victory in the normal circumstance. As you said, the fourth one, America being a special Grand Prix for us in a way, certainly today a very unique Grand Prix. But to be frank, I mean it's not in our hands. I mean, nothing we could have done. Our tires, we have worked very hard, we have left at home tires with better performance but less durability because we knew what kind of stress the tires would have been under here. So I don't know what is their problem, but this wasn't our problem. I just hope that everybody understands that in a way that nothing from our side to do in that respect.
Q: Do you think you were treated a little bit unfairly by the fans, the people who stayed, because they chucked stuff on the track and there was a lot of noise just now?
Michael Schumacher: I think it was a minority, honestly. If you look even at the podium, yes, there were people booing, but a lot more yelling and a lot of Ferrari supporters had been there. I guess some others had left before but still, there was still a lot of supporters there and being happy with what we do. A couple of bottles had been on the circuit, but it hasn't been a bad situation, honestly.
Q: Do you understand the actions of your colleagues of the other teams?
Michael Schumacher: I don't know the details honestly, no. There must have been a severe reason that they have taken that action, but I don't have the details.
Q: How did you lose -- during the race itself, how did you lose the lead to Rubens?
Michael Schumacher: We had a long pit stop to make sure the tires are OK. Obviously in the situation we had been in, it was comfortable to do that. For whatever reason, my pit stop took quite a bit longer than Rubens's one, and I found myself instead of leading by whatever seconds because I had two more laps to Rubens, I found myself three or whatever seconds behind, which meant it to be very difficult because Rubens obviously was pushing very hard to maintain the lead, and I wanted to use the opportunity to close the gap for the championship as close as possible.
Q: It was pretty close between the two of you.
Michael Schumacher: Very close, yes.
Q: There was no contact there?
Michael Schumacher: No, there was no contact. Both of us make sure we race until the limit but try to avoid contact.
Q: Rubens, what did you think about that?
Rubens Barrichello: Nothing more. I'm disappointed obviously because I've, you know, I push quite a lot and I could maintain the pace and open the gap .1 or .2 a lap, so I got to 3.1, and I thought I had it covered, had a tremendous hot lap and when I saw he was ready alongside and he was going to be very close, I try what I could. I mean, I'm going to sleep tonight very well just because I've tried, and it's sad. It was a sad day. Disappointed for my side because I wish I could have the 10 points and disappointed and sad because, you know, to see all the cars to pull into the pit, I thought it, you know -- sure, they must have some reasons, big reasons for that. But there was a big public here. I mean we as a Formula One, we don't look very, very good already in the U.S., so it's going to be even worse. But this time there's nothing I guess Ferrari could have done. We are working so hard with Bridgestone to make that pace come back and I think that we could have won the race even though the others were there. Since Friday we show the pace, we still have our problems in qualifying, but having said that, I think we had the quickest car out there. We could have pushed, and I push. I had a quicker car than Michael at the beginning, but there was no way by him. When I saw my chance being in front, I could only push because I knew he was coming into the pits later than I did.
Q: Just 13 laps from the end you were right on his tail and then all of a sudden the gap was two and a half seconds, was that you saying enough is enough?
Rubens Barrichello: Yeah, I guess, you know, you have to think that for the Ferrari team, would have been very sad to see something going on. So that's -- I mean I don't know if I'm happy or not but I had to give up.
Q: OK, thank you very much. Tiago, great day for you to be up there on the rostrum. You being pushed a bit during the early stages, though.
Tiago Monteiro: Yeah, the first few laps, five, six laps, there was Albers and Narain behind, but you're getting the grip of everything, see how the car is and everything. As soon as I felt comfortable, I started pushing a bit more and concentrate as we said already, the fact that there was not a lot of people for us, the back, doesn't make a big difference, you know. But you need to be there. So you still have to concentrate and push as hard as you can. We're still fighting with Narain and with Albers, so concentrate, no make mistakes and pushing as hard as you can for the long, long, long race, I can tell you. So again, it's sad what happened, it's a mixed feeling there. But Bridgestone did a great job. They have good tires like for Ferrari, our race pace was getting better and better. So just an amazing day for us, really. I need to enjoy the day, thank the whole team, did an amazing job. When I saw their faces, they were just -- it was great feeling to see that, that pleasure and happiness. So thank them all really. Giving me such a reliable car, nine races in a row, nine finishes. I'm over the moon.
Q: Just at the end there, you had been lapping, the gap between Rubens and yourself remained pretty much a minute for a very long time, just at the end, say the last nine laps, it suddenly went up. Was that just you easing up?
Tiago Monteiro: Yeah, the team told me I was 30 seconds ahead of Narain, and there was no need to take too much risk. So you just take it, I would say, you know, it was a second slower, basically, which is not a lot. When I saw them coming, I wouldn't risk anything like in the Nurburgring to get a penalty or whatever. So just back off easy and let him go. So you lose a lot of time. But 30 seconds, it was nothing worth it.
Moderator: Some questions from the floor, please.
Q: Michael and Rubens, is there a concern that the events of the day may ultimately be the end of this event in the United States?
Michael Schumacher: No, I don't think so. It's a strange one, very unique one. But not the end, no. We have had good ones, we have had a difficult one, and we will have good ones again.
Rubens Barrichello: I hope not. I love to come here. I love to show my pace here, and I think the two races at this time of the year, they are fantastic for the public and for overtaking, it's Canada and this one. I really wish we can come here always. I mean, I was a boy and I could see the Dallas Grand Prix, the Detroit Grand Prix, and when I came in there was no U.S. Grand Prix and it was very sad. All of a sudden we have this one and we have problems, we should sort it out. But I hope there's no problem.
Q: Michael, don't you think this is Formula One's darkest day? I mean, it's not your fault, but, you know, the farcical spectacle, you had to endure that, how must this have looked to the rest of the world?
Michael Schumacher: I think we have had a much darker day if I remember '94.
Q: I'm leaving that aside.
Michael Schumacher: A sporting situation with some mechanical situation, a mixture which makes it strange, but it's obviously better, the teams take the decision, better play safe than sorry. And, well, that means it's only six cars. Just stick to what it is.
Q: As a sportsman, surely this must be the most hollow of victories.
Michael Schumacher: I've won 84 races; I can afford to have one strange one.
Q: You only call it strange?
Michael Schumacher: Yeah.
Q: You're such a competitor to be driving around by yourselves.
Michael Schumacher: I had a race going with Rubens and, as I said, we had a car to win here anyway today. I'm sorry that the other guys didn't show up and as I said already, nothing more to add.
Q: I understand you didn't make the decision but can you tell me why Ferrari was not in favor of having a chicane put in 13 at the last minute?
Michael Schumacher: I tell you one story. Not so long ago in Monza, we had the death of a marshal, and all of us drivers agreed we would want for the first two chicanes yellow flags. And there was no less than two or three team owners which told their drivers you would not respect the yellow flag. Just ignore what you have maybe said or not said, we want you to race and we force you to race. And it's the same people that have been today on the other side. So Formula One is a tough business, we're working very hard. As I mentioned before, we have had a tire which is quicker. We didn't use that because we knew what is going to face us here. I'm not saying that the others purposely choose something wrong but whatever it is, it is their problem, not our problem. And I don't think you can ask the people who are not responsible to take the responsibility.
Q: I will ask all three of you, I realize again this was not your fault but what does Formula One need to do now to restore its image in North America or the USA?
Michael Schumacher: Just keep on racing properly. We will do that. I mean, I think everybody learned from what happened today and everybody will make sure that this doesn't happen because the penalty is very big to everybody, to the fans, to the teams who didn't race. Nobody liked that.
Tiago Monteiro: I think mistakes happen. Everybody does. Everybody commits mistakes. Just as Michael said, if you race again here and do good show again, I think it shouldn't be a problem. People have to understand that, yeah, sometimes there are mess-ups. This was one of them. But I think in the future, at least this kind of problem won't happen again, there will probably be other ones but this will be sorted and we will have a great race in the future here.
Rubens Barrichello: For something like that not to happen, you need to change the rules in a way because then you're not going to face a tire that has to last a whole race. But I don't know if I could blame the rules or blame Michelin. It's very difficult because I'm a Bridgestone tire and I know our problems, I don't know what their problems are. But I've been hearing something like, you know, get less testing but get the whole Friday, three hours in the morning, three hours in the afternoon, bring three or four types of tires and decide. Less testing and more tests on Friday, probably that would have helped for the Grand Prix to go one, something like that.
Q: To all of you gentlemen. To which extent were you aware on the starting grid what the Michelin teams were going to do?
Rubens Barrichello: The toughest thing was that we went after the parade lap, I personally went to have a, you know, a rest like we normally have. Woke up thinking, OK, somebody is going to tell me something and there was nothing. There was really nothing. I came with my car on the grid. There was really nothing again. It was unbelievable because for a minute it looked like the cars were not coming out at all. Then they positioned their cars, the public got excited and everything and all of a sudden they pulled into the pits. To be honest, I've been told they would take part in the start and sometime after that they would stop. So I was surprised when they came into the pits.
Q: Is that the same thing, Michael, same for you?
Michael Schumacher: There was very little information, yep.
Tiago Monteiro: Yep. No, there was a lot of confusion, but I thought, like Rubens said, I thought they were going to do a few laps and stop. That's the tendency.
Q: Michael, you've got to have very mixed emotions because it was a situation that happened with Ralf that pretty much was what created the situation that his tire failure on Friday that kind of started all this. So, obviously safety is a major concern with you, so the fact something like that happened to your brother here on Friday, just what was going through your mind on the whole thing?
Michael Schumacher: I mean, what I saw after coming in from my run, Ralf was out of the car, I saw his car being damaged. I hadn't seen what happened. Then afterward I saw what happened but knowing he was out of the car talking to the doctor sort of made me quite relaxed seeing afterwards the accident. But it actually started with Ricardo Zonta who had a similar failure just in a different place. Then afterward, figure out plenty of teams and cars had that sort of start of that failure. But that's it.
Q: Michael and Rubens, I only want to know if it's true that this morning you agreed with the other drivers that a chicane was needed.
Michael Schumacher: No, we didn't agree on anything with this. It is not our position to agree. It's FIA's position to agree on this, not us.
Rubens Barrichello: I mean, if I had changed one of the corners in Bahrain, my tire wouldn't have finished --
Michael Schumacher: Would have finished better.
Rubens Barrichello: Yeah, wouldn't be in such a problem. So I probably would have finished even on the podium. So why we have to agree to that? Because I mean people think, OK, you put a chicane, we haven't tested with that chicane, that could have been even more dangerous. Take a different line and people spin to the other side, crash into the side wall. How can we do it? It's silly.
Q: Michael and Rubens, after what happened today, do you think that could be better for Formula One it would be only one tire and factory supplier?
Michael Schumacher: Obviously we have the wrong people here to talk to. Maybe you should talk to the teams, to Max (Mosley), check with them.
Rubens Barrichello: I have nothing further.
Q: Can I ask all three of you, if your tire manufacturer said to you that your tire couldn't make it more than 10 laps, would you race?
Michael Schumacher: Would we?
Q: Would you race?
Michael Schumacher: No, there's no point.
Tiago Monteiro: No, you can't take the risk and probably anyway your team owners wouldn't let you race anyway. It's a big responsibility.
Rubens Barrichello: There was only one solution. If the problem was on 13, just come to the pits every lap.
Michael Schumacher: Yeah.
Rubens Barrichello: Finish seventh and eighth if that was the point. Get one, two points.
Tiago Monteiro: That was a possibility.
Michael Schumacher: Honestly, I understood from talking to one of the drivers that despite Turn 13, they would have had the problem anyway, with chicane or without chicane.
Q: Michael, as chairman of the GPDA, could you tell me where the organization stands on this matter and where its responsibilities start and stop in terms of this sort of dangerous situation?
Michael Schumacher: We're sort of more looking into circuit safety. This kind of situation, I don't think you get the drivers -- put it this way. There is certain drivers that don't have the power to take decisions. So there is no point in forcing somebody or trying something. It's not the region we would consider to talk about. We have regions where it concerns all of us where we quite clearly don't have any competition influence when we can get active and when we do get active.
Q: If the future of this event can be saved, do you see that there needs to be a permanent modification of this race course?
Michael Schumacher: We have been here now how many years?
Michael Schumacher: Six, and we have now this problem? I'm pretty sure everybody will be much better prepared next year. So I don't see any reason why the circuit should be changed. We can adapt everything to fit the circuit.
Q: Gentlemen, is there any way this could have worked with alternate tires from the other brand.
Michael Schumacher: Sorry?
Q: Is there any way this could have worked with an alternate tire that would have been brought in with the other brand?
Michael Schumacher: I don't know, maybe ask the others.
Tiago Monteiro: It's against the rules.
Michael Schumacher: First of all, it is against the rules, you have to ask the FIA; and second, I don't know.
Q: Do you think that the spectators should get their money back today?
Michael Schumacher: Why don't you talk to Bernie?
Moderator: No feelings about that.
Q: Also, Michael and Rubens, obviously you did not celebrate the victory up on the podium in your normal fashion. You both had rather solemn looks on your faces much like now. You know, discuss the reasoning for that. I'm sure the reason is obvious, but from your point of view why you did not really see this as a victory to really celebrate.
Michael Schumacher: Because of everything we have said so far. Nothing to add.
Rubens Barrichello: Fifty percent for that, and 50 percent I was disappointed to not have won the race, sure.
Moderator: Is that it? One more, last one.
Q: Tiago, did you ever think you would be standing on the podium this season when you signed for Jordan this year?
Tiago Monteiro: Are you kidding? No, of course not. We don't have a competitive car for that. I'm a rookie, I'm learning a lot every race. It's impossible just situations like that or a big storm or something like that. We always hoping for a crazy race to manage to get to the points, you know; rain, stop and stuff like that. But I would never imagine the situation like that. Again, it is a sad race. It's a shame what happened, but I'm happy and I'm happy for the team, and I'm really excited myself. You know, I was there and you had to be there in those situations.
Moderator: Gentlemen, thank you very much.