CHAMPCAR/CART: Gold Coast Friday practice press conference

Drivers: Jimmy Vasser Adrian Fernandez Helio Castroneves Q: Was it a little disappointing not to run as many laps as you wanted. Fernandez: Yes it was. We were expecting to have a nice full day run today, but you know, you just have to live...

Drivers: Jimmy Vasser Adrian Fernandez Helio Castroneves

Q: Was it a little disappointing not to run as many laps as you wanted.

Fernandez: Yes it was. We were expecting to have a nice full day run today, but you know, you just have to live with what you have. A lot of rain throughout the year, we have had a lot of days like this, so there nothing really you can do. There was so much water at the end and there was no use taking a chance with any of our cars. Tomorrow seems to be OK. If it rains tomorrow, you guys will see alot of cars. We managed to get a few laps and the car seems to be reasonable, but it was not a 100% dry so you can really get alot out of the car.

Q: Helio, Take us through your day. How critical is tomorrow's session before qualifying.

Castroneves: Its going to be really critical. Today we decided not to waste any time and go ahead. Yeh, it was a little damp. It was not completely dry, but I was trying to go really fast and learn the re-surfaced areas. We were just trying to keep going in our plan and while alot of people were just waiting at least we have a little sense of where to go and where to start at. So, tomorrow there's going to be a lot of traffic, hopefully there is going to be good weather. That's why were not out there now testing, I don't think there was any reason to take a chance and end up in a wall. So we just wait for the right time and hopefully tomorrow will be the right time.

Q: Jimmy, not running today does that benefit guys like you, veterans or is it just a wash basically.

Vasser: I don't know maybe a little bit of both. Certainly, some of the rookies who are trying to get a bit of track time and learn the circuit like Dixon and Mears, it is going to be a hindrance for them. Its unfortunate, but it is the same for everyone. You know, I think it was obvious that there was a good possibility of rain today, like Helio said, we went straight out and we had a test plan and we got a couple of things checked of on our list. So, while we don't profess to know everything, I think we have a direction. We did get a bit of direction out of some of the things we were trying. Hopefully tomorrow will be dry and we can carry on and we can do well.

Q: How much extra pressure on trying to find setup.

Vasser: Everyone pretty much has an idea of what their car is going to do at circuits like this, and this is a similar tyre to what we've run before. Its going to be one session tomorrow and straight into qualifying you have to be on top of your game for sure, especially for guys, Adrian and myself are going to be in the slow group and the tracks really going to be rubbering in continuously tomorrow. I think that that's the biggest disadvantage you can have.

Q: Can you talk about the changes that have been made to the track.

<Castroneves</b>: Actually I saw some different turns, they moved the wall backwards and built up kerbs and it is definitely very very good. As I said before, they resurfaced the exit of the fast chicane, and that was pretty good as well. I think it is less bumpy. So basically, they did a good job.

Vasser: I concur

Fernandez: they've done a good job, they done some painting on the track, especially, bigger area, looks good, still some bumpy parts, but, I particularly like this track, it is one of our best events. The atmosphere, the track is very challenging.

Vasser: They've trimmed some trees coming on to the back straight so you get a better view of the ocean, it is very nice.

Q: Jimmy, do you think the speeds might be a little faster this year.

Vasser: Yeh I do. I think that some of the corners they repaved have a higher grip level and what Helio was talking about, moving back the walls and putting kerbing will allow a higher mid corner speed in those corner.

Q: What about the little yellow bumps on the apex of the chicanes, will they be ignored do you think.

Vasser: I've never been one to really fly over the kerbs here anyway, I think if the cars will be a tidy lap will be quicker. Who was on pole last year, I don't think he was using the kerbs too much.

Q: If you do stray, do you think those bumps will be really nasty for the car.

Fernandez: Oh you can do some damage there. Definitely.

Castroneves With this circuit I don't think rough is fast, I think smooth is fast. Especially in the fast chicanes as you go through there, so you try to clip the kerbs in the corner, because it is so high the kerbs, it is going to do damage, and it is going to upset the balance. Its a very challenging circuit, I really enjoy it like Adrian was saying along with the circuit itself, but with the atmosphere, it is so high it is amazing.

Q: Adrian, your a first year team owner, there is uncertainty about the engine situation. Will that be a distraction for you.

A- Not really, everybody is in the same boat. We all have to work together as a group and I mean CART and look to the future, I've been learning a lot, this ownership part, to see something grow from zero it is very rewarding. Looking into the future and the things we do to improve it makes it challenging and rewarding. I pretty much enjoy the whole process of it.

Q: What has been the biggest learning experience as an owner?

Fernandez: Well, the little things that go behind the scenes, that maybe as a driver you don't see it. I've been involved in some owners meetings, things like that. I see the whole picture of ownership of a team, and maybe you appreciate more than as a driver because there is alot of work that goes on behind. you know I've been doing alot of my own work with sponsorship before and it was another small step for me to get into ownership and it is having people like tom Anderson and great mechanics. My job is easier.

Q: What did you think of the decision (engines) obviously you have an inside view.

Fernandez: There is so many things that have been there since before I got there, there is been a process as an owner, there is been some things as an owner that could've been avoided. As a group we have to learn from our mistakes and try to get the confidence back from the manufacturers. We need a good year of stability to show that CART can bounce back, and I believe it can have a great potential and great racing great drivers great teams and there is a great market there for us. There have been some mistakes down there and we just have to learn from them and not repeat them and just look into the future.

Q: With Ford and Honda not committing past 2002, where do you see that stability coming from, do you see it as a one make series.

Fernandez: Well, that's everything is happening right now so. There is alot of things CART is working on. We all have to wait and see what those opportunities are going to be. So, right now it is too early to talk, everything is in the process of knowing what is going to happen.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Jimmy Vasser , Adrian Fernandez