CHAMPCAR/CART: Monterrey race winner, da Matta, interview transcript - part two

March 13, 2001 CHAMPIONSHIP AUTO RACING TEAMS, INC. Teleconference An Interview With: CRISTIANO da MATTA Part two Q. Talk about the track at Long Beach and the...

March 13, 2001 CHAMPIONSHIP AUTO RACING TEAMS, INC. Teleconference An Interview With:

Part two Q. Talk about the track at Long Beach and the difference between the track in Mexico? CRISTIANO da MATTA: Well, it is two very, very different circuits. Mexico the track was really really smooth. There wasn't a bump on the whole racetrack. It is probably the most smooth racetrack I have ever driven at. At Long Beach, is a different thing. It is a very, very bumpy circuit. So the way to set up the car I am sure is going to be pretty different in both of these race tracks. My expectations are good for Long Beach. We have been doing good off-season testings at Sebring which is a bumpy track too and the same kind of rough circuit as we have at Long Beach. So I would imagine that we are going to have a good car there, a good competitive car there. It is tough to know how competitive we are going to be because the way the series is today, it is just so competitive sometimes you just get to the racetrack you don't know if you are going to be Top-5 or Top 15 or Top 20. So there is always this question mark, you know, ahead. But we are working hard here on our setup. We are improving a few details we know we could have done better in Mexico, and we just waiting to get there. But I am pretty confident about what we have in our hands right now.

Q.  Are you in Brazil?
CRISTIANO da MATTA:  No, I am in Miami still. 

Q. I want to ask you a question about the pit stops. I think your team used the new system of the vent person, not the vent hose, that is the fueling you used the single unit refueling system, then air-jack hose with the crew men in the rear of the car. Are you aware whether your team did that? CRISTIANO da MATTA: Yeah, Yeah, I knew that.

Q. Do you think that that helped your pit stops because I know you got out in front very quickly on your stops. CRISTIANO da MATTA: Well, we had two good stops but I don't think there is any difference in time by using one system or the other one. The fact is we were able to try those things on the car and actually do some pit stops practicing with that in the test with he we had at Laguna back in February, so we were pretty confident about the system. And we knew that we wouldn't be losing anything to the other system and we were doing a lot better with safety with this new system. So we decided to go for it.

Q.  Seems to work for you.  Congratulations.
CRISTIANO da MATTA:  Thank you.

Q. By all intents -- by everybody's measure the race was a huge success, but there were some people who said there could have been more passing. The track was dirty which I guess was a major factor in not being able to pass. Do you feel there is anything else that maybe could be done to that track to enhance the opportunity to pass for next year? CRISTIANO da MATTA: Well, I don't really know what people expect to see in some of our races. I think there were some passing going on. Of course there is never going to be like one of our races in Michigan or Fontana, it is just a different type of racing. I think people have to understand that. But I think the track is pretty good. The natural use of the racetrack from now on, just by having more races there, some other series racing there, I am sure when we go back there next year I am sure there will be more than one line on the racetrack and that will help passing just by the track being more used, something normal for a new road course.

Q. Talk about the track conditions that you found out there, especially toward the end of the race when the track seemed to be deteriorating, did that make your driving more difficult? CRISTIANO da MATTA: Yeah, there was only one spot where I think there was a new patch on the surface and this new patch was coming off a little bit and it was making the track really dirty off-line. That is actually where we had all crashes we had on the race. It definitely -- the track was deteriorating from the beginning of the race. It was actually something that was happening already on the Indy Lights race. It is strange because during the whole race weekend we never had anything and we had long sessions on the racetrack. Maybe it was a little bit warmer on Sunday or just cars going through there all the time. But it definitely made everybody's life a little bit more difficult, especially on that turn where we hardly, hardly had a line wide enough for one car. Sometimes you actually had to go a little bit over the curb just to make yourself room enough for all the four years on the clean line. So it was definitely a challenge.

Q. Given the amount of run-off area out there looks like they could actually make that track a little bit wider for next year. Formula 1 takes a stance that they won't race anyplace where somebody else hasn't already checked out the track for them. Do you think that would be a good idea for CART? CRISTIANO da MATTA: Well, I think it is definitely a good idea, yeah, but I disagree when you say about the -- the track is pretty wide. It was just a matter of -- it was a new surface, so it was dirty off-line, the line for us was really narrow, but the track itself is wider. Like I said before, I think next year is going to be fine with just having more races there. Q. Your win in the first race, does that change the way you drive in the next few races to acquire points? Do you become more aggressive to maintain first place or do you sit back to start getting points to start building the season toward the Championship? CRISTIANO da MATTA: Well, it is not going to change the way I am driving. Probably if there was like two or three rounds to go and leading the Championship I would drive a little bit less aggressive, let us put it like this, and more in a defensive kind of driving just to maintain a gap. But that is not the point when you still have 20 races to go, just have to keep on pushing and just race, race after race, and still too early to try to conserve a gap which is not even big. It is a 5-point gap can disappear just like that in a series as competitive as ours. So not going to change my style right now.

--end part two FastScripts by ASAP Sports


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