CHAMP CAR TELECONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT WITH MOLSON CHAMP CAR GRAND PRIX OF MONTREAL WINNER ORIOL SERVIA ERIC MAUK: Welcome, everyone, to a very special Champ Car media teleconference today as we are joined by the newest driver to join the ranks...
CHAMP CAR TELECONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT WITH MOLSON CHAMP CAR GRAND PRIX OF MONTREAL WINNER ORIOL SERVIA
ERIC MAUK: Welcome, everyone, to a very special Champ Car media teleconference today as we are joined by the newest driver to join the ranks of Champ Car race winner, driver of the #2 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Newman/Haas Racing, Oriol Servia, who took his first career victory just this past weekend at the Molson Champ Car Grand Prix of Montreal. Thanks for joining us today.
ORIOL SERVIA: Hello, everybody. Thanks very much. I want to take the opportunity to congratulate you on your new baby, Eric.
ERIC MAUK: Thank you very much.
Oriol has done a fabulous job this year after stepping into the #2 Newman/Haas car in place of the injured Bruno Junqueira. He has six consecutive top five finishes. Five of those top-five finishes are podium runs. Five podium runs in the last six races for Oriol. Now that you've had a few days to digest everything, tell us a little about how it feels to get that first win under your belt.
ORIOL SERVIA: Just great. It felt great right away. Still feels great now. I mean, I'm just overwhelmed of how much people have called me. They congratulate me, and it was great to see how happy everybody is. Obviously, I'm the happiest one. Everybody's happy, everything's going. I'm just great and ready. Now that I taste it once, I definitely want to have it again.
ERIC MAUK: Speaking of that, I understand in your home country, this is pretty big news. Can you tell us a little about how it was received in Spain.
ORIOL SERVIA: Actually, the reaction has been huge. I mean, these last few races when I was in the podium, I had a lot of press. I was surprised how many people were following us. I think because of that, everybody knew we were getting close to that win. And the fact that we won, I don't know, made everybody follow us. Actually many, many people followed the race live through Eurosport. We made all the news on all the network TVs. It's been surprising but really good.
ERIC MAUK: Let's talk a little bit about the final few laps of the event. Someplaces it's been misrepresented a little bit that you were handed the win, and that Timo had to move over. You had the pass made on him at least two separate occasions. Talk to us about how you approached trying to line up Timo and to get that pass and take the lead.
ORIOL SERVIA: Yeah, actually I don't think anybody handed me anything. I can tell you that. I had to pass him twice. I mean, 10 laps to the end, I was third. It was a great fight. I think it was great drama. Through the years, I think everybody knew that my first win was not going to be easy because I had been close many, many times. Seemed like something was going wrong every time. So it was clear nobody was going to hand me a win, at least my first win. It definitely took some drama to get it. It was actually great because, you know, we made everybody stood up of their seats, and that's always good.
ERIC MAUK: It's okay with you if somebody hands you a second win, though.
ORIOL SERVIA: Of course. I mean, we can always take wins, especially next one is Vegas where luck plays a big part on everything that happens in Vegas. We're willing to take it.
ERIC MAUK: Oriol is 61 points behind his teammate Sebastien Bourdais in the points standings, but moved up to second place in the overall standings with his victory last Sunday. With that we'll go ahead and turn it over to the media for some questions.
Q: After the race was over, I was talking with Jimmy Vasser. He was saying there was going to be quite a party in Montreal that night. Was there? Can you share any of the details?
ORIOL SERVIA: I actually cannot share any details (laughter). No, actually we all had a very early flight. We had to be at the airport by 4. We definitely celebrated. We had a nice dinner and a little party. I think wasn't up to Jimmy Vasser's standards as he was planning.
Q: Maybe you can get to Vegas a day or two early.
ORIOL SERVIA: I'm sure we're going to find an excuse. Maybe another win to make it to have a decent celebration in Vegas.
Q: Could you maybe talk about your experience this year with Newman/Haas. Everyone of course points to what you've brought to the team and what you sort of brought away from your experience with such a professional team on the engineering front and everything. Could you maybe talk that this is probably the first time in quite a while you've been paired with a teammate who is very experienced, obviously championship caliber driver, sort of what you've learned working with Sebastien, looking at the data, if you think it's made you a better driver above and beyond your working with the Newman/Haas engineering group.
ORIOL SERVIA: For sure, having a teammate like Sebastien, it's a big plus. As you mentioned, since 2000, when I was Cristiano da Matta's teammate, I haven't had a teammate for a full season. It's always hard to work on your own, first to make progress on a short weekend like we always do, but also it's hard for the other people to rate you because if there's no teammate, you always supposed to win, and if you're not winning, it's always the driver's fault, right?
I mean, it's all a plus to have a good teammate. And Sebastien, I say it before, I'll repeat it, I honestly think he's the fastest man on the planet, and what a better reference than that. The champion, the fast guy like him, plus a guy where we have a very good relationship. Since day one, we've worked very well. Apart from having a good personal relationship, we both come from a background that we understand that we really need to work together to beat the competition first, beat all the other teams, and then, of course, it's about us, it's a fight between us. We both want to win. We are definitely going to try our best to beat each other.
But obviously that's after working together and making sure that the rest of the field is behind us. It's been working very well. It's just part -- one of the reasons why I think Newman/Haas, it's so successful, they always have good drivers together, and it's part of one of the reasons that makes the team so strong.
Q: Are you still living in Miami now?
ORIOL SERVIA: Yes, I am.
Q: How did you survive the hurricane?
ORIOL SERVIA: Well, it was easy for me because I wasn't there. I had some friends that really had some issues, although was not a big hurricane when it touched Miami. I think was not even category one. I was surprised when I got back how many trees were still in the middle of the road.
Q: How much have you been corresponding or working with Bruno since you took over? Probably more so at the beginning than now. What is your relationship with him? What has he been contributing to the team?
ORIOL SERVIA: Bruno has been a great, great supporter of mine. Since day one, just before Milwaukee when they were considering me, Bruno was always behind me. Since then, it's always been. I mean, we are good friends. We always cycle together in Miami with Cristiano. You know honestly, we are friends. He wanted the best for me. He knew he couldn't drive, so he knew I deserved an opportunity. As I said, he gave me all the support and still gives me all the support.
Was the first guy I spoke after the win. He called me right away. Was very happy for me. I'm happy to see that he's doing so well and that he will be a hundred percent whenever he is. He's been clear already to race in Mexico. That's great news for him.
Q: What will happen to you in terms of when he comes back?
ORIOL SERVIA: What will happen to me? For sure, whatever it happens, I'm going to be in a lot better position than I was nine months ago, no matter what. I'm just extremely pleased with the opportunity I had.
I believe that if things keep going well for me and I'm in a good championship position, the team may try to run three cars. If there's one team that is prepared and have the right to run three cars, that's Newman/Haas. I wouldn't be surprised that we do that. But, again, I'm just a driver, I'm not a team owner, so we should ask them.
Q: Do you have any contact with a fellow Spaniard who is doing well, Fernando Alonso?
ORIOL SERVIA: Actually, not much. Unfortunately for me he's much younger than me. We never really raced together. I've known him a few times, but it's not like we have a big relationship just because there never was. I've been racing in the States since '98, and that's probably when he started racing cars.
I'm happy for him. I'm happy for Spain in general because is the first time that a Spaniard has a chance in a top team in Formula One. He's definitely taking advantage of it. It's actually a very good year for motorsports in general in Spain.
Q: When did you have your last victory?
ORIOL SERVIA: Last win was Formula 3 in France in '97 in a city called Albi. Was actually on an airport racetrack, kind of Cleveland we have nowadays.
Q: How do you keep your morale up when you haven't had a win for that long?
ORIOL SERVIA: You know the drivers, we always have excuses. The worst is that we believe those excuses. You know, in the back of my mind, I always knew that I was supposed to win some races, and things happen. I don't know. I guess we are a different kind that we always have hope. As I said, we always have an explanation why things went wrong. We always see a way that we can improve things and make them happen the way we want.
I don't know, there's not really a secret for that. Just, you know, I've been doing what I like, having a great time. Maybe not through the best bigger-budget teams. But, again, it's always a challenge and I've always tried to beat any challenge I had like last year. I think I've been successful and happy with the challenges so far. It's just that.
Continued in part 2