FIA Press Conference, Saturday, Brazil 06 Apr 2003
POLE POSITION PRESS CONFERENCE - 5 APRIL 2003
1. Rubens BARRICHELLO (FERRARI), 1m 13.807s
2. David COULTHARD (McLAREN), 1m 13.818s (+ 0.011s)
3. Mark WEBBER (JAGUAR), 1m 13.851s. (+ 0.044s)
Reproduced with kind permission of Federation Internationale de l'Automobile
Q: Rubens, great lap, great scenes there on your slow down lap as well...
Rubens BARRICHELLO: It feels fantastic, even though I haven't done anything yet. I've had a tough time here. It is nice to put the car on pole and really nice to see the public coming and looking here to get some more. I was really looking at the public as well because it is a fantastic feeling, but you know I'm in a very good position for tomorrow's race.
Q: You were slightly down on David in the first sector there, were you slightly worried?
RB: I was a little bit worried on the first corner and locked up a little bit on two because of a bump, but I felt we only have a tenth so I have to go on....you have to reset your mind all the time because if you are doing good you keep on doing good and if your doing bad you have to turn it into a good laugh. At that moment there was a lot of energy going through and I had a good run today.
Q: How much information do you have about the laps in the cockpit? Do you know how near you are to pole?
RB: To be honest I don't look at my split times. I like to be on my own and push the car as I could. It was really a good moment.
Q: It's been a difficult start to the season for Ferrari. Can you tell us what the atmosphere has been like in the team over the last two or three weeks?
RB: I think that people think we are struggling and in a tough moment. I think the new rules are good for us; we haven't finished that well....but for sure we could have won a race. But for me the season has started better than last year so I cannot complain and I am keeping my head down and trying to do my work.
Q: David, tell us about that lap?
David COULTHARD: It's probably the tidiest of the first few Grands Prix so far. We had a bit of a difficult warm-up session so we changed the car back to as we ran in the morning practice and with regards to fuel I'm glad we came back to that configuration. It never quite feels like the old qualifying session because you are finding out where the track is as far as in that single lap but it was not a bad lap and it will be interesting to find out who has got what fuel tomorrow.
Q: No question the McLaren-Mercedes is a very quick car now. The new car is coming, how do you feel about the future? There must be a reason to want to stay with this car.
DC: I think everyone in the team knows...feels very positive from the winter testing, the results we managed to get...we are enjoying such a good start to the season and hopefully we will find pace and reliability quickly in the new car and get that on track.
Q: Interlagos is left-handed, what sort of preparations do you do for that with you neck?
DC: It certainly works your neck a lot more than any other circuit. You are really tested, it is one of the more challenging tracks and you have to try to feel....that you don't have problems.
Q: Mark Webber, great performance. How much of that is taking advantage of what happened yesterday and perhaps coming up with set-up that looked good? How much of it is genuine strategy?
Mark WEBBER: It has nothing to do with what happened yesterday. I think everyone had similar fuel loads on a Friday, but I think the two guys next to me may have more fuel for tomorrow's race. But I think we are very, very competitive here I believe. We've been reasonably quick in all the tests that we've done and the hard work we've done. It is going to be a long race for us but it could be good. Malaysia was a very hard race for us, with a lot of mysteries and a lot of snags, a lot coming at us which we didn't have in testing which is hard on the boys and hard on the factory. This is a nice little reward. We know in ourselves that we are making clear progress and it has been a good day for us.
Q: How much information did you have during that lap?
MW: Well I had...the best lap I did yesterday was about a 14.1. I was up on that by a fair chunk up until the last sector and I knew it was going to be a 14.0 or a high 13 so its going to put us in competitive shape. I'm really happy for the guys and for me to be up there for the first time, I'm really looking forward to it.
Q: Did you begin to feel, with the fuel load you have chosen, you were going to be right up there?
MW: No not really. We did a 14.4 with the fuel I was carrying in the warm-up and we thought that is going to be reasonable competitive load. There we have it, it was a good lap.
Q: Was it the perfect lap?
MW: Like David said out of the three races that was my best lap. We're starting from a good spot. We had a bit of understeer in the last corner, but it a very difficult corner to control your aggression and not get in too much on the entry.
Q: Can I switch to David or Rubens. How much fuel do you think the Jaguars are running today?
DC: We'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out. As Mark said I expect him to pit before I do and hopefully I'm one of the later ones to pit.
Q. Rubens you've had a bit of trouble with the HANS device, but I gather you owe a bit of gratitude to the work David Coulthard and Alexander Wurz have done on the development of the HANS device...
RB: Well it is true. The works on that system....I don't know how accurate we have in terms of having the same system, but I am fairly comfortable now. Like David said it is going to be effective because you have the HANS on top. I'm happy with the system now and it shouldn't be a problem.
Q: Rubens it started in 1973 and at 10 year intervals a Brazilian has won their home Grand Prix. How do you feel about tomorrow?
RB: A bit too much pressure. As I've said before and during the weekend I've turned to...Formula One has turned me into a person who doesn't believe much in the sense of the past. You've got to believe in the real things. I have a competitive car, I think I've chosen the right strategy for tomorrow, we will know that tomorrow, and I am confident that we can do well tomorrow and I hope I am going to be there fighting.
Q: Because of the passion of the crowd here in Brazil, does that actually hinder you in your home Grand Prix?
RB: It used to be. It was a tough, tough feeling all of the time but now it is just like football, you feel at home.
Q: Well done Rubens. You've won the first part, but how do you prepare now for the race, there's so much time between now and the start?
RB: It is a good challenge. I've always enjoyed a challenge. It's going to be a challenge to read the paper tomorrow. It's going to be a challenge to get here. The whole day tomorrow is going to be a challenge. But what I have seen in my life when I was a kid is to be sitting in a competitive car around here and to be waving to my public from pole position, so I the only wish I have is to win the race tomorrow.
Q: Do you think the pressure will build on you?
RB: Of course it will. I think the pressure that matters for us is the one that we build within ourselves. It's the one that creates problems. You have to be at a controlled level to drive well, for you to do things and not make mistakes. So for the pressure outside... I'm sure and I hope that people are buying tickets right now for tomorrow. That's something that I guess is going to happen.
Q: What about your own local weather forecast?
RB: Ah, that I can't tell you. It's something that I'm going to ask my grandmother and I will keep it for me. I will tell you afterwards.
Q: You mentioned a bump, is it at turn four or five?
RB: I'm not so sure that I'm talking about the same bump as you. There is a big bump at turn one. There are some other bumps out of turn eleven. The bumps are there and there are some ways you can avoid them and some ways of making the car better over them. They are quite big, some of them.
Q: David, you seem to have lost a little bit of time in the middle sector, were you conscious of that?
DC: Yes, you get a feeling whether you are heading your corners right. I think all us drivers know that the circuit is quite tricky to get right at turns eight and ten, the two right-handers, where you carry your speed into the kerb. It's quite tricky to get them right without locking up. I didn't lock up so you have to presume that I didn't carry enough speed into the corners, but nevertheless I'm happy with my qualifying position and we will see tomorrow what the strategy means. It could mean that people will stay out for a long time and it will mean nothing. I think we're in good shape.
Q: Given the form of the team so far, you must be feeling pretty confident?
DC: Even when McLaren have had difficult times they are a professional team, so we get on with doing the job and you can see that we're not jumping around on the back of two wins in the first races either. We just continue to get on with the job and work on fixing any problems we have and building up our strengths. We have a parallel programme with the new car as Ferrari have and we will do the best we can.
Q: Did the potential of rain tomorrow come into the thinking for the fuel load etc?
DC: Yes, you have to consider the whole weekend. Obviously, like other teams, we get accurate weather forecasting, so it's something to consider.
Q: Mark, well done, it looked very good until the final sector when you seemed to lose time?
MW: Yeah, we lost a little bit of time at turn nine but I think these guys were carrying a little less wing as well. There's only one corner and my Mum could push from there, so I must have lost a little time on the straight. But it was still a good lap for us.
Q: Presumably you were pretty happy with the car?
MW: Yes, very happy. I watched Antonio and a few other guys to see the conditions of the track, to see where the battle was. The conditions were different in the warm-up. You've got stay reasonably conservative, that's the approach with these new regulations. You are taking the qualifying car straight into the race, the track's moving around quite a bit, so you've got to stick with the beast you know.
Q: What about the pressure going last?
MW: Well, the boys said that you must be in the top ten at least. We weren't expecting to be that high up to be honest but going last meant that I could save a lot of fuel coming in, so I just cruised around doing about a five minute lap coming in.
Q: A question for all of you: following the business yesterday concerning wet tyres and the FIA stand that your team chose the tyre specification, do you, as drivers, stand by your team's decision to bring those tyres?
MW: Well, the drivers' briefing yesterday was pretty fiery. Rubens made a good point, David made a good point. Rubens's point was that it's all about performance, the season is about performance and of course you want to bring a full wet tyre if there's heavy rain, but that's only going to work in a very specific condition and then when the track dries, you're going to need a tyre which has a 15 second potential window. As drivers, we knew that collectively Michelin or Bridgestone had brought the tyre which would work in the biggest range and when there's more water on the track it's not safe for us. In my view, that needs to be changed for the next race. We need to have a tyre which shifts the water out of the way and that has to happen. You don't lose the car at 60 or 70 kmh, you lose the car at 280, you're a passenger then, and we need to do something about it because at this track, they've done a good job with the drainage. OK, there's some standing water but at Suzuka, at Silverstone, what are we going to do there?
But yes, we have brought the right tyre for a condition which is probably four seconds slower than what we ran in yesterday morning. But that's the widest operating range, you work in wet degrees going into drier conditions.
RB: Nothing more to say, just the fact that tomorrow we have to stick together if there is a situation where we feel that it's not appropriate. We have to get together and chat because as Mark was saying we have the right tyre, because as a tyre they are going to live longer and it's the tyre that can run for longer. But the exception is when we have a situation like Friday when visibility is impossible. You are aquaplaning all the time. You are not dealing only with a crash within yourself or with your car, it's when you come across someone who has spun and is right in the middle of the track because he doesn't have the right tyre as well. I have a car which is quite capable, but someone might not have the same. So we have to deal with that, and so for the short term, try to maintain this.
DC: No further comment. In answer to the question I support my team's decision to bring the tyres we did.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: Rubens and David, you're both about five years older than Mark, I want to know how well you know him, what you think of him as a person, and what you think of his potential in the future when perhaps you are no longer around?
DC: How many years have you been doing this? You must be getting to the end of your tenure as well. (Laughter)
RB: He (Mark) looks older than me. (More laughter). Like all Australians he's a nice guy. We don't know each other very well but he seems to be doing a good job. The Stewart team was a team that did quite well in '99, went down to the bottom; they had the resources to come back. He's on the right direction and he's doing well.
DC: I'm not sure I'm comfortable saying nice things about other competitors but as a person, you can all judge as well as I can. He seems like a nice guy, there's no question there. He's well liked in the paddock. I think he's had enough massaging for today. He's had a great qualifying session, he's more than capable of doing the job. It just confirms what everyone knew.
Q: Rubens, do you think that Williams will be up there tomorrow and Renault as well?
RB: David won from eleventh on the grid and I think Kimi won from seventh, so I think that with these new rules you cannot discount any competitor, anything can happen.
Q: Mark, you seem very quiet, not extremely happy, so does this mean that there's something more to come from you tomorrow?
MW: Well, I'll try and pass them in the first corner tomorrow... But no, it is a good day. It can be a little bit frustrating that people say it's all down to fuel and things like that. We know that we're definitely on a two stopper and we know what we're going to do, and how well things have gone this weekend. We're working well with Michelin and there's no point in getting excited and fired up about what's happened. I'm happy but we've got a race to do tomorrow and in a boring way, we've got a lot of work still to do. We've had a really tough start to the year and we need to see the chequered flag tomorrow. We need to get some points on the board. At the moment we don't have much.
Q: Realistically what can you do tomorrow?
MW: I think if we have a good clean race, good pit stops, we might be able to finish in the top six. That's a good result for us, a very strong result.