FIA Thursday Press Conference - Part Two 22 Apr 2004
Reproduced with kind permission of the FIA
Drivers: Felipe Massa (Sauber Petronas), Jarno Trulli (Renault)
Q: Jarno, at the beginning of the season, Ferrari said that they feared Renault more than any other team. Do you think that fear has been fulfilled; do you think your performance has been shown so far?
Jarno TRULLI: Lets say that Ferrari was definitely right in terms that we are second in the championship so weve proved that obviously weve got a good package, weve done very well in the first three races. But its also very clear that Ferrari is a very strong team, its got a very strong car with two strong drivers, so they are leading the championship with quite a big gap. But we are second in the Constructors championship and this is the most important thing for us. We know that we have a lot of work to do ahead of us, to keep this position to the end of the championship. Weve got 15 races to go, still a long way, still a lot to do, especially because teams like Williams, like McLaren, like BAR, they can all do very well. Actually BAR and Williams are strong and Im sure McLaren will recover from these disappointing first three races.
Q: Youve obviously got improvements to the car here and to the engine as well. Can you tell us a little bit about that? What are your expectations?
JT: Actually weve got some updates here, because we know that this is the first race in Europe and Imola has always been our black spot. Weve never really performed very well here. We know that our car doesnt really suit this circuit but on the other hand, more than ever we are confident because we have a new engine development, which is quite a big step and some new bits on the aerodynamic side, so we are definitely confident that we can turn this black weekend around.
Q: So will you challenge Ferrari?
JT: Well, theyve updated some things as well so its not going to be easy to catch them. Anyway, every weekend we all try to stop their domination. Actually, at the moment, no one has succeeded but we will try, we will try.
Q: What about your relationship with team mate Fernando Alonso, do you get on well with him?
JT: As usual, yes. I am very happy with the way were working in the team, and with our relationship. No problem at all.
Q: There have been quite a few changes at Renault, with Rob White now in charge of engine development, new technical director in Bob Bell has that made a difference?
JT: To be honest, no. Chassis-wise, Bob Bell was already there before. Hes a very experienced and an extremely good person. He knows his job. He does his job very well and were actually doing very well, so in the end, nothing has changed. Mike has gone its always a loss but it hasnt really affected our performance. On the other hand, I think we gained someone like Rob White, who is an experienced engineer, he knows a lot about good engines, and he can somehow bring some new and fresh air to the Renault team, which has already made the best engine in Formula One, and is back now with an extremely powerful and particularly reliable engine. So far, with Ferrari, I think we are the only team which has finished the first three races with both cars. Its an extremely good achievement, always in the points. They are doing very well on the engine side. The engine we have this year is much better compared to last years so its a good advantage.
Q: Tell us about running in the half marathon in Florence last weekend?
JT: It was great for me because it was a way to relax, a way to get away from Formula One, to get away from people and be one of the many and not be a star as you are here always. Its a good feeling. I like running and personally I achieved an extremely good result because my aim was to run the half marathon in under 1hr 40m by the end of the season and at my second attempt, I went for 1hr 35m, so I think I now have to fix a new target, under 1hr 30m.
Q: Were you very stiff, what were the after effects?
JT: Absolutely not. I was really surprised because during the three weeks before, I didnt have enough time to train. I actually trained only twice, but it was probably one of those days when you can do anything with your body and just go for it. I felt so happy. I was motivated to do it, despite the fact that the weather was bad, it was raining, so it was harder, but no, nothing at all. I played football yesterday as well. Its just a question of training, to get it right.
Q: How many more marathons have you got planned?
JT: Im talking about half marathons, not marathons. Marathon is slightly different. But now Ive fixed a new target, to be under 1hr 30m, and now Im too busy with Formula One, and thats the most important thing.
Q: Felipe, youre not tempted to do something like this, are you?
Felipe MASSA: Yeah, but I never did a half marathon. Maybe a marathon, but actually I run also. I try to run every day, every three days when Im not testing. But I will do it some time, but not at the moment.
Q: Having tested for Ferrari last year, how do you feel coming back to Sauber again? How much do you feel youve changed?
FM: There are a lot less people in the team. I already knew everybody that at Sauber, they are very professional people and Im really happy to be back, especially as a race driver. I think the new Sauber car is a lot better than last years Sauber. I did a back-to-back which was very good. Im really happy. For sure we knew that the first three races would be very difficult and they were very difficult for us, but at least we scored a point in Malaysia and I think now we can improve. I trust in everybody in the team and I think now with the wind tunnel, we can improve.
Q: What did you learn, yourself, as a test driver last year with Ferrari?
FM: I particularly learned on the technical side. I learned quite a lot. Now I understand a lot more in terms of what it means to be a Formula One driver, especially on the technical side of things. I also learned a lot, how to work with the engineers, watching Rubens and Michael working the engineers, so I learned a lot there as well. Thats it. I think that year by year, experience is very important and I think after a year race driving with Sauber, and a year test driving with Ferrari, Ive learned quite a lot.
Q: Some people have referred to this years Sauber as being a blue Ferrari
FM: No, thats not true. Everybody knows that we have a Ferrari engine, Ferrari gearbox I think its a shame to build a completely different car from Ferrari, so I think we have built our own car. Its our chassis, we built it, and we work on that. But its not true. Its our car, we built it and thats it.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Anne Giuntini - LEquipe): How was the football match yesterday? How was it meeting the fabulous Brazilian team?
FM: It was very interesting because in the first half of the match, I think it was better just to stop and watch the Brazilian guys playing, because it was amazing, they are really good and they were just joking with us. It was unbelievable to see how they play. And some of them dont play any more, but they are still very fit and very strong. Its unbelievable, very nice. Then in the second half, we mixed it up a bit, everybody together, and then it was much better.
JT: It was a bit embarrassing at one stage, to be honest. The only thing I understood is the way everyone has got his own job and everyone specialises in his own job. Im fit, I think Im fit and Im an athlete. Probably I can drive a car at 360 kilometers per hour with no problem but they can play with the ball, they can do things that I will never be able to do. I can train every day, but I can never achieve what they are able to achieve, because they have talent. We have got a different talent and as Felipe says, it was amazing at one stage to stop, stand and watch them playing, because it was just absolutely amazing.
FM: It was also funny because when I was young, a child, I was sometimes thinking I could maybe be a football player, you know? And now I have the answer. It is really impossible. To watch them play its really impossible to be a football player. Its better to drive a car and concentrate on Formula One, because its nice to play and have fun, but after we saw how they played its impossible.
Q: (Anne Giuntini - LEquipe): Did they make you run a lot?
JT: Yeah. They didnt run much, but we did, a lot! They were just passing to each other, and we were just following the ball. It was impossible to catch them. I think they are able to hide the ball from you, and if they want, you will never touch it.
Q: (Dan Knutson National Speed Sports News): For both of you guys, can you give us some of your memories of Ayrton Senna, not of the sad day when he crashed here, but other memories of that fantastic driver.
JT: Well, personally, when I was a go-kart driver, I was a big fan of Alain Prost and when Senna arrived, I had to stand up and say this is someone very special, special like Alain Prost. It was amazing to watch them fighting. My best memory was when I actually met Ayrton because back in 1991, I was World Champion and he was World Champion in Formula One. I was World Champion in karting and we were both given our awards by the FIA at their prize-giving in Paris. It was an incredible moment for me, because I was meeting someone very special, but somehow also very nice, a very simple person. An ordinary person. That is my best memory of him. The rest everybody knows.
FM: First of all, he was an incredible driver. I think he was part of the history of Formula One, and sport in general. As a Brazilian, I have to say that he opened a lot of doors for Brazilian people, for Brazilian drivers. I think the Brazilian drivers have a lot of respect in Formula One, after Ayrton and he was an incredible driver. I remember the race in Donington when he overtook a lot of cars at the start in the rain. I think he overtook everybody on the first lap in four corners. It was an amazing race. There are a lot of memories, but I think this race was really impressive for me.