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FIA Press Conference - Alonso and Trulli 01 Jul 2004

With Renault drivers Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso.

Q: Jarno, can we have a voice level, how is it?
Jarno TRULLI:
It’s so-so. Not very loud…

Q: You’ve mentioned that this circuit is a technical one, and one that you enjoy; give us your views of it now that you’ve had a good look at it?
JT:
As usual, it’s been one of my favourite circuits. It’s quite technical, a lot of different kind of corners: slow speed, high speed, medium, changes of direction, hard-braking, so it’s a circuit I like very much and I believe any driver can enjoy it.

Q: But why do you enjoy technical circuits more than say Spa?
JT:
Spa is very technical as well. I like it very much; it’s probably my favourite one. The two, I cannot say, are dissimilar but they are close to each other. Spa is more like an older style circuit, which is fantastic. This one is more natural, a contemporary circuit with a lot of big run-off areas, but I still prefer Spa.

Q: You’ve mentioned that you find yourself very popular here in France; why do you think that is?
JT:
I think it’s because I was driving for Prost Grand Prix, a French team, and I had a lot of French supporters at that time which I eventually found again when I joined Renault a few years ago. And the fact that I speak French fluently so I can give interviews to all the French journalists made me very well known around France.

Q: So you regard this as a second Grand Prix for you?
JT:
Probably the third, the first is Imola, the second is Monaco, the third will be this one, and the fourth one will be Silverstone!

Q: Now obviously people are becoming fairly aware about the speeds in Formula One at the moment. It’s something that you have spoken about earlier on this year. What are your feelings regarding that?
JT:
Well, to be honest, it’s nothing to do with Ralf’s accident but obviously the USA (events) just proved that Formula One cars are very quick and we need more safety, we need to take care of the speed and to slow them down because we all know that there is a lot of technology in this sport and every year we improve our performance - we ask the technicians to make the cars quicker. On the other hand I think the FIA has to work to slow the cars down and to give more safety to the drivers, to the spectators, to everybody, and to give more of a show to the spectators.

Q: Is it in braking, is it in G-force or is it overall?
JT:
I won’t go into details but there are a lot of areas where we should work and it’s not up to me to decide which areas, it’s more likely to be decided by the FIA and I think the FIA, together with the GPDA, we can suggest to them what we think as drivers could be the best way to slow the cars down, or to make our sport safer, but for sure, there is something to do.

Q: What about the GPDA feeling after Indianapolis; was there a feeling that perhaps something could have been done to lessen the impact, for example, of Ralf Schumacher’s accident?
JT:
More than impact, we weren’t very happy about some actions that were taken, like the doctors, the ambulance, the fact that for seven laps we were going through the same place where a lot of debris was on the track, where Ralf crashed. There are a lot of little mistakes, which can be cured in the future and we will probably discuss it this afternoon in the drivers’ briefing and afterwards with all the GPDA members.

Q: Fernando, first of all, Rob White (technical director, engine) says that the team can take the fight to Ferrari on some circuits. Do you think that’s possible in the second half of the year?
Fernando ALONSO:
I don’t know. It’s probably a little bit too optimistic but why not? I think we are working OK, we are the only team who have won a race apart from Ferrari and we guess that the second half of the season will be better than the first half, considering we started with a very new engine project and we know we can develop the chassis a lot more as well. We know we have a very strong potential with the Renault car and during the last half of the season, we will probably take 100 per cent of it.

Q: And a new engine specification here, I believe?
FA:
Yeah, we have something… (laughs) well, you know, every race we have something new coming with the engine and in the chassis as well and here we have something more and hopefully it will help us to be more competitive.

Q: The last couple of races haven’t been very good for you, so what’s your mood coming here?
FA:
Well, work at the maximum as usual and wait for luck to come back to me a bit, or even just not bad luck, normal luck because in Monaco I crashed with Ralf in the tunnel, at the Nuerburgring I had a steering rack problem, in Canada I had the driveshaft problem and at Indy the tyre, so I’ve not been very lucky at the moment, but I’m sure it will change from now until the end.

Q: What about your feelings about qualifying: it’s not being changed, were you looking forward to the new qualifying system? Which would you prefer?
FA:
Well, you know too many changes in too short a time and you get confused as to what you want and what you don’t want. I don’t know. The drivers like to run with low fuel, this is nothing new, everybody knows that because we like the feeling, we like to do… all the people with the same strategy with the same level of fuel in the car for qualifying, like this you see really where you are and you can do the maximum. With fuel on board, you always have speculation and rumour that some people have more, some less and it’s not really qualifying, I think, from the drivers’ point of view. But last year and this year I think we had very good races for the spectators, for us as well. Strategically, I think the engineers’ work with fuel on board in qualifying is much more important now and with the new format that they wanted to impose, we lost a little bit of that but now, maybe, we keep everything as it is now and nothing changes. I don’t think the drivers’ point of view is not really important.

Q: You’re joined at this Grand Prix by another Spaniard, Marc Gene. What does that mean for you?
FA:
Well, it’s good. The way he joined us isn’t good because another driver had a bad accident, but it will be a good opportunity for him.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Dan Knutson – National Speedsport News) Jarno, looking at this weekend specifically, how competitive do you think the car will be and what are your hopes?
JT:
I hope, or we hope the car will be competitive. Last year it was quite competitive. Obviously we’ve noticed that this year the car seems to be performing very well in some places and a bit less in some other circuits. It’s something that we will probably find out during Friday’s sessions and Saturday’s, but we are confident because it is a technical circuit and hopefully we can both have a very good weekend in front of our home crowd of French people.

Q: (Stefan Bomhard – Kicker Sportmagazin) Jarno, imagine they do slow down Formula One. How would you feel about that as a racing driver because you are always searching for the limit?
JT:
Well, I’m sitting here as a racing driver and as a GPDA director, so on one side as a driver, we all want to be very quick or as quick as possible. But on the other hand, I have, with the other GPDA drivers, to take care of ourselves, to take care of our safety, in the circuit, around the circuit and also regarding the spectators. We’ve seen in the past a lot of accidents have happened to them. I don’t think any of us want to return to the time when we lost two drivers in one weekend, so we want to prevent this, we want to try our best, to make Formula One as safe as possible because we want to show, to the whole word, that we are able to build quick cars, safe cars and to make a very good show.

Q: (Dan Knutson – National Speedsport News) We’ve seen some big accidents this year. When you’re in the car, do you guys think of the danger, because let’s face it, no matter how safe any sport is, Formula One can be a very dangerous occupation. Do you think about it, or do you blank it out, that you could get hurt?
FA:
I personally don’t feel any worry when I’m in the car. As soon as the race starts, I feel completely safe. When you lose a car or when I lost the car at Indianapolis, after the first movement I knew that nothing was going to happen to me, because the car is very safe. So from that point of view, I think us drivers feel 100 percent safe when we have a crash. But at the same time, we know that speeds are very high and we are in a sport where the risk is always there.

Q: When you had that accident at Indianapolis, do you think it would have been made worse by having some sort of protection against the wall?
FA:
At that point? Yes because I touched it and the car was sliding and I had no problems. If you had a tyre barrier or something maybe the car would stop and you would have very high deceleration. But it has been proved that tyre barriers help in 90 percent of the cases. But at Indianapolis we know that to have only the wall on the straight is probably better.