FIA Press Conference - Davidson and Webber 08 Jul 2004
Reproduced with kind permission of the FIA
With drivers Anthony Davidson (BAR) and Mark Webber (Jaguar).
Q: Give us an idea what you do, what your job as a third driver entails?
Anthony DAVIDSON: We just have a bit of fun on Fridays! Basically I do general testing, basically we are limited on time and we can only do tyre evaluation work and minimal set-up work as well. But yeah, well, basically some of the times they will take my set-up work on to the race car.
Q: You seem to do more laps than anyone else, what is the reason for that?
AD: Erm, fitter! No, we have a programme we run to and if we do more laps than anyone else then it is because we can, because we have unlimited mileage on the third car engine and we dont have to save that for the race so we can just keep pounding around and get as much data as we can for the race weekend.
Q: You often set very quick times, you are always up there, so we asked Jenson what sort of question we should ask you and he said how much fuel do you run and then I suggested, well how much more revs are you allowed?
AD: He has been winding me up! Just now he said I was on 15kg every time I go out! But, no, me and him are joking about it all the time. Basically we are pretty close now and we have known each other for ages as well, so we can joke about these things. In the general testing I am really close to him now so it is good. It is better for him, better for Takuma as well. The closer I am to them the more relevant the testing is, so it is good for everybody in the team.
Q: Are you saying you do run more revs or you run less fuel?
AD: I run more revs, but it is not much. But we are on the same fuel load all the time.
Q: So you must be pretty pleased with your performances in testing. You normally keep it on the prepared surface and youve been pretty quick as well, so what does the future hold for you?
AD: I have been quick. A lot of it is real genuine lap time. The last run that was really amazing was at Indy, where I actually had more fuel than the two race drivers when I did that time and we did 19 timed laps, so that was a really good one for me there. Basically, the reason I am going faster is that we are really close on speed it is just I get more tyres. So it is flattering me in a way but the times have been really good in general testing anyway, away from the media. We have days when I can be on top of those guys and I come away really happy but nobody really gets to know about it. The future is looking quite good, I have signed a new management deal and Dave and Steve Robertson have come on board to help me and my current manager. So the future is looking promising but there are no discussions that have happened yet and we are just waiting to finalise our plans and move forward together.
Q: Would you be guaranteed some sort of job with BAR if you were to stay?
AD: Yeah, I actually have got a long-term contract with BAR and without being cocky; they would reluctantly let me go to another team to let me race, so I would like to thank them for that. They have been really supportive the whole way through and they would continue to be if we landed something for next year. If not, then we continue doing the testing and, you know, try again.
Q: You are working for a competitive team, is there a certain level down to which you would race?
AD: Oh, beggars cant be choosers, but at the end of the day we havent got any money so we cant pay to be at the back of the grid. It is what I have said all along - I would if I had a sponsor, any day, but we dont, so we cant.
Q: Thank you. Mark, sorry to keep you waiting
Mark Webber: Oh, about time!
Q: What about your future. When can we expect
MW: I know everything and you guys know nothing. That is how it will be today.
Q: But, if things changed
MW: Things are not going to change. I mean, everything, erm, yeah, its quite interesting at the moment. But, erm, yeah, some decisions have been, er, made, I suppose, so now we are just going to see how it all pans out in the next two races.
Q: What is going to happen with Jaguar because it has been fairly disappointing? Are we going to see improvement there?
MW: Last weekend was a very good race for us, we finished within 30 seconds of the podium, obviously there was very low attrition with only one really competitive car, Takuma, retiring. The team did an awesome job, as I say, finishing close to a podium without getting any points is a bit of a shame. The outcome for this race is we are hoping for attrition to get points, you have got to get there on pace alone, so in general Magny-Cours was a very strong weekend for us, but we have got people ahead of us in the championship that we lapped in Magny-Cours but they are ahead in the championship because they finished on the days where there was a lot of attrition and we were part of that attrition, i.e. Canada, Indy, Monaco. So it has been bloody frustrating, to be honest, but we are all in it together, the guys were working incredibly hard and will do so this weekend as well. And we will try to get as close as we can to the pace and work for a very good set-up for the race and get as many points as we can.
Q: Do you think this weekend is going to be better?
MW: Well, to match Magny-Cours could be difficult, to be honest. We just have to wait and see how it goes. The weather is obviously going to play a huge part. Maybe tomorrow will be similar to Magny-Cours with limited running and we will have to make some decisions on Saturday morning. But at least a lot of people have had some sensible dry running here with the test that we had here so that is good for Michelin and Bridgestone and the other teams. You know, it is a similar sort of circuit in some ways to Barcelona, a lot of high speed corners and you need very good efficiency with downforce here and our aerodynamic package is definitely one of the stronger parts of our car so I hope we will go well.
Q: What about engine development, because it was suggested quite recently that that is where you are lacking power?
MW: Well, of course, you can always have more power - you can never have enough. I think we have seen the progress that Honda have made in the last 12 months does reap rewards in terms of lap times. And it is very easy lap times, so it is quite easy to do on the straights. I think at Northampton, Cosworth are doing an awesome job with what they have but it is not a championship about getting points for horsepower per dollar spent, it is a championship for the most horsepower, so we need to try to find some more.
Q: What about your own agenda at the moment? You did a 24-Hour mountain bike race the other day?
MW: Yeah, it was a lot harder than I thought, to be honest, and I did the race (Grand Prix), obviously, in America, then we went to Barcelona and did a few laps around there and I was pretty tired going into the (bike) race in general and most of the riders were pretty even in our team. We finished 33rd out of 400 teams, so we did pretty well. There were a few sense of humour failures because I slept in the back of my car, which was planned, which was fine, but the English weather was true to form and it absolutely pissed down for the whole time we were there, so that was great. But, yeah, there were a lot people there were people doing it on unicycles, can you believe that, a unicycle. There were some, without being sexist, there were some female solo riders, which was very impressive, to be honest. The stamina and strength and endurance they had was bloody amazing, to ride a bike for 24-hours on your own. I was speaking to one girl, she fell asleep on the bike, so..! Yeah, went to the Tour de France yesterday and met Lance Armstrong, enjoyed that, that was bloody awesome because he took the yellow jersey yesterday, so yeah, came back in a helicopter and got stuck at Dover because of the weather again so had five-and-a-half hours on a train yesterday, so it was all good fun!
Q: Now, Lance Armstrong is one of your heroes, isnt he? What have you got planned for the summer? Last year you went to the Alps, have you got the same thing planned again?
MW: Probably not to be honest, I am probably going to have a bit more of a relaxing break this year. Well it was relaxing enough, but I have done enough travel. I just want to chill out this summer.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Dan Knutson National Speedsport News) Can you tell us a bit more about meeting Lance and what happened and how long you were with him and so on?
MW: Not very long, to be honest. He was obviously in preparation for the team time trial yesterday. I was at the bus with the team, a lot of the mechanics were interested in talking about my job and I was interested in talking about their job obviously, in terms of all the carbon fibre and the wheels and aero set-ups that the riders get in and that sort of stuff. Lance arrived, said a quick hello and clearly he was in the zone and he had a job to do that day which I totally respect. But there will be, you know, I admire people that can do things that I cant do. I dont have many racing drivers as heroes because they can do things that I can do, in a sort of way, so I dont really look up to them. I look up to Lance because of what he has gone through. And some other riders there, some of the Aussie guys, it is good to talk to them. It is an amazing event, if you havent been to the Tour de France then it is probably good to go and check it out. It is an amazing spectacle.
Q: (Jonathan Gill Auto Express) Mark, if I remember rightly you were at the top of the timesheets in testing here a couple of months ago. How come you were so fast then and why wont you be as fast over this weekend?
MW: Well, when we did those times we were expecting to have lower fuel levels, if you like, because of that qualifying rule change that never came through in the end. So, clearly we had a bit less fuel in the car so that wasnt a real representation of our pace. But, you know, that is why it wasnt we are not the quickest car around here, or not the slowest, so we will see where we end up.