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Press Conference - Montoya, Klien, Schumacher 22 Jul 2004

Juan Pablo Montoya (COL) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, German Grand Prix, Preparations, Hockenheim, Germany, 22 July 2004

Reproduced with kind permission of the FIA

With Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams), Christian Klien (Jaguar) and Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), each interviewed separately.

Q: Juan Pablo, obviously you were the winner here last year. Have things been getting better the last couple of races?
Juan Pablo MONTOYA:
Yeah, I think the last couple of races things have turned a little bit our way. There are a couple of things coming on the car and it is nice to see that but I think that there is still a long way to go to really be fully competitive.

Q: You had the new aerodynamic package at Magny-Cours for the first time. Has the subsequent development and testing really sorted that out?
JPM:
I think a lot of aerodynamic things are fixed. It doesn’t really change the way you have got to run the car. It was more I think at Silverstone we had a couple of new things on it and improved. It has been pretty good. We have new things here again and I think we have started to get a normal rate of development race by race and it is good to see that. I think the first six months we just fell back so much that it really cost us.

Q: What about also the incidents in Canada and America as well - how much does that affect your motivation?
JPM:
None really! I don’t think it should. It is not about motivation. I think if things like that happen with mistakes I think it is good because it alarms a lot of people and a lot of people, maybe, who are making little mistakes put extra attention to the way they do things. And in a way it was bad for the team to lose the points but apart of that I think it was good.

Q: So it had a positive side?
JPM:
I think it had a positive side in the end. I think when things like that happen you have to look at the positive side and try to learn from the mistakes. And I think if the team learned from its mistakes then it is good.

Q: What about the fact you have a new team-mate here again - how does that affect you?
JPM:
Well, it is strange to work with somebody else every race, but it is the way it is. It is harder for the rest of the team than myself. It is harder for the race engineer than myself. I am doing the best I can every race with my people working around my car and that’s it.

Q: Will you still expect help from him, will you still get help from him, and how much can you help him?
JPM:
If he asks, I will help. With Marc (Gene) I tended to help him quite a bit because he asked. If Antonio asks I will help him.

Q: And will you expect help from him as well?
JPM:
Yeah, if I have a problem and he seems to be going the better direction than me then for sure.

Q: Now, what about Michelin’s contribution here? Have their tyres improved, do you feel?
JPM:
Testing the last time went quite well so I think these conditions, weather wise, you know, are probably not as extreme as Jerez but I think it should be very good.

Q: And does that mean the Michelins generally speaking are going to be good?
JPM:
Yeah, last year was a very good race here for the tyres and, you know, we were miles quicker than everybody else. And there is quite a bit of hope still in the car that we could do well here.

Q: So, having said earlier you have still a long way to go, do you think the tyres could compensate for that?
JPM:
Yeah, I think between all the Michelin teams that are top runners – like McLaren, Williams, Renault and BAR - I think we are just very close. One race suits one more than the other and that just makes it really hard. One race you can be P2 and the next race you can be P8! It’s tough.

Q: What about your own ambitions for the rest of the season?
JPM:
You know, just push as hard as I can, try to get as many points as possible. It would be nice to get a couple of podiums and if we can get a win it would be great.

Q: Because qualifying has been good this year.
JPM:
Yeah, last year qualifying was one of my weak points and this year it has improved a lot. There are still bits that you can improve but the last few races, the way it has been, it is quite important to finish in a good place to score good points. You cannot be so greedy as at the beginning of the year. You have got to make sure you are up there all the time.

Q: And when you look at the way it has gone in the last few races, can you see anyone closing in on Ferrari?
JPM:
Yeah, I think everyone has closed the gap a little bit but….

Q: Do you still feel it is quite big?
JPM:
Yeah, it is. I think it depends on the races you are at. Some races it is going to be huge, some races it is going to be closer. This, I think, might be one of the closer ones.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Dan Knutson – National Speedsport News) Juan, you talked about the tyres here but overall how do you think the whole package will work here?
JPM:
It is hard to say. I am hoping that it works well; I am hoping that we will do good. It would be great if we could get a podium, it would be awesome if we could get a win. It has been a year since the team has won a race so it would be really nice to see the car performing well here.

Q: (Adrian Hubert – Agencia Efe) Do you think Mark Gene missed a great chance by not scoring higher in these last two races?
JPM:
I think he was unlucky. He made a couple of mistakes at the last race in qualifying and he was stuck in traffic all day in the race and I think he lost a bit of an opportunity there because I think throughout the weekend he was very fast.

Q: (Peter Windsor – Speed Channel) It may be an optical illusion but a couple of years ago in Formula One whenever the safety car came out and there was a re-start we could sort of look forward to the race coming alive again and the cars bunching up and maybe a few passing manoeuvres. In the last few races when we have had a safety car it has been unbelievably boring and the cars have been very spread out and nothing has ever happened apart from Michael’s move, of course, at Indy. First, is that just an illusion or is it real and if it is real is it in any way related to the loss of the third element on the rear wing and the cars being less driveable in traffic now?
JPM:
I think the cars have always been very bad around traffic. You know, for me in the last race it was very disappointing for me because I lost about 100 metres with Heidfeld, you know, he went around the last corner and backed off. He nearly didn’t even let me by into turn one, I thought he wasn’t going to back off but I was pretty committed already and he backed off at the last minute. So I lost about 100m to Button thanks to Heidfeld and I think that is something that might have to be reviewed – the way backmarkers are between the traffic. And Michael, it cost him as well with me in Monaco. And even if that actually would have happened it would have been a compromise for him or for Trulli, you know, it is bad.

Q: (Peter Windsor) Is the situation worse now than it was a couple of years ago?
JPM:
No, I think it is the way it is. Some days you can pass, you know, it is how your car behaves, if you have a quicker car, you know, if you are in a slower car you can do very little about it.

Q: (Adrian Hubert) You won here last year, do all the victories mean the same to you or maybe the way you won some…
JPM:
This was nice because it was the Germany Grand Prix, it was the Schumachers’ home and it was a BMW track so from every aspect it was good. And it wasn’t a close win - it was a win by miles, so that was nice. Every victory has got its nice things.

Q: (Peter Windsor) We all know you are driving for a different team next year. Presumably at some point there will be a moment where you cannot be as involved with Williams’ development and what is going on with the team as you have been in the past. Have you reached that point yet and, if not, where do you think that point will come?
JPM:
Testing has been restricted a little bit, they put somebody else in to drive the car but it is not a big deal. I am pretty happy with the way things are going – I have some time for myself, everything is good in a way. I am testing next time in Monza and that is it, you know. I have done three tests this year since the season started but I don’t mind too much. As long as I have the same equipment as the car beside me come race weekend then I am pretty happy.

Q: (Peter Windsor) Do you, for example, know what next year’s Williams is going to be like? Do you know the lay-out or are they going to try to keep that information from you?
JPM:
They are probably trying, and they are!

Q: (Dan Knutson) Michael winning time after time after time after time, not only this year but the last four years or whatever, is that good or bad for Formula One?
JPM:
It depends how the press puts it. If they put it in a good perspective then it is good for Formula One, if they put it in a bad perspective then it is bad for Formula One. It is more up to you guys than up to us. I think Ferrari have done a very good job over the last few years, we have been close to beating them but they always come up on top and I think the way the press has put it is the way people see it. People only see what you write. If you write Formula One is boring, Formula One is bad, everyone is going to say that. If you say it is great because Michael is winning and he is setting new standards in Formula One they are going to think it is a great thing. So, that is what I think.

(With Christian Klien)

Q: Christian, Hockenheim is quite a lucky circuit for you, isn’t it?
Christian KLIEN:
It is, yes. I have had here a couple of races and it is nearly my home Grand Prix because I live just two and a half hours from here and every race that I raced here I was on the podium. I really like the circuit. I also liked the old layout, it was maybe a bit more fun to drive, a bit more history in the circuit, but I also like to race this circuit so I am looking forward to racing here in a Formula One car.

Q: Now, you have several developments on the car. What do you know about them and how much testing have you done with them?
CK:
We have a new aero package for this race weekend. We tested it last week in Jerez and had a good three-day test there. There is a bit more downforce so I think it is a good step for us and I am looking forward to driving it in the race.

Q: Now, what about the engine, because that is the one thing, we are told, that really is lagging behind a bit?
CK:
We did a good step in Magny-Cours, it was our new engine, especially for qualifying and also for the race. Yeah, for sure a good step, we try and work still on it and try to make it better and better to the end of the season.

Q: There is a classic history of Jaguar not being very good with their second drivers, perhaps. What have you got to do between now and the end of the season?
CK:
First of all the first half of the season was more or less to get used to Formula One and know how to work with the team and everything. Now, the second half is for me to build up on these things that I learned there and I think it is a good opportunity to really show my talents. It is important to get a good race weekend with a good qualifying performance, which is important for the race, and have a good race. So I try to fit it all together and, for sure, the goal is points, it is difficult to get it but we are on a good way, I think, and with a bit of luck it is possible to score points.

Q: We’ve just had six races in eight weeks - how does that feel for a young driver like yourself, the youngest in the field?
CK:
It is quite tough these back-to-back races but I did not feel too much of a problem. Especially in Canada, I was really happy that the next race was just one week later because I had a bad race weekend and I proved that I could make it better on the other weekend and the same was true for Magny-Cours and Silverstone. Especially for a young new driver you have to learn a lot and especially every race weekend you are learning and you get more experience and so you can build it up and make it better in the next races.

Q: Just going back to the aerodynamic package that you have for this race - is that intended to cure a problem with the car or is it just a development to find more performance. I mean, is there a problem with the stability of the car?
CK:
I would say it is not a problem. The car is sometimes a bit nervous on the rear, especially in braking, but at the last race it was not an issue and with this aero package it will be even better and I think it will be for sure a good step and help, as a driver, to push a bit harder on brakes as well.

Q: Now, you have just been training at home I believe. Tell us what you have been doing.
CK:
I was at home for four days after three days testing in Jerez last week, which was a pretty hard time there; it was 36 degrees, so I was happy to go home to Austria where the temperatures were a bit cooler! I went up to the mountains, did a bit of cycling, hiking, and it is always nice to be back home and to see friends and relax and, for sure, train as well under very nice conditions.

Q: Now, Mark (Webber) reckons he is a bit of a cyclist in the mountains as well. Are you going to invite him in these next three weeks, see how he can cope up the Austrian passes?
CK:
Yeah, for sure. I said to him he should come to Austria and we could make some good tours. He is really good on the bike, he is doing a lot of road cycling and, yeah, perhaps I show him the mountains because that is different.

Q: And mountain biking as well, he does mountain biking.
CK:
Yeah.

Q: So, what have you got planned for the three- week gap?
CK:
I think just stay at home. You know, you are travelling so much during the year so when you have two or three weeks holiday I stay at home. I have all my friends there and I live in a nice country, I have everything there that I need so there is no point to drive away.

Q: Now the next race, obviously in Hungary after this one, do you see it as a bit of a home race for you?
CK:
Absolutely. It is one hour from Vienna, lots of Austrian fans I think will come to this race and it is, for sure, also a home Grand Prix for me. For me, Hockenheim is closer to where I live but I think lots of Austrian fans are there, it is good motivation for me, so I try to make a good job there.

Q: Now, you know this circuit. How many of the remaining circuits do you know?
CK:
Um, I know Hungary and I know Spa from Formula Renault, I know Monza and then China, Japan and Brazil are again very new for me. But when I came to the first circuit that I knew, that was in Imola, I knew it from Formula Renault, and I thought it helps more if you have raced there before. But when I came there in a Formula One car it is completely different – the speed, the braking points, the bumps feel different, you use the kerbs differently, so it is more or less you have to go on the circuit new. Normally on a race weekend it takes the whole Friday testing to get used to the circuit, to get up to speed, and on Saturday you can start to work on set-up with the engineers to improve the car.

Q: How useful has it been having Bjorn Wirdheim and obviously Mark as well – having three drivers on the Friday?
CK:
It is very useful. Especially, Bjorn Wirdheim can do the tyre testing for us, can try different set-ups, so that is a massive help for us. And also as a young driver like me I can learn a lot from Mark because he is always on Friday very quickly up to speed so I can see from the data exactly where I need to improve so it is a good help for me.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Will Buxton - Metro) Christian, there were reports in the British press – quotes from David Pitchforth – that maybe he felt you came into Formula One a little prematurely. Do comments like that spur you on to drive harder or do they knock your confidence?
CK:
I mean, sure, sometimes you get those things in the media but for me it’s important to concentrate on my thing and I am absolutely confident and absolutely feel good in my team, in Jaguar Racing and so there is no point in getting upset and it is not good when you think too much about these things because the important thing is to perform well and try to do your best and still improve during the year.

Q: (Dan Knutson – National Speedsport News) Christian, what is the most difficult thing to learn or to master in Formula One, and what was something maybe you thought was difficult but which actually turned out to be very easy.
CK:
First of all I think it is very difficult, on a high-speed circuit like Barcelona and also, I think, Spa will be one of these circuits, to get up to speed quickly on a race weekend in the high speed corners because you need good confidence to use all the downforce of the car, to be as quick as your team-mate or the other drivers in these corners. I think that is a difficult thing. And what is easier? Nothing. Everything is difficult in Formula One. It’s all at the maximum and especially in the first year, when you come from Formula Three, you have to learn so many things. Even after twelve races you learn in every test day, you learn in every race situation you learn and you improve yourself.

Q: Presumably with the test ban coming up you are looking for a fairly major improvement from this weekend, because it’s going to be the same for the next couple of races?
CK:
It is, yeah, so this test in Jerez was very important for us. I think we did three very good days there. Also, for me as a driver, it’s always good to have test days to improve yourself, to work closer with the engineers, to get a feel for the car, so it’s also very good for the driver, and of course, we improve the car. And that will be for the next three races.

Q: Do you think your motivation is as high now as it was at the start of the year or do you feel a little tired, particularly after this recent run of races?
CK:
No, it is absolutely the same, I think maybe even higher because now I know how difficult and how tough it is in Formula One and you have to do everything the right way and everything 100 percent, so there is no time to drop your motivation and to slow down.

Q: Here is a strange question which you may or may not be able to answer. Last year, you won the Marlboro Masters Formula Three race at Zandvoort, that’s coming up in the next couple of weeks, who do you think is going to win it this year?
CK:
I think the Formula Three Euroseries is very strong again this year. There are ten drivers at every race who can win the race, but Jamie Green is very often in front, especially with the French team, the ASM team, and I think he has the experience and he could win it. But Nelson Piquet was also very quick there last year, he was on pole and then finished second behind me in the race, so I think he will also be somewhere in the front there.

Q: (Walter Zipser - DSF) Concerning the break, you will be driving a race car in the next few days, the classic event in Austria, the Ennstal Classic, alongside guys like John Surtees and Stirling Moss. What are your feelings about that and what car will you be driving there?
CK:
I am driving the Ennstal Classic in Austria next week and so on Saturday I will be there and driving an old Jaguar E-type. At the moment I don’t know exactly which car it will be, but it will be a good opportunity to drive in such an old and historic car and I think it will be great fun, especially with all the old racing legends there.

With Michael Schumacher)

Q: Tell us about the football last night, how did it go?
Michael SCHUMACHER:
Very good, enjoyed ourselves, amazing crowd, really great support we had from our fans and good success in terms of the money we were able to raise for the children. All the guys who came enjoyed themselves, we had a nice dinner afterwards together and they seemed to have a great party afterwards which I obviously didn’t attend but everybody said they were quite happy.

Q: So who were the star players?
MS:
We had Effenberg, we had Torsten Frings, and we had lots of good German players – ex-players, obviously not players who play in the leagues right now because they are just in preparation. A bit of an unfortunate situation with Figo, who had to cancel at the last minute, for whatever reason. It was a little bit disappointing because I went to his game and he sort of committed himself to come to our game and he didn’t come up, so that was a little bit disappointing for the fans there. But anyway, we had a good game and guys like Matthaus were there, Toni Schumacher was there, a good level of people.

Q: And the score?
MS:
We scored 6-6 altogether. It seems to be tradition that we even out (the score). I don’t know how it works all the time but it does seem to work out somehow.

Q: Now, what is the story about your – I don’t know whether you call it a good luck charm – the thing that you have round your neck? That apparently went missing, is that right?
MS:
Yeah. I lost it during the English Grand Prix and it’s a – how do you say – a lucky piece from my wife, and it’s obviously quite meaningful to me because it has all the initials of the family on there. It is not highly valuable but it has a personal meaning to me and I was lucky that a good guy found it and actually returned it to me today.

Q: Did he find it outside the circuit or within the paddock?
MS:
Within the paddock, it was apparently somewhere close to our motorhomes where I was running. A little clip came undone somehow and that’s why it came off. It’s lucky I got it back. It’s now in my pocket.

Q: This weekend’s circuit, it’s quite interesting, because by your own standards, it’s not one of your luckiest, in fact. You’ve had one pole position and two wins here, so how do you feel about Hockenheim?
MS:
Yeah, my results don’t look too great for whatever reason but coming here I always feel good. And I just hope that, as I didn’t finish as good in England in previous years and I seemed to turn that around, (I will) be able to do the same here.

Q: You have had a fantastic season so far and you can clinch the Constructors’ Championship here. But do you feel they are closing in on you?
MS:
I definitely do. We live from the fact that we almost always get 100 percent out of our package, get the right bit, our strategies and live occasionally from when our competitors don’t do it, because maybe they had a bad qualifying or they just made a mistake on the strategy, which allows us to look very strong. To win as many races as we have done in this season shouldn’t have happened, honestly, but we are glad it has happened and we hope we can continue.

Q: The Constructors’ Championship, obviously you’re fairly confident that you’re going to clinch it, if not here then elsewhere.
MS:
We would rather do it here, obviously. It would be a nice present for our fans and supporters to do it here and it could mean that we could have a nice celebration afterwards.

Q: There is another great sportsman making history at the moment, Lance Armstrong, in the Tour de France. How do you see his accomplishments in relation to your own?
MS:
I don’t really see that you should compare in any way, because what he is doing is so unique and so special. I was just watching television, them sitting on the bikes again after so many days being on it, and so many kilometres they have done. I do training myself and I know what it means to do what I’m doing, but to do what they do, that’s massive. It is really, really massive and impressive. We do, maybe, in other views, something different but obviously interesting as well for a lot of people. But to compare, I don’t think there’s common ground except the success, but I think there’s more than just to compare the success.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Will Buxton - Metro) Michael, looking back on your years with Ferrari, the team must be indistinguishable from that of 1996. To what would you attribute, the greatest changes, who would you say had the most influence on the team and how far do you feel the team has come in that time?
MS:
Let me put it this way: You cannot judge success to one single point. It is a series of combinations which need to be right to be as successful as we have been. There are some pinpoints, of which obviously Jean Todt is the first one to mention, to pull the right people together. Then we have to talk about Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne, Paolo Martinelli, a whole group which then forms around them to make happen what does happen. Each one has his portion of this one.

Q: (Will Buxton) You talk about Paolo Martinelli, Ross Brawn and Jean Todt, surely they are not going to at Ferrari forever. Can the team hope to maintain the same course as at the moment?
MS:
Who knows? The point is that we are all not really that old to retire rather soon. We have some more years in front of us and if I understand the situation well, then everybody is happy and everybody could imagine to keep going.

Q: (Dan Knutson – National Speedsport News) Michael, there are going to be 100,000 people out there on Sunday very happy if you win but there will be people elsewhere saying ‘oh no, another Michael win. It’s getting monotonous.’ How do you react to them?
MS:
I think the point is that I worry for the people who cheer for us. I don’t worry for the others, there is no reason to. I would rather make them happy, they support us.

Q: (Stefan Skolik – Mannheimer Morgen) I don’t know if it’s the acoustics here in the room, but is your health OK? You sound as if you might have a cold or something.
MS:
It is nothing to do with last night! I just have a flu. When you have a flu you are not 100 percent but by Sunday I will be.