Reproduced with kind permission of the FIA
With Gianmaria Bruni (Minardi) and Jarno Trulli (Renault).
Q: Jarno, today Olivier Panis announced that he is not going to be driving as a race driver again with Toyota and for some reason the world seems to think that youre going to be filling his place. Could you just tell us how sure you are about your place for next year because I have a feeling youre not going to tell us where its going to be?
Jarno TRULLI: At the moment I havent made any announcement and all I can say is that I will be driving next year - I have a contract but obviously I am going to have to wait before I can announce it.
Q: Is it going to be rather different from where youve been in the past? Is it going to be a rather different challenge?
JT: It will always be Formula One and I will always be challenging for a top position.
Q: In Spa we saw you have a most unusual race where your performance was definitely not up to the standards that you set for yourself and we understand that there may have been something wrong with the car. Can you just go back to that race and tell us what youve discovered since the race about what was wrong with your equipment?
JT: Well, to be honest I struggled all weekend to set up the car. I hadnt been quick until Saturday when it was wet for qualifying. I actually have to say that I was also somehow lucky during qualifying because I took the gamble to use intermediate tyres and then we took a good decision, together with the team. It paid off in qualifying. The pole position was a bit of a surprise. Then on Sunday, when I started the race, I wasnt so confident because on Friday I wasnt very quick. But for whatever reason, the first ten laps the car was literally flying. It was really good, as I never had it before. And then after the stop I was struggling again. We didnt find anything on the car and so we struggled to understand what the problem was and even after, during the race, I was thinking what has happened and looking back, I struggled to understand if anything happened on the car or if anything happened to me because when I analysed the race I can tell you exactly the feeling, what the problem was, but when you dont see anything you can understand, thats the worst thing you ever saw.
Q: So its not something you can attribute to the chassis. Are you using the same car again this weekend?
JT: To be honest, I dont know, I dont think so. I think probably we have changed chassis but to be honest I havent checked which chassis I have or which Fernando has. I just dont understand.
Q: What are your hopes for next year? Its difficult asking the question since none of knows where you are going next year. I wonder if we could ask you what your feelings are about next year, whether you feel you will be in contention for the World Championship?
JT: As far as I know, if I will be driving, I will be driving to win races. That is my target, thats my goal. There is some work to do as everywhere and everything. I would just like to have a good team with a lot of support from them which makes me work well and improve the car and try to get close to Ferrari which at the moment is the team to beat. We dont know anything about next year because we dont know who is going to be quick or not. We presume that Ferrari will again be the team to beat together with Michael Schumacher. Motivation is always high on my side, especially now because I think I am on top of my career, the top of my experience so I think its time to use it.
Q: Have these last few races with Renault been difficult for you - because you are on the record as having said that some peculiar things have happened with the handling? Do you feel a bit despondent, a bit worried about going into these last four races, or can you put yourself into a positive frame of mind?
JT: Im always positive. I think every race is a different story. I couldnt believe I would be on pole in Spa and I did it. I just think that Ive had some bad times, some luck, some mistakes, but things always turn around and I believe that the last races, anyway, will be difficult because we know that weve got McLaren coming up very strong and Williams is always there, BAR is always there so as a team, Renault, we are going to have to push very hard if we want to keep second position in the Constructors championship. On the other hand, I am absolutely confident with Renault and I would like to finish on top.
Q: Im sure all of us are interested in how your hair has changed a bit this year and now youve shown up here with a beard. Of course, you got married recently. Is growing a beard something you wanted to do but didnt dare to do until after you got married.
JT: (Laughing) No, no, no. Everything is alright. Long hair was the new look. This beard is because I didnt have time to shave.
Q: For two weeks?
JT: Its just one week. I wanted to shave yesterday but I had the football match and I was late, so at the end of the day I didnt do it. I will do it for tomorrow.
Q: Gianmaria, lets look on this year for you. I wonder which race this year has given you most satisfaction because, of course, we dont always have the chance to talk to you about these things after races?
Gianmaria BRUNI: Obviously racing for Minardi is always difficult for the race. You have to take care about overtaking and the blue flags and letting the other guy who is quickest through. Its always very difficult. Sometimes we did a good qualifying and in the race we were struggling because we were watching the mirrors and leaving space for the other guys. I think it was a good race for me in Malaysia and Budapest and it was a good qualifying in Spa and we were quite quick for what we have now and quite close to the Jordans in front of one car and close to the other. I was very happy. Obviously the race wasnt very nice it was finished after 600m. But Malaysia was very good for me and Budapest was another race where I actually drove and did the best I could.
Q: What have been the most pleasant things about being in Formula One and, perhaps, what have been the worst?
GB: Obviously Formula One is the highest category in the world and everybody wants to be here and tries to be again and stay in Formula One for a long time. My goal is to stay again next year and try to show that I am able to do it. This year, I was able to show small things because obviously if you dont have a good car to show, obviously its difficult to do it. But I am sure with a good car I can be there.
Q: Jarno alongside and Giancarlo who was previously in the press conference both came from Minardi. Do you ever go and talk to them and ask them for help and information?
GB: You know a racing driver is difficult to believe! (Laughs) But Im talking about my personal feeling. Obviously I spoke a little bit with Giancarlo and also a little bit with Jarno and Im happy that theyve gone forward and that Jarno won a fantastic race this year and he started with Minardi, so its fantastic for me and a good story for the Minardi team.
Q: You have hinted that you want to stay with the Minardi team next year. How close are you to being able to do that?
GB: Next year is going to be, for sure, for us a good step forward. We will have a good engine, much better than what we have now, the car is going to be a new car and we will do more testing, so I am sure that Minardi will go forward a bit more. Obviously for me, now I know all the guys from the team and all the engineers and if I would stay with them then for sure we would go forwards.
Q: Do you have any regrets about doing Formula One? Do you feel that maybe you should have come in in a different way or at a different time? Or are you satisfied with the decision you took a year ago?
GB: It was the right time to step forward. I did F3000 last year, Euro 3000, I was leading the championship when I left there and I started doing Friday testing so it was a good opportunity to do Friday testing, be quick last year with a very experienced driver like Jos Verstappen and this year step forward with a proper race drive. Obviously its difficult. I always knew before I started the season that it was difficult to race with Minardi, so there was a question mark but it was also a gamble to do it, but I did it. At the end of the season I will see where I am and where I am going.
Q: Have you made friends in Formula One?
GB: Obviously my team-mate, he was racing with me in 1999, obviously were closer than we were before. I have also met nice guys in Formula One, like engineers from other teams. Im fine.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi Gazetta dello Sport) Jarno, a question about safety. There was quite a dangerous accident last week. We came from a race in Belgium that had a lot of problems with the tyres and during the season there were also some other mechanical problems with the car. Are you worried to come here, speaking as a GPDA member, racing on such a high speed circuit with all these problems?
JT: We didnt just know these problems now. We race with prototype cars, prototype tyres. We keep pushing, developing everything around the car, so failure can happen, anything can happen. It is a part of our job. The risk is part of our life. Driving on such a high speed circuit, we know that the risk is higher but luckily, in general, we can say that the safety issues at this circuit are really small. We are only concerned about the speed because obviously we reach 370 kph as our maximum speed so on the circuit we know that the risks are higher. We have seen some failures from the cars, we have seen some failures from the tyres and this happens when there is a lot of competition and everybody is pushing each other to improve their results, their performance. As a GPDA member, I cannot be more worried than anyone else and I can only raise my concern, especially when we are all together. For next year, obviously, we want to improve the safety of Formula One and we are working on it together with the FIA and all the team members.