Post-qualifying press conference - Malaysia 19 Mar 2005
Reproduced with kind permission of the FIA
Drivers: 1st Fernando Alonso (Renault), 1m32.582s; 2nd Jarno Trulli (Toyota), 1m32.672s; 3rd Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault), 1m32.765s.
Q: How is it to be on provisional pole position here?
Fernando Alonso: Yesterday, we had a few problems, but the engineers did a very good job last night and we again found a quick and easy car to drive this morning. And now in qualifying you cant make a mistake on the single lap, but you have to push. And thats not only today; you have to have a little gap for tomorrows qualifying and this is quite difficult, but at the end we managed to do a good lap and this first position is a great result for us.
Q: It was a very intense-looking qualifying session, everybody running light fuel, new tyres and very, very close
FA: Yeah, very close. Since yesterday, the sessions have been very, very close. The times are maybe closer than ever here in Sepang and this makes the qualifying even more interesting, and for tomorrow as well.
Q: Jarno, you were quickest this morning. We could talk about the rain in Melbourne, but here theres no doubting your speed and that great lap you put in .
Jarno Trulli: Yeah, Im pretty happy about the result and especially for the team, which has been working really hard to give me an updated car aerodynamically and all my mechanics who have worked really hard to give me a fantastic car. We look pretty competitive here. At the moment, I have mixed feelings as Im sure Im happy about my result, but on the other hand Im shocked because Ive just heard the news that a friend of mine has just died, so I want to dedicate this front row to Stefano.
Q: Giancarlo, coming off that win in Australia, the momentum continues for the Renault team. Talk us through that lap in the closing minutes of qualifying?
Giancarlo Fisichella: Yeah, not bad. Its nice to be here again. Im third quickest and considering a bit of under-steer and a couple of mistakes, its not bad, Im happy. We are still competitive, we can still fight to get on the podium and maybe to win the race again. Im happy to be here with Fernando and Jarno. Tomorrow there is another important qualifying session. Even with high fuel the car balance I mean the potential was good yesterday, maybe the car balance wasnt fantastic but today was better and for tomorrow we are quite optimistic.
Q: With the new engine regulations were going into uncharted territory now in Formula One. Youll be running the engine with which you won the Australian Grand Prix, how does that feel - race two with the same engine?
GF: Honestly, yesterday, as soon as I went full throttle, I was really scared because the power is much less because its much hotter than Australia, but then the engine is still consistent, its still strong. I saved the engine in the Australian Grand Prix so I think my engine is quite fresh. You never know, but Im quite optimistic about that.
Q: Fernando, coming back to you, 53 degrees track temperatures when you were out today. Talk a little bit about the heat and what thats like from the drivers point of view, and also from the cars point of view
FA: Yeah, well its a little more difficult to drive with hot track temperatures. The steering becomes quite heavy, and you suffer a little bit of over-steer normally and this will be important for tomorrows race, with the hot temperatures and only one set of tyres. For the driver, I think we all feel the same: very hot temperatures inside, we sweat a lot in the helmet and its a little bit uncomfortable to drive like this, but, anyway, I like the Sepang circuit so much that it doesnt matter if its too hot.
Q: Fernando, what is it about this circuit that makes you love it so much?
FA: I always felt very comfortable here in Sepang. For me, it is the best circuit in the world in terms of the driver. I like all the corners here, like Spa, from the drivers point of view high speed, low speed, it is very wide and not bumpy, so you have everything here to enjoy the lap.
Q: Giancarlo said he noticed his engine was down on paper because of the heat, what about you?
FA: The same. Down on power because of running with these very hot temperatures and high humidity. In Australia, I think I used more of the tyres, from that point of view, because I was pushing every lap and I think the engine revs were more or less the same through the whole race. I am totally confident. I am 100 per cent confident that the engine will not have a problem at all in the race.
Q: Following the rain-affected session in Australia, this is the first proper qualifying so now how do you approach tomorrow?
FA: I am more confident than I was in Australia. I was nearly crying after Friday and now I am smiling. I think in Australia I was competitive on Friday and Saturday morning like I was here this morning and then in qualifying I did not show the potential of the Renault car and I was lucky to have a good race afterwards. Here with normal qualifying, we have shown again that both Renault cars can be in the top three and this is fantastic news for the team.
Q: Jarno, obviously this is confirmation of the speed of the Toyota over a single lap. Is that a surprise to you?
JT: Not really. This morning we were competitive and during the whole weekend we have been always quite good. I have to thank the team because they have been working really hard at the factory to bring some up-to-date aero package so we are moving ahead and this is what I expected at the beginning of the season. Things will be improving for the future because everybody is pushing hard and I want to thank them because the car here has been competitive, easy to drive and hopefully also will be good during the race.
Q: In Australia, you had the problem of going, well, not quite backwards
JT: Well, yes, Australia - it was not expected what happened. We, I, had a problem with one of the rear tyres which made my race pretty difficult by the end of the first thing to the end of the race, but here I think is slightly different, so we have to just wait and see.
Q: You are pretty confident of maintaining your pace and being more consistent?
JT: From what I have seen yes, the car has been quite consistent for a long run. Actually with the heat you can expect anything and again any problems with the tyres will be really bad for this kind of race because you are not able to change the tyres anymore.
Q: Giancarlo, third Are you happy with that?
GF: Yes, I am happy. I am. Honestly. I had a bit of under-steer and I made a couple of mistakes so apart from that third is great. Fernando is first quickest and the quickest today and that means Renault is still strong even on this circuit, which is a very important circuit. There are lots of high speed and slow speed corners. So the potential is very good. Yesterday the car balance wasnt fantastic, but today its better. And we are optimistic for the race. We have another important qualifying session tomorrow with high fuel load, so, yes, it is good.
Q: You obviously want to bump him off pole position and yet the two of you will be in briefing together. How do you approach tomorrow?
GF: Well I will do my best. It is going to be different with a lot of fuel. It will be important to do 100 per cent, but if you make a small mistake you can lose a good chance to be at the top two or three rows. It is important to do a clean lap. I hope do well, to be in the first row. We will see tomorrow.
Q: Did you do a low fuel run this morning?
GF: I was lower than yesterday but not completely empty like a qualifying session.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi - La Gazetta dello Sport): Jarno, a clarification from you please. Shortly before, on television, you dedicated your front row place to Stefano. Can you tell us some more about who he is?
JT: Well he is a friend of mine and he is a rescue pilot. He pilots Canadair and yesterday there was a fire I think in Italy and he was really unlucky after landing on the water and taking off I think he has hit the electrical cables.
Q: ( Jose Carron - La Tribune de Geneve): Can you be a bit more precise when you say you are a bit down on power from Australia because of the heat, but how much?
FA: We dont know. We just press the throttle and we feel it. We dont know the numbers, but this has been normal always. It happens. We break all the records in the winter tests and things like that because it is cooler and everything is working better.