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Post-qualifying press conference - Spain 07 May 2005

(L to R): Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault, Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren in the post qualifying press coneference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, 7 May 2005

Reproduced with kind permission of the FIA

Drivers: 1st Jarno Trulli (Toyota), 1m14.795s; 2nd Fernando Alonso (Renault), 1m14.811s; 3rd Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren), 1m14.819s.

Q: Jarno, you’re not planning to spoil Jarno’s Spanish fiesta here are you?
Jarno Trulli:
Well, it’s always difficult to predict. Last year I beat him and I was very happy anyway because the crowd here are fantastic with any drivers. I believe for him it’s a nice Grand Prix, but on the other hand I think Toyota is now doing a good job and finally we are right on the top. To be honest, I’m a little bit surprised to be here because all morning I have been struggling with the car a lot, some problem with the engine, so at the end of the day I think all the engineers have done a good job. I did a great lap and I take this opportunity to thank the whole team and the factory as well because we had a new aero update here, they worked very hard, and also the test team which has always run the car well during testing. So we keep improving and today is a good result for all of us.

Q: And an interesting lap because you weren’t actually quicker on any of the sectors or through any of the traps, but you still got fastest lap.
JT:
I think that compared to everyone else, I got it right a bit everywhere without over-driving the car. That was the point, probably. It was a bit windy today and I wasn’t fully confident to attack like I normally do, so that’s why I’m a little bit surprised to be here today.

Q: Fernando, let’s talk about the crowd support first of all. What was it like going out even on your out lap, those grandstands full of blue?
Fernando Alonso:
Yes, it was something special for me, for sure, and probably it was my best lap in a Formula One car so far. I think tomorrow we will have another one and the 66 laps in the race will be something similar. But I think some people started to come to the track today. Yesterday the grandstands were maybe half (full). Today it was maybe 80 percent so you feel it and it’s something amazing and a pleasure.

Q: On this lap today, you were a little bit down after the first sector. Did you know at that point and then you put in a brilliant second sector?
FA:
Well, you always push in every corner, but I knew that I was down because I saw on the big screens in the corner after the (start of the) third sector and I saw the orange colour, it wasn’t green, but anyway I was doing the maximum, it was not because I was conservative. At the end, maybe, in the last sector I lost a little bit of time but anyway, I didn’t run too much this morning because I had a little problem and so to be in single lap qualifying with very few laps – I think I did five this morning – it’s always difficult to take the maximum of the car and I’m very very happy.

Q: And that’s because you’re protecting the engine, of course, with this new regulation we have in 2005.
FA:
No. It was a different problem.

Q: Can you talk about that a little bit?
FA:
No, it’s not anything special and we’ve sorted it out now, so everything is fine, but we lost a little bit in the morning.

Q: Kimi, from where you went out today, the track was obviously a little bit slower and that little incident you had coming out of the tight lefthander, it was a great lap for you to be in the top three.
Kimi Raikkonen:
Yeah, I’m a bit disappointed because I ran wide at corner two. I lost quite a bit of time, I would say half a second in comparison to the morning so the car seems to be quick, I’m just not happy to be in this place. I should really be in first but anyhow we are really close to the second and first guys so it’s a good place to start tomorrow. It wasn’t the best place to start (today) but the car has been working very well the whole weekend so I was quite confident.

Q: The car was working very well the previous weekend too; talk a little bit about the expectation at West McLaren Mercedes. The car appears to be really quick now.
KR:
Yeah, but we still need to finish the races. It doesn’t help if you put it on pole or in the first three if you don’t finish the race, you don’t get points so that’s the area where we need to improve and we have some work to do. At least we have the speed now and that’s the first thing, but the main thing is try to score points and we desperately need more points than the other guys if we want to be anywhere close to getting back in the championship. Everyone’s working hard and we know that we have improved the car and we will get some new parts for the next races, so I think everything’s going in the right direction.

PRESS CONFERENCE

Q: Jarno, well done, you mentioned a problem with the engine, but what about the handling of the car?
JT:
Handling of the car in general I am pretty happy about from yesterday, when I was quite confident, but then I discovered this morning some loss of grip and we have been struggling to get the grip back and that is why I am not fully confident. On my quickest lap, I was not fully confident and that is why you can see in none of the sectors I am not the quickest or even near because I was not pushing as hard as I could but in the end of the lap I had done my best and a good job, but I am not fully confident for tomorrow so it’s a bit unexpected result for me.

Q: What about race performance because that’s been a bit of a problem in some races?
JT:
Well yesterday it looked very strong, but after this morning’s running we still have some question marks about it so we will find out tomorrow. Yesterday, I was very happy about the car and the balance and the long runs as well.

Q: What do you think changed?
JT:
I don’t know, sometimes with the aerodynamics, you can lose a few tenths just because something is wrong, or not well-mounted, or whatever, but I believe my mechanics can do a good job overnight and check the car, as they did for the qualifying. For qualifying, already, the car was better, but I was not as happy as I was yesterday.

Q: Fernando, you mentioned you did little running this morning. Do you think you are suffering because of that?
FA:
Yes, a little, I think all the drivers need some laps during the day to get ready for the single lap qualifying and it happened in Imola that I did not run on Saturday morning and it happened here a little bit, so when you arrive at the time of the lap, in the corners, when you pass the corners, you sometimes think there is more grip than expected and it can be quicker, but you know anyway the lap was good, clean with no mistakes and so quick enough to be in the top three again so as I said before we started the weekend in a good way yesterday, with no problems testing the tyres, so, today, we are still in a strong position, second place, and hopefully we can finish this good weekend tomorrow.

Q: You lost out right at the end in the very last sector. Do you feel you could have gone quicker there?
FA:
Not really. It’s a little bit tricky the last sector and the second sector because it is on the braking point for ten-tenths when you finish the second sector so if you brake late you do ‘pink’ in the second sector and you do worse the third sector and the opposite way maybe… The lap was quite similar to this morning.

Q: It is all so close. It is covered by just one-tenth of a second…
FA:
Yeh, I knew that before this quali… I think because we all run here all winter all the cars are perfectly set up and we drivers we all know how to take the maximum from the car, how to run with new tyres and how to use new tyres here in the winter as well. So I knew that running in the 1:14’s or 15’s the times are very close so I think the real good time to push is in tomorrow’s qualifying.

Q: Just a little local knowledge… What time should we all get up tomorrow morning?
FA:
I don’t know. Very early. The traffic will be too much!

Q: Kimi, you were very early in the running. Was that a disadvantage?
KR:
It doesn’t help you. But given that I am not too happy because I think we should have been quite a bit quicker so we had a good chance for pole but it didn’t happen today and the good thing is that at least we less than one-tenth from the first place so tomorrow anything can happen still. We need to have a good lap and the car has been very good and very quick so I am reasonably happy, but if you know you have half a second to come is a good thing.

Q: What about the new parts. Have they made a difference?
KR:
Yes I would say the car is better than in the last race here and it was quick, but as I said we lost some time today. There is potential in the car, every new part has helped so far otherwise we wouldn’t have used them and we will get some more new cars at the next race. So hopefully we gain even more time, but it is the same for every team. Everyone is improving their cars, not only us. I just hope we can find more than the rest.

Q: You mentioned reliability. You had a problem with the CV joints in San Marino Grand Prix. Are you confident this has been solved?
KR:
I hope so. The problem was the parts were quite badly damaged so we don’t know exactly what happened or went wrong but that is a one-off problem and we haven’t had a similar problem so far. So maybe there was some small problem or I don’t know. But I think it should be okay. But as we say in racing you should never be too confident because something always happens so we do our best and hope it is enough.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Laurentzi Gardmendia - Berria) : Kimi how much do you think you lost in the first corner when you ran a little wide?
KR:
I think about half a second. So… It would have been better for tomorrow.

Q: (Juha Paatalo - Financial Times Germany): Question for Fernando. You said it was very special to be here in front of your home crowd. How does it affect your weekend and your concentration?
FA:
Not much. I think everything is similar in terms of programme and approaching the weekend and meeting the engineers and so on and it is more or less the same thing but its normal when I go out of the track after a meeting with the engineers that I have to run a little bit if I want to arrive in the motor home in the next five minutes, but apart from that I think it is exactly the same approach to this Grand Prix.