Post-qualifying press conference - USA 18 Jun 2005
Reproduced with kind permission of the FIA
Drivers: 1st Jarno Trulli (Toyota), 1m10.625s; 2nd Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren Mercedes), 1m10.694s; 3rd Jenson Button (BAR), 1m11.277s.
Q: Its been a tough weekend for the team, how have you tackled it?
Jarno Trulli: We have done very limited mileage but we have done the best today that we could do, trying to guess the set-up, the tyres and everything so Im really glad about the outcome of todays qualifying.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about how much this has affected your preparation?
JT: Well, we have done a very small number of laps the previous day and even today. This morning I probably only did ten laps, not even consecutive, so we were trying to guess a little bit about the balance and for me the car balance yesterday was OK. We just had to try and get some more grip after the heat because this Indianapolis circuit has always been very slippery. Again, today was a mixed day because weve had some problems and probably some decisions need to be taken for tomorrows race.
Q: And your thoughts on tomorrows race in terms of strategy? Do you think the Michelin situation will have affected things more than usual?
JT: To be honest, at the moment its very difficult for me to talk about tomorrows race. We still have to get some data from Michelin and then we will probably understand better what we can do and what we cannot do. Anyway, today was a great day for me and for Toyota because we claimed our first pole position together.
Q: Kimi, it looked to be very quick on the infield sector but lost out in sectors one and three
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, I dont know why really. I thought it was a pretty good lap, a similar time to what I did this morning so I was happy with it and now we just need to wait and see what the others are doing with the pit stops, but I think we are in a pretty strong position right now.
Q: Whats it been like at West McLaren Mercedes in this Michelin situation in the build-up to the race?
KR: OK. I think its the same for every team. It hasnt made our preparation any easier but we did the best we could. I havent been 100 percent happy with the car but now, in the last practice and in qualifying, it seems to be pretty OK, so Im much happier than I was yesterday. I dont really worry about the tyres tomorrow in the race. I think they will be OK, and of course, we need to be a little bit cautious with them but we will go as quickly as we can and see what happens.
Q: Jenson, pole in Canada and now top three at Indianapolis.
Jenson Button: Yes, its nice to get two good qualifyings on the trot but it wasnt the best lap really. I struggled a lot with very low grip so its great to be third and I think we can do great things from here.
Q: You sound as though youre surprised therefore to be third.
JB: Well, I was during the lap because it wasnt a great lap, just very low grip, but it was obviously the same for everyone out there, so yes, its nice to be here and I think we can do some good things tomorrow. Our strategy is a good one. Im looking forward to it.
Q: We know theyve kept the same Honda engines in since Canada but again, it doesnt look as though your top speed is absolutely brilliant here.
JB: No. Were not up there on the straights so it just means weve got to get a good start and pull away from everyone really.
Q: Jarno, it has been a difficult time for the team so far so it must be delightful for the team to have this pole?
JT: Well, it has so far been difficult for everyone here, especially for Ralf, which was really bad luck. We came here with a lot of expectation and on Friday we had two crashes, one with Ralf, which was probably away from his car, and one with Ricardo, so we try to understand what is happening and for sure we have had a mixed emotion weekend so far. It has been quite difficult to set up the car, to work and to feel confident.
Q: You mentioned the confidence. It must be quite difficult knowing that your type of cars had those two failures.
JT: Yeah, I mean, some of us have been really lucky and I think up to now nothing major has happened but we still come with an emotion that we probably do not feel 100 percent confident with our car, with our package. I dont know what will happen tomorrow but we will get some better idea this afternoon.
Q: Presumably it was difficult to come up with a strategy with the tyres. How did you plan for this race?
JT: Well, our tyre choice was down to Michelin and also we asked Michelin to get some idea about race strategy. We respected what they told us and we went for it.
Q: Kimi, are you happy with second?
KR: I would rather be first, of course, but we didnt manage to do it. But I think we have a very strong race car and hopefully we can run a bit longer. I think we have a good chance to win tomorrow.
Q: So expecting to be heavy are you?
KR: Might be. (Laughter) We will see tomorrow.
Q: It must be very difficult for the strategy. What have you got to work on?
KR: It is not the easiest after all the difficulties with the tyres and Michelin are saying what they think should be done and we want to do what is best to try to win the race. So, I think we have to adapt and we just need to wait and see what happens tomorrow in the race. I am not too worried about the tyres, I think they will be fine, and we will just have to see what happens.
Q: Jenson, you went relatively early. Was that a disadvantage?
JB: Its always going to be a disadvantage, but its not six tenths. I felt I had very low grip out there so I was slightly disappointed by the lap but I ended up P3 so thats not bad.
Q: So you are pretty happy with that?
JB: Yeah, reasonably happy. We were quick in the fourth practice session and it is nice to be back up there in qualifying again. We know that the pace of the car is good here and also our race pace is very good as well.
Q: How do you see the tyre situation? Is it a calculated risk for you drivers?
JB: There are a lot of talks that need to be made this evening between all the teams and all the drivers and Michelin. At the moment and going into qualifying we just need to be looking forward to the race and being very positive that we will race tomorrow and I am hoping that there are not going to be any issues and we can go out there and have a good race.
Q: You havent had any indication of any problems with the BAR-Hondas at all?
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Bruce Martin - National Speedsport News) Jenson, I know Gil de Ferran has only been with the team a couple of months but how much use has it been bringing him on board to be in charge of things.
JB: I have been asked a lot about Gil, especially this weekend, and he is going to get a big head if I keep talking about him because he has done a great job. It is not easy coming into Formula One in his position and getting straight on with it, but he has done a great job, he has worked with the drivers closely, relaying information to the team, he has fitted in very well and it is important for us to have him on board.
Q: (Anthony Rowlinson - Autosport) Jarno, have you got any closer within the team to finding out what caused Ralfs tyre problem yesterday?
JT: I think it is not at all chassis related.
Q: (Curt Cavin - Indianapolis Star) Jarno, is it just a matter of finding the right tyre pressure, is that the issue here?
JT: No, I dont think so. We have had troubles with different tyre pressures, with different tyre types. So it is not set-up, it is something else.
Q: (Thierry Tassin RTBF TV) After how many laps could you see the weakness of the tyres yesterday when you did the long runs?
JT: Unfortunately I did not do any long runs yesterday.
Q: (Riccardo Romani Corriere della Sera) It is a very complicated situation now because of the regulations and the whole question of what is going to happen in tonight and tomorrows decision making. What is your feeling now that you are in pole position and the race might not happen tomorrow?
JT: At the moment we dont think about it. There is still a lot of talking until probably in the afternoon we will probably get a better idea of what will happen for tomorrow. We have been told to qualify without any problems, then this afternoon and probably tomorrow we will know better about the race.