FIA post-qualifying press conference - Bahrain 25 Apr 2009
Reproduced with kind permission of the FIA
Drivers: 1. Jarno Trulli (Toyota), 1m 33.431s; 2. Timo Glock (Toyota), 1m 33.712s; 3. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), 1m.34.015s
Q: Jarno, a great result for you and a great Q3. But many problems today with the brakes, the wind and the heat.
Jarno Trulli: It wasnt an easy qualifying I think for everyone but for me it made everything more difficult as after the first run we found out a couple of troubles on my car especially I was struggling with the brakes. The pedal was getting longer and longer and I was not able to brake the way I wanted. Nevertheless I did not give up as I knew I had a good car and I could fight for pole, so it was really nice to end up with first and second for the team especially for Toyota. Mr Okamoto is also here to support us, so it is great to show him what a great result and what great work we have been doing over the winter time and today.
Q: Timo, you lost a little bit of time in P3 this morning with an electrical problem. But a great qualifying for you too.
Timo Glock: Yeah, it was not too bad. We found quite a lot overnight as we struggled yesterday with the brakes quite a lot. You know overnight we did the right changes to the car and I was really, really happy this morning. I was quite surprised that I was still quickest at the end and I was quite happy for qualifying. In qualifying the wind changed and I struggled a little bit in the first run. It was a bit more points, a bit more nervous, it was a bit difficult. And in the Q3 lap I knew when I crossed the start-finish that it would not be enough for Jarno as he is really, really good in qualifying, especially in Q2 getting everything out of the fuel load. I had one mistake in it when I lost a bit of time but at the end I think it would not have been enough for pole but I am happy for the team. The mechanics had a hard time the last couple of weeks. The first four races were really, really hard and I think it is really good for the team.
Q: Sebastian, on the back of your great win in Shanghai continuing your record in the top three again. It looks like you saved a set of tyres in Q2 and a big smile on your face now as we go into the race.
Sebastian Vettel: Yes, I think it was a good session for us. I think we could see already in Q1 that it was very tight. It was not enough to do one run on the prime, so I think everybody had to put the option on. The whole field, we could see already this morning, is very close together. But to come back I think it was a smooth qualifying session for us, we did not have any problems. We have a very, very quick car. In Q2 we only needed one run and we still managed to stay quickest, so that was very good. Even the circuit was improving. But I think in Q3 the two Toyotas today were just a bit too quick. I am looking forward to tomorrow though. I reckon they will pull in a bit earlier but it is a long race. Lets see, but of course I am looking forward.
Q: Jarno, your reaction to Sebastians comment there that maybe you are going to be pulling in a bit earlier than he will and also your thoughts going in on potentially the day Toyota might win their first grand prix.
JT: To be honest I did not feel very confident for the qualifying lap. I have been working quite a lot more on the race pace and I felt more competitive and this is why probably I am on pole as today when we fuelled the car, it felt better. I feel especially confident for tomorrow. I should not have any problems apart from the fact that we need to analyse the brake and see the situation there.
Q: Jarno, it does sound that there is a bit of a worry about brakes. What can be done between now and the race itself?
JT: It was a hard qualifying. I had troubles with my car. At the beginning we found out that maybe we had some problem with the fuel, so I had a bit more extra fuel on board to make sure I was not running out of fuel. And then the biggest problem was the brakes. We have not had any problem during the whole weekend but unfortunately in qualifying after the two runs I was struggling and I lost a couple of tenths on all my runs from Q2 to Q3, so I think there is much more potential in the car. But I cannot be so disappointed being on pole. Obviously I was not so confident to be here today because I have been spending most of the time on the race pace and I think I was much more comfortable on a heavier fuelled car and this probably I have shown in Q3, so I am extremely confident for tomorrows race as the car in general has been running pretty well.
Q: But what can be done between now and tomorrow morning?
JT: We need to analyse the data to see if we have some problem on the brakes and eventually if we can change it as straight away after the first run I had a problem and all weekend I never appeared to be in trouble, so this is a bit of a worry.
Q: After yesterday you said that you wanted more drivability to the car and the team also said that tyre choice was not particularly critical which is interesting as well.
JT: Yeah, there are a few things which are interesting which we discovered yesterday and today compared to winter time testing as I believe the position has changed dramatically. All in all we are happy with the data collected and I think we have quite a good idea what can happen tomorrow. Obviously we just have to wait and see but I must say I am very confident for the race as my race pace and looking after the tyres has been pretty good all weekend.
Q: Timo, you have not had any brakes problems?
TG: We had the problems yesterday. I struggled quite a lot yesterday with the car already and was far away from the test pace and overnight we had a lot of stuff to change and it worked out this morning that we were quickest in P3, so I was pretty happy with the car. But in qualifying the wind changed a bit and we struggled already in Q1 on the prime tyres and I couldnt get the lap together and had to get used to it first. After that I was quite happy in Q2 in the last run and this was okay. In Q3 I was still struggling a bit to get used to the heavier fuel load from low fuel in Q2 into Q3 and after turn eight I knew it would not work out for pole because I did a mistake. In the end I have to be happy with the first row for Toyota and it is really good for the team. A perfect result and thanks to the mechanics for all the hard work in the last four weeks. I think it was one of the toughest beginnings of the season for them and it is a good result for us.
Q: Presumably they had quite a lot of work last night as well because you were saying yesterday that the car was quite hard to drive and yet you set fastest time this morning and then stopped on circuit.
TG: Yeah, what we had this morning was a bit strange. Suddenly the engine went off and we had a little bit of an electrical problem. We found that quite quickly and were able to repair it in time. In the end, I think we have to be happy with the result.
Q: How much is this performance due to the modifications that have been made to the car since China?
TG: I dont think it was a big step, just some small improvements on the car, so nothing big to notice. At the end the result in qualifying is just the result of a smooth qualifying and weve never had a smooth qualifying. I think weve made our lives a bit difficult in the first couple of weekends. Weve started two times from the pit lane and weve had to fight quite a lot in the race. Now weve had a smooth weekend so far in qualifying especially and hopefully we are quick in the race.
Q: Sebastian, was third on the grid better or worse than you expected?
SV: Its always difficult to know what to expect when you go into qualifying, especially with different fuel loads. You either go aggressive, conservative or average. It really depends, so you dont know what to expect. We have known since yesterday - yesterday afternoon was quite good for us and also this morning - that our car is quick. I think we proved that in Q1 and Q2, so that was very good. In Q3 I was personally a bit surprised by how big the gap was to Jarno, he was very, very fast but I think it was the best we could have achieved today, so thanks for that and Im looking forward to tomorrow. It will be very hot, it will be a long race, so a long way to go. I think its very important to be in front of Jenson as it was very tight with him. I think we did more or less the same lap time, so that was good; gaining any grid positions always helps, so lets see tomorrow.
Q: Have you had any problems with brakes?
SV: Well, I wouldnt say problems. I think Bahrain is well known as a heavy braking circuit, so you ask a lot of your brakes. Theres a lot of stop and go here, so tomorrow, also with these temperatures, it will be difficult to cool them but I think this is the kind of problem everybody will face. I think we are prepared, so I hope we dont have any problems tomorrow.
Q: And is there a big difference in tyres for you?
SV: I would say that both compounds are working really well here. We were basically focusing on getting the car into race trim over the last two days, so I think we will have a good time on both compounds and not face any problems similar or close to Australia where we had a lot of graining. I think both compounds are working well here, and Bahrain isnt that heavy on tyres, more so on the brakes, so I think we will be fine, even though its very hot. Lets see tomorrow if theres no sand storm it will be a good race.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Ottavio Daviddi - Tuttosport) Jarno, I think the pressure will be very big starting from pole; are you afraid of that?
JT: I wish I could always have this pressure. Im not afraid. One time I was on pole I won, I think, so its not a problem.
Q: (Marco Evangelisti - Corriere dello Sport) Jarno, do you want to dedicate this pole to someone?
JT: Well, definitely my thoughts have recently always been with my region. As you all know, Im supporting a charity campaign with all the drivers as well, the GPDA, and Im trying to involve as many people as possible, so my first thoughts are with my region, obviously as well to the Toyota team and everybody. One of the big bosses, Mr Okamoto, is here, so its nice to show him that we are doing well this year.
Q: (Frederic Ferret - LEquipe) Question to Jarno and Timo: can you explain why you are on the front row together today compared to the other circuits? Is it that the track suits the TF109?
JT: I think half of it is thanks to the fact that we have been testing here over the winter time, part of it is also thanks to the fact that we have seen in the past that this is one of the tracks which our cars seems to like and partly because we have done a better job than the others. I dont know, but putting everything together puts both cars on the front row, so it just shows that the whole team has done a reasonably good job.
TG: I think, as Jarno said, we have just put everything together this time and had no trouble, and the car was closer to that which we knew from winter testing. Maybe thats due to the fact that we tested more here but in the end, I just think it was a good qualifying because everything went smoothly and we just got it together. Thats it.
Q: (Frederic Ferret - LEquipe) And what do you fear from this race?
SV: Sand storm.
JT: I dont know. During the first three races, I dont think things have really worked out well for me. I just hope for a trouble free race and Im sure we can do a good job and get a good result because if I look back at everything thats happened during the past races, its always been a bit difficult for me, so I just hope everything goes alright.
TG: Yeah, for me the wind and the KERS cars. I think the best KERS car is Lewis Hamilton in P5 and that could be a little worry for us up to the first corner. I think the KERS cars have shown that they are really, really strong at the start and that could be one point. I hope we have a clean start and not the same problems that we had in Malaysia and get a clean race.
Q: (Juha Paatalo - Financial Times Deutschland) Sebastian, what do read from the results of Q2 and did the results of Q3 make you any more worried?
SV: No, not worried. I think in Q2 theres no need to play around, so everyone tries to go as quickly as possible. I was surprised how good we were, so we only needed one run, so we were able to save tyres for tomorrow. I think it showed that we are doing well here, the car is behaving well, so in Q3, when I crossed the line and I got the message and also the lap times from the guys ahead, from Timo and Jarno, I was a bit surprised but on the other hand, you never know, sometimes your car is a lot better on lighter fuel levels, sometimes its better on high fuel levels but I think we should be sorted for tomorrow.
Q: (Beniamino Casadei - Il Giornale) When you were a young boy, an Italian fan of Formula One, did you enjoy more success for an Italian team on pole or for an Italian driver?
JT: As an Italian, Formula One was represented by Ferrari, so anything which was Formula One had to be red, I remember, but I grew up in a family which was a big fan of motor sport in general and they were actually not just big fans of Ferrari but talking about and discussing drivers a lot and their performance, so I grew up more with an overall mentality, rather than just a Ferrari mentality because unfortunately in Italy, Formula One is not represented by me or Giancarlo (Fisichella) but its Ferrari and this can be a down point for us but on the other hand you just have to deal with it. Im lucky enough that I was able to get here and Im on pole now and thats it.
Q: (Roland Hughes - The National) Question for all of you: how much do you think the heat will play a part tomorrow, not only for the cars but for the drivers themselves?
JT: Im not concerned at all, to be honest. If you look back, all my best performances always come in the worst, difficult conditions. Im more than happy to race in these hot conditions.
TG: For me its not a problem. I think at the end, when you see the numbers 40 degrees or 38 degrees you think its pretty hot in the car but at least its a dry heat, so its reasonable. I dont have so many problems and its OK.
SV: I think it should be colder tomorrow if Im not wrong, not too much, still hot but maybe a little bit colder. I think the worst time is when youre waiting in the pits in the garage to go out again and youre kind of standing and the car is stationary and the car is hot. Its much better when youre driving on the circuit, you get a little bit of air and as Timo said, its probably not as bad as Malaysia because theres not so much humidity. How hot is it going to be in Abu Dhabi when we are there? (Reply: Cooler.)
Q: (Peter Hesseler - Pitpress) Jarno, what was the problem with the brakes and what do you think was possible without any problems on the car?
JT: To be honest we dont understand what happened. I could only feel that after the second run in Q1 the pedal was long, I was getting knock-off. We had to do a quick hot bleed between the two sessions but I was still having problems, so basically I was not stopping the car well and I could not handle the brake pedal well, so I couldnt feel it very well. Some time was lost there but as I say, I cannot be too disappointed now and see what we can do tomorrow.