Q & A with Sauber's Jacques Villeneuve 27 Apr 2005
Saubers Jacques Villeneuve has had a difficult start to the 2005 season. However, things took a turn for the better at San Marino, the former champion putting in a spirited drive to sixth place.
Q: You scored your first championship points for Sauber Petronas in Imola - how do you feel looking back on the race?
JV: I feel great because we took every opportunity there and maximised it. The team had a fine strategy and did a good job with the pit stops. In addition, the characteristics of the car were such that I could really push it to the limit for the first time.
Q: Was this a big relief after the difficult races you have had so far?
JV: I never had any doubts, but I believe that this result will make everybody more positive and life easier in general.
Q: Why were you able to progress so much in Imola?
JV: There were several reasons for that. One of them was for sure the new aero package which was really a big step in terms of performance but also stability. Furthermore, we worked on the mechanical set-up of the car with more freedom than in previous races, which enabled me to adjust it to my liking. And, in addition, we used a modified traction control programme that was developed by the Sauber Petronas engineers based on my input in order to better suit my driving style. All these factors together resulted in a significant step forward.
Q: Do you think that there is more room for improvements in this direction?
JV: Absolutely, there is potential for more to come! This was only the first step with the traction control. I am sure that we can further optimise it. We will do more testing this week in Fiorano, and one part of the programme is to work on the traction control.
Q: Do you expect the same sort of result in Barcelona?
JV: I don't know. Barcelona is a very different track from Imola, and we had a difficult test there. On top of that, we didn't have the new aero package then, which really makes a big difference. A lot will depend on how quickly we will be able find the right set-up. However, in any case, we improved the car significantly in Imola and this should also help us in Barcelona.
Q: This is the first time in your Formula One career that you are driving for a private team - what is the difference to the big factory teams?
JV: The biggest difference is the budget which means that everything has to be much more controlled. We do considerably less testing than the factory teams, and as a result there is less freedom to try different ideas. This forces the people to be very efficient.
Q: How do you get along with your team mate Felipe Massa?
JV: Our relationship is very friendly! I didn't really know Felipe until the beginning of the season. However, we got on well right from the start, and there is a good amount of respect. Although he is still very young, he has already a considerable amount of experience.
Q: What are your goals for the remainder of the season?
JV: The main goal is really to keep the momentum that we have now and to work in the same direction as we did in Imola. I am convinced that this will enable us to make further progress.