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Q & A with Sauber's Jacques Villeneuve 27 Apr 2005

Jacques Villeneuve (CDN) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, San Marino Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Imola, Italy, 23 April 2005

Sauber’s 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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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.