Interview with Toyotas Ralf Schumacher 12 Sep 2007
Although it marked his third race finish in a row, Ralf Schumachers 15th place at Monza last weekend was frustrating. Schumacher, however, is determined to keep his chin up and work even harder...
Q: Eleventh and 15th places for Jarno (Trulli) and yourself - how tough a race was Monza?
Ralf Schumacher: It was a disillusioning result for both of us and the weekend obviously didnt work out very well. Jarno managed to handle it better than I did at Monza but I could see that the race was not going to be one of our best.
Q: You qualified 18th, which made things tough. What happened?
RS: My lap in Q1 was clean and I had no problems specifically but that was all the speed we had with both cars. Jarno set a 1m 23.724s lap in Q1 and I set 1m 23.787s, so that meant he went through and I didnt make it by around five hundredths of a second. We were so close together and it was a shame for me, but thats just the way it is.
Q: Do you feel that the rain-interrupted days at the Monza test harmed you?
RS: Well for sure they didnt help. I had some problems at the test as well as the bad weather, which cost me the mornings running on both days that I tested. Monza is a very specific low downforce circuit and not one of my favourites what with all the kerb riding. Its especially tough if the car is not behaving as you expect. We were struggling a bit but we improved on Friday and, as I say, only just missed out in the first qualifying session.
Q: With long straights and heavy braking, do you feel a bit of a passenger at Monza?
RS: No, not at all, it just very much depends on the efficiency of your car and its ability to use the kerbs. If you looked at the McLarens, for example, it was just amazing what they could do on the kerbs. They were riding them as they would do on a normal road. That was incredible and it was worth a lot of time.
Q: Do you have to set the car up softer than you would like to run the kerbs?
RS: That is a compromise you have to make. On one hand you have to run the car soft but on the other hand you want high speed braking and cornering, so you should run the car as low as possible for aerodynamic efficiency. Its a bit of a problem.
Q: Spa-Francorchamps is back on the calendar this season, how do you feel about returning?
RS: Its good to be going back to Spa after a year away. It really is a unique circuit in Formula One and there is a special atmosphere. It is a true drivers circuit with some really challenging corners. Since we last raced at Spa in 2005, the organisers have done a lot of work, resurfacing the track and re-profiling the Bus Stop chicane, as well as the new pit buildings. They seem to have done a good job and it is certainly an improvement.
Q: The team tested there in July, how did that go?
RS: We had quite a good test there, even though it feels like a long time ago now! The car performed well and I had a good feeling. It rained on my second day but that is quite normal for Spa. The weather there is really unpredictable and rain always seems to be a threat but well see what this weekend has to offer.
Q: Is this race more significant because it is so close to the teams factory?
RS: In a way it is more special for us because it is one of our home races, as our factory is only an hour or so away in Cologne. Of course, it would be great to get a good result on one of our local tracks but we are pushing hard at every race so we cant try any harder!