Japanese GP - Thursday
Press Conference - II
DRIVERS: Jenson BUTTON (BAR) and Jarno TRULLI (TOYOTA)
October 7, 2004
Q: Jenson, here we are at Suzuka which is a great track with average
facilities and across the other side of the world we have Silverstone
which fits the same description. As a British driver whatís your view
on the fact that there might not be a British Grand Prix next year?
Jenson BUTTON: From a driverís point of view, itís disappointing. Your
home Grand Prix is very very special. I have loved Formula One for
many years, from when I was a youngster and the only race I used to
watch was the British Grand Prix because it was my home Grand Prix and
it would be devastating, I think, not just for myself but for all the
fans in the United Kingdom, if we didnít have a Grand Prix. For me,
Silverstone is a great circuit and if itís not on the calendar I think
we would be losing a great race. There are obviously lots of reasons
why it might not be there but that is not for me to comment on.
Q: Now you made your decision to switch to Williams a long time ago,
and now weíre nearly at the end of the season. A lot of bookies are
allowing you to bet on races and championships, putting Ferrari out of
the equation. Now if we do that youíre the World Champion and so is
your team. In the time since you made that decision, have you had any
second thoughts about leaving BAR-Honda for Williams?
JB: I am not going to comment on that because this is not the correct
place to be commenting on that, I donít think. On the 16th October, we
will know where I am next year or weíll know the decision of the CRB
(Contract Recognition Board) and then I can talk about it a little bit
more but at the moment I donít think itís correct for myself or either
Q: Yeah, but I am not asking you to say where youíre going, Iím just
saying in your own mind, we know you want to go to Williams, thatís
fair, but have you looked at the performance of your team and that of
JB: I havenít compared them, but I think that in the last few races,
as a team, we have done a good job. We have had some very good results
but that doesnít change anything.
Q: This is obviously a sort of home race for your team with the Honda
engine but I guess you get to play second fiddle to Takuma here in
terms of all the attention that he gets. Is that nice for you? Is it a
bit of a weekend off from the media side of things, the PR, the
promotions and everything?
JB: Itís still a busy weekend; it is for all the drivers, but
especially Taku. I have been watching him so far today and itís been
very busy for him and we will be able to see how he performs under
pressure. I think he will do well, but it is always very tough, your
home Grand Prix, especially how much of a following he must have after
a reasonably good year. So it is going to be tough for him but we will
see what he is made of.
Q: Now there is a lot of talk of a lot of rain heading this way for
the weekend. This is a bit of an old fashioned track; it looks quite
dangerous in the dryÖ Maybe Jarno, after Jenson, would like to comment
on it as well. What are your views on racing here on a wet track?
JB: I think on any circuit you are a little bit more nervous racing if
it is wet because you canít see 20 metersÖ even five metres in front
of the car because there is so much spray if you are in traffic.
Wherever, itís pretty scary and I donít think this is any different. I
do enjoy driving in the wet, just not when youíre in the middle of a
pack. I think we had a very good race in Monza - I know it wasnít wet
wet but it was damp and the car seemed to work very well. So I think
we will be quick here if it is wet but again, for the drivers in the
race, itís not a nice situation if it rains.
Q: Jarno, would you like to start by giving us your views on that as
Jarno TRULLI: As Jenson said, it is never nice to be racing in wet
conditions, especially here in Japan at Suzuka. As you said, it is an
old fashioned circuit, it probably needs more run-off areas but we
have been quite committed during this season, trying to improve what
we have but we are a little bit limited, there is not much space we
can gain. Naturally itís a very high speed circuit so none of us will
enjoy it as much as we can enjoy the track in dry conditions. Thatís
all I can say.
Q: And youíve only tested the car twice so far, the Toyota. Where are
you in your learning of the new car?
JT: Pretty much zero! When you jump in a new team and you go to a race
after three daysí testing itís not going to be easy, especially here
in Japan at Suzuka and especially with a wet track. But I am very
confident and I am motivated to do well because the team is nice, I
have had a very warm welcome and all we have to get is experience.
Q: And there is a lot of extra pressure for you in some ways because
you are coming in from nothing and this is Toyotaís home race as well.
JT: It doesnít matter where you are, what you are doing, there is
always pressure and itís part of the job. Itís going to be a home race
for Toyota and we all want to show good things but obviously we know
our limits and we will try our best for the weekend.
Q: Both of you have experienced the pleasures of being sacked from
Renault at some stage. Jarno, looking back now, itís a few weeks on
now, do you think the whole thing could have been handled better by
JT: I think neither of us has been sacked, to be honest. Iíve just
left the team.
Q: Alright maybe I used the wrong word, but do you think the situation
could have been handled better?
JT: I am not going (to comment) on this matter any more because I
think everything has been said Ė a lot Ė and Iím looking forward to
this new experience, new adventure and weíre pleased to be joining the
Toyota team, thatís all I can say.
Q: I guess you must have watched the Chinese Grand Prix on television.
Do you think Jacques Villeneuve did a better job than you could have
JT: Jacques did what he had been expected to do. He has been away for
a long time before driving the car again and it is never easy when you
stop for a year to jump in a new car and then do an extremely good
result. I think Jacques did what he could do and you can always argue
that he could do better or not, but I am sure he would improve his
performance nowadays because heís got a bit more experience in the
car. I can only say that it was nice to watch the Grand Prix from the
Q: Next year youíre staying with the team and you have another new
team-mate. Youíve always got on well with your team-mates in general.
How do you think youíre going to get on with Ralf Schumacher?
JT: Well, to be honest, we already started pretty well. The other day
I met him at the hotel, and just stopped to have a chat with him,
telling him about what I thought of the team, the little experience
that Iíve had in these first few days testing and honestly I cannot
see any problems, any reasons and even Jenson has had quite a good
relationship (with him) in the past. It depends on the way you
approach people. It depends on what you expect from people. We are not
all the same and we have somehow to deal with the positive and
negative things. We cannot be nice for everyone. I am a very nice
person but Iím sure not everyone likes me in the paddock.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi Ė La Gazzetta dello Sport) Jarno, how difficult
is it to move from one team to another team technically?
JT: It is a bit complicated because everything changes, from a
different seating position, the car, the team, you know, itís all new,
but actually a driver is meant to be a driver and can drive anything
he has. Itís just a question of time to take the car to the limit,
experience and the team so far has been really nice to me. Iíve had a
very warm welcome and it is not going to be an easy weekend because I
think I moved pretty quickly. But it is a new adventure and in all
adventures you are very motivated because you can see people are
happy, you can see people are positive, and at the moment I am really
happy to be here. Obviously Iím looking forward to working at this
Japanese Grand Prix even if I know itís going to be difficult for me.
Q: (Marc Surer - Premiere TV) Jenson, you have been very close to the
Ferraris many times, but not able to beat them. In which area are you
losing out? What is the Ferrariís secret?
JB: It is something we really donít know. They seem to be just strong
in every area, really, a step above everyone in every area I would
say. They are a very complete team, they have a lot of experience and
they have just chipped away at it over the years.
Q: (Marc Surer) If you follow the Ferrari, can you feel where they are
JB: For me, as I said, they seem to be gaining in every area. I donít
think we should have been able to beat them in the last two or three
races because they are quicker than us, and it is a better car. I
think that we are a little bit closer now than we have been during the
season, but there is still a way to go. Over one lap we are relatively
quick, but on a long run we are about half a second off of the
Ferraris at most circuits now.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi) Jarno, coming back to the other question, is it
difficult to set up the cockpit, how do you find the different
JT: Yeah, when you drive a Formula One car it is not like sitting in a
road car and just driving it. At 300 kph, things happen very quickly,
you have to have a good feeling with the car, youíve got to be
extremely confident and youíve got to have everything in place so you
know which buttons you have to press in which corner and what you have
to do. And also, the visual things, when youíre sitting in a new car,
despite the fact that you are so concentrated on driving and the
feeling of the car, everything has to be quite natural and it takes a
bit of time before you can settle in. Iíve had three daysí testing in
Jerez which went pretty well. On the last day, I did about 111 laps so
I think I made a good step from when I first started testing the car
at Silverstone, but itís never enough, especially when youíre driving
such a quick car.
Q: (Dan Knutson Ė National Speedsport News) Jenson, Jacques Villeneuve
is back, he says heís a changed guy and he seems a lot happier. He
says all the bitterness has gone and so on. Have you talked to him at
all and how does he seem to you?
JB: He seems like he is very happy to be back, definitely. He said the
same thing when we were going around on the (driversí parade) truck in
Shanghai. Everyone wants him to be bitter Jacques but heís got no
reason to be like that, heís here to race and do the best job he can.
He seems to be fit, I think he was consistent throughout the last race
and it is good to have him back in Formula One I think. With a bit
more experience in the car, I think he could do reasonably well, but
it might be too late for them.
Q: (Dan Knutson) As Marc Surer said, youíre getting closer and closer
to the Ferraris, at the last race you were one second away from
victory. At this track, do you think you might be closer or further?
How do you see the race going?
JB: This is a very similar circuit to Silverstone and Ferrari were
very quick there and McLaren were also very competitive. So I donít
know. It is going to be a tough race, I think thereís going to be
quite a few cars up the front, itís going to be very difficult to say
that we are going to have an advantage or weíre not. We have got to
wait and see really, but the McLarens and Ferraris, we know, will be
competitive. We obviously want to win here, but our main aim is to
beat Renault, so itís a tough one. Weíve got to look behind as well as
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