First part of this Thursday's FIA press conference with Rubens
Barrichello (Ferrari) and Ricardo Zonta (Toyota). Second part with
David Coulthard (McLaren) and Felipe Massa (Sauber) follows below first part.
A question for both of you: itís your home Grand Prix, how do you
approach it? You have different circumstances in each
Rubens BARRICHELLO: Well, first of all, Iím so happy for
Ricardo that heís here, because when they said that Jarno was
joining, it was probably a nice thing for Toyota, but as Ricardo had
a chance to drive in some Grands Prix, this is probably the best one,
so itís nice to have him here.
For me, it used to be a good
Grand Prix always, but there used to be pressure. In all the phases
that Iíve gone through in my life, especially after Jordan, I had to
change my attitude and I had to send the emotions away from
everything that I do, so I was actually joking with one of our
Italian friends, saying that you donít have to believe in things,
just because I havenít finished the last ten races, it doesnít mean
that I wonít finish again. I have to remember the good times. I donít
believe in bad luck at all. So the weekend is just nice. I have a lot
of work to do. Iíve been with the press for a long time now. Actually
this is probably the first time that Iíve been speaking in English.
Iíve just finished on press conference in Portuguese about five
minutes ago. But itís a good race. Itís one that I enjoy and itís a
race where after a hard dayís work I can go back home and sleep in my
bed. Itís just so good.
Ricardo ZONTA: I feel very happy to
have the chance to race in the Brazilian Grand Prix. Of course, so
many things have happened this year at Toyota and they have given me
the chance to race again. There have been so many changes and Iím
just very happy to be here, in Sao Paulo and I will try to do my
best. Of course, we have to work very hard to see if we have the
possibility to finish well.
Ricardo, just give us an idea
of your history at this circuit? I think youíve done quite a lot of
racing here; what does that do for your confidence?
course, racing in Brazil you want to do better and better all the
time, but I started here in Formula Opel, then Formula Three. I did
my second race in Formula One here and I crashed and I had a problem
with my feet. But I think the motivation that you have with Brazilian
people and everybody crying and saying your name is very nice. But
when you are racing, you go 100 percent at any racing circuit. Here
itís just extra motivation.
Has it been a bit of a
problem, popping in and out of Formula One? You replaced Cristiano,
then you missed out in Japan and now youíve come back
RZ: In China I felt very strange. I felt that something
had happened in the team. Of course I didnít have the position to
push for anything. I was just the test driver. Of course they gave me
the opportunity to race this year and I felt something strange. After
that, they said it could be Olivier or me not racing in Japan, and
Brazil as well, so in the end they gave me the chance to race here
and Olivier was quite nice as well, because you know how he feels
How about the races youíve had so far with
Toyota; you seem to have had a lot of mechanical trouble?
Yeah, in Spa, of course, I was fourth in the race with three laps to
go, but at the end I had the engine problem. It would have been my
best result, it would have been the best result for Toyota as well
and then in China, I was eighth, fighting with Felipe Massa for
eighth position and I had a gearbox problem and I had to stop, so it
was quite a difficult year for me.
As a local boy,
whatís the weather forecast? I hear it could be quite
RB: Itís cooler than last week. You know
Brazilís weather can be quite funny. Itís so difficult to know. I
donít think weíre going to have rain on Sunday but anything can
happen. Iím thinking that all the time we have hot weather during the
weekend, sometimes we have the rain during the weekend, so Iím just
seeing the opposite now. Weíre seeing the bad weather now and
probably itís going to become better. But Iím saying that because of
pure feeling, I donít have any information.
understand that when you played football the other day, you and
Michael scored a goal eachÖ
RB: I scored a goal and Michael
scored on a penalty, which is quite different... (Laughter). ...
which is quite different. You know with the penalty you just choose
one side and then you let it go.
So youíre feeling one up
at the moment are you?
RB: Exactly. Even though now theyíre
saying that I was offside and so on. Itís a bit of a thing that
happens sometimes when youíre a good player and you score well, it
happens in Brazil. (Laughter).
So when it comes to the
race itself are you expecting any favours from Michael this weekend?
RB: No, not at all. To be very honest, when you have a kind
of a friend insideÖ itís just like we are with Ricardo, Montoya,
Alonso and so on. Whenever heís racing in his own place, you hope
that he does well. It would have been lovely for Sato to finish on
the podium in Japan. I think this is the same. At the bottom of his
heart, Michael would like for me to finish quite well here, but if he
had to decide whether he was going to win or let me win, Iím sure he
would choose for himself to win. So Iím not expecting any presents, I
donít want any presents, Iím feeling as good as ever. Iím lucky that
I can be here with a competitive car, in the state of mind that Iím
feeling right now, just feeling good and Iím just putting in first
gear tomorrow and just seeing my people and going for it. Itís a
lovely racing track for me. I think itís one of the best in terms of
overtaking. Iíve heard that theyíve done something to the surface of
the asphalt, but they didnít get the results that they were
expecting, so maybe tomorrow we are actually saying that the track is
a little bit bumpy, as usual, so itís no different and Iím feeling
good, Iím feeling good. Is this the time I can win? Iíve no idea and
I donít care. Weíre going to see on Sunday afternoon and itís just
that it will depend much on me and much on the team that is putting
in so much effort and giving me the chance to go for it.
How much did those two wins in China and Italy, how much of a
difference did that make for you?
RB: Well, to be honest, if
I got to Brazil without any wins, feeling that this was the last race
and trying to do that, it would have been very difficult, in terms of
just a pure mind game. It would have been very difficult. I think the
two races were fantastic. The Japanese Grand Prix was a bit of a
problem in terms of everything, but I had the speed to win the race
as well if it wasnít for the qualifying and so on, so Iím feeling
good. I think the two races certainly promoted a good state of mind.
After Michael won the championship, I think the team relaxed in a way
that gave the chance for both drivers to have a chance to win. The
team is giving me a VIP feeling and Iím feeling good.
Just one final question on a different subject: we have a situation
with Jenson Button whereby the Contract Recognition Board has judged
that he will drive for BAR but he has already stated that he wants to
drive for Williams. How does that affect a driver; just put yourself
in his shoes; what would you be feeling now?
RB: First of
all, I would have resolved the matter inside closed doors. I wouldnít
have told the press what I wanted to do before anything went to the
public, because for me, it would have been much more simple.
Secondly, I think that itís very hard to drive for a team if you wish
for another one. Itís just like having a girlfriend that you donít
want any more, you want the other one. What do you do? I want to kiss
that one, but this one is sticking with me. Itís all a bit of a
(Frederic Ferret Ė LíEquipe) Rubens,
as you are the oldest driver of the three Brazilians, what do you
think of the other two, Ricardo and Felipe?
RB: Not because
Ricardo is here, but Iíve always said to the press that I didnít
think Ricardo had a chance to drive at BAR. I think there was too
much pressure and probably the time there with Jacques wasnít good at
all. When I saw him behind me and pushing me in Spa, I wanted to
protect my position, but when I saw smoke, I really wished that it
wasnít him because he deserved the points there, and I think he
deserved the points in Formula One, so it was just a shame that it
went up in the air. But I think he does have a place in Formula One,
and people should take him a little more seriously.
he has matured quite a lot inside Ferrari. He has still had an up-and-
down season this year with Giancarlo. In terms of speed, I think he
matches Giancarlo quite well. In terms of pure results, itís been a
bit difficult because of all the problems heís had but he has the
talent, so if he has a good set-up in terms of mind management and
progresses, just keeps on going, heís going to have a good year and
probably he can win races in the future as well.
(Frederic Ferret) Did you help Felipe last year when he was with
RB: As much as I could. We had Burti there as well.
I tried to have Luciano in the team because he was a good test
driver, he was a good driver so it was good for him to be there and
it was nice to have Felipe there because heís a young talent, so you
are always trying to see what people can do on your car. Obviously
heís quite young, so when he came he was trying to learn all the time
and all the things that he asked me, I managed to answer, no problem.
(Dan Knutson Ė National Speed Sport News) Rubens, one of
your other home tracks, Silverstone, may not host another British
Grand Prix. What do you think of that?
RB: Well, the comments
are the same as everyone: I just think itís a shame. There are a
couple of tracks that we should get rid of in the calendar, to be
honest with you. I wouldnít name them, because that would be bad, but
Silverstone isnít one of them. If there is a political problem or a
financial problem, I donít know and itís none of my business but it
is a shame. Itís a circuit which is fantastic to drive and I would be
very sorry not to visit England for the first time in my whole
(Andrea Cremonesi Ė La Gazzetta dello Sport)
Rubens, have you had any chance to test new parts for 2005 and how do
you expect the car to be with the new regulations?
expect the car to be slower, certainly, but weíre trying to prepare
ourselves well to gain back everything that we lose with the new
rules. The main factor next year will be the fact that we are going
to have one tyre for the whole weekend which, I donít think Formula
One is prepared for, in a way. I donít think itís a goodÖ Iím sorry
to be direct about that but didnít dream of Formula One, when I was a
karter, to be racing on one tyre. The tyre manufacturers want to win
races and they will take everything to its limit, to be quick and
reliable. But maybe someone could suffer, from testing or could
suffer from anything. Although Iím such a believer that weíre going
to get to the end with Bridgestone, setting up everything, next year
might be too early for that and Iím a little bit afraid in terms of
safety. So Iím not in favour of the one tyre rule. Iím in favour of
the engine, the engine seems to be going quite well and two races
seems to be OK and if you have a failure, you have to change engines
and lose ten positions. It might make a better show for Formula One,
thatís OK, but the one tyreÖ I used to race one tyre per year in go-
kart because I didnít have money (laughter) but thatís a completely
(Adrian Rodriguez-Huber Ė Agencia EFE)
Rubens, who do you think will be your rivals this year in Sao Paulo,
and is Fernando Alonso one of them?
RB: I think he could be.
I think BAR is going to be very strong. We have a circuit here which
depends very much on the aerodynamics but also the power of the
engine going up the hill. In the past, Renault has been quite strong.
I think last year they were a bit stronger in that they were
competitive in almost every race. This year they have been up and
down the whole season, so itís difficult to actually say yes,
Fernando is going to be there. I predict that McLaren is going to be
quite strong here from what Iíve been seeing in terms of aerodynamics
and so on. I think they have quite a quick car, in terms of cornering
and pace and so on. So I predict they will be very strong.
Williams have also had a difficult season. They have been up
and down all the time, but many times they have been competitive in
qualifying but not as competitive on race day. Iím not actually
discarding any of the other teams Ė maybe Toyota can be in the top
eight in qualifying, maybe have a good pace in the race as theyíve
shown so many times in the past Ė which I hope anyway, but Iím not
saying that because Iím saying McLaren or Williams are definitely out
or Renault are definitely out. Itís not like that. I mean that I will
say that the main contenders could be McLaren, the rest will always
be strong. Interlagos is a track where weíve seen in the past the
first six covered by just 0.3s so it could well be half the field
that could have a good weekend.
(Dan Knutson) Assuming
that Silverstone could be on the calendar next year, it would mean 19
races. From inside the team, how much strain does that put on the
RB: I personally like the idea, because the
toughest time for us is the testing. It is tough, when you finish
Sundayís race and you go direct to Jerez and you test Tuesday,
Wednesday, Thursday. Thatís quite hard. When you start from
Wednesday, thatís a different matter. But I can see that you put a
bit more effort on the mechanics and so on, but in terms of drivers,
I think you actually have peaceful time.
RZ: I think itís
very important to have a test driver, because many times the race
drivers are so busy during the race weekend they get stress and
everything. When they then have three or four days testing itís very
hard, also for the mechanics itís very hard.
Aguiar Ė Extra) How did you manage your time before this race, did
you spend time with your son, did you have any special preparation
for this race?
RB: For the very first time I was lucky that I
didnít test between the races, so I was able to come straight to
Brazil and I got here on the Monday right after Japan, so I was able
to stay with my family, I was able to capitalise a little bit on the
time difference because it took me two or three days to get going on
the sleeping, because in between China and Japan I stayed over there,
so I was on different timing for over twenty days. Iíve been
training, training quite hard, I think physically Interlagos is not
easy, but Iíve spend time with my family - it was over 20 days
without seeing my son, so Iíve had a chance to play Ė Silvana said
last week she didnít know which one was the kid, so I definitely
spent good time with him.
Ricardo, what can you
realistically expect from this race, because Toyota had a very
difficult season. What position do you expect here?
this track is not so easy for us, because itís so bumpy and if you
look at Budapest, another track that is so bumpy and we had so many
problems but of course, the last time I raced here in Formula One was
in 2000 and itís difficult to say to you now which position we can
stay in during the race or qualifying. I think weíre going to see how
the car goes tomorrow in practice.
(Andrea Cremonesi) For
both of you, during the weekend there will be a show with Bruno Senna
driving a Lotus that his uncle drove. Will there be special emotion
RZ: Of course. With many Brazilian people here, I
think it will be very emotional, also for us. Itís something for us,
very emotional as well.
RB: I think many people will be
coming to the race circuit to see the race, but many of them will
have the pleasure to see that car running again. Itís definitely a
plus that Sennaís car will be driven again. I wish I could drive the
car; itís going to be nice.
Ricardo, what have been the
biggest problems since last year to this?
RZ: Of course, last
year we scored good points. We had some good positions, but this year
itís proved very difficult to compare. Weíve had improvements from
the aerodynamics but at the same time the other teams have improved
as well, so many times luck hasnít been with us as well so we had car
problems when we didnít score points. In the race the car is not
perfect. In qualifying, OK, but in the race we have big tyre
degradation and also the speed is not good enough to score
Second and final part of this Thursday's FIA press conference with
David Coulthard (McLaren) and Felipe Massa (Sauber).
Felipe this is your home race and David potentially your last race.
What are your thoughts coming into this? First of all
MASSA: Iím really happy to make my home Grand Prix and Iím looking
forward to it. We donít know about the weather but I hope it will be
fine and we can do a good race. Hopefully we can get points, which
would be fantastic for me.
David this has actually been a
good circuit for you in some ways. And Rubens was just saying he
reckons McLaren are going to be tough.
David COULTHARD: I
think it is a circuit I enjoy. Iíve gone well here in the past and if
you remember last year I ended up pitting at the wrong time, just
before I think Alonso crashed his car and there was a red flag. As
far a year ago goes, I think I had a good chance of winning the race,
so Iím looking forward to getting out there and seeing how the car
performs. It is actually quite a short lap and last year in
qualifying was incredibly close and I expect that more so this year.
How does the future look at the moment?
DC: As we
speak I donít have a contract to drive in Formula One next season,
but clearly there is a drive available at Williams and I think if
there is a candidate available, my credentials are stronger than
anyoneís out there. Iíve got pole positions, Iíve won Grands Prix,
and Iíve got a lot of experience of developing cars, tyre
development. Itís been quite surprising the amount of interest from
sponsors because over the last few years Iíve never had an outlet for
that because at McLaren you donít carry your own personal sponsors
and badges. Iíve been contacted by people wanting to know what my
future is and if they can be involved. In terms of that sort of thing
it is a pretty exciting time and now that Williams remains the last
competitive seat available, Iíve got to do everything I can to try
and make them realise that I am the best of the drivers
What are your best memories of McLaren?
DC: Iím not good at doing the looking back thing. When you
get these typical drivers questions you know Ė favourite circuit?
That is easy Spa. But when it goes into things like favourite food,
favourite actress, it is not something I do. So the best memories of
McLaren? The Grand Prix victories have been very enjoyable, the 12
Iíve had with McLaren. The unpleasant memories have been the
victories I have given away. But you spend nine years with a group of
people and obviously you build up relationships. There are some
friendships, some acquaintances and some I donít know because the
team is always changing.
So you think there is possible
potential in the future, and itís not looking too bad?
at all. You decide you are getting older because youíve been doing
this for a few years, but it is an exciting time. With uncertainly,
if you have motivation to want to continue and then you get up and
work and see what you can see. Obviously in this situation is not
just down to your desire, it takes a number of other people to
believe and want to give you an opportunity.
Going onto a
slightly different subject, Jenson ButtonÖthe Contract Recognition
Board has ruled in favour of BAR. Just put yourself in his shoes.
What does a driver feel if he doesnít want to drive and he perhaps
wants to drive for someone else?
DC: I think it is impossible
to play that game and put yourself in someone elseís shoes. You can
get someone else to try to do that. Journalists do that and put
themselves in someoneís shoes. It is easy with the benefit of
hindsight to say I would have done that Ė what an idiot, why did you
We are trying to get it more accurate?
Ask him. Ask him how do you feel driving for a team that you didnít
want to drive for because you had lost faith in them. Iím sure you
will get a no comment answer because now he has to maintain the
relationship for at least another year and possibly more.
Felipe, your feelings about the year so far?
FM: I feel this
year was very good for me. I had a bit of problems at the beginning
of the year. But after we started to work in the wind tunnel, the car
improved a lot and I did as well. I think the second part of the year
was very good for me. I was all the time very competitive and I was
competitive with Giancarlo and with other drivers as well. Iím just
looking forward, Iíve not gone backwards. My races have been very
quick and consistent. The second half of the year has been good for
me and it should also be for next year as well. In terms of the car,
that has improved a lot, and the Bridgestones, and Iím really looking
You have the confidence to stay with the team
next year. How much of a jump do you think you can make?
It is very difficult to stay. Everyone wants to be first next year,
and it difficult to know how much better we are going to be. I think
that we are learning every race and we are improving. Even in 2002 it
was difficult to develop the car and it is fantastic now to see how
much the car improves. But about next year, it is difficult to say. I
think we will have a very good year and a competitive car.
(Tony Dodgins Ė Motorsport News) A question for David. I just want to
ask you about Silverstone with the scenario rumbling on. It seems to
me there is money in the sport and you are a man with BRDC gold
stars. Do you think the situation is avoidable, regrettableÖ?
DC: Although I am a BRDC member, if you have ever been along
to any of the award ceremonies in the past, I am a non-active member
at the moment because obviously my full attention goes to my job of
driving racing cars. So as to whether it could have been avoided in
terms of what the BRDC has done, I donít know. In terms of brainpower
and people of hands on experience of Formula One with the BRDC, I
canít imagine that they have got it wrong. Therefore it would appear
from what I am reading from FOM, and that is my only knowledge of it,
that it is a pure commercial thing from Bernieís organisation to run
the Grand Prix.
In a nutshell what he says about how much
money he charges other venues and how much he can earn by taking the
Grand Prix somewhere else is the beginning of the end of it. You know
you sell your services to whoever it happens to be, do you want to do
a cut price deal to the local newspaper? You might do because you
have probably done good in the area, but you are not going to sustain
your lifestyle on that. Taking an emotional view, which we all do,
certainly of the peopleÖmost of the people who eventually end up in
Formula One have come through Silverstone, whether it be the foreign
drivers or not - if you have come through the lower formulaes.
Silverstone has played a big part in the development of drivers,
engineers, journalists, fans Ė it has done as much for Formula One as
any other circuit that I can imagine. It is a regrettable situation
and I hope it can be rectified and we can have a Grand Prix at
Silverstone. Not because...it is not the best driversí circuit in the
world but it is by a long way better than some of the modern tracks
we have raced on recently from a driversí point of view. I donít see
what facilities are worse than what we are surrounded by
(Dan Knutson Ė National Speed Sport News) Iím sure
you guys have heard they are voting on a new qualifying system for
next year, qualifying one on Saturday and qualifying two on Sunday
morning Ė combine the two times. Your opinions on that, and hopefully
David you are around for that next yearÖ
FM: Well, I heard but
the qualifying on the Sunday at the last race was a bit different to
normal. It is better to have qualifying on Saturday and on Sunday the
race. If you have two qualifying the most important one would be on
the Sunday and not on Saturday. Looking for the Brazilian people,
Sunday morning in Europe is very early here and no one will wake to
watch the qualifying and on Saturday they can watch because it is not
so early. I think the people in Europe could watch but not the people
in Brazil and I think this is not good for Formula One. We could have
a good time watching qualifying on a Saturday.
DC: I think
the combined time thing is the way to keep people interested in
Saturday and Sunday qualifying. For me personally I think the time it
was on Sunday morning I wasnít giving consideration to the race fans
around the world. At the moment Sunday morning, I donít know how you
feel, is a waste of your life. We are living in real time here and
Sunday morning you are giving away half a day of your life doing
nothing. A few waves to the crowd and going out on the parade lap and
then the paddock club, you canít really enjoy it. I think the
challenge of going out and qualifying in the car, you feel that you
are receiving something, and then having a race in the afternoon. The
combined thing would be a way of having people interested on both
days but it just doesnít feel right. I canít give a solid reason why
it shouldnít work because if we say we are doing it we will all get
used to it. It is not about a marathon; it is about how quick you are
that day and not about how many marathons you have done in your life.
It is not an accumulation of all the marathons you have done in your
life or the 100 metres, it is about the final and in the final you
either get it right or you donít. So to have qualifying added up over
two days it is losing a bit about what qualifying is about. It is
about man and machine on that day in history and driving the nuts off
(Dan Knutson) You had a battle with your future team-
mate at the last race. What are your thoughts on Jacques Villeneuve?
FM: For me it is very nice having Jacques as a team-mate, a
world champion and it will be interesting for me to have a team-mate
like this. Iím looking forward to it, hope to do a good job, be
competitive and to be in front of him would be fantastic for me. It
was a good fight at the last race, but it was not the only fight I
had in the race. It was the only fight they showed on the television.
There was a good fight at the start of the race, and a good fight
with Montoya. It was a nice fight but it was not the only
Feedback can be sent to
Go to our
to discuss this article