West McLaren Mercedes drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya
took time out of their busy test and training schedules in the build-
up to the start of the 2005 season to take part in a press conference
at the West Media Day. This is what they had to say:
A question to Juan Pablo, this is your first year with the West
McLaren Mercedes team, how has it been settling in?
JPM: It has been really good. My relationship with everyone within
the team has been really good. Testing wise it has been positive, and
I'm pretty pleased about everything to be honest.
How has the test program prior to the start of the season been
going for you Kimi?
KR: It's been good, we had the new car nearly a month ago and we are
still working through small problems with it. But that is quite
normal with a new car and it is nothing major, and we are fixing
everything that comes up. The speed is there, the car is easy to
drive, but it is hard to say where we are, we just need to wait and
see what happens in the first race.
How has it been testing the car Juan Pablo?
JPM: It's been good, I feel a little bit more comfortable in MP4-20
than I did in last year's car, so that is positive. Like Kimi said,
we have had a couple of little problems, but everything is fixed
already and that is the point of winter testing. This week is it also
about settling in a little bit more with the race team, and I would
say things are going pretty smoothly.
How well do you get on with each other, and more specifically, how
do you help each other when you are working?
KR: Everything is going smoothly between us, it is early days but we
are getting on fine. The atmosphere is good and we are working well
JPM: We are working together pretty good, going into the season we
have actually only tested together at the same time for five or so
days so far, but it is fine and I am looking forward to the
How hard has it been to adapt to these new car regulations?
KR: The new rules are different, but they are different for all the
drivers. We will know more after the first few races how the rules
are working and what we need to do as drivers to change if
Kimi, how do you think it will go between you and Juan Pablo in
KR: We have always been quite close in qualifying in previous seasons
and I'm sure that will continue to be the case. For sure there are
some races when I'm quicker and others when maybe Juan Pablo is
quicker, so we will just have to wait and see what happens.
Juan Pablo, what are your thoughts on the new qualifying format,
is it better for you than the other drivers?
JPM: Whatever the format is, it is the same for everybody. Obviously
you will drive differently in the two sessions, you will push in
both, but you do have to do things like look after the tires
particularly in the first session, as they are the same tires we will
race in so you don't want to flat spot them. But at the end of the
day all the drivers are in the same position, and I don't think we
can judge who it will suit more until we start racing.
To both drivers how do you feel about the changes to the
KR: I don't think it is much different from last year really for the
drivers, but it might be more difficult for the spectators to
understand what is going on because you have to add the two
qualifying times together. But hopefully the television companies
will find a good way to show to the spectators how much you are
behind or in front of someone in real time.
JPM: That's the important thing isn't it, for the organizers to find
a way to make it easy for the fans to understand when they are
watching it, so they know where the car on track really is. You might
be slow in first qualifying but mega quick in the second session for
example, so people might get a bit confused at first, but I'm sure
everyone will get used to it.
Juan Pablo, how does the power of the Mercedes-Benz engine compare
to the one you were using last season at Williams?
JPM: I wouldn't like to compare them, they are completely different
engines for different regulations. Also, you can't expect two
different brands of engine to behave the same. From what I have seen
so far, Mercedes-Benz has does a really good job and I'm pretty happy
to be honest.
Juan Pablo, you are known as one of the most aggressive drivers in
the sport. How much have the new regulations affected your driving
JPM: I wouldn't say it has really. People always say that I have a
really aggressive driving style, but I would say I push as hard as
anyone else out here. Now of course we have to look after the cars a
bit more. I think it is going to be interesting and perhaps at the
first few races some drivers are going to get it really right, others
are going to get it really wrong.
Do you think with the new tire and engine regulations, do you
think that the ability of a better driver will be shown more?
JPM: We will have to wait and see, it will be more important this
year to have a good balance on the car, as poor balance will have a
bad affect on the tires, so you will need to work closely with your
engineers and the other people in the team to do this.
Kimi has Juan Pablo joining the West McLaren Mercedes team made a
KR: In the end it doesn't actually change anything for me and how I
work with the team. I am working with the same people for everything
as I was last year. So I wouldn't say it is a big difference no.
How important do you think it will be that the team is running a
third car in Friday practice?
KR: I think it will be good for the team, especially with the one
engine for two race weekends rule. We can put as many laps as we want
on the third car and will get the information back to make decisions
on our Michelin tires and other set-up requirements.
The new rules have been implemented to make Formula One more
exciting for the spectators, do you think that overtaking is going to
KR: I don't think it is really going to change much, you might get
some situations when people are having problems with their tires and
then other cars will be much faster, but we will have to see what
happens. There was some good racing last year and hopefully it will
be the same in 2005.
There is another new track this year, in Turkey, how do you
prepare to race at a new circuit?
JPM: I normally just get there and drive around. I'll do a couple of
laps in a road car and see how it is. You can see where the racing
line is, braking points and so on, it's pretty straightforward
KR: I also drive round, but usually also walk round some parts of it
with my engineers. I have seen a couple of pictures of the track and
it looks good.
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