Fernando Alonso, Jarno Trulli and Giancarlo Fisichella
March 19, 2005
Top-3 qualifiers meet the press
Fernando Alonso put in a sensational lap to take Provisional Pole
position for Sundayís 56-lap Malaysian Grand Prix. With the fastest
four runners all lapping quicker than the 2004 Pole winning time,
Alonso took the number one slot ahead of Jarno Trulli in the Toyota
and Australian Grand prix winner Giancarlo Fisichella. Here the
three talk of their qualifying performances.
Q: How is it to be on provisional pole position here?
Fernando ALONSO: Yesterday, we had a few problems, but the engineers
did a very good job last night and we again found a quick and easy
car to drive this morning. And now in qualifying you canít make a
mistake on the single lap, but you have to push. And thatís not only
today; you have to have a little gap for tomorrowís qualifying and
this is quite difficult, but at the end we managed to do a good lap
and this first position is a great result for us.
Q: It was a very intense-looking qualifying session, everybody
running light fuel, new tyres and very, very close...
FA: Yeah, very close. Since yesterday, the sessions have been very,
very close. The times are maybe closer than ever here in Sepang and
this makes the qualifying even more interesting, and for tomorrow as
Q: Jarno, you were quickest this morning. We could talk about the
rain in Melbourne, but here thereís no doubting your speed and that
great lap you put in...
Jarno TRULLI: Yeah, Iím pretty happy about the result and especially
for the team, which has been working really hard to give me an
updated car aerodynamically and all my mechanics who have worked
really hard to give me a fantastic car. We look pretty competitive
here. At the moment, I have mixed feelings as Iím sure Iím happy
about my result, but on the other hand Iím shocked because Iíve just
heard the news that a friend of mine has just died, so I want to
dedicate this front row to Stefano.
Q: Giancarlo, coming off that win in Australia, the momentum
continues for the Renault team. Talk us through that lap in the
closing minutes of qualifying?
Giancarlo FISICHELLA: Yeah, not bad. Itís nice to be here again. Iím
third quickest and considering a bit of under-steer and a couple of
mistakes, itís not bad, Iím happy. We are still competitive, we can
still fight to get on the podium and maybe to win the race again.
Iím happy to be here with Fernando and Jarno. Tomorrow there is
another important qualifying session. Even with high fuel the car
balance Ė I mean the potential was good yesterday, maybe the car
balance wasnít fantastic but today was better and for tomorrow we
are quite optimistic.
Q: With the new engine regulations weíre going into uncharted
territory now in Formula One. Youíll be running the engine with
which you won the Australian Grand Prix, how does that feel - race
two with the same engine?
GF: Honestly, yesterday, as soon as I went full throttle, I was
really scared because the power is much less because itís much
hotter than Australia, but then the engine is still consistent, itís
still strong. I saved the engine in the Australian Grand Prix so I
think my engine is quite fresh. You never know, but Iím quite
optimistic about that.
Q: Fernando, coming back to you, 53 degrees track temperatures
when you were out today. Talk a little bit about the heat and what
thatís like from the driverís point of view, and also from the carís
point of viewÖ
FA: Yeah, well itís a little more difficult to drive with hot track
temperatures. The steering becomes quite heavy, and you suffer a
little bit of over-steer normally and this will be important for
tomorrowís race, with the hot temperatures and only one set of
tyres. For the driver, I think we all feel the same: very hot
temperatures inside, we sweat a lot in the helmet and itís a little
bit uncomfortable to drive like this, but, anyway, I like the Sepang
circuit so much that it doesnít matter if itís too hot.
Q: Fernando, what is it about this circuit that makes you love it
FA: I always felt very comfortable here in Sepang. For me, it is the
best circuit in the world in terms of the driver. I like all the
corners here, like Spa, from the driversí point of view Ė high
speed, low speed, it is very wide and not bumpy, so you have
everything here to enjoy the lap.
Q: Giancarlo said he noticed his engine was down on paper because
of the heat, what about you?
FA: The same. Down on power because of running with these very hot
temperatures and high humidity. In Australia, I think I used more of
the tyres, from that point of view, because I was pushing every lap
and I think the engine revs were more or less the same through the
whole race. I am totally confident. I am 100 per cent confident that
the engine will not have a problem at all in the race.
Q: Following the rain-affected session in Australia, this is the
first Ďproperí qualifying so now how do you approach tomorrow?
FA: I am more confident than I was in Australia. I was nearly crying
after Friday and now I am smiling. I think in Australia I was
competitive on Friday and Saturday morning like I was here this
morning and then in qualifying I did not show the potential of the
Renault car and I was lucky to have a good race afterwards. Here
with normal qualifying, we have shown again that both Renault cars
can be in the top three and this is fantastic news for the team.
Q: Jarno, obviously this is confirmation of the speed of the
Toyota over a single lap. Is that a surprise to you?
JT: Not really. This morning we were competitive and during the
whole weekend we have been always quite good. I have to thank the
team because they have been working really hard at the factory to
bring some up-to-date aero package so we are moving ahead and this
is what I expected at the beginning of the season. Things will be
improving for the future because everybody is pushing hard and I
want to thank them because the car here has been competitive, easy
to drive and hopefully also will be good during the race.
Q: In Australia, you had the problem of going, well, not quite
JT: Well, yes, Australia - it was not expected what happened. We, I,
had a problem with one of the rear tyres which made my race pretty
difficult by the end of the first thing to the end of the race, but
here I think is slightly different, so we have to just wait and see.
Q: You are pretty confident of maintaining your pace and being
JT: From what I have seen yes, the car has been quite consistent for
a long run. Actually with the heat you can expect anything and again
any problems with the tyres will be really bad for this kind of race
because you are not able to change the tyres anymore.
Q: Giancarlo, thirdÖ Are you happy with that?
GF: Yes, I am happy. I am. Honestly. I had a bit of under-steer and
I made a couple of mistakes so apart from that third is great.
Fernando is first quickest and the quickest today and that means
Renault is still strong even on this circuit, which is a very
important circuit. There are lots of high speed and slow speed
corners. So the potential is very good. Yesterday the car balance
wasnít fantastic, but today itís better. And we are optimistic for
the race. We have another important qualifying session tomorrow with
high fuel load, so, yes, it is good.
Q: You obviously want to bump him off pole position and yet the
two of you will be in briefing together. How do you approach
GF: Well I will do my best. It is going to be different with a lot
of fuel. It will be important to do 100 per cent, but if you make a
small mistake you can lose a good chance to be at the top two or
three rows. It is important to do a clean lap. I hope do well, to be
in the first row. We will see tomorrow.
Q: Did you do a low fuel run this morning?
GF: I was lower than yesterday but not completely empty like a
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi - La Gazetta dello Sport): Jarno, a
clarification from you please. Shortly before, on television, you
dedicated your front row place to Stefano. Can you tell us some more
about who he is?
JT: Well he is a friend of mine and he is a rescue pilot. He
pilots ĎCanadairí and yesterday there was a fire I think in Italy
and he was really unlucky Ė after landing on the water and taking
off I think he has hit the electrical cables.
Q: ( Jose Carron - La Tribune de Geneve): Can you be a bit more
precise when you say you are a bit down on power from Australia
because of the heat, but how much?
FA: We donít know. We just press the throttle and we feel it. We
donít know the numbers, but this has been normal always. It happens.
We break all the records in the winter tests and things like that
because it is cooler and everything is working better.
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