Malaysia post-race press
March 20, 2005
Race winner Fernando Alonso
fields questions from the media
Fernando Alonso stormed to victory today at the Malaysian Grand Prix
recording Renaultís second straight win while Jarno Trulli brought
Toyota their first podium position. Nick Heidfeld rounded out the
top three with a well-deserved first podium position for BMW
Williams. The following is a transcript of the race winnerís press
Q: Fernando, it looked today as if you had to win two races; one
against your opposition, and another against the conditions out
Fernando ALONSO: Yeah, they were very tough conditions, as we knew
before the start of the race. Unfortunately the drink bottle didnít
work, so half the race I had problems and I finished on the limit.
Q: The car looked faultless over that distance, but what was it
like in the cockpit?
FA: It was OK. I saved the tires a little bit at the beginning,
thinking that maybe the first stint was maybe the most risky time
for the rear tires and then after that I saw that Jarno was slowing
down a little bit so I slowed down as well, to save my tires more,
and the last stint was just low revs and saving tires again. I
wasnít pushing really hard in any part of the race. But the car was
very easy to drive and really easy.
Q: Those last closing laps in this heat must have seemed very
FA: Not only the last, the last 15 or 20 laps were very long and the
same for everybody here in Sepang, or maybe more if you are in P1.
You are very close to winning the race, itís the second race for the
engine and for the car and you are a little bit worried, obviously,
but everything was perfect and the team again showed that we are the
team to beat.
Q: Jarno, congratulations to you too: the first-ever podium
finish for the Panasonic Toyota team. You tried to hold onto
Fernando there in the opening laps. Tell us about that and then as
the race progressedÖ
Jarno TRULLI: I had an extremely good start but again the Renaults
seem to get away pretty well. Anyway, I drove my race, I was quite
competitive, I was following Fernando, but at one stage I could see
that there was no match and I started managing the race, taking care
of the tires as during the first race I had the tire problem, and
then I just managed to finish the race. It was really easy in second
position, pulling away, controlling people. From the pit they kept
telling me to slow down so itís fantastic to bring the first podium
finish to Toyota.
Q: In these conditions, even more so, using the engine for two
Grand Prix, the tires for the full distance, how near to the limit
were you towards the end?
JT: Letís say that we were quite comfortable on reliability, even
if, in these conditions, itís always terrible (fantastic) what
Marmorini has done and his crew has done a fantastic job over the
wintertime, the reliability is there. But after half race I started
pulling down the revs and trying to slow down and taking care of the
tires and also the heat was really hard on the driverís side, and
for this I have to thank (Doctor) Ciccarelli because he treated me
with an infusion as I was sick at the beginning of this week.
Q: Nick, youíve been quick all weekend but tenth on the grid up
to third place is fabulous and you donít actually look that sweaty
Nick HEIDFELD: No, it was very hot, and as usual in hot races, as
Fernando just said, my drink bottle also failed. It always happens
at the places where you donít want it to happen, from the beginning
onwards. Other than those two guys, I had to push very hard, as I
was only tenth in qualifying, because I made a mistake in second
qualifying and I thought that cost me the race. But I had a very
good start and some good overtaking maneuvers.
Q: And an interesting race from your point of view: you were
racing there with Ralf Schumacher and later on you were right behind
Mark Webber and Giancarlo Fisichella.
NH: Yes, I was with two other cars at a lot of the stages of the
race, so it was not like one on one. There were two people fighting
in front of me and then the third car getting involved. It was very
complex, but very interesting, and I got the upper hand.
Q: And the car, the tires, the engine?
NH: Obviously everything was really good. In the end, as normal, we
tried to save the engine a bit, pushed really hard in the middle
stint. In the end, the last ten laps, I was just controlling the
pace to Montoya.
Q: Fernando, we return to you as the first Spaniard ever to lead
the FIA Formula One World Championship and Renault looking very
dominant. Your thoughts about the upcoming racesÖ
FA: It will be more difficult for us, because we are starting in a
very strong position but we saw this weekend that Toyota, Williams
and always McLaren and Ferrari are very strong and the competition
is tough now. Bahrain was not a perfect place for us last year, so I
think we will suffer a little bit, and then when we arrive in Europe
I think it will also be tough because it has always been good for
the other teams. But this year everything seems different. Renault
is always good on any type of circuit and Iím totally confident that
in Bahrain we will be the reference again.
Q: Fernando, obviously a very exhausting race, but you really
enjoy this circuit, whatís it like to win here?
FA: Yes, itís one of the best places to win for me because from the
driverís point of view, as I said, itís the most technical circuit,
the most difficult and the best of the championship for me with Spa
and for me it makes me even more happy to win here than at maybe
Q: Obviously physically exhausting, did it affect you during the
FA: No, because when you are in the car, you are concentrating, air
is coming in and youíre OK, but unfortunately, as I said before, the
drink bottle didnít work in this hot race and it wasnít perfect at
the end and also it happened on Friday: when you are in a standing
position, when you get up quickly, the blood pressure falls and this
is normal. This happens everywhere. Maybe here a little bit more.
Q: Were you slowed by the team, or did you just ease up yourself?
FA: Myself. The team asked me to reduce revs because Jarno was also
controlling the tires and the engine, and we slowed down a little
bit more but Iím really happy because this one was one of the
toughest races for the car: second race for the engine, hot
temperatures for the tires, high wear for the tires and even if
people thought that at the beginning of the championship that I was
too aggressive to manage the tires, even in these extreme conditions
I showed that I won the race.
Q: Jarno, you made a superb start, but it looked
as if when you
go to third gear, they pulled aheadÖ
JT: We still have some work to do, but it is definitely nice to be
here. It was a challenge when I chose Toyota, but I chose them for
several reasons, for several people and I knew there was a lot of
potential in this team. Now, we know we have to work on the engine,
the chassis and the aerodynamics, but we have got tremendous,
experienced people like Gascoyne, Marmorini and lots of highly
experienced engineers who can do it for the future. So it is a good
boost this first podium, it came at the right time for the team and
at the right place because I believe this race is one of the
toughest technically in the heat and is the second for the engine
and it is fantastic for them and I would like to thank all the
Panasonic Toyota team members.
Q: What about the tires in this race?
JT: I wanted to manage them a little bit from the beginning, I tried
to follow Fernando for the first 10 laps but then I was thinking I
was pulling away from Giancarlo, but I couldnít keep Fernandoís pace
so I just wanted to slow down and take care of the tires and then
mid-race I had such a big gap that the team started to worry me
about the front tires and I had to slow down. At the end of the
race, it is nice to be second and it doesnít matter to get the
hassle. Itís important to get the car to the finish line and to
score this first podium
Q: Nick a very good start. Tell us about this opening lap?
NH: It was very important to have a good start. Unfortunately, I
only qualified 10th and we were held up already in Melbourne by the
two Red Bulls so I was very happy to get past them and then I was
behind Kimi who was on quite a high fuel load and held me up a bit
as well and in the end I was very happy with third position.
Q: What about when you got past Ralf Schumacher. Tell us about
NH: It was a fight between three cars and that made it even more
difficult and more exciting. I just had to try and judge what was
going to happen next and I just got the upper hand in the end and it
was very interesting and it was good fun.
Q: Any other German driver has to live in the shadow of at least
one of the Schumacher brothers, if not both of them, and today you
beat them both so how does that feel?
NH: I donít drive in Formula One to be in the limelight, you know, I
am quite happy to be in the shadow and finish on the podium.
Q: (Ian de Cotta, Today) : Alonso, do you think this could be the
year you will win the driversí title and be the youngest champion?
FA: Well, it is only the second race and we can not say anything we
are in the best position I have been in my career to win the
championship because in 2003 we were competitive in some places and
some not and in 2004 we were competitive at the beginning and at the
end we lost the championship and it seems that this year we are the
best at the moment in these two races and the team is programmed to
do quite good steps soon in the car and develop the car every two
races more or less and if we keep like this for sure I can have some
Q: (Flavio Vanetti, Corriere della Sera): Fernando, you are now
leading the world championship and you are the first Spanish driver
in history to do so, what do you feel?
FA: Yes, it is a fantastic feeling not just to be the first Spanish,
but just to be the first in the championship, I think to lead the
world championship in Formula One is a dream for any young driver
and I reached this at 23 years old and I now only need to finish in
this position in the championship. I donít know where or when but I
hope as soon as possible to fight for the championship.
Q: (Mike Doodson): Nick, you and your team-mate Mark Webber
looked very closely matched during the race and you got very close
at the incident that took out both Mark and Fisichella. Was there
much difference between your cars and where did you have any
advantage over him at certain times?
NH: It is quite difficult to say because in the beginning I was
three places behind him and I was held up quite a bit by Kimi and
when I was behind Mark I thought I was a bit quicker, but then he
was fighting with Fisi so itís hard to judge.
Q: (Mike Doodson): Did you have an opportunity to judge the
NH: I think Mark did a really nice move on Fisi in the second-last
corner, but therefore his exit to the back straight was not that
good. It looked like Fisichella had a problem with his car and it
didnít seem to handle very nice and he managed to go just to the
inside of the last corner from Mark, but, from my view, it looked
like he braked a bit too late and went straight on. It can happen.
Q: (Anthony Rowlinson, Autosport) A question for all three
drivers, do you think you are in a position to stay ahead of Michael
Schumacher and Ferrari this season?
JT: It is very clear they are struggling with the package and it is
difficult to say what is wrong. I prefer to look at my side and
improve my car, but they were not competitive here and they looked
more competitive in Australia. We will see in the next races.
FA: I think Ferrari and Michael will be stronger opponents for
everybody when they sort out the problems they have now. Maybe, we
will have more problems and we will see races more like last year Ė
unfortunately. So, we need to take care of our car and our pace and
performance and now in these days while Ferrari are not so strong,
take the first position and the points.
NH: Of course, it is our goal to stay ahead of Ferrari and to beat
all the other teams and the question is how good the new Ferrari car
will be. At the moment, definitely, they are struggling and it is
obvious they are not the quickest team anymore like the last couple
of years when they were dominating and I think it is a very
different situation for them, they are not used to it and it will be
interesting to see how they handle it.
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