Second part of this Thursday's FIA press conference from Bahrain,
with two drivers: Fernando Alonso (Renault) - Jarno Trulli (Toyota)
and two Team Principals: Flavio Briatore (Renault) - John Howett
Flavio, how conservative has the team been in the first two races?
FB: I donít know. The team really tried. We arrived in Formula One
with Renault at 100 percent and every year we say we do a step. I
believe what we have this year is the consequence of the charge that
was done in the last four years. Nothing happens by chance in Formula
One, it is very complicated, there is a lot of people working
together to get a quick car. The team knows the performance we had in
these two races and this is very good because we demand a lot from
the people in the factory, and when you are very, very bad or very,
very good, I am sure it is better the second, when you are very, very
good. I mean, I believe it is great to see people smiling when you
arrive in the office on a Monday. It is a surprise, but it is good to
be a surprise. This is quite an ideal team, two drivers together and
everyone saw the two drivers are together because really the people
spend a lot of time together and we do not want to play in the press
conference saying that we are happy when we are not happy. And this
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
(Adrian Rodriguez Huber- Spanish International Press Agency EFE)
Fernando, first how does it feel to be the leader of the World
Championship, does it put any extra pressure on you? Secondly, we do
get very excited in Spain with what you have been accomplishing over
these years but did you think some people this time may have gone too
far by almost kidnapping you in your own house? You couldnít even go
out, you had to leave because of all that was going on around your
FA: For the first question, leading the championship is not really a
problem, it is not giving me any more pressure because we only did
two races and maybe I feel pressure if we were in the last two races
and I was leading the championship. Now is not a real picture of all
the drivers and all the championships so we have to forget and think
race by race. Second question, really in Spain it went too far, all
the people, especially journalists, and this is a problem. But it is
not what I want, to be in front of my house waiting for a picture,
and if they think they have to do that it is their problem.
(Adrian Rodriguez Huber- Spanish International Press Agency EFE)
But do you think that they put your security in danger?
FA: For sure, also as I was not in the place they were. They were in
front of my parentsí house and I was not there, I was with a friend
and I watched on television what they were doing, their ridiculous
position in front of the house.
(Marc Surer Ė Premiere TV) I was surprised when they told you
which gear you should be in at Sepang.
FA: I was surprised too. Sometimes they see on the computer, on the
data, that some temperatures on oil pressure is going too low or too
high in some corners and when I heard this opinion, these words, I
knew that it was safer to go fifth gear in that corner and, for sure,
it was not a problem for me to do it. Maybe if they asked in a
different corner then maybe I ask why, but because it was happening
in turn six in Sepang, it was a corner that was between fourth and
fifth, it was not clear, and I was going in fourth and they said
fifth and it was no problem at all.
(Marc Surer Ė Prermiere TV) Just that one corner it was a problem?
FA: It was not a problem, but because we had a very safe gap they
thought it was safe to go like this. But it was not a big
(German Radio and TV) Fernando, Ferrari are bringing their new
car here, what do you think about it?
FA: Ferrari is a very strong team, one of the favourites for all the
Grands Prix, and now with their new car for sure they will have more
potential and they will be more competitive than the last race. But
at the moment Renault won the first two Grands Prix and is the team
to beat and they have to look in the Renault garage, not Renault have
to look at all the other teams. I also think, too, that last yearís
Ferrari car was not bad at all. So their new car, for sure, is
better, but I think the key to beat Ferrari to the top is not only
(German Radio and TV) What do you think of Bahrain and the people?
FA: I really donít spend much time here in Bahrain. Last year we
visited a market on the street and they have different cultures,
different ways to live, and for us it is sometimes strange, not
worse, not better, but a different culture. The circuit itself, as we
see, has fantastic facilities and the track is very wide, smooth, and
it is good for Formula One to come to this country.
(German Radio and TV) Flavio, is it right that you donít care
what Ferrari is doing?
FB: I am only looking for my team, really, because I am not in charge
of Ferrari and I look at our team, our garage, our drivers. And I
said before, in Malaysia we had the Toyota behind us and in Australia
we had the Red Bull and we didnít look at them. We do our race, and
do whatever is possible. If someone is in front of us, someone is
better, quicker or whatever, but our concentration is in our team, I
donít care about the other teams.
(Adrian Rodriguez Huber- Spanish International Press Agency EFE)
Fernando, do you think you have realistic chance to win here in
Bahrain; and secondly, do you have any comments for the other
Spanish driver who is going to be here this weekend, Pedro de la Rosa
FA: Here in Bahrain we know it will be difficult. Last year it was
not a perfect track for us for the characteristics of the corners and
the circuit, but this year we have a completely different package. We
have a very strong engine, a very nice car aerodynamically and
everything can change. Maybe we have a competitive car here and I am
quite convinced of that and we can fight for the podium, minimum. To
win a race there are a lot of things you need to have Ė qualifying, a
good tyre choice, strategy and so on, and I think to arrive to
approach the weekend thinking of the podium is not stupid at all for
the way we are with the car now.
For the second question, Pedro is replacing Montoya for this race and
I am happy, obviously. The more Spanish drivers we have in Formula
One the better for Spain, for the people, there is now a lot of
interest in Formula One in Spain and for sure a lot of people will
enjoy this race more than others, with two Spanish drivers on the
track. And also Montoya is still in the championship and he will not
take too many points this race.
(Dominic FugŤre Ė Le Journal de Montreal) Mr Briatore, you said a
few weeks ago that Formula One needed to look into making the show
better and making it more interesting for the fans. In which way do
you think that the fact that Ferrari has not been winning many races,
that Renault have been doing well and that Red Bull and Toyota were
right behind you, in which way do you think that might help the
popularity of Formula One?
FB: For sure, for us it is more interesting than last year! This, for
us, is changing a lot already. Formula One is a big television event,
it is the race it is the sport. What I was talking about two weeks
ago was putting Formula One back on the sports pages and not on the
pages for finance, the newspapers, talking about a championship in
2008, who manages it, money and whatever. I believe Formula One is a
sport, we have a car, we have a driver, the people want to see a
race, they donít want to know how much Renault spend, how much
Ferrari spend, or Toyota spends. The people want to see a race. This
is what we are talking about. When you put rules in the way, the race
is better. Maybe the aerodynamics of the car changes but for
everybody. People want to see a race, they want to see overtaking. I
believe the race in Australia, when Fernando started 14th or 13th,
and he was overtaking a lot. When you see that it is great for the
sport, it is great for our business. This is my point. We are
concentrating on our event, a big television event, to increase the
spectacle of the race is important.
(Dominic FugŤre Ė Le Journal de Montreal) And do you think the
fact that Ferrari doesnít look like they are going to win all the
races adds to that, because that has been a complaint that has been
going on for a long time?
FB: I donít say that Renault winning is better for Formula One, I
just said that the fact that Ferrari is not winning is good news.
Because last year your guys were always tell me how boring it used to
be with Ferrari first and second, oh my God, Schumacher again, oh my
God, this year itís not so many My God. And I think this is great.
This is what the media says, itís not me. I read this in the
newspaper, you guys. It see last year everyone was saying not Ferrari
again. This year it is not like that, this year it is more
interesting because people want to see what happens.
(Adrian Rodriguez Huber- Spanish International Press Agency EFE)
Flavio, how do you feel yourself?
FB: I feel great, like everyone in the team. It was difficult when I
came back in Formula One in 2001 to expect Renault to be in the top
teams in 2005. I know it is not finished yet, because we have done
nothing, like Fernando said, we have won two races. But at least we
are sure that Renault is in the top teams. We were third in 2004, I
hope this year we will finish better than last year. You need to be
happy when you have done the job and you have the nice environment
around you, I mean, I feel happy with that.
John, how much of a surprise was the Malaysian result?
John HOWETT: The team has been working very hard throughout the
winter. I think everybody was uncertain - because of the very
difficult winter test conditions, the resurfacing of Barcelona -
where we were, and I think Jarno clearly demonstrated the pace of the
car at the beginning of the Australian race and in qualifying and
then I think demonstrated and confirmed where we are currently.
Jarno, obviously a difficult weekend for you at Sepang. How do
you feel about this race?
Jarno Trulli: Yes, I believe that every weekend we have to go down
and see where we are. We know we have a good car for a good baseline
but we still have to discover it, we still have to learn a lot of
things. For example, we have learned quite a lot from Australia to
Malaysia and in Malaysia we got it better from the beginning to the
end of the race. Here weíve got similar conditions and we just hope
to be competitive. We never know if weíre going to be as competitive
as we were in Malaysia, because obviously we were very quick but it
will be nice to be always in the points and fighting for the top
positions. At the end of the day, Toyota has got the potential to do
it and we are constantly working on and improving our car.
Do you feel you can be consistent championship contenders?
JT: I am more realistic. I am optimistic but I keep my feet on the
ground and say we still have a lot of work to do. The potential is
high but we are not using it completely yet. We are working on many
areas to improve our car performance and I believe we will have races
where we will perform better than others. Iím sure Malaysia was one
of those. What we have to do is to prove our package at every race
and try to do our best during this season. This is not the right
season yet to fight for the championship, but the start is quite
You said the conditions were right in Sepang, given that itís 36
degrees out there and 51 degrees track temperature, is it going to be
the same here?
JT: We remain confident, because, as I say, the conditions are very
similar here. We have understood quite a lot about the tyres and we
believe here weíve got a similar package which might help our car and
chassis. On the engine side we are okay, we have had full finishes in
two races. I remain confident, but I want to keep my feet on the
ground and I want to discover the weekend then at the end of the
weekend I can talk better about it.
John, just to go back to that point that Jarno made that you
couldnít really totally fight for the championship, is that the case?
JH: I think itís realistic. We are still a young team. I think we
have a very good baseline, as Jarno said, and we have a lot of
improvements in the pipeline for both chassis and engine and we just
have to keep up the momentum and see how the season moves. I think,
all along, we thought we would have the best season ever and thatís
really our target and ambition, and if at the end of the season we
are fighting for the top two or three places in the championship for
us it will be extremely good.
Do you notice a different atmosphere now in the factory at
JH: Yeah, sure. People have been working very hard, particularly the
guys working in the composite shops day and night to make the parts,
so I think everybodyís really happy. I think they felt that we had
been knocking on the door of something like this and probably havenít
demonstrated the full capability of the whole team and therefore they
are delighted, so yeah, they are putting even more effort in.
Is there a lot coming onto the car for Imola?
JH: Oh yeah. We have improvements on both chassis and engine for
Imola and we have a clear programme. I think weíre trying to
accelerate as hard as we can to get more, but I guess every other
team will be doing the same. It is that relative performance that
probably makes the sport so enjoyable and so thrilling.
Can you look at the results so far and say Ďthatís where we think
we areí or is it still really up in the air?
JH: I think you canít deny that it wasnít a fluke what Jarno achieved
and I think that was reinforced by Ralf in Sepang, so clearly the
baseline is very good, but we have got to keep the pressure up and
weíve got to keep the improvements otherwise we will stand still and
weíve got keep this momentum running. But Iím confident that both
Mike (Gascoyne) and Luca (Marmorini) can do that with the people
theyíve got with them.
Jarno, has it been difficult settling into such an already big
organisation? Has it been difficult to find your way around?
JT: I think it is never easy when you join a number one constructor
which obviously wants to do well in Formula One. There was a lot of
pressure, there is still a lot of pressure. I think both me and Ralf
have settled in really well, thanks to the people who are working
with the team who are definitely helping us. They are listening and
they trust in us and the job we are doing and eventually this result
that came in Sepang, not only from me but also Ralfís performance, it
was an answer to all those people who have been working with us and
showing the direction. It is always difficult when you change teams
but to be honest this time was easier than any other time
I guess the success brings everyone togetherÖ
JT: Yeah, I think so.
(Marc Surer Ė Premiere TV) Jarno, you mentioned the temperature
before. Are you worried, going to Imola? Imola is quite a cold race
normally and I think youíve been struggling in Melbourne with tyre
JT: Imola is a question mark for us. It is a very difficult technical
circuit where the car really has to prove its potential in all areas:
aerodynamically, mechanically and on the engine side because we have
got a lot of long straight, acceleration, hard braking, kerbs,
changing direction. It is going to be a tough weekend, so I would
prefer to look forward to this weekend and when we get to Imola we
will see, because we are getting a lot of updates on the car, so we
remain confident but we know that Imola will be an important weekend
(Thierry Tassin Ė RTBF TV) Jarno, you have twice been on the
front row next to a Renault. Compared to last year, it looks like the
Renault hasnít got the advantage at the start that they had before.
Do you believe their opposition has improved or you left with the
secrets from Renault and you put it in the Toyota?
JT: Letís put it this way, I think Iíve joined the team in the last
year. Itís the way weíve set up the car, the way we also use the
electronics, and obviously the team has got the resources and they
have followed the driversí direction, from me and Ralf and we have
definitely improved our starting system which is still weak, but we
are on the way up. We know that area has to be improved but it is
definitely a step forward compared to last year. On the other hand, I
think Iíve always been quite quick at the start and so at Sepang it
wasnít too bad.
(Heinz PrŁller Ė ORF Austrian TV) Gentlemen, from what youíve
learned already, in which race, on what circuit do you think Toyota
will have the best chance to win their first Grand Prix this year?
JT: I think honestly we have started the season with different
targets. Our target is aiming for podiums but mainly to show signs of
progress, scoring points and doing a nice and flawless championship.
At the moment, I think the results me and Ralf had in Sepang was an
extremely good result and gave a good boost to the team but I think
itís too early to talk about winning races. I donít think we are
ready yet. We have a good car, a good baseline and it is all up to
the team and the potential we have to develop the car because weíve
got an extremely experienced team out there. Some of them, like
Renault, are definitely quicker than us at the moment but we are on
the way up, so at the moment it is impossible for us to predict when
the first victory is going to arrive. It may be this week, it may be
in one year, we donít know but we are working to top the list and
hopefully this will happen soon.
JH: I probably agree with Jarno. I think the two races, historically,
we have been competitive at have been Indianapolis and Canada so if
you look at the historic relative performance of the car, we have
performed well there but I think really we are just focussing on the
programme we have got and improving more and more as we go through
(Vijay Mruthyunjaya - Gulf Daily News) You raced here last year
and youíre here again this year, under two different circumstances,
how do you rate your chances this weekend?
JT: It is always difficult to predict a weekend. It doesnít matter
which track you are on. Well, the temperatures are high here, there
are similar conditions like in Malaysia so we are confident. But it
is difficult, now, to talk about this weekend because until we get on
the track and we see where we are and how our car and tyres and
chassis and everything works, we cannot predict anything. The only
thing I can say is that we remain confident. I like the circuit and
we will see.
(Dominic FugŤre Ė Le Journal de Montreal) Jarno, you just
mentioned that there has been a significant difference between the
way you used the electronics last year compared to this year. Can you
elaborate on this a little bit?
JT: I will go through the details that I can. I learned a lot of
things, analysed a lot of data and we are using the car and
electronics better but there is still some room for improvement. The
electronics people are extremely competent, they are really good,
they follow the driversí directions and weíve made some better starts
compared to last year but it is not enough. I donít want to go
through details with you because obviously it is top secret.
(Dominic FugŤre Ė Le Journal de Montreal) Aside from the start
would you say that you are using more electronics or less, a little
bit more driver input than mechanical, if you want?
JT: We are using what the FIA give us the opportunity to use, nothing
more and nothing less. We are using all that we can use, partly
electronics, partly mechanical, the other part is probably up to the
(Andrea Cremonesi Ė Gazzetta dello Sport ) Jarno, yesterday the
World Council received the procedure for anti-doping in Formula One;
what is your opinion and do you think there is doping in Formula One?
JT: Personally I never had an opportunity to talk about doping, but I
think I have had an anti-doping test personally at Silverstone last
year. Everything looked quite professional. I never had a problem and
I am the first driver to be present if there is an anti-doping. But
honestly I donít think there is any anti-doping in Formula One in the
drivers. You can dope the car, probably, and you can make it quicker,
but itís an extremely top level sport. Itís difficult, itís quite
demanding, physically but with a good fitness you can make it. But
personally I donít trust any of these words about doping in Formula
One, this is my opinion. And anyway, weíve got the anti-doping tests
To continue on that vein, how careful are you when you have to
take medication for whatever reasons?
JT: Well, Iím lucky because Toyota is one of the few teams that has a
doctor who follows the drivers, step-by-step on everything, so the
medicine we are given, if we have to take it, is strictly controlled
by the doctor. So I donít have any problem with it. I sometimes had
to change from one medicine to another because some of them were on
the anti-doping list, but I think I am lucky to have a doctor
available full-time for the team and for the drivers.
(Gaetan Vigneron Ė RTBF TV) John, you have just got Pascal
Vasselon, ex-Michelin, in your team. What will be his job, and was it
difficult to get him, because I think Williams was also interested in
JH: I donít know about the competing teams. I think the situation was
that Michelin wanted to keep him within their corporation but not in
a motor sport environment. As you probably know, he was originally
with Renault in Formula One, moved to Michelin, and wanted to stay
within Formula One. We offered him a position within our R&D
department and he accepted. For us, he will probably be involved in
suspension development and other associated chassis areas in our R&D
department, but we didnít feel there was any strong competition from
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