Thursday Press Conference
With Barrichello, Klien, Raikkonen and Villeneuve
June 10, 2005
Ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix, Rubens Barrichello, Christian
Klien, Kimi Raikkonen and Jacques Villeneuve talk of the season to
date and their hopes for the future. What follows is the Thursday press conference
organized by the FIA.
Q: Christian, tell us about not racing.
Christian KLIEN: It is not so interesting than racing a car. It was
a bit of a difficult time for me, a bit frustrating to step back and
to be third driver, but I knew in the beginning of the year that me
and Vitantonio (Liuzzi) would share the car and that was the case
for the last four races. I am really looking forward to it, I am
happy to be in the car again and try to do a good job now.
Q: But the team seems to have Scott Speed, Vitantonio, David
Coulthard, and it is almost as if there is two teams there really.
CK: Yeah, we have too many drivers! Scott is driving this weekend,
it will be his first time in a Formula One car during a race weekend
and I think he will have a lot of fun and it will be a great weekend
for him. But yes, for me it is the most important thing to actually
be back in the car and I focus on that.
Q: Does a driver look over his shoulder and think, ooh, there is
a lot of people queuing up behind me.
CK: You could think about it all the time but I focus on what I do,
I try to do the best job I can do, try to be quick in the car, try
to impress the people around me and the people in the paddock and
see that I am quick and I cannot do more than that.
Q: Has it been a surprise how competitive the team has been this
CK; Absolutely. I think we were also surprised at the beginning of
the season how strong we are. For sure, it will get more difficult
during the season because the bigger teams can develop the car more
than us, but we saw at the Nurburgring that we are still competitive
and with a bit of luck we can both drive in the points and I hope we
can get some points this weekend.
Q: These two races you think you can be as competitive?
CK: I think so, yes. I mean, I was still in the car, I did third
driver in the Friday tests, so I saw how quick I am relative to the
other drivers, I was quite quick in testing, so I am pretty
confident that I can go back in the car and be quick again and, for
sure, try to beat my team-mate and be in front of him.
Q: Jacques, here we are, back at home with you. One thing I
noticed at a press conference yesterday is that it was mentioned you
have a contract for next year, so you still have a year and a halfís
worth of contract. Can you just clarify that?
Jacques VILLENEUVE: It has always been the case. It is not a
surprise. Thatís what was said last year, thatís what was said in
winter, and thatís what was said for the last few months, yes.
Q: So the rumors about you perhaps being replaced, they have got
to overcome that first?
JV: Well, rumors are part of everyday racing. There have always
been a lot of rumors. I have no idea where it comes from, but I
guess it is easy to make rumors because there have been rumors
about people getting more involved in the team and, who knows, with
money people think they can start buying anything out, so I guess
that is where the rumors started.
Q: What is needed for you to get back into the top ten?
JV: We just need to go faster to get into the top ten. There is
nothing else we can do. We had a good step in Imola and it looks
like we got it right and most other people got it wrong and that
suited us. The other track where we were competitive was Monaco and
that was it. At the beginning of the season we hadnít been very
competitive and the car is not difficult to drive, it is quite
neutral, but it is just not fast enough on the lap time.
Q: You had a big test at Monza last week, has that provided some
JV: Not really, no. The car was working fine, but once again not
Q: So, what are your thoughts about these two races?
JV: I have no idea what to expect. There is new asphalt here, which
will be a surprise for everyone, and it is just a matter of getting
it right. When there is new asphalt like that you need to luck-in a
little bit and that could work out for us. Also, if the tires are on
the limit, like Monaco, that suits us because we are quite easy on
our tires so that is what I am hoping for.
Q: Thatís the only thing you can hope for is it?
JV: Yeah, when you are not fast what can help you is rain, because
that balances everything.
Q: Do you feel there is anything missing in yourself?
JV: No, not at all.
Q: That part of it is perfect?
JV: You always improve. There is always room for improvement and to
learn and that happens with work. But right now there is not much we
can do with the car. We are where we are and thatís about it.
Q: Rubens, a good result at the Nurburgring. Was that an
encouragement for you?
Rubens BARRICHELLO: Yeah, I think so. We knew the car was going to
go quite well in the race, there was a weak point in qualifying as
we saw for both cars, then as the race developed I had quite a good
chance, because I almost always had the track open for me, so I was
able to push and use the three stops, so that was quite nice.
Q: What about testing since then? Is there a light at the end of
the tunnel when it comes to tire performance?
RB: Well, we made improvements. It is not night and day, you make
small steps, but also you want to see how much you want to go faster
in qualifying. If you go faster in qualifying and still have a
reliable tire like we have now, probably the best tire in the race
at the end of the race, how much do you want to lose? If you have
the qualifying and you still have the tire for the race that is
fine, but if you donít then that is not so good. So we need to take
a balance between them. Silverstone last week was a bit too cold to
get an opinion on things, we were not testing things for Canada
specifically. It was probably our last test in Silverstone and we
were testing other things apart from tires. So you just have to
balance yourself. We had two cars, we had another one in Monza,
which was more to do with here. Things are better and we most
definitely think our car is a fast car, it is the tires, so we just
have to take a balance and see where we are.
Q: But it is a compromise, you canít have both?
RB: You know, at the start of the season Renault seemed to have
both. They were qualifying ahead and racing ahead and that was good
enough. Now the competition has upped the game a little bit, not
just with us but I think McLaren, sometimes Williams, everyone
really, just challenging for the win, and I donít think you can have
both right now. You have to have a combination that allows you to be
at the front but be ahead in the race, which is the most important.
Q: Looking back at the Nurburgring and the predicament that Kimi
was in there with a flat-spotted front tire, do you think that is
too much of a predicament to be put in as a driver?
RB: I donít want to go too much into his problem, but it is just
separating things and I think if it was me driving that car I would
most certainly have stopped, not because it was dangerous and I am
afraid to have a crash or die or something like this, but just
because it was not going to work. It could have worked at the end,
but you have to have a proof to change your tire, you cannot do it
when you are pitting for fuel, so you have to do it another time.
Sometimes in life you have to go backwards to go ahead, so I think
it was better to get eight points.
Q: Kimi, obviously you were placed in a difficult position at the
last race. Would you have changed anything when you look back?
Kimi RAIKKONEN: No, I donít think so.
Q: Obviously, you had the support of the team. It was interesting
to hear Rubens say he would have come in. Was there much of a
KR: Not too much, because in the end we need to try to gain more
points than Alonso and he was behind me, so I didnít see any reason
to come in and change the tire and lose points to him because we
were in a position to score maybe two points more. Maybe we were a
little bit unlucky that the car didnít last one more lap, but we
took the gamble and it didnít pay off. But I would still do the same
Q: How difficult is it for a driver, when you were having to make
the overtaking move on Jacques, that you might flat-spot your tires
and it could compromise the whole race. It must be difficult to bear
that in mind.
KR: Yeah, but I donít complain to anyone else, that is my mistake
and it cost me quite a bit. It is always easier to say afterwards
that maybe if I braked a bit earlier it wouldnít have happened, but
then it was a bit bumpy and I just locked the rear and couldnít turn
in again so we went in a bad shape, but you always try to lap people
as quickly as you can because you donít want to lose so much time. I
lost a lot of time on the Jordans before so I wanted to get past
people quickly and not lose any more time, then I made a mistake and
it cost me a lot.
Q: What about your thoughts for these two races?
KR: We had a very good test, the car is quick, I think it is better
than it was in the last race, so I am pretty hopeful that it will be
good here. For sure the car is good in the USA, because so far every
car has been pretty strong there. This one is a bit of a question
mark but I still think it will be good here because every circuit
since we have changed the car a little bit has been good, so I donít
see a reason why we wonít be strong here.
Q: (Rob Martier - CJAD 800) Jacques, after the races the press
releases and the comments that we read from your team and Peter
Sauber are by and large negative. Does he ever take you aside and
give you any positive and constructive criticism?
JV: I have never thought about it. I have been racing long enough
that you take criticism for what it is. If it is fair then you
accept it, if it is not fair then it goes in one ear and out the
Q: (Dan Knutson Ė National Speed Sport News) Rubens, after so
many years of winning and now the last seven months, can you
describe the feeling in the team?
RB: To be very honest, the mood is quite good. When I first came to
Ferrari the team was kind of letís try to do this and that, and
obviously after three or four races things changed and there was a
smile there, we were winning, we won the constructorsí since 2000
and everything was really simple and the smile was there. Right now
you see we went back a little bit to the trying mode, because we
havenít won a race yet, but we know the potential is there. We know
that if Alonso, for example, finishes all the races in the points
then it will be very difficult to win the championship, but there is
a lot to happen yet and it might change, you never know. On the
constructorsí side we just need to improve a little bit more and
points will be there, so the mood is good. You get the first meeting
on a Thursday is quite an encouraging one, looking at the testing we
have done and the improvements we have brought to the racing track.
The Sunday afternoon one, up to now, has been a little different,
just because we didnít have the first trophy there, but it is still
on the up, they definitely didnít give up.
Q: (Mike Doodson) Jacques, you suggested that there is nothing
wrong on your side of the equation between yourself and Sauber.
Peter Sauber seems to be saying something different, quite
regularly. When you joined Sauber everything looked good, Ferrari
engine, great wind tunnel, you seemed happy with the team. Do you
now regret having joined Sauber this year?
JV: Well, it is too easy to have regrets. We are all disappointed
with how uncompetitive we are because as soon as we bolted the
Michelin tires on the car at the end of last year the car was
extremely fast and the new car was never fast and nobody seems to
know why. The car is balanced to drive, it is not difficult to
drive, it is just slow. There is very little we can do, we donít
have the budget to just try different suspensions and re-design
stuff, so we are stuck with what we have and that is how it will be
until the end of the season. As long as there is an active work
being done on next year then that will be alright.
Q: (Mike Doodson) So, no regrets?
JV: No, not at all. I am much happier to be racing than to be at
home watching it on television.
Q: (Pierre Durocher Ė Le Journal de Montreal) Kimi, how do you
see the situation with Alonso, heís 32 points ahead of you with 12
races to go. How do you see the whole picture?
KR: Of course, I think we are pretty much in the position where we
were after Imola. We have some points back but it is not easy to
gain too many points because as long as they keep finishing races
and in the points we cannot gain so much. It really depends; there
are many races to go and so many things can happen. As long as we
can keep finishing the races and hopefully in front of them, I think
we have a good chance of catching him, but it is never going to be
easy. We just need to do our best and hopefully itís enough.
Q: (Randy Philipps - The Gazette) Kimi, how much did you know
about the damage to your front wheel and suspension, how much could
you feel or were you aware of at the time? What was your immediate
response when it happened? What was your reaction?
KR: Of course, I saw the tire in the pit stop, although luckily when
I stopped it was just on the top of the tire, the part where I had
the flat spot so I could see the inside of the tire, it was in a bad
shape, but when it happened it wasnít too bad, but when you have to
use the same tire it just gets worse and worse all the time. The
last three or four laps it was pretty bad because I couldnít see
anything any more. I didnít have much choice so I kept going as fast
as I could and everyone knows what happened in the end. OK, I was
angry but what could I have done? It was just a bit unlucky because
I was thinking it would just last the last lap because it had lasted
so long, but it didnít.
Q: (Jean-Francois Begin Ė La Presse) Kimi, would you have made
the same decision, here and/or in Indy, where you have a lot less
run-off areas than you have at the Nurburgring safety-wise?
KR: Yeah, I was not thinking about the run-off areas because I was
thinking of getting to the end so it doesnít matter on which circuit
Q: (Adrian Rodriguez Huber Ė Agencia Efe) Kimi, which are
Alonsoís strengths for you and most importantly for you, does he
have any weak points where you can catch him?
KR: The car is a very reliable package, and thatís what has been
very good for them. OK, they were very strong at the start of the
year. I think we have as good a car at least as they have, and we
can definitely fight against them, but I donít really know what are
his weak points or what are his strong points. We just try to beat
them and hopefully we are stronger at every point than they are.
Q: (Wolfgang Rother Ė Premiere TV) To all of you, after your
crash, Kimi, Team McLaren has been accused of risking your life by
keeping you out on the track so long with the damaged tire. Do you
guys think the tire rules are leading you into a risky position?
KR: I think in one race it is a bit difficult to know how bad a tire
needs to be before you are allowed to change it without being
penalized. Nobody really knows. Now they say afterwards that it was
bad enough but how could we know that before? But then racing is
always dangerous. I wouldnít say that they put me in a position. It
was my decision, I could have come in if I had wanted so Iím not
complaining to anyone else.
RB: It is definitely not the teamís call. Itís your call, you are
driving the car, you know how dangerous it is or not and thatís
pretty much it. The new rules allowed some overtaking, even though
the overtaking we see is that somebody has a problem with a tire and
then they are going two or three seconds slower and then you are not
overtaking. I think the year has gone with a little bit moreÖ it
seems that the public like it a little bit more in terms of as soon
as we got away from the two qualifying sessions, it has been better
in terms of a show but in terms of driving, Iíve been saying that
since the beginning of the year, I used to drive on old tires
because I didnít have enough money to buy new ones when I was
driving go-karts. Thatís pretty much it.
JV: In the past there were races with one stop, where in Kimiís
position you would have tried to reach the end of the race, so the
rule doesnít have any effect on that. You would have done at least
as many laps.
CK: Yeah, I think there is definitely a little bit more risk. Itís
quite easy to flat spot a tire in a race, but in the end you have to
make sure that you donít flat spot the tires, and to drive to the
Q: (Adrian Rodriguez Huber ĖAgencia Efe) Rubens, how far or how
close are you from the first and second you gained here last year?
RB: This year, you mean? It is very difficult to know. As Jacques
said, the track has been resurfaced. Thereís going to be a
difference. Itís a little bit of a challenge for the tire
manufacturer just to get the right tire because of that. I have
heard so many stories about the weather, maybe a bit of rain during
the weekend, so itís difficult really to know. I donít think we are
that farÖ letís put it this way, I donít think we still have the
quickest car out there but we are not that far from being first and
Q: (Dan Knutson Ė National Speed Sport News) Christian, you have
worked as the test driver and as a race driver; what advice would
you give Scott Speed and what will you be asking him to contribute
to you and David working for the rest of the weekend?
CK: I think it is not easy for him. He has not had many tests so
far, so for him we need him to make the tire choice, to do long runs
on both sets of tires, but it will be quite difficult for him to
drive the car on the limit without having enough tests, without
knowing the car exactly. But still, Iím pretty sure we will get some
information out of him, and it is a good opportunity for him to make
the step to Formula One and to be at the race weekend, to see how a
Formula One weekend goes.
Q: (Mike Doodson) Back to the tires, in the past Michelinís rain
tires have not been as wonderful as the Bridgestone rain
tires but I
understand, Kimi, that youíve done some wet weather testing on the
latest wet Michelins. What can you tell us about those, do they
appear to be competitive?
KR: I think the intermediates are pretty good. At the beginning of
this year we had some opportunities to use them and they seem to be
pretty much as quick as the Bridgestoneís. The full wets are still
not on the same level, but they are definitely improving all the
time. It depends how much water there is on the circuit and the
situation. But I think they are pretty good already. We donít know
what Ferrari was doing at the last Silverstone test when it was wet
on intermediates but then I think we seemed to be quite quick but I
donít think we should have any major problems even if itís raining.
Q: (Jean-Sebastian Gagnon Ė La Presse) Rubens, how is the
relationship between you and Michael now? It was a little bit tense
after Monaco. Now, a race later, how is it?
RB: It is not a problem. I got out of the car, told him what I
thought I should have said. After that the team really calmed me
down and there was not a problem. On Thursday at the Nurburgring the
press was trying to hush things up and saying things that I didnít
say and he didnít say, so it was a bit of a mess with the press at
Nurburgring but it is not a problem. I am still entitled to have my
opinion and that is pretty much it. But we donít have problems
Q: (Dominic Fugere Ė Le Journal de Montreal) For all of you, do
you find it harder than you thought to nurse the tires during an
entire race distance?
KR: Not really, I think our car is very good and the tires had
already won this last race, but that was my fault, otherwise the
tires were in a good shape. For me, it has not been a problem. I
have been very happy with the whole package because the tires are
working well with the car, so there is no problem.
Q: (Dominic Fugere Ė Le Journal de Montreal) What Iím saying is
that aside from regular wear there is always a thought of a flat
spot or something similar happening?
KR: Yeah, but even if you have brand new tires and you lock the
brakes in the first corner the same thing happens, so it is nothing
to do with whether itís old or new tires, itís just how you use
them, it is just a mistake if you do that.
RB: I think the moment you go into racing and you have to look after
the tires too much you brought the wrong tire. Even if you have one
tire for the whole race you always try to be flat-out. I was flat
out in the Nurburgring the whole way through. It was a good race. Of
course you can make mistakes and with Formula One cars the way they
are, and with some bumpy areas you can lock up and you can have some
bad situations as happened to Kimi and as happened to Alonso in
Nurburgring, when he went off trying to avoid the flat spot. But
those situations actually bring some good shows to Formula One and
gives a chance to somebody else.
JV: I have always enjoyed when you actually have to save your tires
because you can work on your set-up and the way you drive, and this
year any time when the tires are too soft it seems to suit us
because we are very light on our tires, so thereís something we can
get out of that.
CK: I thought it would be even more difficult but like in the first
two races, where I pushed flat out through the race, and fortunately
our car is quite good on tire wear and I didnít have any problem. I
thought maybe at the beginning of the year you have to take care of
the tires during the race, slow down a bit in the first part to have
good tires in the end but it is not like this.
Q: (Adrian Rodriguez Huber Ė Agencia Efe) Jacques, you were team-
mate with Fernando for three races last year. What is your opinion
of him as a person and as a driver? Do you think heís going to make
it this year and if he does, will you be happy about that?
JV: He is very strong, he is a very strong racer. He is actually
better in the race than in qualifying so thatís good to work on the
championship. He is a very reserved person as well, so you need to
spend time with him to actually get to know him a little bit and he
was very nice, he was very positive and helpful last year which was
good. Right now he is on a cloud, the whole team is behind him:
Flavio is behind him and nothing can go wrong. As long as they keep
it like that then it will be very difficult for Kimi to fight, but
Iím sure that if he gets under pressure we might see some cracks.
That happens to everyone and that would make F1 interesting during
Q: (Piano Allievi Ė La Gazzetta dello Sport) For everyone, the TV
audience has gone deeply down everywhere in Europe since two years
and even here the press is not so full as in the past. Who is at
CK: Maybe it is me, because it is my second year. (Laughter) I have
been in Formula One two years! To be honest, no, I think this year
is quite interesting and I see no reason why it should go down.
JV: No idea, it just depends how you promote it, what you put out
and a lot of that is what the journalists write. I am not blaming
anyone. Everybody works on this together and I guess people want to
see good races, they also want to see heroes, but somehow, I donít
know whether itís the team owners or the media or something, there
was a while when heroes were not wanted, they just wanted robots to
drive the cars and anyone who opened his mouth and said one word,
then suddenly it was hushed up and that person was bad. In the long
run people lose interest because OK, they want to see nice cars but
they can go to a museum to see nice cars.
RB: There is not much to add really. To be honest, I didnít know
that for two years we have lessÖ Right here, for me, it seems to be
more people than last year to be very very honest. There were more
people at Barcelona as well. Alonso is attracting a lot of people
and it seems we can see more flags everywhere. Brazil, as far as I
understand, is sold out already and the audience there is not bad at
KR: I donít know much about the whole situation. I have heard there
are plenty of people watching television, at least in Finland it is
more than normal, so I donít know.
Q: (Gerhard Kuntschik Ė Salzburger Nachrichten) Kimi, can you
give me a judgment of all your team-matesí performances so far this
KR: They are all different. I think at the beginning when I came to
Formula One it was more difficult, of course, because everybody has
more experience than me, but in the end I have done quite well
against all of them. For sure, the first year was always more
difficult than any other yearÖ
This yearís? Oh, sorry. They are all good guys, nice guys. Everyone
works in a slightly different way. I only raced against two of them.
Alex has only done Fridays. I think they are good drivers and I
donít really want to get involved in talks like this because you
always try to get some little fight between team-mates. In the end,
I only try to do my own thing and I am not too interested in my team-
mates or other people, in racing or whatever they do. They are good,
but you can say how good they are, who is best and who is not.
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