Hungarian GP: Thursday
With Button, Fisichella, Villeneuve and Raikkonen
July 28, 2005
Thursday FIA press conference with Jenson Button
(BAR), Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault), Jacques Villeneuve (Sauber)
and Kimi Räikkönen (McLaren).
Jacques, you have had a couple of wins here, what do you
think of the circuit?
Jacques VILLENEUVE: It has always been a fun track to drive. A few
corners have been changed since then, I think, but it doesn’t change
the track that much. There is good rhythm, it’s physical, the race
can be fun because it is easy to make mistakes and you can maybe put
some pressure on someone and of course any track you win on you end
up really enjoying.
So do you still enjoy it?
JV: The memories are quite a few years ago so I think I need a
Things are changing a lot with your team, what are your
chances for next year, do you feel?
JV: Well, as I have a contract my chances are very good.
JB: I don’t think he meant that!
JV: Why should it change? The team was sold with all the contracts in
So, you are very confident of staying with them?
JV: Yeah, I am not even questioning it.
What about the last race in Germany? It was pretty
lively. Can you give us an idea of who you did contact and perhaps
who you didn’t?
JV: Well, people were complaining about the lack of excitement in the
races, so I just wanted to make sure there would be no complaints
about that this weekend! Since the beginning of the season, in the
drivers’ briefings, it has always been mentioned that you don’t
change line in the braking area and anyway in the rules you are not
supposed to impede someone’s progress, which means you don’t put
someone on the grass. The same thing happened to the two drivers. For
Doornbos it was his first race, he was excited and fine, everyone can
make mistakes. He kept the inside and I went for the outside then he
just came back on the line as we hit the brakes. We had a little talk
about it and everything was fine. With Tiago, he spent the whole back
straight and through the hairpin looking in his right-hand mirror,
going to the right, going to the right, so at one point that’s him
telling me don’t try to overtake me on the right, go for the left,
which is what I did, and when we reached the braking area he came
back on the line again, his excuse being ‘I looked in my right mirror
and I didn’t see you there so I went left.’ I hope he doesn’t do that
on highways because he is going to have a few big ones.
Giancarlo, you have finished fourth, fourth, sixth in the
last three races having started fourth, fourth, sixth in the last few
races too. How do you feel about the last few races since
Giancarlo FISICHELLA: Not too bad. Again, I had a few problems in the
last few races, especially on Sunday. Apart from the start, where I
lost a position, and then when Sato came on the back of my car, I
lost four or five positions, but especially I lost one aerodynamic
component and after that the brake cooling was compromised. So in the
middle of the race I was already struggling with the break wear on
the back, I went on the maximum brake balance forwards but it wasn’t
enough. In the second pit stop, when the engineers took away the
tyres to check the brakes, they were very scared and the decision was
to stop me in the garage. But then Flavio said ‘okay, let’s carry on,
tell him to go slow and try to get to the end’.
It wasn’t an easy decision but I think it was the right one. It was a
bit dangerous but in the last few laps when my engineers said ‘you
are okay with the brakes, you can push’ I overtook Michael and it was
a fantastic, a fantastic overtaking move, and it was good because
from fifth to fourth in the last laps was not easy, especially to
Your best here has been a fifth on the grid and sixth in
the race in 2002. What are your feelings about this race?
GF: This race? I like the circuit, it is really challenging, it is
going to be very tough, physically and mentally because it is really
hot and it is one of the most difficult circuits. I like it but it is
going to be tough.
Renault won here in 2003, of course, what are your
feelings about how they are approaching the race, how do they feel
they are going to be, particularly against McLaren?
GF: Yeah, this year we have been very competitive everywhere. In the
last part of the season McLaren have looked a little bit stronger
than us but I think this is one of the good circuits, one of the
circuits where the characteristics are good for Renault, so we are
optimistic to fight for the win.
Jenson, the silly season has slipped into overdrive for
you. Can you explain your feelings at this stage about your Williams
contract and BAR?
Jenson BUTTON: I have got very interesting memories of this room last
year, quite a similar position.
Only this year you have talked!
JB: Exactly. That is the difference. The situation is that I would
like to be with BAR-Honda next year that is the way I feel. I think
it is important to be with a team that has a works manufacturer
involved and especially considering they own 45 percent of the team
at the moment that is very important in Formula One and it is one of
the reasons why I want to stay next year.
It is one of the reasons. Can you give us an idea of what
your thinking it, a driver’s thinking, if you like, to choosing,
especially as it appears you have an option. What are the options,
what are the thoughts?
JB: It is always very difficult to predict the future. You have to
try your best to do that. Obviously I have had a lot of time with BAR-
Honda in the past, we have experienced lots of ups and lots of downs,
but as soon as I realised last year that Honda were so focussed on
not only being involved with BAR but also being part of a team, it
did change my views for the future. I have been through a few bad
times with BAR-Honda this season but it really makes you realise how
strong a team is when things are tough and I think I knew that we
would start coming back strong this year, although we are not there
yet, they are a very strong team and I think they can turn things
around very quickly, and I know that Honda will never give up until
they win the world championship. They are so focused. They don’t go
racing to sell cars, they go racing to win, and that is very
different to a lot of manufacturers.
What has brought it to a head now, you said you realised
earlier on in the year, have you actually been in contact with
Williams about this for some time?
JB: I spoke to Frank a few weeks ago.
And what did he say?
JB: I think that is for Frank to comment on, really.
What has brought it to a head now?
JB: Obviously we need to talk. We don’t want to leave it to the end
of the season because that is unfair on everyone. I think Frank
understands the situation, I think a lot of people understand the
situation. I am in my sixth year of Formula One, I still haven’t won
a race, I haven’t had the equipment to do that, I don’t think, but I
really need to start pushing on and being with a team that can help
me win races and fight for championships. It is a very difficult and
a very important decision for me to make.
So, a quick final question, is something going to happen
this weekend? Are you going to be having further meetings this
JB: I am sure there will be further talks, not this weekend, we all
need to concentrate on this weekend, but there will discussions
hopefully very soon.
Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN: Yeah.
How long does it take to get over it?
KR: It is not the first time, unfortunately, so you get used to it.
But it is disappointing, obviously, but we just need to look forward
for this race.
When you go out, in qualifying, during the weekend, is
there always a nagging doubt now, a little bell saying is it going to
KR: Not really. I think you are always thinking it is going to be
alright, but sometimes those things happen. It is not nice, but I
think we are in a difficult position for qualifying anyhow, because
we are first out. I think this is one of the races where we are going
to be penalised quite a lot going first out.
You have never qualified higher than seventh here, but
you have finished second when you qualified seventh. What are your
feelings about that?
KR: I think it is quite difficult here because if you don’t have a
good qualifying it is hard to get past anyone here. We will see what
we can do but I think we need to look for a good tactic and see what
(Peter Windsor – F1 Racing) Giancarlo, can you give us a
bit more information on what happened in the incident with Taku
because he said you suddenly slowed on the straight. What is your
side of the story?
GF: I don’t know. I was in front of him; I had a problem in the
braking of turn two. I don’t know what happened, it is not my fault,
(Peter Windsor – F1 Racing) I understand that, but he
said it happened under braking, not under power, he said you suddenly
GF: It was the exit for turn two, but he was behind me and he came
around the back of my car, so I don’t know.
You didn’t come off the power?
GF: Absolutely not, no.
(Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, do you think about
KR: Not really. I don’t think so. We are slipping away a little bit
too much now. We still have a chance but I think we have to be
realistic, so it is not there without any problems to anyone else.
Kimi, there has been one extremely unfortunate incident
this weekend in Budapest. What are your feelings about that?
KR: It is very sad and I obviously feel sorry for their family and
for everyone but I don’t really know what happened. I just read it in
a Finnish newspaper.
(Adrian Rodriguez Huber – Agencia EFE) Kimi, what were
your feelings when Juan Pablo said after the race at Hockenheim that
it looks like the world championship is now going to be a fight
between him and you for second place?
KR: I didn’t hear it. I was at home already at that time. For second
place, is not really what we are aiming, we want to be at the first
place and we will see what happens in the last races, but this is not
what I am racing for, anyhow.
(Peter Farkas – Auto Motor) Giancarlo, you played in the
charity football match yesterday. Can you talk us through that a bit,
did you enjoy it?
GF: Yes, it was a really nice game. There were a lot of people,
around 25,000 people, which is fantastic. I had a fantastic game, I
played very well, I scored one goal, and I really enjoyed it. It was
nice, good organisation.
(Bob Constanduros) Did your team win?
GF: It was six-six! (Laughter)
(Juha Päätalo - Financial Times Germany) Kimi, if
Fernando wins the championship, would you say you have more lost the
championship than he has won it?
KR: I think so, yes, he has won it. It is good for him if he wins but
right now he is in a strong position anyhow, so…
Giancarlo and Jacques, this is the 20th Hungarian Grand
Prix and you are the oldest who started racing amongst this group.
What are the differences in the attitude of the race from your point
JV: The first few years - now I have a motorhome so I sleep at the
race track - but in the first few years I didn’t, I stayed in a hotel
and it is a fun town, not that you see it much in a race weekend
because you go to bed early, you wake up early but it always has
quite a lot of character so that was always a nice place to come to
race. I have no idea how it has changed because for the last few
years I have been at the race track anyway, so I have no idea.
GF: I really like the town, it is one of the best race weekends for
me because I like the circuit and I really enjoy it when I am in the
town, but honestly, as Jacques said, we don’t have enough time to go
around the city.
How much has the atmosphere changed in terms of the race?
GF: Honestly, it is the same, because when you get through the race
weekend you just concentrate on the race, so it’s difficult to say.
But honestly, the people, the atmosphere are really nice, especially
yesterday in the football game, it was fantastic.
(Adrian Rodriguez Huber – Agencia EFE) Jacques, you were
his team-mate for three races and Giancarlo, you are his team-mate
now: do you guys think Fernando already has the championship in his
pocket and what are your feelings for the guy and as a driver?
JV: He has a big advantage and that’s always the best position to be
in. Any points you score early in the season always makes it harder
for the other ones to catch you, even if they’re faster in the second
half. It’s obvious that McLaren and Kimi are faster now but they are
behind on points and if they make a small mistake or a car breaking
down kills their chances. Fernando is very strong in the races. This
year he has only made one mistake which is less than most drivers do
in a season, so he is definitely driving very maturely as
GF: Fernando is doing a fantastic season, he is a fantastic driver,
for sure, and considering his age he is doing very well. He is really
comfortable in the team, he has been quick, he’s been good but he’s
been quite lucky this year. For him it is going to be quite easy to
win the championship. I am happy for him, but together we have to win
the Constructors’ championship so we still have a lot of work to do.
Kimi, do you believe in luck or bad luck, or more
importantly, do you still believe in your car?
KR: Yeah, I believe in the team. I don’t know if it is luck or bad
luck, but I don’t really believe in those things. We just need to
keep working hard and make sure that we don’t have any problems.
(Wolfgang Rother – Premiere TV) Kimi, how long do you
think you can go on like this, and when is it the time to think, at
least, to think of leaving the team, changing teams?
KR: I still have a contract for next year and concerning my future, I
don’t really know what is happening. I have not made my mind up.
Maybe I stay with them, because I am happy with all the people there,
even if we have had some difficult times. We need to work in a better
way just make sure that the car is very reliable. I think the speed
of the car is very good so once we get everything else sorted, I
think I will be more than happy to stay.
To all the drivers. Obviously there is much talk about
abandoning the one lap qualifying format. Do you think this is the
way to go and as you may know, people can vote for two different
qualifying formats on Formula1.com. Which do you prefer of the two?
JV: Neither actually. I like the one lap qualifying, I don’t like it
with fuel, and I think we should have two goes at it so then you can
really push hard. But one lap means you don’t have traffic… Everybody
thinks qualifying used to be fantastic but how many times did you
come back to the pits saying ‘ah, there was a yellow flag’ or ‘ there
was traffic’ and it just created… and then for half an hour there
were no cars on the track. It wasn’t that good. But now what is
confusing is you qualify with fuel so you ask ‘is it a good lap? ‘is
it the strategy?’, and you can’t really push to the limit because a
mistake means you’ll start last. So if you just had two goes at one
lap without fuel it would be perfect.
GF: Really the same opinion as Jacques’. It is good to have the one
lap qualifying but it would be nice to drive without fuel. The old
format was nice because of the fuel load, it was nice for some
reasons but obviously sometimes there were red or yellow flags, a lot
of traffic, but there were a few chances to do a good lap. Now it is
just one chance, and it is not easy.
JB: I prefer one lap, for me it is a lot more exciting, and I think
only getting one chance is good. For the viewers, when we had four
qualifying runs or twelve laps, maybe it is a bit more exciting to
watch, but it was so frustrating for the drivers to get a good lap
in. One lap qualifying is good and you also get to see everyone’s
laps which is quite interesting.
KR: Yeah, I think the one lap is good, but I would also prefer it on
low fuel because it is more fun for the drivers.
(Peter Windsor – F1 Racing) Jenson, if you had not spent
two thirds of the race behind Michael you would probably have been
second in Hockenheim. He passed you on the outside of the first
corner, over the white line, on the wrong side of the white line,
against the specific instructions of the race director. What is the
relationship between breaking a rule like that and breaking a
technical infringement? And what sort of precedent does that set for
the future anyway?
JB: I think the problem there is that it is so easy to do, to run off
the circuit there, and it is very unusual that we get fined or we get
a penalty or anything. It is a difficult situation. Michael was
alongside me into the corner. But he knew that if I took my racing
line, he could drive off over the white line and onto the run-off
area, so it gave him a lot more commitment going into the corner. I
think it is something we definitely need to look at because it can
change the race for somebody if you’re able to do that. I also saw it
happen at the hairpin on lap one. I don’t know who it was but
somebody - I think it was a Red Bull – went round the outside of
somebody and was able to come on in front of them, I think it was
round the outside of Giancarlo and again didn’t get a penalty so it
is something we need to look at, because it is not using the circuit.
(Jens Kluttig – ARD Radio) Tomorrow is Fernando’s
birthday. Are there any wishes from the podium?
JB: Hopefully he’s going to get really drunk. We can make sure of
that. We can do that.
GF: The question is for me?
You mean you are going to buy him a drink?
GF: Yeah, it his birthday tomorrow, we will have dinner and I will
speak to him to ask if he can give me a present on Sunday.
JV: Well, it’s his birthday tomorrow and tomorrow is not important so
that makes it very easy. If it was on Sunday then you would have to
say well, I wish him a podium, but it’s tomorrow so it’s not the
race, so let’s hope he doesn’t sweat too much on his birthday
KR: Happy Birthday! (Laughter)
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