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Friday, May 12, 2006

Thursday press conference from Barcelona – Second Part

Alonso, de la Rosa, Montagny and Rosberg take questions
Ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix local hero Fernando Alonso is joined by Pedro de la Rosa, Franck Montagny and Nico Rosberg in the Thursday press conference.

Q: (Salvatore Zanca – Associated Press) Fernando, what’s the biggest difference here compared to last year. The media, the fans? FA: There are not many to be honest. Last year the attention was quite high already from the people and from the media. I came here last year leading the championship with 20 points higher than Kimi (Raikkonen) and (Jarno) Trulli, so already the pressure was quite big and the people were interested. Now I arrive leading the championship again. I won last year but already this is in the past. I think people are concentrating on this year’s championship –it’s getting very interesting in the last two races and obviously people are looking on Sunday for me to do a good show.

Q: (Tom Clarkson – Tom Clarkson & Associates) Fernando, do you get more excitement out of beating Michael Schumacher than with other drivers? FA: Yes, normally yes. Many times I think that to beat the big names and big drivers and big cars normally gives you more motivation and more excitement. I think that Michael – as a seven-times world champion – it is always nice to fight with him and there is more pressure than to beat any other one. Always winning races and overtaking people is always exciting even if it is anyone.

Q: (Juha Paatalo – Financial Times Deutschland) Fernando, if you compare the development work of Renault and Ferrari in the last two races, how do you see it? FA: We saw that in the last two races Ferrari was coming very strong and won the last two races but I think it is difficult to see how the development is compared with them because we have Michelin tyres. I think compared to McLaren we’ve gone up and then, as well as improving the car race by race, we are beating them normally in the races. And with Ferrari, we don’t know because the tyres look to be more important than anything else. The Bridgestone tyres were working very well in the last two races and hopefully here we will come back fighting and McLaren also.

Q: (Kevin Garside – The Daily Telegraph) – Fernando, Bernie Ecclestone said that drivers do not in general do enough to promote Formula One and in you, we have a champion who doesn’t do much. What are your thoughts? FA: I don’t know what Bernie means with that. I have a team that pay me to do my job. I go testing, I go to promotional events and I have my sponsors, I go to my obligations, I race and this is my job in Formula One. I don’t know what more I have to do. I do everything that is in my contract that I have to.

Q: (Dan Knutson – National Speed Sport News) Felipe when you race in Brazil, what are the good things and the bad things about racing in front of your home crowd? FMa: When I race in Brazil, what are the good things and bad things? It’s great to be in front of your home people with the flags and really enjoying motor racing. That’s really fantastic for me. You can feel a really great feeling to see that from your people. I think the best thing a driver can have in Formula One is to race in front of your home people.

Q: (Alan Baldwin – Reuters) Fernando, we asked about the possibility of Michael Schumacher going to Renault next year and you laughed at that. Now it seems you and Kimi (Raikkonen) could swap places. What’s your view on that? FA: I don’t know anything. I have decided after I fight for the championship this year, my future for next year and it doesn’t matter what the others are doing, It’s always interesting to see what the other drivers are doing, but that is just for fun rather than anything else. Whether the guy who replaces me is a name we all know or a new driver in the championship is not important.

Q: (Dominic Fugere – Le Journal de Montreal) Fernando, when I got here I was greeted by a cardboard cut-out of you at a petrol station. How do you feel about things like that? FA: Strange, for sure, because in the last two years everything grown up in Formula One. Three years ago we had half a million people watching F1 and now there are 10 million people watching the race. It has been a big change because now Formula One is a sport about which everybody is talking in the streets and for sure my image or my face is in some more places now, but for me it’s very strange.

Q: (Thierry Wilmotte - Le Soir) Fernando, is it realistic to think that who wins the championship is dependent on the tyre manufacturers? FA: No, I think for sure it will be a very important factor. If Michelin or Bridgestone is in a very dominant position from now on then yes. Maybe Ferrari or the first Michelin team will win the championship more easily. The way were now we are quite close, we are fighting every race and there’s McLaren and Honda who are also in the fight but they have not had a successful weekend so far. Now it think it is close enough and we are racing still with four teams and anything can happen so It is more reliant on small factors and the guy who finishes on the podium the most and is the most reliable and makes no mistakes will win.

Q: (Dan Knutson – National Speed Sport News) Nico, there’s been a lot of potential with the car this season but a lot of frustration with reliability problems. What’s the atmosphere like in the team now? NR: Williams is known for their determination of course. Because of the recent problems we’ve had, we could have done a lot better then we have up until now. The main thing again is that Williams are always pushing ahead and trying to get solutions to the problems and so the main thing I think in the team is flat-out determination.

Q: (Tom Clarkson – F1 Racing) Fernando, how much contact have you had with McLaren recently with a view towards 2007? Have you been to the factory? FA: Nothing. Nothing at all

Q: (Carlos Miquel – Diario As) Fernando, would you like to have Pedro as a team-mate or test driver at McLaren next year? FA: For sure, Pedro knows the team very well and has lots of experience working with the team. For sure, it’s great to have another Spanish driver in the team and he can help me a lot for sure, and I hope Pedro stays next year.

Q: (Mike Doodson) Fernando, I saw a TV advert with you making some nifty dance steps. Was it really you with the dance steps? FA: Of course. Two months preparation for this. No it was not me. A joke.

Q: (Dan Knutson – National Speed Sport News) Franck, I believe you have a two race deal with the team. Is that correct? What are your prospects for staying with the team beyond that? FMo: I will do the best as I can for sure. Certainly when we get to Monaco it will be tough. To be honest, I don’t really know the car so we cannot expect to be mid-grid, so I’ll fight as much as I can to do a good job and try to do my best.

Q: Is there a chance of you continuing with the team for the rest of the season? FM: I am not the right person to ask.

Q: Would they prefer an all Japanese team? Is that the case? FM: If you look on the sidepod of the car, there is badge that says ‘born in Japan’ so for sure it would be more interesting to have another Japanese driver in the car. While I’m in the car, I will try to do a very good job.

Q: (Heinz Pruller - ORF) Gentlemen, with the World Cup coming up, who do you think will be world champions, and who is your favourite player? FA: Brazil I think. My favourite player is Zidane.

FMa: We are quite strong for the world cup and definitely Ronaldinho

NR: I think Brazil is probably the favourite and Ronaldinho

FMo: Same as my friend over there: Brazil and Ronaldinho

PDR: Spain obviously, and Casillas. We have to give a little bit to ourselves.


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