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Friday, June 30, 2006

Thursday FIA press conference, part II -Indianapolis

From Indianapolis
Second and final part of this Thursday’s FIA press conference with Fernando Alonso (Renault), Tiago Monteiro (MF1), Juan Pablo Montoya (Mclaren), Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) and Scott Speed (Toro Rosso)
(Dan Knutson – National Speedsport News ) Juan Pablo, in Canada you went out early but in that first half, Kimi was very close to Alonso. How competitive do you think McLaren will be here?
JPM: We should be very competitive. My car in race trim was very good in Canada. And it was a bit annoying not to be able to show the pace. I think Kimi had a better qualifying car. and I thought I could have had a better race car so it was a bit frustrating from that point of view but, you know, that's the way racing goes. And I think here it should be a strong race for us. Kimi was quick last year, but we were quick everywhere last year, so we'll see. I think the trend is that we're getting better and better and better. It's a matter of trying to get a good qualifying lap.

(Bob Constanduros) Kimi said that the car seemed to be slower in the second stint, the speed seemed to go away. Why should that be? Tyres or what?
JPM: No, I think his balance was quite oversteery from qualifying. He worked the tyres harder trying to keep up the pace in the second stint which probably just killed him. I don't know.

(Derek Daly – Speed Channel) Scott, is Formula One as difficult or a lot more difficult than you anticipated?
SS: I'd say it's, for sure, more difficult because the Formula One races are very long and there's a lot of different things that happen, with the fuel loads and the tyres. To always be at 100 percent of what the car can do is very difficult, for sure.

(Derek Daly – Speed Channel) When you talk about being 100 percent, I would single out Michael here, many people do it, but the ability to run almost every lap, every race, like a qualifying lap, do you think you do that?
SS: I certainly try. I can say it's very difficult because, like I said, there's a lot of different things that go on with cold tyres, safety car periods. To always have the car on the limit, in the tricky circumstances, like cold tyres, high fuel, really worn tyres, it's a bit more difficult. But in normal race trim, yes, I think I do.

(Michael Brudenell – Detroit Free Press) Scott, what do you need to become a winner in F1? Obviously, you had tremendous success in some of the junior formulas but how do you step up and become a winner in this series?

SS: You know, I think that compared to the American forms of motorsports, Formula One is very much more of a team sport. You have to think that these teams make their own cars, their own engines, their own electronic systems that control the cars. I think that Red Bull and Toro Rosso is on the right way. But it's certainly not something that's going to happen this year - maybe next year, if things go very well and we develop at very good rate, maybe a podium could be possible. But this is also being a bit optimistic. I think it's more of a three year programme.

(Adam Hay-Nicholls - Two Paws Agency) Tiago and Juan Pablo, you both raced in Champ Cars. Do you think F1 pays enough attention to drivers racing in the US?
TM: Who in F1? The teams? Don't know if they pay enough attention, but they definitely should. I think there's talent over here, like anywhere else in the world. There's some great drivers in Champ Car, there's some great drivers in IRL. They should have a look, but then again there's also a lot of talent in Europe. So I think the level of the top guys at the front is for sure very similar, still as good. They should have a look. But, again, we race a lot more in Europe so I think they're a bit more concentrated in drivers around there.

JPM: Same.

(Dan Knutson – National Speedsport News) Scott, you sort of had a non-stop couple days here of radio interviews, TV interviews, newspaper interviews. How hectic has it been? How have you found the reception from the media here in Indianapolis?
SS: It's been fantastic. Now when I go back and everyone asks me how Formula One is starting to shape up in America, I can tell them it's going really great. It's the first time I sort of have been able to experience the media in America. It's been a very, very warm homecoming for me, for sure.

(Todd Golden – Ontario Tribune Star) Michael, American racing fans take their four-time winners at Indianapolis pretty seriously: Al Unser, A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears among them. Do you consider yourself, even though you're in a different racing discipline, part of that Indianapolis fraternity of four-time winners? Do you consider yourself part of that Indianapolis greatness?
MS: I'm not exactly sure of the history of Indianapolis, when it started, how long it is. But Formula One is there just for the years we are here, and I'm not sure if you should really put yourself into that history that much. I'm not considering it too much, no.

(Livio Orricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo) Alonso, considering what happened last year here, are you worried about the fact that Michelin could be so worried with safety and it could interfere in the performance of the tyre?
FA: No, no. No problems. Hundred percent sure we will not have the same problem. We cannot be conservative in this part of the championship. The teams will not allow Michelin to be conservative. We all want to win. Michelin brought here a winning tyre, for sure.

(Jim Peltz – Los Angeles Times) Michael, the number of times that you're finishing second being so uncommon given your career, does that frustrate you or give you even more drive to get back to where you were?
MS: No, neither/nor, honestly. It's just part of the game. It's natural that you simply can't win every race, although you wish. No, but last year was occasionally frustrating. But to be second, like the race in Canada actually in the final stages to get second position is some excitement.
(Derek Daly – Speed Channel) Michael, of the panel, you would be the most experienced. With the success that you've had, have you peaked or are you still potentially getting better or are you still learning or do you think you've peaked as a driver?
MS: You never stop learning, absolutely. There is a point where you stop, obviously, gaining speed, natural speed. But that starts very early. After that, it's just experience you take on. It'll never stop, honestly, because Formula One just develops all the time, and you just have to keep track of the development and just be on top of it, and that makes you develop at the same time.

(Derek Daly - Speed Channel) So would a driver with a technical feel, would he potentially have an advantage in Formula One as it is today or is it the instinct-reflex driver? Do you know what I mean by that?
MS: I don't think the reflexes - I mean, I haven't measured it. There is obviously a trade-over when maybe your reflexes slow down and experience comes in. But I only can compare myself against my team mates and I haven't looked to that so far, so...

(Tim May – Columbus Dispatch) Scott, what is the secret for an American to get to Formula One, for a lot of these guys that want to end up over there?
SS: To have the opportunity to go to Europe where you have to go through the proper ladder series. For me, I think that the European racing is much more competitive and if you stand a chance in Formula One and you don't want to step in and look silly, you have to go over there and compete and do well against the Europeans.

(Felipe Motta – Radio Panamericana) Michael, tomorrow Germany will play against Argentina. What do you expect of this match? You think it will be possible to watch the match here in the USA during the practice? I don't know if it's before or after.
MS: I don't know what time it is but if I have time, I will certainly watch it, absolutely. I think if we go through that one, then we have done already 50 percent or maybe more than 50 percent because Argentina is one of the top teams. Being able to beat them, we're looking good.

(Carlo Gomez – Diario AS) Fernando, is this your worst circuit of the year? The second question is about the match of Spain in the world soccer.
FA: Indianapolis, for sure, will be the most difficult race in all the championship for us. The car was never competitive here. We don't know why. But we hope that this year change that. The (RS) 26 has been competitive everywhere so we expect a good performance here but we have some doubts, for sure. I hope to have a good car.

Now, the soccer: nothing to say. We are always the same, we are a good team in the group and then come the important matches, and we go home. It's OK. Like this we don't have any more worries. We don't fight with the team, with the French mechanics or the English. We are not any more there, so we are happy, we concentrate only Formula One.

Source FIA


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