Drivers: Rubens Barrichello (Honda), Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault),
Juan Pablo Montoya (McLaren), Mark Webber (Williams).
Q: Rubens, you were so quick in testing pre-season yet it hasn’t really
been reflected by the races so far, how have you felt about the start of the
Rubens Barrichello: It was disappointing in the way that I really felt on
top of my problems. We tested a lot at every circuit, and every time I got onto
a circuit, I spent the first day getting used to everything. I say that because
even though the seat fitting is good, the way I am driving the car is not the
way I’ve driven in my whole life. I have to be a little bit different. So every
time I get to a new circuit, the Friday seems to be a small struggle before I
actually get on top of it. In Bahrain, I had a
problem with the right rear brake which was running hot and we only got on top
of the problem right at the end of the weekend. We had a problem with the sensor
so we couldn’t really read that there was a problem. And in Malaysia I
struggled, big time. Right from the first moment I went out I never got a
balance. I was having some problems with the brakes, so it was a struggle. I
think you learn from these difficulties. I went back to Vallelunga, did some
testing there, effectively I think it was a little bit better. So I come to a
place that I enjoy very much, so it should be less of a struggle.
Q: You’ve had a pole position here and second last year from eleventh
place, so this is one of your favourites, is it?
RB: This is one of my favourite tracks, the people and everything. I love
the place … Melbourne is the third race this year but for me, it’s just like the
last couple of years when it was the first race, because I haven’t scored at the
Q: You are in a different team this year ? Honda - is it very different to
RB: In so many ways they are very much the same but the way that they
operate and the way they work is a bit different. It’s good, I like it. It’s
something that I look forward to getting my problems solved, in a way. They are
doing things for me, they are on top of everything and it should be OK. But it
is different, not because… in Ferrari, we talk in English, it wasn’t such a
problem on that side. Now it’s an English team with the Japanese, but there’s no
problem with communication or anything. It’s just the learning method, what I
bring from other teams that I think is good and the way that they should put it
in as a working manner, and some methods from them that I quite like, and it’s a
combination of things.
Q: So change of team has been a breath of fresh air for you?
RB: Absolutely, yes.
Q: Giancarlo, winner of this race last year, winner of the previous race ?
you must come here with much confidence?
Giancarlo Fisichella: Yes, of course. There’s a fantastic atmosphere here
for me. As Rubens says, there is a great atmosphere in Australia, the people are
really friendly and it’s a nice place. The circuit is not the best circuit for
me, but it’s good. I’ve got a good feeling and I won last year so I have a good
memory (of this circuit). Coming here and being the winner of the last race is
fantastic for me so I am really looking forward to it and I am really optimistic
for Sunday, again.
Q: Actually, until last year I don’t suppose it was your favourite circuit
because you hadn’t really done very well here up until then…
GF: Well, in the past I never really drove a competitive car in comparison
to last year and this year, and even then, I’ve had a little bit of bad luck.
Last year, we had a good package, I did my best and I won the race.
Q: Looking back at a year ago, the first two races were very important to
get a good start in the championship and once again, the team has done the same
thing. Can you see a parallel to last year?
GF: Looks like it, looks like it’s on target for Renault to be competitive
straight away, but the most important thing is to have a reliable car. Apart
from the problem with the (throttle) butterfly I had in Bahrain, which was very
unusual, we have been able to do a lot of mileage during testing and in the last
race, as you saw, we finished with both cars at the front of the race.
Q: Michael Schumacher said that the key to winning the championship this
year is going to be development of the car throughout the season; would you
agree with that?
GF: Yeah, this is the secret of Formula One. It has been like that even in
the past, so you need to carry on, you always need to develop the car, the
package, and never stop.
Q: And you’re confident with Renault?
GF: I’m really confident, yes.
Q: Juan Pablo, can you compare the start of this season with the start of
last, from your point of view, the first two races?
Juan Pablo Montoya: I think last year we had a really quick car and I think
I struggled driving it, probably a bit like Rubens at the moment with the BAR
(Honda), and it was hard, even though I scored good points. This year, in the
last race we struggled a lot with cooling and the performance of the car wasn’t
there. Kimi came in a lap earlier than me in the race and everything so I think
the pace of the car was down from the start. We had to open up the car for
cooling and we lost a lot of performance but I think we are going to be really
quick here. I think the car has great potential and I’m a lot more comfortable
than I was last year, and as long as we keep scoring good points, we’ll be there
at the end of the year.
Q: What about your own preparations for this season?
JPM: I did a lot of work over the winter. Last year it was the same. This
year is the same, but it was easier this year because I knew how everything
worked. Last year I went to the factory just to learn how things worked. Now I
go to the factory to develop. We have the simulator and that helps us a lot to
develop the car and bring new things forward, so it’s OK. I think things are
going quite well. In a couple of races we have new suspension coming which
should help us quite a bit if it works as we expect. We keep bringing on aero
packages and the engine just keeps improving. We had a big handicap to everybody
in the first few races because the engine struggled a bit, but now the engine is
up to speed and running well. It lasted the two races, no problem for me, and
here we have a bit of a step forward so it’s looking good.
Q: Were you running the engine quite cautiously in the first two races?
JPM: Yeah, well within the margins of the engine, just to make sure. But
it’s OK, you’ve always got to have a margin for it, but I think the problem we
had, especially in the first race, was a little bit of a mistake on the mapping,
which they changed for the second race and it was a different engine… it was the
same engine but there was a big difference. In the first race I was about four
kilometres, even five kilometres per hour down on Kimi down the straight. In the
second race I was as quick. I didn’t like it.
Q: So this race should be OK?
JPM: Yeah, it should be OK. We have to see how the car behaves. We’ve got a
very good, stable car here, so it’s a matter of how much graining you’re going
to get and stuff like that, but I’m pretty confident we’re going to be strong
Q: Mark, third on the grid to fifth in the race last year, your best
results here; can you do better than that this year?
Mark Webber: I hope so, yeah. I think that the competition is probably a
little bit more compact this year than it was last year. At the start of year
last year everyone was a little bit more spread out, potentially. Renault are
still the form team, they are going to be strong this weekend, I believe, and
the bunch after that is very very tight, so there is a chance to improve on
that, maybe. Could have been a strong race, we could have had a bigger fuel tank
last year but we didn’t so that won’t be a problem this year, so we’ve got some
other… total new ball game, new rigs, engines, tyres, first time I’ve been here
on the Bridgestones with Williams, so lots to learn, so I’m looking forward to
it, looking forward to seeing how the long runs go tomorrow with Alex in the
third car, obviously, compared to some of the other running that the race
drivers will do, so yeah, see how we go.
Q: As we’ve heard from the drivers we’ve spoken to so far, one or two
drivers have been handicapped, Juan Pablo by the engine, Rubens by the brakes;
do you think it’s going to show that as those drivers come on form, are you
going to slip back, or have you had your problems as well?
MW: I think we’ve been pretty solid actually. I’ve been on other tyres for
my whole career in F1 and had to make a change this year and that’s been
different the other way. Especially on Friday in Malaysia, it was definitely a
different situation to what I had the year before so I had to work a bit harder
on Saturday and then Sunday I was going to enjoy the race, obviously, until we
had the problem. But no, I think collectively we’ve done well as a team and
we’re pretty strong and solid. There’s no huge problems with us inside. We know
what we’ve got to work on, we know what weaknesses we’ve got to get more
Q: Expecting a cooler day on Sunday than in the last two races; do you
think that’s going to be an advantage for you?
MW: I think we would like it to be clear skies and reasonably warm, just by
the fact of what happened in the first two events and that worked well for us,
as a team. Winter testing has been a bit tough for us in terms of balancing the
car and just getting the situation as we would like. It’s nice to be better in
the races than you are in testing; I don’t like it the other way around so
hopefully here, obviously a month later (than usual), but we’re going to have
other races (which are cool) this year; Melbourne isn’t going to be the only one
- the next three: Imola, Nurburgring very early in the season as well. We’ve got
plenty to learn and hopefully we can learn in the right direction and not do too
much learning on Sundays, do our learning before we go on the front line.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Dan Knutson - National Speed Sport News) For Mark, Paul Stoddart has
filed an entry for 2008, assuming it all works out, what are your thoughts of
having Stoddie back and the Minardi name back in F1?
问：（Dan Knutson - National Speed Sport
MW: I am ready to drive for him. There is no question about it…. Well,
actually, I didn’t know about that and ? brilliant. He is a competitive and
passionate guy and good stuff. Why not? Its going to be interesting, Formula One
in 2008, probably could be a little different to how it is now potentially and I
am not totally wound up on how it will be, but I am happy for Paul if he wants
to come back in and get into it. He is a popular person in the paddock.
Q: (James Stanford - Herald Sun) For Juan Pablo, the McLaren ? how close do
you think it is to the Renaults in terms of speed? Is it much behind or as
问：（James Stanford - Herald
JPM: I think we are a little bit behind, but you know it is going to be
interesting to see here because we have a new engine and it is a bit of a step
up and it will be interesting to see what it does. I think if the car is
competitive and everything goes well, we should be able to fight them in the
race. I am not sure about one lap in qualifying, but we’ll have to wait and see.
The only way to beat them is to be a bit smarter than them in the race.
Q: (Dan Knutson - National Speed Sport News) Juan Pablo, how much of a
distraction is it for you not knowing what 2007 will bring and maybe having to
ask questions all the time about 2007?
问：（Dan Knutson - National Speed Sport
JPM: I don’t really care to be honest. I am okay. I am focussed on this
year and when something comes up for next year and you are happy then you will
sign the deal, wherever it is. And that’s it. You know what I mean. I am driving
for McLaren Mercedes this year and I am going to do my best for them. It doesn’t
matter. It is like when I was in America and I was going to move to Formula One.
I signed a deal eight months before and even like that when I was there I was
still pushing and doing the best I could. You know, I think we have got a good
chance of winning the championship this year and you can’t waste it and I need
to try and score good points at every race and when there is a chance of
Q: (Brendan Cormick - The Australian) To Mark, not being respectful in
asking this, but 70 races under your belt, you work very hard at what you do ?
is it very frustrating not being able to post your first Grand Prix victory?
问：（Brendan Cormick - The
MW: Yes. We are all here to win. No question about it. But it is a
reasonably competitive industry and there are a few people that want to do the
winning. I think there’s been two Australians win Grands Prix in the last 50
years so obviously it is not that straightforward, but I am very keen to be more
competitive at every race. Giancarlo had some tough years at Jordan, but this
year he is having a very good season. It is a very fickle game. The drivers are
very important to the performance of the car, but also the team has to be on it
as well. I thoroughly enjoy my situation at Williams at the moment and I hope we
can go towards the front and challenge the pace setters of the moment. Yes, I am
very competitive and I want to be towards the front so rest assured I am doing
Q: (Livio Orrichio ? O Estado do Sao Paulo) Question to all drivers. Your
teams signed a document asking the FIA to check the Ferrari front wing and
Ferrari has a new front wing here. Do you think it will affect their performance
问：（Livio Orrichio ? O Estado do Sao
JPM: I think maybe they had something a little bit tricky and everybody
thought it was open and so for that reason they asked them to do something
different. If it was a big advantage it may affect them a little bit, but if
they have a good solution then it shouldn’t. I don’t know. It shouldn’t really.
I will be amazed if it does.
MW: Yes, that’s it isn’t it?
RB: I agree.
GF: I think if there was something illegal, then it was correct to make
adjustment and as all the other teams have to be legal. I don’t know if they
have a new aerodynamic part it has to be legal.
Q: (Todd Balym - Australian Associated Press) Giancarlo, Juan Pablo just
said that for them to beat you on Sunday, they need to race smarter. Is that the
sort of view in your team ? that you have the fastest car and it is just a
matter of putting it all together on Sunday?
问：（Todd Balym - Australian Associated
GF: Well, we know McLaren has a fantastic potential to be quick, as we do.
In the last two races, we were quicker than them and I just heard now that they
are going to have a better car aerodynamically and maybe on the power side and
maybe they will be a little bit closer now, but we are still very optimistic
because we have fantastic pace and even last week, at Paul Ricard, we did a
fantastic job with Kovalainen and we have been able again to be the quickest and
so we are looking forward to tomorrow and especially to Sunday.
Q: (Peter Windsor - F1 Racing) A question to Rubens, Mark and Juan Pablo,
despite all the changes to the technical regulations this year, specifically
with engines, it appears as if the Renault still has a marked advantage off the
line at the start of a race. Firstly do you agree with that and secondly if so
why do you think that is?
问：（Peter Windsor - F1
MW: I definitely agree with you Peter. I think they are phenomenal off the
line. There is a combination of a few things which in terms of the torque of the
engine which is helping them, where the weight is in the car and also the
electronics and how obviously the clutch and that stuff is working. In all that
stuff, they have had the best situation and have had so for a few years even
with the V10 and there were a lot of good V10s out there at the end, so that
makes the torque one a bit less of an argument but I think the V8 enjoys some
good torque. Fernando and Giancarlo also eat a lot of carrots to look at the
lights, but apart from that, that’s the lot. They are the parameters that have
the biggest effect. Tyres, too, obviously.
JPM: About the same, really, yes, gear ratio and it all depends how much
torque you have. If you look at an on-board camera from them in Bahrain you can
hear there are corners where they have like no revs and it still pulled out of
the corners where … it is just a characteristic of the engines and so on.
RB: You know, I think it is just a little bit too early to say they really
have an advantage or that they used to... If you look at their start in
Malaysia, I think Jenson was pretty level with Giancarlo. I still think that
Giancarlo beat him by a little bit but I think Honda did a phenomenal job with
the starts so we are quite happy on that side too. And if you look at Alonso,
too, if it wasn’t for his great move on the outside I don’t think he would have
gained any positions on the start. Obviously they know how to do it, because
they have done it in the past, but I am not so sure that they still have the
advantage of the past.