Friday press conference

FIA Friday press conference - 8 September 2000

Friday press conference

Drivers: Jean Alesi, Rubens Barrichello, Jenson Button and Ralf Schumacher

Jean Alesi: Yes, that's true. Let me say first that I feel very old - these guys here are so young! In Belgium the car was competitive in the conditions. Unfortunately we didn't see the end of the race, so I was unable to bring home any points for the team, and that was a shame for everybody.

JA: Yes, but in situations like this it doesn't change anything to say it was the driver's decision or the team's. What was good was to have stopped at that moment, because it gave me the chance to be racing in the top group. It was really enjoyable for my team to see their car racing up there like that. They have been working very hard for nothing, for them to be able to see the number of their car up there on the TV screens. It was a good time for us.

JA: At Spa it was good, but it was also very competitive at Monte Carlo - and not so bad in Canada either.

JA: It means a lot because I only had two pole positions in my life, both of them here at Monza. I have done a lot of races here. And the fans are unbelievable. I would love to get my first points of the season here, even though at the moment we are struggling with the car, with the setup ... with everything.

JA: Yes, but I enjoy my life. I like to drive, to fight ... and it doesn't mean anything to have races like this. I prefer to have good memories.

JA: If I am driving, yes! But sure, I will be driving. Alain has confirmed me ...

Jenson Button: No, never. It's a good circuit - and it leaves the driver plenty of time to rest. The last corner is good fun, and so is the Ascari, but at the moment I am not so sure about the two chicanes. A lot of people, including me, went straight on at the chicanes today. I think it will be interesting in qualifying tomorrow, and in the race, especially on the first lap. I hope the car will work well here.

JB: Not necessarily: the similarities include the long straight, and the Bus Stop chicane, which is quite like the chicanes here. The car didn't look too good today, especially for Ralf! But the important day is tomorrow.

JB: To start with, I think it will be great for us both to be racing together again. Last year it was the F3 title that we both wanted: and although neither of us won, it was good racing. As for the comparison with F3000, my opinion is that an F3 is much more technical than an F3000, because of the restrictions on what can be changed on an F3000. Also, the racing is a lot closer in F3. I think it is the best way to go.

JB: Obviously I am looking at what they're doing. But I must concentrate on this year, and on learning the three circuits that follow this one in the championship - especially this one. There will be many changes at Benetton next year: a different engine, a different chassis, a different year.

JB: I definitely can't wait for Indianapolis. To be racing on an oval - well, at least a part- oval - will be great fun, a first for me. And we also have the crowd to look forward to. It's going to be spectacular with 250,000 people in the stadium. I hope we can put on a show that's good enough to appeal to them.

Rubens Barrichello: Actually, although we were expecting to go quite well, it was a surprise. In testing I had a problem with the car and I was unhappy until the very last day, when we found out a little of what was going on. But suddenly, with almost the same setup on a different chassis, I was happy again. The car felt good again and off we went. It was just the surprise of feeling such a difference from car to car. We don't normally see such a big difference.

RB: Yes. You can almost hear the crowd roaring as you go out of the pits. Whatever happens - whether you've spun, or done a good lap, or whatever - you can see the flags and the reaction. To me it feels like Interlagos, although obviously they're looking more for Michael, because he's been a Ferrari driver longer than I have. I guess they must have been impressed to see me fastest today, and every lap I continued, there seemed to be more flags being waved for me. With the chicane as it is now, with a very slow exit, you can actually see a little of the fans ... if you want to.

Ralf Schumacher: Part of it is because we did a lot of work for the race today, and also because I am not as happy with the car as I was at the test last week. I am sure we will find a way of dealing with it, it's just that we are not as good as we were at Spa, at least to look at the other teams and their cars performances. That applies to both of us.

RS: Yes, I found a short cut! I am looking for it now ... maybe I will be able to find it again.

RS: That was the meaning, although the way the magazines wrote it made it seem different. I said it had been a shame to let Jenson go because we have made a good team together this year. We both scored a lot of points this year, which has been good for the team, and we have fitted well together. Frank has obviously had a different idea, though, which we all have to respect. I can't judge it yet, so who knows what will happen when Juan Pablo comes? It would be unfair for me to say anything about him because I haven't even spoken to him yet. I hope he's not going to be too quick! Let's wait and see...

RS: We speak the same language, even though I am five years older and have suddenly become the old man of the team ... the way he keeps reminding me. We have both enjoyed the season and he has been one of the best team mates I could have had.

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