Jackie Stewart Q&A

Jackie Stewart had his first sight of Indianapolis in 1966, when he very nearly won the 500 in his rookie year, and later he made regular visits to the Brickyard in the role of TV pundit. He returned this year with Jaguar Racing on what was a very important weekend for the team, with a large number of corporate guests present. Fortunately after a poor showing in qualifying they were able to witness a much better performance on race day. Adam Cooper asked the triple champion for his thoughts on the first F1 event at the Speedway

Jackie Stewart Q&A

"I think for the Europeans who've come over, whether they be spectators or part of the F1 circuit, the start atmosphere was the best in the world. There's nowhere better than this. When the national anthem is played, or sung in this case, everybody stands and the quiet is perfect. And then when it finishes there's this enormous roar of applause. There's no other country in the world that does that. There was a fantastic feeling about the whole place. I think they've done very well. To create a GP is not easy, and I think they've done a good job, although there are certain small things they can improve."

"In a way we're alien to Indianapolis, and Indianapolis is alien to F1. So it's nice that there are so many people here who are so keen on it. But with a country of 250 million or more people, you're going to have 200,000 who are going to want to come. And that's what we're seeing here; they're proper enthusiasts. I think Tony George and his team at the Speedway have been very, very good at putting together something that is special and good enough for the F1 people to fully appreciate."

"I think he's done a great job. I think the Speedway have really worked hard to build something that will clearly not be only suitable for F1 but will be of considerable benefit to the Indycar boys and the NASCAR boys. It has a blandness to it, which I think could be brought up a bit - there's a little too much concrete! The subtlety of it is maybe what's missing. It needs to be dressed a little bit. The garages could have been bigger, because they've got all this space - Silverstone, Australia and Barcelona have much bigger pits, for example. There's no debris fence in front of the pits, and there are other areas around the track I've noticed, but I don't know whether that was Indianapolis or the FIA. But these are very mild and meek observations rather than the profoundness of the whole event. I think in general we should be very pleased."

"I never had any doubts. I think it's fine, although I think it could be quite exciting in the wet, coming out of there, and that's why I mentioned the debris fencing."

"I think it depends on America, whether they can stand not having a lot of passing, and not having speeds of 240mph. And it will also take in my opinion an American driver to be involved, hopefully in the not too distant future."

"The team ran well. I thought Johnny drove a great race, and he made the right decision on tyres. It's a pity he had the little misjudgement coming into the pits, when he hit the gantry. He would certainly have been in the points. He was going very, very well indeed."

"That's another good thing, but we were certainly off the pace in qualifying - we went quicker in the race than we did in qualifying."

"I think it's very positive. I think it's good to have fresh blood in. F1 tends to be very incestuous. There aren't a lot of people out there who aren't already committed or contracted, in most cases for several years. So to bring somebody different in who does know the business, if not this business specifically... I don't think there is any magic about F1. I think we showed that by coming in as a young team and doing well immediately. I think we were in 11th place on the grid in our first race in Australia. So I think you can do it."

"I think that's a good line. Neil has realised the scale of the job of being CEO and Chairman, and I think he sees he needs somebody. When Paul and I were doing it we were very complete, in the sense of being able to be on the ground a great deal, working incredible hours but getting it done. That's all part of it."

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