Q & A with Jacques Villeneuve

Q: What did you think about the first race in Turkey?

Q & A with Jacques Villeneuve

JV: I found the race weekend very enjoyable. For me, it's the best track I've ever driven on. Except for the last sector, the corners are fast and difficult and some are both physically and technically challenging so the drive is really interesting there. The race was not what I expected. In fact, it was almost decided after the qualifying session when I spun, leaving me a very bad grid position on Sunday. It was really unfortunate because we were really quick there - my first sector during qualifying was surprisingly quick - and points could have been possible with a better starting position. Unfortunately, I didn't get the chance to see much of Istanbul because we wanted to avoid traffic as much as possible so I stayed at the track in my motorhome. I think it was the right thing to do, some of my mates got stuck up to three hours on the roads and this is stress you need to avoid during race weekends. However, I heard good things about the city itself and overall I think this first event was a success - except for the traffic but I am sure things will only get better anyway...

Q: You took part in the pre-Monza GP test last week. Did it go well for the team?

JV: It went really well and it was really productive. I did the equivalent of four race distances in two days so we did a lot of mileage which is good. The two day test allowed us to focus on both tyre and car set-up and I could explore new set-up directions that I've had in mind for quite a while now. I must say that I've reached a strong working relationship with the engineers and the entire tea, so working is enjoyable - and it has also shown on the lap times too.

Q: You seem satisfied with what was achieved during the test?

JV: Yes, and not just in the test but there have been improvements in the races too. In the test I was two tenths quicker than Felipe, which shouldn't really have happened on the tyres I was on, which were a different compound and on paper should have been slower. I really feel the team and I are getting to grips with the car now, are making some good progress, and the pace has been improving for the last two or three months. If you look at the data from the last few races, my lap times have been - comparably - fast, the results just haven't been there. But we are working really hard.

Q: What for you is special about Monza?

JV: Monza is one of the places I know best in the calendar because I used to race there when I was in Formula Three. The Italian fans are very passionate about racing and it's a special place to compete. The track is very different to most circuits. There are long straights between the corners so you are relatively less active and have time to relax. The last corner, Parabolica, is quite special and it's a difficult one to get right. You can always go faster there than you actually do. It's fast, goes on for a long time and is very important, because effectively it ends one lap and starts the next, so if you get it wrong you can spoil two laps at once! The set-up of the car is quite tricky because it's the only track left that is high-speed and very low downforce and you need a set-up that suits the straights, the high-speed corners and the tight chicanes.

Q: How are you feeling about the forthcoming Monza race?

JV: I'm feeling quite good. The test went really well and the circuit is one I know well, and which I enjoy racing at. Hopefully we can get a few points. We know that we are improving the pace now, and I'm feeling more confident with the car, so we just need everything to come together.

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Series Formula 1
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