Thursday Press Conference

Official FIA Thursday Press Conference, Monza, Sepetember 7

Thursday Press Conference

Giancarlo Fisichella, Mika Hakkinen, Michael Schumacher, Jarno Trulli, Ricardo Zonta

Michael Schumacher: It's not really any different than Spa was. We had the test here last week, we were able to set up the car. Mentally and physically, for me there is no difference at all. This race is important for us. But whatever happens, after this race the championship will not be finished. This is just one of the four races that are still to go, so I don't really feel this is the crucial one. To some degree, it can make life more or less difficult for us. But that's it.

MS: We have the natural developments for the car. But there is nothing special to point out.

MS: No, I wouldn't say that. Everyone knows that the favourites are Spa, Suzuka, Monaco ... Hungary; circuits that are technically difficult. This is not so difficult: it has long straights, hard braking and chicanes to be ridden. There's nothing that's really challenging.

MS: We'll find out! For sure it is great to have the extra motivation. I have always said that I feel the motivation more than any pressure when coming to a home race. We have had great times here, particularly the last year I was here, in 1998... and last year I wasn't here. Let's hope we can start where we left off in 1998.

Mika Hakkinen: This is a really important race, like every Grand Prix. The concentration and preparation are the same as they are at any Grand Prix. The target is to get as many points as possible for me and for the team.

MH: Mario Illien can tell you more about what's going on with the engine side. When we tested last week, as usual we were testing something new on the engine side. Speak to Mario about that.

MH: Yes and no. There are some corners here which are very interesting and challenging to drive. There are also some corners which are not so nice. In one sense it is a very difficult track: you are going at 350 km/h on the straight, and then you have to brake at exactly the right place to carry the correct speed into the corner, then you have to accelerate very hard again. Psychologically it is very demanding and difficult to drive, compared with other circuits.

MH: There are always good and bad fans, and some of the less friendly ones are showing the middle finger. To a sporting mind, that is quite disappointing to see. But at the same time, emotions can get a bit high, and I can understand the Italian temperament. Some other fans here are very friendly: they want to shake your hand and get an autograph, things like that. So there are two sides, but mainly the fans here are very pleasant.

Ricardo Zonta: I saw a Ferrari coming from behind, so I just slowed down a little bit and left room for him to pass. When I saw another car was coming through on the right side I thought it was a dangerous move - but it worked very well.

RZ: Yes, but I had only seen Michael until the moment when I was in the middle of the straight. I didn't move all the way over to the right because the track was still a little bit damp there. One moment later, though, I felt something coming through there - and it was Mika.

RZ: I got on to the radio and said the two other guys were crazy!

RZ: This is quite a difficult moment for me now. I have been speaking with some teams. McLaren has also given me the opportunity to test the car, which would increase my experience in F1. But maybe I will have another season of racing in F1.

RZ: There are a lot of negotiations, of course, and now we need to find whichever is best for my future.


Giancarlo Fisichella: I am fine now, but after two big accidents [at Spa and in testing at Monza] in three days it is not a fantastic experience for a driver, especially mentally. I have had a good rest and I did some training. I am confident and there is only one small problem, with my right ankle. But for Sunday it will be OK.

GF: I lost some points and I have been a bit unlucky to have had two accidents at the start, in Austria and Germany, then these two big accidents. It has been a very unlucky period. Now I just hope to make a comeback and to score some points. Normally the car is very reliable. I just worry about Sunday, because in the test here I had a problem with the brakes - I lost the brake pads in the Variante Ascari - and because the speed there is so high it meant that I had a very big accident. We are still investigating what the problem could have been.

Jarno Trulli: Yes. This will be an interesting Grand Prix for me. The car has seemed very competitive in the last few races, so I hope to do well here in front of my home crowd.

JT: I've been very busy. I flew to Northern Ireland after the Grand Prix at Spa, to take part in the Belfast Motorsport Show. It was my first time in Ireland and there were lots of mad Irish people, so it was very nice to see they were all big supporters of Jordan Grand Prix. Then I came back here to Monza for the test. After that, on Sunday, we had the tenth birthday of Jordan Grand Prix at Donington, which was even more extraordinary than Belfast. I have never seen so many people at a race track, just for one team. Donington looked like a Grand Prix weekend: it was amazing. We had de Cesaris and Watson in the cars, there were families there with their kids. To be honest, it was not a day I will regret...

JT: It looks like a very technical circuit, but apparently they need to do some work on it. It is not long enough and the paddock needs to be rebuilt. It could be a good opportunity, but there is a lot of work to be done.

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