Thursday's Press Conference - British GP

Participating: Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari), Jenson Button (Benetton), David Coulthard (McLaren), Eddie Jordan (Jordan), Bobby Rahal (Jaguar) and Hirisho Yasukawa (Bridgestone).

Thursday's Press Conference - British GP

Participating: Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari), Jenson Button (Benetton), David Coulthard (McLaren), Eddie Jordan (Jordan), Bobby Rahal (Jaguar) and Hirisho Yasukawa (Bridgestone).

Q: Hiroshi, your chairman said that Bridgestone would be staying in Formula One for an unspecified time. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Hiroshi Yasukawa:

Oh good for me and hopefully good for everybody.

Q: He also said that he thought more tyre companies would come into Formula One. Who do you think will come into Formula One, and how many tyre companies can there be in Formula One?


I think a maximum of three. At the Austrian and French Grands Prix, an American company has been represented at the races. Of course, they came to see me and to say hallo, and I said that they were very welcome.

Q: So you think Goodyear could come back?


I don't know but if they don't have any intention of coming back, why do they come to the races? I just remember that when I came into Formula One with Bridgestone, quite often I would come, and people would ask me 'what are you doing?' It's the same sort of thing.

Q: Eddie, has the result in France boosted the team?

Eddie Jordan:

It gave us some sort of relief, not a lot, but you know nobody likes not finishing, and everybody likes getting points. It's very difficult to get points now that Ferrari, McLaren and Williams... points are the name of the game. If you're going to be successful, you have to make sure that you're there all the time, and there are a number of races - I think the launch control thing in Austria - hurt us very badly, because, in Formula One, as in any major sport, there's a high element of psychology involved.

Q: Has it been an encouragement?


I didn't get quite as much grief as I did in the previous races, if you know what I mean, but I still got the grief, just the level of grief was less, and therefore I was a lot happier as a result.

Q: When it comes to this race here, with your factory just across the road, do you feel British or Irish?


I'll give you a non-political answer on that, but I could go into how many years Ireland has been into this, that and the other and I won't because today is the twelfth of July (anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne) and it's a particularly difficult day for people to understand.

So leaving all that aside, twofold: I hate it and I love it. I hate it because I seem to have more relations than I ever knew I had before and they all want tickets for this goddamn place, so it's a continuous No, non-stop and the phone calls, the closer we get to Silverstone, they increase and they increase. That is a measure of where the team is and that is very heartening too to know that you have a lot of fans and a lot of Irish chancers chancing around looking for a ticket which is perfect, but they still come anyway, as indeed I did about 40 years ago. This is the closest race to Ireland so it is our home race in many respects and for the Irish people, it gives them a chance in holiday to come and see what's going on and support whatever team. Hopefully it's Jordan or maybe Bobby Rahal's team with Eddie Irvine.

On the other side of it, as an Irish person, and I've said this often enough, when I came as a young driver in the very early seventies, the reality was that the local people - Robert Fearnall who was here with Pierre Aumonier - made me extremely welcome and there's not another country that I know in the world that would allow a foreigner to come in and set a team in their own back yard and give them the support that I got, so it's very fitting and right that we have stayed across the way. This is our home in more ways than one and no one could ever appreciate as much the help that we got locally in this place, so well done Silverstone.

Q: Does Bobby feel the same, in that you're in a similar situation, running a famous British name?

Bobby Rahal:

There's a lot of expectation. I find my job, more often than not, is trying to manage all those expectations, because much of it is a lot of hope, wishful thinking. That's great but some of it's more realistic than others. It's nice being home for the team, but there's a lot of pressure, a lot of expectation that comes with it that you'd probably rather not have to deal with, but that's part of it.

Q: The last race seemed to be encouraging.


Since Monaco it's been encouraging. We continue to make progress but, as I said sometime right after Monaco, we don't want to make too much of that because we still have a long way to go. It's great racing now with Eddie's group and BAR being in the midst of that rather than being at the tail end of it, but that can change overnight. You can go back to the tail end awfully quickly, so we take it one day at a time, and work our hardest and we'll see what the results will be but in the meantime we just have to keep our heads down.

Q: Jenson, was the development in France the quick fix that some people expected?

Jenson Button:

No. I think it was pretty much what we expected, but I think a lot of other people got quite excited about it and thought we would be inside the top ten which is impossible halfway through the season to make that big a jump. But it was a definite improvement. A lot of people might not have noticed it because we were still in 16th and 17th but the gap that we made up was quite a substantial amount. Here we will have the same engine for the race so maybe we can race a little bit better.

Q: When are you expecting the next development?


Nothing's decided yet, but that's probably going to be the biggest one this year, but again we don't exactly know when they're going to take place.

Q: Did you think it was going to be like this at the start of the year, even though you were warned?


: I didn't think it would be this tough but I don't think a lot of other people did as well. But next year is the year that we are more concentrating on and I think we've got to now. But we still have to push very hard this year and get everything together for next year. It's just a little bit tougher than I thought but a lot of the other problems haven't just been the team, I've also had my own problems. The car has been quite difficult to work with but the good thing is that I'm more confident now than I was with it and I'm getting to grip a little bit more with it now. It was a matter confidence, among other things.

Q: David, any changes to your situation since the last race - technical or otherwise?

David Coulthard:

There've been a few electronic changes that we've been working on, trying to get the most out of the traction control and but I'm not aware of anything mechanical or any other changes for this race.

Q: So you're not expecting a big change against Ferrari this weekend?


You don't know what to expect this weekend, it depends on weather, that could be a big issue. That could determine whether Williams is competitive as well. Clearly it was again a lot closer in race conditions in Magny-Cours, in qualifying if Michael had managed to get all of the sectors together it still would have shown that they have a sizeable qualifying advantage. There's no real reason to expect that to be vastly different here in qualifying trim but in race trim, which is the important thing, we have a chance of winning 10 points.

Q: The fact that Ferrari has only done one test here when you've done a great deal more than that - does that help?


I don't think so, the track's pretty straightforward. It's a question of getting to the track and tuning the car to the tyres for that day given the track temperature, which is quite an influential part how the tyres that have been chosen will actually work on that day.

Q: The fact that this is your home race - does that help?


Obviously I don't have as many friends as Eddie so I don't get those calls! No. It doesn't really make a difference in terms of me functioning during a Grand Prix weekend - it just makes it more enjoyable. It's more enjoyable to be at home and the atmosphere... more relaxed in many ways. I'm in the campsite and if you've been near a campsite full of Germans then you'll know how nice it is to be near the reserved British! They tend to stop partying at a civilised hour where I'm sure there's some kind of Olympic award for how late the Germans can be doing their bangers and fireworks and whatever it is they do. Sorry Germany!

Q: Rubens, you've been home since the last Grand Prix.

Rubens Barrichello:

Yes, it was fantastic but now back to work. It's been a long time since the Brazilian GP and I've been in Europe testing and having my wife pregnant it was good just to go to the doctor's and be a normal person.

Q: Since you've been away Eddie Irvine's had a bit of a go about you - have you heard about it?


Luckily they only told me at the end of my holiday. Actually I read some newspapers today and it's difficult. He should just shut up and concentrate on his job and remember that when I was sitting in that car and it was white instead of green I had a lot more points than him so it's just silly to be going on.

Q: A question to the drivers and team owners about caps - I was taught it was very bad manners to wear a hat indoors, are you required to wear baseball caps and what are the opinions of the team managers?


You are a dickbrain. What a question!

RB: I don't really care, it doesn't make me faster or slower and I wasn't really aware of that superstition, we don't have that in Brazil.

Q: Are you required to wear it?


Yes, as long as possible.

Q: David - what does it mean to be drawing close to your countryman Jim Clark's record number of successive wins in Britain?


It's not at the forefront of my mind when I come to the race, I'm thinking more about trying to get maximum points from here and how it'll affect the gap back to Michael. It's nice, we all like to talk about the good old days and about great drivers of the past and their achievements and if you can do something like that in your sporting career then by association you must be doing all right.

Q: David - do you remember your first Silverstone as a spectator?


It was a karting Grand Prix, obviously I used to race karts before cars and I came here as a youngster when they used to race on the full Grand Prix track. The first Grand Prix that I watched here was in 1990 when I raced here in support races in Formula Vauxhall Lotus. I didn't win. Rubens won. Bloody Brazilians! What other nationalities can I work on?

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