Verstappen: 'We knew we had a fast car'

2000 CHAMPIONSHIP: 12th, 5pts
4th, Monza
8th, Silverstone
A strong run to fifth in the rain at Montreal.
Dropping out of the points due to neck fatigue in Brazil, and crashing out of fourth at Indianapolis.
Expected to stay with Arrows, whose AMT engine deal is potentially a question mark.

Jos Verstappen returned to F1 this year after his career appeared to have petered out following his experience with the aborted Honda project. Amazingly, this was his first full season since his year with Tyrrell in 1997. The 28-year-old has long struggled to regain the momentum he had when he joined Benetton in 1994, and in truth he rarely made any headlines during his year with Arrows. He was outqualified by 12:5 by his team mate Pedro de la Rosa, who generally did more to catch the eye. Jos wasn't helped by poor reliability - he had five mechanical failures in the first 10 races. But he twice got into the points, with a fourth at Monza and a good fifth at Montreal, where he held off the penalised David Coulthard. Adam Cooper spoke to the Dutchman.

"I don't think I had that many opportunities. You never know until the car is running of course, but every time we had discussions with Tom or with the engineers, they were saying how much better the car would be for this year, because they knew the downforce compared to the year before, the difference in the engine, and all that sort of stuff. And they were right. But still you have to believe that, and then you have to see that on the circuit - and when I saw the car running, we did very competitive times, and the handling was quite good. So I was very pleased with it."

"Absolutely. But we always did very short runs, and I wasn't in a race for the last two years, so to do a whole race distance, as we saw in Brazil, was very hard. We worked on that as well, and I think at the moment I don't have any problems."

"Sometimes the car was running really well, especially in race trim, and also on faster circuits, I think that's where the car worked well, better than on slower circuits. But we had some problems with reliability, and of course we made some mistakes as well. I think if we can make the car better in the slower speed circuits, we'd have a very competitive car."

"Yeah, that's right. We knew we had a fast car. Of course that gives you a lot more interest than I've had before. In that respect I had a good season for myself."

"I think Canada was a very enjoyable race, but then also Indianapolis. That was for me also very good. The car went very well in the wet, and then it was drying out, and I think I had a very competitive car. The brake balance knob came out and wound itself a little bit towards the rear, and a certain point I locked the rears braking into a corner, and basically that was it."

"Yes, the car was very reliable all weekend. Of course we had a little bit of luck with some of the cars spinning out in front of us, but then the car was quick as well. I think we deserved that. But we had other races where we deserved a few points, like Pedro in Austria, me in Brazil, Hockenheim, Indianapolis... everything went well, we could have had a lot of points."

"Brazil. That was because my neck wasn't strong enough, and I couldn't hold it. Basically you lose a bit of concentration because of your neck, and your arms get very tired. But we have to work on that. We were not running with power steering, and I think if you have that working properly, that will help - you'll be fitter during the whole race. But to be a small team to come to the middle is a lot of work, and it's even more work to come more to the top. We know what we have to do and hopefully they will do a lot of work on that in the winter time."

"I wouldn't say so.... But maybe I don't make as many mistakes as I did when I just started. It looks as though in the races I'm a lot stronger than ever before."

"No, that wasn't really an issue. It was only really Malaysia that I'd never driven, but I learn circuits quite quickly, so that wasn't a problem."

"He's a very nice guy, and it's been very good to have him on the team, actually."

"I think the relationship is good, and it's a lot easier than if you have somebody who's always trouble or whatever."

"I must say Pedro is very quick in qualifying. In the races it looks like I'm a bit quicker than him. But I think that's a good combination. We keep pushing each other in qualifying, in the race, whatever. We're always together, and that's good for the team, because it brings us up."

"Tom is Tom. Sometimes difficult, sometimes very good. I think in this business, especially team owners, they're always difficult. They always want to pay less and we want them to pay more!"

"I think things are looking very good. I'm not worried at all."

"Changing is not good, for sure, that's why I think it's very important if you can stay with a team. They know the problems I've had this year, and if they can sort them out I think I can go quicker as well. You have to perform every weekend, and they promised me that they will build a car a little bit how I would like it, a little but more front grip, a little bit more pointy. If they can do it I think I can do a better job than this year."

"Mike Coughlan says it looks very good, because it's smaller, lighter and so on. If they can get it reliable, it will be much better. But the plan is that we do quite a lot of testing and see what happens. Tom is quite confident that it will be good."

"We went there basically to check out the electronics. That's what we did, and I think it was a very successful test."

"Yes, absolutely. Everything went very well. You here a lot of rumours about the engine, but for me it's very good."


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