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Bahrain: Thursday Press Conference

NEWS STORY
09/03/2006

Nico, you ended your GP2 winning series here with two dominant victories; what’s it like to be starting your Grand Prix racing career here?
Nico Rosberg: Well, this is a perfect place to start for me. I have had some great success here on this track in the past and I really enjoy the track and the place so it couldn’t be a better first race for me, definitely.

How do you see this first season, what are your targets?
NR: I don’t know. It’s really difficult to say because even through the winter testing you don’t really know where you are with the car so it’s difficult really to set a target. I just hope I do a good job and I improve all the time and that I’ve done a good job at the end of the year.

This time last year you were about to start your GP2 career; are you more relaxed starting Grand Prix racing?
NR: Well, it’s similar. It’s always a step up and it gets more difficult so you are always similarly nervous because you want to go out and do a good job, and it’s always important to do a good job at the time, so it’s probably similar.

What about you, Scott? How do you start this season?
Scott Speed: Certainly there’s a lot of nerves when you’re starting your first Grand Prix but I think that having done the Friday testing in North America certainly helped me to get used to the media aspect and the biggest changes in Formula One so certainly there’s a bit of nerves but I think nothing abnormal.

What are the most difficult things? Is it the Media?
SS: Yeah, certainly the media is one thing but also the amount of people that work together within a team and to try to get everyone to work together, is definitely the biggest difference in Formula One.

So is it with excitement that you start the new season?
SS: Yeah, definitely, excited. I’ve been dreaming about it since I was 11 years old and I drove my first go-kart. So I get a sense of completion that I’ve kind of completed a big part of my goal in life.

And your hopes here?
SS: Yeah, like Nico said, it’s very difficult to tell with the pieces in testing but I think we are generally aiming to gain as many points as possible.

Kimi, what about your feelings for this year?
Kimi Raikkonen: I don’t think we are exactly where we want to be but we are in a much better position than we were one month ago. I think we have been quite quick sometimes, but Renault and Honda might be quicker than us. It really depends if we get everything sorted out, in which case we might be able to fight for wins. But we will just do the best that we can and see where we end up.

Do you look back, do you look forward at the start of the year? How do you feel about what happened last year, for example and what could be happening next year?
KR: We just try to do our best that we can this year. Last year is passed and next year, I don’t know what will happen. It will be an interesting year for sure and with all the changes to the rules, the first few races are always more difficult than after that. But let’s just wait and see.

What are the worrying aspects, what is worrying you in particular as you come into the start of the season? You say it’s better than it was a month ago…
KR: I don’t really worry about anything, but of course if we had more time it would maybe be better for us, but we are starting to race and that’s a nice thing. We had some problems with the engine, but like I said, we’ve improved the situation a lot and we seem to have got rid of all the problems but you never know in the races what will happen. But I think we should be okay but who knows?

Michael, what about your feelings coming into this season? You look as though you’re up for it, ready for it.
Michael Schumacher: Yep.

How much of an advantage do you think it has been testing here?
MS: It’s difficult to quantify, but it’s certainly no disadvantage being here. We have V8 engines, new aerodynamics, different new tyres so to chose your compounds and the tyre you want, probably you are a little bit advanced in this direction, but then on the other hand the other guys who have not been here in general have enough experience not to take too long to get on top of that, I guess.

Whatever advantage you may have here is only an advantage for here or particularly for next weekend as well?
MS: As it wasn’t as hot as maybe we would have liked it, it’s probably not a great advantage compared to Malaysia but the chance to test here freely was quite important in a way for us, because if you go to some of the big tests in Europe, especially in the beginning, when cars are not yet very reliable, you get a lot of red flag situations and so on, so you cannot really do your programme as efficiently as we could be.

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