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San Marino GP: Friday press conference

NEWS STORY
22/04/2005

Q: Alex, first of all, following the problems getting you comfortable in the car, were you comfortable today?
Alexander Wurz: Yeah, I've been very comfortable after the test, coming here and now I'm a race driver, that makes me extra comfortable, so I'm pretty OK.

Q: So you're just not complaining, full stop!
AW: Full stop, no complaints. No really, I'm sitting alright, I can handle the test, I've done more than a hundred laps in testing every day so I'm very comfortable now.

Q: When you are third driver, what is the feeling? Is it frustration or just a matter of getting on and doing the job?
AW: Ooh. No, we have the opportunity this year to run a third car and to be honest it's actually quite a cool thing, because after driving for four years only on Spanish tracks it's a real relief going somewhere else to be honest.

Q: It was interesting to see Pedro de la Rosa's race in Bahrain. There seemed to be a certain freedom of spirit, almost as though there was nothing to lose. What is your feeling when you're going to be racing on Sunday?
AW: Well, I hope I can answer you that question here on Sunday, but at the end of the day I very much enjoyed Pedro's race. It had high entertainment factor on the TV and I've said it many times and so has he, but I think the test driver duo at McLaren is probably better than some of the race driver duos in Formula One. He and I are really pushing hard in every test, and now also every Friday, whoever has the opportunity. He showed his potential in Bahrain and I hope I have the opportunity to show mine over the next few days.

Q: Is it a case that there's no pressure, no team orders, that you have a freedom of spirit, you're not thinking of the championship?
AW: I'm here to drive as quick as I can and full stop, that's it. I'm enjoying it. Opportunities like this don't come up every day for a race driver to race for West McLaren Mercedes which is one of the most successful teams in Formula One, and after many many years of dreaming I've got this opportunity so it's here. It would be wrong not to enjoy it but on the other hand it's… I wouldn't say pressure, but it's something special which you realise when you sit in the car and you're out there.

  • Q: Jenson, your impressions of the first three races?

  • Jenson Button: I think I've made myself heard in the past. It's been a very tough start of the season for everyone involved in the team. Our issues have mostly been down to failures at the start of the season. Our pace has been relatively good but you just haven't been able to see it. We've had two very good tests, one in Barcelona, one in Paul Ricard since Bahrain and for me, we've made a good step forward in reliability, the reliability is much better now, and aerodynamically with the car so for me we've made a big step forward and everyone is very positive for the rest of the season.

    Q: Is that what you were looking for from those first three races?
    JB: Of course, those were the two areas we needed to work in and those are the areas in which I think we've done a very good job since Bahrain.

    Q: Obviously the performance today bears that out…
    JB: It does. It's only Friday, you can't say too much. We did all our test items and everything went very smoothly for us. The car for me is a much better car to drive, it reacts better to changes and it's more predictable which is a big thing now in Formula One for consistency.

    Q: Gil, welcome to Formula One. How did it all come about?
    Gil de Ferran: I think this is one of those situations where opportunity meets desire. Certainly when I stopped driving at the end of '03, I didn't want to get out of the sport completely and this type of role was something that I wanted to do. I met Nick years and years ago through Sir Jackie Stewart when he was working at Ford and eventually for Aston Martin and basically we got in touch in December and we've been talking since December. I guess that period gave him an opportunity to get to know me better and I was delighted because certainly this was the best opportunity I could hope for and in a way it feels like a natural progression of my driving career.

    Q: So how was the first day on the pit wall?
    GdeF: My first day on the pit wall was wonderful thanks to that man behind me (Jenson). It was great and I guess my task right now is basically to listen and to observe. I've been going to all the meetings - engineering meetings, planning meetings, so and so forth - really to try to understand how the team functions and who does what and understand the personalities involved, and today it was great to be there in the heat of battle with my finger on the pulse.

    Q: How steep a learning curve is it?
    GdeF: Very steep. Actually I started two weeks ago and let me just say that sleep has not been a luxury that I have afforded very much.

    Q: And presumably you're back in Britain again?
    GdeF: I am back in Britain again, yes, after a ten year stint in the US, I am back to live in the UK. My wife has been looking for schools and a house for our family.

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