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Australia GP: Thursday Press Conference

NEWS STORY
30/03/2006

Rubens, you were so quick in testing pre-season yet it hasn't really been reflected by the races so far, how have you felt about the start of the season?
Rubens Barrichello: It was disappointing in the way that I really felt on top of my problems. We tested a lot at every circuit, and every time I got onto a circuit, I spent the first day getting used to everything. I say that because even though the seat fitting is good, the way I am driving the car is not the way I've driven in my whole life. I have to be a little bit different. So every time I get to a new circuit, the Friday seems to be a small struggle before I actually get on top of it. In Bahrain, I had a problem with the right rear brake which was running hot and we only got on top of the problem right at the end of the weekend. We had a problem with the sensor so we couldn't really read that there was a problem. And in Malaysia I struggled, big time. Right from the first moment I went out I never got a balance. I was having some problems with the brakes, so it was a struggle. I think you learn from these difficulties. I went back to Vallelunga, did some testing there, effectively I think it was a little bit better. So I come to a place that I enjoy very much, so it should be less of a struggle.

You've had a pole position here and second last year from eleventh place, so this is one of your favourites, is it?
RB: This is one of my favourite tracks, the people and everything. I love the place … Melbourne is the third race this year but for me, it's just like the last couple of years when it was the first race, because I haven't scored at the other ones.

You are in a different team this year – Honda - is it very different to Ferrari?
RB: In so many ways they are very much the same but the way that they operate and the way they work is a bit different. It's good, I like it. It's something that I look forward to getting my problems solved, in a way. They are doing things for me, they are on top of everything and it should be OK. But it is different, not because… in Ferrari, we talk in English, it wasn't such a problem on that side. Now it's an English team with the Japanese, but there's no problem with communication or anything. It's just the learning method, what I bring from other teams that I think is good and the way that they should put it in as a working manner, and some methods from them that I quite like, and it's a combination of things.

So change of team has been a breath of fresh air for you?
RB: Absolutely, yes.

Giancarlo, winner of this race last year, winner of the previous race – you must come here with much confidence?
Giancarlo Fisichella: Yes, of course. There's a fantastic atmosphere here for me. As Rubens says, there is a great atmosphere in Australia, the people are really friendly and it's a nice place. The circuit is not the best circuit for me, but it's good. I've got a good feeling and I won last year so I have a good memory (of this circuit). Coming here and being the winner of the last race is fantastic for me so I am really looking forward to it and I am really optimistic for Sunday, again.

Actually, until last year I don't suppose it was your favourite circuit because you hadn't really done very well here up until then…
GF: Well, in the past I never really drove a competitive car in comparison to last year and this year, and even then, I've had a little bit of bad luck. Last year, we had a good package, I did my best and I won the race.

Looking back at a year ago, the first two races were very important to get a good start in the championship and once again, the team has done the same thing. Can you see a parallel to last year?
GF: Looks like it, looks like it's on target for Renault to be competitive straight away, but the most important thing is to have a reliable car. Apart from the problem with the (throttle) butterfly I had in Bahrain, which was very unusual, we have been able to do a lot of mileage during testing and in the last race, as you saw, we finished with both cars at the front of the race.

Michael Schumacher said that the key to winning the championship this year is going to be development of the car throughout the season; would you agree with that?
GF: Yeah, this is the secret of Formula One. It has been like that even in the past, so you need to carry on, you always need to develop the car, the package, and never stop.

And you're confident with Renault?
GF: I'm really confident, yes.

Juan Pablo, can you compare the start of this season with the start of last, from your point of view, the first two races?
Juan Pablo Montoya: I think last year we had a really quick car and I think I struggled driving it, probably a bit like Rubens at the moment with the BAR (Honda), and it was hard, even though I scored good points. This year, in the last race we struggled a lot with cooling and the performance of the car wasn't there. Kimi came in a lap earlier than me in the race and everything so I think the pace of the car was down from the start. We had to open up the car for cooling and we lost a lot of performance but I think we are going to be really quick here. I think the car has great potential and I'm a lot more comfortable than I was last year, and as long as we keep scoring good points, we'll be there at the end of the year.

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