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Brazil GP: Thursday Press Conference

NEWS STORY
19/10/2006

Tiago, being in a Portuguese-speaking country, is this a bit like a home race for you?
Tiago Monteiro: It's obviously very important, especially as my mum is Brazilian, so I have a little Brazilian blood as well. We've got family here, we've got lots of friends and fans and the same language, so it's very very important. And as well, I've got some sponsors, I have big interests in Brazil, so it's almost like a home race, yeah.

Now recently there have been some changes within the team, obviously a change of ownership; has that impacted on the spirit within the team?
TM: Apart from the fact that you don't know which shirt to use any more, the changing of the shirts, no. But there is a big impact in the fact that everybody feels the motivation of the new owners so much that it's almost like a new season has started already for us and you can feel within the mechanics and engineers that everyone is so much more motivated now and feeling more confident, especially with all the new things that are coming for next year as well. I think it was very good and definitely a mental boost for the whole team. I hope we will see this on the track soon.

And the big question is will you be with the team next year?
TM: It's looking very good, yes. It's not signed so we cannot say anything yet, but it's a matter of details now.

So when will we know?
TM: Soon. Very soon.

Rubens, a year ago you were a Ferrari driver, this year a Honda driver. What difference has that made, how has life changed for you over the last year?
Rubens Barrichello: I think not much in the way that for the Brazilian Grand Prix I behave just the same. We've had so many commitments to do and it was just the same. Obviously I don't come here having a car that I know I can win with, so that means a little bit less pressure, but that's less happy. I would like to have that pressure back and have the car to win. I think that the car that I've got now is definitely better than in previous years to Ferrari, so it's not that it cannot happen but it's obviously a slim chance.

Two poles, a third and a fourth; those are your best results, it's a little bit slim to better that, is it?
RB: I think everything is really possible, and because we have that situation saying that, it's a smaller chance. It's slim, but it means less pressure, so you just get on with it and do it, so I'm not under pressure, just relaxed. I will just go and drive my best. I don't know what the weather is going to do. It's going to be very difficult to choose a tyre here because we really don't know. I spoke to the team last week and they said ‘how is the weather there?' and I said I have no idea, because one day it can be thirty degrees and the next day it can be fifteen, so the tyre choice is going to be really the main factor this weekend.

Obviously you have been team-mates with Michael for many years, what are your thoughts looking at the championship battles?
RB: Yeah, I thought that when the championship started it looked like Renault would win very easily and the way things were going, they were doing very well. There were some occasions when Ferrari went up and down but they were there and scoring points and so on, but for me there was no way they could get up to Fernando. But all of a sudden they did, they scored higher points and Michael was winning races and in Japan, you would have said there was no way to hold him back and he's going to go to Sao Paulo with the best chance and look what happened there. Now I don't know. If it really happens that (they score) ten points for Michael and zero for Alonso, I think this is something that never happened in Formula One, so I think it's quite impossible, maybe one percent away from impossible.

Felipe, same question for you. How has life changed over the last year now that you're a Ferrari driver?
Felipe Massa: It definitely changed a lot. When you become a Ferrari driver, you are really much more in the media, under pressure, so I think that's normal. All of the drivers who became Ferrari drivers made a big change in terms of visibility, but I think that's nice, it means you're doing a good job and I'm quite happy with my championship anyway, and quite happy to be part of the Ferrari family.

More pressure for you this weekend?
FM: No, no. The pressure is on this guy on my left (Alonso), so no problem. And on Michael as well.

How do you see your role this weekend?
FM: Well, I will try to do the best I can during the race. It's definitely a dream for me to be here and having a competitive car, so I'm going to do my best to do a good qualifying and try to do the best I can during the race and help the team, even if it has become a little bit more difficult, it's still possible to win the championship and we are going to do the best we can to help the team as well.

What's the atmosphere like within the team?
FM: The atmosphere is fine, so for sure after the last race, which was a little bit disappointing for us - the result - but in the same direction, this is motor racing. It can happen and we just need to be focused on this race and try to do the best we can. We did our best in the last race as well, but unfortunately we were not very lucky, especially Michael, but that's motor racing.

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