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French GP: Thursday Press Conference

NEWS STORY
28/06/2007

Giancarlo, do you feel encouraged after the test at Silverstone last week?
Giancarlo Fisichella: First of all, I wasn't there. But it was a good test for us. I think we made another step forward. We've got a new floor and new rear suspension. You know, it's a small step which is quite encouraging for this weekend.

You've only had two sixth places here which suggests it is not one of your favourite or best circuits.
GF: Yeah, unfortunately over the last couple of years I was a little bit unlucky, especially two years ago when I stalled the engine in the pit stop. There was a possibility to get on the podium there. But yes, in the past it hasn't been good for me, but usually in the qualifying session I was close to my team-mate or in the first few rows. It's going to be alright.

You're quite encouraged then; obviously with Renault in France it's quite important.
GF: Yes, it's very important for us. It's like our home Grand Prix and there are a lot of fans, a lot of people coming from the factory, so it's going to be a really important weekend.

Franck, you raced here last year of course: 20th on the grid, 16th at the end; just a one-off, I think.
Franck Montagny: It was good to race here in France, and Super Aguri gave me the opportunity to do it, so I was grateful and I had a good time with them. Now it's a different year and a different team.

Quite difficult for you this year, you did some Friday testing last year but that's disappeared and not a lot of other testing either.
FM: No, not a lot of testing. At the beginning of the year it was quite OK. I had a lot of work to do with the team and we developed the car quite well, but since the beginning of the year one of the two drivers is struggling a little bit with the car, so he's asking to do more testing. We only have one car, so all my days which were on the planning have been taken off (by him) unfortunately for me. That's the deal; when you sign the contract you know it can be like this. You hope it's not going to be, but there is the possibility.

And yet you had a busy week last week; tell us about it?
FM: Every time the car is on track, I am there because I want to be close to the team and I want to be involved one hundred per cent, so if I'm testing or not, I want to be there. So last week I spent all the week at Silverstone and afterwards I went to Goodwood, so I spent all week with the team.

Kimi, at the end of the Silverstone test the team was 0.4s quicker than anyone else. Were you encouraged by that?
Kimi Raikkonen: I think we had quite a good test. The car felt good straight away. The race is always different to testing, but I think we had a good test.

It's nearly half season now; is this where you would expect to be or are you a little bit disappointed, frustrated?
KR: For sure we don't expect to be in this position but that's racing and I think we just try to improve, try to get things how we like and try to start winning races and that's our main goal.

Does it make a difference now that we are away from Monaco, the two overseas races, back in Europe?
KR: I hope so, I hope it makes a difference to the results but as I said, testing is always one thing but the racing is completely different. We will see tomorrow how the car is to know whether we can. But hopefully we can challenge the McLarens.

Similar question to you, Fernando. What are your feelings after the Silverstone test? It was a very big one for McLaren, according to Martin Whitmarsh.
Fernando Alonso: Yeah, it was a good week for us also. I think as a team we improved our car and our performance. We had some new bits on the car improving the aerodynamics, the suspension as well, brakes, so many new things on the car. You choose the good ones for here, for racing and take the bad ones back to the factory and try to find the problem. We developed the car, we improved the car and it should again be competitive here in France.

How worried were you by those times from Ferrari?
FA: Oh nothing, nothing at all, nothing.

We're just coming up to the half season. I'm sure it hasn't quite worked out the way that you expected it to.
FA: Well, I think that in a way it has been a surprise, a good surprise how quick the car was. I moved teams, I left Renault last year and I was not so sure about what the McLarens would be like at the beginning of the season. I found a very good car straight away and I was able to win two races in the first seven races of the championship and I'm second in the Drivers' championship and leading the Constructors', so it has been a very very positive first half of the season but for sure, I would like to be first, leading both championships and for that, I need to be a little bit quicker than in the first seven races.

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