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Brazil GP: Thursday Press Conference

NEWS STORY
30/10/2008

Nelson, what are your experiences of the Interlagos track? How much racing have you done here?
Nelson Piquet: To be honest not much. It is going to be like arriving at the track like I arrived in Australia or China. I did one race with my father back in 2005 if I remember. It was in an Aston Martin in a 12-hour race and that was it. When I started my F3 career here the first season we didn't have any races here and then I went straight to England, so I don't have much experience but I think motivation and the crowd will help me.

You have had some good races recently. What chances do you think you have of holding onto the seat next year?
NP: I think I have a good chance. The team is quite happy. I mean all the boys are on my side, so I don't see any reasons why I would be under threat. It has been a tough season obviously but I am learning a lot and improving a lot and discovering a lot of new things. It has been a tough year but I am sure we will be okay.

So you are quite hopeful or confident would you say?
NP: Confident.

David, what are your emotions coming into this race?
David Coulthard: I guess I should be emotional but I think it will be more on Sunday when I realise when I step out of the car, hopefully after the chequered flag, for the last time that this part of my life has come to an end. It is difficult for anyone sitting around this table, apart from Rubens who has been doing it for longer than me, to imagine what that might be like. But I am not stopping because I don't love driving grand prix cars or I don't love racing but I recognise that my journey has reached its natural conclusion, so when I walk out of the paddock on Sunday that will be it.

You have a special livery on the car. Tell us about that.
DC: Yeah, it is great that at the last grand prix we had permission from all the teams to run my car in an independent livery which I think is a first in this modern era of Formula One. I am sure it might have happened decades ago. The teams have agreed for me to run with the ‘Wings for Life' foundation colours which is a foundation that was started in 2004 to promote research into spinal cord injuries. I think in a lot of cases people imagine that it is extreme sports where most people are suffering from those sorts of injuries but the statistics show it is actually only about three per cent of the injuries that come from extreme sports. All of the other injuries, which is about 130,000 people a year find themselves confined to a wheelchair through household injuries, car crashes, everyday life. Currently there is very little government funding for this type of research and the pharmaceutical companies are not interested, of course, as you can't buy a pill to cure spinal cord injury. It was founded by Dietrich Mateschitz who obviously is the founder of Red Bull and Heinz Kinigadner whose son suffered a spinal cord injury in a motorbike accident. All of the money that is raised through public donations goes to fund various institutions throughout the world and works with other foundations, like the Christopher Reeve Foundation, to find a cure for spinal cord injuries.

David, you have seen many World Championships decided. What are your thoughts about this one?
DC: Well, I have been asked this a lot coming up to this race, so I will say in front of the two championship contenders what I have said to the media. With a seven point lead Lewis is the most likely to achieve the championship. I think that is quite clear. He has led the championship for the majority of the season and it should be a formality. For me Felipe is the most improved driver of the season. We have always known that he has speed, but some of his drivers this year and notably Budapest, which ultimately he wasn't able to win that race but his pass on Lewis clearly defined himself as one of the most attacking drivers. It was a world class pass and therefore not to sit on the fence but either of these guys for me are truly worthy of this world championship. But you have to say Lewis has the upperhand, so I guess a consolation might be if Felipe wins the grand prix, satisfies the Brazilian crowd, and Lewis comes in with a points' scoring position. But as we know, anything can happen, so I am as excited to know the outcome as everyone else.

Rubens, your thoughts about the World Championship?
Rubens Barrichello: I think it has been an exciting year. It had its ups and downs but they have been fighting for a long period in quite good battles and I think it is going to be a very good ending. It is just like DC said, Lewis has the upperhand. Sunday, as far as I can see, it can be a wet day, so I think it is going to be really nice for the Brazilians to see how things come out. Thankfully, Felipe, as I have said before, has great chances to win the race which the Brazilians are really hopeful for. It is the only thing he can aim for. He has to win the race and not worry too much about the rest and see what the rest is. As a Brazilian I am really proud that we have the decision once again here as I think Brazilians deserve that.

What about your own future? This is your 16th Brazilian Grand Prix.
RB: I am really proud to be here. It used to be a tough race for me at the beginning, when we lost Ayrton and so on. It was tough with lots of pressure and not a good car. But I have done really well to do just like soccer, when you play at home you play better. I have a wonderful time but the week goes past so quickly now and it is an enjoyment, lots of work but it is really nice to be here, especially for me as I was born just 100 metres away from the main door here and for me it is the best race of the whole year.

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