Questions from the floor

Q: (Juha P??talo - Financial Times Germany)
What are your thoughts about McLaren clarifying your contract for next year?

Heikki Kovalainen:
I think as far as I am concerned I have never been worried about my contractual situation. Since the beginning of my McLaren career it has been the target to extend this relationship for many, many years. I think it is just to clarify the situation for everybody of where we are at the moment. First of all I can say I am very, very happy with this team. I have had no second thoughts since I joined this team. I think there is a great potential in this team and I want to be part of it. I want to become a successful driver in this team and hopefully we can announce at some point in the future that I can stay here for many, many years. I would be happy to finish my career at this team to be honest.

Q: (Dan Knutson - National Speed Sport News)
To all the guys, you have tested with slicks and you have tested with 2009 aerodynamics. What can we expect the cars to be like next year?

HK:
First of all I can say I haven't tested slicks. I haven't tested the package. Pedro has done, so I have no feelings myself.

Fernando Alonso:
I tested only once with slicks in Barcelona but it was with 2008 downforce, so I don't know. In Jerez I think they were testing and the timed laps are quicker with 2009 configuration compared to 2008.

Timo Glock:
For me, I didn't test the slick tyres in Jerez. I think Jarno (Trulli) did the whole programme. I just tested it for one time in Barcelona and we have to wait and see. It was a different tyre figuration and it is difficult to say but at the end it will be interesting and I am happy that we go back to slick tyres.

Q: (Michael Trawniczek - Rally & More)
Fernando, you were fighting for the top places in past years and with this car it is not possible. Now you are looking a little sad. Can you describe the feeling for a pilot who has to go through this phase of a career? Is this the hardest phase of your career?

FA:
No, the feeling is, as I said, sometimes a little bit of frustration when you see you do a perfect race and you finish sixth or seventh and there is nothing more than you can do. You do a perfect lap in qualifying, maybe you are fifth. This is not what I have been used to the last few three or four years when I have been on pole positions and on the podium. But it is part of the job and the sport is like that. You go up and down. It is not that the same guy is winning the Tour de France or the World Cup or whatever. Every year it's a new challenge and some new difficulties. Now we are in a moment that is difficult. We need to recover a little bit of confidence and build a winning team again. We are in that phase but I am not worried. Obviously I am just 27 years old and still have many years to come. Even Michael Schumacher, the guy with more titles, spent four years at Ferrari not winning, so I need to be patient and I need to work harder than ever now to win again as soon as possible.

Q: (Ian Parkes - The Press Association)
Fernando, this race last year was a difficult one for you personally. How much happier do you feel personally even though you are not in a championship winning car?

FA:
Much happier this year for sure. Last year again it is true that I had a possibility to fight for the championship and it was okay. I knew that this year it was not possible any more. But if I was racing for McLaren now at this moment maybe I would be in the same position as I am now without the possibility to win. So at least I am happy to be with Renault with the full support of the team and knowing that everybody is working night and day to give me the best car possible. One day we will be seventh, one day we will be fifth and hopefully one day we will be on the podium and everybody on the podium will be there with some excitement.

Q: (Peter Farkas - Auto Motor)
Fernando, you and Flavio have both commented that Renault might have been hurt by keeping to the engine freeze much more than the others. Can you explain what you mean by that?

FA:
When the engine was frozen two or three years ago I think Renault more or less stopped developing and carried on with the new regulations. At the Viry factory in Paris there are less people working and just the maintenance of the engine. Build the engine and nothing more than that, no research and no developing. I was in another team last year and I know how much they improved the engine during the season and how many steps we introduced and it is the same for all the teams. Every three or four races there is a little step in the engine which gives you some horsepower. For Renault, it has not been like that for the last two years. There has been a lack of power probably in the last three years.

Q: (Heikki Kulta - Turun Sanomat)
After your intensive working in Jerez last week, how much closer do you think you are to Lewis's race pace?

HK:
I am confident that we made steps forward and I think it is fair to say that Lewis hit the sweet-spot in the last couple of races pretty well. It was always going to be difficult to match him. We will find out this weekend how things have improved. I think had the Silverstone race been dry, it could have been a different story. I felt my car was very strong there and the whole package was very much together and at Hockenheim I was never able to get the same feeling. I think we have got on top of things pretty well. Certainly the feeling at Woking and the last day I spent testing in Jerez confirmed that we are heading in the right direction but the only way to improve the things is to keep working, keep moving forward and eventually we will arrive there. I have no doubt about that.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi - La Gazzetta dello Sport)
Fernando, could you clarify why you went to Lugano. Is it true that you are trying to transfer your home there? And for all of you: where are you going to go in the holiday break and are you going to go to Beijing to see the Olympic Games, and which is the sport that you will principally follow in the Olympics?

FA:
I was in Lugano just for a little holiday. I was there for three days, because I know Jarno is living close to Lugano and he was always telling me it was a nice place with nice weather and I was there for two days. It's true that I was finding some accommodation but it was a hotel, not a house, and it was only to stay for one night. I have no plans to move there.

I won't be going to Lugano any more in the break, of course, not to Italy. We will see. I have nothing planned. At the moment I will go to Switzerland for a few days - I have no idea. But I think my wife will decide... unfortunately!

I will be following all the sports where we have some good Spanish contenders. I think in tennis we have Nadal, in cycling we have some strong guys there as well. No athletics because we are not very strong there.

TG:
In the break I will go to Los Angeles, to Monterrey, where there is a big old-timer event where I will drive a Toyota sports car in a show event and maybe spend four or five days in Los Angeles and have a little break there. I don't know at the moment. I will definitely watch the Olympics but I don't have any special interests where I'm a fan or whatever but cycling is definitely one thing which I will follow.

HK:
I think I will go - and this is probably the only time apart from Christmas - I will go to north Finland to see my parents, in the area where I am born, and do a little bit of fishing and just walking in the forest and enjoying not seeing anyone else but myself. I will see some animals: reindeer, maybe bears, things like that. In my family I make decisions where I go, I don't know what my girlfriend will do, but this is my holiday.

FA:
You will see... wait two years!

HK:
This is a team order in my team and I'm in the strong position this time. As for the Olympic Games, I'm definitely going to be watching a lot of it and I think that, as a Finn, the most interesting part will be the javelin competition. We have a guy who was world champion last year, Tero Pitk?m?ki, and I'm going to try to support him especially, to take the gold medal. He has a great opportunity. We have a few other guys, other athletes who have a good opportunity to be successful but I'm very interested in athletics, and I watch all these grands prix meetings on television mostly. I will spend a lot of my time, and again, I might need to put team orders in place because my girlfriend might be watching something else.

Q: (Fr?deric Ferret - l'Equipe)
Question to all drivers about the sharkfin engine cover. How important is it for your driving style and for the performance of the car?

TG:
I haven't tested it. Kamui [Kobayashi], our test driver, tested it on the last day [at Jerez], so I may have it on maybe tomorrow, so we will have to wait and see but hopefully it will give us more performance and maybe a bit more stability.

FA:
I tested it and I found no difference when I tested it. We keep it on the car because according to the wind tunnel it's a little bit better - the numbers - but no big change in terms of driver feeling.

HK:
I haven't tested it but we tried it in Hockenheim, I think Lewis tried it, and again, I feel we didn't really feel a difference, so that's why we haven't run it since then. I think we need to maybe work on it a little bit more and to understand where the benefits are and where there are no benefits. I think that we're not running it at the moment.

Q: (Jon McEvoy - The Daily Mail)
Fernando, I'm just wondering, a year on from the major row you had here with Lewis, have you and Lewis made up now?

FA:
After last year here, in my opinion there was nothing to discuss or to say. It was planned, before qualifying, to have - last year we had fuel-burning laps - it was my turn to do the extra lap here, so you gain nearly a tenth when you do your quick lap on the last [set of] new tyre[s]. That was not the case and at the end we nearly didn't cross the line on time. I crossed the line seventh-tenths of a second before qualifying finished, I think, and Lewis didn't. I got penalised and all the mess started. There was nothing to discuss. It was more a team decision and a team philosophy that it was not a problem at all with anything between Lewis and me. We do what the team tells us and nothing more. If we don't do that, the team is not normally very happy with us but that time they seemed quite happy.

Q: (Jon McEvoy - The Daily Mail)
As a follow-up, if I may, it seems therefore that you're blaming Ron Dennis. Maybe I could ask the same about him? Have you made up with Ron Dennis?

FA:
Nothing. Again, I think everyone makes his choices and he was very clear on his philosophy and his way to run (the team) and to compete like that. As a professional I'm not like that and we chose different ways. It's all okay with everybody. You just need to make choices. He made that choice, and I made that choice.

Q: (Michael Trawniczek - Rally & More)
My question is for all of you: I was at the Ennstal Classic last weekend, an old-timer rally, and there was a meeting of the former Formula One drivers' club. There were names like Hans Herrmann and Sir Stirling Moss. Jochen Mass was voted as new president and he said that he wanted to make the club younger, to open it up for younger drivers. Do you recognise this club, can you imagine meeting your fellow drivers when you are 45 to go fishing or to watch the Monaco Grand Prix or something like that?

FA:
I will do whatever my wife wants. If it's time to join the club, I will join, if she says no, then I won't join.

HK:
For me it's the opposite; if they ask me to join the club, I make my decision whether my girlfriend is happy or not. I try to keep it that way, I think it's better.

TG:
For me, I'm not sure at the moment. The schedule is quite tight, so I think at the moment there's no time for fishing. Maybe in a couple of years. We will see.

Q: (Peter Farkas - Auto Motor)
Timo, David Coulthard said that the FIA should start an investigation into the structural integration of the Toyota car, if it is safe enough or not. Are you confident it is as safe as it can be?

TG:
Yeah, definitely. As I said, I did the test in Jerez and at the end we did all the investigations and found out... because at Silverstone we had quite a lot of trouble in the race. I went through the gravel a couple of times and stuff like this which, in the end, I think was the main reason why we had the problem at Hockenheim. For me there is no doubt that our car is safe enough to drive in the race and to compete this season. When you operate on the limit, things happen like this and we analysed it and we know why and there is no reason to have any doubts.

Q: (Gaetan Vigneron - RTBF TV)
Question for Timo: I was a little bit surprised by the time it took for the medical car to get the signal to go to you, to the crash site, and you got out of the car on your own. It was a little bit surprising because normally there is another procedure. What's your opinion about that?

TG:
For me, the reason why I stayed in the car, was... First of all, after the first impact I couldn't really breathe. I think before I hit the wall I breathed at the wrong moment and I didn't expect an impact like this but in the end I just took my time to get out of the car and before that I was OK and I had no pain, and I don't know how long it took before the medical car was at my car but in the end, I don't think the lights were on but the crash was heavy enough to take me out of the car like they normally do. For me, everything was okay. My feeling was that I was okay and had no problems to get out of the car.

MC:
We've been joined by Kimi. I guess it's been a bit of a race to get here?

Kimi Raikkonen:
Yeah, I got stuck at the airport in Switzerland for a couple of hours.

Q:
In testing, do you think you've found the reasons for your lack of performance in the last couple of races?

KR:
It's difficult to say, really. In Germany we definitely didn't have the speed that we were hoping for but then there were many other people who didn't either. We will see this weekend. You can always think that from the testing that we found something... or at least we should understand better what our position is but racing is a different place and hopefully we will do better here.

Q:
What about your own motivation? Does that remain the same?

KR:
Yeah, it hasn't disappeared anywhere but of course it's not nice when it's not going so well but it's not the first time. We just keep pushing and at some point it starts going better again.

Q:
People are talking about you retiring, not necessarily at the end of this year but at the end of next year. Are there any thoughts on that?

KR:
I never said anything like that. I only said that I have a contract until the end of next year and then somebody made up that I will stop at the end of this year or the end of next year, but I never said that.

Q:
Are you still enjoying Formula One?

KR:
Yeah, but like I said, there are a lot of other things in life but I'm enjoying this. I have a great time, I have a great time with them. Of course it would be better if we could do a little bit better right now but that's racing and for sure we will get where we want.

Q: (Fr?deric Ferret - l'Equipe)
Have you tested the sharkfin engine cover? And how is it with your driving style and the performance of the car?

KR:
I didn't test it. I think we will probably run it tomorrow and see how it is but I think Felipe tried it on the last day of the test. We will see how it works tomorrow.

Q: (Juha P??talo - Financial Times Deutschland)
Kimi, can you describe how much of the time at Jerez you could use for finding the reasons for the lack of performance in the last races?

KR:
The whole test, that's why we went there. We tried to more or less understand if we have done something wrong, taken a wrong direction. We tried many, many things and we at least know where we had a problem, or if we had a problem or not. I think we have a clearer picture than before.

Q: (Dan Knutson - National Speed Sport News)
Kimi, when you set up a car for a race, how much do you look at Felipe Massa's settings or do you pretty much go 100 per cent your own way?

KR:
Of course you always look at your team-mate, and then in the end you need to do what you think is the best way and what is best for you. Sometimes they can be very close, sometimes they are more far away from each other and I would say that this year they would probably be closer than they were last year but it really depends from race to race and it keeps changing.

Q: (Peter Farkas - Auto Motor)
Kimi, it wasn't really hot in Hockenheim but it's quite hot here. Do you think it will help Ferrari to use its tyres more efficiently?

KR:
Usually when it's been hot it's been good for us but the last few races have been quite up and down for us. Hopefully it helps us but then I might be wrong. We need to wait until tomorrow.

Q: (Bryron Young - The Daily Mirror)
Kimi, do the last two results make Lewis the championship favourite now?

KR:
For sure, they've been very fast in the last races and we haven't really been exactly doing so well. There are many races to go, but he has a little gap over us, so it's not easy to catch up, especially if we don't start winning, it will be pretty difficult. Hopefully we can catch up.

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