Questions from the floor

Q: (Julien Febreau, l'?quipe)
Question for Michael, Jenson and Jarno. What memory do you have from your first victory here and how exciting was it. The second part of my question is: has it changed something for you?

Michael Schumacher:
It was 1994 and that was after the tragedy that we had in Imola. It was still with us in these moments so naturally emotions were a bit low. Nevertheless as I said at the beginning it is the most prestigious race you can win. As Jenson mentioned before, me too, in qualifying I just had a fantastic lap. It was spot on and that is a big thrill and if you can repeat this in the race, although we had a certain margin I think and I was relatively easy up front, so then you don't have to but it is the ultimate accomplishment you can have from a race over here, no doubt. Has it changed something to me? I put myself into the record of being in a winner in Monaco and then it is all focussed for the championship and it is just a single event.

Jenson Button:
Obviously, for a racing driver they want to win World Championships in Formula One and that has to be your main aim. But after that, if you are looking at race victories, you would say the Monaco Grand Prix along with your home grand prix, they are both very special to you. The lasting memory for me was obviously parking in the wrong place and running to the finish line. I wouldn't change that for the world. It might have been embarrassing at the time but I have got very good memories of arriving late and saying to Prince Albert, as I ran up onto the stage, sorry. So yeah it is a very special race and for the person who wins this year they are going to feel very special emotions. You celebrate the victory with not just your team, but with everyone here in Monaco. It is a big celebration and I think that also means something. All these people have come to watch the grand prix. The people on the boats, the people in the grandstands, the marshals, everyone is involved in the celebrations here and that is nice.

Jarno Trulli:
Well it is always nice when you get a victory and winning in Monaco is special as it is the most prestigious race that you want to win. Even though it doesn't make any difference to me, it was nice. I remember a few moments when I crossed the line was my first ever win in Formula One. It was a perfect weekend as I did pole positions then I dominated the whole race and when I crossed the line and had won all my career in a few seconds went through my mind. I was so satisfied. It didn't change me much apart from that some people didn't like the fact that I had won Monaco, especially inside the team so it was wrong timing probably. But apart from that it didn't really change much for myself.

Q: (Heikki Kulta - Turun Sanomat)
Nico, both father and son have never won the Monaco Grand Prix. If you do it, would that give something extra to you to celebrate that with Keke?

Nico Rosberg:
No, not at all. It would just be special in its own way. Not comparing to my father in any way. It would be nice if we both won here, that would be great.

Q: (Marc Surer - Sky TV)
Michael, you again had a fantastic start in Spain, coming from the right side. So did Alonso, from the same side. Is it possible that the disadvantage is less on Pirelli tyres, starting on the right-hand side?

Michael Schumacher:
There are very clearly some tracks where the difference is less than others, and I think in Turkey it was a clear disadvantage to be on the wrong side, on the left side in that case. In Barcelona, it's a slight disadvantage to be on the right side, not a big one though. But normally it's always a disadvantage to be off the line, by bigger or smaller amounts.

Q: (Frederic Ferret - l'Equipe)
To all of you, Monaco is also special because you don't drive on Friday. Do you like that and do you have a routine for what you do on Friday?

Jenson Button:
For me, I'd rather we practised on Friday and went straight into qualifying on Saturday, because it's just an extra day of work.

Michael Schumacher:
Be good if we could have Thursday and Friday to run around and have some more fun. Well, usually we have events. On my side, I have a couple of events that I have to look out for, and probably a bit of time with the team to prepare for the day after and then the rest is just relaxing.

Jenson Button:
Yeah, spend time with the engineers and sponsor events most of the day.

Rubens Barrichello:
I would prefer to drive on Friday and have Thursday off. It's kind of a boring Friday, really, because you cannot sleep because it's more noisy because other people are driving on the track, so I would rather have the weekend as a normal one and have Friday and keep on going.

Nick Heidfeld:
Pretty much the same; I would prefer to drive on Friday. As it is now, you have some meetings with the engineers, some PR stuff to do, but basically in your mind, you're just looking forward to the next day, you want to get into the car and get on with it.

Nico Rosberg:
For me it's fine (as it is); a quick engineer meeting but then straight to the pool with friends and have a good time and relax. It's nice like that too.

Jarno Trulli:
It's the longest weekend of the season and I don't think any one of us enjoys it because, logistically, Monaco is difficult, we all know that. So we spend one more day in such a chaotic situation, a day that most of the time is spent doing PR or media or anything like that. Obviously on Friday, what will I do? We still have to decide, with Tom (Webb, Lotus press officer) and hope I can get a ride on my bike and then lay down by the pool but I'm sure I will have to come here and do some work.

Q: (Marco degli Innocenti - La Gazzetta dello Sport)
For you all, qualifying seems to be most exciting but not so important. Would you suggest changing the system again and maybe to come back to the system of some years ago with only one lap, to make it more exciting?

Michael Schumacher:
I think it's good and quite honestly it is only one lap because the tyres only last one lap, or are at their quickest so I don't think there's a big difference.

Jenson Button:
Yeah, people are saving their tyres so much these days that you are running once in every session and that's it, you're not really chucking tyres at the car. Last race we did three runs, and in Q2 and Q3 it was just one lap in each session, so it's pretty limited running now and I think it's a good system.

Rubens Barrichello:
I think the changes are quite big because no one was prepared to see what the tyres (were like). The tyres are so different to last year so it's worth having a look, although I think qualifying is very good. For example, if you go out here in Monaco, you have just one run in Q1 and if you have traffic, you could have a problem as well, so it's worth having a look. I think qualifying has been quite good for the past so many years but we only have one run right now so it's worth having a look to see if there's anything different for next year.

Nick Heidfeld:
Well, the reason why qualifying might not be as important as in the past any longer is nothing to do with the way qualifying is now, in three sessions. It's down to the tyres, why some teams over the last few races chose to save some tyres. I think the way qualifying is now with the three sessions, down to ten cars at the end is good, but we have to see if we want to have it the way it is now, that people chose not to go onto the quicker tyres.

Nico Rosberg:
Same as Nick.

Jarno Trulli:
I'm of the same opinion. The tyre usage nowadays is so important and the way they handle them, so you need to try to use them the minimum possible, save them for the race so at the end of the day, you're very limited with the running, with the way you want to run. So we have seen races that, even if people are sat on the back of the grid because of a problem, they all have new tyres available and they can still make up places to get easily into the points and also a podium finish, so at the moment qualifying is not important any more.

Q: (Livio Oricchio - O Estado do Sao Paulo)
To all drivers: with the supersoft and soft tyres, what do you expect from the race? Very short stints as in the last races, or do believe there will be more time on the track?

Jenson Button:
I really haven't got a clue yet. I think we haven't run the supersoft tyre for a long time. We haven't run it on our existing car. I'm sure there's going to be quite a bit of degradation on the supersoft. The soft is going to last longer, probably, than on other circuits, because you don't have high speed here, so there's a lot less degradation on the high speed corners, but strategy-wise, it's very, very difficult to know what to do. It's been very difficult every race this season, to really pick the right strategy. I think when you get into a race situation, there's more degradation than you expect, for most people, and I think here it's going to be a little bit up in the air. I think you're really going to have to think on your feet during the race, because we don't know where there's going to be a lot of degradation or not. It might be two stops, there might be five. You never know.

Rubens Barrichello:
I don't think it's any different. We really have to wait and see, because the supersoft was obviously not at the right track [during testing] and whenever we tested in Valencia, Jerez and Barcelona, it was lasting one lap, but you have a lot more grip there so you use the tyre a lot harder and then the tyre has a tougher time, so as Jenson said, we've got to wait and see. Obviously we might have some readings on Thursday but by Saturday it's going to be a different reading because there's more rubber on the track. I still think the answer is really going to come on Sunday.

Q: (Ian Parks - Press Agency)
I don't know if you are aware but there was a huge lorry fire down at turn one last night and they've had to replace a very large section of tarmac there, going into the apex and it's in the braking zone as well. I just wondered if any of you have been down there and viewed it at all, and if you haven't, your thoughts on it, how dangerous it might be?

Nick Heidfeld:
Well, I don't know if it's true, but from what I heard, it was dangerous of the guy to smoke and fuel the car at the same time. I don't know if there really is a reason but that's the one I was given! I walked the circuit before and it looked OK, it didn't look... it looked like they did a good job.

Jenson Button:
I've heard about it, but no, I haven't checked the circuit yet but they're the professionals, they know how to lay tarmac. Hopefully it will be fine tomorrow.

Nico Rosberg:
It might just make the tarmac more oily or something because it's so fresh, than the other tarmac around and that could be a bit of an issue.

Rubens Barrichello:
If it is oily, we have to see if it rains, but I don't think there's any prediction for that, but there might be a problem.

Q: (Silvia Rene Arias - Parabrisas Magazine, Argentina)
We know now that overtaking is possible; I want to know what you think about overtaking here on such a narrow track, Monaco? What's going to happen?

Rubens Barrichello:
I think that Monaco is a non-overtaking territory in a way. I think it was very wise of the FIA to actually introduce some of the DRS but not in the tunnel. We've got to try to overtake, for sure. There are differences in speed that might make it possible. It's very, very narrow. We've seen in the past people trying to overtake and just crash into each other. I think we need to learn. I'm very happy with the decision that we're not going to be using (DRS) in the tunnel. The rest is fine; we should try and then see what it brings to the event. If we can make overtaking possible here, it means that we overtake anywhere on Earth, so it remains to be seen.

Nick Heidfeld:
I think we've seen a lot more overtaking everywhere so far, but I think in Monaco it will still stand out in the way that there will not be more overtaking than in the past, even though we will be allowed to use the DRS on the start and finish straight. First of all, it's (the zone is) very short, like 350 metres or something like that - the whole straight - and in the past we've had like 800 metres. And on top of that, even if you use it, there's no way you can go, because the car in front of you is taking what we call a straight line, it takes the corner on the right hand side, on the inside. You cannot go to the left on the outside because there's no way you're going to pass there, so I think it's a bit useless to use the DRS here to be honest, but we're going to use it. If we will see more overtaking? It might be more down to the tyres, but as we've discussed earlier on, we still have to fight out how big the differences are between soft and supersoft and how long the tyres are going to last.

Nico Rosberg:
I think the tyres could be very interesting this weekend, and if they degrade a lot, that will definitely increase the amount of overtaking that we see.

Jarno Trulli:
We can probably see some more overtaking, but it will remain a mission in the way that you can try but not always succeed. Anyway, it will not be down to KERS or DRS, it will probably be more down to the different tyre wear.

Michael Schumacher:
Tyres will certainly be the most important factor but I think if you have the right tyre and the right situation in place then it will normally help you. I have at least good memories when in one race I started last and went forward. So overtaking is a chance, yes it's difficult, it is a challenge but it's not impossible, and it's certainly an extra help.

Jenson Button:
As all the guys have said, tyres are the big difference around here. I don't think DRS is really going to help you overtake. It might help you get closer, but also we've got the benefit of using KERS. I think if the guy in front is struggling a little bit with his tyres and you use your KERS correctly, that can help with an overtaking move. We've got two things that should help us here but it's also going to be extremely difficult, as it always is around Monaco. But we will obviously give it a shot.

Q: (Byron Young - The Daily Mirror)
Michael, you've had various critics of your on-track tactics over the years, including Rubens sitting up there. The latest is Lewis Hamilton. He said you interfered with the battle for the lead in the last race. You let your friend Seb Vettel through, I think in the last ten laps, and forced him to go wide and onto the marbles a few seconds later. Is that right, or is that wrong, or don't you care?

Michael Schumacher:
I don't recall it and I don't think it would make sense because I think I have a lot more... although Seb is my friend, but then Lewis is running a Mercedes engine and that's obviously a lot more important to me, not that I try to favour or not favour anybody. No, that certainly must have been a misunderstanding, but not my idea. I try to keep out of everybody's way and just do my own thing.

 

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