QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Bianca Leppert - Auto Motor und Sport)
Sebastian, can you tell us something about your new helmet design and about the different feeling as last year you won the championship in the last race and now you can be champion before the season will end?

Sebastian Vettel:
Well, regarding the helmet, you will see it tomorrow. Last year we had a special design for the Japanese Grand Prix and we will have again this year. As I touched on earlier, we have one sign on the top of the helmet, which means 'kizuna'. It means bond of friendship and it was putting people together when they had the earthquake and weeks after. Just trying to make people stick together and support each other. For the championship, at the moment I am not trying to think about the championship. I want to focus on this race and then soon enough we will find out whether we are in a good position or not. It is quite a lot different to last year. Last year, we knew that we had to deliver to keep the chances alive where as this year I think we are in a very strong position and we are looking forward to it in a way. But even if it is very close I think it is still very important to be aware that you still need to do that final step whether it is 10 points or one point it doesn't really matter so we still have to go out and do it.

Q: (Federic Ferret - L'Equipe)
What would it mean to you to win the title in Suzuka, a track that you like and where Michael Schumacher, Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna won their title.

SV: Yeah, unfortunately they took the log cabin down at the hotel, so there is no more signing. Fortunately and unfortunately. Some people you don't want to hear when they sing! We are focused on the race first of all, which is what we enjoy more than anything else and then we will see. I remember the years when Michael was very close, I think in 1998 to win the championship, and then he had an engine blow up. Before that I wasn't following, but I have seen enough footage and read a lot, especially about Senna and (Alain) Prost. I don't think I need to touch on it. Everyone knows. It is a special circuit. Not just because it is a challenging circuit, but the history around here. It is one of the grands prix with real tradition and real history. In a way you feel it every lap but also it was very special to me two years ago to win here for the first time so we try to do it again.

Q: (Sarah Holt - BBC Sport)
Jenson you're the last man who has a mathematical chance of stopping Sebastian from winning the title. You've also secured your future. I was wondering if you thought you were more content and driving better than even in your championship-winning season.

Jenson Button:
I thought I drove pretty well through my championship-winning season, especially the first part of the season but I'm definitely a better driver now: the experiences that I've been through - good and bad - since then; it's pretty traumatic when you're fighting for a championship and you're struggling for pace, so the experiences I've been through and the confidence that I have now and the team that I'm working with - they definitely help my performances. Am I more content? I don't know. I've been pretty content over the last few years, in terms of racing and in terms of private life, so that's not making a difference.

Q: (Minioki Yoneya - La Vie Creative)
Sebastian, you walk around the track on the first day every weekend, every year. How important is it for you and did you find anything new here today?

Sebastian Vettel:
Nothing new, so the circuit is still as much as I remember. Obviously I use the opportunity not only to look at the circuit but also to get the latest updates, what's happening in the factory and just to have a chat with the engineers, what's the approach for the weekend, what's the plan, what is the target etc, so apart from looking at the circuit, specifically at kerbs, which sometimes change etc, corners, weaknesses. In previous years, as I said, I used the opportunity just to also have a chat. Sometimes we talk about some not really relevant stuff but it's kind of a tradition and it's a good way to start the weekend.

Q: (Fulvio Solms - Corriere dello Sport)
Seb, are you superstitious; what do you do if I say to you you're winning the title on Sunday, congratulations?

Sebastian Vettel:
I think it's easy. Obviously there's still a chance for Jenson to win the title and for me not to win the title. As I said, even if it's only one point - I said it straight after Singapore - we tried all year and we always try to keep our feet on the ground and approach this race by race, and try to do the best. The moment you decide to fly, sooner or later there's a moment when you will come down as well. You have to, nothing flies for ever. I think it would be wrong to think like that at this stage and as I said, the target going into this weekend is not to get one point, in a way it's not to win the championship, the target is to do our best. If our best, for some reason, is tenth, then we try to get a tenth but if our best is possibly to win the race then we have to go for it and try to win the race. We want to do it in the right way, so I think if you have the ability, the package overall, to do well around here, you have to enjoy it and you have to make sure that if the chance is there to finish on the podium you finish on the podium. Yes, there would be reason to celebrate, even if we finish tenth, but it wouldn't be the same so we try to race as usual and we try to get the best out of ourselves.

Q: (Livio Oricchio - O Estado de Sao Paulo)
To all of you, which kind of circuit do you prefer, Suzuka where the run-off areas are so short, where there is the pleasure of risk, as you all say, or Istanbul where you can make mistakes, run wide onto a different asphalt area and come back?

Jenson Button:
I don't think it's the case here that the barriers are close to the circuit. I don't think it's an unsafe circuit to race on. I think that you can't make a mistake because it's not asphalt in a lot of places, so you touch grass or you're into the gravel, you can end your day early. It's very unforgiving in terms of stopping the car. It's not unforgiving in terms of having a big accident, so the safety is not an issue here but I think we find it exciting knowing that if we do make a mistake then we get punished for it and that's why a lot of drivers really enjoy racing around here and a lot of new drivers find it quite difficult in their first season when they come here, in terms of pace, or find themselves off the circuit in a gravel trap somewhere.

Jerome D'Ambrosio:
Obviously last year I didn't want to try to be brave or anything in ten laps in free practice one. But I think what Jenson described is quite right: you don't feel like you're in danger - actually I've never felt that in Formula One, or in motor racing since I started. I think it's a safe track. Now Degner One, for example, is a corner where you're not going to go there and try to nail it within two or three laps, because you know that if you make a mistake you will probably end up in the wall. Well, obviously it is sometimes a different approach but I think all the time you're in the car you don't focus on what's outside the white lines, you just try to stay in the middle and that's what you focus on. It is making it different, it will probably take a bit more time to feel at ease on the track but you eventually do so.

Heikki Kovalainen:
I personally prefer Suzuka to Istanbul but like Jenson said, it has nothing to do with the run-off area, it's got to do with the shape of the circuit, shape of the tarmac, how we are actually running. I think it's a great layout, high speed, change of direction, it's where a Formula One car is at its best and we wouldn't race here if it was too risky and if the circuit hadn't passed the tests. I don't think we have any more concern (about here) than we do at other places.

Q: (Jens Wolters - ARD Radio)
Jenson, Sebastian always mentions the tiny chance that you still have of winning the championship; what do you think about it?

Jenson Button:
I think it's great, going into this race, Sebastian thinking that I have a chance of winning the title. He's probably the only person here... or the only person that's saying so. It's all but over. I think for Sebastian, he probably doesn't want to think about it until after the race because after the race, when the championship's actually done it's a big buzz to cross the finish line and win the championship and I'm sure that's something that he's looking forward to but he doesn't want to think about right now, and especially to discuss with us lot here. For me, this is a circuit I'd love to win on, I think we all would. It's all about the challenge and to come away with a victory here would be very special. I'm sure it would be overshadowed by a certain person winning the championship but it would still be very enjoyable for myself.

Q: (Paolo Ianieri - La Gazzetta dello Sport)
Sebastian, you're not only running for the Championship but you're also running for statistics; this could be one of the most successful seasons in Formula One, what with pole positions and everything. Is it something that you're trying to achieve or are you also looking at what Michael did in the past? Is it something that gives you extra motivation?

Sebastian Vettel:
Not really. Regarding Michael, I think whatever we try to do, he did much more. As I said, we really try to approach every race and really go race by race. I think the moment you start to think about too many other things is the moment that things that are really in your control which are usually the things that you are facing at the present time, are slipping out of your hands. That would be wrong. I think we had occasions - maybe not in the same style but in the past - and lessons to learn, and I think so far we learned our lessons and it would be wrong to allow yourself to forget those and do the same mistakes again, so it wouldn't be very smart. So we try really to get the best out of ourselves, obviously enjoy the package we have, the car is competitive this year, the team is working fantastically well and we are on a good run. There's no guarantee that it will be good again in the next race or the race after that will be as competitive as the previous race so we will really have to take every chance we get. As I said earlier, if the chance is there to win and we feel that we can go for it, we have to go for it. If the chance is not there, then we try to finish second. If the chance for second is not there, then we try to finish third, so it's pretty simple to say, sometimes not so easy to stick to that but as I said, it's not our first race.

Q: (Koji Taguchi - Grand Prix Special)
A question for Kamui and Sebastian : you two guys were teammates when you were younger. When you look back at each other, what has changed from that time to now, in terms of personality, driving style, communication with the team and maybe weekend strategy and understanding engineering? And if there is any situation in the future when you might be teammates again, what would the teammate relationship be like?

Sebastian Vettel:
I have a lot of good memories. I remember that it was Kamui's first year in Formula Three, so he came in as a rookie, but you can ask Paul as well. We were all in the same team at the same time and I remember in some corners Kamui was - I don't know - 10kph or even more quicker than all of us. We didn't understand. And he was quicker the whole weekend. In other corners, obviously, we were a little bit quicker than him, but it's always give and take and I don't think he's lost his craziness that you sometimes see. I remember the race that we had here and he overtook I don't know how many cars. It seems that sometimes he sees gaps or he finds a different line on the track that other people don't find. I think it makes him a very good driver; you never know for the future. Obviously the situation has changed a little bit, there are a lot more cameras around now and we don't get to see (one another) or chat as much as we did in the past but I think - or I know - he's still the same kind of guy. I wouldn't mind racing with him again - as long as I make sure he's not 10kph quicker in some corners.

Kamui Kobayashi:
For me, at the moment, we're in different cars, so much different cars, so I cannot say... he was always good in Formula Three, he is always working really hard. He communicates really well with the engineers. I can see that from TV, he has really good communication with the team and I think that was something he's had for a long time. He was really good at communicating in Formula Three with the team guys. I think that's everything, that's why he can make a really good car and he has the fastest car on the track.

Q: (Carlos Miguel - La Gaceta)
Now Sebastian Vettel is going to finish an outstanding job; in this situation, which are the three best drivers in Formula One, according to you?

Heikki Kovalainen:
If I excuse myself from the list, so all the guys are behind myself - that's what you meant, yes? So it's obviously Sebastian, Jenson and whoever is third in the championship at the moment, Fernando? Lewis? That's the order this year, that's what you've got to stick with, I think.

Sebastian Vettel:
What do you want us to say? Obviously we have to have a certain self-belief otherwise we would sit and say - I don't know - five drivers before we think we might or I might stand a chance, then obviously we are in the wrong job. It has to be like that. If Kamui didn't believe in himself and thought he could only be fifth best on the grid... If I thought that way, it would be a waste of time. I respect the other drivers a lot and I think that all drivers in Formula One deserve to be there and if you look at every single one, there's a reason why they are in Formula One. It's not just because they got lucky and all of a sudden called up to Formula One. Obviously they've been very successful in previous years, in junior categories and didn't end up here without reason. I think you have to be aware of that. Obviously you respect some of them more than others and you feel it on the track as well, when you race against them, how much room they sometimes give you. To give you an example, I enjoy racing against Fernando a lot because you know you can count on him, you know that most of the time he sees you and he knows that you are there. He doesn't give you a lot of room, for sure, but just enough. It's the same with Michael or if you race with Jenson, you know that these guys are always very fair, they're not making your life easy but they are very fair and I think it's the respect that you have for each other that really matters in those circumstances.

Q: (Gary Meenaghan - The National)
Jenson, can you just talk a little bit about your relationship with Japan, what kind of things do you do when you stay here? Do you ride the metro, for instance? And how has your impression changed since the first time you visited the country to now?

Jenson Button:
I obviously don't have as many connections to Japan as Kamui does. I came here for the first time in '96, I was racing karts and it was a real shock to the system, as a 16-year old, coming to Japan, it's such a different culture. At that point in time, where I was, I didn't understand anything, the road signs, street names, anything, because everything was in Japanese. It was very difficult as a 16-year old but I really enjoyed coming here because it was something very difficult and I also loved racing here in Suzuka, because I raced here in '96 and '97 around the go-kart circuit which is just before 130R. I don't know if you've ever got out there to see it but it's just like the Grand Prix circuit, it's phenomenal. For me, it's the best circuit I've driven on in karting. I had some good times then, but obviously a lot has changed from '96 to now: my experiences of being in Japan and obviously spending five or six years with a Japanese team, working with a lot of Japanese people and now being with a Japanese girlfriend. So I have a lot of very good connections. I spend quite a bit of time here training, relaxing, eating good food. For me, it really does feel like home even though I don't really speak too much of the language, a few words, the words you need to know. Anyway, I'm going to stop there! Yeah, the Japanese people are very strong. Obviously we've seen a couple of big disasters this year in Japan, and we've seen how strong the Japanese people are, and how they've really pulled together when they are in difficulty, so I think we can all learn something from them, and we should, and try to help out as much as we can and Kamui is doing a lot this weekend, and I'm sure quite a few of the drivers are. We are always going to try our best. Is it enough? I don't know. My crash helmet is very similar to what I had in Monaco, so it's all in Japanese, and I will be auctioning it off after the race, which will go to a Japanese charity which will help the people that have been affected by the tsunami and the earthquake.