Drivers: David Coulthard (Red Bull), Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber), Heikki Kovalainen (Renault), Felipe Massa (Ferrari).

Press Conference

Q:
Heikki, a winner in GP2 here, so presumably it's quite a favourite circuit of yours.

Heikki Kovalainen:
Well, I've been a winner in GP2 at many other circuits and it really hasn't worked out the same in F1, so I don't think you can look back too much but like some other circuits, I've got good memories from here. I like this circuit, they've done a very good job with the layout here, so I'm looking forward to driving F1 here as well.

Q:
You must be very pleased with your reliability this year because you're the only non-McLaren driver to have finished every race so far.

HK:
Yeah. It's something that's nice to hear but obviously it would have been nice to have been ahead in another statistic, for example, the number of wins or the number of poles or that kind of stuff. But it hasn't worked out quite like that for us this year but in any case, it shows that the reliability we've also had over the last few years is still there this year, so now we just need to focus on performance and then we get back on top.

Q:
What do you feel about the fact that the team has now said the emphasis is more on 2008?

HK:
I think it's a decision made by the team and it's also the right one. I think it's time to focus on next year, now we've sorted out some of the problems with this year's car and also the problems that we've had with the wind tunnel earlier this year and even at the end of last year. Now that all that is correlating well and we are getting the right results from the wind tunnel, I think it's time to shift the focus on 2008. But still the race team is focusing hard for this car and myself, obviously, I will drive as fast as I can until the end of the year.

Q:
And will you still be with the team in 2008? What's the contract situation?

HK:
Well, I certainly hope I can be with the team. I think together we can achieve a good result in the future, but like Flavio said, he hasn't made a decision yet and it will be made around Monza weekend - before or after or sometime around that time when he makes his mind up. At the moment honestly, I don't know. Like I say, I hope I stay with Renault.

Q:
David, new bits here? What effect do you hope they are going to have?

David Coulthard:
Well, unsurprisingly, I hope it's going to improve performance. We've a new front wing to evaluate tomorrow. One of the limitations we've had from the car is being able to run enough front angle to balance and if it gives us what we believe it will, it should unlock a little bit more potential from this car, because rear stability generally in high speed corners is good so with some fast corners here, we could do with some more front flap.

Q:
Is this a circuit you feel is going to suit the car better than Hungary, for instance?

DC:
Personally, yes. I think that the fast flowing nature of the circuit should suit the car better. I think our drag levels with this car - if you think back a year ago with RB2 - we were pretty slow in a straight line and slow through the turns, so clearly we don't have the quickest car through the corners this year but it's a lot more competitive on the straights. Obviously a large percentage of the lap time is made up from straight line running, so I would expect to be more competitive here.

Q:
The story that many of us have seen over the last few days - obviously it's been a bit slow in terms of motor sport...

DC:
Thank you!

Q:
...is about your biography.

DC:
This is the pretext that there's nothing else to talk about, so let's talk about that.

Q:
Perhaps you can tell us a little bit about it.

DC:
Well, I've never done a book before. Well, I did a book with the Gerry Donaldson in '98 which was a diary of a racing season but I've never actually done a book on who I am, where I come from and all the stuff that might not be particularly interesting to you here but to followers of the sport generally: the journey from a wee village in Scotland to having competed for 14 seasons in Formula One and continuing. I felt it was an interesting time for me to tell a little bit about that story and there's obviously some things in there from the past which a lot of people didn't know about, and there are some things when I've got the opportunity to correct - what was maybe public opinion in certain areas - by giving my take on the story, so for followers of motor sport, I think it will generally be an interesting book.

Q:
And it's out now?

DC:
Yes.

Q:
Nick, the news from you is that you've signed for two more years?

Nick Heidfeld:
Well, I cannot talk about anything that specific. It's BMW's policy now to only announce their drivers for next season, which doesn't necessarily mean that it's exactly the same what is written in the contract.

Q:
But Sunday will be your 80th race for BMW Sauber. Obviously you're comfortable with the team.

NH:
Yeah, very much so. I've been with Sauber a couple of years ago with Felipe, for example, and always had a good time there and I was quite certain that when BMW took over that we would move forward, but obviously not as quickly as we've done now. I believed that when I joined them nearly two years ago and I think we will be able to keep improving further. The team's goal and my goal as well is to fight for the World Championship and hopefully we can be in a position to do that in two years' time, but as you know as well as I do it's very difficult to plan things in Formula One.

Q:
But obviously the pace of motivation, the future excites you otherwise you wouldn't re-sign.

NH:
Yeah, definitely. There was interest from other teams as well but I'm very confident in the team, they know what they're doing, things are looking promising in the factory also, with building a new home now for the Hinwil base and so far everything is going in the right direction. But at the moment, I have to say it's sort of easy for the team to keep the spirit up. As I've said before, when we have a low - it will come at some point - then we will all have to stick together and be strong and try to get ourselves out of it but luckily, so far, it hasn't really happened.

Q:
Felipe, obviously coming back to Turkey is great for you: last year's winner, your first Grand Prix win.

Felipe Massa: Yeah, for sure, it's a special circuit for me. I got my first pole position, my first victory here so it's very special. Hopefully we can repeat it, it would be fantastic. I like the track, I like the place, the country, the city and especially the track. It's very challenging for the drivers, so hopefully I can have a great result here on Sunday.

Q:
Eleventh fastest lap in Hungary, but I think the team thinks that this is a circuit that's much more suited to the car...

FM (to NH) :
You must be happy because I wasn't in front of you.

Q:
But does this circuit suit the Ferrari better than in Hungary?

FM:
Yeah, not just the circuit but also the luck, on Saturday. But anyway, I think Hungary was a disaster for me, a disastrous result. We knew, starting from the back, it could have been very very difficult to do something but it was frustrating. Even I expected to do something better but it was a very difficult track for overtaking, starting very heavy, so I didn't have a single opportunity. It was very frustrating to be the whole race behind slower cars, knowing that the pace of the car was not what I was showing. But here, it's a very good track, I think our car must be very competitive and I'm really looking to having a great qualifying, a great race and I think we can do that.

Q:
And it's vital, surely, to stay in the hunt for the World Championship.

FM:
Yeah, for sure. I would never put my head down. I always keep it up and fight until the last moment.

 

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