Drivers: Rubens Barrichello (Honda), Takuma Sato (Super Aguri), Ralf Schumacher (Toyota) and Sakon Yamamoto (Spyker).

Questions from the floor.

Q: (Heinz Pr?ller - ORF TV)
To the Japanese drivers, have you ever been up to the summit of the Fuji-yama?

Sakon Yamamoto:
I've never been, no.

Takuma Sato:
I have, but not as many times as Ukyo (Katayama) did.

Q: (Heinz Pr?ller - ORF TV).
For Rubens, it's your 250th Grand Prix, which means six more and you equal the world record of Riccardo Patrese. How proud will it make you to become the Grand Prix driver with the most races?

Rubens Barrichello:
Not as proud as being a World Champion, but it's going to mean something, of course. The only thing is that everyone has different numbers. If you follow the FIA records it'll only be in Barcelona next year that I'll get to 257 (starts). People calculate the one that I missed in Spa (1998), the one that I didn't race at Imola (1994), so there are different numbers which is not very good as I want to know which one is 257. But anyway, next year sometime, hopefully, I go past.

Q: (MC)
A quick one for Takuma to follow up that previous question: how long did it take you to get up to Mt Fuji?

TS:
I think that, depending on where you start it, you can almost climb half by car. If you start the climb from the bottom, it takes six hours or something. I think that Ukyo Katayama, my favourite Japanese driver, he's almost jogging up to the top of the mountain before having breakfast - he goes up and down in three hours. I'm not quite as quick as Ukyo-san, but I did normal climbing, and I think I was average. I was quite small too - I was just a little boy.

Q: (Yuki Ishihara - Sankei Sports).
Ralf, you are one of the few drivers who knows the old and the new Fuji Speedway; how do you like the new one in terms of driving?

Ralf Schumacher:
For us it's obviously something special because it's a home track for Toyota. The track itself has a very long straight, so that's very exciting; you could end up overtaking twice on the straight, which is very interesting. I think the corners we have except for Turn 4 as mentioned by Rubens are not so special, but it's a nice layout.

Q: (Dan Knutson - National Speed Sport News).
A question for all four of you - we have about 17-18 races now. With more races coming, there's a chance that we might have 20 races, maybe even more. What is the ideal number of races an F1 season should have from three points of view: the drivers' point of view, how much extra work it makes for the crews, and also for more exposure for F1 worldwide?

RS:
I think the number we have next year - one more - isn't too bad considering the workload the team has and the mechanics have and all of the travelling. I think we are more limited by that unless we extend the season and shorten the tests. But I feel quite happy with the races we do.

RB:
I agree. I think that two years ago, we were doing far too many miles in testing, and right now I feel that it's a good combination. If we have a couple more races, I don't think that it's such a problem for the drivers - it's actually better because we're going to be doing what we like more, which is racing. So 18, 20 (races) - it doesn't really change much for us, depending on where the races are. It's more challenging for the packaging and the mechanics to do more races, but less testing is fine.

TS:
From a pure drivers' point of view I think many races are great. More races are very good. But in terms of logistics - mechanics, engineers, all of the families back at home - it's probably a bit more difficult with more races, but as long as we keep the spring to autumn season, extra races are more than welcome.

SY:
I agree with them but I have never raced 17 races in a year, so hopefully I'd like to be racing at the beginning of the season.

Q: (Nobuaki Tadaki - Sankei Express).
A question for Ralf. I remember when you lived at Yamanakoko when you lived in Japan, and you used to try to make a record from Yamanakoko to Fuji Speedway. Do you remember what your record time was, and do you have any chance to beat it? (laughter)

RS:
I always stick to the rules on the street, so I don't know what the record was, honestly. I usually had to go via Gotemba but it's more than 10 years ago, so I can't remember the time, and there's no reason to try to beat whatever I've done 11 years ago, thank you.

Q: (Niki Takeda - Formula PA).
A question for Rubens. This year, what has exactly gone wrong - basically the wrong fundamental concept with the car, or mis-management, or is another team draining your resources away from your team?

RB:
It's very difficult to know what the real reason is. The car is not worse (than last year's car) - basically everyone else improved, and we didn't. The car last year was fine, and they took a different route for this year to improve something that was OK already and they didn't pay attention to the aerodynamics and fine-tuning of the car. To go right to the bottom and understand why that happened, I didn't bother because right now I'm focused on trying to help the new guys understand and make it better. I never thought that the 2006 car was a great, great car - it was doing OK on the Michelin tyres and we had a good package at some of the races, but it wasn't there to win every race. I had problems to adapt to it, especially to the traction control. This year everything is much better on that side - the car is miles away - so it's about putting everything together with the new guys there to make it work. It seems already that next year's car is coming along better.

 

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