Q:
My first question to you all is simply your general reaction to being here in Fuji this weekend?

Hiroshi Yasukawa:
Being here in Fuji is beautiful and fantastic. Yesterday we walked the whole course. One reason is that it's good exercise, and we were surprised. With the safety issues, they're very, very good I believe, and the whole facility is fantastic. Also I remember 1976, the first time Formula One was held here in Fuji. That time also, Bridgestone supplied the tyres for Mr Hoshino-san. That time I remember we had very heavy rain. (Kazuyoshi) Hoshino's driving was fantastic, so without question, this race had a very strong impact. Since that time, everybody remembers Hoshino and also our Bridgestone super-wet tyres. So it had a very strong impact. Also that was the first time we in Japan had Formula One - it was a big surprise, a big shock, to experience Formula One.

Q:
So was that the start of the Bridgestone Formula One story?

HY:
Yes, that's right. It has a very strong impact for us.

Q:
Of course, you would have still been at school then?

HY:
No, I'm a very old guy.

Aguri Suzuki:
I want to say thank you very much to the Fuji Speedway people. Everything is very well organised - they've done a very good job - and also the facilities are very nice. Yesterday we walked around the circuit with Hiroshi, and it's unbelievable with the safety and facilities and everything. Thirty years ago, I also came here - I was about 16 years old - and it was my first time watching a Formula One Grand Prix. It had a very strong impact on me as I was thinking for the future that I must come in here, inside of the paddock. So it's fantastic that I am now in the paddock.

Q:
It's an expensive ticket, isn't it?

AS:
Very expensive!

Q:
Wada-san, were you here as well?

Yasuhiro Wada:
I wasn't 16 years old, but I was here as well. In 1976, I was one of the observers, you could say, and I just wanted to personally take a look at the Formula One cars. It was a very big experience for me, and somehow I came back 30 years later - it's amazing.

Q:
And your feelings about the circuit?

YW:
It's a very good facility and very well organised. It will be nice to go back to Suzuka in 2009, but it's good to have two courses in Japan.

Q:
Yamashina-san?

Tadashi Yamashina:
This morning, when I was entering the circuit, I was very excited to see all of the Japanese people walking around. That's much different than the other European circuits. The mood is kind of different. A lot of Japanese fans - we can race in front of them, so such a mood is very exciting for us. I'm very happy that we are at the Fuji Grand Prix as I'm in charge of this circuit and as the managing officer of the Toyota Motor Corporation. So far I have good information that any big issues will be done very well.

Q:
Some individual questions for you. For Hiroshi-san, it's your first year again of being the sole tyre supplier - how do you think it has gone, and have Bridgestone got what they wanted out of it?

HY:
Our understanding was that next year, 2008, we would do this, but this year, suddenly, our competitor stopped. Honestly, at the end of last year we were very busy as we had to keep fairness for everybody and also consider safety issues. But so far, I think, we have done a good job. Also, regulation-wise, the FIA made a very good decision. Each race meeting we bring two specifications [of tyres], and drivers have to use each compound. This is good for the fairness and spectator-wise, it is more interesting. If a driver starts with a tyre with the white line, they must do one stop. If they do a pit stop and they use another white line tyre, then the spectator knows that they have to do another stop. It makes it interesting, and it has people talking about tyres, which for us is good.

Q:
Is anybody asking for changes for 2008?

HY:
I believe it will be the same as this year.

Q:
And how are the tyres behaving here - what's the general feeling in practice so far?

HY:
This track is new for everybody, and I believe today that everybody tried the two specifications. I think everybody will choose the softer side for qualifying, that's what I think.

Q:
Aguri-san, a lot of people say that the second year is harder than the first year in Formula One. Looking back at the second year now, how do you feel the team has done - how has it gone for you?

AS:
The second year is much more difficult than the first year. In the second year, we have to get some results. The job is going well and already we have some points and some good races, but still, it's very difficult.

Q:
What about the drivers for next year - are your drivers settled for next year?

AS:
No, it's not decided, but right now we're talking about some things. I'm very happy for Taku and Anthony to continue to drive for our team, but it's not decided yet.

Q:
We've also heard rumours of the team being for sale, some parts of the team being for sale, and we see new sponsors here on the car ...

AS:
The money side is very difficult and it can be very difficult to find a sponsor. It's not only discussions with sponsors - with partners as well. I don't want to sell my team, so I need some very good partners.

Q:
You've had a few partners...

AS:
No, I don't think so. Right now Honda is helping my team, but on the money side, the technical side - there are more reasons to be talking to some partners.

Q:
Wada-san, I think you have some new parts on the car here. How have they gone today, and I think you also tested some - some were good and some were bad. How was it today?

YW:
As you know we are struggling to find good balance with the car this season, and at last week's Jerez test we tried some of next year's design ideas and parts. Unfortunately most of the parts did not work well, so we'll see.

Q:
You must have felt the whole year has been a huge frustration?

YW:
Don't mention that. We have had a very disappointing year, and it's been up and down, up and down - sometimes we have a day to forget. The most important thing for us is how we learn from this and move forward - that's the task for us now.

Q:
What would be your ambitions for next year?

YW:
Well, everybody comes to races to win so... as much as we can push to the edge, we will do it.

Q:
Yamashina-san, it has been said that there is a special effort for this race, a special project was set up. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

TY:
As you can see on our car, there are several new parts, for example, the front blanking and the end plate. You can't see the difference in the floor but we put everything on that. Also we prepared a special gear set for Fuji, so lots of effort. If we have developed these areas, we have already used these parts. For example, the top crash wing, that was developed earlier and we used that in Belgium or some earlier race. Today, I took one of our responsible people in the Fuji project and if we lose something...

Q:
Have you been pleased with the result today?

TY:
Today is P1 and P2, so it's not directly related to the final race result, but so far, the drivers' comments are relatively stable and I'm very satisfied. But for me, the result is a little less than I expected.

Q:
We've been asking about the second driver for some months now, when do we expect an announcement about the second driver?

TY:
So far, the team has asked me not to say anything about that in case I mentioned something. So far nothing is decided but of course, my ideas and other team members' ideas must be combined. For example, Japanese journalists have strongly asked me to utilize Kazuki Nakajima or other Japanese drivers but I'm still thinking about that. Of course, Ralf is one of the candidates. I must look at every possibility.

Q:
But there's no deadline for when we might hear?

TY:
No, because next March might be...

 

Comments

Loading Comments...