19 March: Malaysian Grand Prix - FIA Saturday Press Conference
Fernando ALONSO (Renault), 1m32.582s 2. Jarno TRULLI (Toyota), 1m32.672s 3. Giancarlo FISICHELLA (Renault),
Q: How important is it to be on provisional pole position here? Fernando ALONSO:
Yesterday, we had a few problems, but the engineers did a very good job last night and we again found a quick and easy car to drive
this morning. And now in qualifying you canít make a mistake on the single lap, but you have to push. And thatís not only today;
you have to have a little gap for tomorrowís qualifying and this is quite difficult, but at the end we managed to do a good lap
and this first position is a great result for us.
Q: It was a very intense-looking qualifying session, everybody running
light fuel, new tyres and very, very closeÖ FA: Yeah, very close. Since yesterday, the sessions have been very, very close.
The times are maybe closer than ever here in Sepang and this makes the qualifying even more interesting, and for tomorrow as well.
Jarno, you were quickest this morning. We could talk about the rain in Melbourne, but here thereís no doubting your speed and that
great lap you put inÖ. Jarno TRULLI: Yeah, Iím pretty happy about the result and especially for the team, which has been
working really hard to give me an updated car aerodynamically and all my mechanics who have worked really hard to give me a
fantastic car. We look pretty competitive here. At the moment, I have mixed feelings as Iím sure Iím happy about my result, but
on the other hand Iím shocked because Iíve just heard the news that a friend of mine has just died, so I want to dedicate this
front row to Stefano.
Q: Giancarlo, coming off that win in Australia, the momentum continues for the Renault team. Talk us
through that lap in the closing minutes of qualifying? Giancarlo FISICHELLA: Yeah, not bad. Itís nice to be here again. Iím
third quickest and considering a bit of under-steer and a couple of mistakes, itís not bad, Iím happy. We are still competitive,
we can still fight to get on the podium and maybe to win the race again. Iím happy to be here with Fernando and Jarno. Tomorrow
there is another important qualifying session. Even with high fuel the car balance Ė I mean the potential was good yesterday,
maybe the car balance wasnít fantastic but today was better and for tomorrow we are quite optimistic.
Q: With the new
engine regulations weíre going into uncharted territory now in Formula One. Youíll be running the engine with which you won the
Australian Grand Prix, how does that feel - race two with the same engine? GF: Honestly, yesterday, as soon as I went full
throttle, I was really scared because the power is much less because itís much hotter than Australia, but then the engine is still
consistent, itís still strong. I saved the engine in the Australian Grand Prix so I think my engine is quite fresh. You never
know, but Iím quite optimistic about that.
Q: Fernando, coming back to you, 53 degrees track temperatures when you were
out today. Talk a little bit about the heat and what thatís like from the driverís point of view, and also from the carís
point of viewÖ FA: Yeah, well itís a little more difficult to drive with hot track temperatures. The steering becomes
quite heavy, and you suffer a little bit of over-steer normally and this will be important for tomorrowís race, with the hot
temperatures and only one set of tyres. For the driver, I think we all feel the same: very hot temperatures inside, we sweat a lot
in the helmet and itís a little bit uncomfortable to drive like this, but, anyway, I like the Sepang circuit so much that it doesnít
matter if itís too hot.
Q: Fernando, what is it about this circuit that makes you love it
so much? FA: I always felt very comfortable here in Sepang. For me, it is the best circuit in the world in terms of the
driver. I like all the corners here, like Spa, from the driversí point of view Ė high speed, low speed, it is very wide and not
bumpy, so you have everything here to enjoy the lap.
Q: Giancarlo said he noticed his engine was down on paper because of
the heat, what about you? FA: The same. Down on power because of running with these very hot temperatures and high humidity.
In Australia, I think I used more of the tyres, from that point of view, because I was pushing every lap and I think the engine revs
were more or less the same through the whole race. I am totally confident. I am 100 per cent confident that the engine will not have
a problem at all in the race.
Q: Following the rain-affected session in Australia, this is the first Ďproperí
qualifying so now how do you approach tomorrow? FA: I am more confident than I was in Australia. I was nearly crying after
Friday and now I am smiling. I think in Australia I was competitive on Friday and Saturday morning like I was here this morning and
then in qualifying I did not show the potential of the Renault car and I was lucky to have a good race afterwards. Here with normal
qualifying, we have shown again that both Renault cars can be in the top three and this is fantastic news for the team.
Jarno, obviously this is confirmation of the speed of the Toyota over a single lap. Is that a surprise to you? JT: Not
really. This morning we were competitive and during the whole weekend we have been always quite good. I have to thank the team
because they have been working really hard at the factory to bring some up-to-date aero package so we are moving ahead and this is
what I expected at the beginning of the season. Things will be improving for the future because everybody is pushing hard and I want
to thank them because the car here has been competitive, easy to drive and hopefully also will be good during the race.
In Australia, you had the problem of going, well, not quite backwardsÖ JT: Well, yes, Australia - it was not expected what
happened. We, I, had a problem with one of the rear tyres which made my race pretty difficult by the end of the first thing to the
end of the race, but here I think is slightly different, so we have to just wait and see.
Q: You are pretty confident of
maintaining your pace and being more consistent? JT: From what I have seen yes, the car has been quite consistent for a long
run. Actually with the heat you can expect anything and again any problems with the tyres will be really bad for this kind of race
because you are not able to change the tyres anymore.
Q: Giancarlo, thirdÖ Are you happy with that? GF: Yes, I am
happy. I am. Honestly. I had a bit of under-steer and I made a couple of mistakes so apart from that third is great. Fernando is
first quickest and the quickest today and that means Renault is still strong even on this circuit, which is a very important
circuit. There are lots of high speed and slow speed corners. So the potential is very good. Yesterday the car balance wasnít
fantastic, but today itís better. And we are optimistic for the race. We have another important qualifying session tomorrow with
high fuel load, so, yes, it is good.
Q: You obviously want to bump him off pole position and yet the two of you will be in
briefing together. How do you approach tomorrow? GF: Well I will do my best. It is going to be different with a lot of fuel.
It will be important to do 100 per cent, but if you make a small mistake you can lose a good chance to be at the top two or three
rows. It is important to do a clean lap. I hope to do well, to be in the first row. We will see tomorrow.
Q: Did you do a
low fuel run this morning? GF: I was lower than yesterday but not completely empty like a qualifying session.
FROM THE FLOOR
Q (Andrea Cremonesi - La Gazetta dello Sport): Jarno, a clarification from you please. Shortly before,
on television, you dedicated your front row place to Stefano. Can you tell us some more about who he is? JT: Well he is a
friend of mine and he is a rescue pilot. He pilots ĎCanadairí and yesterday there was a fire I think in Italy and he was really
unlucky Ė after landing on the water and taking off I think he has hit the electrical cables.
Q (Jose Carron - La Tribune
de Geneve): Can you be a bit more precise when you say you are a bit down on power from Australia because of the heat, but how much? FA:
We donít know. We just press the throttle and we feel it. We donít know the numbers, but this has been normal always. It
happens. We break all the records in the winter tests and things like that because it is cooler and everything is working better.