20 March: Malaysian Grand Prix - FIA Sunday Post Qualifying Press Conference
Fernando ALONSO (Renault), 3m07.672s 2. Jarno TRULLI (Toyota), 3m07.925s 3. Giancarlo FISICHELLA (Renault)), 3m08.448s
Q: An interesting session, very close and the margins, as it turned out, remained the same as yesterday… Fernando
Alonso: Yes, very close. Yesterday, there were some cars between the 10th and the fifth position that changed a lot today and I
was honestly a little worried about my position because you can be on pole, or you can be fourth very quick, so I tried to do my
lap, with no mistakes, and I knew my car was good and I found a good balance again today and here we are, on pole, and we repeated
the three positions we had yesterday and, hopefully, we can do it again this afternoon.
Q: And now you face perhaps the
hottest Grand Prix in history? FA: Yes, the whole weekend has been very tough for the drivers with very hot temperatures, but
even more today, so we have to prepare ourselves now by drinking a lot between this press conference and the race start and,
hopefully, we can finish the race in good condition.
Q: On the front row again, becoming a habit, Toyota looking very
strong here… Jarno Trulli: Yeah, and we are showing again our good pace and I am extremely happy for my team, Toyota,
because it has been pushing a lot to give me a good car and it seems to be very competitive. So, now, I am looking forward now to
the race because I want to confirm this pace in the race and that’s it. I want to go out and do it this afternoon.
There were a lot of questions before about fuel loads and it looks as if just about everyone here at the front was on the same fuel
loads… JT: Yes, I couldn’t do any better than this with the fuel load I had because we believe we have done our best for
the strategy and we will see how it turns out this afternoon, but I am extremely happy about this position. Again first row and
again sign of progress from Toyota.
Q: Giancarlo, calmly there for third position and a nice place to watch the first
corner perhaps… Giancarlo Fisichella: Yes, it’s going to be very important to go through the first corner and I would
like to keep my position and if I can overtake Jarno straightaway it is better. We are very optimistic to have the right strategy
for the race. The car balance was still under-steering today, but I think it is good for the race because usually there is a bit of
over-steering especially at the end of the race so I am pretty confident and we will see.
Q: What do you think about the
Ferraris mid-pack, about two seconds slower than you were this morning? GF: I think maybe they have a lot of fuel and are
going to try a very long first stint because they have good pace to overtake some cars especially on the pit stops so at the end of
the race they are there, they are going to fight for the podium.
Q: Fernando, your second
pole here, what about the conditions? FA: The conditions were quite similar to yesterday – a little bit cooler – but we
tried to run old tyres just normally, a little more tricky. I felt the car a bit more difficult to drive, but at the same time, we’re
still quick and I’m extremely happy to have this pole position because yesterday I had some doubts about which strategy the other
teams would chose and maybe lose the gap we had after yesterday.
Q: Jarno, the conspiracy theorists in the press room all
reckoned that Toyota desperately wanted to be on pole… JT: Well, I think everyone out there wanted to be on pole but we
didn’t really make our strategy to be on pole, we are looking forward to the race. This is what Toyota needs at the moment, some
points and hopefully a good race and a podium finish. This would be great, but today we again confirmed our good pace and especially
signs of progress from this extremely good team.
Q: Giancarlo, a little bit of a margin between you and Fernando and to
Jarno as well. Does that reflect a different strategy? GF: Honestly, I don’t know Jarno’s strategy. Compared to Fernando’s
it’s pretty similar. I had a lot of understeer even today, but I’m not worried about that. We are on the first and second row,
which is very important for the team. I’m looking forward to it. We are pretty sure to have the right strategy and the right car
to win the race, or to get on the podium.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Anthony Rowlinson – Autosport) Jarno,
could you explain a little bit about what’s been done to the car to make it so much quicker this season? JT: We worked hard
over the winter-time. I think this is the first Gascoyne car and it’s absolutely better than the previous one in every area but
there’s still a lot to do, but it’s definitely a good step forward, a good baseline on which to start. We have been continuing
to update the car aerodynamically. Tremendous work has been done on the engine side to make it more powerful and more reliable
compared to last year and compared to the first race, we have again updated the car aerodynamically so if we keep this trend, there
is no reason why we can’t step ahead and be with the top runners. Obviously we have understood quite a lot from the first race. We
keep understanding, and I must admit that I’m working well with Ralf, he’s a very quick and intelligent driver which helps. The
other teammate will improve and push the team forward and the situation is brilliant at the moment. I didn’t expect to be on the
front row in the first two races. I expected a team, which wants to grow and this is what is happening. But, OK, probably this race
we are benefiting from special track conditions or whatever, but we seem quite competitive anyway, all through the weekend. We will
just try our best during the race.
Q: (Dominic Fugere – Le Journal de Montreal) Question for Jarno, you’re starting in
the same place as in Melbourne; you mentioned the importance of points, but in Melbourne you finished just outside the points. Do
you plan on doing anything different? What do you have in mind to make sure that you hold your position? JT: Just push like
hell! That’s it.
Q: (Livio Orrichio – O Estado de Sao Paulo) The temperature of the asphalt was generally more than 50
degrees. Were you worried about the tyre wear? JT: Well the conditions are very hot, they’re very tough for everybody.
Michelins seem to work pretty well in these conditions and they we don’t seem to be suffering from any problems, so we’re not
concerned at the moment, even if anything can happen in this race, especially with these new rules, because you are going to have
one set of tyres for the whole race. Anything can happen at any time. FA: The same. We don’t have too many worries
about the tyres. We have prepared for the race quite well in terms of strategy and the set-up of the car. After Friday’s two
sessions, we did a few changes to save the tyres a little bit more and we don’t have any problems at all. But as Jarno said, it is
a very special race with these temperatures, especially the asphalt over 50 degrees, and this is completely new for everybody. After
testing all winter with track temperatures around 15 or 20 degrees, this will be a new experience for Michelin guys, for the teams
and for everybody. GF: Well, we have quite a lot of data from Friday and it looks very promising. The Michelin tyres
are working very well here, very hot conditions. We know it’s going to be very difficult over the last ten or 15 laps but we are
optimistic about that.