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29-Mar: At the Friday press conference for the Brazilian Grand Prix, Juan Pablo Montoya doesn't believe the new penalties are right and said "I don't think it's the right way to do it. It's always having different stewards at every race. You look at the first race nobody got penalised. I touched with Michael in the second race and I did get penalised. It's got to be very difficult and there are going to be a lot of problems with that. I think you're going to see a lot of people with not too many happy faces around here."
As for whether he'll change his approach he said "No, at least, it's not going to change anything with me. I think you're never going to think if you pass somebody, the sacrifice might be that you are put back ten places. From what I understand, when they're going to move you back ten places is when you do something really really stupid. We'll see."
As for his expectations tomorrow for Qualifying, he said "I think the car was working quite well, and part of the work was to make it suitable for my driving around here, but there is quite a lot more room to improve the car so that is quite good and I think we should be pretty competitive tomorrow. We might have a bit of a surprise with the new Ferrari, we might not, you know, they might be keeping a surprise."

Jacques Villeneuve believes the new penalties are a bit complicated and said "If you get punished like that, I don't understand why it's not all the way to the back of the grid. Why ten spots? So you get moved ten places and then the guy in front of you gets moved as well and then the other guy in front gets moved as well, so do you get moved up another two spots or do you get moved up eight? It becomes a little bit complicated."
He heavily criticised the one engine rule as he believes teams will have ways to work around it and said "What is stopping someone from having a qualifying engine, qualifying on pole then being moved ten spots back and then having an engine that will just do the race and have fifty horsepower more than the rest of the field. Or, on the other hand, you may have people not driving on Friday to save mileage. So I don't think it's a very positive thing. They won't save money anyway."
As for the major restructure at BAR, he said "I think it was very needed. I just wish it had happened earlier because any change like that, once the year has started, takes a long time to get going and to get everybody comfortable and working properly in their positions, but I hope we will see the effect very soon because it is very needed."

Patrick Head has requested a clarification from the FIA regarding Michael Schumacher being allocated 4 different sets of tyres for each of his cars and said "We are still not quite clear what the situation is but from what I hear the FIA have approved that Michael, tomorrow, can have four sets of tyres available for the 2002 car and four sets available for the 2001 car. If that is correct then it is completely against article 80C of the sporting code that says that the driver, not the car but the driver, is allocated four sets of tyres. I understand they have got a problem that the wheels off one car do not fit the wheels off the other car, so I can see why they would want to do it, but, in our understanding, it doesn't comply with article 80C, so we will certainly be having some discussions."
Regarding the new engine regulations, Patrick Head doesn't believe it will help in cutting costs and said "I think somehow in this business that people who can afford to spend the amount of money trying to achieve the best result really isn't related to the amount of money you can get in, so I'm not convinced that it will save money for the leading teams but I imagine for the people lower down it may well save money but I think it will widen the gap between the 'haves' and the 'have-nots.' The field will open up, because the people that have the money will be able to spend the money on the technology to make engines that last a bit longer but also have very high power."
As for the new penalties, he wasn't sure if they could be applied evenly and said "I think the important thing is that we consider that the judgements are made evenly at each venue. I'm not sure that that would be the case, because the stewards aren't the same at each venue. But it did occur to me that for the Grand Prix before Monaco. I think all the drivers will be being very cautious at that race. You would not want to be moved back ten places at Monaco because it would just destroy your race weekend really.

Norbert Haug believes the decision on the one engine rule was taken too quickly and said "I think the process was a little bit quick and I'm still not sure what the outcome is, what the basic plan is behind it, and the engineers and the FIA need to sit together and to discuss very carefully the rules that describe the whole procedure. I think that is the most important point right now. I think rules must be written right now to avoid issues like using a qualifying engine on Saturday and starting from eleventh, and starting with the race engine for example."
He also commented on the new penalties by saying "I think the most important point is how the rules will be applied. As Patrick pointed out, having different stewards at the race meetings I'm sure there will be a lot of discussion and if I look at the last example, I would find it quite harsh, if Juan Pablo had to start eleventh here if he's on pole tomorrow. I think we have to carefully think this thing through. Let's wait and see."
As for the reliability problems McLaren suffered due to the Mercedes engines, he said "We had two different failures there and we have obviously worked a lot but you never know what the outcome of the weekend is until after the race is over. I hope our improvements are good enough. We certainly are a little bit late but on the other hand we have been very reliable during winter testing and so I am quite sure we can solve the problem."

Flavio Briatore indicated that Renault were pleased with the new engine rules and said "Renault is very happy and like Norbert said, maybe it was a little bit too early but we are working to make sure that by 2004 it is organised for the weekend. It is good to save as well. We are very happy."
As for the team's performance so far, he said "I have been very happy with the performance of Jenson and Jarno. The team is psyched up, the car is improving, the engine is improving a little bit, we want to develop the car very aggressively for every race and we are hoping for something better at every race. This is a good starting point in Malaysia and now we are improving. We are behind Williams, McLaren and Ferrari, and we want to close the gap."

Eddie Jordan had a differing view to the others as he believes the new engine regulations are a very positive step and said "My view is that it is a very positive step. It was vital and it was needed. I'm not giving any secrets away, it was made very clear by Patrick's partner, Frank, who made it very clear that by the end of the year he would have 900 horsepower to qualify with or maybe more. I'm not sure that the people in the stands can understand or relate to this kind of engine where it does 50 kilometres, and I think it is right and prudent that Formula One is not immune to the downturn of the current economic climate and must take radical changes to make sure that the welfare of all people, including the journalists, including the teams and all participants in this sport, are given a fair and equal chance and that's rudimentary. I think we're being very naďve not to give the FIA good credit for having the vision to come up with something, because had they not, we would have all being going down the road for qualifying and engines, and the development and the creation of these engines. This, I plead to the FIA, is the start and let us have meaningful rule changes that make sure that this sport is for everybody to enjoy not just the select few."
When asked about his rookie Japanese driver and the drama he has had so far, he said "For sure he's made mistakes, we've made mistakes. I think he is a first-rate young driver, I think he will be a good asset to Asia and particularly to Japan and he will make certain mistakes in the future. What we need to do is to be tolerant, but nevertheless be supportive but be critical as well so he doesn't make the same mistake twice. I don't think he will do what he did in Malaysia again in a hurry, but he was extremely apologetic, very magnanimous and a very sporting young man."

29-Mar: What the teams and drivers said following the Friday practice sessions in Brazil ... Report

29-Mar: Brazilian GP – 2nd Friday Practice Session: David Coulthard sets the fastest time of the session ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya and Allan McNish. Ralf Schumacher, Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Report ... Notes.

29-Mar: Brazilian GP – 1st Friday Practice Session: Michael Schumacher fastest in the new Ferrari ahead of Ralf Schumacher and Giancarlo Fisichella. Nick Heidfeld, Felipe Massa and Enrique Bernoldi make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Report ... Notes.

29-Mar: Michael Schumacher has admitted that had they not been so slow in Malaysia, they would have brought three of the old cars to Brazil but had to push hard to get one car ready in order to compete with Williams and said "I think it's pretty simple, if we had been faster in Malaysia then we would have come here with three old cars. We wouldn't probably have pushed that hard just to have one car here. But because we have been so slow, we needed to push a little bit harder. Obviously we would be much more happy to have three new cars here but that has not been possible."

Juan Pablo Montoya has warned that the penalty he had in Malaysia won't affect the way he drives and that he won't give up on Michael Schumacher that easily and said "I am a racer and I will always drive flat-out. What annoys me about the penalty in Malaysia is that I didn’t do anything sudden, I didn’t turn into Michael – nothing. He even admitted after the race that he understeered into me. Under the new rules, I might have been docked 10 places on the grid here in Brazil, which would be very stupid. 
Michael is a fast racing driver and a hard racer and, when you have a hairpin at the end of a straight like that, it was always going to be the possibility that something might happen. But Michael now knows that I am not going to give up on him that easily."
Speaking in an interview for Tag Heuer, Montoya slammed the new rules which give powers to the stewards to penalise a driver 10 places on the gird for the following race if they cause an accident and said "This is racing. If they want no accidents, they should put the Safety Car out for 56 laps."
He also indicated that Williams will be strong while Ferrari may struggle for a couple of races until they sort out their new car and said "I think we’ll be okay. This is the kind of track that should suit our car. The only question mark is how fast the new Ferrari will be, but I think it will take them a couple of races to sort it out."

Jacques Villeneuve has voiced his opinion on the new one engine rule that will take effect from the 2004 season and as usual he was critical of the new rules and said "If you look at other series where they start manufacturing stuff, people get bored. Everyone starts screaming at each other -- 'This is fair' or 'This is not fair' -- and it just creates extra problems and it doesn't improve the show. Any time you try to create fakeness in racing it just makes it worse."
He also warned that Friday practice could become very quiet with the teams opting not to put in so many laps in fear for blowing and engine and said " We should use the same engine in the race as in qualifying. That would be easy enough and that way you could blow an engine on Friday. 
What will happen is that people won't drive on Friday. They will just wait until qualifying. So one engine per race weekend is not good. Any extra laps you do will be an extra chance of blowing the engine during the race. If you are Ferrari and you get there with a year old car, you won't need Friday because your car's already set up. So you can just wait."


Brazilian Formula 1 Grand Prix Schedule:

Session Time (Local / GMT) - Current local time
Friday Practice Session 1
Friday Practice Session 2
Saturday Practice Session 1
Saturday Practice Session 2
Qualifying Session
Warm-up Session
Race
11 AM Sao Paulo Time / 2 PM GMT
1 PM Sao Paulo Time / 4 PM GMT
9 AM Sao Paulo Time / 12 PM GMT 
10:15 AM Sao Paulo Time / 1:15 PM GMT
1 PM Sao Paulo Time / 4 PM GMT
9:30 AM Sao Paulo Time / 12:30 PM GMT
2 PM Sao Paulo Time / 5 PM GMT
Go to the Brazilian GP Page

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