22-May: At the Wednesday
press conference for the
Monaco GP, Nick Heidfeld indicated that he was fine following his
crash in Austria and said "I'm fine. I was already testing on Wednesday
of last week and I was in no pain at all. It was worse just walking up and
down the stairs than being in the car, because I don't really need to use the
muscle on top of the leg in the car. It's a bit blue still but it's not a
problem. It doesn't really hurt."
As for the safety improvements in Formula 1 he said "I'm very happy about
the job Formula One has done over the last couple of years to improve safety.
It's difficult to say what would have happened a few years ago but definitely
more would have happened. I was more worried after the crash about Takuma than
about myself because my crash was in the best possible way, just backwards,
where you are quite safe. But I think if you hit another car in the middle, it
would have been even worse to crash into the Jordan a bit more in the front,
then it really gets dangerous. I'm really happy about the improvements."
Nick is looking forward to the race despite not Qualifying well last year and
said "I'm really looking forward to this race here although last year we
weren't very strong and it was one of our worst qualifying performances, at
least. But it's my favourite circuit. Last year, we really struggled here but
we tried to analyse it very closely and then in Budapest, which is a bit of a
similar circuit, we were quite quick and we've got a lot of new parts since
then. Back then we didn't even have a hydro diff and I think that's really
important here, I'm quite sure about that."
Takuma Sato indicated that he too was fine and
said "My knee and the right hand leg muscles are still sewing but
obviously mentally there is no effect and I spoke to Nick on the Tuesday
after the accident and we are all fine and there's nothing between
He praised the safety improvements in Formula 1 and said "It was
obviously the biggest impact I've ever felt. Obviously, I've seen that the
monocoque has had a big holed punched through it which is very dangerous,
but luckily, nowadays in Formula One there are huge safety regulations.
Obviously the rescue team and the medical team did a really good job so
that's why I wasn't hurt and was obviously able to get out of the car. So
I was very, very happy with this and yes, I drove the classic Lotus here
last weekend and it was very different to Formula One nowadays. You're
sitting in the middle of the fuel tank and obviously it's so dangerous
compared to nowadays. The improvement is significant."
As for his chances here after spinning out during the classic race he took
part in last weekend, he said "It's a shame that on the Saturday it
was raining. Obviously sixties and seventies cars put a lot of oil down on
the circuit and I only had dry tyres! The circuit conditions were so
difficult! I had a little experience of the circuit and since my days at
Macau I have never driven a street circuit so I'm obviously looking
forward to driving such a historical street circuit in a Formula One car.
It should be very exciting. Hopefully it will go well for us. Giancarlo
had a very good race two weeks ago and the team's expectations are much
higher now. I'm really looking forward to it.
Juan Pablo Montoya is hoping for a better weekend
than last year and said "Last year, in Formula One, we couldn't really
find a good balance in the car, I never felt comfortable, so it's very
difficult to push it when you are not comfortable with the car. I think things
have changed since. Basically after Monaco and Canada last year, things really
changed within the team. I think we've understood things we've wanted from the
car a lot better and the results are coming. This year, from the beginning, we
got that. I think the approach is going to be a bit different and it should be
a lot better weekend.
Last year was horrible. If I can get out of here with some good points I will
be happy really.
As for how close they will be to Ferrari, he said "It is way too early in
the weekend to say how quick we are going to go. We were really expecting in
Austria to be as quick as them and we were not. I would be very surprised if
we can't be competitive here. We seem to be really strong in qualifying
against them, so if that would be the case then we might be able to have a
good qualifying and probably if we can qualify ahead of them here then half
the job could be done, you never know."
As for being on the podium with the 2 Ferrari drivers in Austria he said
"I've got to say I was a bit surprised, but I did enjoy that. It was a
good laugh to be there."
Montoya believes that Michael didn't need the 4 points and it would have
looked much better and said "Being in his (Michael) position it would be
very difficult to make a decision. Probably, in this position, you could stand
up and say I am happy with second, if it is a closer call then you would
probably take the points. But at this point, you would probably do the
opposite, it would have looked much better."
Rubens Barrichello believes his improved performance
is more due to an attitude change rather than a better car and said "I
don't think so. I think it's an attitude. I think my first pole position this
year was is the old car and already I think that when they gave me the chance
in the last four races of last year to be able to race and to be able to win
and so on, I think I've changed the way I approach things. It's very difficult
to race against Michael because he's already a very fast driver. So inside
your mind you can put a lot of things, but you forget about yourself. It was
two years of a lot of experience, a lot of going through things. Since the
last four races of last year I've had a good time, a good time to think of
myself and then the period of the vacation I had time to reorganise
everything. I had a new engineer on board and so on. And the new car is a very
good car, but it looks like everything is down to the new car, but I think
it's more to attitude."
When asked if he felt cheated by Ferrari after being able to beat Michael on
merit he said "I don't think the time has come, I think it is coming.
What matters is what you have inside your mind. If I feel I am happy with the
race and I am happy with that, I had to follow the orders and that is it. My
time will definitely come if I still keep determined to come. It has happened,
there is no way I can go back there and I am not going to gain anything by
saying something bad about the team. I feel very comfortable inside the team,
the car is great, it is the car that is going to give me a lot more wins, but
only time will tell. But I think the time is coming.
As for what would happen if a repeat of Austria occurred here, he said
"For sure, I think we are going to be talking a lot more before the race
to what can happen, but again like I said I don't want to think about
tomorrow. I will always enter the car thinking I will be able to win the race.
It was probably a good exercise what has happened in Austria, but there is a
full weekend ahead of us so we wait and see."
Jacques Villeneuve indicated that his good
performance in Austria was due to having a lighter fuel load and a stronger
car in race trim and said "For the last few years we've always
concentrated on a race set-up and in Austria, as in past years, there were ten
cars within half a second so the position on the grid made a bigger
difference. Then we had a different strategy than most people on the track
which allowed me to drive aggressively and I just had to go for it and have a
little bit of fun. The problem nowadays is when you do that you end up getting
penalties anyway, so there's not much point doing it. It was fun, it was
exciting, that's why I started racing years ago, to have fun like that on the
track and to play, and that's how it was last race."
He hopes to score some points by not getting frustrated and said "The
last few years we have had good results starting quite back on the grid. It is
a very different race to other ones because to overtake here you have to take
chances that probably mean you are both going to end up in the guard-rail. So
the key is not to get frustrated, to be there at the end and to be fast all
the time. In most years that is what we did and we ended up at the
On the issue of team orders, Jacques wasn't surprised by Ferrari's action but
described the podium actions unacceptable and called on Michael not to hide
his embarrassment and said "Of course it is very sad for everybody when
you watch a race and see the result of the last race mainly because it is so
early in the season and there is no fair fight basically. Even if it was
Rubens' race at the end of the day it is Michael that won and that is what
goes down in the book and that is what people remember, what is written in the
book and that is all that matters.
People shouldn't have been surprised. Everybody knew a situation like that
would happen. I think it would have been wiser for the team to have said
before the start of the season that that is what is going to happen. That way
nobody would have got that angry, instead of acting as if it was a big
surprise for everybody even within the team. That is a little bit difficult to
then listen to comments saying it happened two laps from the end.
So I don't really have a problem with team orders on the race track. The only
thing that I felt was unacceptable was the podium situation. If you win a
race, even if it is in a way that you didn't like, be a man and step on the
top step and take your trophy. Even if you are embarrassed because everybody
is booing at you, step up there. You accepted taking the win, you didn't slow
down, you felt good about it, you raised your hand on the last lap until you
heard people booing at you. Step up there, take your trophy, and be a man.
If you are given a win then you might as well take it but then stick with it,
don't fake embarrassment and wrongness and feeling bad about it and stuff like
Thursday Practice Session 1
Thursday Practice Session 2
Saturday Practice Session 1
Saturday Practice Session 2 Qualifying Session
Warm-up Session Race
11 AM Monaco
Time / 9 AM GMT
1 PM Monaco Time / 11 AM GMT
9 AM Monaco Time / 7 AM GMT
10:15 AM Monaco Time / 8:15 AM GMT 1 PM Monaco Time / 11 AM GMT 9:30 AM Monaco Time / 7:30 AM GMT 2 PM Monaco Time / 12 PM GMT