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Austria post race press conference


Q: Rubens, sitting in the middle, how difficult was it to make the decision to move over on the last lap?

RB: I think I have had the experience, so it wasn't...I'm not joking, I have been asked to do it, I have said nothing and I think it's a team decision. I've just signed a two year contract with them and I thought I should respect it.

Q: But as a racer, you must feel a twinge. You've only won one race previously. Is it very difficult?

RB: I'm going through a period of a very good time of my life. I'm becoming a better person, a better driver, so there's no point in arguing. I think my determination will bring me a lot more wins, so that's the way I see it, so there's no point arguing. We saw it when Michael gave me the trophy, the trophy I take home today so I'm happy for that.

Q: On a more positive note, it was once again a very clever strategy by Ferrari. In Brazil, we all thought you would stop twice, you stopped once, and here obviously you were planning to stop twice. Once again good work by Ross Brawn and the team...

RB: Fantastic and the car is working fantastically well. It's not just the car and the engine, it's also the tyres. The tyres are really good and we could fight the whole race through. It's been a really good race, I need to thank the whole team and my engineers because the car felt fantastic. I was pushing nicely, I wasn't overdriving and the only real point where I took care was after the safety car because the brakes and the tyres were really cold so we had to take care. The rest was really good.

Q: Michael, first win in Austria completes the set of winning at all the circuits, but it's very obvious you've taken no joy from this victory.

MS: Yes, very obvious. As Rubens pointed out, it was a team decision. Last year, I was sort of involved in the situation because I felt the championship was much more tight than it was this year. This year I didn't even think about this, and before the race I was asked and I said 'I don't believe there is going to be a team strategy involved.' And suddenly, they told me that he would move over and yeah, I'm not very pleased about it either. I think nobody of us is honestly but then we have to look what is the team's ambitions and the team's ambition is to win the championship and you have to secure this because you never know what is going to happen in the next races. Therefore, well, I have to thank Rubens because he has done a fantastic race, he has been outstanding all weekend, honestly and this gesture in the way we have done it shows the sort of work we are doing together, the belief that we have in each other and the relationship to some degree because it's not natural what he has been doing, the way he's doing it and I'm just thankful for him, for the points but obviously I don' t take a lot of joy from the victory.

Q: Who actually made this decision?

MS: At the end of the day, it comes from Ferrari itself and there is obviously the top person at Ferrari is Mr. Montezemolo and it goes down to Mr. Todt and so on. Who is in the end the person, I don't know but believe me, the team is investing a lot of money for one sort of target and imagine in the end it wouldn't be enough by the this amount of points, how stupid would we look? We have always had this philosophy, I think it is very well known to everybody that this is the philosophy, it's within the sport. Some people may like it, some people may not like it. As I said today, I felt a little bit sorry as well and I'm not really in favour of it but then you never know what happened in the end. I'm sure that the way Rubens drove today he has a lot of opportunities to secure victories this year and I told him on the podium that I hope that the championship is soon finished so we can go for real racing. I'm sure he's going to win loads of races.

Q: Juan Pablo, a very eventful race and a very frightening incident at the end of the first safety car. Perhaps you can talk us through it?

Juan Pablo MONTOYA: I didn't really see anything. I was turning in, I was right on the inside of Sato and suddenly a Sauber came back was right in front of him, there was a huge pileup and I thought I was very lucky. That made my race as well, because my strategy was to be on the hard tyres and at the beginning of the race, we didn't have the pace we needed.

Q: It was noticeable that you actually didn't take any tyres at all at your pit stops?

JPM: Yeah, they were.

Q: That said, the two safety cars probably did help you get past Ralf.

JPM: Yeah, that's what made the race. Ralf was quite quick out of the pits as well, but I managed to get a few laps in really quick right before the stop and that was enough.

Q: Rubens, are you now looking forward to Monaco?

RB: Very much. Since I've started driving the new car and everything has been bright, obviously I don't have as many points in the championship as I would have liked. But Monaco is a home race for me as well so I enjoy being there so I will be fighting. It's the best year of my career so I will just take the opportunities and I will be driving fast for sure.

Q: And if we have the same situation again, the last lap, you ahead running 1-2, will you let him through again?

RB: We will see. It's an internal matter, it's not up to us to talk now.

Q: Were you expecting that decision? When you were sitting there the other day, it was almost as though you wouldn't commit yourself to saying no, it won't happen this year, even though you said at the launch of this year's Ferrari you said you had been reassured that it wouldn't happen again.

RB: Listen, there's no point... I feel sorry that you guys are doing that because it's been a team decision. I promise you that I have always been proud to drive alongside Michael, that's the way I took the approach, to sign for Ferrari the first time, that's the way I've taken the challenge. He's a superb driver but I've always kept my determination. I think my time is coming around. If I'm going to be able to win races in the way I wanted or the way I believe I can, I don't know, but today was a team decision, there's nothing to talk about. I think I've grown up from what we've had in the past. I think we should stop talking about it. It's a team decision. Today, it wasn't like last year when we were talking, talking, talking. I've been asked to do it and I said that there would be any reason for that because we were going quite fast in first and second, they told me they wanted me to do it. I said, I will do it and that's it.

Q: So what do you have to do to win a race for Ferrari?

RB: It's obviously be there at the right time, at the right moment. I don't wish, I promise you, from the bottom of my heart, I don't Michael is out of the race for me to win the race but I just have to keep on doing my good work and I feel very close to the guys. Obviously I wish they hadn't said anything today but I've got the trophy which I will to wife whose birthday it is today, and to my mother as well because it's mother's day. I'm a happy guy. I think the way the race went, as everybody saw it was probably one of the best races of my life, so that's it. (Applause)

Q: How as the car, was it faultless?

RB: People are saying are you going faster because of the car. I feel that the car is helping, but I think it's an attitude, from the middle of last year, the way I have changed my mind and stopped this crying and just concentrated on driving. I think the car has been engineered very well and it's been a fantastic... it's done what I was expecting it to do. The changing balance went the way I was expecting so fantastic. I drove the whole race within the limits, I haven't done anything silly and I've kept it cool the whole time, so the tyres were there the whole time which was great. The car was perfect the whole way through.

Q: Was that first pit stop, when you both came in at the same time expected?

RB: I saw Michael behind me when I saw the big screen. I actually didn't know he came in behind me because I was in front so they called me in first, but it was really amazing the way they acted so fast and it's very nice to have a team like that because it was a superb job and then we could go.

Q: Did they call you in or did you say I'm coming in.

RB: They called me in.

Q: Michael, you've heard everyone's reaction in here and out there. What do you think it's going to do to your reputation and the reputation of the sport?

Michael SCHUMACHER: I don't think it is the way we would like to have the situation, certainly. I'm not very pleased about it either, especially the way this year is going, but then we probably have to respect the team for this decision, although maybe there isn't a lot of respect from some people. But these people who don't respect the decision don't run a team and don't know how much there is involved in the one target we have. In the end, if we may the opportunity to do it, to win the championship, then.... If you look at last year, we had the same situation and in the end it wasn't probably necessary to do what we have done here last year but you don't know before. If you look at what has happened with Hakkinen and Coulthard in 1999, Hakkinen could have almost lost the championship because of the Spa situation in 1999. If this would have happened, I'm sure some of you guys would have gone back and said why didn't you let him go by there. It's a two way situation where you never win, you will always be the loser and as I said, I'm not very happy about it either, today. I wished they wouldn't have come on the radio to tell me this. I wish we could have finished the race the way it was. I was pushing until the end, and you never know what is going to happen but it was clearly not enough. He did a superb race, Rubens, today. He simply has outpaced me this weekend and that's something, from the team point of view, is actually, from the team point of view, to some degree, challenging, I would say, even from my point of view. Having a strong guy like him next to me is really pushing me. So the race itself I enjoyed with the exception of the last couple of hundred meters.

Q: How was the car during the race, which car did you take?

MS: I took the normal race car, we didn't have any problems.

Q: Was it performing as you were complaining about it in qualifying?

MS: No, it was performing good. You saw I did the fastest lap time, so it can't be really that bad, but once you're behind and then obviously with the safety car strategy, coming in behind Rubens meant that I lost some time, then I was sitting behind Ralf and I never could close the gap any more so I was sitting there and just had to accept that I wasn't fast enough this weekend.

Q: Were you also called in by the team?

MS: Yes, it's pretty natural for this situation to call in both cars. You lose less by staying behind, you lose five or ten seconds, but going round once behind the safety car means you lose maybe 20 seconds, so it was a very clever decision by the team to do so.

Q: Do you think the sport's credibility has been damaged today?

MS: I don't think so because we have seen this in racing all the time. I'm sure next week there will be lots of moaning and lots of complaints about this, but then you see the sport has always seen things like this, whether they are in the middle of the season or whether they are a little bit earlier or a little bit later in the season, they have always been. Some will understand, some will not understand, maybe the majority here today is not understanding. I understand this as well, but I don't think this is in our hands honestly. At least, today it wasn't.

Q: Just a point perhaps, you have actually pulled over for your team-mate in the past when the championship was in another situation...

MS: Yes. No, I don't think it would be any different. The think you mustn't forget is that Rubens was very unlucky at the beginning of the season with his retirements so right now, looking at the point situation, unfortunately for Rubens, it's too clear in my favour and that's probably why the team took this decision. If the points situation was much more close, I'm sure they wouldn't have done anything.

Q: Juan Pablo. A relatively simple race in comparison. How was it?

JPM: It was okay. I think to start with it was quite difficult. I was on the hard tyre and I think the safety car made my race. I decided to go as long as I could with the fuel and it really paid off. I had four or five more laps than Ralf and it was enough to get ahead of him.

Q: You had a pretty unfortunate view of the major accident...

JPM: I was very lucky. I could have been ahead and he would have hit me.

Q: Did it do any damage to the car?

JPM: No. It was going fairly quickly backwards. I couldn't even see whether it was going backwards or forwards, that's how fast it was going, then I saw on TV that it was going backwards actually.

Q: On TV? You have been watching the big screens?

JPM: Yeah, it is quite entertaining, to watch the race from there.

Q: The tyres seemed to last forever today...

JPM: Yeah, this morning I went on the hard tyre, Ralf went on the soft one, and I tried to do the race on one set and at the end of the day it did pay off because at the end of the day it did work.


Q: Michael. According to your very strong position in the team, couldn't you have disobeyed the order?

MS: I was thinking very strongly about this and that is why said I was hoping there wouldn't be such an order. If you can see the telemetry data on the straight when Rubens backed off, I backed off but then he backed off even further. You sit outside and you have a lot of time to think about all of this. We sit in there and it wasn't a long preparation of discussion. They came on in the last couple of metres on the radio and said that he would back off. I didn't feel like, but then I have to be honest to say no it was probably the wrong decision to win this race, yes I agree, but if I had the chance to turn it around I would probably do but I cannot now.

Q: Juan Pablo. As a driver and sportsman, what do you think about what happened to Michael and Rubens?

JPM: I won't really get involved in it. It is team orders. That's the way they work. It is disappointing, I would say, for Rubens. He has been working, and in the last few races you can see he has been starting to out-pace Michael and he has been really strong. I really felt he deserved this. Michael, when you really think about it, doesn't really have any challenge in the championship. I am running second and we have done six races and he is already more than 20 points ahead of me. And they are maybe a second a lap clear on us, so what they are nervous about I don't know. But it is a team decision, I am sorry for Rubens, and he did deserve it.

Q: Michael. In the unilaterals, did you say you discussed a situation such as this in the morning and thought it was not necessary?

MS: No we didn't discuss it. This morning I was asked by a journalist whether I would expect any such decision and I said no.

Q: Michael, what is this championship worth now?

MS: I didn't know I am champion yet.

Q: If you win this championship, Michael, what is this championship worth now?

MS: I don't think that is a very nice question to ask now.

Q: Isn't this a sport? Isn't this about motor racing?

MS: (No comment)

Q: Michael. Are you going to return the victory in the next race to Rubens?

MS: I don't think Rubens needs me to return this favour. The way he drives now he is going to win a race sooner or later by himself, without me. But be sure, if he doesn't it will be returned. I was hoping we had the chance already last year, but the way the race went in Suzuka we couldn't, obviously. As I said before I think he is really strong this year and he does it out of his efforts.

Q: Michael. You said if you could reverse it you would. Are you then saying that if the FIA excluded both of you for bringing the sport into disrepute, you would not appeal?

MS: Thank you.

Q: Michael. You said before in the German TV commentary that you were longing for the next race to come up soon to get back to real racing. So what was this today?

MS: It was a real race until near the end. You just keep riding on us. The situation is as it is. We are all not happy about it, we have agreed on that, so the thing I believe, the next race, once we get into racing, to some degree it will fall back and we concentrate on the next event. That is what I would like to do because I don't want to go on and discuss through and through on this one, because it is not going to change unfortunately.

Q: In the next race are you going to discuss with the team about team orders two laps before the chequered flag?

MS: Honestly, it is not in our hands. To some degree I am in favour of this and have always said that team strategy is important. We are maybe in a very special situation this year where we have a very strong car, we have so far a reasonably comfortable lead in terms of points, and that is maybe why it is a little bit more a point of discussion. And that is why as well that I am not very happy about it. But then what is really different to last year, to some degree? It is the same time in the year, the Grand Prix is the same one, and you have to see the target of the team. The team wants to win the championship and they invest with sponsors, with people behind, so much money in that, if we fail in this target for maybe a point in the end, you never know, then we look stupid and the team simply doesn't want to get into this situation. And as I said before if Rubens would have had a different points situation I am sure the team wouldn't have taken this decision.

Q: Michael. Do you know if the FIA rule against team orders is still in use?

MS: Whether there is still an existence of a rule? The funny thing is if it was in the last race, nobody would complain. We would do exactly the same. So go to the facts. The fact is that it is a team sport, isn't it? So whether you do it a little bit early in the year or you do it later...and it is not only us. You keep on picking on us because we are the highlight, we are in the first position. But if you go to other teams they would do exactly the same. It is a common thing. I have seen it with Sauber, I have seen it with much smaller teams, where if a faster driver or a driver for the points situation is in such a situation they will call team strategy, sometimes early in the year, sometimes later. That is the fact. I know you don't have the understanding for this, but you have to maybe see another opinion and point of view and respect this.

Q: Juan Pablo. Your body language in this press conference seems that you are enjoying this situation...

JPM: I am actually surprised by the amount of BS going around here because Michael already told you that it is a team sport this is a team order and you have got to accept it. Myself, like anybody else, would like to see fair racing. In a way it is fair racing. It is probably the first time this year that Rubens has had the chance to beat Michael and he did it. He beat him on the track and he had to back off. It is a team order, everybody is disappointed because they saw a challenge for Michael and it disappeared but...

Q: If you were in the same position as Rubens, what would you do?

JPM: Well, I would probably have to lift. If I was in Rubens' position I either lift or look for a job somewhere else. Simple.

Q: Rubens. Who gave you this decision via radio, Ross or Jean, and how many laps before the race?

RB: This is internal. There is no point. Why should we talk about that? It won't go back now, okay? What is done is done, it's not important and I have a slot in half an hour - can you let us go? Thank you.

Q: Michael. You were talking about sponsors who may be unhappy if you miss the championship at the end of the year, but do you think they are happy at this kind of situation?

MS: Maybe not as happy, but they would be far less happy if we didn't win the championship. I would think we are done (with the questions), because it just goes on and on and on.

Q: Michael. Ferrari is such a strong team in every way. You say it would look stupid if it failed to win the world championship given this sort of result, but are there any signs that the team can learn that this kind of event makes it look more stupid than it would in that kind of situation?

MS: In the end of last year, did anyone ask me about Austria? No. Everyone in the end altogether thought it was okay and it was a fantastic job the team had done. Nobody discussed about Austria any more because it is one event out of 17 and that is simply it. Let's not go on and on about it because there is no point. We have discussed why and what is the reason, we have gone through the emotions of the people sitting here, and that is it.

Q: Michael do you want to win the world championship because you are the best racer or because you have got the best contract?

MS: (No comment)

Q: All three of you are talking about this as a team sport. Why do we have an individual world championship for drivers?

All drivers: (No comment)

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