Belgium Grand Prix 1999 - Thursday Press Conference

Alain, how do you see the partnership with Jean?
What Jean says is true: friendship is on one side, while work is on the other. Over the past few years I have regularly talked with Jean about the possibility of his becoming a member of my team. When you talk about a team and work, friendship has to be put on one side. When the discussions are over, you can be friends again. But it was still very difficult for me to make a decision [about taking Jean as my driver]: when you are friends, you don't know what is likely to happen, but you don't want to break the friendship either, because to have friendships is a very important part of our lives. You don't want to lose it. But work is work, and I think it will be very good. When Jean is talking about the car and technical matters he is very professional -- maybe more professional than people looking from outside might imagine. In those circumstances it may help our friendship to be closer together as part of our work.

Was there a desire, on your side, to create an all-French F1 team?
None at all. It has been very annoying to see the suggestion put forward that I wanted to create an all-French F1 team from the beginning. That has not been the case. I wanted to create a team based in France, because that is part of the challenge. But apart from me and some of our partners, we are not all French. Our sponsors want to generate international exposure, and they want to be more and more international. But it is absolutely not a desire to create something which is 100 per cent French, either in terms of drivers, engine or sponsors.

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