French Grand Prix 2001 - Friday Press Conference

Alain, yesterday Jean Todt told us that you're still talking about engines for next year - what are your feelings on the subject?
First of all we have a contract, obviously a contract can be discussed and we are talking very closely for next year and the year after - especially for next year obviously. Ferrari is helping us a lot not only technically on the human side and we are very close and it's very easy to talk with them about how we might have a better deal possibly.

What's been the effect of the points won in Canada and Monaco?
The effect is obviously we are eighth in the world championship and the money we receive the year after is in consideration of where we are in the world championship so you never know but we are more or less secure to finish in the first ten. We know it's tough on the budget for this year but we already have a big part of the budget for next year in place and the situation is getting better and better. At the end of the day what is important is to get a competitive car and you are able to make the points because of reliability and we are not looking bad.

What parts are coming in the future?
We are looking particularly on the aero package, we have a few things to come again. We are not going to work too much on a big part of the car because it's too late and we're having to spend the money we have on next year's car also but there's still a lot of things to be improved in terms of performance until the end of the year.

Michael Schumacher's getting dangerously close to your record of 51 wins - what are your feelings about that?
My feeling is it can happen in two races, or three or four. It's going to happen so I have no feeling except to have to answer your kind of questions almost every race! The feeling's also very positive in a way, he deserves to have this kind of record - I knew he was very much motivated for this kind of record, which is understandable. And there's nothing to say - you cannot win more than 50 races if you're not good, and he is the best at the moment, one of the best of all time and he deserves to have this record.


Mr. Prost, in Formula 1 the money is all-important - how tough is it for you this year compared to last year and how does it affect the performance?
It is more of a problem, it affects the performance but you cannot tell how much. What you need to have is the highest budget possible but you need the stability. I would prefer to have a lower budget but to know what is happening in the next five years rather than having a big budget one year and then dropping down. That's where we are this year and its difficult but on the positive side we're working on a low budget and we're working well. Everybody's focus is to make the best of this money and it's very good for the team. We're working in a good spirit, everybody's motivated to do the best job possible with less money and then when we get more money - because that's going to happen - it would be very good and very positive for the team.

You said that if you had to start the team again you would - but that maybe you wouldn't do it in France.
Yeah, sure that was an interview I did last week and the question was 'would I start it again in France' and I said that given the help and support we have had in France in the last 2-3 years I would say no because the interest to do it was because you could create a synergy around the team in terms of sponsors and these kinds of things. Technically we could be very, very strong in France because the technology is there and we are working much closer to some companies. In terms of support and sponsors and everything it's - as you can see on the car - not a French sponsor and it's very disappointing but that doesn't mean you should stop and it's done. I don't regret anything.

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