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Circuit Paul Ricard. 02 June 2020
September 11, 2004
The top 3 race finishers - Elencevski, Whiteman and Wilkinson chatted to stand-in Pit Reporter Andy Graydon following the Belgian GP. It makes interesting reading as each drivers mental perceptions of how their seasons are going (compared to expectations) can really be noticed in the responses provided. There you go, sim racing and psycho-analysis all in the same place!

Winner - Steve Elencevski (FinOz - Ferrari (c))

Steve, you must be pleased with that win. Around a drivers circuit such as Spa you beat some very tough opposition out there. Were you pushing 100% all race?

"Definitely pleased with that win. I did run a bit heavy in the first stint, so my laptimes weren't that great although they we're consistent, so the team decided to switch strategies, where i could do 3 - 10 lap stints & therefore i pushed very hard in those 3 stints & i could lap some 8 tenths faster, so that's where we made up a lot of time & we got the all important win."

Your second victory in a row, and with Jakonen finishing 4th you?ve closed the gap to 14 points. Surely now, with another 4 races remaining, you must believe that a challenge for the Drivers Championship is a possibility?

"It sure is a possibility & we'll fight until the very end or until i'm mathematically out of it. It will be tough though, Mikko has the experience & plenty of data, where as we only have car-setup/data for 2 of the remaining 4 circuits - Monza & Magny-Cours, where we have tested. So we'll somewhat be in the dark in regards to setting up the car for Japan & Brazil, so we have a lot of work to do."

How do you see Monza going for you and the car?

"I think Monza will be a very close race. Not only will Mikko & Scott be up there, but there's a few other guys that could be fighting for top positions. I'd say that it could be the toughest of the remaining circuits for us. I think our package will probably suit the Magny-Cours & Brazilian circuits a lot better, but i'll still put in 110% & hope for another strong result."

2nd - Scott Whiteman (EIRE - Jaguar)

Scott, a magnificent recovery from 17th on the grid. I know you wanted to win here, as everywhere, but tell us what problems you had in your race?

"Well i had an incident around the middle of the race that cost about 5 seconds, and for the first 12 laps my pace was nowhere near what it should have been, i barely even went under 1 minute 46, but i'm not going to blame any piece of equipment, Steve was simply too good."

You are now 19 points behind Drivers Championship leader Jakonen, but only 5 behind Elencevski. Is the Drivers Championship still an achievable target for you and the team?

"Without some serious help from above, i highly doubt it."

You?ve had some technical glitches in recent races. Has the team managed to resolve these, and if so can we expect a strong performance in Italy?

"No, they have not yet been resolved, but i don't like to talk about them in a public forum, it sounds like i am making excuses."

You've hinted in previous press conferences that this year may be your last, and most of us probably thought you were kidding, however news from the EIRE camp suggests that they are searching for 2 drivers for 2005, any comments on this.

"Well for a team to survive they must always be looking for new talent, so it should be no surprise that EIRE are searching for multiple drivers for 2005. As for me, well this year has been tough mentally, off the track more than on the track, and the satisfaction i used to get from racing is long gone.

3rd - Daniel Wilkinson (Phoenix F1 - Renault)

Daniel, an astounding performance from Qualifying through to the race itself. Just how did that late call up to drive affect your performance?

"I definitely could've gone faster during qualifying, no doubt about that. There was a bit of a scramble to get the car setup for me but we managed it and got out there. I was surprised how fantastic the car felt! It was really stable and that made it a lot easier to drive!

Had a blast out there in the race today! Yeh wasn't a bad day for us! Not a bad day for Australia either! An all aussie podium! Congratulations to Steve too."

You took an unusual (for you) step of a 3 stop strategy. With so little track time, what was it that made you take this route? It clearly seems to have worked for you here.

"Had no idea how the car would handle with fuel so we went safe and used a fuel window that we could change if needed. As it turned out the car was quick enough for 3 stops so we used it.

We had a strange situation with the car, load it up with over 10 laps of fuel and I could do only 46's, but with less than 10 laps of fuel it immediately went a second faster - so we're still scratching our heads over that one."

This is your second best result of the 2004 season, and you are due to compete in the last 3 races for Phoenix F1. How confident are you of aiming for your first victory of 2004?

"It's been a very dissapointing year for myself and the team. A lot was expected from us and 4th in the Constructors isn't where we want to be. I can take a lot of blame for that as I just havn't performed.

Ive only just got the hang of this car but i'm still not confident of winning. The quality of the drivers in the league now is very strong so a bit of luck is needed to win any race this season. However, I'm feeling good behind the wheel right now, so I hope I can have an influence on how the Championship is decided, although I think Mikko's still gonna win."

A rumour has reached this esteemed reporter that you are planning to retire from gp racing at the end of this season. Is there any truth to this?

"No comment!"

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