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During the Marlboro Masters of Formula 3 at Zandvoort René Arnoux and Jacky Ickx were offered the chance to drive the World Championship winning Ferrari. Both couldn't refuse the offer and showed the fans at Zandvoort a fabulous demo on two days. On Sunday F1Racing.net's Stijn Keuris caught up with former F1-race winner René Arnoux.
What is it like driving an F1 car again?
Fantastic! Of course it's very different than it used to be but the feeling of driving fast remains the same. It's very interesting to drive such a car from these days.
What do you think of the traction control at the car?
To be honest I think it's a pity that they use the system in F1. It was better without it. You simply go into the corner and keep pedal to the metal and you'll get out of the corner without any problems. Good drivers can't show themselves here unfortunately. It's really too easy to drive with traction control on the car.
What else caught your attention when driving the Ferrari F1 car from 2001?
I am very impressed with the braking system. It's simply incredible!
Do you still follow Formula One?
Yes, though it's not really that exciting anymore. If you have a team like Ferrari the excitement is a bit less. I have a lot of respect for the way they perform lately though. They work very hard. Jean Todt is a close friend of mine and he is always working. With Michael Schumacher the team has a fantastic driver.
But if Schumacher would leave the team, could Ferrari remain as competitive as they are at the moment?
If Jean Todt remains at Ferrari I'm sure he'll find a good replacement for Michael. If you race at Ferrari you have the opportunity to test a lot and thus it will be easier to perform a lot better.
Who could be that new talent replacing Schumacher?
No idea… Perhaps there will be a new talent soon, but a new 'Schumacher' I haven't seen yet to be honest.
I'm sure you think there is someone else out there with the talent apart from Schumacher right?
Yes, I like Raikkonen. It's just a boring guy, he never smiles. Racing should be fun, and you race because you enjoy it but I never ever see Räikkönen with a smile on his face. On track he's very quick though.
Do you miss personalities in F1?
I find it a pitty that there aren't many drivers who say what they think. They should show their emotions a lot more. The audience should see more emotion in Formula One to make it more interesting. I remember once at Monza after free practice that I got out of the car and the French TV crew came to me to ask me a few questions. One moment I'm out there on track and the other moment I'm telling the fans what happened. Nowadays you have to apply for an interview at least a month in advanced and if you're lucky you get to speak to a driver for about 10 minutes. That's really a pity because you don't show the fans what they want to see: emotions from the drivers
Do you think it can be changed?
No idea… there is so much money involved in Formula One that everyone became very careful with what they can and cannot say.
What would you do to make racing more exciting?
They should stop making pitstops. You see Schumacher can be third or fourth but he will still win without overtaking anyone. It's a new way of winning, and I can't really enjoy that. They should all race with a full tank, at least the races will be more interesting again I'm sure.
Do you think Schumacher wouldn't be winning all the races then anymore?
That's hard to say. I just think the races will be more exciting. If you're in second position he has to overtake someone at least to become first. The problem is still though that Ferrari is simply the best team at the moment. If the regulations will change that V8 engines will be used and cars on three wheels Ferrari will still win.
What did you enjoy most in your F1 career?
I always enjoyed the development of the car. A race is a race, but improving the car is something special. Especially the development of the turbo-charged engine at Renault was exciting. In the beginning it was very difficult but in the end we almost ended up as World Champion!
You've been racing for Ligier, which became Prost. Do you find it a pity that the French team doesn't exist anymore?
"Alain Prost is a fantastic driver, but that doesn't mean you are a good team boss. As a driver you only have to focus on one person: you. But as a team boss you have to take care of the whole team. Prost didn't have the experience to do that. It's very difficult to get a big F1 team work towards the same direction."
Would you like to run a Formula One team one day?
Yes, I'd love to run a team. But you need a lot of money to set-up your own team. If you don't have that you might as well stay at home or race in Formula 3. You only have a few big teams in F1 or teams that will become big. Those are only the big car manufacturers unfortunately.
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