Q. When did you complete your negotiations with Williams?
A. Tuesday (3/9/96), Frank called me to say that all was settled. Our first contact was in 1994, just after the the death of Ayrton Senna and it was never broken off.
Q. Did you only speak with Williams?
A. No. I also spoke to Jordan, to not do so would have been to cut my own throat!
Q. A contract for two years with what status?
A. One year with Williams having an option for a further year and equal status with Jacques Villeneuve.
Q. What is the relationship like between yourself and Villeneuve?
A. The best possible. We recently spent an enjoyable evening together in Monaco. We knew each other in Japan where we competed together in F3000 with Irvine. At that time I thought that Jacques didn’t give the impression of taking his job very seriously. Then he got going again in the USA and made enormous progress.
Q. Schumacher has made some complimentary remarks with regard to your ability. How is your relationship?
A. I am grateful for what he has said about me. He has done a great job at Ferrari and his aggressiveness, which I have admired before in Karting, has surprised me again. His capacity to mould his team around him and adapt his style of driving to the characteristics of his car, equally surprised me. If the next two seasons unfold as he foresees, it could be entertaining, and not only for the German supporters! Of course I am aiming at the world title, but Michael is obviously a big challenge. The Ferrari is getting more competitive. The others too are also progressing.
11/9/96 – AUTOhebdo.