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CART Media Conference

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  CART

CART Media Conference

Adrian Fernandez
Max Papis
August 5, 2002


MERRILL CAIN: Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for joining us for this week's CART media teleconference. I'm Merrill Cain with CART public relations. We're pleased to be joined today by Adrian Fernandez, owner of Fernandez Racing and driver of the #51 Tecate/Quaker State /Telmex Honda/Lola Bridgestone. Adrian was of course injured in the closing laps of the last CART FedEx Championship Series event, the Molson Indy Vancouver. Over the course of the last week, he's been recovering from a hairline fracture of his left hip suffered in that accident. Actually it's an accident that Adrian has called the worst of his career. The injury will force Adrian to miss this weekend's race, the CART Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio. We're also pleased to be joined today by the driver who will replace Adrian behind the wheel of the No. 51 car, Max Papis. Adrian, we'll begin with you on the teleconference today. First of all, give us an update on your condition. How are you feeling? How is the rehabilitation going? If you could also tell us your feelings in bringing in a driver of McDonald's's considerable skills as a replacement as you continue your recovery.

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: First of all, thank you for everybody to be here. It's an important day for us. My recovery is getting better, even though we as an athlete are always trying to want quicker recovery than what we're having, even though the recovery is coming quicker than everybody expected. It's very painful. I have to spend basically eight hours a day from massages, you know, all type of electrostimulation in my skin to try to get the swelling down. You know, a lot of exercise in the gym, in the pool, et cetera, et cetera. Every day I can feel that I'm moving more. I'm still very stiff. I still have a lot of swelling on my right leg and my butt. But it's getting better, and I feel that if I keep improving the way I'm doing, hopefully I will be ready to get back on the car for Elkhart Lake. You never know. I'm treating every day as it comes, give it my best effort, trying to rest as much as I can, trying to eat as healthy as I can, and try to push, you know, as hard as I can without exceeding, you know, your body limitation. So I have the best group of people taking care of me. Terry has given me the best advice and Steve. I have Brett Fischer, which I think in my opinion is one of the best physiotherapists here in Phoenix, together with my trainer. You know, they're giving me the best possible help and physiotherapy to get back as soon as possible. In terms of Max, well, Don Halliday and Tom Anderson, my partners, we were actually thinking, and I was thinking actually from day one, day two, when I had the accident, I mean, I was so hurt in that, you know, it was hard to believe that I could get back into the race car that soon. So that's when we start thinking. Everybody put their thoughts. Everybody made sort of their list of people that they thought could take my place for the next race. We all came with the same name, which was Max. We all think that Max is a proven driver. I've been racing with him for so many years. You know, he's the best driver available. He has a lot of experience. Unfortunately, he had some problems with his team which he couldn't continue the season but, I mean, it was very impressive what he did with such little resources, such a small team. That's I think what impress everybody. We thought that Max can help the team and lead the team together with Shinji has raced dramatically in the last three our four races, and lead us into a good way for Mid-Ohio. So I'm very pleased that Max was able to take the offer and join us for this next race.

MERRILL CAIN: Thanks, Adrian. With that let's bring in Max Papis. First all off, Max, congratulations on this great opportunity. It's obviously been an up-and-down season for you. You competed in the first five races of the season for Sigma Auto Sport, scoring 32 championship points, you had two podium finishes for really an underfunded team. You had to sit on the sidelines for the last five events, but now you get an opportunity to showcase your abilities again for Fernandez Racing in Mid-Ohio this weekend. It's also the place where you made your first Champ car start back in 1996. Can you talk about this opportunity, what it means for you to get back on the racetrack?

MAX PAPIS: First of all, let me tell you I'm extremely pleased to be here talking with you guys. You know, Adrian, Tom and Don gave me great opportunity here. You know, first of all, I wish Adrian to be back in the car as soon as possible because, you know, being a replacement driver is not really the way I like to be in motor racing. Luckily it's a circumstance where Adrian is not really badly hurt and he's on his way to recover. So I think that this is a great opportunity again, you know, to join a really professional team with a great fan basis, maybe one of the greatest in CART now. I've been able to work with Honda since the first time in 1994 when I drove my first ever Formula 1 car for them in Team Lotus. So I feel that, you know, doing this right now and doing it in such a professional environment as Fernandez Racing and doing it at Mid-Ohio where actually I did my race debut in 1996 is something that will make me very proud. I have a lot of race fan bases as well there. Hopefully we're going to join mine and Adrian together and I think it's not going to be left anyone to clap hands for anybody else (laughter).

MERRILL CAIN: We have a number of journalists on the line here, both American and from south of the border as well. Let's open it up for questions.

Q. Adrian, are you visiting a facility here in Phoenix for your ongoing therapy or are they coming to your home in Paradise Valley?

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: I go. It's south of Phoenix. I don't know if you have heard of fishers port. Brett Fischer is a guy that really trains a lot -- the guys from the Diamondbacks, many other athletes. He's one of the top physiotherapists. He has his own business now. It's south of Phoenix. I commute every day. It's just 25 minutes, so it's not bad.

Q. What are you doing with Brett? Is it eight hours a day?

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: Well, with him basically I spend like three hours. He does a lot of -- they put these things, I can't remember the name, they put this cream on top of you.

MAX PAPIS: Electrostimulator.

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: That one (laughter). They put all to my body. Right now it's very hard. What they're trying to do is stimulate the blood. There is a lot of basically bad blood there that is basically dead, almost dead, so they're trying -- there's so much swelling there, they're just trying to relieve and try to get it away from that area. The swelling is going away. He puts me heat and cold, other type of stimulation. Then he puts me to do some exercises, some massages. But every day is different because depending on how the injury is going, every day is different. I go to my club where I do a lot of exercise in the swimming pool. Then I do some exercise that I can do, for example, my upper body that is not hurt. I can keep my fitness level up. Cardiovascular, it's hard to keep it up because there is nothing really that I can do for it. I can do some cycling, but very low pace. So at the moment I'm just trying sort of to keep up with something so, you know, I don't lose too much. I was in very good shape before the accident. I think that is helping me tremendously to get back.

Q. Are you using a cane or anything? Can you walk okay?

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: No, I'm using crutches. Because the fractures are on the left side of my hip, one close to the coccyx, to the pelvis, it's very uncomfortable to put weight on my left leg. I can put maybe 60% weight on the left leg and a hundred percent on the right one. I still have to walk with crutches at the moment.

Q. Max Papis has a good record in Mid-Ohio last year. He start in position 26 and finish 9. This is a good position to the race. Do you think in this to select Papis to the team?

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: Not really. I mean, after we thought about Max, then we thought about what he's done there in the past, but it was just purely coincidence. I think giving him the proper equipment, he can be very quick everywhere. I mean, Max has a very good foundation of fans and people since he drove with the former team in Mid-Ohio. He has good results there. I think at the end, it just worked perfectly. All of that was just a coincidence.

MERRILL CAIN: Max actually wound up I believe in the 24th position last year at Mid-Ohio. He does have a couple of Top 5 finishes at the course, if I'm not mistaken.

MAX PAPIS: Absolutely. Mid-Ohio was the place where I made my debut and I finished fifth in '99, I think. You know, is just something really special. Again, as I told you, be back in the car after two months, it's great honor. The other important things, you know, I hold 32 points in the championship. I think that with few more points, maybe I can be back in the Top 10 again (laughter).

MERRILL CAIN: You never know what might happen.

MAX PAPIS: You never know.

Q. Adrian, are you going to be able to make it up here at all this weekend or are you going to have to stay in Phoenix? What's the projection as to when you'll be able to go back in the car?

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: Yeah, we thought about it. But it will be very bad for me to go to Mid-Ohio because it's a lot of flying time, it's a lot of downtime for me to recovering. You know, there is a lot of things that I'm doing that I cannot do in Ohio. The following weekend is the next race. If I'm really trying to get back on the race car, those four, five days that I'll be there, I think I can use them very productively here in Phoenix just trying to get back in shape.

Q. Max, it's great to hear that you're coming back to Mid-Ohio. You're certainly right about all the fans you have here. At the CART town meeting last Thursday here in Columbus, Chris Pook mentioned he expects next year the car counts to be back up to the range of maybe 22, 24, several teams will be coming in. Have you been talking with anybody in particular about a ride for next year?

MAX PAPIS: I'm a businessman, at the same time I'm a sportsman. Of course, you know, I've been looking around for different options for me for next year. But at the moment, you know, my 110% focus is on Mid-Ohio, give the best results I can for Adrian's team. I know that Don Halliday and Tom and Adrian have been putting a lot of effort up to now. I feel that their task for success is very similar to what has been my task for success this year. At the beginning, we started with nothing, and we ended up third in the championship, actually going twice on the podium. I feel that I want to give my 110% focus to bring home the best results I can. Of course, I've got people in place that are doing the talking, doing the controlling what's happening in the market for me for the future. Again, you know, future, you never know what's going to happen. Maybe Adrian want to have one more car in CART. For me next year, a lot of things are going to be up. As I said, I'm a businessman. At the moment my only focus is doing the best I can for Fernandez Racing this weekend. If that is going to lead to something more for the future, is something that is going to be more than welcome and I'm going to evaluate that in the best way I can.

Q. Do you know if it's possible you will be in Elkhart Lake?

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: Well, if I go to race there, probably I will go Thursday. I will fly Thursday before the event.

MERRILL CAIN: I think she was asking when would you make that determination.

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: Sorry, sorry. Well, basically it will have to be almost on Wednesday or Tuesday, you know, before that week. Hopefully after this week I will start getting better and better. I think right now if I would choose to go to Mid-Ohio, it was going to be the wrong decision. I'm still in a lot of pain. I can't imagine right now to sit on the race car. But my body is improving, as I said, considerably every day. So I hope to know something by next Monday. But every day I'm getting better, so probably even Wednesday or Tuesday of next week will be the time to start realizing if I'm close or not close to drive again.

Q. Can we say that 2003 will be the year of your triumph together with Max?

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: 2003? It would be nice. I tell you, I mean, I have talked to Don and Tom. I mean, we would love to have Max as a driver next year. You know, we working in a lot of areas to try to find sponsors, as Max is working in his area to find some sponsors. You know, I think that will be a very successful combination. You know, it will be nice to have somebody like Max, you know, helping leading the team. You know, this team is still very young, but he has a lot of good talent. You know, the team I think is ready to win. There are a few little things that we need to put in place so the team can be a hundred percent competitive. But, you know, drivers like Max would definitely help the team raise their game and get to where we want to be. So we're working hard to get the sponsors and to get the support we need to hire people like Max Papis. That would be ideal for us.

Q. Max, Mid-Ohio, shall we say, will be a sort of revenge to your undeserved situation?

MAX PAPIS: You know, first of all, definitely, no, is not a revenge because I don't feel -- I feel I've done everything in my power to bring home results every time I could this year. You know, it's a good satisfaction, you know, for sure. I have a lot of fire and a lot of hunger inside of me in order to go out and achieve the best results I can. You know, this couple of months has been a lot of thoughts going through my mind, a lot of things. I've been thinking a lot about my life, my career. You know, I've been training really hard in order to keep my physical fitness up, even if it's very difficult because, you know, not being in a car, you cannot really replicate what the physical effort is going to happen when you're going to be in the car. But I feel that I have a lot of hunger and a lot of fire inside of me. Hopefully these things is going to bring home a good result for Adrian and, again, I'm always the same person, I am always very determined and focused person. But I keep the smile on my face because motor racing is always motor racing, you know, is not a war.

Q. Adrian, looking towards this weekend, when the decision was made that you could not get back into the car, what went through your mind? How do you handle that?

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: Well, is not the first time has happened to me. Remember a few years ago in '99 I broke my wrist in Detroit. I actually missed four races at that time. I could find PJ Jones replace me for those races. When you're injury, you're injury. There's nothing you can do. It's an unfortunate situation. Some of us as drivers have been there. You know, you just have to understand your situation and, you know, the priorities, your priorities, you know, actually change. You know, my priority right now is to get as healthy as I was before and get into the race car as soon as possible. When you're in a situation like that, basically it's hard. But, I mean, maybe '99 was a little bit harder because I was in very good position in the championship. Unfortunately, this year we're not as strong as we wish we will be in the championship. It does hurt a little bit, but at the same time I think it will be a good opportunity for us to have Don Halliday and our engineering staff work with another driver and see where we are with that. You know, I don't think is too negative. I always believe that things happen for a reason. I believe this is happening for a reason. At the end we will see what opportunities this bad situation is going to bring.

Q. On Sunday the difference will be you'll be watching a car that has your name printed on the side of it, you'll be watching it from TV.

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: It will be nice. I'll be relaxed. Max is going to be suffering there.

MAX PAPIS: I tell you guys, I've been watching the races on TV, as well, from Italy. It's a strange feeling.

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: It is a strange feeling. Don't mess around with my cockpit, Max. Don't change the things. I like the way they are (laughter).

MAX PAPIS: Okay. I'm going to keep it as it is.

Q. Max, you mentioned briefly a few moments ago what it's been like for the last five races. You talked about trying to keep your physical conditioning up. You're as much, in my opinion, a mental racer as you are a physical racer. How have you tried to stay mentally sharp?

MAX PAPIS: First of all, let me tell you, you know, when I started my season this year, I never thought I would end up stop racing at Laguna Seca. It's been a very unfortunate situation, something that I couldn't predict, something that really upset me a lot because I was very committed to bring home very good results. We were on a right way of achieving great results. Actually I still hold 32 points in the championship. Keeping the past in the past and looking in the future, I felt, you know, being out of the races, you know, gave me time to think about, you know, my life besides motor racing. Is not easy to be out there watching on TV people that you know you can do better job than some. You know, you have the will, you have the passion, and you can't do it. But at the same time life is unfair. So, you know, life is always unfair. You need to push things towards what is going to be the best for you. You have to create your own opportunity. Unfortunately, on this situation with Adrian, again, is not what I wanted to do. Again, you know, I'm not someone who is around in the paddock waiting for someone to get hurt to jump in the car. That's absolutely far away from any of my concept and my value of racer. But, you know, I was pleased that Adrian choose me in a very unfortunate moment. In this moment I'm very close to him, I really do understand what means being hurt. I was hurt a couple years ago in Fontana. Luckily was the last race of the season. Took almost two months for me to recover. It's a difficult mental process. At the same time, you know, your mind doesn't really have much time to think about, "All right, who do I have to ask to be replace? Who is the guy I want in the car?" Your mind is on, "I need to get better. I need to be in the car immediately." These decisions are very delicate decisions. To come back on my side, I say to you again, I was out of the car for a while, but the fire that is inside of me has always been inside of me and is here. Other people have the opportunity to do what Adrian did. They didn't. Sorry for them. I'm very pleased to join Adrian. I'm going to do the best I can and give all the fire and all the passion I've got for the sport to Adrian's team. Maybe for just one weekend, but it's a fun thing for me, too.

Q. You say you looked at your life, had a lot of time to think. Did you come to any conclusions?

MAX PAPIS: I'm not a poet. I'm living out my life. My life is complete even without motor racing. I'm a happy person even without motor racing. Of course, I love motor racing, and motor racing is the way for me to achieve my goals and my dreams in my life. It's the thing that I'm the best at it. I can't play soccer that well. I felt, you know, through motor racing, I've always been able to achieve my goals and my dreams in my life. Again, I feel that I have different value and different things. It's just a little bit of time to think about what's the important part of life, that is your values, your being a good person, and looking around to see what the future can bring. At the same time looking the future with -- as I always said, I'm not desperate. I am a race car driver that has a lot of wins still in his backpack, a lot of will, and I'm going to achieve my goals, what I want to do in the future. At the moment the goal, again, is working with Adrian, giving the best things I can, and hopefully is going to be back at Elkhart Lake, and he will maybe need me there as an advisor, nothing else.

Q. Adrian, have you ever talked to get any Mexican driver that you thought in 2003 probably will be in racing to prove in these events when you are missed?

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: No. We considered all of our options. We talk with our sponsors in Mexico. In reality, there is nobody really ready right now to just jump on the car. I mean, there is not much practice that you have on Friday. You have one hour and a half. After that you go to qualifying. They took a lot of the practice that we had last year on Friday. It puts a lot of pressure on somebody that has not even driven the car. The only really guy that can do it right now is Luis Diaz, which is in Atlantic. Unfortunately, there is no time to put him on the race car for practice or anything like that. Again, Honda doesn't allow to really put any drivers without any laps on the car prior to an event. So this happened so quickly, there was not a way to make that even possible. That was an easy choice in that respect because that was not an option.

Q. Max, do you think life give revenge? (Inaudible) has an opportunity with Patrick, you with Adrian.

MAX PAPIS: You know, first of all, let me tell you, I bought a Spanish dictionary. I have for you guys to make all the Spanish interview you want. I'm improving my Spanish every day. I'm watching Spanish TV. First of all, I want to tell you something finally. At my first ever race there at Mid-Ohio, the first ever live interview difficult was for TV Azteca. Was on the grid. It's kind of a funny thing for me to be back in an all Mexican team with Adrian. For what you said, revenge, I don't believe in revenge. Nobody owe me anything. I make my own future. I build my own future with my hand. I'm pleased that Adrian gave me this opportunity. The revenge is no revenge because nobody did anything against me. I only have will to achieve my goals. This will, I'm going to put it in the best way I can on Sunday. I know is not going to be easy because I never drove a Honda-powered car, never been working with Fernandez Racing. But I will take it step by step, try to get the best out of it, because we will have one and a half hour practice, qualifying, another hour and a half practice, qualifying. After that, maybe I will have to go back again and watch the races on TV. I will take the best out of those three days and leave them with an open heart and great feeling.

MERRILL CAIN: Max, you pointed out you've never driven a Honda car before, you will be in a Honda this weekend. How quickly do you think it will take you to get up to speed? Do you think it benefits you from the situation you were in with Sigma, didn't have much testing time, but you were productive there?

MAX PAPIS: What it takes to achieve goals and success is chemistry between the driver, engineers and mechanics. I'm pleased when I walked into the Fernandez Racing shop today that I can see a lot of familiar faces, a lot of mechanics have been working with in my past. Even there is a guy here I've been working with in Europe. Don Halliday, I know him. I never actually been working with him because it was Kenny Brack engineer last year in my team. I felt maybe what I've been going through with Sigma this year, you know, I don't really know. I didn't want it to be of a help because let's say I started under very different condition and circumstances. I feel now that I learn a lot, I matured quite a lot of experience. I'm going to bring all those factors in play, my will to succeed. Again, I was always a Friday morning practice and Friday afternoon qualifying guy in a way that I've never really been able to practice or do anything with Sigma this year. But we've been able to achieve great goals. That tells you that, no matter what, you can achieve your dreams or goals. You need to believe in it. I know I haven't got much time to develop, but I hope that coming Sunday afternoon we will have a little bit of a chemistry between all of us where I will be able to be understood without talking too much.

Q. Adrian, obviously a heavy impact there in Vancouver. Glad to hear you're make going progress.

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: Thank you.

Q. Clearly, Bruno came through the side of your car. Can you talk about the safety implications, whether the car did its job or whether more needs to be done there to prevent the intrusion in the chassis?

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: Absolutely. I believe that we need to work, still work, on trying to find a solution to find a way that if a car is hit by the side, on the side, by another car, there is so much strength that we can put in these cars on the side. But the nose is so strong, the nose of Bruno basically wasn't damaged. It was basically like a rocket. When he brake, he went underneath the side, hit the top, broke the top, hit the carbon fiber, I believe the carbon fiber basically saved me, made a huge hole in the car, then basically hit my right side, you know, my hip, my butt, everything. I believe those noses, maybe there is something we can do that when it hits the car, maybe it can dissipate some of the energy, and a structure that can take some of the impact and then make it hard after that in a bigger area surface so it doesn't penetrate. What we have to do is study with CART ways of -- try to study there and try to learn something from here. Also something that I believe has to go is corners like that like in Vancouver, either they make it more visible or they have to go. Is absolutely too dangerous. I was a little bit mad on TV really to just watch the broadcast that nobody made comments about how the accident happened, they don't even mention it. The only thing you hear is from Tagliani saying, "I got hit by Fernandez." They don't even make a story of what really happened. You know, you watch the broadcast, is very easy to see what happened. I mean, what happened was Carpentier lost the car, he was lucky not to hit anything. So lucky he was, he didn't put his hands away from his steering wheel. He basically gave up. Suddenly he found himself straight again and didn't hit anything. But then you can see in the intercamera from Tagliani, he went two gears down, brake right at the exit of the kink, brake very heavily, and went two gears down. I was wasn't that close to him. So when I came out of the kink, the first thing I saw, it was Tagliani, but almost parked. I have no chance - absolutely nothing. Is completely blind. That's when I hit him. That's when my car veered to the right and that's when Bruno, which also came -- which he was one lap down, he wanted to do a fake start, so he didn't get involved on any crash, he came out of the corner completely blind, he saw me sideways, had no way to go, completely T-boned me on the side. You know, there is no -- that corner is flat out, but it's not that flat out easy because is very bumpy. So, you know, I mean, you're asking for a disaster to happen sooner or later. I'm going to talk to CART, because I think about all the corners in the series. There is no other corner like that. This is very fast. This corner needs to be changed or open so we at least can get some preventive in case somebody spins, so we can get a little bit of a chance to see what's happening, you know, ahead of us. Not even the radio or yellow flags can help you because it happen so quickly. So that needs to be helped. The system of the nose has to be changed. Campbell really needs to try to see exactly what happened. Out of thousands, thousands fans in Mexico, I saw the broadcast, almost sounds like I was the guilty part of the accident, you know, so that really made me a little bit mad.

Q. Max, what do you think your realistic expectations are for the weekend?

MAX PAPIS: First of all, I'm very glad I'm not going to be joining you at the commentating booth, as was the plan. Realistically, you would say, you know, I would be pretty happy if I would walk away from Mid-Ohio with a Top 5 finish. But you can never put a number to your dreams because I think -- to your goals actually. I feel here we've got all the tools, equipment and people to be able to create something unbelievable. So I'm going to put my head down, do the best job I can, and see what comes out of there. I'm always a very realistic person. That means that I know that I have a lot of hurdle to go through. But in my career, in my life, I been able to jump pretty high over the hurdle. As you guys well know, I feel that if there is something that doesn't lack in me is the will to go out there and achieve my goals despite every difficult situation. I'm going to apply once again my positive thoughts, my will and my determination, and we see what comes out over there. I'm looking forward to go out there and meet all the race fans that have been so kind to me through these months when I was home, looking around for different things. All these race fans have always been behind me. All the people, they've been supporting me, I'm sure they're going to make a difference when it's going to come down to a time where people have to make a decision and have to say who is going to be the best guy to be in the car for next year, who is going to be the best guy, you know, the most loved person. I think all those things make a difference, even if people don't realize, but they do a lot. I'm really looking forward to be out there, especially in a car that is so loved by people, like Adrian's car. Always been kind of, you know, envious of him. He had always his pickup truck before the parade, on the parade lap, full of people. Hopefully this time is going to be with me.

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: You'll have them.

Q. Adrian, what you're doing this weekend, is it sort after precursor for the future?

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: What do you mean? What do you mean?

Q. Not really clear how happy you are with your current situation. Wondered if you see a change in the future that would involve Max long-term.

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: Well, right now I believe that I still have a few years of driving for myself. You know, I have accomplished a lot of my goals in racing and business. Even more, I have surpassed a lot of those goals. But I haven't finished my business racing in CART. I want to win races for Fernandez Racing. I still have a few years left on me. We had some difficulties in the last few races. I mean, the team has definitely raised their game from last year. Our pit stops are better. The organization is a lot better. But for some reason or the other, we in the last few races, our race car was absolutely lost. The setup of the car was lost. We were very, very slow. We came to Vancouver trying to understand what was happening. The car was a lot more competitive. We made some things that for some reason just took us a little bit longer to get or to find. But the car was a much more drivable car, it was much more competitive. I feel that Max will get benefit from these last things that we got on the race car. I'm trying to get back into the race car. Like I say before, it will be a very good thing if we can find the money, find the support, and hopefully try to get Max to drive the other car. I think for both of us, it's actually better to have two drivers than just one driver. That would be our first priority. Right now, to be honest, I haven't think about retirement yet.

Q. Looking ahead, at the town meeting Chris Pook said he wanted to encourage all of the Champ car teams to develop the ladder system, Atlantic teams. Adrian, have you looked toward this possibility for next year?

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: Well, we in a way are helping -- at Telmex, we have Mexican drivers. I was involved in that process, in that development. We are basically helping six to seven -- eight drivers in different series from Mexico, to Barber, to Atlantics. In a way we have started. I don't think right now it's appropriate for the team to do that. We are still young and we need to cover first our bases, be competitive, win races, then think about that. When you go too quickly sometimes you overgrow yourself, you don't do what you were supposed to do. I don't want to bring right now the wrong message to our sponsor, Quaker State and Telmex, that we're not focusing on what we're trying to achieve. At some point in the future we may consider. At this time I don't feel that we should be doing that because already in a way doing it.

Q. Pook also mentioned, not starting under the caution, but starting under the green, bringing back standing starts to the series. What do you think about that?

MAX PAPIS: I think the show is good enough even without standing starts. You know, if you are thinking about standing starts, you have to revise a lot of the tracks we are going to race on, a lot of the first corner we're going to race on. I think focus can be other places. The show is already pretty good. I think that it's a minor thing. I think it's a minor thing right now on my point of view.

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: I agree. I agree, too.

MERRILL CAIN: Adrian and Max, thank you both for joining us on the CART media teleconference this afternoon. Adrian, we wish you the best of luck in your recovery. We hope we do see you at Round 12 at Road America at Elkhart Lake in a couple weeks.

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: Thanks.

MERRILL CAIN: Max, we'll be looking forward to seeing you in action this weekend in Round 11 of the CART FedEx Championship Series, the CART Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Again, congratulations for the opportunity. We look forward to seeing you this weekend.

MAX PAPIS: Thanks a lot. Let me say congratulations, because it's kind of offensive towards what happened with Adrian. Let's say go out and do the best you can. That's what I'm going to do.

MERRILL CAIN: Thank you. This Sunday's race will be seen live on CBS television at 12:30 p.m. eastern time. Thanks again to everyone and have a great afternoon.



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