Thursday, 3 September 2015

FIA Thursday Drivers' Press Conference - TRANSCRIPT

Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull), Felipe Massa (Williams), Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso), Marcus Ericsson (Sauber).


Nico maybe we could begin with you, congratulations, I understand you became a father. How will it change you and have you decided on a name yet?

Nico ROSBERG: Yeah, for sure it’s been very exciting, very intense of course. Big respect for all the mothers of this world – unbelievable. No, very emotional and super happy. Very excited.

You’ll obviously be losing a little bit of sleep then in the coming weeks but you’ve also been losing a few places off the start line lately, with both the old and the new rules on starts, so it’s now three races in a row, making race day a bit more complicated for you. What thoughts have you and the team had on that and how you are going to address it, as particularly here in Monza it’s a long run to turn one so any loss off the line would be amplified by turn one?

NR: Yeah, it’s true that starts have not been our strength lately, so we’ve been working on it a lot, making progress and then of course the rule change also came in right in the middle of, or off the back of two starts that hadn’t been fantastic. So it’s a work in progress and we need to improve for sure, we know that, and we’re all getting into it.

Thank you. Sebastian, when you started with Ferrari you said you were living the dream and here you are, at Monza, a Ferrari driver, in front of the tifosi. Can you put into words the sense of pride, responsibility, expectation, dare we say even emotion that comes with the job?

Sebastian VETTEL: No! Well, I’m about to find out. Obviously I’ve heard lots of good things. I’ve been here before so obviously [I have seen] the passion for Ferrari, so obviously very much looking forward to becoming part of that. If we do well, which is our target, and we manage to be on the podium on Sunday I’m looking forward to not receiving booing for a long time. So, yeah, plenty of stuff to look forward to. So far we have had a great season. This is our home grand prix as a team and since I didn’t have a home grand prix this year I adopt this one as well and hopefully we can make it a good one.

Now, you made you feelings very clear to the media in Spa about Pirelli and the tyre failure. Having now seen the results of the investigation, what are your considered thoughts on the matter?

SV: Well, first of all I think there was a lot of stuff explained or written that I think was not correct, the way it was expressed. I think it was very clear what I said. I think the most important point is that obviously we have been looking into the issue we had very clearly and Pirelli has been supportive and very open in the discussions, so I think that’s the most important thing and we need to make sure that we learn from that. Other than that we are in Monza now and, as I said, there is plenty of other stuff to look forward to.

Thank you for that. Felipe, coming to you, obviously confirmed for 2016 [at Williams]. On the podium here last year, third for Williams and you’re always popular here with the fans thanks to your years with Ferrari. Given Williams’ chassis and engine characteristics can you dream of maybe moving to a higher step on the podium on Sunday of this weekend?

Felipe MASSA: Yes, for sure. Dreaming is for free. You always dream about the best, about winning the race. Here is one of the best places to be on the podium, to see the whole people, the whole straight [full] of people, especially. Last year that everybody was also happy that I was there on the podium, screaming my name, I think it was so nice, so I’m really looking forward for another one and definitely we dream even to get a better position than third. When you go to the grid you’re thinking about doing the best and thinking about the victory. That’s what I’m doing every race and it’s another one where I will try everything I can to be there.

If we you look at your recent record, you out-qualified Bottas six-five this season, finished ahead of him in the last four races and moved ahead of him in the championship. What’s driven this strong run of form for you?

FM: I think last year I was very competitive as well with my team-mate. We were fighting the whole season I would say. The only thing is that the results of the race are a lot more consistent this year. Last year I had a lot of problems, many races where so many things happened and I couldn’t finish in the position I was supposed to. I think this year the situation is a lot more consistent and I managed to score points and finish more or less where I was supposed to in most of the races. I think that’s really good, but we have many races to go and you always want more.

OK, thank you for that. Daniel, coming to you, you obviously come from an Italian family that emigrated to Australia. When you come here how Italian do you feel and how have the Italians welcomed you in the last few days during all the various promotional activities you’ve been doing?

Daniel RICCIARDO: I start talking with my hands a bit more! It’s automatic: you arrive in Italy and you start using your hands. What was the question?

Apart from how Italian you feel, how have the Italians welcomed you in the past few days in the various different things you’ve been up to?

DR: It’s always a warm welcome here, for sure. The fans are… I’ve always said it, they’re passionate; they’re full on but they’re great. They love the sport, they love getting close and having their moment and stuff. It’s pretty cool walking into the paddock. It creates a bit of a road block but… I think it’s the craziest paddock entrance we go to all year in terms of the fans spreading their love, but it's nice. I remember the warm-up lap here last year, I think I crossed the second Lesmo and there was a flare blowing across the track… it’s unique, so it’s cool.

Red Bull has yet to lead a lap in 2015 and you’ve spent a fair chunk of the races somewhere between P5 and P7. Tell us about how you’ve set targets for the remainder of the season and also about the decision on power units for you and your team-mate this weekend?

DR: Looking now towards the last part of the season, the last couple of races have been our strongest, as of late, Budapest and Spa have gone well for us. I think in terms of understanding the car we’re much more on top of it now than we were earlier in the season. I think the chassis is back to a really strong level. Monza’s not obviously a circuit that suits us particularly. We've got the penalties as well, so you know that’s obviously a strategic things as well – take the penalty here rather than in Singapore where we expect to be very competitive. Then, yeah, have some fun here on Sunday, come through the field as far forward as we can and then Singapore, we can really fight for a podium there.

Coming to you Marcus, 25th birthday celebrated yesterday, happy birthday. Scored points in the last two races consecutively and beaten your team-mate in the last four, do you feel it’s all starting to come together?

Marcus ERICSSON: Yeah, I think my form, like you say, has been strong now lately and it’s nice to see. I’ve been working a lot with myself, trying to change my approach during a race weekend, focusing more on myself and not other people, what they are doing. It’s nice to see that it’s giving results on the track. I just need to continue that form, not relax but continue to work really hard to continue that way.

New start regulations in Spa; it wasn’t the smoothest start for you. What happened there and what do you generally think of the new rules?

ME: I think I did quite a good start. I gained a position, so for me it was pretty good. For me, it doesn’t make a big difference. It’s a bit more feeling for us drivers than there has been before. It’s very similar to how it was in GP2 and I was always a strong starter in GP2, so for me it’s not a problem.

Thank you. Coming to you Carlos, another birthday celebrated, 21 years old now. If we look at your performances, you’ve reached Q3 six times and out-qualified Verstappen 7-4, yet the results show four consecutive retirements from the races and a best result of eighth. Are you getting concerned that the performances are being overshadowed by the results and the retirements?

Carlos SAINZ: No, not really. It’s not my main concern at the moment, because at the end, what is under my control everything is going so far quite well. The retirements are obviously totally out of my control, but four consecutive ones is a tiny bit too much. But I’m confident that this well end soon and I’m confident that it will start playing a bit to my side now and we can have a smooth second half of the season and start finishing races and going back to where we were at the beginning of the year in terms of points and position.

We mentioned that you’ve out-qualified Verstappen to this point, have you been surprised by the speed you’ve been able to find in qualifying?

CS: Well, you never know what to expect when you come to Formula One. I just know that last year in World Series I made a very big step forward with myself in qualifying and in the race and I just brought it to Formula One this year. You never know how you are going to be, you never know how you’re speed is going to be in Formula One. What I am quite sure is that Saturdays this year have gone very well for me and I am performing at a very decent level. I just need to make sure now on Sundays I perform at the same level and we finish races and I’m sure we’ll be in a good position.


Q: (Agris Lauznieks – Kapitals Lativia) This is last race in Europe this season. What are your thoughts about the opportunity to add extra races in Europe, especially northern Europe – to do Riga Grand Prix in Latvia. How would you feel about it?

NR: I’ve heard great things about Riga, I’ve got a good friend from there also so that would be fantastic but I don’t know. Races in Europe are great, wherever they are to be honest, so it’s always good to have more of those.

Sebastian, anything to add?

SV: Not many things I know about Latvia. But yeah, would be, I think, a nice place to go to. I think in general it’s a bit of a shame that we don’t have a grand prix in northern Europe, also Scandinavia because people are quite passionate and crazy about racing. I’ve been to Rally Finland some years ago and I was wondering why we don’t have a Formula One grand prix but I guess that, especially next year, we have quite a lot on the calendar so it looks sort-of busy now – but maybe in the future.

Marcus, maybe you can tell us why we don’t…

ME: I think we should have a snow race in Sweden – that would be something! I don’t know. Like Sebastian was saying, we have a lot of passionate fans in all of Scandinavia and northern Europe so it would be very nice to have a race somewhere in these countries, for sure.

Q: (Vladimir Rogovets – Sb Belarus) My question is to Felipe Massa. Today here you are between the very young drivers and in the race you are very quick and very competitive. My question, where is your personal secret to be very young and very quick?

FM: I still feel young, honestly. Definitely when you here with 21 years old, 17… it’s really young, definitely. I think you just need to… I always do my best. I feel quick, I feel competitive and definitely the experience helps in so many areas. I’m happy for what I’ve learned with these days and, definitely also when I see you are competing with young drivers and you show good speed in the qualifying, in the race good performance is always nice – nice feeling, so we always compete for the best result you can. That is what gives you pleasure. I can say I have many pleasures in racing and by the result I finish in races – sometimes not, something yes, this is part of our feeling. I still feel good motivation and I’m not finishing the race tired or whatever, so I think that’s what counts at the end.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi, La Gazzetta dello Sport) Question for Nico Rosberg. Nico, before you talked about the birth of your daughter. I would like to know if you can compare the happiness of that to some other things in our job, like victory and nervousness. If you can compared nervousness in that moment? And a technical question about the gap with Lewis. The gap has increased a lot in the last two races, do you think this is one of the last chances to recover? To change the direction of the championship?

NR: Emotions extremely intense, more intense than any racing success or anything like that. And also, yeah, because there’s factors… love and health and all these things playing a part. That’s definitely more than a race victory. Then the gap to Lewis, yeah, points of course it’s gone in the wrong direction but it’s just over one race difference so I’m very optimistic and pushing and definitely want to try and close that  back down now.

Q: (Andrew Benson – BBC) To Sebastian, Felipe, Daniel and Nico. Are you satisfied with Pirelli’s explanation for the tyre failures in Belgium – especially as a couple of you described them as unacceptable over that weekend? And to Sebastian personally and additionally, have you raised your concerns, as expressed after Spa, with Bernie, who’s deciding the new tyre supplier?

SV: I think in all honestly I had a bit more insight because I was obviously one of the two cars that had a failure during the weekend in Belgium – a bit more insight on what was going on after the race in terms of the analysis and so on, than probably Felipe and Daniel. I’m not sure about Nico. But yeah, from what I mentioned also before, it has been very professional, the way it was handled. It was taken very seriously. And obviously our target is to improve the situation. I think it’s natural that you always try to improve your product. I think if you look at the cars, if you talk about the cars today, the cars are quick and so on, and the cars are safe. They’re surely safer than they have been 30 years ago but there is still room for making them safer: we still have accidents and so on and still some things can happen. It’s a one-way street: you want to make progress and keep making progress. So I think that’s more important than any sort of press release, the feeling that I got when I spoke to the engineers and spoke to Pirelli.


NR: It’s being handled with extreme precision and a lot of energy is going into it, which I’m happy to see, of course. It requires that also. I’m confident that we’ll be here and driving safely.

Felipe, what were your reflections on Spa?

FM: I think maybe they know better than me. They were there, they were inside. All these problems the two cars had in Spa with the tyres. For me it’s a little bit more difficult to explain. We want to be safe. What we want is to not have this problem happen – or maybe to understand 100 per cent why it happens and change whatever needs to be changed to give us the most safe tyres and the most safe opportunities to race and to risk ourselves in a safe way – which is what we want. Don’t know what they changed from there to here, but for sure if they change somethings from Spa to Monza, maybe with the tyre pressure and everything. So we need to understand if really they understand what’s happened or not – which is the most important thing. We always want the most safe car or tyres to race.


DR: That’s right. It’s all been covered.

Q: (David Croft – Sky Sports) With all due respect, Daniel, I don’t think it has all been covered. I’m still at a loss, guys; are you satisfied with Pirelli’s explanation? They say as well, in the press release, there were 63 cuts to tyres over the course of the weekend. We know two of them, for Sebastian and Nico, did any of you other guys experience cuts on your tyres? Did your teammates experience cuts? Is this statement right? Were there that many cuts? Was the track that dirty because of all the debris?

DR: There was blistering. I don’t really know the difference in a way, the details: what’s a blister, what’s a cut? Yeah, we experienced some blistering. Certainly not the first time we’ve had it in Spa. It’s pretty common around there. Yeah, so we did see some activity, I guess but there again, not the first time. It’s probably hard to be as attached to it as Nico or Seb. Obviously I wasn’t in the car but I still saw it and I feel their concerns or their disappointment with the situation. I think what Pirelli’s put out has been as much as they can for now. That’s all they can say really is that we’re working on it. Obviously they’ve given us some answers so, yeah, that’s just where it is for now. It’s hard to predict what will happen now in the future.

Q: Carlos, any cuts in your team?

CS: No, not really. I think they’ve given us an explanation, the reasons. I hope they’ve done their job properly. I’m convinced they have because they are the first ones that don’t want to put us drivers at risk so they are giving us those explanations and I’m convinced that at least it will not happen again and we can race safely here in Monza. And if it does happen again, then maybe we need some more investigation.

Q: Marcus, did you have any cuts in the Sauber team?

ME: Yes, we had some issues with some cuts on some tyres but I think they came from debris on the track. That was the explanation that we got. I didn’t experience anything else, not any problems with my driving.

Q: Felipe, Daniel just said it’s quite a common problem at Spa. Could you explain to us why Spa, why it’s particularly common that you pick up debris there?

FM: No, I don’t believe it should be common. Debris we have every race. Some races we have more debris than others. For sure, the tyres should be strong enough to accept the debris or what we have beside the track. I don’t think it’s common. We had cuts as well during the weekend.

Q: (Kate Walker – More about the tyres, I’m afraid. We know that you guys all have Pirelli engineers embedded in your garage, giving you advice on cambers and pressures and whatever else. To what extent, in each of your teams, is that advice listened to? Do they have real input in the strategy? How can things go wrong when you’re supposed to have an expert with you, telling you what to do safely?

NR: Well, sometimes there are strict things that you must follow and other times there are just suggestions on everything. I’m not sure... we handled everything accordingly in Spa and made modifications also throughout the weekend to make sure we were running the tyres as safely as possible, according to guidelines given by Pirelli. I don’t know about them, what their situation was. I can just say that we did manage things, yeah.

SV: I think it’s fairly simple. There’s a lot of things that you have to stick to because it’s part of the rules. Also the FIA is checking so you can decide not to listen but then obviously you risk to be disqualified, so I don’t think there’s any team taking that risk. And then there’s other things that you talk about and use the expertise of the Pirelli engineer inside your garage and I think it would be stupid not to listen to him, for all of us, for all the teams, because obviously they have knowledge that we can’t get about their tyres etc, so of course we take it very very seriously.

FM: Yeah, I think the same, not really more to add.

ME: Same, same stuff, yeah.

Q: (Daniel Johnson – The Telegraph) Seb, sorry to labour the point slightly. After the race in Spa, among many other things you said was that the current situation was unacceptable. If I can put it this way, is the situation now acceptable to you and any of the drivers who want to chip in?

SV: Well, I think it is not acceptable to have a blow-out at that sort of speed, out of the blue and I think that’s what I said also after the race, so there’s nothing really to add. But, as I said before, I think the investigations that have been going on, the stuff that obviously has been analysed and talked about, explains some of it, maybe not all of it yet but it’s still ongoing and obviously, as I said, the most important thing is that we make sure that we make progress. At the moment, from Pirelli’s side, it looks very very professional, they handle it with extreme care, and I think things are going the right way.

Q: (Daniel Johnson – The Telegraph) So has enough changed from Spa to here? Is the situation more acceptable?

SV: Well, I think there are some short term changes, as I learned, if we talk about tyre pressures, for example. We obviously see how it feels but if that’s a short term reaction within those couple of days or weeks that we’ve had, that’s one thing. Then obviously long term I think we need to understand properly what happened. I think it’s very clear that everybody is trying to do their best. I think we had a situation a couple of years ago which wasn’t acceptable and there was immediate change and we didn’t have problems afterwards so you can see that the professional approach does work and usually leads to the right result.

Q: (Silvia Arias – Parabrisas) Felipe, I would like to know if something has changed in the team after the mistake they made with Bottas’s car when they put on the wrong compound, please?

FM: Well, it should, definitely. We always work for trying to do everything in the correct way, in the best way we can. Sometimes mistakes can happen in our working but for sure mistakes happen which we cannot repeat, so definitely we are always trying to improve things when we see they are not working in the way we want, so we want to be perfect, we want to do everything correctly. This is part of the working we are doing from race to race, the changes we are doing from race to race and whichever mistakes or things that can happen we are always working not to repeat and that’s what we’re doing as a team.

Q: (Peter Farkas – Auto Motor) Daniel, you’ve mentioned that you are starting to understand the car better, and it was obviously in Spa, the efficiency is there, you were very quick in the second sector in spite of running a very skinny rear wing but the top speed was not there. Do you think that Red Bull again has one of the best cars on the grid and again, is it obvious that now the engine is the biggest hindrance for you?

DR: I think we’re now back at a level we were at last year. We knew the chassis was strong, we felt most of our deficit was the power and then yeah, I think earlier this season it looked like we obviously had issues on both sides, the chassis... obviously I had experience from last year and I didn’t feel like it was where it was last year so I thought we had similar deficiencies on both sides but yeah, we’ve had quite a few updates since. All year we have updates but I’d say since Silverstone it’s really come on strong and we seem to be in the window a lot easier now with getting the car there so I’m definitely a lot happier with where the chassis is now. I feel it’s like we were last year and then yeah, the power we know, we’re trying to make up what we can but we know we started too far back and it’s... I don’t like the word impossible but it nearly is impossible to make all that gap back in one season so I think that’s what it is for now. We’re always going to be somewhat down for the rest of the season, that’s why we look at Singapore and some of these circuits which are obviously a lot less power-dependent, a lot more chassis and we look at those as potential podiums for us.

Q: (Louis Dekker – NOS.NL) Sebastian, can you take us back to a couple of years ago, your first victory here and also explain why it is harder this year to win here for Ferrari than back then for Toro Rosso?

SV: I don’t know yet. I don’t know if it’s harder yet. Obviously it was a miracle that was happening in 2008 so only positive memories of the whole weekend really. But yeah, some years later, obviously another highlight and I’m looking forward to it and obviously can’t promise anything but for sure I can promise that we will give our maximum, trying to have a very very successful home race. I think that I know a lot more than I knew in 2008 so in this regard it should be easier but obviously it’s never easier. If you look on paper, it looks like a simple track with low downforce but still it’s also very technical so for us drivers it feels that the car is moving a lot, it feels very light under braking so it’s still a big challenge around here. You need to get the braking points right etc so it’s not that straightforward and obviously I’m sure that people expect a lot from us, but I think the one thing that we can promise now is that we will give everything we have. 

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Pirelli's analysis of the Belgian GP tyre blowout.

Following the recent technical analysis carried out on the tyres used at Spa, Pirelli concludes that:

1)The tests carried out by Pirelli on the tyres used at Spa have confirmed the absence of any structural problems. Pirelli has undertaken in-depth analysis on the materials and production processes used, utilising two different methods of tests and checks.
Microscopic analysis, carried out on a large number of the tyres after the second free practice session, showed no signs of fatigue or integrity issues. The same result was confirmed for the tyres used during the race, which were cross-sectioned and analysed in Milan. Some of the tyres used in the race were subjected to a further laboratory fatigue test, passing all the assessments conclusively and confirming that there was no structural 
degradation or problem on-track.

Since the start of 2015, 13,748 slick tyres have been used: including on especially severe tracks like Sepang, Barcelona and Silverstone.  No problems have ever been discovered, underlining the fundamental solidity of the product.

2)The events of Spa can therefore be put down to external factors, linked with the prolonged use of the tyres on one of the most severe tracks of the championship.
The external factors are demonstrated by a total of 63 cuts found in the tread of the Formula One tyres used over the course of the Spa weekend, following numerous incidents that took place during the support races before the Formula One grand prix. In the previous 15 events (10 races and five test sessions) an average of only 1.2 cuts per event were noted. All this indicates an anomalous amount of detritus on the track in Spa, with a consequent increased risk of encountering a foreign object.

If even a small piece of debris – made of carbon or any other particularly sharp material – penetrates and cuts the various structural parts of a tyre (which is obviously subject to high-speed use, and more susceptible if used for a prolonged period) without penetrating the actual structure, this can cause a failure that is different to that found in the event of a normal puncture, which is characterised by a loss of tyre pressure. And the former was the type of event seen on Sebastian Vettel’s tyre at Spa.

As for Nico Rosberg, in whose case the tyre usage was less, the tyre held up – as the footage clearly shows – and the failure was not instantaneous. For four corners previously, an element of the internal structure of the tyre was visible, coming out of the tread pattern. This highlighted the existence of the damage and the consequent start of the tyre’s attrition.
Throughout the Spa weekend (including practice, qualifying and the race) cuts caused by debris were found on the tyres of other drivers, which damaged the construction but did not cause any failures.

3)At the end of qualifying on Saturday at Spa, following the exceptional number of cuts noted to the tyres, Pirelli pointed out the condition of the circuit to the FIA and asked for it to be cleaned, as well as for the teams to be told. The FIA reacted promptly in arranging for the track to be cleaned and advising the teams.

Together with the FIA, Pirelli proposes a study to evaluate the way in which circuits can be cleaned most effectively.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

F1 radio 'banned' communication list

At the Belgian Grand Prix, a new start regulations where released to ban communication between drivers' and the pitwall to give greater responsibility to the drivers.  

Here is the full list of what a team can and can't say to a driver:

1. Messages given on the track, in the pit entry or in the pit exit during reconnaissance laps (a car will be deemed to be on a reconnaissance lap from the time it leaves the pit lane until the time it re-enters the pit lane or reaches its grid position).

1.1 You may tell the driver of a critical problem with the car, e.g. puncture warning or damage.

1.2 You may tell the driver of a problem with a competitor's car.

1.3 You may tell the driver to enter the pit lane in order to fix or retire the car.

1.4 You may give the driver marshalling information (yellow flag, red flag, race start aborted or other similar instructions or information from race control).

1.5 You may inform the driver about a wet track, oil or debris in certain corners.

1.6 You may tell the driver to respect the maximum lap time provided it is clear that he is in danger of exceeding it.

1.7 You may not tell the driver to drive through the pit lane.

1.8 You may not tell the driver to make his way to the back of the grid.

1.9 You may not discuss a balance check with the driver.

1.10 You may not tell the driver to turn off the car.

1.11 You may not carry out a radio check with the driver.

2. Messages given when the car is in the pit lane before or between any reconnaissance laps.

2.1 You may talk freely on the radio and, for added clarity, the following specific requests would therefore be permitted.

2.1.1 You may give instructions to the driver for the following lap.

2.1.2 You may remind the driver to do a practice start at the pit exit.

2.1.3 You may discuss a balance check with the driver.

2.1.4 You may tell the driver to go to the back of the grid.

2.1.5 You may carry out a simple radio check handshake with the driver (i.e. "radio check", "got you loud and clear").

2.1.6 You may tell the driver to come back through the pit lane.

2.1.7 You may inform the driver of specific pit lane safety concerns such as the pit stop area being full of guests. This message (and only this message) may also be given in the pit entry.

3. Messages given on the grid (or in the pit lane*) until one minute before the start of the formation lap.

3.1 You may talk freely on the radio and pass any messages to the driver.

4. Messages given on the grid (or in the pit lane*) from the one minute signal, during the formation lap and until the race start signal.

4.1 You may tell the driver of a critical problem with the car, e.g. puncture warning or damage.

4.2 You may tell the driver of a problem with a competitor's car.

4.3 You may tell the driver to enter the pit lane in order to fix or retire the car.

4.4 You may give the driver marshalling information (yellow flag, red flag, race start aborted or other similar instructions or information from race control).

4.5 You may inform the driver about a wet track, oil or debris in certain corners.

4.6 You may give the driver instructions to swap position with other drivers.

4.7 You may provide the driver with a countdown to the start of the formation lap.

4.8 You may remind the driver to enable the pit speed limiter.

4.9 You may inform the driver of cars out of position or of any unoccupied grid positions.

4.10 You may tell the driver that the last car has reached the grid (but only the last car).

4.11 You may tell the driver to switch off his engine in the case of a delayed start.

4.12 You may not provide any "final reminders" to the driver such as switch changes.

4.13 You may not carry out a radio check with the driver.

4.14 You may not provide the driver with information concerning clutch or tyre temperatures.

4.15 You may not provide the driver with information concerning which tyres other cars have fitted.

* If a driver is forced or required to start the race from the pit lane.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Part Two: The A to Z of Formula 1

- F - 

Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA)
The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile was founded on 20 June 1904 to represent the interests of motoring organizations and motor car users. The FIA draws up the technical and racing regulations for a number of motorsports including Formula 1 and are based in Geneva. The current president is Jean Todt.

Scuderia Ferrari is a racing team under the umbrella of the Ferrari automobile organization. The team races primarily in Formula One but has competed in other series in motorsport since its formation in 1929, including sportscar racing (Endurance racing etc.). The team was founded by Enzo Ferrari, at first to race cars produced by Alfa Romeo, but by 1947 Ferrari had begun building its own cars. Ferrari is the oldest surviving and the most successful team in the history of Formula One, having competed in every world championship since 1950, the only team to do so. 

Noteworthy Important achievements outside Formula One are the World Sportscar Championship, 24 Hours of LeMans, 24 Hours of Daytona, 24 Hours of Sebring, races for GT cars and racing on road courses of the Targa Florio, the Mille Miglia and the Carrera Panamericana.

As a constructor, Ferrari has a record of 16 Constructors’ Championships, the last of which was won in 2007. Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Mike Hawthorn, Phil Hill, John Surtees, Niki Lauda, Jody Scheckter, Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen have won a record 15 Drivers’ Championships for the Scuderia [Team]. Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel are the current drivers’ at Scuderia Ferrari. 

Fire Extinguisher
Formula 1 cars are required to have a fire extinguisher that spreads foam around the chassis and engine area. It must be operable both by the driver and from outside the car.

Flag signals are used to communicate messages to the drivers on the track. Now-a-days, the system is supported by a display on the steering wheel, known as the GPS marshalling system, which lights up with the relevant flag colour as the driver passes the affected sector of the circuit. 

Flat Spot
A flat spot is the area of a tyre that is worn heavily on one spot after a moment of extreme braking (lock-up) or in the course of a spin. This ruins its handling, often causing bad vibration, and may result in a driver to pit for a new set of tyres.

The contact area between the tyre and the track surface also known as a contact patch. 

Formation Lap
The lap before the start of the race when the cars are driven round from the grid to form up on the grid again for the start of the race. Sometimes referred to as the warm-up lap or parade lap.

Formula 1
The term 'Formula 1' was not introduced until after the Second World War. Formula One is the highest class of a single seater racing series that is sanctioned by the FIA. The first Formula 1 World Championship took place in 1950 under the direction of the FIA. The first race in the World Championship was the British Grand Prix on 13 May 1950, although other F1 races were regularly held until 1983. 

Formula 1 Commission
This commission consists of representatives from the teams, race organisers, engine manufacturers, sponsors, tyre manufacturers and of course the FIA. The commission decides whether changes to the regulations suggested by the FIA’s technical committee should be implemented.

Formula One Group
The Formula One Group is a group of companies responsible for the promotion of the FIA Formula One World Championship and consists of Formula One Management (FOM), Formula One Administration (FOA) and Formula One Licensing BV, which are subsidiaries of the Formula One Holdings (FOH) holding company headed by Bernie Ecclestone and investment company CVC Capital Partners. 

Formula One Teams Association (FOTA)
FOTA is a group of Formula One teams formed at a meeting in Maranello on 29 July 2008. The organisation was formed to give the teams a united voice in negotiations with the FIA and the Formula One Group regarding the future of Formula One. All current teams are members and was formed with the objective of presenting a united voice in their ongoing discussions with the FIA and the Formula One Group regarding the future of Formula 1. 

A proposed budget cap for the 2010 season led to the FIA-FOTA dispute, which saw a number of Formula One teams rejecting the new regulations and threatening to establish a new racing series. The dispute was resolved with the signing of a revised Concorde Agreement. McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh, replaced Montezemolo in December 2009, and the group was involved in discussions with the FIA for future Formula One regulations. Four teams pulled out of FOTA at the end of 2011, and the association lost its purpose as the teams came to individual agreements ahead of a new Concorde Agreement in 2013. FOTA was formally dissolved in 2014.

Free Practice
During these practice sessions before a Grand Prix, the lap times are recorded, but they have no influence on the starting order or the race result. The teams use them as an opportunity to test upgrades as well as set their cars up for the respective track and completing a qualifying and race simulations on the tyres supplied by Pirelli [Tyres supplier].

Friday Practice Drivers
Teams may run up to four drivers (but still only two cars) in either Friday session.

Front Wing
Creates downward pressure (downforce) on the front area of the Formula 1 car and is an important part of the aerodynamics. Details of the front wing sometimes change for every new race – according to how much downforce is required for the respective circuits. Apart from that, the drivers make adjustments to the front wing during set up, mainly modifying the angle of the second flap. From 2014 the front wing width was reduced from 1800mm to 1650mm – less 75mm each side. 

Super unleaded fuel is used in Formula 1. Its composition must meet FIA regulations. It conforms to the strictest EU exhaust standards. Random tests at each race ensure conformity with the rules. Each team can choose its supplier freely, but it must submit a sample of the fuel used to the FIA before the season for test purposes. Fuel is limited to 100kg per race, and a maximum flow rate of 100kg/hour. Previously fuel was unlimited in both respects, but cars typically carried about 160kg per race.

- G - 

Formula One cars use semi-automatic sequential gearboxes, with regulations stating that 8 forward gears (increased from 7 since the 2014 season) and 1 reverse gear must be used, with rear-wheel drive. The gearbox is constructed of carbon titanium, as heat dissipation is important and is bolted onto the back of the engine. Full automatic gearboxes and systems such as launch control and traction control, are illegal, to keep driver skill important in controlling the car. The driver initiates gear changes using paddles mounted on the back of the steering wheel and electro-hydraulics perform the actual change as well as throttle control. Clutch control is also performed electro-hydraulically, except to and from a standstill, when the driver operates the clutch using a lever mounted on the back of the steering wheel. 

Shift times for Formula One cars are in the region of 0.05 seconds. In order to keep costs low in Formula One, gearboxes must last five consecutive events and since year (2015), gearbox ratios will be fixed for full season (for 2014 they could be changed only once). Changing a gearbox before the allowed time will cause a penalty of five places drop on the grid for the first event that the new gearbox is used.

Gear Ratios
Ratios are the numbers of teeth on mating gears. Tuning the gear ratios to the track is very important. A "short gear" will result in higher torque but a lower top speed whilst a "long gear" does the opposite. If revs are not reaching the maximum at the end of the main straight the gears can be shortened. On the otherhand, setting the intermediate gears aims to give the maximum torque out of the various corners on the track. 

A physical force equivalent to one unit of gravity that is multiplied during rapid changes of direction or velocity. Drivers experience severe G-forces as they corner, accelerate and brake. Formula One drivers can experience loads of up to 5G.

Like the racing overalls, the gloves are also made of Nomex®, a fire resistant material. The closefitting gloves with suede leather palms provide the necessary sensitivity for steering. Drivers’ like the seams of the gloves on the outside to prevent irritation while racing. 

Graining is a specific type of wear on a tyre. It starts when very high side forces are exerted on the tyre, leading to high sliding. In this case small rolls of rubber move over the surface of the tyre on both the front and rear tyres. A typical outcome of graining is understeer in the front tyres. When a car slides, it can cause little bits or rubber (grains) to break away from the tyre's grooves.These then stick to the tread of the tyre, effectively separating the tyre from the track surface very slightly. Careful driving can clear the graining within a few laps, but will obviously have an effect on the driver's pace. Driving style, track conditions, car set-up, fuel load and the tyre itself all play a role in graining. In essence, the more the tyre moves about on the track surface (ie slides), the more likely graining is.

Grand Prix Drivers Association (GPDA)
The GPDA was founded in May 1961 and following an election by members, its inaugural Chairman was Stirling Moss. The GPDA represents the interests of Formula 1 drivers. The organisation was disbanded during the 1982 Formula One season due to the sport's changing commercial arrangements and the conflict between the Formula One Constructors Association (FOCA) and FIA. It was replaced by the Professional Racing Drivers Association. 

Niki Lauda and Gerhard Berger re-established the GPDA over the 1994 Monaco Grand Prix race weekend, following the events of the preceding San Marino Grand Prix, which culminated with the deaths of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger, during the Sunday race and Saturday qualifying respectively. In 1996, the association was incorporated in the UK as a company limited by guarantee ("Grand Prix Drivers Association Ltd"). For the first time, the association had a formal constitution, and permanent offices in Monaco. 

Gravel Trap
A bed of gravel on the outside of corners with an aim of bringing cars to a safe stop.

Green Flag
The driver/s has passed the potential danger point and is all clear to continue. 

The formation of the cars at the start of the race as determined during the qualifying sessions. Each staggered row of two cars is separated by 16 metres. 

Grid Penalty
Demotion a given number of places down the starting grid. In the 2014/2015 F1 season, each driver will be allowed to use 4 power units (engines) and 4 components for each power unit. If the driver goes over the limit they will receive a 10 place grid penalty and a 5 place grid penalty for additional power unit components used during the season.  

It describes how well the car sticks to the ground/circuit and how this affects cornering speeds. High grip means high cornering speeds. Main factors of grip are the aerodynamics (downforce) which is created by the car and the tyres’ properties. Without grip, a car will begin to slide or skid. The amount of traction a car has at any given point, affecting how easy it is for the driver to keep control through corners.

Romain Grosjean is a French driver who was born on 17 April 1986 in Geneva, Switzerland. He dominated the 2005 French Formula Renault championship on his first attempt and joined the Renault young driver program. He was the 2007 Formula 3 Euro Series drivers' champion. In 2008 he became the inaugural GP2 Asia Series champion and came 4th in his first year in the GP2 championship. In 2009 he made his F1 debut for Renault at the European Grand Prix and came 4th again in GP2 despite missing the final 8 races. After being dropped by Renault he returned to junior formula winning the 2010 AutoGP championship on his first attempt and winning the 2011 GP2 Asia Series and GP2 Series becoming the first – and as of December 2014, only – two-time GP2 Asia champion and the only driver to hold both the GP2 Asia series and main GP2 series titles simultaneously.  

In 2012, Grosjean returned to Formula One with the Lotus F1 Team, alongside Kimi Räikkönen. He took his first podium in Formula One at the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix and took his first fastest lap in the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix. He became the first driver since 1994 to receive a race ban after causing a multi-car pileup at the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix. In 2013 he remained with Lotus, taking 6 podiums. He drove for Lotus again alongside Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado in the 2014 season. This line up was continued for 2015. For the 2015 F1 season, drivers’ were required to select a permanent racing number. Romain Grosjean chose number 8. Romain Grosjean: “My wife was born the 8th of December, we started dating in 2008 and besides, to my eyes my son is the 8th wonder of the world. That’s why I picked up number 8.” 

Ground Clearance
The distance between the floor and the circuit or track.

Ground Effect
The contact force generated by an aerodynamically shaped floor. In the seventies, sills were attached to the sides of the cars to create a vacuum underneath the car that helped the car stick to the circuit. The enormous grip allowed for extremely high cornering speeds. The pure ground effect cars developed in the seventies were banned by the FIA for safety reasons and now the main source of ground force is limited to the Diffuser.

An L-shaped flap on the trailing edge of a car’s wing. Pioneered by Dan Gurney in the 1970's they increase downforce with only a relatively small increase in drag coefficient when compared to increasing the angle of the wing.

- H - 

A tight, 180-degree bend. The most famous are the Grand Hotel hairpin in Monaco, and "La Source" at Spa-Franchorchamps 

Half Black, Half White Flag
Accompanied by a car number, it warns of unsporting behaviour. May be followed by a black flag if the driver does not heed the warning.

Head and Neck Support (HANS)
Since the 2003 season, the drivers’ have been given additional head and neck protection in the form of the Head and Neck Support system (HANS). HANS consists of a carbon shoulder piece that is connected to two safety belts and the driver's helmet. In an accident, HANS is intended to prevent stretching of the vertebrae as well as preventing the driver's head from hitting the steering wheel. Short for Head and Neck Support Device, a mandatory safety device that fits over the driver's shoulders and connects to the back of the helmet to prevent excessive head and neck movement in the event of an accident.

Removable padding on the inside of the cockpit around the driver’s head and designed to absorb any potential impact. The two side pads must be at least 95 mm thick, and a thickness of between 75 and 90 mm is stipulated for the rear pad. 

Heat Cycle
A tyre that has been heated up through use and then cooled down has experienced one heat cycle. This often results in a slight hardening of the tyre compound, which can make the tyre perform at a high level for a longer period of time.

The helmet is made of carbon, polyethylene and Kevlar and weighs approximately 1.3 kilogrammes. Like the cars, it is designed in a wind tunnel to reduce drag as much as possible. Helmets are subjected to extreme deformation and fragmentation tests. Only helmets tested and authorised by the FIA may be used in races.

- I - 

Installation Lap
A lap in where drivers head out of the pits, drive around the circuit and take up their respective grid slots. 

A tyre with features somewhere between those of dry and wet weather tyres. The intermediate has more tread than dry weather tyres and less tread than wet weather models. It is used for mixed weather or light rain.

International Court of Appeal
The FIA’s Court of Appeal is composed of professional judges, and its 15 members are appointed for a three year term. In order for the court to make a legally binding decision, the presence of at least three judges is required, none of which may be of the same nationality as the parties involved. A Formula 1 team that is unwilling to accept a decision by the racing commissioners can appeal to the FIA’s International Court of Appeal. In this case, a declaration of intent must be submitted within an hour of the decision. The FIA, too, can send a decision by the commissioners to the Court of Appeal.

International Sporting Code
The International Sporting Code (ISC) is a set of rules which are valid for all motorsport events that are governed by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). The ISC consists of 17 chapters and several appendices. It contains definitions, general principles, and regulations, as well as rules for race organizers, contenders, racers, and official referees. As the sport of motor racing is very hierarchic, the ISC also determines the rules of national racing federations.

- J - 

The J-Damper better known as the “Jounce-Damper” although technically it should be called a Jounce-Inerter, the term J-Damper was then came into effect to keep the technology secret for as long as possible. The purpose of the J-Damper is to reduce the effect of the spring and Damper oscillations and thus help the car to retain a better grip on the road.

Jump Start
A jump start occurs when a driver moves off his grid position before the five red lights have been switched off to signal the start of a race. Sensors on the grid slots detect premature movement and a jump start earns the driver a penalty which would be decided by the FIA Stewarts. 

Monday, 24 August 2015

'Deflated Vettel' - By Jake Davis

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Sunday, 23 August 2015



1 – Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)

2 – Nico ROSBERG (Mercedes)

3 – Romain GROSJEAN (Lotus)


(Conducted by David Coulthard)

Lewis, your 39th grand prix victory, your 80th time on the podium – equalling your great hero Ayrton Senna – a pretty good day at the office?

Lewis HAMILTON: Wow. How you guys doing, you good? We’ve had such a great crowd here this weekend. It’s been incredible, the whole circuit just packed out with all you fans, so thank you all for coming. And for me, just an amazing weekend again. Incredible job done by the team throughout the pit stops, throughout the whole weekend, the guys back at the factory… You know, today was a dream. The whole weekend the car was fantastic, so thank you guys.

It seemed to me that the only real concern you had after the start was after the Virtual Safety Car and Nico was able to get that gap down to just a few seconds. Any other concerns during the race?

LH: No. Nico had obviously good pace but I was able to answer most of the time, so I was fairly relaxed at the front. The car was feeling great and it was really about looking after the tyres, particularly at the end when I saw that one of the tyres had blown on another cars I was being very cautious, so in the last two laps Nico was allowed to close the gap. No, I felt in control all the way and as I said a lot of good assistance from the team, so I felt like 100 per cent all weekend.

OK, Lewis, congratulations, your summer holiday obviously treated you well. Just come to our second-placed finisher here.

Nico, congratulations. It seemed it all went away from you at the start. You were able to come back at Lewis later in the race, but just talk us through what went wrong there?

Nico ROSBERG: Yeah, I just completely messed up the start, so that was very annoying. I fought my way through. I gave it absolutely everything, I mean we were both on the edge all the way through. The car has been amazing, so I’m really thankful to the team again for giving us such a car. It’s awesome to drive it. And Lewis did a great job, so deserved to win. I tried to give it everything but not enough. 

Well, you certainly kept him honest. We know that you have a big event coming up in the coming few days, so you’ll not be wanting to spend too much time on the interviews. Your lovely wife is expecting your first child, so you’re rushing off after this?

NR: Yeah, I’m rushing off very, very quickly yes, because we’re expecting our first child any moment, so a very exciting time, looking forward to that, probably next week, let’s see.

We'll, good luck and congratulations for that. Now, Romain, welcome back, your 10th podium. This circuit saw one of the low points in your career I guess when you got a one-race ban, but focusing on this high today: fantastic and very timely for the Lotus team.

Romain GROSJEAN: Hello, everyone. It has been an incredible weekend for us. A great qualifying yesterday, unfortunately we had the grid penalty, and a good race. I still can’t believe that we are on the podium. Those guys have been working hard to give us that car to be able to be here today. Of course going into turn one, every time I take a start in Spa, I will remember 2012 but I think it made me stronger and indeed allowed me to be 10 times on the podium. Being here today is kind of special I think, it has the feel of a race win.

Well congratulations, fantastic to see you back up here and you’ve never stopped smiling through the difficult times? Lewis, as you recognise the fans down there, just a closing question from us. As you look into the second half of the season, it's still very close with your team-mate, but do you start to feel now that you’re getting your hands closer to another world title?

LH: It definitely way too early for that. But as I said coming into this weekend, you want to get those pole positions and translate them into wins and hopefully today is the beginning of that, so I’m looking forward to the next races, I hope to see many of these fans at some of the other races coming up.


Q: Lewis, Mercedes’ seventh one-two finish of the season, 2015, you just said on the podium there you were under control. Obviously a great start but obviously Nico was closing at various phases before the virtual safety car. I just wonder if the virtual safety car, also the cloud cover coming over, just helped you to bed in those medium tyres because after that initial spurt from Nico in the first lap or two after the virtual safety car, you were able to just stretch away from him. Maybe you could just tell us about that phase of the grand prix and his challenge at that point?

LH: It was really just about utilising the tyres, not having to push. I didn’t really push very hard on the out-laps, took it quite easy for the first three or four laps in which there was areas where Nico would be closing. And then I started to push after that – but I was really never in a position where I was nervous or anything. I had great pace in the car, the balance felt fantastic. It actually was getting better throughout the race. There was no real need to push any more than I was already. I had a comfortable gap and at the end of the day it doesn’t matter if it’s won by a tenth or won by ten seconds. So, at the end I saw that there was a blow-up so I was being very cautious with my tyres. I’d done pretty well up until then so I was just going to make sure I bought it home.

Q: You said on Thursday this wasn’t one of your favourites. Is it moving into becoming one of them again now?

LH: I didn’t mean that it wasn’t one of my favourites. Monaco of course is definitely a favourite but this is a great circuit. It’s incredibly challenging. The weather’s been great this weekend so for sure when the weather’s as good as it is today it really does make it a great weekend. Incredible turnout from all the fans, which is really good to see. A lot of British flags, which I really appreciate but the track is really fun to drive. It’s a historic circuit. Eau Rouge. You can never get tired of driving through Eau Rouge. So it’ll always be a special circuit, for sure.

Q: Coming to you Nico. Obviously a terrific recovery after a poor getaway. Some good strategy as well that got you up into second place around the first pitstops – but tell us, from your perspective, about the way that gap seemed to come down and then just rose again.

NR: Yeah, the start was really bad so I need to practice that a bit more I think, and then after that I just benefited from the fact they weren’t racing me, in front of me. They were just racing all the people behind, so they just pitted, I suppose, because I wasn’t their opponent. They assumed I was too quick anyway – rightly so – and then, yeah, I had a clear path in front, chased down Lewis. I was always coming closer except for this one phase in the second stint, towards the end where Lewis pulled away. So that definitely cost me a bit. Then on the Option felt great again. I was qualifying lap every lap trying to hunt Lewis down but he did a great job and it wasn’t enough.

Q: Romain, welcome back. 31 races since we last had you here, Austin 2013 when you had that big Stetson on as I recall. Lots of great overtakes today, I want you to pick out a few of your favourites. I know you were building to a pass on Vettel at the end when he had the tyre go. Obviously he changed his strategy. What were your thoughts around that final period of the grand prix? What was going through your head?

RG: I was really closing the gap on Seb. It’s very unfortunate he had that puncture and it was a bit of a scary moment just being behind. I think we got everything we could get today, starting from P4 on the grid I’m sure we would have had a much easier race but it was really good fun. All the overtaking into Turn Five, I was really taking it as hard as I could on brake. Probably one of my best races ever. I remember Austin, a long time ago, but I still remember I was a bit drunk at the press conference! A little bit too much champagne on the podium with Seb. It has been up and down here for me. Of course Spa 2012 with Lewis was a bit of a tough time but on the other side it’s helped me because who I am today and being able to be on the podium with how we are during the weekend shows how strong our guys, and how strong we’re capable of building a car and be there. It was a great race, I enjoyed every minute and if we can do it again, let’s go.


Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action / Speedsport magazines) Nico, talk us through that start. Was that a direct consequence of the new clutch rules?

NR: It was more a consequence of… well, yes, for sure but mostly also because we did another formation lap and that always puts more temperature in everything and then things change. But eventually it’s my job to do it well and I didn’t’ do a good job.

Q: (Frédéric Ferret – L’Equipe) Question for Romain Grosjean. Was it your call to pit during the virtual safety car and can you explain how do you gain the speed this weekend with your car?

RG: I unfortunately cannot explain the gain of speed – but the call on the safety car, I went through Eau Rouge on that lap and they just told me on the radio “safety car window is open” and I did finish the lap and ‘safety car’ came up on the steering wheel and we pitted as planned. We needed to fit the prime tyre for the end of the race. I think then I lost a positon to Seb, they stayed on the one-stop strategy which was quite aggressive and we didn’t think we’d be able to do it. I knew the safety car window was open, and if the safety car, the virtual safety car, was lasting long enough for me to rejoin the pit or get in the pit before it ended, it was the strategy for me to stop, yeah.

Q: (Flavio Vanetti – Corriere della Sera) To Romain, we know there are some issues in the team in this period. I would like to know how tough is it to deal with this situation and try to be focused only on the race.

RG: I think engineers, driver, mechanics, we are focusing more on the racing side and I’m probably not aware of everything going around but I didn’t want to neither, I think. I’m here to race as hard as I can, to give it 100 per cent all of the time. I think driving around Spa, every time you go through Eau Rouge and Pouhon, Turn 10-11, it’s a special feeling and I think you just enjoy it. I don’t really care about what’s going around. The only thing I want is to do my best to give the guys who are really working hard a good reward.

Q: (Angelique Belokopytov – Auto Digest) My question is for you Romain. Since a moment the future of Lotus was unknown and last days we’ve heard a lot about the potential comeback of Renault. So, did it give you motivation to step up on the podium?

RG: No. I think, as a racing driver in general, every time we start a race the idea is to try to win it. You know what you have in your hands and you know that sometimes it is not possible but as long as you do everything with 100 per cent of your performance you can fly home in the evening being proud of what you did. That’s what I want to achieve. Sometimes there’s been times in the past year where you score one point or two points and it has been an incredible performance, probably you can’t see it on TV because it’s hidden by the fact that the car is not as good – but every time I just in the car it’s to give my best. It’s cost me a little bit in the past but putting things in the right order makes it good today.

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto Motor und Sport) Lewis, Nico just mentioned that he might have been caught out by the second formation lap. I think you had a similar drama in Budapest. Did the experience from Budapest help you to overcome that?

LH: I don’t think so. I think, of course we were wary of it but going into the weekend we knew that that may be a scenario and we prepared for it. So, when it came to doing the start, I was very much prepared for it. The engineers prepared me for that potential restart, so, yeah, maybe it was a small benefit. I’m happy. My start was really good.

Q: (Mike Doodson – GP Plus) A question for Romain. You’re a father. My question is – and try to be honest – does becoming a father have an effect on your performance and what advice would you like to offer to Nico and his wife?

RG: Sleep as much as you can while the baby’s not here! It’s going to get bad! I think it helps your life in general. You don’t do things for yourself anymore, you do them for them. They are everything for you. And it’s your blood that goes through their body. When you have a tough weekend – or a tough day – you call then, you Skype then in the evening, you see the face of your son, or your sons, and you just laugh. It probably helps to relax your mind in the evening, to think about something else and come fresh in the morning. Once the helmet is on, visor closed, going flat out through Eau Rouge. If you think about your family, you’re not going to stay flat out. We’re racing drivers, we love doing what we do. We know it’s dangerous – we had a good example recently. But, it certainly changes your life. And, to be fair, I’ve never been a world champion, never won a grand prix but the feeling and the emotion I had on the birth of my two sons, has been far better than everything else I’ve known in the world. I wish Nico the same thing. He’ll probably tell us in Monza how it is.

Q:  (Sarah Holt – CNN) Romain, you said that the big crash you had here in 2012 made you stronger. Can you explain in what ways: racecraft, mentally, other things?

RG: Well, I think it’s no secret that since that day I’ve been working with a psychologist specialising in sport and top athletes. There’s a lot of people in the sporting world, especially in the Olympic Games or in professional rugby or football teams, that are working with psychologists and they succeed in overcoming their problems, to understand. Being a father is not always easy either, so sometimes we can speak about fatherhood, about being an husband, being a racing driver, having problems at the start, what was the key, what was the problem? Was I focusing on the right way, the wrong way? All of that work, which has not always been nice and easy – you know, you can have a bad night after a good session – but help you to understand things and to be able to pull out some performances as we did today. 

Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action and Speedsport Magazines) Lewis, yesterday you said one of your concerns about starting first was that someone might get by you going up the hill and Perez actually got ahead of you; the timing screens showed that at the end of sector one. How did you get back in there and take the lead again?

LH: It was very similar to last year, actually. I think Sebastian had slipstreamed me and was pretty much past but by having the inside line and braking later, I was able to hold the position and that’s really what I did with Perez. He braked earlier than me and I outbraked him and managed to get back in the lead after he just took it for a second but he was very fair which was good of him.

Q: (Barna Zsoldos – Nemzeti Sport) Lewis, you said that it’s too early to speak about clinching the World Championship trophy, but yesterday, with your pole position, you already secured the pole trophy. Does that mean anything to you?

LH: The pole trophy is not particularly exciting but getting poles is definitely a great thing. Naturally winning the World Championship is the goal. I would give up everything else, all the poles, the pole position trophy for the -  yeah, you can have it, no problem - for the World Championship so that’s really the goal but I’m really happy with how the qualifying has gone this year. It’s been a huge step for me and today the plan was to try and convert that pole position and the speed that I had in qualifying into the race. I feel like I did that and I’m sure that there will be areas to improve on  which I will continue to try and work on.

NR: I never got my trophy for last year, so don’t expect a trophy coming your way for that. Ask  whoever is responsible.

Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) Romain, as Monza is similar to Spa, can you expect the same result in two weeks?

RG: I think Monza is a big difference in a way that there are special aero packages for Monza and it’s one race out of 19 where it’s always difficult to know exactly what’s going to be there. I’m sure in term of pole everything is going to be under control.  Hopefully is working as well as it is today but I think right now I’m just thinking about having a good drink tonight!

Q: (Giusto Ferronato – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Lewis, we remember that in the final part of the last year, I mean from Monza, you started to win a lot of races. Do you feel the same sensations as last year?

LH: At the moment, it’s a lot different to last year, obviously at this point. Last year I came away from here... it was a very difficult time but after that, no great pace and great results, so for sure that’s the  goal, to continue that from here so this has already been a much much better year than last year and the plan is to try and continue with that. I still feel there’s improvements to be made, particularly in the race so that’s what I will continue to do but I’ll definitely take today’s result.