Thursday 24 September 2015

Sahara Force India retain Sergio Perez for 2016

Sahara Force India has retain the 25-year-old Mexican Sergio Perez for the 2016 season. 

Since joining the team in 2014, Sergio has continued to build his reputation as one of the most exciting drivers on the grid. The extension gives both Sergio and the team valuable continuity moving forward and the opportunity to build on the success of the last two seasons.

Sergio Perez: “I am very happy to confirm that I will be staying with Sahara Force India. It means I can simply focus on the important stuff – driving the car and scoring points for the team. Since coming here I’ve really grown as a driver and I feel I’m performing at my best. I’ve always said I want to establish myself in a team and it’s the right moment to announce my commitment for the future with Sahara Force India. I can feel the potential in the team and there is a good energy, which gives me confidence for next year. I think we can continue to deliver strong results and I will do my best to help drive the team forward. I also want to say 'thank you' to Telmex and Telcel for their continued support, which has played an important role in my journey over the last ten years.”

Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director of Sahara Force India: “I’m very happy Sergio has committed his future to Sahara Force India. He’s done a fantastic job for us already and when we give him a competitive car we know he can get the job done. He’s also got a great attitude and never gives up – it’s that fighting spirit which fits well with this team. You only have to look at his results in the last three races to see that he is performing at the top of his game. It’s an exciting time for Sergio, especially with the upcoming race in Mexico next month, and with our close connections to the country I’m sure it will be a highlight for everybody in the team.”

Tuesday 22 September 2015

'Queue Jumping' - By Jake Davis

This fantastic weekly F1 Toon was designed and created by Jake Davis Creative. Prints are available in sizes A4, A3 and A2. Commissions are also available. If you would like to order a PRINT of this fantastic F1 Toon feel free to contact him via:
                                                                                                                     E-mail -
                                                                                                                     Twitter - @JakeDDCreative


Monday 21 September 2015

'The unexpected struggle' - By Chris Rathbone

Weekly Formula 1 cartoons by Chris Rathbone... Get your hands on prints, mugs and t-shirts of your favourite drivers from the world of Motorsport.
Twitter - @R4THBONE 
Website -

Sunday 20 September 2015

FIA Post-Race Press Conference


1 – Sebastian VETTEL (Ferrari)

2 – Daniel RICCIARDO (Red Bull Racing)

3 – Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN (Ferrari)


(Conducted by Eddie Jordan)

 Sebastian, was this you best ever race, or one of?

Sebastian VETTEL: It must be one of; I think it was pretty intense. Obviously we had a bit of a breather with the safety car. Still, lots of pressure from behind. I think Daniel had a very good race, looking after his tyres very well, which made it a bit tactical towards the end with the stints. Second stint I was dictating the pace. Obviously around here it’s not so easy to overtake, so I was using that. And from then, at some point, chipping away, trying to control the gap. Fortunately that worked. It’s obviously a great day; we had a really great weekend, thanks to the team. 

So, we want to know also, because on Friday a little bird told me you were quietly confident, you thought you had a lot left over, and then you did that magic qualifying lap yesterday; you kind of showboated a bit didn’t you, you just wanted to rub it in, to see how good you were?

SV: Not really. Friday was not perfect I would say but we improved the car overnight, which was very important and then we picked up so much pace. The car was fantastic yesterday with one lap. Amazing the feeling I got; so much adrenalin in qualifying. And the same today. I was able to look after my tyres, control the pace, so all in all a perfect weekend so very, very happy.

I’m coming back to you, don’t you worry. Daniel Ricciardo, ladies and gentleman. Looks like you’re a bit of a local boy here? There are a lot of Aussie flags here. You have a lot of support. Come on let’s hear you. Come on you can tell me, I know he’s your old team-mate but he did back you up didn’t he? He did try to stumble you. He wanted you to let go, so that Kimi could pass you?

Daniel RICCIARDO: I think Seb experimented a bit today. The start of the race he just went, but realised towards the end of the stint I was coming. I think if wasn’t for the safety car it would have got pretty close in terms of the pit stop – maybe an undercut was possible. But, yeah, then the second stint seemed like he had learned for the first, backed us up and then just went after that. I think both safety cars came out at a pretty crucial time. Nonetheless, his pace was good and it was quite representative of qualifying, you know. We seemed to be the two quickest cars today.

You talk about being the quickest car: were you surprised, because you targeted this race didn’t you? You always thought that Red Bull would be strong here.

DR: Yeah, it’s really good to back it up. We came in here pretty confident. I’m always careful not to be overconfident but yeah I think the pace we showed all weekend was strong. The race pace was good; I think we matched Seb, so we’ve got to be pretty happy with this weekend. It’s nice again to capitalise; Budapest we had a chance and we’ve done it again here.

Kimi, hot race. Last time you were on the podium it was in Bahrain and this is the first time this year we’ve seen the two Ferrari drivers on the podium. Is this the sign of the future?

Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN: Obviously we hope that. I must say Friday was fine for me and yesterday we struggled for whatever reason and I didn’t expect much better today. I was a bit surprised to finish third yesterday with how difficult the car felt and today was a struggle again but obviously we had enough speed to be in third place but I had no chance to do anything about the first two. I could follow them at the beginning but once my tyres dropped off that just went. It wasn’t that nice to have that kind of difficulties but you know we still finished third and when you have a bad few days and you finish third it’s pretty good and for the team nice and hopefully we can repeat them.

I just ask you one tiny question: how many starts did you do on the simulator after Monza?

KR: Two.

That’s not what I heard. He’s lying to us. Seb, you must love this place, don’t you? Four-time winner here. What is it about Singapore?

SV: The party on Sunday night I guess. 

Are you going to party tonight?

SV: I think we will have some drinks, yes, definitely. My drinks bottle failed half-way through the race, so I’m quite thirsty. We need to make sure we….

What’s the plan now? Six races left. Can Ferrari really take it to Mercedes?

SV: If we have more weekend like this, yes. But all we have to do is look after ourselves, maximum attack and then what they do is not in our hands. We still have a small chance, maybe we can make the impossible possible; we’ll definitely go for it.


Sebastian, obviously you controlled the race throughout, from your first Ferrari pole position. First stint you attacked from the outset; beginning of the second stint you did the opposite and were pacing yourself. How did you perceive the threat from Hamilton and Rosberg at that point of race? You then speeded up and how much did losing the lead, on the one hand, to the two safety cars balance out against the fact that in both cases you were able to stop under the safety car? How did that help you?

SV: First it was fairly simple: you drive a bit into the unknown, so I was trying to put a gap. I was surprised by the opening laps to put five seconds straight away. Then eased off; probably was pushing a bit hard at the beginning, which allowed Daniel to just be that two, three, four tenths quicker at the end. Obviously I had a bit of margin left but the safety car answered all the questions about the first stop. And the same for the second stop. I think it was pretty straightforward when to stop, because you obviously take the advantage of losing less time through the pit lane. I did pretty much the opposite on the second stint. I knew that it’s impossible for Daniel, for anyone, to go 40-odd laps on the prime tyre, it will just fall apart at the end, so I think some 35 or 36 laps to go, I knew we were approaching the pit stop window plus. I knew that one of the Mercedes was on the prime tyre, which obviously allows them to be on the option for the final stint, so I said, ‘OK a couple of laps to go’. When the pit stop window more of less opened for the final stint, allowing to finish on the prime, to go for it, open a gap, put some three or four seconds between me and Daniel, so that we can react in case he dives into the pits and he doesn’t get the undercut. So it worked pretty well. I was controlling the pace in the second stint for a while and then, as I said, went for it. In the last stint I knew that with the prime they were a bit more resilient - obviously the safety car answered all the questions, as I said, and I could maintain the gap. I wanted to put, fairly quickly, two or three seconds between us, to make sure that Daniel doesn’t get too excited, to try and attack in the end. And it worked. I new that the prime tyre would favour us probably a bit – and it did. At the end we faced some traffic but he never really got close, so I could control the end fairly well. 

Very well done. Daniel, your best result of the season so far. After the first stint your engineer said that your pace and degradation were both very good, so was there any optimism at any point that you might get the win today or did both stops coming under the safety car put paid to chance of doing something with strategy that might have helped you?

DR: I think that sort of dictated the race really. I’m not saying there were any guarantees but I think in the first stint we were coming on quite strong. It was obvious Seb pushed pretty hard at the beginning to break let’s say the DRS and all of that, but then as the laps were ticking down we were starting to come alive, I was able lean on the tyres a bit more and I could see it was working in my hands. So when I saw the safety car come out I was a bit frustrated, but I knew there was one more stop in the race, so I knew there was one more chance to do the same thing, replicate the same, let’s say, procedure. Seb learned a little bit from the first stint – started off a little bit easier in the second stint, then broke away. Then I think again as the laps ticked down I was probably able to make the tyres last a bit better on the option and close in, but then safety car again. So, thanks to the guy on the track, appreciate it. I was tempted to swerve, clip him! That was that and then with the prime, as Seb said, that was pretty much it. It’s hard to overtake here but we tried to do what we could. We just got the fastest lap at the end, so we proved our pace all weekend. I’m proud of that. Good to get another podium. Really happy for the team. As I said yesterday they’ve done a really good job, particularly the last couple of races I think the chassis has really come alive, so thank you to them for that. So, yeah, congrats to Seb, it was a good race.

Q: Kimi, your 79th career podium. On the radio you were getting messages about the tyres being out of range and bringing them back into range. Is that what prevented you from doing more today?

KR: No, not really. I think for whatever reason yesterday morning already in the practice we had difficult handling with the car and then through qualifying it was not exactly what we wanted and was a bit surprised to still be third. Obviously it was good, with all the difficulties I felt. It kept happening in the race. Obviously when you have new tyres the car’s more or less OK and then Sebastian was not pushing on the second set and the last set, the stints, it was quite easy but once we started to push I started to struggle straight way with the same issues with the rear end. It obviously was a bit tricky race but in the end with the difficulties we’ve had in the last few days we still finished third. It’s OK. It’s not ideal but I’ll take it and, for the team, it’s a great result. Hopefully we can improve on this and all the areas and try to keep it going for longer and longer and build on this one again. I think we’ve done an amazing job as a team and we keep doing the same things, I’m sure we’re going as a team the right direction and we get where we want to be in the end, for the future. So I think it was OK. Not ideal but I’ll take it.


Q: (Daniel Johnson – Daily Telegraph) Seb, just talk us through, from your perspective, what it was like when the man came on the track. What did you see? I guess that kind of thing is pretty worrying from your seat.

SV: I don’t know. I had to look again because I wasn’t sure whether I had a problem with my eyesight or I saw somebody crossing the track. I went on the radio and said “some guy’s running across the track!” I think I saw him taking a picture. I don’t know. I hope it was a good one at least. I hope it was in focus! Yeah, pretty crazy, we approach that corner at around 280-290klicks so, I don’t know, I wouldn’t cross the track if I was him. It was crazy, obviously, and we had a Safety Car straight away. Maybe in the next year we need to block the grandstands a bit better. Fortunately nothing happened to us and nothing happened to him – as far as I know. The other guys didn’t see him, so I was the first one to come around.

[off-mic follow up]

SV: Not necessarily. I think he did a pretty good job. He was a quick runner, crossing from the right to the left but yeah, pretty odd. Obviously that’s not what you expect when you come around, looking into the next corner. 

Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) I have been waiting for a while to ask this question: to Sebastian and Kimi, does it feel any different to be first time as team-mates in the podium compared to previous times?

SV: Honest answer: no. I’ve always liked Kimi because from the very first day I joined Formula One he was one of the guys who showed me most respect. There were other guys who lost a little bit the ground under their feet but Kimi was definitely not one of them. At that time I was nobody in F1 and he was a great champion already. It was great to see that he pays that much respect. And since that day he hasn’t changed. I think people love him for the fact that there’s no bullshit – as he often quotes – he’s here for the racing bit and that’s ultimately why we’re all here: we love racing. So, I don’t know, I think we get along well. Obviously I had a better day, compared to him today – but if it’s the other way around I think it’s only fair to be as fair as him today.

And Kimi, does it feel any different to you to be team-mates for the first time on the podium?

KR: Maybe a little bit. Obviously you try to beat your team-mates. Sometimes you lose, sometimes you win but I think in the end you are happy the team did well. So, I’d rather be with him in the same team and he wins and I’m in a third place than he’s in another team other than Ferrari. So obviously it’s a win-win situation. I didn’t have the best few days but I mean, fair enough, he was faster and I can take the third place and we try next weekend again and I’m sure we will have other good battles in the future and I think, as a team, we work well. And that’s the most important thing. If there would ever come a day when we have issues, then we can talk about it and sort it out. Not a big deal about it but we’re working well. I’m happy for him and for the team first of all that we can have a good result. Obviously we want always better but it’s going in the right direction for all of us.

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto Motor und Sport) Daniel, despite a good race you had today, at the moment your team doesn’t have an engine for next year and it doesn’t look like there’s a solution tomorrow on the table. Are you worried? And then, obviously to Seb, what would you say if Red Bull would drive similar engines, the same engines as you next year?

DR:  I think it’s… now I’m not worried. I think we’ve still got time. It’s not December yet, so if we’re in this position in December then, maybe I’m a bit worried. Maybe I’m facing a year of getting paid to do nothing.

SV: You renewed your contract?

DR: Yeah! I don’t know how that would feel but for sure I want to be here, want to be racing. Obviously I’m at a bit of a peak of my career, I’m learning all the time but enjoying it and want to keep racing definitely and keep racing at the front. So, firstly it’s great to be back on the podium and fighting where I want to be fighting. For next year, in time it will get solved. Obviously the sooner the better for everyone to start working and preparing the car for next year. Obviously it depends on what engine you have: you design the car around that, the set of geometry of the engine – but yeah, we’ll see how we go in the next few weeks, hopefully we’ll get an answer. 

And your part of that question Seb?

SV: Well, it’s not in my hands. Obviously I think Daniel answered that question fairly well. I think as a racing driver you want to race and not worry about these kind of things. I cannot really provide him with an engine, I’m not making the decisions. It’s other people to ask… and probably the champagne hits more than I thought so it’s maybe better for me to shut up at this point!

DR: Do you want some water?

Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action and SpeedSport Magazines) Daniel, looking at the shorter term, as you say, the chassis has really come alive. On which of the upcoming tracks do you think you will be able to really exploit that and get a good result?

DR: I think this was our best chance, so we got close. I think we can still be proud of what we did this weekend. As I said on the podium, I think it’s good that we – in a way – capitalise or make the most of our opportunities. This year, I believe we have had two: Budapest and here and we’ve got podiums in those races. A bit like last year, when we had the chance to win we did. I still think we’re maximising everything we’ve got at the moment. Moving forward, Suzuka is normally a good track for us. I don’t think we can expect as strong a performance as here but we can still look at the top five and maybe better. Then after that, I’m not sure. Mexico is new for everyone, so we will see how that goes but I was there already and they’ve got a pretty long straight, so I’m not sure how that will play in our hands. Yeah, looking forward to the last part of the season. Austin’s pretty good so yes, see how we get on. 

Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, after Bahrain it took eight races for you to get a podium. Does it feel any better now after that kind of long wait?

KR: No, not really. I have mixed feelings, you know. I am happy to be in third place after how difficult it’s felt in the last two days with some issues that we had. But it’s disappointing in that on Friday we knew that we were faring pretty well and then to get third place is fine but it’s not what we are here for. It’s a bit mixed feelings but I think I take the third place. We’ve had some other chances to be on the podium quite a few times but either I made a mistake or something else happened. It’s been a bit of an up and down year but hopefully we keep building, we learn a lot and obviously we are still some way to go to be exactly where we want to be. It’s getting there and to be happy as a team in what we’re doing I think the team should get a big big thanks from everyone, from us, for what a great job they are doing for us. Obviously the things that we are doing are definitely going in the right direction. For the future it is the good way. We just have to have some patience to build on this.

Q: (Luigi Perna – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Seb, this is your third win in your first season with Ferrari as Michael had in 1996 and one more than Senna. Does it mean something special for you?

SV: One more than? Was Senna ever with Ferrari? No. Ah, overall you mean. I think I could consider myself the luckiest racing driver in the world if there were as many race wins to come as there was with Michael. I don’t think you can really draw that comparison. In all fairness, I think the car he had in 1996 was a lot worse than what we have this year which shows again what a great racing driver he was. I don’t know. I think looking back it has been incredible. You know the way I was growing up, I just enjoyed racing and then to find myself nowadays having a teammate that I looked up to when I was young, racing him and seeing what he does, racing on a similar level to him and racing other guys that are really great like Daniel, like Lewis, like Nico. I can consider myself very very lucky that I got in a position always to have a great team around me, the last couple of years, and keep going that way. As Kimi described in his answer before, I think looking at our current situation with Ferrari, things are definitely improving. I think the spirit is very high in the team. I haven’t been with the team in the last couple of years but as far as I have learned, it’s a lot better so I think the direction is the right one and obviously we are very happy with today’s result, very happy with the car this year in general but not yet where we want to be. We know that there’s still a lot of work to do so expectations are already fairly high but I think they are always, especially in Italy, when you talk about Ferrari. So we have to keep our feet on the ground because there’s still a lot of homework to do.

Q: (Don Kennedy – Hawke’s Bay Today) Just adding to that, Sebastian, 42 wins, you’re third now in the all-time list behind Alain Prost and Michael Schumacher. Do you think you will stay around long enough to obviously surpass Prost’s record but what about Schumacher’s record? Is that in your sights or do you not think about it?

SV: Well, I think, to be honest, Prost’s is in sight somehow. I’m 28 so I’m not the youngest any more especially if the kids start racing at 17 now. But Michael’s is just ridiculous: number of wins, number of poles, number of fastest laps. I think all the statistics you can go for you compare yourself to him or anyone to him, so I think that’s far away. So if you have 23 corners in Singapore, I consider myself being in turn one and Michael in turn 23. I’m not really looking at that. As I said, I’m having a great time. I think I can consider myself very lucky and blessed the way things have turned out. I’ve always had a more or less competitive car, competitive team, so if it keeps going that way then I can consider myself very lucky.

Q: (Don Kennedy – Hawke’s Bay Today) Damon Hill was 35 when he won the championship so you’ve got plenty of time.

SV: Yeah, and Michael still kept racing some years ago when he was 43. I think Kimi is now 33, 34, 35, 36! OK. I think it’s impossible to predict the future. I think we are now on a good track with the team, Kimi and myself, so I think we’ve got some years ahead of us which we can enjoy. In a way you can forget the statistics, I think the most important thing is the sheer fun in life and get paid for it, that’s a great thing.

Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) To all of you: do you think that the fact that there is no Mercedes driver on the podium this weekend is only track-related or is it the fact that Ferrari and Red Bull are progressing?

DR: I think for us it’s very much track-related. With all that being said, we expected to be strong here. I think we’re all surprised that Mercedes - or at least one of them - isn’t up here or not even... OK, I think Rosberg was fourth but we never really saw them all race in the mirrors or in qualifying so definitely an off weekend for them. I expect them to be back in Suzuka but for whatever reason, if it is that we’ve made so much progress – Ferrari and us – then obviously hopefully you will see us up here a few more times this year.

KR: It’s hard to say obviously. I feel as a team Ferrari did the same thing that we do going into every race weekend. I don’t feel that we really made something magic, it’s not like that we did something really different to other race weekends. We are there. I think we were more surprised at the last race in Monza to be that close to the Mercedes and maybe that shows us that we made a step there and maybe we just kept doing the same things here. But it’s very hard to say what they did. I think everybody’s surprised where they’ve been all weekend and who knows what happens in the next race. We can see from the last race to this race has been completely different. I think it’s better to wait and see what happens in Suzuka.

SV: Big surprise, so same as Daniel and Kimi. I guess they should be back in Suzuka. If they’re not, in all honesty we don’t mind. 

Saturday 19 September 2015

FIA Post-Qualifying Press Conference

Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull Racing), Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari).


Sebastian, pole and by quite a margin as well. Your first for Ferrari and Ferrari’s first for 61 races, going back quite a few years. Your feelings?

Sebastian VETTEL: And a proper one I would say. Unbelievable. I know it’s only Saturday and the main job is coming tomorrow but I had to enjoy the moment when I heard that I made it. It was looking good right from the offset of quali and actually from this morning to be fair. The car was fantastic to drive; it just got better through qualifying. I think we got the maximum today. Surprised by the margin but I think it just came together. I really had a near-perfect lap at the end. I was very, very happy with the laps I had today, especially the last one. Around here it’s such a long, tricky lap; it’s so easy to go just a little in too deep or push a little bit too much but it just seemed to come in the end. I was very happy that I made it to the finish line because it felt like a good lap and it was a good lap in the end. Very happy, it puts us in a great place for tomorrow but, as I said, it’s only Saturday and the main job is coming tomorrow. I’m sure the Mercedes will be quick tomorrow – everything else would be a bit of surprise and it's already a bit of a surprise. And the Red Bulls of course, so tough job ahead tomorrow.

Coming to you Daniel: obviously it’s been close this weekend throughout between Red Bull Racing and Ferrari and you have the prospect of a battle with your old team-mate tomorrow,

Daniel RICCIARDO: Yeah, firstly, it’s nice to be back up here. The front row as well… it’s been a while. It’s good. It’s a bit of a coincidence that it’s Seb and I but it should be a good race tomorrow. I think already qualifying was exciting. To have no Mercedes up here is a surprise to everyone, still a bit of a surprise. I thought they were playing a few card games here yesterday but it seems they are obviously not particularly comfortable here this weekend. It’s good to capitalise on that. Tomorrow it would be nice to be back here. I’m really happy. Really happy for the team as well. I think we’ve definitely made a lot of progress, since Silverstone but particularly for me since Budapest the car has really come alive. It's nice we can show that here. We expected it to work well and it is, so pretty happy and we’ll just try to hang in there in the long runs tomorrow and make a race of it.

Thank you for that. Coming to you Kimi: your second consecutive top three qualifying this season and how do you like Ferrari’s race pace tomorrow?

Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN: Well, we’ll set it tomorrow. Obviously we had some difficulties yesterday on my side. I think Seb has a good run yesterday. Obviously quite a good result for the team today. I was not very happy since this morning for whatever reason, so I’m a bit surprised to be in this position after how difficult it felt all day. But it was good and we have to try to do a good job tomorrow and hopefully get the two cars on the podium.


Sebastian, Ferrari’s first pole, in fact, since Germany 2012, I’m told. As Daniel was saying just a moment ago, it is against the run of form of the past 18 months really for no Mercedes driver to be up here. Can you put into words, explain why you think this is happening this weekend?

SV: To be perfectly honest I think we don’t mind for a start; sorry! I don’t know, it’s a surprise. I thought yesterday they were sandbagging and also this morning, because there’s no doubt they have the strongest package this year. They have a very good car, sorry, a very good power unit, which we know. It usually puts them very high up and difficult to beat. I don’t know, they must have some issues not feeling comfortable at all; it’s the only explanation I think. But I wouldn’t rule them out for tomorrow. It’s not the easiest circuit to overtake but if you have the pace eventually you come through, so I expect them to be strong tomorrow.

The other half of it of course is that you’ve obviously improved?

SV: Well, obviously we always try to improve. Obviously we hope that we can show the exact same result… maybe a little bit better to have both of us in 1-2, without being too greedy, next Saturday. Then you can say we have improved. We generally feel OK on this track; obviously it’s about feeling confident. I think it was fairly close the whole weekend between Kimi and myself. I the quali the gap seemed to increase. He explained that he wasn’t that comfortable and I think that’s where a lot of lap time is – if you feel confident with the car then you can attack. There is no room for error here and it can easily make a big difference. But nevertheless it’s a great day and it puts us in a very good place for tomorrow so I don’t mid at all.

Coming to you Daniel, obviously Ferrari have had some wins in 2015, Red Bull have not. You got three last year, you’ve been hanging out for a win in 2015, is tomorrow your best chance?

DR: It’s definitely our best chance. Coming into the weekend we thought it would be our best chance to back on the podium and obviously today’s result has shown that we’ve backed up the confidence I had in the car and I think the team had coming here. Tomorrow is where… that’s where the points are the champagne is, so you know we put ourselves in the best position today. Obviously Seb was out of reach. I think he did two really good laps from what it looked like. Yeah, second best today but we’ll try to get one more up there tomorrow. It’s always a challenge here: it’s hot, it’s physical, it’s long. Not only is it can the car hold up, it’s a test for the driver and I think that’s fun. Pretty happy with how the weekend has gone. As Seb said as well, you need a lot of confidence in the car here and it’s felt good out of the box from yesterday, so really pleased.

Well all three of your managed to save a set of supersoft tyres in Q1 but Kimi it was a little bit marginal for you, very brave. Were you sweating a little bit towards that end of that Q1 session with the decision to not go out on a supersoft set.

KR: Not really, because obviously the lap, you know if it’s a good lap or not. I think even with that lap we probably could have gone through, just wanted to with the first set. So it was quite OK. There’s always a chance that people start guessing and it can get more hectic but it was fine and just for whatever reason it’s been a difficult day, just lacking in grip and struggling a bit on braking and turn-in, so not in an ideal position but in the end the result is OK for how difficult it’s been today, so I’m sure we found something for tomorrow so it should be OK. It’s good for the team. Obviously we’ll try to have a strong race to finish 1-2 tomorrow and we’ll see what happens.


Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, how much pressure there is after what happened in Monza in the start and is it better to start from the cleaner side of the street? How much that helps?

KR: If it makes a difference we don’t know. There is no pressure from what happened. It doesn’t change for tomorrow.

Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action / Speed Sport) Daniel, your team-mate was quicker than you in FP2 and FP3. What happened in qualifying? Did things maybe just click a little bit better for you?

DR: Ask him [Vettel] why I was slower than Dany in FP2! Yeah, we encountered some traffic, otherwise I think, yeah, we would have been pretty quick in FP2. This morning, we made a few changes overnight and I wasn’t as comfortable with them. I think my lap wasn’t great, as well, from my side. We went back to what we know from yesterday and yeah, obviously qualifying is where you need to really make it happen so was… yeah, felt more comfortable in quali.

Q: (Peter Windsor – F1 Racing) Sebastian, forgive this hypothetical question, bear with me. Beautiful pole lap. If you could go back 12 months and drive last year’s RB11 as you are now, do you think you’re a better, slightly faster, more experienced driver. Do you think you’d be quicker in the RB11 now, if you could get back into the car as it was.

SV: It’s a very difficult question to answer because there’s no way I can do that. Look, it’s very simple: last year for sure I didn’t have a great year and all in all Daniel had a very good year and beat me fair and square, many times. Other times I was in front but overall it was not the best year for myself.  A lot of stuff that I learned… yeah, obviously didn’t have a good start to the season. Didn’t drive the car very often. I think I did about one day of testing, one proper day of testing, before the season, and then we had lots of issues – but still, I think I’m experienced enough to know what to do to go quick but yeah, simply wasn’t good enough. Daniel showed that he could go quicker with the car on occasions. So, to try and answer your question… I don’t know – but I think I’ve learned a couple of bits about this generation of cars, let’s say and yeah, probably the way the season went last year has helped me for this year.

Q: (Lim Say Heng – The New Paper) This question is for Sebastian. You must be quite familiar, comfortable and confident here since you’ve won here three times. How much of that comfort and confidence helped you in getting pole today?

SV: I think it’s crucial if you’re confident around the track. You need to be confident in your car. It is a street circuit and the better you feel, the closer you can get to the walls. It is a circuit where the driver can make a difference. If he feels comfortable… I don’t know, I’ve always loved this track since I came here. I had a very good result in 2008, I think 2009 was OK as well. It’s a tough one, a tough lap. It’s an extreme challenge but it’s the sort of race where you’re kind of excited. Not scared but nervous as well, before you start. There’s a lot of things happening, it’s intense, you need to keep your focus up. So, looking forwards to tomorrow.

Q: (Daniel Johnson – The Telegraph) Seb, two things if I may. First of all, it’s been a while for you and the team since you started on pole, is there anything you have to refresh tonight? Any studying you need to do to remember all what you have to do. The second bit is, are you expecting this to be a blip with Mercedes so far behind or do you think this could be the pattern for the rest of the year?

SV: Expect it to be a pattern. They’ve been way too comfortable and too strong for a long time so, I don’t know what happened today, probably we’ll here after quali what they have to say. As I’ve said, I think they will be quick tomorrow and then, the first part of your question, I don’t think so. I think it’s actually easier if you have nobody in front on the formation lap to look out for. You can do your own thing. It’s nice. Obviously hard work on Saturday but we succeeded and looking forward to have a clean run to Turn One.

Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Sebastian, last time Ferrari was having a front row was France 2008 when Kimi was in pole. Can you see that realistic this season to happen also? To get a front row for Ferrari?

SV: I think yes. We are trying, both as hard as possible. I think obviously today could have been possible but in the end obviously I was a bit lucky that I felt really comfortable, Kimi wasn’t. It’s easy to lose some time there but for the rest of the season we go maximum attack. Anything can happen, it can rain on Saturday. There’s always the chance to do well – so we have to attack latest next Saturday if you talk about qualifying.

Q: (Peter Windsor – F1 Racing) Question for Daniel. I think you were quickest in Sector Three. I wondered whether your tyre warm-up process was affected in any way by Bottas coming out just in front of you?

DR: It’s not ideal. You always want to have a clean out-lap and obviously it’s not his fault at all. It’s just the pattern and the way we came out was close but yeah, it’s always nicer to have your own out-lap to do your own thing. Everyone’s got their own way of warming up the tyres. You never know how much the car in front is going to back up to try and do whatever they want to do, so yeah, it probably explains why my tyres were better at the end of the lap rather than the beginning. I haven’t seen the sectors but the third one felt pretty good. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise. Who knows? But yeah, it’s always nice having a clean out-lap and doing your thing. It was close. Wanted to push him in the pitlane! Yeah, it’s just part of it.

Lotus F1 Team celebrates the launch of Forza 6 Motorsport

Photo Courtesy of Lotus F1 Team 
Lotus F1 Team is celebrating the launch of Xbox exclusive title Forza 6 Motorsport with special branding and bespoke Alpinestars race suits for the Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix as well as Romain Grosjean setting a lap time for gamers to try to beat.

Xbox and Forza 6 Motorsport branding is appearing on both the team’s E23 Hybrid race cars as well as the race overalls of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado. Romain has joined Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, in setting a lap time using the 2015 Lotus F1 Team’s E23 Hybrid on the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps track in Belgium.

Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1 Team driver:
“I am extremely excited about Forza 6 Motorsport’s launch in Asia. I’ve had the opportunity to race the E23 Hybrid in the game, and the entire racing experience is absolutely amazing. The visual detail within the car is immaculate, the graphics absolutely breathtaking and the sound is incredible – it almost feels like I’m racing the actual car itself! I’m particularly impressed by the night racing and wet weather modes as they provide an added dimension to the virtual racing experience. I’m looking forward to see fans beat the timings set by Phil and I. We are tough to beat, but I am sure that they can do it if they try hard enough!”

Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox:
“In conjunction with the launch of Forza 6 Motorsport, we want to invite all our fans to be part of this great partnership with Lotus F1 Team. Both Romain and I have set our best racing times and we want fans to beat us for the ultimate bragging rights in Forza 6. With tremendous improvements made to the game, including the addition of the Lotus F1 Team’s E23 Hybrid, night racing and wet weather elements, we believe that Xbox and Forza 6 will be at the centre of many epic virtual racing moments in the months to come.”

How to compete against Romain and Phil
Called the Forza 6 Motorsport #TimetoShine challenge, participating fans will need to better the race times of 1:52.703 set by Romain Grosjean, and 2:00.343 set by Phil Spencer for the ultimate bragging rights against two of the most competitive Forza Motorsport 6 racers in the world. Fans need to set their time using the Rivals mode event in Forza Motorsport 6. Fans who succeed in beating these times should post a screenshot of their race timings with the hashtag #TimetoShine, alongside the @Xbox or @XboxP3 handles on their social media pages, in order to for the result to be recognized by Phil Spencer and the Xbox team across the world.

Racing Forward with Forza 6 Motorsport
Powered by the cutting-edge ForzaTech™ engine, players can take their pick from the wide range of super cars, including the 2015 Lotus F1 Team’s E23 Hybrid that packs a powerful Mercedes Benz Power Unit alongside design and aerodynamic improvements for a superior racing experience, and race these cars in 26 world-famous locales, including Daytona, Le Mans and Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps among others.

Taking virtual racing to the next level, players will also be able to compete in the all-new night racing mode, a unique race experience popularized by the Singapore Grand Prix night race. With impressive lighting effects illuminating the race track and spectator stands, players will be awed by the mix of different colours coming together beautifully against the dark night-time skyline to heighten the excitement in the heart-pumping race spectacle. Furthermore, new wet weather racing elements complete with detailed 3D puddles provide that additional boost for the most complete and realistic Forza experience ever.

Friday 18 September 2015

FIA Team Members' Press Conference

TEAM REPRESENTATIVES – John BOOTH (Manor), Monisha KALTENBORN (Sauber), Franz TOST (Toro Rosso), Claire WILLIAMS (Williams), Toto WOLFF (Mercedes) PRESS CONFERENCE

Toto, maybe we can start with you. You had Pharrell Williams in your garage this evening but are you happy with the performance of your car – fourth for one of your drivers and seventh for the other and apparently giving something away in the long runs to maybe Red Bull and Ferrari?

Toto WOLFF: Yeah that was a pretty spot on analysis. We are not with the performance today. We haven’t really made the tyre work in the way we should on the one-lap performance and on the long runs either. We have seen some spectacular laps from the Red Bulls. Yeah, just need to get our heads together and assess what’s happening.

It is of course the time of year when we start looking forward to next year and the future. Do you envisage making any changes in your roster of customer teams from the ones you have today?

TW: This is also a situation, which is a dynamic situation and we are looking at what is happening with curiosity. Of course we have always supported independent teams, so depending on what’s also happening with Lotus and Renault we will be looking at the situation of supply for next year.

OK, thanks for that. Claire, coming to you: 188 points on the board at the moment, this time last year, after 12 rounds, 150 on the board; third in the Constructors’ looking reasonably solid. So, are you proud of your progress or frustrated by your missed opportunities this year?

Claire WILLIAMS: Always proud of the progress our team makes. I think that we have obviously made a couple of mistakes, certainly in the past couple of races, around our pit stops. But we know the issues, we identified them and we are always very open and honest about what they are and as long as when we next come to a race track we don’t make the same mistakes then I’m happy with the work the team does. As you said, we are ahead on the number of points we’ve scored so far this season versus last year. We were fourth in the Constructors last year versus third at this point now and we believe that we can close that gap to Ferrari and that is our agenda and our objective for this weekend. We’ve got to get some more points and extend that gap to Red Bull as well.

In terms of moving forward for 2016, you’ve obviously got the same drivers, that’s been confirmed, what are you demanding from your technical personnel to make that step change you need to challenge?

CW: A quicker race car. Pat and his team do a really great job with the resources that they have available to them. We obviously have to do a better job commercially to bring in some more revenue for them, to give them a stronger budget. But they know the job in hand and obviously we have another year, a final year of stable technical regulations ahead of the changes that are coming in ’17 and we need to capitalise on that stability in order to make sure that we bring the best car to the track when we start racing again next year. This is a good opportunity for us to galvanise where we are now and the position and the competitiveness that we have and to drive it forward.

Thank you for that. Coming to you Monisha: great start to the season with those points in Australia. Then you got caught up by some of your competitors. Recently you’ve been back in the points and here in Singapore you have a big upgrade. Tell us about why your season has gone the way it has?

Monisha KALTENBORN: Well, if you as a team have certain limitations on resources, it might be finances or personnel, you have to make sure you spend it on the right things that are viable for you to implement. So we knew that we put emphasis on the start of the season, knowing very well that in the course of the season when we tried to being a package in later, [which is] what we did, the competitors are going to catch up and probably we will be passed down the ladder, which we were, so it was expected in a way. But we focused on our route and brought this package now to Singapore and what we’re seeing, as a basis, we’re happy with but we understand that we still have to work a bit more on the set-up, analyse the data better and maybe not exactly at this race but maybe at the next races we will see the full potential.

There is a lot of discussion at the moment on power units, costs and the best way forward for all teams in Formula One. What are your personal thoughts?

MK: Well, we’ve always had the view that you had to bring to the costs down. We had reached already the point with the Resource Restriction Agreement that we felt was a good basis. We’ve seen that with the new powertrain costs have hiked up that much, so we’ve always supported the idea that you try to bring a kind of cost cap on the engine prices, so we think that is a move in the right direction.

Franz, talking about engines, where are you on engine supply for next year. It’s now late September; are your engineers anticipating a change of power unit in their 2016 design?

Franz TOST: As Renault decided not to supply us anymore with engines of course we have to take into consideration to change the engine.

Can you tell us anymore?

FT: Confidential talks are continuing, therefore I don’t know at the moment which engine we will have in the car next year. I hope that we will get a result soon but currently we have confidential negotiations and as I mentioned before I hope we come to a result as soon as possible.

Your drivers have started in the top 10 on the grid on 10 occasions this season but you’ve still got just 35 points on the board. What do you have to do in the final races to improve the situation? Is it just reliability?

FT: It’s reliability, because we didn’t finish many races where we could have scored a lot of points because of reliability issues and I hope that we as a team and our partners will have it under control for the rest of the season and that we can catch up and finish races. For sure it’s not in the hands of the drivers. If we give them a reliable car they will score points.

Thank you. Coming to you John. First of all, the Alexander Rossi and Roberto Merhi decision was described as being ‘in the long-term interests of the team’, so that does imply a 2016 seat for the American, what are the considerations on that, and how was day one?

John BOOTH: Day one started out extremely well. Alex had a really good first session up until a small mistake with a big penalty unfortunately. I think Alex has proved to us over recent years that he is an exciting young talent and we are very happy to give him the chance to show that talent.

And what do you mean by long-term interest of the team?

JB: I think that’s Roberto’s words rather than my words I think. It will help us assess as we come to the end of the year and start thinking about driver line-ups for next year. Any information will help us.

Tell us about the work on the 2016 chassis. What engine is it based around and how much resource have you been able to throw at it?

JB: Well, the engine situation is very similar to how Franz described it. I think there is a bit of an engine merry-go-round at the moment and it’ll be interesting to see how it settles. We are in discussions with manufacturers and we hope to have that resolved fairly soon. Work on the 2016 car is progressing well. We are not quite back to where we were with staffing levels, but we have a very strong design team; we’ve made some good signings over recent months, and we’re moving into our new factory as we speak. So the team is back under one roof for the first time in nearly 12 months.


Q (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines) A question on engines to all five please but first of all to the independent teams. There’s obviously talk about the cost-caps or price-caps on engines – but there’s also talk about two different tiers; in other words a current engine and a last year’s engine. How do you feel about that and is the discussed or proposed differential of only €4million between the two steps sufficient to make it attractive to take last year’s engine. And to Toto, what does this do to your business model? Because obviously if you’ve got three customer teams and you could recover €25million per team it was €75million per year. If it’s now down to €12million it’s only €36million. Is it an incentive for Mercedes to continue supplying engines at that sort of rate?

CW: There were a lot of questions in that! First, in general as an overview, I think what the Strategy Group have come up with is a good way of trying to control costs around what is a very expensive power unit that we now have in Formula One. I think that each team needs to make an independent decision as to what variant they go for – and obviously at Williams we have options available to us and we need to take every argument under consideration before we determine which avenue we want to go down. Obviously as Williams we want to make sure we have the most competitive power unit in our car. I think with regards to your question  about whether the delta between the numbers are great, I actually think that those numbers are significant for teams. For a team like Williams, with the budget we have, a cost-saving of €4million is always going to help because it means we can divert that spend in another area: it can go on aero or it can go elsewhere – so I think those numbers are important. You can’t get these engines down to… they’re expensive engines for the manufacturers to have to build. They’ve got to recover their costs, we’ve got to pay for them. We can’t be unrealistic about those expectations. I think your other question would be best directed to Toto.


FT: I think it started in the wrong way from the beginning onwards because when it was decided to come up with this new regulation, FIA or whoever should have told the manufacturers, “look, you have Formula One, you can use this as a marketing tool – but you have to invest the money to develop the engine and to provide some teams with engines to a fixed price.” Then it should have been negotiated and the manufacturers could have said yes or no. Now, after this new power unit is running for the second year already, to say to the manufacturers “you must come down with the cost” is a little bit late because the development is quite expensive and it has to be. The different manufacturers have to develop the engines and the power units because otherwise they will never close the gap to Mercedes. Therefore it’s difficult. I’m totally against the usage of a one year old engine because then we have a two class team on the grid and this will not close the gap. This will even increase the gap. Then we have, I don’t know, five, six, seven cars which are running away. They will have after ten laps 30 seconds open the gap and races will become totally boring. It’s difficult but I think it’s too late. The power unit from the beginning onwards is very, very expensive. What we’re bringing here, it’s high technology, the development and the research costs a lot of money and now, of course, we have to pay the price.

John, you have a bit of experience of running older generation engines. Do you have a point on that and answering Dieter’s question.

JB: To answer Dieter’s question, we’re in favour of any type of cost control in Formula One, whether it’s engine or other forms of regulation that keep costs under control. We’re in favour of any steps in that direction – but I don’t think F1’s the correct arena to have two tiers of performance.

Monisha, you half-answered this question with your previous answer but do you have anything more to add to the specific points raised in this question?

MK: I agree with what’s been said, that we would not support anything that leads to a two-tier system – and I think there’s a danger in it as well, that it sets a precedent for other areas. If you do this on the engine now, what if then you come up on the chassis or parts that you could also save costs there? A team can very well be in a situation where you take up this option before you have to close your team – but nevertheless it’s a dangerous route and we should make sure it’s not a precedent for other areas.

And the final word to Toto, on the question raised by Dieter first of all, and then the second part which is specific to you about how this affects your business model as a manufacturer.

TW: First of all, as Mercedes we take costs very seriously. We understand that it’s difficult times for most of the teams and that we should, all together, try to get the cost level down – that is clear. As to the specific question Dieter, I would like to throw a question back: where do you have your information from? Because I have never seen any sport or any business where price-sensitive information or competitive information is being discussed in public. So I wouldn’t want to comment on any of the discussions. What I’d like to comment is that the Strategy Group discussed possible avenues of reducing the costs for customers and making the model feasible. That will go into the F1 Commission, it’s going to be voted on. So whatever’s out there in the public is pure speculation. Borderline nonsense.

And the subject of the business model, is that covered by your answer?

TW: That’s covered, yeah.

Q: (Joe Saward – Grand Prix Special) This is for Toto only. Car manufacturers across the world are spending US$20million a day on research and development into various things. Why are you charging anybody in Formula One? You don’t need to, this is R&D work, you should actually be doing it for nothing, shouldn’t you?

TW: Yeah, we’re all here for nothing, because we love the sport and we enjoy ourselves. Joe, there is a commercial reality out there. Whoever is in the sport does it because he hopes to have a sustainable business model. The same for car manufacturers. We are operating – and it is along the lines of what Franz says –on a set of rules. We have developed an engine and we have developed a car looking at regulations and trying to do the best possible job. If we find out a couple of years later that, oops, we’ve forgotten to set the framework right, this is not how you operate today. So, like any other business, you will try to work on your P&L and optimise where it is feasible but again, as I said in my answer to Dieter, this is our joint platform, and we need to have that discussion, and it important to not be hard line and close yourself up and say “well, I need to optimise on the profit.” On the contrary, you need to look at it in a sensible way but these discussions need to be reasonable and need an outcome which is feasible for everybody.

Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines) Toto, your question gets answered by the financial statements that you publish every year at Company’s House in the UK, £120m odd. It’s very easy to have a look at it. I know you do R&D work for other people – for the group -  but a lot of that – 80 percent  of your work roughly – is Formula One, so it doesn’t take rocket science to work out exactly what you’re charging per customer team. Plus people do talk in this business, as you know. But my question is that if it’s nonsense, as you termed it, are you saying then that the price cap would be exactly what you’re charging at the moment and if so, how seriously are you taking cost-cutting then?

TW: So, I haven’t questioned your information about our official accounts which you’ve researched and it’s absolutely right but there are numbers flying around with two tier engines of eight million or 12 million and what the gap would be on our bottom line and I think this is just wrong. We shouldn’t discuss prices. I have my opinion on fixing any price and there’s a pretty simple legal view but that’s going much too far for a press conference after Formula One free practice. Nevertheless, the governance is like it is, there have been discussions around that and you should take them seriously, that’s absolutely clear. We are serious about cost-cutting but let’s take it to another level, let’s take it to the F1 commission and let’s discuss possible outcomes.

Q: (Kate Walker – Toto again on engines, I’m afraid. If the F1 commission and WMSC do end up approving a year old, second tier engine scenario as has been discussed, would that enable you to open up greater supply routes to other teams that were only interested in the older engines?

TW: Personally, I’m not a fan, I think, like anybody in that room, of two different engines because you don’t want to have two classes of competitors and that’s one thing, but if you can supply an engine for a much cheaper price because you can run it longer on less harder power levels, and the difference in price is considerable, you can give somebody a choice. You can give a team a choice in saying that I would like to be in there just to ramp up my organisation, for example. You’ve seen like Manor came out of the ashes and it was reasonable to opt for a reasonable price model on the engine, without wanting to speak for John. But I think if you have that second option, why not? I don’t think that many teams are going to take that up but we just wanted to throw another possibility into the game, not expecting that it would generate lots of interest.

Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action and SpeedSport Magazines) A question to all of you about the ban on wind tunnels: if it is going to happen, will it save money and why throw away something that is used in the automotive and aeronautical industries and could be related to F1 as well?

MK: Well, since I’m not a member of the F1 strategy group there’s not really very much I can say on that. I’ve heard different views. Some say they have been banned, some say they haven’t. I personally think we should not be banning anything like this, not because we have a wind tunnel which we think works very well. I don’t think it’s the right way. Whatever we’ve banned in the past has always come back and it’s always been more expensive, so I think you rather have to find a sensitive balance between the different tools you have or create some kind of another borderline and be free actually to do things within that cap or borderline and why should we ban wind tunnels?

Q: John, your team when it first started didn’t have a wind tunnel, just used cfd back in the day, if you remember. Is it time to go back to that model?

JB: Probably not. Reference the gentleman’s reference to the use of wind tunnels in automotive and aerospace, I think you will find that aerospace in particular is using wind tunnels less and less and relying more and more on cfd. I can see a time in the future when wind tunnels are banned totally but maybe not for the next two or three years.

FT: I’m against banning wind tunnel usage because there’s always a reason behind it. Some teams are pushing to ban anything, whatever it is, because maybe they don’t have the proper infrastructure or maybe they have an advantage with another tool. No, we should keep a balance. I think if we reduce the wind tunnel running time, also reduce cfd like we do currently, maybe to go a step forward, then this is the right way, but not to ban anything because there is another way to compensate for it which is much more expensive in the end.

CW: I think everyone is fully aware of Williams’s position on wind tunnels. We’ve made huge investments over our time in Formula One in our... we have two tunnels at Grove and we place considerable importance on them as a tool for developing our race cars, verifying the parts that we develop at the factory before bringing them to the track. We believe that there’s a safety element in there as well and we absolutely do not and will never vote for the banning of wind tunnels in Formula One. We’re very clear on that. And I think they’re relevant. How can you operate at the pinnacle of motor sport and not use one of the finest tools in aerodynamics. It doesn’t make any sense to us.

TW: Absolutely, I can only agree with what Claire said. We are a road car manufacturer and we have just commissioned a brand new wind tunnel in Stuttgart because a wind tunnel is needed today to put a car on the street, verify what’s being done in cfd and to get correlation. It’s a safety aspect and certainly Formula One shouldn’t be the playground for funny experiments for opportunistic reasons and following Claire’s argument, whatever is being said or is being heard from any vote in the strategy group about wind tunnels is just... I don’t want to use that word again but...

Q: (Joe Saward – Grand Prix Special) Wind tunnels: can anyone up there tell me what Formula One wind tunnels give to the world apart from making the cars go faster and secondly, those who have wind tunnels, can you rent them out and make more money? Is not cfd a much better way to go forward?

CW: I’ll answer your second point first about the costs involved, which I forgot to mention earlier. We’ve actually done a deep analysis of the costs involved in running our tunnel and how much it would actually save if we closed it and the numbers are not... they don’t correlate with the numbers that are currently in circulation at the moment. It is minimal, the amount that you would save. Again, the compensatory elements... you would just save that money elsewhere as F1 teams, any cash that you would save somewhere, you would go and spend somewhere else.

The relevance of wind tunnels? I think Toto answered the questions of relevance. In the world that we operate in, to be able to verify what you’re developing at the factory in the tunnel is hugely important before you get it to the track and we’ve streamlined what we do development-wise at the factory and the fact that we can bring the upgraded parts of the car that we do now and that they work straight away when we get to the track is because of the work that we undertake in the tunnel. If we didn’t have that tunnel capability we would be bringing thousands of parts to the race track at huge expense, wasting a huge amount of money when we realised when we came to Friday practice that they weren’t effective and that they didn’t work.

FT: The correlation between the race track and cfd – at least at Toro Rosso – has not reached the level that you get valid results; you need the back-to-back tests with the wind tunnel, to know which direction to go, therefore I think they are necessary.

Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines) To the back: Franz, if I recall your words correctly, you said next year Renault will not supply us with engines. Is that official?

FT: I can only say what I read in the newspaper, what Ghosn said in Frankfurt and I think this is serious. I haven’t got it in a written form from Renault so far. I’m quoting rumours, yes.

Q: (Graham Caygill – The National Newspaper) Franz, as James mentioned earlier in the press conference, Max and Carlos have shown some great pace this season. Do you and the team feel vindicated because there were a few eyebrows raised at the start of the season on going for a such a young line-up and do you think maybe the FIA, in hindsight moved a little bit too quickly changing the superlicence rules so that people like Max in future can come through?

FT: Yes, as we know, the FIA changed this regulation. You must now be 18 years old to come into Formula One. I personally don’t think this makes sense because if young drivers can start to race in single seaters aged 15 or 16 years old, then earlier or later it was quite clear that one of these drivers will be in a position to come into Formula One and once more, it’s not a decision how old someone is, it’s a decision how fast and skilled someone is. I know a lot of old drivers who are simply too slow but I know as young drivers they are much faster therefore I take the younger drivers. Anyway, that’s the decision that was made by the FIA, in future that it’s no longer possible who is younger than 18 years and I’m more than happy that Red Bull decided to bring Max into Formula One, because, as we all can see, he is showing a fantastic performance and up to now, he has made less mistakes than other much more experienced drivers.