Tuesday, 13 October 2015

'Gifted' - 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 - http://rathbonecreative.com

Monday, 12 October 2015

'2 Angry Finns' - 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 - davisjake@hotmail.co.uk
                                                                                                                     Twitter - @JakeDDCreative

Sunday, 11 October 2015

FIA Post-Race Press Conference

1 – Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)
2 – Sebastian VETTEL (Ferrari)
3 – Sergio PEREZ (Force India)

(Conducted by Eddie Jordan)

Well, I don’t need to remind you, ladies and gentlemen, that today he scored his 42nd win in grand prix racing. And we’ll talk to Sebastian, because they equal each other, 42 apiece. But we’ll come back to that in a second. Lewis, Nico, at the start of the race, we were so keen to see a big dogfight for this race…
Lewis HAMILTON: Me too, me too.

I just wanted to ask you: surely you missed him being there, because we were starved of a really exciting race at the very front? We got a great race at the back, but up at the front we want to see you two guys at it. 
LH: Absolutely. I was excited because we were quite close together at the beginning and I was thinking, “OK, we’ve got a race here”. For sure it’s a shame for the team to have lost one of the cars and to not have a race. When I knew Sebastian behind I was thinking to myself “I wish he was right with me so we could be having a race, it would be great for the fans”. Nonetheless, I don’t take what we have for granted. The team have done an amazing job. It’s a special moment for me to surpass Ayrton and carry on to this weekend. I’m very, very proud to be here in Russia, we’ve had a great time, thank you so much everyone. Beautiful, beautiful country. If you’re watching and you’ve never been out here, you should definitely come.

He sounds like an ambassador; I think we’ll have to appoint him. Ladies and gentlemen we’ll be coming back to him in one second. Lewis, well done. Sebastian, it seems like only a couple of weeks ago we were talking to each other. Four podiums in a row; you’re on a bit of a roll.
Sebastian VETTEL: Yeah. I didn’t count but that’s good news. It was a very good race. The car was fantastic and just kept better. At some point I was hoping there was a slight chance to catch Lewis but he had so much pace in hand, I think he wasn’t really pushing at the end. Yeah, great result. Obviously, it would have been nice to have both cars up on the podium, which I think was possible today. It was maybe close, but very happy with how the race went.

Can we go back to Singapore for a second, where you last won. This is more an indication that we’re going to see a big, big fight from Ferrari next year. Is that the way you see it?
SV: I hope so! That’s our target. Obviously we want to be a bit better in the race and make sure we give some really, really good challenge to the Mercedes. Currently they are still a bit ahead, but I think we are doing a very good job. We are focusing on ourselves and gaining step by step, getting a bit closer, so I think we are in a good direction and hopefully next year we can be closer.

Sebastian Vettel, ladies and gentlemen. And hey, what can we do – out of the ashes of Jordan we’ve got Force India and look who we’ve got up here! Checo, what a remarkable race. I thought it was all gone with a lap to go and there you were picking up the pieces and now you're up here on the podium. I’m absolutely delighted for you, because it’s a long time since Bahrain [2014] when you were last on the podium. How does it feel? 
Sergio PEREZ: It just feels great to be back with these boys. I have been enjoying so much my trip with all of them and yeah, as you say, one lap before the end it seemed that everything went away from us. At that point I was just really unhappy with myself, because many things come to your mind. But in the end, until my last lap I was like “OK, I gave it all”. There was no more I could. I had done plenty of laps with my tyres, so I had massive degradation on my front tyres especially, so in the last lap, when it came, it was just amazing. It’s very nice to give this second podium to my team.

We want to talk a little bit about Mexico, because we are going to your home country in a number of weeks. Excitement out there?
SP: Oh yes, massively. It will be a great place. The fans are great here in Russia, so thanks for all of that. But at the same time, Mexico is going to be my most special weekend of all, no matter what result I get, and I am sure the whole paddock of Formula One will be shocked with the support we get there.

Lewis, tell me the problems you had with your tyres trying to keep heat them?

LH: There wasn’t too much of a problem.

We could hear what you were saying, come on!
LH: No, honestly, there wasn’t really a massive problem – the safety car was a little bit slow. I don’t really have too much more to say, just thank you to everyone. I couldn't have done it without this amazing team, as I always say. As I said on the radio, I’m incredibly proud to be part of this team and coming into those last couple of laps I was just thinking “what a dream this is for me”.

Q: Lewis, a very special day for you on a number of levels. Clearly the start was critical again with Nico. Some close racing. Obviously he dropped out today. It’s only my ‘back of the envelope’ maths – and I’m sure someone else will confirm it – but I believe if you score nine points more than Sebastian in Austin and three more than Nico [nine more than Vettel, two more than Rosberg] you’re the world champion again. But first of all, your thoughts on the start, and racing with Nico and then the wider picture of where this leaves you now. 
LH: The start was good. I had a very good start actually and the key was to try to get behind Nico and slipstream him. I decided to go on the outside, he had the inside taken, so I tried to go down the outside but as I pulled out of the slipstream I wasn’t pulling past him particularly quick enough and we got into the braking zone, there was no point in taking any risks and Nico held his ground. After that, looked like we were having a race. I was thinking ‘this is great, we’re going to put on a good show’ but, I don’t know, it looked like he made a mistake into Turn One and went a bit wide and I overtook him. Then, after that it looked… or maybe already before that, he’d already started to have some problems, so was very unfortunate for the team obviously because the team have worked so hard to have both cars finish this weekend, it was a good opportunity for us to get the Constructors’ Championship but we’ll keep pushing. For me, I just… those last five laps, just really taking it in, just looking at the car, just… – obviously driving the laps – really just absorbing… thinking at some stage… I don’t know how many times I’ll be in that position again, so really cherishing the moment and feeling really blessed. I love driving this car and love where we are at the moment. So, truly grateful.

SV: Did you start waving five laps to go?

LH: I didn’t! You used to do that!

SV: No, Mansell was the one who started waving on the last lap – you topped him doing it five laps from the end.

LH: No, I didn’t!

Q: You obviously know the feeling Sebastian, you’ve had it many times at the front. Today was a little bit harder work though, as far as you’re concerned. You seemed to lose a bit of time behind your team-mate early on. Would you have liked your team to get him to let you through? And then a little later on you were pretty close, it’s fair to say – when you watch the replays on your video I think you’ll be surprised just how close it was with Kimi – some thoughts on that please.
SV: I think we both enjoyed… obviously I came out in front so enjoyed a little bit more than him but I think it would have been the wrong thing to do, to do on the radio and just take away the fight and the excitement from us. So, obviously, was already close at the first part in the opening laps. I tried it around the outside and it didn’t work into Turn One. Then I tried to pace myself a bit, then we had another Safety Car and then I knew the restart could be a good option and this time I tried it around the inside but it was very, very close. I’m looking forward to seeing the footage but it felt very, very close. Yeah, he was fair, just giving me enough room to survive, so it was a good battle. After that, yeah, it was obviously crucial, chasing down the Williams was the main priority with Valtteri out in front. We could do so, then even stay out a little bit longer than him. He was a bit in traffic, we still had some juice in the tyres left so that was crucial for us – I didn’t know how crucial it was after the stop to overtake Sergio. I thought that, yeah, we’ll quickly do through him but at that time I didn’t see how important it was. So maybe I surprised him a bit going into Turn 13. It’s quite tricky around the outside  but I managed to pass him – which turned out to be very important as other people got stuck. So, very happy, did the moves when it mattered and yeah, had a great race. The car was fantastic to drive. Just got better at the end so really happy. Still a bit behind the Mercedes but I think it was closer today than it was yesterday so I’m very happy.

Q: Sergio, welcome back, obviously you made that critical pit stop in the second safety car, it was right in that lovely window that I’m sure you were hoping for. You were very decisive in making that move but of course you had to do forty laps on a set of soft tyres. Of course you’ve been here before, you’ve done this before and it’s led to podiums before but is this one of the best days of your career given that we’re going to your home Grand Prix in just a few weeks time? 
SP: Definitely I’m going through a great moment in my career. From where we are it’s difficult to realise but people who look at my performance, they can see that I’m at my best moment in my career and that’s something that makes me confident. I was confident going into the race, obviously not expecting a podium at all, but the race started quite well. Obviously Nico went out quite early, safety car came out. Then we had a second safety car and we decided to box. We were one of the few cars to box and I thought well... The restart going behind Felipe and Nasr, I was just stuck there and couldn’t get them so I decided to save my tyres together with the team, to look after them at the end of the race and it worked really well and I think we lost a podium one lap before the end but it was just very difficult to hold them back, to hold Valtteri and Raikkonen back. At the stage that my tyres were, I couldn’t brake very hard, very late because I was at risk of flat-spotting my tyres and retiring from the race, so there was a certain level of risk that I was able to take and I thought OK, if it’s not a podium, let’s really come back with the points and then in the last lap they had contact and it was very good to come back and give a second podium to the team, which I think we’re going into a great momentum. It’s great news that I’m staying with the team  so we have a lot of momentum going through us and hopefully we can maintain it for the end of the year.


Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Lewis, there was a problem with Nico’s car which is the third DNF in four races. Are you worried about this lack of reliability. And you seem to have had a problem with DRS towards the end of the race. Can you explain to us your feeling in the car? 
LH: I don’t really know what was wrong with the car. I don’t think it was DRS but there was something happening to the rear end which was the reason that the pace started to decrease. Reliability, of course, is something that we’ve focused on a huge amount over the last year and a half and for whatever reason, the team... we are struggling or having a little bit more problems with it and Nico’s been incredibly unfortunate to suffer the worst. I honestly don’t know what happened to his car so I can’t really comment on it but I know that we’ll be working as hard as we can to rectify it and hope that in these next races we don’t have a problem, but of course it is a concern for us. 
SV: I know you’re wait... you just told me that you’re waiting for the girls to come over to you in the Radisson Hotel, room number 708 but I think they’ve been standing all day so I think they can sit down. Feel free to sit down. 
LH: What are you talking about? 
SV: Sit down. How do you say sit down in Russian?

Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) Lewis, are you coming to the next races with the spirit that we see you have today or the spirit we saw you with on Thursday when you arrived here? 
LH:  I can’t hear a single word you’re saying right now. There’s this super super distraction in here. What did you say? 
Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) I’m sorry to disturb you with my question but I’m saying are you coming to the next event with the spirit that we are seeing you with now or the tension that we saw in you in the last few days here? And Sebastian, we saw Kimi saying that he would work for you concerning the championship. It’s not what we saw today. 
LH: I think I’ve had this spirit really for most of the year. I think so. I’ve been incredibly grateful to be where I am. I think today’s just a happy moment for me. Yesterday, of course, when you qualify second and your target is to excel and over-deliver and when you under-deliver, of course it’s not a happy moment, but today I came here with a positive attitude which I have at every race and I think even in the last race – not all the races, I’ve been incredibly grateful for the car holding together. In the last few laps I was just rubbing the cockpit. You know what it’s like, you know, and you’re like please just hold it together...
SV: I wasn’t rubbing anything in the last couple of laps. 
LH: OK, well, I don’t know where his head is going but yes, as I said I’m just grateful and I plan to hopefully come with the same energy to the next race. 
SV: Well, I don’t think on lap ten you think about those things. I think we’re free to race. I think the spirit you have as a racing driver so I know that... There was nobody out front. Lewis, for example has an issue and Nico – it’s a different story but Lewis at that point was controlling the race already, showing that he’s very quick so I don’t think it makes much sense at that point to swap much and talk about these things. As I said, it was lap ten so it was very early – or somewhere around lap ten, 15 in the race or very early.

Q: (Angelique Belokopytov – AutoDigest) Checo, just a remark for Sebastian: sit down in Russian is sadites, so you can train for the next time. So Checo, generally people are saying about Finns that they are cold; today we see that fight warm so what do you think that if there was a Mexican on the grid today, how would be your fight with him, warmer? I am expecting a good answer from you despite the beautiful view you had in front. 
SP: I think first of all we’re very lucky to be here with such beautiful girls. 
LH: Best press conference ever. 
SP: The least boring one, at least. Just thank you and enjoy it. Matteo, just enjoy it. Thanks, it has been a great weekend and obviously the fans here are great. I think what you hear that Russians are very cold, we haven’t experienced that. 
Q: That’s not what the lady was asking. What she was saying is that the two Finns...
SP: I’m not focussed, sorry. 
Q: ... the two Finns had a very hot battle, they took each other out, basically, as you saw. If you had another Mexican on the grid with you...
SP: I’m sure you didn’t understand the question as well. 
Q: If you had another Mexican, would it be even more spicy than the battle between Raikkonen and Bottas was? 
SP: It’s the last lap, you’re fighting for a podium, doesn’t matter if it’s Mexican or Finnish, whatever, you’re fighting for the podium and you’re giving it all, you know? So yeah, it didn’t work out really well for them but for me it worked well.

Dr. Dieter Zetsche congratulates the 2015 World Constructors Champions

Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars
"What an incredible moment for Mercedes-Benz! Congratulations to our team in Brackley and Brixworth who have worked so hard to make this achievement possible, winning a second world championship in a row. After winning in 2014, we raised the bar again to secure this year’s title, and we needed to because our rivals gave us plenty of headaches as they stepped up their performance. The work by our team is the perfect example of what drives Mercedes-Benz forward: the best technology. The most efficient hybrid petrol engine that our company has ever made, world-beating aerodynamics and intelligent design in every part of the W06 Hybrid racing car. Most importantly, though, we must not forget the human factor: we have two exceptional sportsmen at the wheel, Lewis and Nico, and a fantastic team behind the scenes, who have delivered 12 wins in 15 races so far this year. Their work has made every employee of Mercedes-Benz a world champion and we are very proud of them."

Saturday, 10 October 2015

FIA Post-Qualifying Press Conference

1 – Nico ROSBERG (Mercedes) 
2 – Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)
3 – Valtteri BOTTAS (Willams)


Nico, you were fastest in Q1 and Q3, fastest after the first run in Q3, on pole by a decent margin. Are you pleased with that? 
Nico ROSBERG: Yeah, for sure, I’m very happy. It’s been a difficult weekend actually, because of the little running that we got; we didn’t get much practice. Qualifying worked out really well; found a good balance on my car, thanks to my engineers as well. We had to guess a bit where is it going to be and it all worked out well. I felt comfortable, so got some really good laps in and I’m very happy with that.

Very well done. Lewis, obviously you were trailing your team-mate after the first part of Q3 and then you didn’t go for the extra lap at the end. Why not? And I saw you looking around the Ferrari afterwards, did you learn anything from it?  
Lewis HAMILTON: No. I did go for my second lap; I just didn't finish it. I made a mistake at Turn 13 I think it is. Yeah, a difficult weekend I think for everyone. Nico did a great job on his lap. I wasn’t quite perfectly happy with the balance that I had. But overall really happy. I think it’s great for the team and yeah, as you say last year this is not such a bad race for P2.

OK, thank you for that. Valtteri, you matched your result of last year, do you feel you have the measure of Ferrari this weekend?
Valtteri BOTTAS: Well, it seems like it, at least today. We were quite competitive. It's good to be third; it’s a good place to start here. Obviously it has been a tricky weekend for everyone but I really think we managed to use Practice 3, well, part of it, what we had, pretty well. I managed to get some good laps in qualifying, consistently, and I pleased with the laps and what we did as a team.

Well done. Coming back to you Nico, obviously you’re going for the Constructors’ Championship tomorrow, trying to clinch it here for the second year in a row, but have you personally got a plan for worked out for Turn One. Lewis referenced it I his answer, after what happened here last year. 
NR: No, not yet. I haven’t thought about that yet. At the moment just enjoying being on pole and I’ll dig into that this evening or tomorrow morning to work out a plan for that. Of course the Constructors’ Championship is a really important target for us this weekend – it would be amazing to clinch it for the second time so early on in the season – so we’re out to do that, but at the same time, of course, I’m out here to try to reduce the gap to Lewis in terms of points.


Nico, you mentioned in your first answer about the lack of running this weekend, the really unusual situation. We had it in Japan but even worse here because of the curtailed Free Practice 3 after Carlos Sainz’s accident. So what have you been able to find out in terms of long runs with this much softer tyres than last year here in Russia and how much guesswork is going to be involved in strategy and race performance tomorrow? 
NR: Well, we tried to prepare as best we could. So this morning we did do some high fuel running, everybody did. So we do have an idea of how it’s going to be tomorrow, so it’s not completely just guessing. No, we’re quite comfortable that we know what to expect and strategy-wise we think we have got a good strategy, so it should be fine.

Lewis, I wonder if you could give us your view on what happened this morning – the accident of Sainz and going under the barriers? Your thoughts on that speaking on behalf of the drivers? 
LH: To be honest I don’t know anything about it, so I couldn’t really comment. I’m just glad he’s OK.

Q: OK, well I’ll throw a question maybe you can answer. You obviously mentioned the fact you are quite happy to start in second place, based on what happened here last year. So, obviously today didn’t work out for you in the single laps but fro the little that you’ve been able to learn from the high-fuel running, do you think you’ll be able to challenge for the win tomorrow.
LH: I wasn’t saying I was happy, I mean I have no choice of being second right now, obviously Nico did a better job in qualifying but I feel there’s still all to play for, as you’ve seen in many other races where I’ve started second. I think it’s exciting. It makes the race ever more exciting and, as I’ve said, Turn One, it’s a long, long way down to Turn One. Probably one of the longest ones of the whole year so it should create opportunities. But there are other opportunities throughout the race as well.

Q: Coming to you Valtteri, obviously both these gentlemen managed to get through Q1 without using a set of Supersoft tyres, just showing the performance that they have. A lot of your competitors struggled, it seemed, to get temperature into the tyres today as the temperatures actually came down during the course of the qualifying session. Is that something you struggled with – and can you articulate what it was like to use these tyres here today?
VB: Yeah. We already saw last year it’s quite tricky to get tyres to work in the first timed lap, and that’s why you could saw many people doing many laps and longer running in qualifying than normal. What we did in the practice and in Q1 also, we just tried to learn more about the tyres so we’re sure we’re making the right decision what we’re going to do in Q3 in terms of tyre temperatures, pressures and how many laps we do. So I think everyone struggled with it today – but we got it right. We got the max out of the car and the tyres.


Q: (Andrea Cremonesi, La Gazzetta dello Sport) Question for all of you about the accident of this morning, car that went through the barrier. Would like to know if you’re worried about it: the dynamic of the accident. The car was inside of the barrier.

We’ve already asked Lewis that question so we’ll start with Nico. 
NR: I haven’t seen it so difficult to comment. Of course we always need to push to improve things. Apparently it’s not good, not ideal, so let’s see if we can make progress on that.

VB: I haven’t seen it either, so can’t really say that much. Like Nico, we always need to keep pushing on the safety.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – Globoesporte.com) Nico, in the last race you were very conservative at the start and maybe that was one of the reasons you lost the victory. How do you plan your start tomorrow?
NR: On the one side I don’t agree with your opinion – but that’s OK. On the second, just work on it tonight and tomorrow. Work on the start, get everything right there, look at last year’s start, learn from that. That’s it.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) To both of the Mercedes drivers: you were very aggressive – Hamilton was very aggressive – here last year and you were very aggressive also in Japan. I would like to continue on this matter, to know that if, as you have this goal tomorrow [the Constructors’ Championship] does it change you approach for the first corner? 
LH: You said I was aggressive here last year? Here? I don’t remember being aggressive. But whatever I did last year it worked so I plan to stay the same really. 
Q: I think the point of the question is that you have had a few starts where you have been quite close, not least the last one in Japan and as you’ve got the Constructors’ possibly tomorrow, is it going to change your thinking going into the first corner. For both of you. 
NR: No. Nothing changes anything. It’s one way and that’s it.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – Globoesporte.com) In Q1, only Lewis and Nico were on soft tyres, all the others were on supersoft tyres. Is this some kind of reference that we can expect in the race? 
NR: Looks like we were especially quick on the soft which is always a good thing of course in the race, because everybody has to use them once so that can only help us.

Q: You’re expecting this to be a one-stop race tomorrow then? 
NR: I don’t know about the strategy yet. That’s look into that this evening. 
LH: Yeah, very strange coming into the weekend – people were making assumptions that we would have a repeat of Singapore. Obviously I had no idea what it’s going to be like and to think that now we have it the other way round it’s very, very strange. I don’t have answer for it but the car felt good otherwise on the tyres today. I don’t know how it will be for the race. I think from our short long run, the seven laps that we might have got, we have to take information from that, but it didn’t feel bad.

Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Valtteri you were a very consistent third in every session; was this your strongest qualifying hour of the season? 
VB: Well, I think compared to the number of laps I’ve got and everyone has yesterday and today it was not bad from my side. I felt very good. I could have been feeling very good in the car all weekend and managed to do multiple laps in a very consistent way without any mistakes. Yeah, I can be happy for the session but it’s difficult to say if it’s the best or one of the best.

Friday, 9 October 2015

FIA Team Members' Press Conference

TEAM REPRESENTATIVES – Paul HEMBERY (Pirelli), Graeme LOWDON (Manor), Monisha KALTENBORN (Sauber), Paul MONAGHAN (Red Bull Racing), Rob SMEDLEY (Williams)


Graeme, if we can start with you, obviously the big news as far as you are concerned is Mercedes engines for next year. What does it mean you can do now and where do you expect to be fighting in 2016? 

Graeme LOWDON: Well, it’s a big step forward for the team. If you look at the last… from 12 months from this weekend last year, there’s an awful lot happened in the team. We’ve been very much rebuilding. This year has very much been very much about getting back to really where we were probably about a year and a half ago. This new agreement with Mercedes AMG HPP and also with Williams, who obviously we have worked with before in the past and had a very successful relationship with Williams in the past, gives us the chance to really get back into the pack and get back to racing, which is what we want to do. It’s also pretty important to recognise the assistance we have had from Scuderia Ferrari as well this year. This year was a very strange year for us and we were in a situation where without their help at the start of the season we simply wouldn’t be here. So without the assistance of Sergio Marchionne and Maurizio Arrrivabene and also in particular at the start of this season James Allison…  there was a huge amount of effort that went into making sure our team was still on the grid and I think we’ll always be extremely grateful for that. But looking to the future I think we’ve got a chance to level the playing field a little bit and try to get back into the pack and really start racing again.

And driver-wise, would you expect to be running one of the Mercedes development drivers next year or is the field completely open? 

GL: The field is completely open. It’s not easy for any driver to get into Formula One at the minute and there are some quite good drivers looking to do that but also the grid is pretty full at the moment. We have drivers that we need to focus on for this year as well. Decisions on drivers for us will come much later in the season.

Paul [Hembery], coming to you: a different choice tyre choice this year here in Sochi as far as Pirelli is concerned – supersoft and soft. What difference do you expect that to have on race strategy?

Paul HEMBERY: Well, not too sure after today in the sense that we didn’t get any dry running of note. The reason for that was based on last year. It was the first year here. We found the surface to be a lot smoother than anticipated. I think it was Nico who basically ran the whole, bar one lap, on the medium, so we felt that we would be in a position to be able to use the two more aggressive compounds for here. If we get some warm temperatures maybe they’ll push us on to a two-stop race.

And from what you’ve learned from the developments of this year, what kind of tyres do you want to provide next year in Formula One? More strategic variation? Any particular channels you’re thinking of, pathways?

PH: Well, I think there’s been a lot in the media about maybe changes to the rules for next year in terms of the way that the tyres are selected for each race, giving more freedom to the teams, and that appears to be getting close to a final decision. So hopefully over the next few weeks we’ll be able to explain that to people, how that’s going to work. That’s the main change. We want to make some structural changes, as we try to look at each year, particular with the cars getting quicker. There’s a new supersoft that we’re working on to bring to the races next year. So, there are a few changes, but I think the most significant is going to be centred on the way that the tyres are allocated for each race.

Q: Paul, coming to you, obviously as we were just hearing, very little running today for a variety of reasons, not least the weather. Talk us through how much there is to do tomorrow in that free practice three session. What does the job sheet look like?

Paul MONAGHAN: Quite full – but most P3s do fill up. You tend to run nearer the end of the session when the track has evolved a little bit. So, obviously, we trundle out on a green track tomorrow morning. I think it will depend on what each team considers it wants to be its aims from P3. Some might do a little bit more work towards qualifying, others may do a little bit of work for qualifying and then try to have a look at the car’s behaviour on higher fuel loads. I suspect the majority will do a mix and the bias will depend on what the team wishes to pursue more vigorously.

Q: It’s now early October and you don’t know yet what engine you’ll be using in the back of your car next year. At what point does being forced to miss the pre-season tests become a real risk? Presuming, of course, that Red Bull continues in Formula One next year. 

PM: It’s getting a little bit late. At the moment it will be a squeeze but we’ll do it. I guess if you’re… OK, we can go to the first test and it can be a washout for three or four days, so it’s wrong to say that anybody that runs the first test will automatically have a benefit on us. Yeah, they might, but we could cope – so however the land lies, we’ll deal with it.

Q: Monisha, coming to you, obviously the development since the last race, you’ve lodged a formal complaint to the EU. Can you tell us why and why now?

Monisha KALTENBORN: Well, to start with the second part, this has been an ongoing process so there’s no real specific to it why exactly now. The reason what we’ve done it for, I think we’ve explained earlier on, so what I can tell you so far is we have, together with another team, lodged this formal complaint to the European Commission alleging violation of European competition law and we want to challenge the rule-making powers and the privileges that together, in our view, harm the sport. I think we’ve been saying that for quite a while and now this is the next logical step. We hope from this that the commission will start a proper investigation. We hope they’ll put the sport onto a footing which allows teams teams to compete on the same basis and that they will look into why the unfair terms – which we feel are unfair – were actually imposed.

Q: And what are you hoping the outcome will be?

MK: That, essentially, we have a fairer system in the sport, which the bottom line is that we can all compete on the same basis. That’s it.

Q: Coming to you Rob, Felipe was in the press conference yesterday and said that the focus of the team is now on 2016, although there are still come development parts scheduled to come onto the car before the end of this season. What can you tell us about your 2016 car and the targets you’re setting for it?

Rob SMEDLEY: Well, obviously we’ve been working on the 2016 car as most of the teams probably, up this end of the grid have been doing for a reasonable amount of time now. Certainly the focus has been fully switched to that car for a good few months. There are still things coming through for the FW37, so the 2015 car, but they’re more corollary development of next year’s car. The targets are ever-improving. I can’t really go into the specifics but we’re looking at all the areas: vehicle dynamics, vehicle science, aerodynamics obviously. Tyre science is of great importance to us and we’re constantly striving to improve that. So, there’s no one, single target that we have; there’s no one magic bullet in Formula One. It’s more just about trying to improve every little bit.

Q: There’s a lot of talk obviously at the moment, about engine suppliers in Formula One. Do you feel that you have reached the limit of what’s possible as a customer engine team in this sport? 

RS: No, not at all. You could perhaps argue that if we were the second quickest team but no, I don’t think that we’ve reached the limit. I think that there’s still more for us to do. I think that as a company Williams, over the past 18 months, has been improving. Some of that you see is directly affecting what we do at the track or our results at the track and some of it’s a little bit more subtle but certainly there’s still a lot more that we need to do if the team wants to make good on its ambition, if the team wants to eventually win races and then World Championships, then there’s a great deal of background work both subtle and fundamental structures of the business which we still need to look at. I don’t think that we’ve reached... we haven’t fulfilled the full potential. We’re still being a customer team.


Q: (Ben Edwards – BBC TV) Rob, just a quick question on today, specifically. You did a bit more wet running than some of the other guys. That’s been a weakness of the team over the last 18 months or so. Do you feel as though you’re making some progress, was what you saw today a bit more promising today? 

RS: Yeah. It’s always very difficult to say because it’s practice and you very rarely know what other people are doing but on pure face value, I think that we are probably moving forward in that area. We have spent quite a lot of time as a group and that involves all the groups back at base, trying to understand where the issues lie with our car in lower speed corners, in certain trajectory of corners and in the wet. That work now, I would say, is starting to come to fruition, we’re starting to get some leads on where we need to take the car and that’s why... you probably saw in Singapore we were keen to get lots of set-up work in, lots of practice work in and the same here. We wanted to run. We were a little bit scuppered by the track conditions that we had today which were neither one thing nor the other. It was a weird situation where half the track was a lot wetter than the other half and of course the teams who were confident in their wet running didn’t need to run but we were out there, we were just trying to understand a little bit more about the tyres. We had to wait until other people were running so we could pitch ourselves against them but I think that more than just the lap times, which can be a little bit misleading in practice, I think the drivers were just happy with the balance of the car. We know we’ve got a specific problem in the wet and certainly today that was a lot better.

Q: (Kate Walker – motorsport.com) Monisha, regarding the EU investigation of the lodging of the complaint, there are more than two disenfranchised teams, both in terms of rule making and CCB payments. What efforts did you guys make to get everybody in on the complaint and would having more signatories have strengthened your case do you think? 

MK: Well, these talks amongst the non-privileged teams – if you can put it like that – have been going on for quite a while so they were always informed about it but it’s their decision not to sign it or not to support it, at least at the moment – I don’t think there’s anybody out there who would not support it but they probably have to take a public position on that as well. We’ve always been transparent, from our side. We’ve always told them where we stand and it’s entirely up to them  and they’ll decide, I guess, when they want to join it or not and they will have their reasons for that.

Q: (Daniel Ortelli – Agence France Presse) Question about these privileges; Sauber has been in Formula One for 20 years but it gets no money from the premium fund, do you think it’s normal and is it part of your complaint? 

MK: Well, we’ve been (involved for) 23 years actually. I can’t tell you details about the complaint because now it’s an ongoing procedure and we have to adhere to all the steps there. What we have basically requested or asked the commission to do is to investigate why these – in our view – unfair terms regarding the voting rights, the rule-making on one side and on the other side the distribution of revenues have been imposed. We have asked the commission to – as we see – abuse of dominance arising from the way these privileges have been granted in these two areas. So we have our position on that, we don’t consider it to be fair and based on that, we have submitted our complaint which is to be also clear about it against the commercial rights holder.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

FIA Thursday Drivers' Press Conference

DRIVERS – Romain GROSJEAN (Lotus), Daniil KVYAT (Red Bull Racing), Carlos SAINZ (Toro Rosso), Nico ROSBERG (Mercedes), Felipe MASSA (Williams), Fernando ALONSO (McLaren)


Daniil, can we start with you. Your home race, obviously. Last year you had a great qualifying performance in fifth and this year you’ve finished six of the last seven races in a higher position than you started, so with the soft and supersoft combination of tyres we saw in Singapore, do you feel this should be another chance for a podium? 

Daniil KVYAT: Well, first of all, I think it’s nice to be home in Russia and it’s great to have a home grand prix I think, so we can feel the support from the local fans. Talking about our chances, I think obviously it’s not the easiest track for us, probably it’s not suiting us as good as Singapore or Hungary, but I still think that as has been proven you always have to keep pushing and things can come towards us. There are a few long straights here, which probably don’t suit us so well, however we will keep pushing; we will try to maximise our potential, find the right compromise and who knows what can happen in the race.

You’re now the most successful Russian driver in Formula One history but the future of Red Bull’s teams is hanging in the balance. Have you been given any assurances for 2016? 

DK: Well, you know, I think there have been some rumours in the media and stuff like that. Obviously not the nicest things to hear about your own team, but you know, my job is to try to drive the car that I have as fast as I can and that’s what I want to focus on first of all and the other things that are hanging in the air, as you said, I think they are up to other people in our team and I trust them 100 per cent, on what they are doing and I rely on them for these kind of questions, 100 per cent.

Thank you very much. Fernando, coming to you: celebrating your 250th grand prix entry this weekend, congratulations for that. You started 12th in the last two races, the team’s best of the season. What are you going to be working on this weekend and at the remaining events this season?

Fernando ALONSO: Well, I think it’s going to be more or less the same at the remaining races: trying to get some more information about the car and more philosophies on the car to set up for next year as well. So, some interesting things that we would like to test in these races and keep helping also Honda in terms developing the power unit: the driveability, reliability as well, that we had some up and downs during the season. But as you said the last two races were probably the most competitive ones for us, Singapore and Japan, so hopefully keep going in the same direction, just better. It’s not too difficult as we start quite low, but it seems we are making some good progress, so we need to keep going like that.

Obviously the big talking point were the radio messages during the race in Japan. Did you think they were going to remain private and what kind of reaction have you had from Honda?

FA: Yeah, of course. Obviously we have been all season very positive, about the team and about the car, we faced some difficult times, some tough times, all the team and what you talk on the radio should remain private because you are talking with your team not publically. I think publically, as I said, we have been very, very positive all the time. You know sometimes it’s normal and understandable, talking to the team, you know the level of frustration and the level of commitment that I have for racing and Jenson has for racing as well, when you are battling and you cannot hold anyone behind and you are losing positions is normal. But as I said, this is a very unique sport, that we have a microphone in our helmet and it goes live on television. Imagine in NBA or football players or something like that what we can find. This is normal and it’s just talking to the team, it’s understandable the frustration with the car.

Thanks very much. Coming to you Nico: Constructors’ Championship within Mercedes’ grasp here. Second year in a row you can clinch the Constructors’ this weekend here in Sochi. What are your thoughts on that? '

Nico ROSBERG: Yeah, it is one of the aims of this weekend, to try to clinch that. Special to be able to do it again in such a manner, such a dominating manner. Really awesome job by the team. And again to have the chance to close it down so early. But, of course Ferrari has been strong recently, very, very strong even, so we need to be cautious, we still need to work hard, get the best out of it but of course we’re optimistic.

Now, last year this race on a new track didn’t turn out as people expected in terms of how the way the track performed with the tyres etc – you did almost the whole race on one set of tyres. With the tyres that have brought along this year what kind of race weekend can we expect? Can you give us your analysis of what lies ahead? 

NR: Yeah, it is quite particular, because the asphalt is very special here. It is quite different. Therefore there are some new challenges you need to handle. Also the tyres being softer is going to different again to last year, because last year there was hardly any degradation, I did the whole race without any pit stop, or with one on the first lap, and it’s going to be quite different. Again we need to adapt to the new situation, so it could be an interesting one.

Q: Romain, coming to you, obviously since Suzuka you’ve been announced as a Haas driver for 2016. What does the next three years look like for you?

Romain GROSJEAN: Hopefully pretty successful! It was a great opportunity I had to join Haas. As I’ve said, leaving Enstone is going to be, from an emotional point of view, quite hard because I’ve spent ten years there. I think Fernando knows how it is in this team: very, very strong group of people. On the other hand, from a sporting point of view, I think the way Haas is coming to Formula One is very, very clever. He’s been successful in his business, he’s been successful in NASCAR. Coming alongside Ferrari – which is probably the biggest team in Formula One – makes sense, and for me to have a new experience with an American team can be very, very nice.

Q: You’ve qualified in the top ten at the last five races. Obviously we know of the problems going on in the background with your team at the same time all the other teams are still developing etcetera, etcetera. How have you and the team managed to do that, given the relative circumstances?

RG: I think, as I say, Enstone is quite a particular team in a way, the people stayed united and very strong together. I think the funniest part was not having any hospitality in Japan. It didn’t matter at the end because what we want to do at the end is to do our performance, we want to race, we want to race hard and go for it and that’s what we do. Just focussing on what you can do, what you can change and forgetting the outside part of it is the key. We have done it pretty well, with some fun and hopefully, with five races remaining, we can do some good stuff.

Q: Felipe, last year here in Sochi, a very good race for Williams if not for you personally – but I guess this ought to be another strong one, and clearly the target for you personally this weekend would be another podium, right?

Felipe MASSA: Yeah. I think it’s a good track for us so I really believe our car can be competitive on this track, which it was last year. I had a problem on the engine in the qualifying, so I had to start last but we’re looking forward for the race – so I really hope we can be competitive, strong and finish with both cars in very, very good positions here.

Q: And where are you at with the thinking as a team? Are you still developing this car right through to the final race in Abu Dhabi, or are you focussing now very firmly on 2016, trying to bridge that gap to Ferrari and Mercedes? 

FM: We had some new parts of the car in the last races. Even this race we have some little bits but I think we are already thinking about next year since a little bit of time. We understand it’s very important to finish at least where we are in the Constructors’ Championship but we really understand that next year is really, really important and, as soon as you start, the better it is, so definitely we’re really concentrating on next year.

Q: Carlos, Suzuka another race where the result didn’t match up to the qualifying and the performance that preceded it. What are you working on to try and reverse this pattern?

Carlos SAINZ: Yeah, it’s been a difficult weekend in Suzuka with a lot of positives to take – but the P10 I think didn’t show the good weekend that we had done until then. Obviously we had this problem in qualifying and then I did the mistake in the race after doing some good free practices in the wet. So, we just need a clean weekend without any mistake from my side, without any reliability problems on the team side and I’m sure we can put a very good result together because we saw that the performance is really there.

Q: And the same question I guess to you as I put to Daniil at the beginning. Dietrich Mateschitz has said a decision will be made on his teams by the end of this month. What assurances – and, indeed, alternatives – do you have?

CS: To be honest, I don’t know and I’m not really taking care of that matter too much. As Dany said, I think we’re here to drive and our job is to extract the maximum performance of our car. I just know that the team obviously  is working hard, and now more than ever, to find something for next year. Obviously it starts to be a bit late and we need to design all the rear part of the car. When you don’t have something at the rear at this stage of the year, it’s a bit tricky – but I have full trust that they will come to a solution. To an agreement. I think Red Bull more than anyone deserves… they have done a lot for this sport, a lot for Formula One and they will end up having a decent engine, a decent package for next year.


Q: (Daniel Johnson – The Telegraph) Fernando, you put out a few tweets after the last race which weren’t 100 per cent clear. So, just for the sake of clarity, to make it much easier, yes or no, will you be racing for McLaren in 2016?

FA: You didn’t read the tweets.

I read them but they weren’t totally clear…
FA: Of course I’m not English, my mother language is Spanish. In Spanish they were a little bit clear.

How about now, from my question, yes or no?
FA: The same. Yes. Of course.

100 per cent you’ll be with McLaren, 2016 on the grid?
FA: And ’17.

And 17
FA: Yes.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi, La Gazzetta dello Sport): Question for Nico, after the grand prix in Suzuka, Lauda said “we came back but we have to be cautious that the next race could be different again because it’s different asphalt.” Is it a worry – because last year Mercedes dominated the grand prix with five cars in the top six positions? It’s really a problem with the soft and supersoft and the characteristics of the layout – or not?

NR: No, it’s very unique this race, with the asphalt, with supersoft, soft compared to last year, soft, medium. So, it will be a particular challenge and we did show weaknesses on the soft, supersoft in Singapore. Big weaknesses. We have learned from that but, again, here is not Singapore so we need to do a really good job and it’s not going to be as simple as maybe Suzuka was in terms of preparation.

Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Nico, while the results have not been as good as you have been expecting, how much does that take away from the maximum enjoyment you could get from racing? 

NR: It’s always an enjoyment but of course winning races increases that enjoyment further. It would be great to get back to winning ways very soon.

Q: (Ian Parkes – Autosport) Fernando, you’ve been asked about the radio messages. Obviously you are aware that some radio messages do get played out and I’m sure that behind the scenes the team is also aware of your frustrations regarding the lack of power, with Honda’s reliability etc. So what are your intentions when you go onto the radio and you’re saying ‘this is a GP2 engine’? What’s the end game there for you when you’re saying that? 

FA: I told you before, it’s the frustration of battling hard and being a competitive sportsman. When you are in a car, in a race and you try to give it all and you are fighting lap after lap and you keep losing positions easily on the straight, even before the braking point, you get some frustration out there on the radio. I’m happy it was only broadcast in Suzuka because if you hear all the races, all the radio messages from me or from Jenson or whatever, you will be even more surprised.

Q: (David Croft – Sky Sports) Sorry to go back to those radio messages again, Fernando, but whether they were heard by the fans and broadcasters alike or whether they were just heard internally, Honda were always going to hear that message. Do you think that maybe, given the struggles you’ve had with McLaren and Honda this year, your messages were a little bit ill-timed, ill-conceived and not exactly helpful for the future of the partnership? 

FA: Well, I think the most important part of the Suzuka weekend was on Wednesday when I visited the Sakura factory and I saw the engine programme for next year, when we had very long meetings and we went through all the difficulties that we are facing right now and all the possible solutions that we want for next year, so that was the most important part of the weekend and the messages that I think were important in the weekend, and those were very very clear and were much more clear than Sunday. On Sunday, it was just the frustration of – as I said – racing and just the competition against the others. Nothing new, because we know where we are lacking and we then define what are the problems. The important thing is to go forward and to be positive for next year and as I said, the meetings in the week before Suzuka were the ones that for the Honda guys is if it’s the question or if you concern what the Honda people thought in Suzuka on Sunday, I think on Wednesday it was much more important than Sunday.

Q: (James Ellingworth – Associated Press) Nico, we’re now at the point in the championship where – as I understand it – even if you were to win the remaining five races, that wouldn’t necessarily guarantee the championship, you’d have to rely – in that case – on some mistakes from Lewis. How does that affect your approach to the remaining races? Is there any part of you that is maybe looking forward to a possible mistake from Lewis? 

NR: I don’t really think about it in that much detail. I see the gap, I see that it’s quite big considering there’s just a couple of races left and just go for it, go for it. I need to try to win the races, that’s what I’m focussing on, winning the races and then the rest... I’ll just see how it goes.

Q: (Ian Parkes – Autosport) Daniil and Carlos: I appreciate that you’ve already been asked about the future of Red Bull and Toro Rosso, but sitting here right now, knowing the situation and how very close Red Bull are to going out of the sport as they lack an engine for next year, first of all do you have any concerns whatsoever that you will not be in Formula One in 2016 and secondly, knowing that, appreciating that, have you been exploring other options outside of F1? 

DK: Well, like I said before, it’s not great to hear these rumours and stuff like that of course but on the other side, if you look at it, what can I change? I can drive the car, I can try to put ourselves as high as possible at the finish of a race and then you have to be patient. Formula One is a rough world, you have to be patient, you have to consider it’s a honeymoon at some point. The beginning of the year was very tough for us and then we started to climb, slowly but surely and we’ve been quite competitive in the last races, I think, so I think everyone has to be patient in the team and I think the right decisions will be taken in the future from our bosses. I’m sure... like I said I rely on them fully.

CS: Yeah, not much to add to be honest. We just need to wait, be patient as Dany is saying and trust that Red Bull is going to take the right decision and they’re going to do the best, obviously, for the brand, for the team, for both teams and there is nothing that we can do. We are just sitting here, waiting but having 100 percent confidence in them and as I said before, Red Bull has done a lot for F1 and I’m sure F1 will end up giving them back a bit of what they have done for them. With all this, I’m pretty sure, hopefully that next year we can be here.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

'Square Peg, Round Hole' - 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:
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Although geographically still in Europe, Sochi is around 3,500km from Renault Sport F1’s headquarters in Paris and therefore treated as one of the ‘flyaway races’. Instead of the reassuring comfort of bespoke trucks carrying a wealth of equipment, teams send the kit as they would for races in Asia or the United States. This means a combination of sea and air freight and a complicated logistics plan. Renault Sport F1’s security and logistics manager, Jean-Pierre Raymond, explains the intricacies of preparing for the third of third of seven ‘overseas’ races that end the 2015 season.

‘Russia is technically a European country but the distances are so long from the teams’ bases that we have to prepare everything as we would for one of the flyaways, such as Australia. We send two consignments of equipment, one by sea freight and one by air freight.

‘Actually when I say sea freight, it’s not strictly accurate. Normally the standard consumables go into containers and onto cargo boats, but for this race it was sent on several trucks by road. Around 300kg of kit was sent this way. It left Paris for Italy and then onto Russia at the start of September to be delivered to the circuit the week before the race.

‘Then there is a further six tonnes of air freight, which includes the power unit parts and ancillaries. To save costs, the freight is sent from Paris to the first flyaway – this year in Singapore – and then it continues on to the next rounds without returning to Europe. This means we have to anticipate requirements for seven races in one go! This freight leaves Japan on the Tuesday after the race and arrives in Sochi on the Monday before the Russian Grand Prix.

‘It’s not easy, and requirements may change according to new developments, so there is an opportunity to send another consignment by air freight from Europe direct to Russia.

‘Alongside the normal challenges of an overseas race, one of the main time constraints of sending equipment to Russia is the paperwork. Everything needs to be translated into Russian so we consult a specialist agency to help us file the dossiers.

‘Personnel logistics in Russia are similarly complicated. Everyone needs a visa to enter the country, which takes some time, but the procedure has been simplified this year and we were able to get the paperwork done very early. There are no direct flights from Paris to Sochi so it takes a long time to get there; around 12 hours door to door, which is the same as a flight to Japan! When we arrive we stay in the hotels around the circuit that were specially built for the Olympics in 2014 and it’s fairly easy, to be honest, although there are a lot more security checks over the weekend than normal. Each car has to be checked before entering the circuit and there are more police than we see usually.

‘The Grand Prix is relatively straightforward when we get there but that is due to the level of planning we execute before the race. There’s around 50% more work that goes into it than a normal race weekend.’


Thursday, 1 October 2015

McLaren-Honda retain Jenson Button for 2016

McLaren-Honda announce that they will be retaining Jenson Button for the 2016 season.

Ron Dennis (Chairman & Chief Executive Officer) 
"Jenson and I have been discussing his plans in private for the past few weeks, and the fact that our talks have led to today's announcement is very pleasing to both of us and will delight and motivate all at McLaren-Honda. As I have made clear whenever I have been asked about the subject, Jenson';s current contract is of two years'; duration [2015 and 2016]. There is a 'terminate after year one' option that McLaren could have triggered if we had wished to do so, but, once it became clear from my many conversations with Jenson that he remained as enthusiastic and as committed and as focused as ever, that option immediately became an irrelevance. That being the case, Jenson will race for McLaren-Honda next year, under the terms and conditions as set out in the two-year contract that both parties entered into a year ago. As I say, I am extremely pleased. Jenson is the most experienced driver currently racing in Formula 1, and next season he is due to become only the third driver [after Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher] in Formula 1 history to pass the milestone of 300 Grands Prix. But, although that wealth of experience makes him a massively valuable asset to our team, hugely expert in all aspects of the 21st-century Formula 1 driver's craft, he is also supremely fit and as super-fast as ever."

Jenson Button 
Over the past month or so I have done quite a lot of thinking, and it is no secret that I was at one point in two minds about my future. But I have been a McLaren driver for six seasons now [2010-2015], and in that time I have got to know Ron very well. He and I have had some very good chats these past few weeks, and during those chats it has become clear to me that Ron is both utterly determined and uniquely equipped to lead our team through its current difficulties to great successes in the future. That gives me great confidence, and it is for that reason that, together, he and I have decided to continue our partnership; and, as soon as I had made that decision, straight away I realised it was the correct one. Okay, granted, this year has not been an easy one for us, but we know what we need to do to improve things and, in collaboration with Honda, we will work extremely hard over the next weeks and months in order to make sure that 2016 will be a much better season than 2015 has been. "I can't wait!"