Monday, 16 November 2015

'Overtaking' - By Chris Rathbone

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'MAX ATTACK' - By Jake Davis

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Saturday, 14 November 2015

FIA Post-Qualifying Press Conference

1 – Nico ROSBERG (Mercedes) 
2 – Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)
3 – Sebastian VETTEL (Ferrari)


Nico, five poles in a row – quite a statement. 
Nico ROSBERG: Yeah, of course pleased with today. Best place to be in for tomorrow’s race. It worked well in qualifying. I was playing catch-up a little in Quali 2, that didn’t quite go to plan, but then Quali 3 really got going and got some good laps in. The last lap was on the edge, there were a couple of big moments in there, but it still worked out to be a good time, so happy with that.

You’re in the same position as you were 12 months ago in Brazil, which you then went on to win. How important for you is it to end the season with this kind of momentum?
NR: I’m just thinking about the individual races. I’m here, I want to win and that’s it really. Of course, as a side effect, P2 in the championship is there, still to be had, which is better than P3 for sure. And also it’s always better to end on a high than a low, for sure, the season, also thinking about next year.

Conversely for you Lewis, no pole now since Monza back in September, which is unusual as a pattern for you. Is that anything you’re concerned about at all?

Can you tell us a little about how today went then? 
LH: It was good today, actually. I got a really balance with the car, I was very happy with the work we did with the engineers, the laps were looking quite good, very good through Q1 and Q2 and just Q3, I just wasn’t able to find that small bit of edge. I think at the end I didn’t maximise the first sector but the other two sectors were OK.

You’ve never won Brazil, how important a piece of unfinished business is that as far as you’re concerned?
LH: Well, my main job is done this year, so it’s not the most important thing, but of course that’s the target. I’ve come here, a circuit that I haven’t actually won at, so… last year I was strong in the race and I hope to be able to carry that through to tomorrow and try and see if I can make the difference.

Thank you. Coming to you Sebastian, Q2 looked as though you were getting quite close to the Mercedes, only a couple of tenths off, maybe that gave you some hope, but in the end it was around six tenths again – your thoughts on the last hour?
Sebastian VETTEL: Yeah, it gave us a bit of hope in Q2 definitely but I saw that Nico had quite a couple of mistakes in his lap in Q2, so I knew that Q3 would be really difficult to get really close. I think in the end we were able to improve the car from yesterday, which is the most important thing, also looking for tomorrow’s race. Yeah, no doubt I would have loved to be a bit closer. Nevertheless it’s the optimum for us today. Tomorrow could be an interesting one. Yesterday we saw a lot of people sliding, including ourselves, so with the tyres it could be an interesting race.

The other thing we saw yesterday was what looked like reasonably consistent race pace from Ferrari. Do you think it might be enough if either of these two gives you an opportunity? 
SV: Well, you should ask them! But we will give everything we have. I think probably on the race pace, looking at the last couple of races, we’ve always been a bit closer on Saturday. Hopefully we can confirm that again tomorrow and put some pressure on these two guys. If there is a chance then yeah, we’ll go for it.

Final thought from you Nico: what do you expect from tomorrow’s grand prix. Last year, here, strategy was decisive, but once again you’ve got the advantage of track position at this stage.
NR: Yeah, it will be an exciting race for sure. Strategy-wise we’re quite comfortable because we got all the work on Friday – I’m not sure if that was the case last year – so we know we’re in a better position and we know what to expect, that should help. Then of course keeping an eye on Ferrari also, who were quick on Friday in the long run… well, close to us at least. So we need to be careful about that but I think definitely we’re going out there for the win.

Q: Nico, it seemed that, particularly sectors one and two seemed to be your strong suit throughout. Why was it in particular that you managed to get those two quite different sectors so right?
NR: I think all sectors were OK – just sector three is a bit more variable because it’s just one corner and huge tow influence. So if you happen to have a guy in front it makes a huge different on lap time – so that’s why that sector’s just more variable. No, all three sectors felt good, I was happy with all of them.

Q: Coming back to you Lewis, picking up on the question I asked you earlier in the unilateral there, you were saying you weren’t concerned about qualifying as its gone basically in the last couple of months. Maybe you could just say a little about finding that qualifying rhythm – because you hit the ground running so hard this season, you were just completely dominant in qualifying throughout the year. Is there anything we should read into this last couple of months? Have you missed something, or…?
LH: Not really. I’ve had the most poles of the year and I’ve won the World Championship so there’s nothing really to read into it. You don’t always get it right; you can’t always get it perfect every single time, so…

Q: Sebastian, on the theme of qualifying, you’ve been in front of Mercedes during races and you’ve been able to stay there this year, so is qualifying pace the number one priority for you and Ferrari to find over this winter period to come back strong in 2016?
SV: Well, I think what you do in qualifying is you try to go as fast as possible, so it’s pace in general that we are still lacking – but, y’know, the season is coming to an end slowly. I think generally looking at the last couple of months we managed to get closer. Of course from race to race, from track to track the gap can vary a bit but overall I think things are heading in the right direction. Also, in-season, it is possible to bring updates – everyone is – but difficult to make really, really big changes to the car. So I think next year should give everyone the opportunity to refresh and renew a couple of things and hopefully we can be in a stronger position. But first of all, looking forward to tomorrow. As you said, we managed to get in front and stay there, so the first opportunity could be the start. Let’s see, it’s a long race here – usually crazy things happen. All eyes on tomorrow and we try our best.


Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) Question to the three of you. It’s not Formula One. How did you live the events of yesterday in Paris and are you planning to do something special tomorrow apart from the minute of silence?
NR: For sure what happened yesterday makes everything else relative, y’know? That’s real tragedy and today is really not important compared to that. With the media nowadays and Twitter and all of these things, when you look it takes you so close even though you’re so far, you’re so close to what’s going on, and that makes it all the more intense and just very shocking, very shocking. That’s the best way to describe it. Tomorrow on the grid we’re doing… not sure.

LH: I don’t know what we’re doing tomorrow. It’s not something I really want to comment on.

SV: I think it was a huge shock. I was in the car on the way back to the hotel, saw what happened. Obviously I think it was a strange feeling to fall asleep to. As Nico said, in the end our thoughts are with the victims and their families. In the end there is nothing really you can do to help. Very tragic.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – Globo Esporte) Nico, Lewis said that there is nothing that can really explain your five poles in a row, it’s just the result of competition. Did you change your approach for the weekend, set-up of the car, the way you organise yourself to explain these five poles in a row?
NR: You know, it was an area I had to work on so I have been working on it of course, through the season, but I don’t have a direct explanation of any precise thing that’s now different. So I’m just happy that it’s going that way, it’s better, better this way of course but I don’t know why.

Q: (Rodrigo Franca – VIP Magazine) Lewis, Formula One is a very competitive sport and environment and there are people that say that in order to be World Champion you can’t be Mr Nice Guy, especially on the track. Why do you think people get this impression? 
LH: Erm, I don’t know, it’s competition and in competition that’s just how competition is. There’s one that’s more aggressive than the other one – that’s sports in general, whether it’s football, whether it’s tennis. I really don’t know the answer to it or the psychology to it but it’s because it’s fierce competiveness.

Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action and Speedsport magazines) Sebastian, you say that the gap has varied from track to track. There’s one more track to go, how do you think your car will go now in Abu Dhabi? 
SV: I don’t know. I think we have reason to be confident, I think the car was working in general on all types of circuits, maybe some suit us less but I think Abu Dhabi should be alright for us. Looking at the nature of the track, there’s no real high speed corners. I think only the beginning or just the first sector, after that it’s fairly much stop and go, 90 degree corners. I think we’ve been reasonably competitive, also if you compare to maybe Singapore. Conditions will be very different but I think we have reason to be confident.

Q: (Vladimir Rogovets – Sb Belarus Segodnya) Mr Hamilton, you are already the champion but if we talk about tomorrow’s race, what would you prefer: to be first after the first lap and without problems to be first at the finish line, or to combat all race long with five or ten drivers and maybe to be first or second at the finish line? Which would you prefer? 
LH: I would much prefer to be racing with five or ten drivers but it’s just not how Formula One is and how Formula One’s been for a long time but those races are for sure the most enjoyable ones. Starting from pole position or at the front and having a little battle with one person or leading the race is a great great thing but... One of the best races I had here was – I don’t know if it was 2009 or 2010, I think it was 2009, I think Jenson won the championship here maybe – I started 18th and I came through to third and those are the most enjoyable races, when you have to... you’re constantly challenged, coming up against another competitor and they have different skills and techniques and so you have to really use your skills and your driving vocabulary to understand the different dynamics that are happening while you are racing. That’s what I enjoy most but Formula One... it’s very rare that you see that, for whatever reason.

Friday, 13 November 2015

FIA Team Members' Press Conference

Franz Tost (Toro Rosso), Monisha Kaltenborn (Sauber), Federico Gastaldi (Lotus), Graeme Lowdon (Manor), Paul Monaghan (Red Bull Racing).

Q: A question to you all. The tender document for a commercially available Formula One engine has gone out – what do you think of the idea, in principle?
Franz TOST: I think it’s a good idea. We from Toro Rosso will support it because we want to have this new engine – at least to have the possibility to choose something, to bring up a new engine for lower costs because the current power unit costs a hell of money. b) to be flexible, c) we will have a new sound. And I think that most of the fans and those people here want to have another engine with a better sound – and the rest we will see.

Monisha KALTENBORN: Well, we all know that in the last few years the engine price has been the major cost trigger, driving costs tremendously high, and we are a customer for engines, so what our prime position is that we want the engine prices to go down and we believe there is room to do that. Looking at this alternative, we are a bit skeptical about this because, looking at other series you see how difficult it is if you have two kinds of different engines in one series. It’s not worked in the past. We’re seeing it now, currently, that there are a lot of issues attached to it. That’s one point. The second one is it’s meant to have parity with the current engine and that’s a complex area. It’s not easy to achieve that. And moreover, there’s a world out there and we have to move with that world. Hybrid technology, you might like it personally or not – but that is the demand on the market today. So we have to also cater to these demands, particularly the engine suppliers, so I believe it’s also not going to be very good for the image of Formula One – we’ve tried to move away from such technologies which are irrelevant for the businesses of manufacturers. More importantly we actually should try to get the prices down, which in our view is absolutely doable.

Federico GASTALDI: Well, I agree with both of them. I mean, again, it will be good from my point of view, our point of view it will be good for the sport to have this new engines running. It’s very important, as Monisha said, that the price comes down – we’re obviously also buyers. So, yeah, I think it’s important to move into that direction and keep the prices as down as possible in order for all of us to be more competitive.

Graeme LOWDON: I think Franz’s summary was a very good one. I think we need to welcome anything that is designed to make the sport more sustainable and hopefully, as well, put back into the hands of the teams a little bit more about what they can control. None of the teams here make engines and therefore you can see that there’s frustration among certain teams where they don’t have the ability to fully influence their position in the Constructors’ Championship. There’s no championship for an engine manufacturer and yet it has such an enormous influence. That said, if there is a dominant engine and you have it in your team, then that’s obviously a great position to be in and everybody will be pretty happy with that position. Equally, it there’s teams in that position, there’s going to be teams in the opposite position. Ideally what we want to see is teams fighting it out on the race track.

And finally Paul.
Paul MONAGHAN: To answer your question directly, Red Bull will support it on grounds of cost and supply.

Q: Back to you Graeme, you and John Booth have handed in your resignations recently. You rescued the team from administration last winter, you’ve secured Mercedes power units for the future, so why this timing? 
GL: Well, yeah, Abu Dhabi’s going to my last race with the team and rather than focus on the reasons, I would prefer to focus on the fact that the most important task this year was to make sure that the team continued racing. We had to stop before the end of last season, we weren’t in Abu Dhabi last year, and that required an awful lot of hard work and an awful lot of commitment as well. It’s quite well documented, the staff were all made redundant on the 7th of November, 2014 and things looked  pretty bleak at that particular time. My own opinion is that Formula One racing teams are pretty precious things and something that deserves effort in making sure it continued. Certainly my belief in the team at that stage never wavered once. We worked very very hard to make sure that the team was in a position to continue racing. And we had a lot of help. Now is probably my only opportunity actually to thank a few people who were instrumental in the team being able to continue and certainly over that period, November, December, January, we received a lot of help from Bernie Ecclestone in particular, also from Jean Todt and I have to say everybody involved in the governing side and the commercial rights side were entirely constructive during that whole period and the team wouldn’t have survived without that input. But also from Ferrari who were really, again, instrumental, not just in the team being able to survive and get an engine deal at very short notice but also from the very first race, a commitment from James Allison in particular. He has a very important and public task at Ferrari, ensuring that their team is in a good position but from our point of view, as a customer team, we received some really pivotal support from him. And of course the staff at the team; we had to get a team back together very very quickly and that would not have happened if we hadn’t have been able to attract a lot of the same faces who were with the team in the previous years. Again, that was extremely important. If that hadn’t have happened, the team wouldn’t have continued as well, so a lot of things had to come together and so from my point of view, this has been a pretty difficult season but that’s secondary to the fact that the team continues, and that’s the most important thing.

Q: Federico, speaking of change, can you update us on the takeover by Renault? Do you have any Renault employees already at Enstone and when do you hope the final announcement will be made? 
FG: Well, that’s pretty much a call that has to be done from Renault. All the bits and pieces are there, yes, we do have people since Singapore working there already so when it will be announced is their call.

Q: Paul, you appeared in this Friday press conference in Russia and said that you would work with whatever engine you were given. It’s now one month later so are you now in danger of missing the February test? 
PM: No, in summary. We are working towards a deal and if one can be achieved, then that will be announced in time but we will still make it, don’t worry. 
Q: But from an engineering point of view, can you...
PM: We would still make it, yes.

Q: Franz, it’s clearly been a positive season for both of your rookie drivers. There’s been no official word, I think, that both are remaining with the team for 2016. Can we take it that they are both confirmed? 
FT: If the team is on the starting grid then I consider that both of them will be the drivers of Toro Rosso, because so far they have done a very good job and of course we want to keep them. 
Q: And can you tell us any more about being on the grid? 
FT: It’s not decided yet. We will see. I’m convinced, optimistic, that this will be the case.

Q: Finally to you, Monisha, as Felipe Nasr mentioned yesterday in the press conference, your 2015 strategy certainly worked with 21 of your 36 points scored in the first six Grands Prix of the year as others struggled with reliability and performance. So what’s the plan for 2016, as you look to consolidate your position as a regular and consistent points scorer? 
MK: The plan’s very simple. We want to make more points and continue this upwards trend. I hope that we can get more continuity into it and that is not limited just to one part of the season. We need to have regular development and we will already need to start focusing on the following year with the rule changes coming up and we don’t want to be caught again in the situation we were caught in last time when there was a massive change and we were not very competitive. So it’s the strategy just to go ahead into that direction, maybe on the performance side or stabilising or strengthening the company further.


Q: (Silva Renée Arias – Parabrisas) I would like to know, if I understood well, Monisha, you said that these new engines have some issues. Can you clarify which kind of issues this engine will have? 
MK: I don’t know if the engines will have issues, I have no idea about that. What I was saying was that there are many issues which you need to consider and we also have communicated that to the FIA, particularly talk about parity on the performance side and that’s not easy to achieve. We’re seeing another series that it is quite a challenge. You’re talking with these engines, for example, about refuelling again so to get that parity in with the hybrid engine is already an issue in itself. Then of course, if you look at the financial side of it, what savings we had from stopping refuelling, you’re again bringing those costs in which are not small costs, if you have to introduce that. So we’ve also communicated to the FIA that we will watch this tender process, we’re not saying we’re totally against it but you really have to be sure what you’re doing here, from a commercial perspective, from a technical perspective and for image reasons of Formula One. That’s all we are saying, to just be careful before you do something which until now another series had not really turned out to be a success.

Q: (Joe Saward – Grand Prix Special) It’s nice to see you all smiling. Question: you weren’t all smiling, you look very tired actually. I want to know how you feel at this season, the length of the season. Is it a good calendar or could we make it better, from the point of view of the people involved because it’s not easy to do, is it? 
PM: Thank you for noting my somewhat tired appearance! We are given a calendar and I bet if I look back upon the four years when Red Bull won its championships, probably arrived at this race on a bit of a high, thinking here we go: championship shoot-out as it was in Abu Dhabi in 2010 and here in 2012, wasn’t it. So we arrived in a slightly different situation and I’m probably as tired if not the same as the other years. The challenges are different but come Sunday, come tomorrow and Sunday, the adrenalin is going, you forget all of that, there’s a race, goodness me, we want to win one and why shouldn’t it be us here? So the calendar is presented to us, I don’t control it, we’ll deal with it, if we come out champions I’m happier than if we don’t come out champions. It probably affects me more for Christmas than anything else. 
FT: Yeah, the year has 52 weeks, we should have 26 races. Tired, you get at home. 
FG: Well, I’m a hundred and fifty-eight years old so no other.
Q: Hundred and fifty-eight? 
FG: I guess it’s tiring for everyone, for all of you, for all of us so it’s the same thing, it’s just a long season but I think it honestly keeps us in good shape, you know, moving, yeah, might be tiring one day but it’s challenging, it’s good. I like it, I still enjoy it. 
GL: I think the cars are very very complicated nowadays, the systems are  complicated, the teams are big, there’s lots to do both technically and also commercially. The teams have to work harder now on the commercial front so everybody is tired, you can see that, but I don’t think there’s any lack of motivation. If you can’t get motivated for Formula One, then you can’t get motivated for any motor racing, then I don’t think there’s any lack of motivation. I think that if that starts disappearing then there’s problems. Apart from that, it’s indoor work, no heavy lifting involved.

Q: (Joe Saward – Grand Prix Special) Just to ask all of you, what engine do you think you’ll be using next year? 
GL: Whatever’s in my road car! The team will have Mercedes engines next year. 
FG: Renault. 
MK: Ferrari. 
FT: A V6 turbo engine, new regulation.
PM: You’ll know when we do.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

FIA Thursday Drivers' Press Conference

DRIVERS – Felipe MASSA (Williams), Felipe NASR (Sauber), Max VERSTAPPEN (Toro Rosso), Nico HULKENBERG (Force India), Jenson BUTTON (McLaren), Sebastian VETTEL (Ferrari)


Jenson, if we could start with you, a former winner of this race of course, back in 2013 and you clinched your 2009 world championship here as well. But clearly this year the reliability challenges continued in Mexico, so what sort of shape will McLaren be in this weekend?  
Jenson BUTTON : Well, first of all, I wish it was 2013, it was actually 2012, but it was a few years. But I think we all love coming here. There’s always a fantastic atmosphere. A lot of world championships have been decided here, so a lot of great memories for many drivers and for the fans as well. For me, coming here this year, it’s obviously not going to be an easy weekend but it will be better than the last one definitely. So looking forward to it and we’ll get the maximum out of what we have, which is always what we do.

You’ve had championship years, race-winning years, but you’ve also had some tough years as well, so you’ve been in this position before. When you have a tough season, presumably you always want to take something out of it that you can use as a platform for the year that follows. What will you be taking out of 2015? 
JB: Lots of learning. It’s obviously still… I know we keep saying it, but it is still a very young partnership. We’ve learned so much this year with the power unit, with the idea of the aerodynamics of the car, because it’s very different to a normal McLaren, so there is a lot of learning to take from this season. We obviously need to make a big step next year – we know that – so it’s going to be a long, hard winter, but an exciting one as well.

Thank you for that? Nico, coming to you, it’s been a strange season for you in many ways. Obviously you had great success, winning Le Mans during the summer, but in Formula One less than half the points you scored in 2014, some bad luck clearly in there as well. However, on the upside Force India are virtually assured of fifth in the Constructors’, which was the target, so can you consider this season a success.
Nico HULKENBERG: Yes, definitely a season with two faces, but most importantly for the team that we come away with that fifth after Abu Dhabi. I think we need three points over Lotus this weekend to secure it. That’s the main target. Like you say, for me personally there have been some really good races and some struggles but I think that’s how it works in a long season.

The team has scored 81 points in the last nine races, since you brought the car on stream, is that the limit of what this team can achieve or do you think you can use this a platform for more next season? 
NH: That’s the idea, that we can continue growing and use this solid base that we have now with this car to develop more and get closer to the top for sure. The key will be the winter, that we really develop in the right direction and keep moving forward, but I have good faith in and trust in the team that we can achieve that

Thank you for that. Coming to you Felipe, a two-time Brazilian Grand Prix winner of course. It’s pretty much certain now that Williams will end the season in third place again, so is that a success given the level of the teams you are racing against, or is there an element of disappointment that you couldn’t move up from where you were last year.

Felipe MASSA: Well, first of all it’s always a big pleasure to be here, racing at home, where I was actually born, where I actually started learning anything about racing – on the other side of the wall on the go-kart track and then to have a chance to race here, in a place where I remember going to the grandstand and standing up every lap that a Brazilian guy was passing, so it’s really a dream for us to race here. A big welcome for Felipe [Nasr] for his first time here and I’m really looking forward to do an amazing race. Fortunately, I managed to win two times here and I’m really looking forward to having another opportunity to achieve another victory here, which is like a dream for us. So we’ll try everything we can. I would say we are third in the championship with a good margin to the fourth, but also unfortunately a good margin to these guys here [Ferrari] in second. So I think it’s a good championship. You cannot say… you always want more. For us inside the team we are not 100 per cent happy because we want more. Unfortunately, we did not have everything in a perfect way to finish even second. But I would say it’s a positive season for us. We did a good job. We worked well at many, many races. We fight with the big teams, which I think we cannot forget that. Definitely we want more for next year and we want to finish where we are, in third, which I think it would be OK to do that, especially in the two tracks [remaining], that I believe we can be competitive [at] and we can fight for podiums and have a really strong performance. So, yeah, I think it’s positive. Last year we started not in a really good shape; we finished in a really, really good shape. So we managed to get third at the end, which everybody was really, really happy [with] and this year we were third during the whole championship. It’s better than last year but we definitely want more.

We’ve just experience incredible levels of enthusiasm for Formula One at the Mexican Grand Prix. Formula One has been in Brazil for many years now, so what’s the level of enthusiasm like here at the moment? 
FM: Actually, here in Brazil there has always been a big enthusiasm. I remember most of the years that people… or the drivers, or the people that work in Formula One, they were always saying it is an amazing place. People are really, really excited. You can the people, the way Brazilians support the race, us as Brazilian drivers, our mentality is really, really. Definitely it was nice to see what happened in Mexico and I think that’s what Formula One needs. I think everybody was really happy to be in Mexico, to race in that atmosphere, you know, people rally enjoying whatever practice, whatever time we were on the track. That’s what we need. I’m sure we will see a lot of support here in Brazil, in our way, but it was very nice to be in Mexico and to see the people were supporting Formula One.

Q: Coming to you Felipe [Nasr], continuing the Brazilian theme, amazingly your first time, I think I’m right in saying, racing here at Interlagos since 2008? But you are Brazilian obviously, so presumably you feel a certain magic at the prospect of racing here.
Felipe NASR: Yeah, for sure it’s going to be the first experience. A whole new weekend for me, being at Sauber this year. I had a little taste last year with Williams in Free Practice One and all I can say is that I just cannot wait to see all this energy. The atmosphere is going to be amazing here with all the fans. I feel there are a lot of people following the season and especially, you know, for myself coming first time here in a circuit that has so much history, so much nice moments in the past with all the Brazilian drivers and I’m just about to begin my own… so it’s a pleasure to be here and hopefully coming out of… if we can score a few points here it would be nice to share with everyone.

Q: You’ve got 27 points on the board this year, in your rookie season, more than double your team-mate’s score. Are you pleased with the impact that you’ve made on Formula One in your first season?
FN: Yes, I have to be pleased. It’s been a tough season for us. We started pretty well, I think other teams were still struggling with the reliability of the car and we were able to get some nice opportunities at the beginning of the year to score nice points, especially in Australia, in the very first race. That fifth place was amazing. I couldn’t ever ask for more in my first ever race in Formula One. For me it’s been a season of a lot of learning as well. Getting a lot of experience. I’ve learned a few new circuits as well and of course we’ve struggled to carry on the development of the car but we knew we were going to face that at some point in the season. We see, for example, the McLarens are much closer to us now. Only nine points behind, so we’re trying our best with what we’ve got. Hopefully maybe a few more points until the end of the season and especially here in Brazil would be a nice way to end up the season.

Q: Sebastian, you were very self-critical in Mexico after the race. Now you’ve had a chance to debrief fully with the team, was it all your responsibility? Were there issues with the car that contributed to what happened in your race?
Sebastian VETTEL: No, there was nothing wrong with the car, so as I said after the race, was my mistake. So, I don’t think I was very self-critical, I was just honest.

Q: There are many counting on you to take the fight to Mercedes next season. Are you yet at the point of believing that this is definitely possible?
SV: Well, it’s always difficult to predict what’s going to happen but surely it is our target. Surely I can see what’s happening in the background, the work that has gone into this year, the work that is going into next year back in the factory, back in Maranello with all the people, so it looks promising and I think we should be able to make a good step forward. Now, obviously the most important day is when you put the new car on the track and you see what it does – but that’s still a bit far away. For now I think we have two races left and we want to do well and ideally get the best possible results here and in Abu Dhabi.

Q: Max, approaching the end of your first year of Formula One experience, which specific areas do you feel you’ve developed most?
Max VERSTAPPEN: I think in every area I improved. Especially after only one season in lower categories, when you make the jump to F1, I think the raw speed is there, it’s just you need to develop in all the other areas – and I think I coped with that pretty well. So I’m pretty happy with how the whole season went in general. I improved in everything. Qualifying I think especially, that’s all going well now but all the areas, especially with the help of the team, it’s going much better and I expected it to be like that because I am still very young and I have a lot of things to learn.

Q: What made the difference with qualifying?
MV: Experience. Understanding the tyres a bit more, those things.

Q: How much of a hurry are you in to get yourself into a top team?
MV: I’m never in a hurry but, of course, if you have two fourth places you’re very close to the podium, you want to be on it. But I still have a lot of things to learn and I’m pretty happy where I am right now – but hopefully in a couple of years I can fight for victories. I think everybody wants that.


Q: (Silvia Arias – Parabrisas) I would like to know from all of you the weak points and the strong points of your team during this year? 
NH: The strongest point and the weakest point? I think the strong point is that we’re very efficient with what we’ve got, if you consider the size of our team and the budget we have. I think we make a pretty good job of it. And the weakness is, yeah, we need deeper pockets. 
JB: We don’t have any weaknesses, we’re perfect. Where are the strengths? No, we have a lot of strengths and I think everyone knows McLaren and what they’ve achieved. It is still the same team. In terms of what we do on a race weekend, I think we’re doing a very good job, we’re getting the best out of what we have, I think maximising the potential of what we have at the moment. The issues for us are, as I’ve said before, as I’ve said, it’s a lot younger our project, than others so it does take time and obviously during a season it’s very difficult to make changes but this winter is a very important one for us, to make those big changes and come out a lot stronger next year because we don’t want to be where we are, we want to be fighting near the front. Whether we can win races or not, that’s another question but I think we can at last fight at the front next year. There’s a lot of hard work going on and I think another positive with this team is the confidence. Even in difficult times like now there’s still a lot of confidence in the team and they’re still working flat out to improve the car and the power unit, so there’s a good atmosphere which a lot of people are surprised about but there really is. 
FM: Well, I think for the size of the team I think we’re doing a great job, compared to the big teams. For what we have, I think we’re doing a really really good job. We’re fighting with the big teams and I think we cannot forget that that’s a very difficult achievement and that’s very important for us. We definitely have some points that... we need to be more efficient, perfect with many things which are a little bit easier to fix, like strategies, even pit stops but it’s something that we’re working so hard to improve but I think for our size we’re doing a really really good job, so we just need a little bit more money to put in the car and I’m sure we’re going to make the lives of these guys even more difficult. 
FN: Well, I guess for us at Sauber has been in a difficult situation as well. If you look back at last year, they scored zero points, they didn’t score any points in the season and we have surpassed any expectations for this season scoring quite a good amount of points when we could, when we had the opportunity. What I like to see is the motivation of the people there. Nobody is giving up, you know,  on what we have, what we can do. We’ve got good people inside the team. It’s just a matter of time, we have to be patient now and things are looking better for next year so all I want to do is also to fight for better results so when things come together, when it’s time to do it, I’m quite confident next year we’re going to do a step forward again. 
SV: Well, I think the strong point that I have certainly been overwhelmed by is the passion for Ferrari, I think inside the team but also the fan base around the world so the Red Magic. The weak point – the food is a strong point, believe me – the weak point? Obviously we’ve had a great season so far and after the races that we won, we had some good celebrations as well and I think we can improve on how resilient we are to certain drinks but it comes with practice, I hope, so hopefully we can practise many times next year. 
MV: I think the strong point is the atmosphere in the team and maybe it’s something Italian. I enjoyed it a lot also in go-karting and I still have it here as well. It’s like a big family and I think when a driver feels well in a team, also the performance goes better so definitely enjoying it. Also the team is still very young and they are very ambitious and I think already compared to last year the car is a big step forward, so I’m very happy with that, to be able to drive such a good car. So yeah, the weak point, I don’t really have a big weak point in the team. It’s just that we’re missing a little bit of top speed, maybe that’s the only thing.

Q: (José Roberto Lioi– Globo Radio) Sebastian, is this a crucial race for second place in the Drivers’ championship? 
SV: Yes. Yeah, obviously there’s two races to go, the last one didn’t help but yeah, for sure, as long as it’s possible to finish second you want to finish second rather than third so clearly our target is to at least try and split the Mercedes and split them the right way but the best way to do that or the best recipe is to just do our job and try to achieve the maximum and then we will see what happens on Sunday.

Q: (Luigi Perna – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Seb, according to Niki Lauda, at this moment Ferrari matches Mercedes in terms of power with this engine but not in terms of chassis and aerodynamics. Do you agree? 
SV: Well, as a fact we are not yet a match otherwise this season would have been very different but I’m very happy, as I said, with the season so far, with the progress we’ve made and also with the things that I think we have in the pipeline for the future. Now Niki is usually not the best one to trust, let’s put it this way, he’s changing his opinion very quickly and sometimes what he says makes sense and other times it doesn’t make any sense so yeah, the more he’s talking about us the better it is for us because he can feel that maybe we’re coming, so hopefully that’s good news.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

'Troubled Team mates' - By Jake Davis

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Monday, 9 November 2015

'Character Building' 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.
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Tuesday, 3 November 2015

'The Pitcall' - 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.
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Monday, 2 November 2015

'Mexican Grudge Match' - By Jake Davis

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FIA Post-Race Press Conference

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

(Conducted by Nigel Mansell)

Viva México! What a race ladies and gentlemen. What a brilliant race we had. Can we get the drivers to come down here; get closer to you. We'll talk to Nico. Nico, what a flawless drive. My goodness me, you were probably wondering what you had to do when the Safety Car came out. How does it feel? 
Nico ROSBERG: Que tal México! Yeah, amazing; amazing day. Great race, great battle with Lewis, he drove really well. Just really, really happy to get the win and this is really the best podium of the year, what a place to do it.

Absolutely incredible, may I congratulate you. I couldn’t wish for [a better] winner, all three on the podium, absolutely incredible. And what do you think of the crowd. It’s unbelievable isn’t it Nico?
NR: Absolutely awesome! Muchas gracias.

OK, across to Lewis now, ladies and gentlemen. Lewis, you pushed really hard and when the Safety Car came out you had younger tyres, the crew did a brilliant job in the pit stops, you were pushing hard but you couldn’t quite do it today. 
Lewis HAMILTON: No, Nico drove a fantastic race and it’s just been fantastic to be here in Mexico. I’ve never seen a crowd like this; it’s like football game. The fans have been amazing. I’ve never seen anything like this.

Well, you’re a great champion and I’ll tell you, Nico, you’ve just beaten Lewis absolutely fantastically. Let’s go across to Valtteri here, such a well-deserved podium today, ladies and gentlemen, so well deserved. An exciting race, you had a little flirtation with a Ferrari there, what did you make of that? 
Valtteri BOTTAS: First of all, I have to say a big thanks to the team. We did a mega job today. We were racing like a race-winning team, so I’m really proud of that. Yeah, obviously it was not that easy a race, a bit of contact with Kimi. It didn’t have to end like that. It was a bit of a shame for me, there was nowhere to go, but that’s racing.

But great for you today, a great podium, congratulations. The last word with our winner Nico Rosberg. Nico, the last word’s with you.
NR: Muchas gracias por la apoyo!

Q: Nico, you looked in control throughout that race but were there any nervous moments and how much was tyre management an issue? Did you ask for that second stop for safety because of the wear on the first set you changed?
NR: At the time I wanted to do just… I didn’t want to come in because I was really comfortable at the time, I had a good gap to Lewis so it sort of reset things a little bit, going on another set of tyres – so I wasn’t too happy with that but I understand that it was the better thing to do – especially in light of the Safety Car that came out because it was important to have fresher tyres at that point in time. I’m happy I was able to control the race. The only moment that was a bit difficult was on the restart with the cold tyres – but it was OK.

Q: Lewis, can you just talk us through your thoughts on the team strategy regarding that second pitstop – and did you think you could get to the end?
LH: It doesn’t really matter now but good race, the team did a great job, Nico drove really well today, no mistakes, no gust of wind and… yeah, it was very difficult to follow here but what a crowd we had today, it was just incredible. I gave it my all, it was quite fun actually just to be able to push and not really have to be worrying about points or anything like that. Just go out and just race. That was one of the fun races for me.

Q: Valtteri it was a very eventful race for you. Hard-earned third place. Can you talk us through it and also tell us your thoughts on that moment with Kimi?
VB: Yeah, overall really good race, plenty happening but it ended up well. First of all I have to say a big thanks to the team. I think as a team we did a great job today, especially with the strategy. The guys were really on it, so really pleased with that. Obviously from the start, the first corners were quite tricky but managed to gain some places as well as further places during the race. The latest one with the Safety Car restart with Daniel. There was the contact with Kimi. We had a contact in Russia but this was just unlucky that we got together again. I was trying to overtake him in Turn Four-Five and there was just no room when I was inside into Turn Five and then we collided – which is a shame because it didn’t have to end up like that but for me, I had no space to go. So, yeah…


Q: (Dan Knutson – Honorary) Valtteri, as you say, two clashes with Kimi in the last few races. Is it time for you and him to sit down and have a bit of a chat?
VB: I don’t know if there’s anything to really speak about. For me, we were racing hard, obviously, and normally, what I’m used to in those kind of situations, there is enough for two cars when you go into a chicane like that but this time there wasn’t. And of course I’m not going to back off, I’m fighting for the positions. I was calculating the risk, I think there was a decent possibility to get through. But, hey, it ended up like this. I don’t know if there’s anything really to speak about. Unlucky that it was us two that collided again.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – Globo Esporte)  Lewis, were you on the limit during the race or the fact that you won the world championship in the last race, maybe you didn’t give that extra power that you normally use during the race?
LH: Not at all. I was pushing the whole way it’s just that you can’t follow. Soon as I’d get four, five, a few car lengths behind, just to lose the aero, and he had perfect aero so it was impossible to get close enough but I had good pace – but as soon as you get closer and closer and closer you lose all your downforce, so… 

Q: (Ricardo Roura – Reforma Cancha) For all three drivers, your opinion of the Mexican podium this afternoon.
NR: The Mexican podium? It’s the best podium of the year, I think, to be in a stadium like that and the atmosphere and the energy was just unbelievable, so I’m really thankful to all the Mexican people and to all the people that have been here today, for the massive support also. Really special.

Q: (Christopher Joseph – Chicane) All three of you have mentioned the stadium and mentioned the crowd; is there a real feeling of energy as you enter that section of the track, and does it give you a lift? 
NR: During driving it’s really difficult because I’m just so focussed on what I’m doing, I don’t look around, so it’s more after the race and after qualifying when I’m aware of that and take it all in because it’s just unbelievable. 
VB: Yeah, I agree. When you drive here, you don’t really look around but after the race you have the time and I was lucky enough to be on the podium, because it was incredible really, just got goosebumps and everything, it was pretty special and I think the best drivers’ parade I’ve ever had as well and really a lot of support from the fans. 
LH: It’s the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen; in the whole entire time I’ve been in Formula One, I’ve never seen anything like it, this crowd.

Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action and Speedsport Magazines) Valtteri, on that last restart, you were on the medium tyre whereas Daniel was on the softs. How difficult was that and how did you set that up, for the pass? 
VB: Well, I think it was a really good call from the team; they knew that I would come back after the pit stop in the same position than before the safety car. And why we opted for the medium was that it is a lower working range tyre, it works better with lower temperatures so it seemed to work. I saw Daniel sliding in the last corner and I managed to get really close and then got through.

Q: (Eduardo Polaco – AutoBild Mexico)  Did you feel the track different from practice because some of you said that it was very low grip at the beginning, so was there a difference? 
VB: Yeah, I think it was improving on every lap during the race, actually, so the lap times were getting quicker and quicker so every session, every lap of the weekend so maybe next year we actually have some more grip which would be nice. 
LH: I think they should make special tyres for this race. We need more grip. 
NR: Well it’s normal, you know, a new track, it takes a bit of time because the asphalt is just so smooth so it’s the normal story like we’ve seen with most of the new tracks lately. It’s just one of the challenges that we’ve had this weekend but it’s all good, you know, and it’s been a great track, they’ve done a great job with it, so I think the whole race has been an amazing success for F1.

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto Motor und Sport) Before the race, almost all engineers from all teams were quite concerned about the brakes and engine temperatures. How difficult was it to make the brakes survive and keep the engine temperatures at a good level? 
LH: It was fairly easy, it was fairly easy. There was not really much degradation on tyres, if any, and the brakes, yeah, you just have to do a little bit of lifting and coasting but it’s no different to anywhere else. 
NR: No, the team did a great job so we were fine. There’s been other races that were more critical; today was no problem. 
VB: Yeah, not a big problem. I think if we would have been following other cars for a long time then maybe but all good.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – Globo Esporte) Nico, your start was decisive for your winning. In the last few races you didn’t start well; can you describe your procedure of starting? 
NR: Well, it’s just like everything else. I’ve been working on it to try and get everything perfect and today it worked out to be first and that was important, maybe the most important part of the race, so I’m very happy about that.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

FIA Team Members Press Conference

TEAM REPRESENTATIVES – Vijay MALLYA (Force India), Claire WILLIAMS (Williams), Maurizio ARRIVABENE (Ferrari), Toto WOLFF (Mercedes), Yasuhisa ARAI (Honda)
Q: Claire, if I can start with you. Williams won this race the last time it was here back in 1992. Did you watch that race and what are your thoughts on coming back to this circuit today?
Claire WILLIAMS: I was 14 when that race was one and I don’t remember watching it. I probably did; I’m sure I did. But it’s great to come back here. We won the race prior to that with Riccardo Patrese as well, so Williams has a good history here. I’d love if we were able to repeat that this weekend. Obviously we haven't had some great races in the past few, so the team really needs a strong result here. But it’s a great venue. I think everyone in Formula One for our return to Mexico has really enjoyed the experience so far. The promoters have done a great job with the facilities we have, so it will be a good weekend. 

Q: This time last year you were battling for position in the Constructors’ Championship but you’re looking pretty solid now in third for this season. It’s obviously progress but are you satisfied with the season you’ve had? 
CW: This year for us was all about consolidation. If we are able to secure third this year again, that’s fantastic for a team operating on the budgets we are operating on. We are operating on a budget that is half or a third of some of the bigger teams out there and I’m really proud of the job that everybody in our team has done. It’s been hard work this year. We haven’t had some of the podiums we would have liked to have had but we’ve done a job. But it’s not over yet, we still go work to do but getting thirds again would be fantastic.

Q: Thank you. Vijay, if I can move on to you. It’s a huge weekend for your team, in particular Sergio of course. Are you enjoying it, are the team feeling added pressure this weekend at all?
Vijay MALLYA: No, we are absolutely enjoying being here in Mexico. As you may know we launched the car in Mexico in January this year. Checo has a huge following, we have many large Mexican sponsors and I personally love Mexico because there are many similarities with India, so this is like a home race for us as well.

Q: We are hearing talk of a name change for the team for next season. What can you tell us about it? What does it mean for the team and how is it going to be structured?
VM: We are in discussion, nothing has been finalised, we have many options and I’ll be able to confirm or otherwise once I have something to say. As I’ve said, and as was faithfully reported by Autosport, I don’t like to count my chickens before they hatch.

Q: Thank you very much. Arai-san, can I ask you first what happened this morning in terms of Jenson’s engine and what effect did that have on running this afternoon? 
Yasuhisa ARAI: Jenson’s engine we had planned to change between FP1 and FP2 but we detected, by sensor, a high-voltage failure. Actually we don’t know but we need time to learn. We have to change many items to go out the garage.

Q: There is talk of Honda supplying a second team, or maybe not. What is the current situation and if you were given the choice would Honda rather supply more than one team?
YA: Obviously we cannot discuss details at this moment. We have been approached by the team but discussions are ongoing and nothing has been decided. I always say this season: we are always open, so we are on discussions that are ongoing – that’s it.

Q: Toto, you were invited onto the panel in Austin to celebrate as Constructors’ Champions and we’re delighted to see you now as double champions this season. Tell us your thoughts on Lewis as a three-time world champion and also how he’s changed over his three years with the team? 
Toto WOLFF: It’s clear that when you win a third drivers’ title you move into the ‘Olymp’ of drivers. There are not many who have scored three title or more and he’s part of that. He’s had an extraordinary season, almost without any mistakes. The car didn’t let him down and this is then where he ended up. The journey he had in the team… he started the same time I joined the team. I think it’s normal that as a person you develop, you grow into the team, you get to know the people, the car suits you more and this is the result of three years with Mercedes.

Q: On the flip side, it’s obviously difficult for Nico. Where does he go from here? How does he rebuild for 2016? 
TW: For the team it’s always biitersweet and just to keep the right balance I think he had a season with so many ups but also many downs. Some very good performances, he was always there. He outqualified Lewis on some of the occasions but then he was also let down with the car in Monza, with the engine failure and this is simply where we need to improve – to provide a car that makes them capable of fighting each other, because it lifts the team. Today you could see he has a very strong pace and the combination of the two of them makes where we are. We won the Constructors’ title also because Nico is such a strong contender to Lewis and this is a very beneficial situation to the team.

Q: Thank you. Maurizio, can I ask you how important is it that Sebastian now finishes second in the Drivers’ title race for Ferrari?
Maurizio ARRIVABENE: The championship is not finished. At the moment he is second but I think Nico is hunting him but we will do our best to keep [Sebastian] in that position, even if Toto do not like.

Q: Sebastian drove a great race in Austin. Can you tell us what he’s brought to the team and how motivating performances like that are to the team?
MA: I don’t want to talk about Sebastian, because every time they are asking me questions – he’s a four-time world champion. He’s demonstrate that he is a great driver but he also have a good team around him. He has integrated himself very well into the team and also with Kimi, I have to say, and everybody is going in the right direction. He gave us an additional push and I recognise he is a great driver. By the way, congratulations to Mercedes and to Lewis for the title, the really deserve [it].


Q: (Ian Parkes – Autosport) Toto, you recently signed an agreement with Manor to supply power units for next season. They describe themselves as a team of real racers but two of those real racers, John Booth and Graeme Lowdon, have seemingly resigned form their positions. I just wondered what you make of that and if that poses any threat to the deal going forward into next year? 
TW: Obviously when I spoke about racers, John and Graeme was very much meant by that plus of course the rest of the team, it’s a bunch of real fighters that have shown stamina in keeping the team in the sport. I’ve known John forever, since the Formula Renault days of Lewis and Formula 3 days. Manor means John Booth and John Booth means Manor and Graeme has made sure… was very instrumental in keeping the team alive last year, so seeing them go, from a personal standpoint and from the racing spirit, is obviously a blow. So going forward, we have signed the deal with Manor and I would say we need to give credit to everybody in the team who stays in the team but we are curious spectators from now on.

Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines) Question to Maurizio. Last week in Austin I asked you what your thoughts and comments were about the possibility of another kind of engine, that was being discussed. You said that you’d rather wait until it’s gone through Strategy Group etcetera before commenting – yet on Monday we heard that Ferrari had invoked a veto against such a plan. Could you please explain the difference and also whether in fact there was a veto that was invoked – and why? Thank you. 
MA: Concerning the veto it is quite easy. We exercised our veto in compliance with our legitimate commercial right to do business as a powertrain manufacturer. There’s nothing to add.

Q: (Kate Walker – I’ve got a follow-up for Maurizio. Given the rude financial health of the Ferrari F1 team’s finances, how do you morally justify exercising your veto? 
MA: I repeat it. I have to repeat again. The rules are done by the Federation and it’s fine but we just exercise our commercial right as a powertrain manufacturer. This is the reason why.

It was a question about the moral justification, given your strong financial position.
MA: Why do we have to justify it more? Here we are talking about commercial right. We are not talking about budget, we are not talking about anything else. If somebody, they are asking you, they give you a specification to produce apple, OK you produce apple in line with the specification. That somebody,  they’re asking you, OK, we want to impose you the price of the apple’, what are you going to do? This is the principle. It has nothing to do with the rest.

Q: (Christopher Joseph ¬– Chicane) Question for the front row [MA, TW, YA] in terms of powertrain. How important is it for you, as powertrain manufacturers, that you have gained some traction in the Mexican market – and what is the relationship between excellence in powertrain on the track and how that relates to road car technology?
TW: To answer the first question, Mexico is a huge market and very important market for us. We’re not only producing cars in Mexico but also it’s the sheer size is very important for us. From the relevance to road car technology, there is a huge relevance – and it goes in both directions. What you are seeing on the roads is hybrid technology and fuel efficiency and this is the fastest lab in the world. We have been part of a sport that set very stringent new rules two years ago in terms of efficiency of those power units – yet those power units deploy more power than the engines before and we are almost there in terms of laptimes with 100kg instead of 150-160kg – so it’s very, very road relevant.

Arai-san – how important is it to be visible to the Mexican market?
YA: Here is a very, very important market for us, of course. We made a new plant in Celaya and opened that plant. Our services are very strong in Mexico. This is the 50 years anniversary for the first win for Honda in Formula One this year. It is a very special place in Mexico.

Maurizio – how important to be visible to the Mexican market and the relevance to road cars?
MA: For us of course it’s important because Mexico somehow is the door of South America. It’s a growing market so for a car manufacturer company it’s a very, very important and this is the reason why we were very happy to have the grand prix here because it’s another opportunity to enlarge the Formula One sport and the Formula One race in South America. The show I think is more completed now with Austin, USA, Mexico now and Brazil.

Q: (Ralf Bach – Auto Bild Motosport) A question to Toto. Toto, can you understand Ferrari’s opinion in this engine case? The veto right and the answer.
TW: This is obviously a very controversial topic and, as with many things, black and white is not the answer. There is… we were… there is a set of rules which were implemented in Formula One two years ago and we started developing those engines three, four, five years ago, based on that set of rules. As large corporations we work on long-term planning. It is part of the budget process. It is part of the R&D process. From that standpoint, part of it is a business case and you need to calculate how much you can charge for those engines, how much you can recover for those engines. Ferrari is a public company now, so it is difficult as a commercial entity to just be confronted with the situation where price is being imposed. It somehow takes away the commercial ability of refinancing. Now, you can say, for a large organisation it doesn’t matter: a couple of millions don’t matter – but they do. It’s how we are being set up, the constant always trying to improve your result and optimise your organisation – which is why it’s a discussion I think we should have behind closed doors. I think it is very important to understand the financial constraints of some of the smaller teams and we remain committed to cost reductions. It’s not like the big teams are stubborn and say “well, we don’t want to hear anything of that.” This is a platform that functions with all of us. We are not just running fronting it and saying we don’t care what happens behind us or aside of us. You need to balance that. I think Ferrari’s first reaction – and excuse me [MA] that I’m talking for you in that case – is the imposing ways are very difficult to cope for a commercially-oriented entity. I can understand Ferrari’s standpoint and I can also understand it’s a very controversial and difficult situation for some of the smaller teams, and of course how it’s being brought forward, it doesn’t look very neat – but there is a much more to it than just a sheer veto and saying “no, we don’t want to have the discussion,” because that’s not how it was.

MA: In fact, what I said, my answer was only concerned to the reason we applied the veto. For the rest I totally agree with veto. It is not a position against the other team. It is a decision that is defending a commercial principle. For the rest we are open to finding any other solution. At Toto explained, you have in a public company, as we are now, but also in a company as Mercedes is, you have research and development costs that somehow you have to recover. I don’t find any commercial entity all around the world that is giving their product out to the market for free – or at cost. So this is the principle.

Q: (Ian Parkes- Autosport) The FIA recently announced plans to potentially introduce a budget engine from 2017. To Vijay and Claire, could you give us your thoughts on that, whether it’s a unit which would likely appeal to you? And to the front three engine manufacturers, again your thoughts on that, bearing in mind the multi-millions of pounds that you’ve spent in developing the current system? 
CW: Everybody is aware that Williams is always in support of any cost control measures in Formula One, and we respect the work that the FIA are doing in that regard. But we also have always come out in support of the current power unit that we have, it’s hugely relevant to the auto industry of today and in Formula One, this needs to be a technically innovative championship. So I think there are arguments on both sides and as Toto said, it’s quite an evocative subject and one that we want to have conversations around with the FIA and directly rather than talking about it in the press at this stage. 
VM: I received a communication from the FIA proposing the new engine concept with outline specifications. I appreciate the cost cutting initiative. I think Force India has constantly been asking for cost control measures in Formula One for good reason, I might add. But it’s very early stages for us to comment on whether we would be supportive of this particularly new engine or not. Having said that, we have an excellent relationship with Mercedes. We have a fantastic power train. Sure, if the FIA feels that an engine should cost six or seven million euros, this gives me a little foot in the door to request my friend Toto for a discount. But having said, we are contractually obliged to Mercedes ‘til 2020 and we respect our contract, but having said, any cost saving initiative is welcome from our point of view and should be discussed by all teams in the strategy group and those who are not in the strategy group, because they are equally relevant and hopefully we can all come to a conclusion.
I just take another minute: I heard what Maurizio said about the recent veto by Ferrari. He further states that he would be very prepared to sit down and discuss cost reduction measures which is something that we appreciate. Unfortunately, in the past, the strategy group has been discussing cost control for the last two years and there has been no significant result. Hopefully now, going forward, we will all sit down with the seriousness that it deserves and find a solution that is satisfactory to all teams that are competing in this world championship. 
TW: Vijay’s a very shrewd businessman so nothing else was expected, same as Claire. As I said before, we cannot close our eyes to what’s happening in Formula One and we need to show respect for every team – the ones that are part of the strategy group and the ones not part of the strategy group, and you need to consider that. And you have to balance that against your own commercial pressures. I think Formula One was successful with the current engines in attracting engine manufacturers. It is a period where we are having four suppliers in the sport, which I would consider as a success and I think that from our standpoint, what we need is a long term visibility of regulations and what’s happening so we need to try to make our customers and partners in the smaller teams save costs as good as we can and have a serious discussion about it and maybe Jean Todt and Bernie’s initiative now is going to trigger more emphasis on those discussions so I take it as a positive. We remain open to the regulations, we are not the ones who make the regulations but we have a voice and we sit there and we hope I can make that argument heard, that we need long term stability in coming up with solutions. If, going forward, we need different regulations in terms of power units we would very much discuss that, if it makes sense or not, but we shouldn’t shake the system too much because that doesn’t fit to the long term perspectives of large organisations like the three of us represent. 
YA: I think that for Formula One there are three major important things. One is sustainability, as you discussed, the cost to a price. And how more attractive and keep the good fun. And also the challenge of new technology; the current regulation is a very good direction, and also the competition. Those are the three major areas which are always important and we always discuss about that. 
MA: I think I tend to full agree with Todt because here you have two companies, they do chassis, they do engine, gearbox, everything on the car so we need to find a bit of a balance versus others because everybody looks smaller but if you compare us and what we are doing to maybe our teams, we have all the respect for them. They maybe do only the chassis. We need to find the balance in between all of us. As Vijay said, we are ready to sit down to discuss, to find a good solution which is making everybody happy and most importantly, it’s helping Formula One to grow in terms of spectacularisation and so on. So, this is our point of view. We want to continue our discussion but as Toto said, you can’t shake the box too much because otherwise you create further confusion. I mean if you apply the rules, the rules need to be discussed, agreed by everybody and equal for everybody, because I don’t think a solution to have three, four, five different power units that they are running in Formula One is going to satisfy us and to simplify also, because most of the time, now that what we discuss in the strategy group is becoming public. I can say something in the strategy group where also we are discussing how to simplify the rules so we also need to do that and to do it we need to unify the rules, to simplify and to look further to enhance the show.

Q: (Will Buxton – NBC SN) Toto said a few moments ago that we can’t be blind to the situation in this sport any longer and yet the use of the veto by Ferrari shows that if not blind, it could possibly be argued that there’s a slight blurring of vision. I would like to ask the members of the panel that don’t have the right of veto for a simple yes or no answer; should anybody in this sport, should any team in this sport have the right of veto over regulation? 
CW: I think it is what it is. I think it’s like a lot of things in Formula One, that it is in the regulations that if Ferrari have that veto, it’s a historical veto they’ve had for many years. I don’t believe that they’ve exercised it on a regular basis but they obviously exercise it when they feel opposed to something and opposed to something that they believe that they should be opposed to because it’s important to them and Maurizio has laid out the reasons why he used... Ferrari used their veto. Where I sit, Williams, we’ve always just abided by the rules, they are what they are, like a lot of things in Formula One and we just go along with them. 
VM: I sit on the world motorsport council of the FIA so I’m not going to express my personal opinion. The FIA president Jean Todt has already issued a press statement surrounding this entire issue of the recommendations that were made for cost control measures, that Ferrari vetoed it, and he very clearly stated that he does not intend to contest the exercising of that veto so that’s it as far as I’m concerned. 
TW: Well, there is not a yes and no answer to this, it’s much more complex than this and I think it is an historic right which is a right that was earned in participating in the sport for fifty or sixty years, God knows how many years, and having amassed this tremendous amount, the question is is the veto the right way in terms of honouring that. It’s up to others to make that judgement so considering that, I think that somebody like Ferrari needs to have different right of opinion and expressing themselves than somebody who has been here ten minutes.

Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines) Arai-san, major corporations move employees, they give them projects, they give them assignments etc. I’m hearing from Japan that your assignment is a three year assignment, that there were two years to set up the Honda F1 programme and one year to introduce it in the field, i.e. this year. Can you assure us categorically that you’ll still head the programme next year or will somebody else take over? 
YA: I don’t know. I can’t say here.

Q: (Christopher Joseph – Chicane) Just further to your response, Toto, you talked about the veto and in general you’ve all spoken about the veto being part of the historic nature, the DNA, if you will, of Formula One. Is it perhaps time that, seeing as teams like the Williams team, all the independent garagistas as they were called, should they not have a veto, are they just not equally part of this great circus? 
TW: If we all had a veto, it doesn’t make any sense any more. No, I think this is really such a complex discussion which we shouldn’t have in public. My personal opinion is that you need to respect Ferrari’s position. It is the strongest brand in Formula One and it has done a lot around Formula One and has been honoured in various contracts be it the veto or be it with commercial rights. And whatever the ways of that being honoured is another question. Is veto the right thing to exercise your position or not, I don’t know, but it’s not a discussion we should be having here. 
MA: I would like to add also that we are not applying the veto to every single meeting. If we do it, we think a lot about it and we do it if, in our opinion, it’s necessary to do it and the last one, I remember, was applied by Jean Todt actually a couple of years ago, many years ago.