Thursday, 26 November 2015

FIA Drivers Press Conference - TRANSCRIPT

DRIVERS – Fernando ALONSO (McLaren), Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes), Romain GROSJEAN (Lotus), Daniil KVYAT (Red Bull Racing), Roberto MERHI (Manor), Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN (Ferrari)


First of all then, a question to you all: how would you sum up your year and what was your favourite moment? Romain, why don’t you get us started.
Romain GROSJEAN: Well, I think the favourite moment is pretty easy – Spa Francorchamps, the podium. To summarise the year: it was a pretty good year I think in terms of driving. We had a good baseline to start the year with the car. We couldn’t really update it as much as we wanted but still fighting for sixth in the Constructors’ Championship, so pretty pleased with that and yeah, last year with Lotus.

And Daniil?
Daniil KVYAT: Well, a very eventful year I would say, it went by very quickly. I think the start was quite painful but then I think I’m proud of how we managed to climb our way up through all the issues that we had to start with and then I think we kind of stabilised there. Some strong races and some good points, but obviously we are always looking for more in the future. The highlight I think was the podium, even though I wouldn’t say it was the best race. We had a couple of really strong races, I would say even the last couple of races I was quite pleased about them. Hoping to finish on high here, yeah.

Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN: Pretty average, I must say. Better than last year but still far away from what it should be. But there’s life and next year we’ll try again.

Roberto MERHI: Yeah for sure we started in a very difficult way, with no testing and to be honest I never drove this car before. But I think through the year the thing improved quite a lot – I mean the team and also the car and also me, driving the car. I think the last races were quite good. And obviously the best moment of the year I would say were the last laps in Silverstone with the wet or maybe the qualifying in Spielberg was quite good.

And Fernando, how would you sum up your year and can you pick out a favourite moment? 
Fernando ALONSO: Well, tough year, obviously difficult and struggling with the pace all year and the reliability, so definitely a difficult season for us. But personally I think it was necessary. It was a step forward in my career after the two championships, after five fantastic seasons fighting for the world championship but arriving second, so I needed some new motivation, some new project that I could trust and I could believe is the only way to become champion again. After one difficult season, as I said, I learn so much. I enjoy working with McLaren, with Honda, with all the Japanese discipline and Japanese culture into the team. I still remain very positive. I’m very, very happy and looking forward to next year being a little bit easier than this one that, as I said, has been difficult in terms of results.

And finally, Lewis, how would you sum up your year. So many favourite moments I’m sure, difficult to pick one? 
Lewis HAMILTON: Yeah, what can I say? Obviously all different experiences but it has been the best year of my career and I’m in a very fortunate position, a lot of great work done by my team. Probably one of the best races for me was Austin obviously, the pinnacle of the year for me. Yeah, and excited to be here in Abu Dhabi, with the 44th UAE national day and I’m here to try to win that 44th race, which I still haven’t done, so it’s cool how it all kind of ties in.

Did you see all the 44s around here did you think that was for you, rather for the day? 
LH: Well it is my number, it’s associated with me, so….

Fernando, you mentioned there it has been a tough season and it’s coming to an end here. Your 252nd grand prix start, it puts you fifth on the all-time most experienced drivers list. You talked a bit there about motivation and I just wondered what is your main motivation and goal for 2016. 
FA: At the moment there’s a question mark, I guess, where McLaren-Honda can be next year. There are a lot of expectations in the team. I think we worked really all season, being united in some difficult moments and always moving forward, so I think for 2016 the main goal for the team is to come back to where we belong, we think, and being competitive, fighting for the top positions. I don’t know if that means fighting for the championship, I don’t know if that means fighting for victories of just being on the podium sometimes, that’s always difficult to know in a very complex sport like Formula One. There are definitely some big challenges ahead in this winter and I see all the things that the team has done in the last couple of months and these seem very logical, very positive and I’m confident that it’s going to be a completely different season next year and I’m happy with the progress.

Thank you. Lewis, coming back to you, I know you are very aware of fans on social media and the discussions that take place. There’s been a lot of discussion for this final round about whether you and your team-mate Nico Rosberg should be allowed to go for it with whatever strategy you want to use on Sunday in a sort-of end-of-season free-for-all. What are your thoughts on that? 
LH: I don’t really have any thoughts on it, to be honest. It doesn’t really make any difference what my thoughts are. We’re going to be racing… the strategists will give us the best… whoever’s up ahead will have the best strategy and the guy behind will have the second best strategy, so I don’t really have any thoughts on that.

OK. Romain, coming back to you, your 83rd and final grand prix for the Enstone-based team, currently Lotus. You’ve scored 10 podiums for the team, so in what mood do you say goodbye this weekend? 
RG: yeah, it’s the first time of my career that I have had to change teams in Formula One, so it’s something new. The first time I went to Enstone was September 2005, as one of the driver development and I learned everything from there. So yeah it’s going to be… switching off the car on Sunday, jumping out of the E23 and thinking that was the last race with the team is certainly going to be quite hard. On the other hand I really want to push hard all weekend long to score good points, do a good result, thank the guys for all the support, through tough times, better times as well and I think we did both learn from those years, so it was a nice experience. Very much looking forward to the next one as well, it’s going to be very exciting with Haas. It’ll be good to have a good weekend and say goodbye in a proper way.

Thank you. Daniil, a season of two parts personally for you. From Monaco onwards it’s gone well. Your 10 points ahead of your team-mate with one race to go, so what aspect of your performance this year has given you the most satisfaction? 
DK: Yeah, like you said, since Monaco we probably started to follow the right path more of less, a bit technically, a bit myself, but to be honest it didn’t change much. An up and down season but we scored some good points, we managed to start taking the maximum out of the package most of the weekends. These things kind of give satisfaction but of course we are looking for more performance and we are not yet where we want to be but for sure it doesn’t take one day to be there. So we will keep pushing. Like I said there were some good races in Spa, in Mexico and Brazil where I think we were taking the absolute maximum out of the car and we need to try to do this every weekend.

Roberto, back in the cockpit for Manor this weekend. A lot of change going on in that team. Can you tell us about the team’s prospects and your own?
RM: Yeah obviously Manor wants to do a step for next year, to try to be fighting for points every race, every grand prix and they are putting a lot of effort on it and hopefully it goes well. The plan also for me next year is to try to stay in Formula One and trying to see what is the best options out there and yeah we will see. At the moment there is nothing clear yet but we will look in the next few weeks to see what is happening.

Q: Finally, Kimi, both your team principal Maurizio Arrivabene and team-mate Sebastian Vettel have said the target for next season is to challenge Mercedes for the championship. How do you analyse the progress this year towards that – and do you think it’s achievable?
KR: Obviously this year has been a lot stronger year from the team than previous year and you can easily see it from whichever way you look at it and it all comes to next year. Obviously that’s the aim: the aim is always to try to be in the front and Mercedes has always been very strong last years and everybody else tries to beat them. Is it going to happen? Are we going to be in a position next year? We hope so at least. We have to wait until we put the cars on the circuit in a test and the first few races – then we really see where we are. Obviously there’s a lot of work being done at the factory, number and stuff but it’s never the same until we’re really on the circuit. Then we can see it pretty well, or feel it quite quickly, after a few laps, if it’s going to a good one or not so good one. I’m sure we’re going to have a strong package – but is it strong enough? Time will only tell.


Q: (Khodr Rawi - Question to Fernando. Fernando, how realistic is to be beat Sauber and finish ahead of them in Constructors’ Championship here in Abu Dhabi? Do you think it’s realistic?
FA: I don’t know really. I think it’s unlikely. I think they are nine points ahead, I think, and we score points three or four times this year only, so to score as many as ten in one race, in the final race is a little bit difficult but, you know, I think we will try to do our best. We will try to perform a good weekend but I think our minds are on next year’s project and probably half of the car is next year’s parts or next year’s philosophy as well so I think we are not too worried about beating Sauber this weekend or not.

Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, Bahrain, P2 was your best result for two years. Has it been also been also the best weekend for you during this times at Ferrari lately?
KR: The end result was probably best but it doesn’t meant that we are somehow better than other weekends. The end result, it just looks good. But it’s not been the easiest few years but that’s how it goes, y’know? We improved a lot from last year but we’re still not happy and when I don’t finish five races it’s quite a big… many races out of how many we’ve done so far this year. You don’t expect to be very high up and fighting for a lot. So, we have to improve and I’m sure we can still improve it and next year is a new challenge. Let’s see. I’m sure we can do better.

Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) Question to Romain Grosjean. How much are you worried by the delay of the building of your cars?
RG: Something we have experienced in the past. We have always managed to put it on track on time. As long as it’s ready for FP2 then I’m happy. We’ll try to forget that, as we’ve shown in, I think it was Suzuka and Brazil when we were a little bit late. We did manage to put the car on track and go for it. It’s just harder work for the guys who don’t deserve this – but they are going to do the maximum and then from there we try to score some good points.

Q: (Joy Chakavarty - Sport 360) My question is for Romain. Romain this is the first time that you’re joining a second new team. How different is the feeling when you were joining the F1 for the first time and now, after 83 races, joining another new team. Can you just give us an idea of the mix of emotions that you have right now? Sense of anticipation for next year? Kind of sadness or sorrow? Whatever for leaving the team behind now?
RG: Yeah, I think you summarise it pretty well. It’s sad to leave… more than a team it becomes a family through the years. It’s going to be hard to leave the guys but I know they won’t be far in the paddock so that’s good news. On the other hand there’s real excitement at joining a new team, a new adventure, an American Formula One team is going to be great. Looking forward to it and going to Haas is a very different thing. So I came the first time in Formula One as a rookie. Everything to learn. Right now I’m going in a new team and I’ve probably got the experience they were looking for. We try to be successful as soon as we can – but it’s quite different. It feels better now than it was the first time. Easier.

Q: (Dan Knutson – Honorary) Lewis, after your visit to the NASCAR race last week, what did you see there that would be really cool for the fans or competitors in F1? Or perhaps something you saw that said no way should come to Formula One?
LH: I don’t know, I’d have to really think about that. There were definitely some things that for sure they do a lot better than us. Or, whether it’s a lot better… but there were for sure things that we could learn from them. It was a great show, a great spectacle, particularly for the fans. A bit like DTM, the fans get very, very close to the garages in the background and to the drivers and… what else? Otherwise it was a really cool event. I hope I get to do one one day.

Q: (Wafa Suqqar - beinsports) Kimi, after the second round in Malaysia, Ferrari fans feeling better that maybe this year will be different. What Ferrari can promise the fans about 2016?
KR: Like I said before, we’re going to give our best and hopefully it’s enough to fight for championships. We keep improving, following our own way of doing the things that we’ve done from last year to this year and hopefully then it’s enough to be where we want to be as Ferrari. So, we can promise a lot of things. Is it going to happen? Who knows? I really hope for all the guys there in Ferrari that we will come back strong – or stronger next year than this year – but there’s no point to make big promises. We’re going to do our best and then we’ll see.

Q: (Walter Koster – Saarbrucker Zeitung) Gentlemen, last year Sochi, this year Mexico, next year Baku in Azerbaijan; three new tracks in three years. Are you looking forward to new tracks or do you regret not returning to the eliminated tracks in the past like Imola, Magny Cours, Istanbul Park or Valencia? This is for the four drivers who know these tracks. 
FA: At the end of the day it doesn’t change anything for us. Going to some of the circuits that we raced on for all our careers, like Imola, Magny Cours, Istanbul – they are nice tracks and there is nice tradition there so you enjoy racing at those circuits. When you go to new countries, you open the sport up to new people and to new generations so it’s also quite a good feeling. We are travelling a little bit more. When I started some years ago, there were 16 races; now, next year, they have planned 21 and most of them out of Europe, so it’s definitely more demanding in terms of travelling and preparing the championship but as I said, it’s the direction that the sport chooses and there is the advantage of opening up Formula One to new countries and this is also good news, I think. 
LH: Not really much to add to what he said but Fernando’s right, it’s good to go to different countries and to spread the word of Formula One, give them the experience and gain new followers for the sport. Those tracks you mentioned, apart from Imola, were not particularly spectacular tracks anyway so for sure it would be kind of good to keep the balance of the real classic circuits rather than just a bunch of new circuits because the new circuits are generally not as good as the old circuits, they don’t carry the same history or heritage and I think it’s important that we keep really close to the heritage of Formula One which is those old, historic circuits. 
KR: It’s always the new places that are quite similar, designed by the same guy, so I’m not saying that they’re not good but they are more the same. I enjoy the older, traditional circuits. You maybe didn’t like Magny Cours, I liked it, not many people, quiet, easy. It was one of the best places to go! I liked the older, they looked a bit nicer, a more normal feeling than when we come here and everything is put – in this case – in a more desert area. I prefer there, it’s easier for people to go to – for us. We go wherever the race is. The weekend itself doesn’t change. We have the same people as here, the timetable is more or less (the same) and the same things happen. 
RG: I think it was really great this year to see Mexico was... a very warm welcome from all the fans, it was an awesome weekend. I would like to see Magny Cours back on the calendar, it would be the French Grand Prix, unique for me. Paris? The traffic is not so good. I would like a French Grand Prix. I think Fernando’s point is completely right: in an ideal world you would like to do all of them  but it’s not possible so I think we follow the calendar, we like discovering new places but going to Silverstone or in Germany or Barcelona is always quite special.

Q: (Christopher Joseph – Chicane) Romain, earlier Fernando spoke of his appreciation for the influence of the Japanese discipline on him and his team. What are you hoping to get from the influence of the Haas team and the American approach on yourself next season? 
RG: Well, I think I have already been seduced by their approach and when I met Gene Haas, trying to pronounce the word properly - it’s very hard for a Frenchman – it was straightaway... the spirit was ‘let’s go racing’ and I liked that. I really liked their philosophy, discovering more and more about America. I didn’t yet get to a NASCAR race, I’m on the backfoot on that but I will probably go next year and I think there is this American spirit with the European base as the team is going to be in between Italy and Banbury in the UK and then all the management in the US. So it can be a great mix.

Q: (Graham Cagill - The National) Lewis, you’ve won here twice before and you were well on your way to winning in 2012 as well before the car let you down and you’ve had two pole positions also, so I think it’s fair to say that you go well here. Just wondering if there’s any reason why you think you go so well here and what your expectations are for this weekend? 
LH: I don’t know; I guess there are some tracks that suit some drivers’ styles more than others. Ideally you would like your style to suit everywhere exactly the same but there are some that you just happen to go better at. I know this is a bit like a karting track, there’s a lot of late braking and bouncing off kerbs and really having to throw the car around. It works for an aggressive driving style, I guess and yeah, I’ve had some great experiences here, even from the first race which I was leading but – (to Kimi) you won the first race didn’t you? – I’m thinking you might have won the first race maybe. Someone won the first race after my car failed but a great experience. It’s always a good finale here, you’ve got some good battles, the weather’s always fantastic, great fans and for me this weekend is... I’ve had an amazing year here last year and I’m here to try to do something similar. 

Monday, 16 November 2015

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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

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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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.
Twitter - @R4THBONE 
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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.