Friday, 26 October 2018

2018 Mexican GP: FIA Team Principals Press Conference.

TEAM REPRESENTATIVES – Franz TOST (Toro Rosso), Otmar SZAFNAUER (Racing Point Force India), Guenther STEINER (Haas), Frédéric VASSEUR (Sauber)


Otmar, first time we've seen you since you announced your deal with Sergio Pérez. Why have you chosen to re-sign him and how has he evolved in the year he has been at the team?

Otmar SZAFNAUER: Well, we chose to re-sign him because he’s a fantastic driver. He’s great on Sunday, qualifies well, great feedback and he’s been with the team for quite some time. I think it’s appropriate to discuss all this here at his home race and he’s got a big impact on the team and it’s good to have continuity as well, from one year to the next. The regulations are changing quite significantly next year and a fellow like Sergio with all of his experience will help us in driving the development forward next year.

Q: Well, how are preparations for next year going and specifically you’ve now got more financial resource since the takeover. Did that come in time to impact on next year’s car?

OS: Yes, it did, just in time for that. It’s hard to know how our preparations are going, because this game is relative, and unless you know what the others are finding it’s difficult to know where we stand. But we are happy with the progress we are making. We were fortunate enough to run a version of next year’s wing in the Hungary test and from that we have learned a lot and it’s given us good direction.

Q: Thank you Otmar. Guenther, we’ll start by looking back to the race in Austin. Can you clarify what led to Kevin Magnussen exceeding the fuel limit by 170g?

Guenther STEINER: We attacked too much these guys [Force India]. That was the only reason, nothing else. There was no other reason than we tried too hard and until Lewis stopped there was the thought we would get lapped anyway and then we just kept on going and we couldn’t make it up in the last laps anymore. It’s as simple as this, there is not anything else to it. We just tried too hard to get past Ocon.

Q: On a more positive note, you’ve recently announced a title sponsorship deal with Rich Energy. Just tell us a little bit more about the deal and how long you have been working on it?

GS: We haven’t been working long on it. It came together pretty quick. We look forward to working with them as a partner and to bring new people into Formula 1 is always good, instead of just circulating other people around it, we try to find to new partners, sponsors, for the sport, which is always good. We are working now on the details, because it came together so quick. We have a few things still to sort out but they have gone pretty well and we look forwarding to work with them next year.

Q: Will the car look different?
GS: Yes.

Q: No details now?
GS: No, no details yes, exactly Tom, but it will look different. We will change the livery obviously.

Q: Thank you. Franz, coming to you. Let’s talk drivers first of all. Brendon had a good race last weekend in Austin, beating Pierre and earning more points in the process. He’s under a bit of pressure at the moment, so how impressed by his resilience?

Franz TOST: He showed a good race in Austin, but nevertheless if you look to the results, he has four points, Pierre has 28 points. That means he has to improve his performance if he want to stay in the team.

Q: Let’s talk engines then. Pierre’s engine from Austin has been sent back to Sakura for checks, leading to more penalties here. Frustrating for him and the team but indicative perhaps of how hard Honda are pushing. Have you seen them increase their efforts this year as the season has gone on?

FT: Well, first of all, the reason for this power unit change is that after the race in Austin they detected on the power unit of Pierre an assembly issue and therefore they didn't want to take any risks and decided to come here to Mexico with another new power unit. We did two laps, decided to change the power unit to the old specification, only because of this very special altitude here and these conditions and therefore Honda thinks they a better knowledge and experience with their older specification to set all the parameters correctly and therefore Pierre will do the race weekend with Spec 2. Regarding the work of Honda during the year, they have so far done a fantastic job because they have improved the performance a lot, and also the reliability, and I am really looking forward to the last tow races, in Sao Paulo and Abu Dhabi, because there hopefully we won’t have any penalties, and for next year, because they are in the right way and they will improve during the winter months and I’m looking forward to seeing Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso next year with Honda.

Q: Have they exceeded your expectations?

FT: They have exceeded expectations with regards to reliability, because we thought we would have much more problems but to be honest we haven’t had any major issues, and also regarding the performance, because with the new specification we are not far away from the top teams.

Q: Thank you, Franz. Fréd, coming to you, thank you for waiting. We had Kimi in here yesterday, answering a lot of questions about his victory last time out. A lot of people wanting to know when we are going to see him drive a Sauber for the first time. Can you shed any light on that? Will he be driving at the Abu Dhabi test for example?

Frédéric VASSEUR: We are still discussing, but I hope that we are able to take a decision during the weekend regarding Abu Dhabi.

Q: During this weekend?
FV: Yeah.

Q: That victory last weekend, how important is it for you to have a 2018 race winner driving for you next year?

FV: At least it will be a reference, that you are sure that you have someone in the car who is able to make it. It’s important for the engineer just to be focused on the car. He’s doing it, he did a pole position in Monza, he won last weekend in Austin and for sure it will be a good reference. I think we are still a young team, because we are also turning the company a lot, and to have this kind of leader it will be very helpful.

Q: You’re a young team, but you have made big strides this year. How has the progress you’ve made changed your ambitions going forward and what changes are you making at Hinwil to meet those ambitions?

FV: I think it’s a long process, step-by-step. We signed a good deal with Ferrari on the supply of engines and then Alfa Romeo joined the company and even if it’s not helpful on track, at least an iconic brand joining the team [means] that we are much more attractive for other sponsors, for recruitment also and step-by-step Simone joined the team and Jan Monchaux joined the team and I think you can’t say that it’s one thing that will completely change the situation but step-by-step we are coming back. We started from Melbourne where we were completely at the back and now we are midfield. It’s always, every single weekend very tight between P8 and P14 but we are in the middle of the range and it’s a huge motivation also for the whole company, because we know perfectly that each time we are bringing something it will pay off on track and it was not the case last year because we were too far away from the last one. But step-by-step we are coming back.

Q: Do you feel you have got some momentum now?

FV: Yeah, yeah, we’ve showed over the last races that the pace is there for quali, that we are always fighting for Q3. The last races were a bit more difficult, we are too close to the drivers from Haas, and even at the press conference that we are side by side. I will stay away this weekend.


Q: (Luke Smith – Franz, you said that Brendon needs to improve his performances if he wants to remain with the team. How long does he have left to convince you about a seat for 2019 and do you have a deadline on when you want to make a decision for next year?

FT: Of course. First of all, we have to finish the season to get a clear picture and then I assume in December Red Bull will decide the driver line-up of Toro Rosso.

Q: (Frédéric Ferret – L’Equipe) A question for all. With the change of regulation I assume you may have already number on next year’s car. how big is the gap with this year’s car?

FV: It’s difficult to have a clear picture today but for sure I think we will improve on the engine. We have still some doubt about the tyres and on the aero package. If you are speaking about the aero regulations, it’s a huge step back. I think everyone is focused to recover. I don’t know when we will recover and if we will be able to overshoot but it looks tricky.

Q: Guenther, your thoughts?

GS: Mainly on the aero I guess your question is, with the new regulations. Now the work is going on and to commit now to a number or to a comparison to this year is difficult because there is still a lot of work going on until the launch car is produced but I think it will be close to the launch car from last year when we get there to Melbourne. 

Q: Otmar, you said earlier that you ran the new wing at the Hungary test?

OS: We did and it was a significant step backwards. We’ve got aggressive targets, I don’t know if we will be able to hit them. We’re trying to predict the future as to what we can find, but yeah, it was a massive step back for us.

Q: And Franz?

FT: The same for us. But I discussed it with the people in the wind tunnel and as it looks currently they do not believe that overtaking will become much easier, which means there is less dirty air behind the car. Therefore I’m not sure that this regulation change will end up where we expect – that overtaking will become much easier. I think that at the beginning of next season the teams will have reached a similar level on downforce as nowadays.

Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Franz, a question for you again on drivers. I know you said a decision won’t be made imminently. Could you just tell us where you are with negotiations with Nissan, e.Dams over Alexander Albon? Is he still in the frame for next season with you?

FT: Of course – but you know negotiations are confidential. I can’t give any details about this.

Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines, To all of you. Last week we saw two cars excluded for exceeding the fuel limits, namely Haas and Force India. Do you believe this is the right way forward for Formula One – to have drivers restricted by fuel flow and by tyres and whatever? We were talking to drivers yesterday, saying ‘we’ve got to save tyres, we’ve got to save fuel’. Is this really grand prix racing?

FT: That’s within the regulation and it’s not new that in Formula One you have to save fuel. Remember back with Prost, was it, at Hockenheim, when he had to push his car when it ran out of fuel. So, it’s within the regulations and you have to respect it. You will never have enough fuel or tyres that you can race, let me say 60 laps all on the limit. That’s simply not possible, yes? We all know this, and it depends then how clever the driver is, how clever the team operates to stay within the regulations.


OS: Yes. I guess we weren’t so clever to stay within the regulations – but to your point Dieter, it is a regulation and it’s been with us for quite some time. It’s recently changed – or it will change for next year. I think the total fuel that we get will increase again. But even if you don’t have those fuel limits, we will always be making trade-offs between how much fuel we put in the car, such that we get to the end in the shortest amount of time. Even in the past, where you don’t have a fuel limit. You don’t quite fuel it… you fuel it to the point where your total race time is lowest – and that sometimes means fuel saving. And, to the contrary, if we’re fuel-saving, at a different time to when somebody else is, it could help overtaking. You know, I think Haas maybe didn’t do the fuel saving when they were trying to attack us but if there is a time in the race, and it often happens, somebody’s fuel saving when we aren’t, that’s a good time to attack. So, you see, it can help with overtaking. Just the opposite.


GS: I would disagree. I mean, again, we were not clever enough to manage the fuel and I’m not trying to find an excuse for what we did. We fought hard and we deal with the consequences, we are fully OK with that – but I think if we would shorten the race, for example, leave the regulations where they are so we don’t have to spend money to design new fuel cells or whatever, just reduce the race three laps, you would have wide open racing the whole race – and I think there you would have more overtaking than by lift-and-coast. If anybody listens in to radio at the moment, to the drivers, 80 per cent is about lift-and-coast. And again, if somebody then decides to put less fuel in, as Otmar says, it could be part of the strategy, he can decide that – but it’s on his own behalf. If we would fuel to go the whole race, that you can race as the race car is built to do. A race car, in my opinion, is built to race a full race, and not to save fuel. That’s my opinion about racing. And it could be easily achieved. I think nobody would miss if we make the races three laps shorter, where we make a procession anyway because we have to fuel-save. So, again, that’s my opinion on it. I just want to make it clear to everybody I’m not trying to make an excuse for what happened to us last week. We made a mistake and we got the points taken away and we live with that one.


FV: I think there are parts in your question. The first one is about the penalty, that is there is a regulation you are in infringement you need to have a penalty. If we are allowed to use a bit more and then the next week a bit more and then the next week a bit more, at one stage you need to get penalised. The second part is about regulation but it was a common decision to have a race based on efficiency. Now, if it’s another matter, you want to race without any limitation of fuel, why not? – but it’s another way that we have to take.

Q: (Juan Pablo García Noriega – Capital Motor) One of my favourite moments this season was watching you discussing with Zak Brown when there was a contact between the car and the McLaren. Give us the idea of the pressure you’re under each race? You four guys are going to be fighting for the fourth place next year. What do you have to do, what do you have to try to develop to try to catch the three teams on the top next season?

GS: What we have to do for next season? To be completely honest, I think we will not catch them with the regulations as they are at the moment. The gap is too big. And therefore discussions are in place for 2021 to level the playing field with the cost cap so everybody gets back a little bit because it’s very difficult for us – or at least for Haas – to compete with budgets the top three are running. It’s impossible. So next year our focus will be again trying to finish as the best of the rest. That is what we are aiming for. But in the moment, as the regulations are now, the other ones are too far ahead and in my opinion we have no chance – or almost no chance to catch them.

Q: (Francisco Alcalà – Global Com Group) Question for Frédéric. Have you talked to Kimi about his expectations within the team for next year – and if so, has he got any involvement with the car’s development for next year?

FV: A target, it’s difficult to fix because, as Guenther said before, we know perfectly that the situation is that you have the top three, perhaps Renault is in the middle somewhere and they will have much more resources than us, but then it’s very open. And if you can check from one week to another one, you can be P7 on the grid or P18 or P20. From my point of view the real race is more in the second part of the field. But we can expect to be at the top of the field. Not even every single weekend but we did it a couple of times during the season, and we have to put this kind of target for us.

Q: (Alfredo Lopez Ledesma - MomentoGP) We hear some story yesterday that the drivers want on his cars screens in the place of the mirrors. What’s your opinion about this? Is it possible?

FV: Yeah, for sure it’s possible. I hope it’s not because they want to watch the TV when the race is boring! Yeah, you can have the camera to have a much better view at the back.

GS: I agree. I mean, the technology is out there. It’s already available, the technology, we could do that and I think it’s in discussion with the FIA at the moment. Charlie Whiting is looking into it. If that is a better way to look to the side and backwards, so we see when the Saubers are coming, we can see them and we don’t run into them.

OS: Yeah, the technology is definitely there and maybe it will disadvantage those drivers that have good peripheral vision already. I haven’t heard this yet, I haven’t discussed it with our drivers but it’s definitely possible.

FT: The technology is here and it’s possible to sort it out and to solve it and therefore why not. It’s fine.

Q: (Fernando Alonso – Question for Otmar and Mr Vasseur because already Steiner has given a little short answer about this. What are your expectations about the regulations in the 2021, in the sporting side and commercial side?

OS: There have been a lot of discussions recently with all the team and with the commercial rights holder and the FIA to look at making changes that are better for the fans, both from the sporting side as well as from the technical regulations. We’re still in that process of discussing. There’s some good ideas and some ideas that may depart from what Formula One traditionally has been, so we’ve got to really be careful that we make good decisions and always have the fan in mind. I think the significant difference now is that we’re working with more data and more fan-feedback, such that we can hopefully make both sporting and technical regulations that will improve the show. They’re both targeted at more overtaking, more exciting races, and maybe even more action over a weekend. So I think the direction is right. We just have to make sure we make good detailed decisions in order to be able to fulfil the strategy with the tactics.

FV: The target of the global future is to increase the show basically. The best way to do it is to close the gap between the cars. If you want to have an exciting race you have to have the guy in P10 be, in certain circumstances, able to fight for the podium. It’s not the case at all that, if you look on the last races, even the guys, the top six, if they were lapped, or they two-stop in the first lap, they were able to come back and to finish in the top six again. The fact to introduce the cost cap is one thing, and to have a better spread in terms of the prize fund, will allow the teams in the second half of the grid to catch up a little bit the gap. But I’m still convinced that it will be difficult for us in 2021 to fight with the top teams – but that needs to be closer.

Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Franz, obviously plan A for Honda would be to introduce upgrades without any penalties or changes but that hasn’t been the case. How confident are you, Franz, about next season being about to do a season on three engines? And for the other guys, obviously Toro Rosso and Honda are being punished for using too many engines but in terms of the spirit of the rules, is that punishment enough when there are so many changes going on?

FT: I’m convinced that Honda will improve during the winter months. They are doing a very good job, they are pushing very hard. How many power units then at the end we will be used next year? I don’t know yet. For me, three power units is wrong from the regulation side. We should have the possibility to get more but that’s currently within the regulations and I hope that this will change from 2021 onwards.

OS: The reason we got the three is for cost-saving reasons. Power trains are expensive, so we wanted to bring the cost down. Honda started a little bit late but I think they’re catching up fast. I think the regulation is what it is. I would prefer to stay at three because we buy our engines and they’re not cheap so the lower the cost the better.

GS: I agree with Otmar. It was decided to do this because of the costs so I think we stay there or at least, if they want to do more engines, the costs don’t go up and Honda and pays for it.

FV: Yeah, the same but I think the regulation is based on the fact that we have to reduce the costs even if it’s not enough, but at the end of the day that it’s the best way to reduce costs. Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault are now able to deal with it and I think Honda will be able to do it soon. Now they are in a strange situation in the last part of the season, they are probably more preparing the next one rather than anything else. As long as Franz Tost doesn’t pay for his engines I think it’s fine

Q: (Carlos Alberto Velasquez – Reforma) Otmar, has the team already decided who is going to be the second driver for Force India or is it too obvious? And what does this driver have to be? How has his driving have to be?

OS: Well, his driving has to be excellent, otherwise we wouldn’t consider him and I think it would just be courteous to everybody to allow us announce in our own time through the normal channels, so if that’s OK with you, we’ll just do it as we always do: decide on the driver and then announce.

Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines, Fred, based on what you said earlier on that if we have this re-set in 2021 you won’t be able to catch up immediately,  let’s assume that Formula One does achieve it, does introduce cost cap.  You’re only two years away and it looks increasingly unlikely that we will achieve it, but how long will it take before we once again have a level playing field in Formula One?

FV: Even if you introduce a cost cap in ’21 or it doesn’t matter, I think that they invested so much on the technical side that it will be quite impossible for us to close the gap immediately but I think in this case we would have some advantages. I think we are used to deal with this kind of budget and they are not and probably at one stage it could be an advantage. But on the first part of the deal, they will capitalise on the advantages they made.

GS: I think it’s very difficult to say how long it will take to achieve this because we don’t know what is happening next year to achieve that people close up to others. It will be even more difficult, it is a complete new regulation, sporting, financial and technical in ’21,  to make a prediction on that one, so I wouldn’t make a prediction on that one. And I agree with Fred that the big three will have an advantage starting… which is just so big. Also, their infrastructure, what they’ve got there, their testing facilities and all that stuff is just so much more developed than what we have got so they will have an advantage but at least… I think the aim is not that we are going to overtake them in ’21, that we are going to win races but that we close the gap and that everybody has a chance of ending up on the podium or at least fighting for it and keeping all the ten teams, that we put a good show on. That is the aim, that we don’t have these two shows and we don’t really know if we are racing together or not.

OS: Well, for sure, performance and development rate are highly correlated to discretionary spend so the more we can cap that discretionary spend I think the closer the field will be. As to how long that’s going to take, I can’t predict that.

FT: Depends very much on the technical regulations because if the technical regulations are not being changed dramatically, then I can tell you that nothing much will change, especially ’21 and ’22. Why? Because the top teams can invest as much as they want during 2020 for developing the car for 2021 and once they have this big advantage it’s difficult for the other teams to catch up. It depends now with which regulation the FIA will come up. If they really minimise the development and if standard parts are being used, then maybe the gap will be closed earlier. Otherwise it will take until ’23, ’24, something like this, because the real cost cap is coming in ’23. The rest is just a gradient which is coming down. We will see. Depends on the regulations once more

Q: (Omar Cosio – Ibero 90.9) Which one, would you say, is Checo Perez’s biggest asset as a pilot?

OS: His team! Just a joke. Maybe I can go last because I think I know him better than these fellows. It would be nice to hear what they’ve got to say.

FT: His natural speed, his race cleverness, especially regarding the tyre treatment, tyre management. That’s it.

GS: I would just say that he’s just a good driver. I don’t know… Otmar for sure knows more to say about him but I think he’s well respected in Formula One and he’s part of it and he deserves a place in Formula One. That’s my opinion of him.

FV: You know it’s difficult to have a clear picture of your driver, of my drivers, to know exactly where they are doing well, where they are doing wrong and I won’t have the capacity to make any judgement on Checo. Even if you have a look at the last five years or ten years that he’s racing and he’s very consistent, he’s always there. For sure he’s a very good one but it’s very difficult from outside to have a clear picture.

OS: Well, apart from his team, he has a multitude of great attributes as a racing car driver but if I had to chose one it’s his racecraft on Sunday, it’s outstanding.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

2018 Mexican GP: FIA Drivers Press Conference.

DRIVERS – Sergio PÉREZ (Racing Point Force India), Carlos SAINZ (Renault), Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN (Ferrari), Pierre GASLY (Toro Rosso), Max VERSTAPPEN (Red Bull Racing)


Sergio, it’s your home race this weekend?

Sergio PÉREZ: It’s amazing. Since the first year we’ve had the Mexican Grand Prix it’s been big. We’ve seen in other countries that sometimes it backs away, but it doesn’t happen. Here the people, the media, everyone is so excited about this weekend. It’s been great, you know. The amount of support that I’ve received during the weekend is amazing and I think, once again, we’re going to have an amazing grand prix.

Q: You’ve finished in the points every year since the race returned. How confident are you of a repeat this weekend?

SP: That’s the minimum target, you know, to score the points here, but I hope that this weekend I do my best result through them. I think we should be string. We should be fighting to be best of the rest. Renault was very strong last weekend but I think we should be there and hopefully we score a lot of points for the team.

Q: Pierre, if we could come to you please. Looking back at Austin last weekend, you ran some aerodynamic upgrades on the car, then took them off just before qualifying. Are you going to be using them here, what can you tell us about that?

Pierre GASLY: Yeah, in Austin it wasn’t ideal with the weather conditions, so we a new package that we could not run until P3 and yeah, basically, we need more mileage, more running with this one to really understand how to use the package and extract the full potential, so we took it off before the qualifying. This weekend we are going to run it again. We’ve got only one part, so this time Brendan is going to get it on the car and hopefully we can learn a bit more about how to use it.

Q: Looking ahead to 2019, it’s very clear what Red Bull Racing are going to get as far as you’re concerned but what about Honda, especially in light of recent upgrades they have introduced?

PG: I think things look really promising. They are working really hard. We saw in Suzuka, we went to all the factories and you can see the dedication and commitment from the people. There is a big opportunity ahead of Honda. They’re going to be in a relationship with Red Bull. They have been struggling in the last few years but next year we are going to be in a position to fight for the top positions. They really want to make the best out of this situation. I think the progress they’ve made over the last few weeks with that new spec is really encouraging and they are still working on next year’s engine, trying to extract even more performance. For sure we need to give them time, for sure it’s super difficult to catch up with Mercedes and Ferrari but slowly they are catching up and I’m really confident they will keep improving and I’m really excited to see what they can do ahead of next year.

Q: Thank you. Carlos, let’s start by looking back at Austin last weekend. It was Renault’s biggest single-race score of the season. Was that track specific or are you confident that you can repeat that this weekend here in Mexico?

Carlos SAINZ: Let’s say that after some three or four races the team decided to do a bit of a rethink on how we approach weekends and how we can maybe score some better results and Austin was a great example of a good team effort but at the same time a track that was suiting us better – a lot more low-speed corner that our car works well on; a bit less power sensitive, that obviously in qualifying we feel it, so a combination of hard work but also a track that was suiting us better made us score a very strong result, which we needed for that fourth place in the championship. I think Mexico is another great opportunity to score a double points finish. It’s still less power sensitive; it’s quite a lot of low-speed corners, so it could present some good opportunities, but we need to stay as focused and as determined as we were in Austin for sure.

Q: Let’s throw it forward to 2019. How are you preparations with McLaren coming along? Have you had any contact, or does that not happen until January 1st? 

CS: Of course there has been some contact. There has been some organisation of how to plan the winter, but nothing to do with performance or… engineering talking, let’s put it like that. I think I’m fully committed to this project, to the Renault, until the end of the year – until, really, Sunday afternoon after Abu Dhabi – and I think my results in the second half of the season are proving it. We are scoring a lot of points, I think it’s 17 points since Hungary, and finally my season is starting to come together. I’m very pleased, very happy with how things are going here and I really want to finish my season with Renault, my time with Renault, on a high, like we are doing now.

Q: Thank you Carlos. Max, I’d also like to look at Austin with you. Tremendous race by you; 18th to second. We saw you overtake more cars than any other race you’ve done. How do you reflect on last weekend? Was it one of the best races of your career?

Max VERSTAPPEN: It was definitely a good one but it’s difficult to choose if it’s going to be the best. I also don’t want to really look at it like that. It’s always important to try to score the most points as possible, especially when you start at the back. I think we didn’t expect to really fight for the podium but looking at the year before as well, we were really competitive in the race and again it showed this time out as well. Doing the opposite strategy I think seemed to be working well and to be at the end of the race fighting for victory was very nice. And of course to hang on to second in the last few laps was challenging with the tyres I had, but also a lot of fun.

Q: Well you won this grand prix last year and the RB14 is clearly performing well. Of the three remaining races this season, do you think this is your best chance of another victory?

MV: This is definitely the best chance for us. We’ll try to set up the car in the best way possible and we’ll find out how we’re going to perform. I don’t think in qualifying we have a chance but in the race we anyway seem to be working a lot better, so I expect this to be better than Austin.

Q: Thank you Max. Kimi, thank you for waiting. Great to see you back on the top step of the podium last weekend in Austin. Can you just tell us with the benefit of hindsight how much you enjoyed that race and everything that came after – and did you send a cap home for Robin?

Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN: No, it’s for the wife but I’ll bring it with me after this race. It was a great result obviously and a good race and we had to fight for it quite a bit, so I think it didn’t come easy. But I think it’s good for us and good for everybody. I think it was an exciting race. What else to say? We were happy. Hopefully this weekend we will be strong. The end result we’ll see on Sunday, but we’ll do our best.

Q: This has been your best season since rejoining Ferrari in 2014. It’s also your last season with Ferrari, so how will you reflect on 2018?

KR: I don’t know. Obviously we’ve gone through it and I don’t see much point to look afterwards at what we did. It’s not going to change anything and we’ll see where we finish. It’s not what we want in the end result, but we did our best and we’ll finish maybe third, maybe fourth, maybe somewhere behind that. It's not ideal. But it could be worse.


Q: (Fernando Alonso – Motorlat) It's a question to everyone. How do you think about the relationship between the experience and the young? Because here we have this mix of drivers, with Kimi like the most experienced, and Pierre like the rookie. But all of you have an opinion and how is the age working for your growing in the results you have with your team. What are your thoughts about that?

Q: Well, Kimi, you recently turned 39 and you’ve just won a grand prix, so how is age helping you?

KR: I don’t know if it’s helping or harming but it seems to be working still OK. I guess a certain amount of experience helps, that’s for sure. But I think in this sport it’s not probably that necessary to have a massive amount, because you can do a lot of things on simulators. We are doing basically the same tracks. If it’s 5 kilometres, or four, or whatever it is, we are all going to learn it. It’s not like 10 million miles will help more than the shorter distances. In rally it helps a lot more, the experience, but I think for me it’s helpful. I feel better, for sure, than when I started, in the first year. But I guess there is a certain points when it doesn’t make such a big difference anymore.

Q: Max, you’ve achieved a lot at a very young age. How difficult was it for you when you first came into Formula 1?

MV: Well, for me, I think it’s still the more experience I get, the faster I’ll become, so I haven’t stopped learning.


PG: I think, for sure, age is probably not that important – maturity is the main thing. For sure, the experience is useful. I’m only in my first complete season and I don’t know how I’m going to be after five years, but I can feel already the difference now, compared to a year ago when I came in Malaysia for my first race, so you just get more confidence, you know how things work. Probably after four or five years things become a bit more automatic. I’ll see that in the future.

Q: Checo?

SP: I think experience helps in how you can direct a team, how you can build it around you, how much progress you can make with your car, with the set-up. I think experience really helps and makes a difference. I think it’s definitely a good bonus. As Kimi said as well, you get to a point where nothing really changes. Your speed and a bit of experience always helps as well.

And Carlos?

CS: Yeah, I agree with Checo there, that experience helps you a lot to get to know yourself, how to extract the maximum potential of yourself, within a team and within a car, within a set-up. With more experience, the faster you get, as Max said. But at the same time it gives me a lot of tranquility to see that a guy that is 39 years old can win in Formula 1. There’s a lot of time ahead for many of us and seeing Kimi winning last weekend also showed that Formula 1 is one of those sports where you can be successful at a later age.

Q: (Lawrence Barretto – Kimi, can you just talk us through the 24 hours after your victory? How did you celebrate? What did you say to your family and to your little boy when you had a chance to talk to him?

KR: They were very happy when we talked. We had a small party. It takes a long time to recover these days, so that part is definitely not the nice part – but the first part is always fun. Not really much, just a few friends and that’s about it.

Q: (Janne Palomaki – Iltalehti) Kimi, your victory last Sunday was received in Finland with overwhelming joy and collective euphoria. Even some political leaders joined in congratulating you. How did it make you feel – and were there any especially surprising congratulations for you?

KR: I haven’t really looked that much on the news so obviously I don’t know who has. I’m happy if people are happy. The main thing is that I feel good, what I’m doing. The rest, some nice, some not, and that’s absolutely fine. Yeah, I think obviously it’s great. I don’t think we always have the biggest support from Finland. So, I don’t know, when we get it, we’ll take it – but, like I said, I don’t know exactly if somebody congratulated. Not many people have my number so it’s not going to be that direct. Like I said, I don’t read too much stuff on the ‘net, so… I’m more than happy and will take all the good wishes on board. We go forward and see what we can do.

Q: (Jim Vertuno – AP) Checo, Formula One is back in Latin America. You’ve been the only Latin American driver now on the grid for a couple of seasons and it’s been a long time since there’s been a champion. What do you see as the future for Latin American drivers in F1? Is there one – and what sort of obstacles do you think they face right now?

SP: Well, I think being in Formula One for whatever nationality or any driver is very hard, y’know? To reach Formula One and to maintain in Formula One is very hard. As you say, it’s only me at the moment and it’s just hard. I see some others coming through, through the series but the journey to reach Formula One is very hard – especially for the Latin Americans. Because we are the ones that have to go to Europe at a very young age, sacrifice a lot more than the European drivers, in a way. It’s very hard – but there are some coming through. We’ll see whether they reach it or not – but it’s just how Formula One is. It’s very hard to reach it.

Q: (Rik Spekenbrink – AD Sportswereld) Question for Max Verstappen. You return here as the last winner. You were in that situation only once in Spain last year. Does it change something in your approach, in self-confidence, in your love for a circuit – or is it just business as usual.

MV: It’s the same.

Q: (Alfredo Lopez Ledesma - MomentoGP) My question is for Max. Christian Horner told yesterday that the Honda engines was 0.6 faster than the Renault unit at Austin. Do you really think that Red Bull-Honda will be a real challenge for the championship next year?

MV: It is, of course, difficult to say, because we still need to develop a very strong car. So, we’ll find out next year. I think initially we may be not strong enough to really fight for a victory but I think throughout the season we’ll definitely catch up. That’s how we’re planning. So hopefully it will work out like that.

Q: (Carlos Alberto Velazquez – Reforma) Question for Kimi. In the last three races here in Mexico there has been three different winners. It’s time to you and Ferrari to win. Do you feel that this weekend as confident as in Austin to make all the Ferrari Mexican fans happy this weekend?

KR: For sure as a team we’ll give our best – but we cannot guarantee anything. Right now we’ll work as normal from Friday to Sunday and then at the end of the race we’ll see what we get out from it. But we’ll do our maximum and hopefully we’ll be up there fighting for the victory.

Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines, Sergio, over the five years that you’ve been at Force India, you’ve been able to establish yourself as a major player for the team, both through results and although through your commercial partners etc., But for next year, your team-mate is highly likely to be the son of the team owner. How do you think that will affect the team dynamic?

SP: I don’t think it will change. At the end of the day, the interests of all the team, even the team buyer, the team owner is that the team is very successful. So, for that you need both cars to be at 100 per cent and for the team to develop as quickly as possible. So, for that you really need full performance. So, I think if that happens, he’s coming in to a great team with great people, engineers, where he’s going to grow a lot. I see great things for the team. I think we have all the guidance, we just need the budget and I think we can be a massive surprise next year.

Q: (Phil Duncan – PA) To all the drivers, except Kimi. Do you think you would have won the Championship if you had been driving for Ferrari this year?

MV: I’m not driving for Ferrari so I’d prefer not to comment.

Pierre, anything to add?

PG: Similar. It’s difficult to say something about a car you’ve never tried – but probably with my experience it would have been difficult.


SP: Very, very hard to know. Certainly I would have been a lot closer!


CS: Impossible to say. Nothing. I don’t know. If I try the car I’ll let you know. Impossible to say.

Q: (Louis Dekker – NOS) Max and Kimi, do you think this circuit is a true Mercedes circuit or can all three teams fight for victory? And does it make your life easier that Lewis doesn’t need a win?

KR: I think that if you look at the past years, all three teams being up there, and then it really depends on the small things whoever came out on top. It’s impossible… it’s pointless to start guessing right now who’s going to be up there, or if one team is going to be better than another. We don’t know. If we look at previous races it can go either way. I don’t know if it’s going to be any easier if he only needs three points to get the championship but who knows?

MV: I don’t know. It will be close between them in qualifying and I think we will be a little bit behind but in the race we definitely have a chance, I think. And about Lewis, I think as a driver you always want to win so I don’t think that changes a lot.

Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Carlos, Kimi and Pierre: you guys are all switching teams for next season. The Abu Dhabi test, after the race, is an opportunity to get first experience of that new team. Have you thought about driving for your new team in Abu Dhabi and do you believe that that will happen?

CS: Yeah, as you said, it’s a good opportunity to try this year’s car – obviously not next year’s car which is not the same. I’m focussing on these three races. I think my management and company are looking into whether it’s possible or not but at the moment it’s not decided yet or nothing has been clarified.

Q: Kimi, any decisions about you and Sauber?

KR: We’ll see. I think we’re quite open to any decisions.

PG: At the moment it’s not really decided so we’ll see what happens in the next four weeks but it will be a good opportunity to start working with the team ahead of next year.

Q: (Jaap de Groot - De Telegraaf) Max, could you tell us what the positive and negative effects are of racing at altitude, technical and physical?

MV: I think the engines will be a little bit closer because it’s just a bit more difficult for them to breath. Downforce-wise you lose a lot of performance and then it’s more about mechanical grip and stuff because even with the biggest wing here you have less downforce than in Monza and I think our car is very good mechanically, anyway, also aerodynamically. Of course, that’s less of a factor so that’s why I think we are normally more competitive on this track than others, even though there is a super long straight in the track, so I think that just explains a lot. Physically it’s not a big deal because it’s so low grip.

Q: (Francisco Alcalà – Global Com Group) What are your thoughts about Fernando Alonso leaving this season and will you miss him at the end of it?

PG: Of course. Fernando is a legend of Formula One. I used to watch him before I even started karting, when I was eight years old. For me he’s always been a guy I’ve looked at when I was young. He’s been on top. He won championships with a French team and I remember he was big news, all over the magazines back in France. He’s a fantastic driver, for sure it’s a shame to lose a character like him but he probably has other challenges ahead of him and I’m sure we will keep hearing great things about his future.

MV: Yeah, I think Fernando is a winner and he wants to win races so he didn’t see that happening in the near future and of course he has already tried for a few years so I think I can understand why he’s leaving. Probably some new advantage where he can probably win again. I think that will motivate him very much and then we will see what happens in the future, if he comes back or not.

KR: We have had some good battles over the years. It’s how it is, unfortunately, and the fact is that we’re all going to stop at some point. We always know that’s coming and us older ones have to go at some point. That’s how it goes and I’m sure he will find some exciting racing for him and who knows what happens in the future.

SP: Yeah, as Kimi says, at some point we are all going to stop so I think for Fernando the time came. He’s had a tremendous career, he’s a tremendous character, a great guy, one of the guys I get on with so we will definitely miss him but you never know, maybe he comes back in the future, maybe he doesn’t but he’s definitely one of the legends of the sport.

CS: The fact that he’s leaving I think is a big loss for Formula One, to not have one of the best drivers or the best driver in motor sport on the grid at the moment is a big loss so I think it is something for Formula One and everyone to consider why one of the best drivers is leaving and why we cannot have a bit more competitive grid where many drivers can fight for wins or for podiums. I think it’s a thing to consider and something to think about for the future.

Q: How much of an influence did he have on you becoming a Formula One driver?

CS: Obviously the biggest influence on anyone. I followed Formula One, I met him back in 2005, I also remember meeting Kimi back then. Since then, I really decided that I wanted to become a Formula One driver and gave it all to get here. I managed to compete against him for the last four years which have been a dream come true and of course we will miss him.

Q: (Ben Hunt – The Sun) To all drivers, although Kimi, you might chose not to answer it: are you a bit surprised by the mistakes that Sebastian Vettel has made this year and do you think that he has thrown this championship away, given the commanding lead he had at the early stages of the season?

CS: Well, I think it’s always difficult to judge the performance of any other driver and car because you don’t know what they are going through. Of course, there have been some mistakes that we’ve all seen but I think it’s very easy to judge it from the outside and not know what is clearly going on in there. I really respect Sebastian, I think he’s a four time World Champion for a meaning (reason) because he deserves to be a four time World Champion and he will come back eventually. I think he might have gone through a tough moment but I think he will be back.

SP: Yeah, similar to Carlos. I think Sebastian is a fantastic driver. It’s very hard to judge the performance of someone when you’re not in the team and you don’t know exactly what’s going on. So it makes no sense for me to say. Obviously we have seen some mistakes. Probably at the end he was just desperate, trying to achieve what was probably not possible but he’s a four time World Champion for that reason so he has a great team and he will be back to fight again and he has a great opportunity to fight Lewis. Mercedes also have a fantastic car so it was very hard for him.

KR: Well the first thing is that sometimes it happens and he pushes and pushes and sometimes he gets it wrong and unfortunately it happened to him a few times. I think we’ve all gone through it, it’s part of the game.

MV: I can only look at myself. I think it makes no sense to comment on another driver so I don’t want to piss anyone off.

PG: I think it’s part of racing. You’re always driving at the limit. I think he probably over-performed with the car he had at the beginning of the season. A couple of times he managed to win races which probably they probably didn’t have the potential to win and then of course, expectations were really high. He did a couple of mistakes in the second part of the season. I think he’s the only one who could answer why. When you’re fighting for the championship, you’re so much on the limit all the time, trying to achieve things, as Sergio said, was probably not achievable with the car he had a couple of times and then things happen. They all say he’s a four time World Champion, I think he knows how to manage a championship. It’s not the first time he’s in this position but he’s the only one who could answer that question.

The 2019 World RX calendar is revealed

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Media
The FIA World Rallycross Championship has announced the 2019 calendar that will incorporate 11 rounds across four continents, and will include two new venues on the eagerly-anticipated schedule. 

Along the way, the championship will visit some of the world’s most synonymous and historic rallycross tracks, while introducing two exciting new challenges in the shape of Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit and the legendary Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

The season will begin in Abu Dhabi – the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – at Yas Marina Circuit on Yas Island on 5/6 April, breaking new ground as the first competitive rallycross event ever to be held in the Middle East. The rallycross track will utilise part of the distinctive Formula 1 circuit integrated into a challenging new layout, while the weekend will be a festival of entertainment including live music.

The iconic Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya will host round two on 27/28 April, before teams travel to Belgium for the inaugural Spa FIA World Rallycross of Benelux (11/12 May), where they will tackle a new, purpose-built track incorporating one of the most renowned corners in the sport – Eau Rouge.

Following its well-received introduction last year, Silverstone’s Speedmachine Festival returns on 25/26 May. Competitors will then do battle at classic Scandinavian rallycross venues Hell (Norway) on 15/16 June and Höljes (Sweden) on 6/7 July.

The cross-Atlantic trip to Trois-Rivières in Canada comes next on 3/4 August, followed by France’s legendary Lohéac circuit (31 August/1 September) and Riga’s state-of-the-art Biķernieki National Sports Base in Latvia on 14/15 September.

World RX of USA at Texas’ Circuit of The Americas (COTA) will stage the penultimate round on 28/29 September, after its successful debut this year. The hugely popular Cape Town finale will then conclude the campaign in fine style in South Africa on 30 November/1 December.

2019 World RX Calendar

1. Abu Dhabi – Yas Marina – 5/6 April
2. Spain – Barcelona – 27/28 April
3. Belgium – Spa-Francorchamps – 11/12 May
4. Great Britain – Silverstone – 25/26 May
5. Norway – Hell – 15/16 June
6. Sweden – Höljes – 6/7 July
7. Canada – Trois-Rivières – 3/4 August
8. France – Lohéac – 31 August/1 September
9. Latvia – Riga – 14/15 September
10. USA – Austin – 28/29 September
11. South Africa – Cape Town – 30 November/1 December

Calendar provisional pending homologation of circuits and approval of the World Motor Sport Council

Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona to remain on World RX calendar until 2022.

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Media
The FIA World Rallycross Championship will continue to visit the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for at least the next four seasons (years).

The Catalan track has featured on the World RX calendar since 2015, proving to be a popular addition to the annual schedule amongst fans and competitors alike. The new deal comes on the same day as the World Championship announced a long-term contract extension with iconic Swedish venue Höljes.

“We are delighted to have extended our agreement with World RX of Catalunya and the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. They welcomed our sport with open arms three years ago and as an event, it has consistently grown in stature, raising the bar with its first-class facilities, exciting on-track challenge and engaging off-track diversions," said James Taylor, Vice President, Rallycross at IMG“We look forward to four more seasons of growing the discipline of rallycross in a region where motorsport has such a long and proud tradition.”

Jordi Roquer, CEO of SevenMila, the promoter of World RX of Catalunya believes that the four-year contract renewal is important, because the series become electric from 2021.  

“It is especially important taking into consideration that in two years the championship will be electric, which represents an open door for all manufacturers developing electric vehicles for more sustainable mobility," said Roquer

“We will keep working to make it more of a motorsport festival, including a fan zone that includes entertainment and activities for everyone like music and gastronomy."

Sweden’s iconic Höljes circuit to remain on the World RX calendar until 2023.

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Media
Sweden’s iconic Höljes circuit will continue to host the FIA World Rallycross Championship for the next five years.

“We’re thrilled to confirm a five-year contract extension with Höljes, a circuit loved by drivers, teams and fans alike," said James Taylor, Vice President, Rallycross at IMG. "Höljes has been a staple of the World RX schedule ever since the inception of the World Championship, and the capacity crowds that attend each and every World RX of Sweden are testament to its enduring appeal."

Described by some as the jewel in the rallycross crown, Höljes is extremely popular with both drivers and fans alike. 

The 2016 FIA World Rallycross Champion, Mattias Ekstrom describes the Swedish round: "What Monaco is for Formula 1, is for Rallycross Höljes."

IMG, World RX rights holders have shifted away from hosting races at permanent venues, like Lydden Hill and Mettet, and focused more on festival styled events. 

“Whilst embracing new venues and territories like Spa-Francorchamps and Abu Dhabi, it is important that we simultaneously remain true to rallycross’ heritage – and nowhere is more synonymous with our sport than Höljes," Taylor added.

Morgan Östlund, Höljes Club Chairman, added: “It’s fantastic to be able to confirm Höljes’ place on the World RX schedule for at least another five years. We have been a part of this thrilling journey from the start of the World Championship, and we are all excited to see what the future has to hold with the forthcoming electric switch, which looks set to take the discipline of rallycross to a whole new level. We’re heading towards the dawn of a bright new era – and you can be sure that there are plenty more Magic Weekends still to come!”

Monday, 22 October 2018

2018 United States GP: FIA Post-Race Press Conference.

1 – Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN (Ferrari)
2 – Max VERSTAPPEN (Red Bull Racing)
3 – Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)


(Conducted by Martin Brundle)

Q: Kimi Räikkönen, congratulations, you’ve made a lot of Formula 1 fans around the world very, very happy today, maybe not quite as happy as you are.

Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN: Who knows, maybe they are happier even. No, honestly, it’s been a good weekend. I think the car has been pretty good all the time. I got a good start. I needed to push hard. It was tight a few times and in the end the tyres were not in the best shape but I think it was a bit similar for Max, obviously Lewis had more tyres left for the end. I had enough speed; we kept it consistent and just tried to keep the tyres alive until the end, so a long time, you know, but here we are.

Q: Your first victory since Australia 2013. It’s been a long time coming. You must be more pumped up than that?

KR: Obviously I’m much happier than finishing second. I’m happy but let’s see… later on. But great job.

Q: Three critical points: the start, then when you were running a very wide car… the second one actually was when you were pretending you coming into the pit lane and Lewis had to come in instead; he was going to do the opposite to you, and then obviously holding him up for about eight seconds. Everything put together, that’s what made you the victory.

KR: I think it was obviously coming in at the right time and having enough tyres both times. It was a bit of a balancing act but we did it pretty well, well enough to win it, so it was OK, and a good battle and I think that’s what we all want as drivers and also the people here.

Q: OK, well done again. Max, P18 to P2 – great drive.

Max VERSTAPPEN: Yeah, a bit unexpected but a good start, a good first lap, and then very quickly we were back into P5, P4 and we could just follow the leaders and we had really good pace. We made the right call to undercut Valtteri and from there onwards we could do our own race. I think in the end we could put a bit of pressure on, but unfortunately in the last three or four laps I ran out of tyres on the supersoft compared to the guys on the soft around me. But yeah, still very happy. I destroyed my shoe; I think I was pushing a bit hard, but it felt good.

Q: Take us through that battle with Lewis right near the end of the race, through 14, 15, 16 and 17 and Turn 18?

MV: So at that time I was really struggling with the rear tyres. I locked up through Turn 12 and then there was a good fight through the Esses, through the hairpin and in the right-hand corner I was just pushing as much as I could but hanging on but clearly also Lewis was already on the edge, so happy to stay in second.

Q: Congratulations. Lewis, the championship goes on for another week, but you had some adventures during that grand prix. How do you feel about the race?

Lewis HAMILTON: Well, first of all a bog congratulations to Kimi, he did a great job today. No mistakes, he had a great start and managed it all the way. Also Verstappen did a great job as well. He was on a slightly better tyre than us at the end so naturally a bit of a struggle. I naturally thought we would have been able to do better but this is the best we were able to do in the end. But it was great that we actually got to do some racing at least but yeah, we just have to keep working, keep pushing for the next race.

Q: That pivotal moment where you were told to do the opposite to Kimi and you came in on lap 11. It gave you a long way to go didn’t it? You did a cheap pit stop under the Virtual Safety Car, but you just ran out of tyres.

LH: Yeah, I think ultimately I came out and the pit window was very, very close, but then after I did my stop it was 12 seconds and it was way, way too far to catch up. I’m not really quite sure how the strategy ended up like that. It’s always difficult. You only have a certain amount of life with the brand new tyre to make a difference and once you put 12 seconds up there’s none left. But anyway, I’m really happy. We still got a top three. It’s still close; Ferrari picked up their game this weekend, so we’ve go to push hard for the next race.


Q: (Luis Vasconcelos – Formula Press) Two questions for Kimi. How difficult was that balancing you were talking to Martin about, of pushing very hard at the start of your second stint to catch Lewis and to have enough of a gap to be in front and saving those tyres until the end of the race for the last 10 laps with the two guys behind?

KR: Yeah, I think it was already during the first stint, maybe one lap, two laps, and then you try to take of tyres, fuel, things like that, but it’s more guessing, obviously you kind of go by feeling. At a certain point the tyres are going to fall off and there is not a lot you can do. We had a pretty good battle. I tried to stay as far as I could. I could hold him back. And then once we did the pit stops obviously I just needed to keep the gap. I caught up a little bit and then keep the gap and aiming for certain lap times and looking after the tyres, because it will be an issue in the end. So you never know how it’s going to play out, especially after a Friday like we had. I was pretty confident after the first stint that it will be OK, but like we saw it got pretty close and 10 laps I was a bit probably not the most happiest guy in the world. But the closer we got to the end, the closer they got to me, it’s more dfificult for them and then it was OK.

Q: (Luis Vasconcelos – Formula Press) And the second question is what’s more satisfying: getting the win and, as you said, shutting your critics out; or knowing for now that for a long time none of us is going to ask you when is the next time you are going to win a race?

KR: (Laughs) it might be next weekend already! I don’t know. I’m happy with how it went. I’m happy for the team. Obviously we had a pretty rough two races and I’m proving people certain things. I might be getting older but it’s not too bad still. Maybe I’m OK to be [here] a few years more. I enjoy it, so we are here to try to win. I always try to do it, but obviously it’s not easy, otherwise anybody could do it. So, I think this weekend we have been pretty solid in many ways. I just had a good feeling with the car. We’ll see what happens in the next race, but so far it’s been OK. I don’t complain a lot. We’ll have for sure some fun tonight and we go next week to the next one.

Q: (Phil Duncan – PA) Lewis, do you think you had the speed to win today, had you been on the same strategy as the other guys?

LH: I think it would have been… Kimi, one he was ahead, I didn’t have the greatest pace to really challenge him. Obviously, I was relatively close, I think, after the… in that first stint, second half. We were kind of exchanging lap times and kept beating each other’s times. And he was on the better tyre but he eked it out for quite some time with that safety car. Pace-wise, I think we were very, very close – but the whole deficit, they kept putting me so far behind, I could have told you exactly what was going to happen once we had those big gaps that we had to catch. With the tyres, it’s a very, very aggressive circuit on tyres and yeah, I think it we would have pitted at the same time, or around the same time, we would probably have come out behind him and we would have been racing right to the end on the same set of tyres. So, ultimately… yeah, it’s all if, but and whens. He did a great job at the end of the day.

Q: (Joey Barnes – Motorsports Tribune) Kimi, your last win, five years ago, you weren’t quite known as the family man. So, now that have this one, how special is this, that you get to share it with your family?

KR: They’ve been asking for a while, so more interested in the Pirelli cap than probably the win itself. I know that we can buy it also but I know it’s not fair play to bring them if I had to buy it. So yeah. I have a lovely wife and kids and I’m sure they’re happy. I’m not sure if the kids… they probably fall asleep during the race but the wife probably looked at it. I’m more than happy for all of us. It’s nice. Yeah… I don’t know. It’s nice to win again – but like I said, it doesn’t change my life or they don’t look at me differently. My son asked the previous race that he wants a new Pirelli – the same tyre from the qualifying – because he wants to play with it. Again, I’m sure they’re happy and I’m happy to help them, more than happy. We’ll have a nice talk when we get home.

Q: (Christian Menath – Question for Lewis, you said you knew what’s going to happen with these tyres when you have to catch up this much. Do you mean the Pirelli tyres or the soft tyres in particular? Because we saw that it was blistering quite a lot when you pushed at the beginning.

LH: I was meaning the tyres in general but the soft tyre was not a great tyre for us today. I was actually a little bit surprised at the end that we were put back on a soft tyre, knowing that Max was on a supersoft. I knew that… when you compete with someone that has a slight advantage then you know that you’re at a deficit but I was hoping I would close the gap in time but again, as I said, the tyre wouldn't last as long as it is to catch a 12 seconds gap, was a lot to ask for.

Q: (Jaap de Groot – De Telegraaf) Question for Max. At the end, when Lewis tried to overtake you, it was a sensational part of the race. Could you describe in detail how you underwent that action.

MV: So, following Kimi that closely, of course it’s not great for my tyres, so I was struggling a bit more with the tyres. So then Lewis came close and yeah, we had a few corners where I had to close the door a little bit. Then he tried around the outside – but I was on the edge already in the fast corners so I was just sliding a lot. Then I saw also that Lewis ran out of room and then, of course, if you go a bit wide you get a lot of marbles on the tyres so it takes like a lap before they have grip again.

LH: Was it close between us? I think I gave you too much space

MV: I think you could have squeezed a bit more! Yeah!

LH: I never know with you. I didn’t want a coming to come together…

MV: A bit of wheel-banging is… I was also thinking ‘I don’t know what Lewis is going to do here!’

LH: I couldn’t see you!

MV: It was alright – I was just really struggling with the tyres the last two or three laps but, yeah, made it a bit more fun!

Q: (Les Kiser – Speed City Broadcasting) Lewis and Max, we saw your tyres going away. Lewis, we saw you go wide, as you just mentioned, on the last lap. If the race was one lap longer, Lewis, what in your opinion would have been the result of that lap and Max, the same?

LH: I think I was too… I was catching towards the end but we probably needed another few laps to be honest. That wide moment meant that I picked up a lot of dirt on my tyres and it took at least a lap to get rid of it, to get rid of that top surface so you lose a lot of temperature and everything so I don’t think any extra would have really made much of a difference but a few more laps, if we were able to extend it, these guys were on older tyres so it would have been interesting in that respect but ultimately we ran out of time.

MV: Yeah, if the race would be a few laps longer or a lap longer, I think at one point you have to start to do a two stop but we planned the strategy around the amount of laps we had.

Q: (John Haverlin – ESPN Albuquerque) Lewis, as you were battling Max towards the end there, were you thinking about – heat of the moment, OK, I’m racing for position or were you thinking about how the championship could be clinched if you were able to get around him?

LH: Honestly I was trying to win the race but you look at the two guys next to me, they’re not fighting for a championship so I had to be very very careful how I navigated around them. Championships are not won by fighting and making silly mistakes so that’s really… I was trying to… as I said, I went through that corner, I gave him way too much space just to be sure that I didn’t get clipped, for example, didn’t get taken out because I didn’t know if you would understeer into me or could be aggressive. I didn’t know. If that was me and Seb, for example, I would have been a lot more tighter and more aggressive if we were fighting for the championship, for example, but there was no need. The key was that I at least finished ahead of Seb and for me it doesn’t matter when you win the championship as long as you get it done. Ultimately we wanted to win the race today and I think going backwards two steps is not a good result but as I said, you can’t win them all, you can’t always get them perfect.

Q: Just on the wheel-to-wheel racing, Max does it come into your thinking when you’re racing Lewis that he’s got a title on the line at the moment?

MV: I think at the end of the day you always try to be sensible, yeah.

Q: And similarly Kimi, with you, when you were defending from Lewis, I think you said on team radio about not doing anything silly.

KR: Yeah, for sure my purpose is not to be any more aggressive against him than anybody else. I don’t believe in doing crazy things. I want to do my race and do the best that I can do. If that impacts the championship then that’s how it is but I will not do any crazy stuff to be a part of it. My job is purely to try to do win, I’m here for that and I will play as fair as is possible and that’s how it’s going to be and how it’s always going to be. We know what is fair and what is not and I got a bit close once because I lost a bit of grip but there was nothing crazy going on.

Q: (Peter Windsor – The first question, Kimi, I’m asking on behalf of Heikki Kulta who I’ve just spoken to. He can barely talk he was so excited but he wanted me to ask you what you were thinking and what it felt like to be the listening to the Finnish national anthem?

KR: Obviously I wanted to win, that’s for sure. I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen or not because sometimes it’s been close and something maybe happened.  With five laps to go it was going to be OK because I knew my tyres were still OK and once they get close enough,  it’s so difficult to follow. It’s nice to hear it, for sure, especially if you’ve won. Obviously that is what you always want, at any race we come to, all of us want to win, but like I said, I’m happy for that, it was a great day to prove some people wrong and having a good race but it doesn’t really change anything for me. It’s just a number. Life goes on.

Q: (Peter Windsor – Lewis, you mentioned how aggressive the circuit was with tyres and you talked a little bit about the championship. Is there an argument for saying that the strategy that actually they had on the pit wall was a conservative strategy, possibly defined by the championship rather than specifically trying to get you to win the race, which leads me to my real question which is how much pre-race was the strategy potentially affected by your championship rather just wanting to win on the day?

LH: My strategy was the same, because I wanted to win the race. We were on pole position, same straightforward approach going throughout the weekend but in strategy they were talking about different scenarios as we do every weekend but there’s a different feeling, for sure, with the performance and decisions that were taken today as opposed to previous races but I don’t think we needed to make any changes. I don’t know why they would not want to win the race. I think they did want to win the race, it just didn’t play out the way that we had planned and I think it already started from Q2. I think that tyre was the wrong tyre to start on. We had already seen, a long long time ago in the year Kimi starting on a softer tyre, I think it was in Austria. We already knew there was a big difference between the start performances on these different tyres yet we fell for something that we already knew was potentially not the way forward and obviously lost position to him and then wasn’t able to keep up because he had clean air and a better tyre. There was definitely a lesson learned for us and we’ll definitely go to the drawing board but performance-wise it wasn’t our greatest weekend but we’ve had some incredible weekends this year and still to get a third, I’m still grateful for that but naturally starting first and finishing third is never a good thing.

Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Lewis, given you were told by the team that Seb had spun on the opening lap and you were in a good position, were you surprised that the title hasn’t been clinched in this race? And to Kimi, you mentioned about proving people wrong; do you think you’ve proved that you should still be in a Ferrari next season?

LH: I’m not surprised, I finished third. My job… I had to win the race today. I’m not really sure what happened in the race behind but obviously he did a good job to come back but as a team, we clearly struggled. Valtteri struggled to keep Seb behind, even when Seb was obviously… must have been quite far behind, so performance-wise we were definitely off this weekend but I think Kimi’s given me a lot of confidence, so that I can keep getting better. He’s 38? 39?

KR: 39. Next year 40, so… I’ll invite you to the party.

LH: Hope I get an invite for the 40th.

KR: We can call.

Q: And Kimi, do you think this result shows that you should still be in a Ferrari next year?

KR: No. For sure I didn’t mean on that side. I think people don’t understand I’m actually very happy where I’m going. I had my time with Ferrari, I won the championship with them. I won many races with them and for me, as a driver, I want different challenges, I want different things and I’m actually very happy to go there. It’s roughly 40 minutes from my home. For sure my family will be happy, I’m happy to be with my family. I think it’s probably the best thing. I wasn’t really disappointed with the decision at any point. The only thing that I was interested in was to know what was going to happen and that’s the only thing. The rest, I’ve been long enough in F1 to know that things… it doesn’t matter if you have contracts or not, things happen for different reasons but I think the end result is that I’m very excited about it.

Q: (Luis Vasconcelos – Formula Press) Kimi, you’re now up to third in the championship and Ferrari closed the gap to Mercedes. The Constructors championship is far more open than the Drivers’ championship. Are these two important goals for you, one more important than the other or do you just want to win more races until the end of the year?

KR: I can only do my best. Whatever the end result is, that’s how it’s going to play out. For sure, if we have a chance to fight for a championship I will do my job and that would be  absolutely perfect for all of us but we can only do our best, I said that before the race and before many races and you know, whatever the end result is, that was our best and if today we would be second or third, it wouldn’t really feel too bad because I knew that I did the best I could and today was like this so I’m happy about it. We’ll go next weekend and try to do the best that we can. We keep fighting until the last race and then we see what happens after that.