Friday, 22 March 2019

BT Sport to broadcast full 2019 World RX championship

The FIA World Rallycross Championship will be broadcast live in the UK and Ireland throughout the 2019 season as part of a multi-year agreement with BT Sport.

BT Sport will broadcast all 10 rounds of the world championship live and the World RX package also includes a comprehensive weekly highlights show.

“To have a broadcast partner of the calibre of BT Sport is a great fillip for the FIA World Rallycross Championship. It underlines the heightened interest in World RX and we look forward to engaging even more UK fans in our story throughout the 2019 season on the BT Sport platform,” said Torben Olsen, the Managing Director of World RX for IMG, the series promoter.

Broadcast coverage of World RX showed a year-on-year increase of 41.4% in 2018 with coverage spanning Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, the Americas and Europe. The estimated cumulative TV audience for dedicated broadcast for the 2018 season was almost 35 million.

In addition, the appeal of World RX among digital audiences continues to grow with over 317 million impressions, bolstered by live streaming of qualifying which drew 400,000 viewers on average over a race weekend. Further innovations around live streaming will be introduced in 2019.

Details of our extensive global broadcast coverage will be revealed shortly.

GC Kompeition unveils a striking new livery.

GC Kompetition has today revealed their striking new livery for the 2019 FIA World Rallycross Championship.  

The new livery includes the blue and yellow colors of their new partner, Bilstein.

The 2019 Renault Megane R.S. RX Supercars will carry a split livery design for the team's drivers, Guerlain Chicherit and Anton Marklund. 

Guerlain Chicherit, GCK team owner has high expectations for the 2019 season. 

“2019 is a really big year for GCK. We debuted the team in the FIA World Rallycross Cham­pionship in 2018 and have been working really hard to further develop the GCK Megane R.S. RX, the first car to have been designed and built from scratch to compete in rallycross," said Chicherit.

The 2019 FIA World Rallycross championship gets underway in 14 days at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi.

Text - Junaid Samodien
Information - GC Kompetition.

GCK Academy reveals 2019 World RX livery

GCK has today unveiled the livery of its Academy team ahead of the 2019 FIA World RX championship

Team owner Guerlain Chicherit created the 'GCK Academy' team with a vision to further young rallycross talent and support junior drivers, giving them the opportunity to compete on a world championship motorsport stage. 

Chicherit witnessed the growth of the FIA World Rallycross Championship and the increasing difficulties junior drivers face to develop in World Championship cars. Having witnessed these difficulties the Frenchmen decided to start the GCK Academy.

Begian Guillaume De Ridder and Frenchman Cyril Raymond will compete under the GCK Academy banner in 2019.

Guillaume de Ridder's GCK Academy Clio Supercar livery.
Who is Guillaume De Ridder?

After promising start in karting and rallying, Guillaume started rallycross in 2017 racing the RX2 World Championship and SRX Cup, part of the Belgian Rallycross Championship.

Guillaume proved to be a fast learner and was soon noticed because of his remarkable speed. He finished third in RX2, with 3 podiums, and second in the SRX Cup. 

He won the title of Rookie of the year in RX2 as well as for the RACB (Belgian motorsport federation, for all racing categories). 2018 saw Guillaume successfully continuing rallycross, becoming RallyX Nordic champion in the Supercar Lites category and World Champion runner up in RX2, driving for Olsbergs-MSE.

Cyril Raymond's GCK Academy Clio R.S. RX Supercar livery
Who is Cyril Raymond?

Raymond discovered motorsport thanks to his father, who was a rally driver in France. In 2004, Cyril started go karting in the south of France at the age of 10. 

In 2013, Raymond discovered Rallycross through his wife, whose father was a driver in the French Rallycross Championship and her uncle had a Rallycross team. He started racing the Twingo Cup and won the French Junior Rallycross Championship in his first year. 

In 2014, Cyril had an official program with the French federation ofRallycross (AFOR) in the Super  1600. He won the Championship and became double French Champion. At the end of  2014, Cyril tested the RXLites car in Turkey with OlsbergsMSE.In 2015, Cyril decided to do one race of the French Rallycross Championship in a supercar and won it! 

In 2017, he won the RX2 Championship (7 races, 6 wins) and the Red Bull GRC Lites in America with OlsbergsMSE. 2018 saw him missing the first race of the FIA European Championship but he finished the Championship 3rd overall and won his home race, LoheacRX in France. 

Source: GC Kompetition
Story - Junaid Samodien
Source - GC Kompeition

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Kristoffersson hints at a potential World RX return.

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Media. 
Two-time Champion Johan Kristoffersson hints at a potential return to racing in the FIA World Rallycross Championship in 2019. 

The Swede published a video on social media over the weekend of him driving a "Bauhaus" branded Volkswagen Polo Supercar.

Video Published by Johan Kristoffersson on Instagram (@kristofferssonjohan)
Video Source:

Kristoffersson was left without a seat for the 2019 season when PSRX Volkswagen Sweden withdrew from the championship citing "the loss of competitors in the FIA World Rallycross Championship" following EKS Audi Sport, Peugeot Sport and Olsberg MSE's withdrawal from the championship. 

With an uncertain future in Rallycross, the Swede announced that he will be competing in the 2019 FIA World Touring Car Cup [10 events], and will compete on a part-time basis in rallying.

Despite the excitement surrounding the Swede's social media video, it still remains unclear if he will be competing in any World RX rounds in 2019.

Kristoffersson's social media video sparked the conversation of his likely return to World Rallycross. But, an interesting conversation developed between Johan and Gronholm RX.

Gronholm RX posted the comment: "Comeback?" to which the Swede replied: "haven’t missed a race yet, can’t count as a comeback."

Is a comeback on the cards? Only time will tell!

Sunday, 17 March 2019

2019 Australian GP: Post-Race Press Conference.

1 – Valtteri BOTTAS (Mercedes)
2 – Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)
3 – Max VERSTAPPEN (Red Bull Racing)


(Conducted by Martin Brundle)

Q: Valtteri, the race of your life?

Valtteri BOTTAS: I think so! I don’t know what just happened.

Q: What a perfect start, to get away.

VB: I don’t know what to say. It was definitely my best race ever. I don’t know what happened. I felt so good and everything was under control. The car was so good today. So truly enjoyable. I need to enjoy today.

Q: You made it a one-horse race. Twenty-six world championship points with the fastest lap. You were determined to have that fastest lap.

VB: Yeah, definitely. It’s a new rule for this year. As I had really strong pace I wanted to go for that in the end and it’s always a bit risky with worn tyres but it was worth it. I’m just so happy and I can’t wait for the next race.

Q: A one-two for the team, congratulations Lewis, second place, but maybe a bit of a frustrating day for you?

Lewis HAMILTON: No It’s been a good weekend for the team, so I have to be happy for everyone and a really fantastic job from everyone. Valtteri drove an incredible race today, so he truly deserved it. We’ve just got some work to do. Still, it’s a great, great start to the year, more than we could have hoped as a team.

Q: Max launched an attack on you at the end. Did you have it covered?

LH: Yeah, no problem at all.

Q: Any idea where the pace may have gone to?

LH: I do have some ideas, but I’ll wait until I sit with my engineers to go over it. Naturally, position at the start was a little bit frustrating, especially when you have a good weekend up to that point but that’s how the game goes and I’ll just train and work hard to try and improve the next time.

Podium place for Max Verstappen. You had an interesting afternoon.

Max VERSTAPPEN: Yeah, I had to overtake Seb to get onto the podium, which is not easy around here, so I was happy to pull that move off, and also challenging Lewis for second, so, yeah, pretty pleased with that.

You had the Ferraris covered. You had a little trip across the grass, probably took you back from behind Lewis. But you were still coming at him.

MV: Yeah, it was unfortunate but I don’t think it would have changed the end result.

So, reasonably happy with today?

MV: Of course. To start the season on the podium, challenging the Mercedes car ahead, I think that’s a very positive start for us. Also a big well done to the team, after the difficult Friday we had. And also big thanks to Honda, also their first podium in the V6 era, so very happy for them.


Q: Well Valtteri you said on the podium that you had porridge for breakfast but was there any indication in practice that you were going to be able to unlock that sort of performance from the car? 

VB: Well, first of all, as a team, in practice we saw that we were strong, both in short runs and long runs, but obviously it’s impossible to draw a proper conclusion but we saw the raw pace yesterday in qualifying, as a team, with a good margin to Ferrari, and today race pace was strong – much stronger than we expected coming into this weekend. That’s obviously good news. It shows that we have definitely done all the right things between the testing in terms of direction with the car. Also, for myself, it was definitely the best race I’ve had in my life. Obviously, the key thing for me was the race start, to get to the lead and then being at the front I could show strong pace and I could pull a gap. I think in the first stop I could also…. I stopped a bit later so I was a good tyre in the end. Just the car was feeling so good today, it was truly enjoyable.

Q: Well, many congratulations. Lewis, it all seemed to slip away from you at the start. Tell us about that moment?

LH: I don’t really remember much of it, honestly, it was quite a long time ago really. I don’t know, maybe I got wheelspin. It doesn’t really matter, Valtteri got a better start. Once we got to the first corner, we held position, we had the front row still. And Valtteri did an exceptional job throughout the race, so congratulations to him and after that it was just about bringing the car home.

Q: You talked on the radio about maybe some tyres issues. Did that play out?

LH: No, not really. I wasn’t entirely happy with the balance I had but it wasn’t the end of the world. It wasn’t a problem for me to finish second.

Q: Thanks. Coming to you Max: If we had said to you before this race that you would finish 35 seconds ahead of the lead Ferrari, what would you have said?

MV: I would tell you ‘we will find out on Sunday’. Winter testing doesn’t really show the true picture, as you can see this weekend. We had a good car. In the start, stayed out of trouble. It was just very hard to stay close to Seb, as my tyres were overheating very quickly. I just did my own pace, a manageable pace, and we could extend our stint a little bit and then when we did the pit stop afterwards we had a bit fresher tyres than Lewis and Seb ahead. I managed to get by Seb, which is not easy around this track, because it’s just so hard to follow. But very happy to get to third. Trying to challenge for second was a very positive feeling, especially after my Friday. At the end we couldn’t pull it off, but in general I’m juts very happy to be on the podium. I think we managed to turn it around in a very positive way after Friday and for Honda to have their first podium in the V6 era is a great start, so big congrats to them.


Q: (Yianni Mavromoustakos – Question for Max. How did you find the Honda engine after your first race with it – and do you think you’ll be capable enough to compete for top spot?

MV: Well, I think in terms of speed we had throughout the race, it was again a very good step forward to last year. If I just compare top speeds against the other two top teams, so I’m very pleased for that. Also, in general, the engine has been performing really well, without any issues. So, that is also very important. I guess time will tell if we can fight for top spot.

Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Max, obviously the performance of the Red Bull Honda package, evidenced by the fact you finished third – but how encouraging was it that you were not only able to finish third on the road but were able to push Lewis and show performance all the way to the end. It didn’t look like you were having to manage the package at all towards the end.

MV: No, we didn’t. Well… you always have to manage the tyres because as soon as you get close to the car ahead they overheat, the tyres. In general, just very pleased, because I could at least have a go at it, in terms of top speed. Good progress, and there are a lot of positive things coming as well, and so far we have been working really well together. Very pleased with that. I think Valtteri was very far ahead still. It was a good result today, but we have to work hard to, of course, improve.

Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Congratulations Valtteri. For the first time in six years, a Finnish driver is leading the championship. How does it feel to be first time there as a leader?

VB: Congrats to you as well! Thank you. Obviously, I don’t think I was ever leading a championship. Obviously I know it’s only the first race of the year. I’m not so good with the numbers of the days and statistics but all I can say is that I’m really pleased with the way the season has started. First of all for us as a team, we have such a strong package going forwards and then, for myself, after quite a tricky last year, to have started the season like this. It’s very good and I look forward to the next race.

Q: (Roger Byron – Beyond the Racing Line) For everyone, how was it with the new aero package, following cars this weekend? In a race you find out more…

MV: Ask Valtteri how it was following!

LH: No different.

No different to previous seasons?

LH: No.

You were pretty close to Lewis at the end there Max…

MV: Yeah, I had no chance to get by. It is still very hard. The only positive thing what we improved is the DRS effect. So, as soon as it opens, it’s a lot more powerful than last year but following is still a lot of turbulence.

Anything to add Valtteri, when you were coming through traffic…

VB: It was quite… I didn’t get close enough to traffic ahead to really see a difference.

Q: (David Coath) Valtteri, you drove the perfect race and your pitcrew was perfect as well. How does that make you feel when you know how much everyone in the team is giving?

VB: It means a lot. It is teamwork and nothing comes for free. Or by one person’s efforts. We’ve all worked for this result we’ve got now as a team together, over the past years and over the winter, and over the weekend. I’m very proud of every single person here in the team at this race weekend but also at the factory. There’s many hidden heroes in Brackley and in Brixworth. Just want to say a massive thanks to them and I really know how much they work and how much it means.

Q: (Don Kennedy – Hawkes Bay Today) Valtteri, was there any moment during the race that you had a flashback to Russia last year and you thought maybe someone might come on the radio and say ‘slow down’?

VB: No, I didn’t think of that, actually, and there would be no reason to think about that. We are all starting a new season with zero points, we are here to fight, both me and Lewis will want to fight this season, for sure, against each other and against everyone and we are still one team so no point in thinking about those kind of things.

Q: (inaudible – Finnish News Agency) Valtteri, you said yesterday that you approached the weekend differently, started from zero. Can you explain how your preparation was different from last year, for instance?

VB: Yeah, for sure every year you learn as a person, you learn about yourself, what works for you, what doesn’t work for you in terms of preparation and what preparation includes: how you rest, how you spend your free time, how you do the training, how much training, what kind, all those kind of things, travel plans, all sorts. So just trying to optimise everything for this year, try to maximise every single thing that is possible. I don’t know, it’s quite difficult to explain what’s been going on here last winter, inside of my head and definitely something changed in terms of the way I feel about things in life in general and in racing, but that’s all in my thoughts. I felt good in the car today and yesterday. That’s all that matters.

Q: (inaudible – The Age Newspaper) Max, I want to ask about your mindset and the first race without Daniel. Does it change not having to look sidewards and being able to focus on yourself and not focus as much on internals and have a weekend purely about your performance? Did it feel different today without Daniel?

MV: Well, I always focused on myself so it’s not like something changes, from my side. No.

Q: (Giusto Ferronato – Gazzetta dello Sport) Lewis, can you tell us something about (how much) wheelspin you had, wheelspin at the start?

LH: Yeah, probably too engaged with the clutch, probably, but I don’t really know because I won’t know ‘til I go back, but ultimately I didn’t do a good enough job.

Q: (Phil Branagan – The New Daily) Lewis, the build-up to this race has been very much about your team versus Ferrari, and many people in the room have written about that. Did we have it wrong? And you just fought off a Red Bull; is this now a three way fight for the championship between those three teams?

LH: I don’t know if you wrote it wrong. It was supposed to be a three-way fight… I thought it was going to be a three-way fight so maybe you did write it wrong.

Q: (Jeremy Statis – L’Equipe) You really seemed to care about the fastest lap point at the end of the race. Would you say it will be a big deal during the season and will you be ready to take a lot of risks to get it?

VB: Yeah, obviously it’s a point and if you get three of those or more it’s going to make a big difference at the end of the year. You never know. One point can make a difference in the end. For sure we’re willing to risk but still knowing that if you’re about to get 20 or 18 points or 15, whatever, they are still more important than getting one extra so you need to calculate the risk but today was worth it, within a stop for an extra set of tyres for it, but with the worn tyres I went for a quick lap and it was worth it.

I just want to say, again, thank-you Charlie and I want to say that this win is for Charlie and all his work for Formula One. He’s done a massive amount and it means a lot to all of us drivers.

LH: It’s 21 points so we’re going to fight for them.

MV: There are 21 possible points you can get so it can help but like Valtteri said, at the end of the day it’s most important to score 25 or 18, 15, 10. Try to go for one more and then it goes wrong, it can happen sometimes but anyway, I think in some situations like today, I was pushing anyway to try and get Lewis so it happened that I was doing, at that time, the fastest lap. It’s nice if it happens.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

2019 Australian GP: FIA Post-Qualifying Press Conference.

1 – Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)
2 – Valtteri BOTTAS (Mercedes)
3 – Sebastian VETTEL (Ferrari)


(Conducted by Paul Di Resta)

Q: Lewis, every winter you go away, every winter you come back, driver-team combination, you come out, you get pole position here and you deliver a performance that’s just incredible.

Lewis HAMILTON: Oh man, I’m shaking, it was so close out there. We’ve got this incredible crowd here today; thank you everyone for coming out and creating this atmosphere. What a beautiful day. Coming from testing, from winter, we had no idea where we would be. We were hoping of course to be where we are, we’ve been working towards that; the guys back at the factory have been working so hard. And on the weekend also they have just been working to perfection. Valtteri did an exceptional job out there; it was very close. It’s great to see the top 16 or 17 are within a second; I think that’s an improvement in the regulations, so it should be an exciting season.

Q: Sixth consecutive pole position here in Melbourne. Eight times you’ve been on pole, matching Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna for pole positions at a track, what does that record mean?

LH: I didn’t even know about that. That’s news to me. All I can say is that my family are here and I wouldn’t be doing what I do without my dad, who taught me everything, and he’s here with me. So big thank you to him but I couldn’t have done it without this great team.

Q: Well done, all the best for tomorrow. Valtteri, P2 on the grid, front row start. I think more importantly a very strong day for the team. You almost did it but just missing out on that last run with a little bit of performance.

Valtteri BOTTAS: Yeah, we really made some good progress. I had a difficult practice three and we could turn things around for the qualifying. All the session was feeling good. The quali three, lap one, was really nice, I enjoyed that. Unfortunately not quite enough for pole, but Lewis had a good lap in the end and I struggled a bit in the first sector in the last run. Anyways, it was fun and I look forward to tomorrow. 

Q: You’ve been away, you said you were going to have a different winter reset. You’ve come back fighting and you’ve made him work for it, haven’t you?

VB: Yeah. Of course I’d prefer to be on pole, but the race is tomorrow and I’m starting on the front row. But I have to say that, as a team, after a quite tricky winter testing they have done an amazing job to turn the car around and be in this good shape.

Q: All the best for tomorrow. Sebastian, second row of the grid, third [place]. I think everyone thought after what we saw at Barcelona that Ferrari were going to start strong. Where do you feel [the team is] after the last couple of days?

Sebastian VETTEL: I don’t know. Congrats to Lewis and Valtteri, they had, by the looks of it, a very today qualifying. For us it was OK. I had an off in Q2, which wasn’t planned but I tried. I don’t know. The car feels alright, it’s not that there is anything wrong (inaudible) but today I thought it was OK. I think compared to those guys we were just not quick enough. The race is tomorrow, though. I think we have a good car nonetheless. This track is very specific so not worried too much, but for sure it’s not great. I would have loved for it to be the other way round.

Q: To play the long game is a big thing this year. You’ve won this race more than a few times. Can you win this grand prix tomorrow?

SV: Of course. I think we can. You never know what’s happening. Last year we got a bit lucky but the race is over when there’s the chequered flag. I think we have a good car, we have a good race car and we are in good form. Obviously Mercedes are the clear favourites after the result today and the pace they have shown so far. But we are here to race. Otherwise it would be quite dull. I think all the people would agree. We’ll see what happens tomorrow. I think our starts are pretty handy, so we’ll go from there.


Q: Lewis that was a huge second lap in Q3. How satisfying is that?

LH: The second lap was definitely a lot better than the first, which is not always the case. It’s always quite difficult on the second lap to pull that amount of time out. But on the first lap I made a mistake, which is unusual for me. It was OK, I just brushed it off and kept moving. We just kept working away, chipping away at our pace and our balance throughout the weekend. As I said, coming from Barcelona, we made some really big steps forward in the last couple of days with set-up and we brought that here and it seems to have worked. There was also a little bit of work done after that two weeks, were we analysed everything and made some small corrections. I really was not expecting to see the performance difference that we have here. It had been so close throughout the whole weekend between us all. It’s amazing to see how close the top 16 are, I think there was a second between us all at one point. That’s a real positive for rule regulations. It’s a bit difficult when you have a session like that to grasp exactly what just happened but I’m very proud to be up here and very grateful for everyone who has worked so hard throughout the winter and this couldn’t be a better way to start the year. But Valtteri was doing some incredible laps out there, so I really had to pull something special out at the end to stay ahead of him.

Q: High praise from your team-mate Valtteri. Just talk us through the session and that second lap in Q3 in particularly.

VB: First of all, I think, a bit like Lewis I’m a little bit blown away about the performance we had today. Obviously yesterday was looking good but it’s always practice. It was the first session this year that really counts, in terms of lap times, and I don’t think anyone in the team could have imagined we’d be in this position after the testing we had but everyone’s been working so hard and that made this possible. But it’s only one session: tomorrow is the main day. From my side, I really enjoyed the qualifying. I had a difficult FP3. Wasn’t really happy with the car. We made some changes and really felt more confident in the qualifying and got some nice, clean laps. The first lap in Q3 was pretty good. I was quite happy with that. I knew that there was still something to improve in the second run but for some reason just lost some time in the first couple of corners. I think Turn One and Turns Three and Four. I did a little bit slower out-lap due to traffic, so maybe the tyres weren’t quite ready – but Lewis did a great lap in the end, so well done for that but, I mean, we’re just all happy in the team to be in this position.

Q: Sebastian, we saw a little off for you in Q2. How did that affect the performance of the car going into Q3?

SV: It didn't. During winter testing I was joking with Valtteri that I was quite jealous he did some rallying in the winter. Maybe it was in the back of my mind and I wanted to try some myself – but not the right time. I tried, obviously, to find the limits in Q2, and went a little bit over the limit. Fortunately the car was fine. Q3, run one, or generally Q3 was fine. Overall, that fortunately did not impact our qualifying.

Q: And how surprised are you by the gap to the Mercedes drivers?

SV: Certainly surprised. I think everybody is – probably even themselves. I think yesterday we didn’t have a good day. Today felt better but in terms of gap and pace, it was very similar. For sure there’s some homework for us to do to understand. I still think we have a great car and we should be better than this – so I’m looking forward to tomorrow. We’ll see over… I don’t know how many laps… 56? 58? 58 laps we have some time to get a proper read of where we are – but certainly Mercedes are the clear favourite if you have such a big gap and comfort throughout qualifying. All the sessions. We’ve got to live with it today but tomorrow is a new day. We’ve done it before, around here especially, so, we’ll see.


Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Sebastian, you talked about you still think you’ve got a great car. Did you feel that here, you’re missing something that you felt you had at Barcelona, or is it just that Mercedes have made a surprising leap up the order, basically?

SV: Well, it’s difficult to compare. We have something like 10, 15 degrees more ambient, hotter track, different circuit, so overall different conditions – but the car felt really good at testing and probably around here, so far this weekend it didn’t feel as good – yet. As I said, yesterday was a difficult day for us. It was tricky. Today felt a bit better – but there’s not an awful lot of time to try different things. Obviously you have to get on with it and the sessions come fast: especially in qualifying, you can’t really change much. If anything, you get a better understanding of maybe where you’re losing out or where it feels uncomfortable. So for us, I think, there is still a bit of margin but certainly the gap is there today, and it was a surprise. We didn’t expect it coming here but now it is that way. And, as I said, we focus on tomorrow and don’t worry about the gap now.

Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Valtteri, first time you are in the front row here. How big a difference does it make in a circuit like this – especially compared to last year when you were nowhere after qualifying.

VB: I was in the wall after qualifying! I was somewhere! Historically, it’s not been the best track for me, honestly. I’ve never felt like I’ve had a great qualifying or race here for some reason. But, I mean, I think I managed to build it up well this weekend. Really started from zero this weekend, trying to learn session by session, and was pretty pleased with the car and driving and the main thing, in the qualifying, especially the first lap in Quali 3, I was really enjoying the driving and that’s when the lap-times were good. So, yeah, obviously there were still things I could have done better, as Lewis showed in the last lap, but it was close enough – so much better, for example, than the year before.

Q: (Christian Menath – Question for Seb. Would you say it’s fair to say you have a bit more problem to extract maximum performance out of the soft tyre – because yesterday the long run looked a bit better compared to the others and today in Q1, when you had the medium tyre on, you were not that far away?

SV: Well, it’s difficult to read Q1. I think people are playing around with how much, first of all, how much they push, how much they push the engine especially. I think everybody was surprised how much the track picked up as well in Q1. So, Q1 is not a great session to read into. I wouldn’t say we have a problem extracting the grip from the tyres. Obviously there is a lack somewhere, because we are too slow – but didn’t feel like it. I was very happy with the laps that I had in Q1 on the medium compound – but hard to have a reference because nobody else was really on that tyre at that time, so yeah, for tomorrow, we’ll see. Tyres so far this weekend were no headache and should be quite straightforward tomorrow. I expect a solid race from the tyres.

Q: (Laurence Edmonson – ESPN) Seb, could you just explain exactly what it is that you’re lacking because you mentioned yesterday that you didn’t have the confidence in the car? Could you just go into some detail on what is missing, and is it the same on heavy fuel?

SV: I thought the sectors might still be there. I think a little bit of everything. I don’t think the straightline is a problem so I think we are quite competitive down the straights but I think we’re just losing in the corners. There are 16 corners around here and I think it’s a fairly even spread so probably by the looks of it… and so far it was more in the medium and lower speed stuff rather than the high speed stuff which, I would say,  also speaks for a strong car in general. I haven’t got the balance yet which maybe I would like to have, especially in lower speed, and not the confidence and trust which again, around here, can make a big difference because it’s a bumpy track and I hope they don’t resurface it because it’s part of the character of this track. It’s fairly evenly spread around the track but I would say more towards the lower speed corners and it’s easier, I would say, to lose time there. But given the gap is so big, we must lose time in more than one place, for sure.

Tomorrow? I don’t know, I think in the race it could be closer but also the long runs that both of them had yesterday looked very strong and ours looked OK but not as special as theirs so we will see. I think today the car was better and I expect it to be better also tomorrow so we should be a bit closer.

Q: (Daniel Paez – Caracol National Agency) Lewis, do you agree with Sebastian, do you think the track should not be resurfaced? Do you like it that it’s a little bit bumpy in Melbourne, that’s it’s part of the character? How do you feel about that?

LH: Yeah, I like the track the way it is. I think it’s a great circuit because there are not particularly massive run-off areas. If you put a wheel wrong, it generally does bite you which is great and how it should be. The bumps are part of the character of what Melbourne is so if you were to iron those out it would lose a lot of… you know, it does make it trickier for us but that’s a part of it, you need that. I don’t like these circuits which are super flat and super smooth, don’t cause us troubles. For us this weekend we have to raise the car because it’s too much into the ground under braking, that’s what you should have to do and you have to live with a certain amount of vibration and your fillings coming out but that’s motor racing, hard core motor racing.

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport) Lewis, it seemed that before your last run on your out lap you almost came to standstill twice in the last sector. Valtteri said before that he thought he had a too slow out lap but in the end it didn’t seem to affect you. What happened there?

LH: I think I came out of my garage behind at least two cars so I was really conscious of trying to keep a gap to them. I think one of them was Grosjean or something like that, maybe Magnussen ahead or something like that, and I was really trying to make sure that I got the right gap to them and they were backing up also. They came round the last corner and I just wanted to slow up and make sure I maximised it because I think on a couple of laps I didn’t have the perfect lap and particularly in Q1 and Q2 I had some messy laps with traffic so I just really wanted to make sure it was perfect and ultimately it was a good gap in the end, no issues. The tyres have been really good this weekend so no complaints. I know I’ve complained a lot about the tyres but they’ve been really good so it will be interesting to see how they perform tomorrow.

Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Lewis, Valtteri mentioned that he was a little bit blown away by the performance today. I know you’d said in the build-up you didn’t consider yourself favourite. Do you share that assessment? Has this come a bit out of the blue for you, the size of your advantage today

LH: Absolutely. There was absolutely no… since practice from the day one to the last day when we left, when we went back to the factory, we knew we had work to do, I felt like we were… I felt good that we had a decent package to work with but we were wary that we might be slightly behind, that’s what we honestly thought, when they showed us the summary of how testing went. We were behind Ferraris from our analysis, we truly believed we were behind. And from then until now, we haven’t changed the car, we’ve understood the car more, we know what we have to do to move the car forwards but we haven’t brought any upgrades or anything like that but as I said, the last couple of days felt really good at the track. Yesterday, Ferrari were just with us I think. It looked like they were a little bit heavy on fuel initially and then they dropped their fuel and then we were quite on par in performance and we thought we were closer than we thought we would be after testing. And then all of a sudden they lost a bit of performance in running, I think this afternoon or this morning, which we were not expecting and so it is a real shock. When we look at the GPS, it’s a lot of the mid-speed corners. When you look at his lap from Barcelona the car looked planted so I was just saying to him were you on fumes or something? It is a difficult circuit and it’s quite gusty here as well so it could be a number of things but I’m really really grateful for where our car is and where it enabled us to be today. I know that Ferrari are going to be pushing hard and progressing over the coming days and tomorrow I’m sure they will be putting up a good fight as they are always strong in the races.

Friday, 15 March 2019

Bakkerud and Bennett to take on RallyX on Ice Festival.

Andreas Bakkerud
Norwegian Rallycross ace Andreas Bakkerud and fellow World RX driver Oliver Bennett are set to compete in the final round of the RallyX on Ice festival on Sweden’s frozen Lake Åre on 18-23 March.

The 2019 RallyX on Ice festival will comprise of three events held over six days. Each round will feature a different track layout – including a high-speed oval – with fans encouraged to enjoy the high-quality racing amongst the excellent local facilities on offer.

Bakkerud will make the return to the ice next Saturday (23 March) with Swedish Team Färén. The Norwegian has form on frozen surfaces, having previously participated in RallyX on Ice in 2015 and more recently teamed up with circuit racing ace Nicolas Prost in France’s Andros Trophy.

“First and foremost, I love racing!” said Bakkerud. “There hasn’t been much driving for me since the final round of the 2018 World Championship in Cape Town last November, so I see this as a chance to get some good practice in ahead of the upcoming season!"

“Racing on ice isn’t that different to normal rallycross – you have to perfect your reaction times, sliding and rotations, all of which are crucial in a long RX season," the Norwegian said. 

"Finally, it will be fun to race against the new generation of young talents, so I’m sure I will have a hard time if I want to end up on top – but I will do my very best and of course, I will enjoy it.”
Xite Racing's Oliver Bennett
PHOTO CREDIT: RallyX on Ice.

Britians Oliver Bennett will drive for Team Färén in Monday’s curtain-raiser, with Wednesday’s driver still to be announced. Bennett competed in the Östersund and Höljes rounds of RallyX on Ice in the RX Academy class last year, reaching the final on both occasions, and the Brit is now eager to test his mettle in the headlining Supercar Lites category.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Oliver Bennett. “I’ve never driven the Supercar Lites car before, so that will be a good experience and it’ll be interesting to see what it’s like on the ice with four-wheel-drive."

“It looks pretty comparable to a Supercar in those conditions from what I’ve seen, and it will be great to get some seat time before World RX kicks off next month," he adds. "The atmosphere in Åre looks set to be brilliant, so hopefully we can go out there and have some fun – and I’ll try not to break anything before Andreas gets in the car…”

TEXT - Junaid Samodien
Source - RallyX on Ice

2019 Australian GP: FIA Team Principals' Press Conference.

TEAM REPRESENTATIVES – Mattia BINOTTO (Ferrari), Toto WOLFF (Mercedes), Cyril ABITEBOUL (Renault), Christian HORNER (Red Bull Racing)

The world of Formula One is still reeling from the news that FIA Director of Formula One Charlie Whiting passed away in the early hours of Thursday morning. Some of the drivers gave us their thoughts yesterday, and I’d like to get your memories of Charlie as well, starting with you Toto?

Toto WOLFF: It was a total shock when we received the news yesterday. You see somebody every day and the day before and then he’s gone, and it reminds us what is important in life. We are all going at an incredible pace from race to race and then it can get you like this. But Charlie was an unbelievable person. If you are in that position over so many years and then year and years and you still don’t make a lot of enemies that shows your character. He was always well balanced. You could seek him for guidance. He would always, when it was difficult within the regulation to really get down to the bottom and interpret certain things, he would give you a common-sense answer that you could work with and he was just a reference point that will be dearly missed. There is a huge whole at the moment that needs to be filled but for us the person, Charlie, who strolls in for a coffee and was just a decent man and I’m really sorry for his family in these terrible times.

Q: Thank you. And Mattia?

Mattia BINOTTO: For my side, I can only join the words of Toto. Charlie was an incredible person, very great. It’s a huge loss for the entire sport and a huge loss to Formula 1. I think we should thanks him for the entire contribution he did to the safety in F1. I think it’s something we will remember. Certainly, he was such a great person, as Toto said it’s quite incredible from one day to another and I think it’s how precious is the life. But all great memories; a fantastic guy.

Q: Thank you. Christian?

Christian HORNER: It’s a huge shock for everybody. Obviously I’ve been working with him for 20 years now and to get the news yesterday, first of all it’s disbelief. Charlie was one of the good guys. He was a racer. That was his background. When you spoke to him about his days at Brabham, working for Bernie, there was always a smile on his face. He knew all the tricks in the book and that made him the ideal guy to become poacher turned gamekeeper when he took on the role with the FIA. And he handled that role, a tremendously difficult role, with great balance and diplomacy in some incredibly difficult situations. He was one of those guys who went under the radar but what he contributed was enormous, from a safety point of view, from what the sport is today. I think there is a huge debt of gratitude owed to Charlie for what Formula One is today, the safety, the lives that his actions actually saved, you know the way these cars are now and the safety record that they now have. It’s a huge loss to Formula One, a tragic loss to his family and friends and for his young children as well. All our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.

Q: Thank you. And Cyril?

Cyril ABITEBOUL: It’s difficult to add. It’s clearly a shock. I think the paddock went silent yesterday when the news started to spread. It’s a strange thing to learn such a thing to learn such a thing at that moment, in the paddock, where unfortunately or fortunately the show needs to go on. It’s just amazing what he has been able to experience, the 20 years of evolution of Formula One. Just remember what Formula One was 20 years ago and yet he has been capable of staying on top of the all tricks, loopholes, hideys, constructive interpretation of the regulations with a balanced judgement and integrity and being capable of frankly avoiding… or making sure that all the ships would stay in Formula One, despite all the risks associated with interpretation of the regulations and showing that you can conciliate being quiet and balance and authoritative. And no one would challenge his authority. It’s a huge loss but indeed the show must go on.

Q: Thank you. If I could stay with Cyril, we’ve had winter testing, we’ve just had the first free practice session of 2019. Just give us a progress report on Renault and in particular how Daniel Ricciardo is bedding in?

CA: There’s been the winter, there’s been pre-season testing and there is FP1 and first I’d like to remove FP1 from the answer because it was a bit of a scrappy session with some reprogramming that took away precious lap time, as we had to test a number of items, so obviously our lap time was not really representative. Anyway, there won’t be any lying or explanation on Saturday, so let’s wait for Saturday and Sunday. The progress report is that we know we have a huge gap ahead in our attempt to reach the top three, which has to be the mid-term target and in 2021 fight for wins. We are on that journey. So much has been done; so much needs to be done. Good progress in particular on the engine side and Enstone is still completing its transformation and is striving to build a chassis that can win some races in the years to come. Daniel – fantastic addition to the team. In summary, he’s inside what he looks from the outside and he’s already making a fantastic contribution to the team.

Q: Thank you. Christian, same question to you really. How’s progress with the Red Bull Racing Honda package?

Christian HORNER: Yeah, it’s been a promising winter. It’s been interesting working with Honda. It’s been extremely collaborative. Obviously performance is difficult to read in pre-season testing, but reliability has been strong. I think we turn up here in Melbourne hopeful of a competitive season ahead of us. But it’s only really when everybody pulls their pants down tomorrow in qualifying that you see where we’re at.

Q: And a few words on Pierre Gasly?

CH: Yeah, he’s another product of the Red Bull Junior Programme, as Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz. He’s another exciting young product that we’ve invested in as a junior driver and he’s in the seat because of the promise that he has shown. Obviously he’s settling in. He’s going to needs a little bit of time to get up to speed but he’s a very quick racing driver and we have high expectations of him in the future.

Q: Thank you Christian. Mattia, you were the pacesetters in winter testing. How confident are you coming to this first race?
Mattia Binotto - Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal

Mattia BINOTTO: Not confident at all. I think that winter testing is not qualifying, it’s not a racing environment, you never know what the others arte running. Very difficult to assess the performance. I think we simply focused on ourselves, we had eight intense days, very little time to prepare for Melbourne. By the time you finish the testing the cars are ready to be shipped directly to Melbourne, so I think it’s really by here that we start understanding who is the fastest. I think our challengers are very strong. These guys on my left have won the last championships and they are still somehow the team to beat. So honestly I think on our side we can only focus on ourselves, step by step try to improve and try to be as fast as we can.

Q: Mattia, can you tell us a little bit about your new role, you’ve been promoted to team principal over the winter. How much time do you dedicate to technical matters now?

MB: I think technical matters are still probably the highest priority. The car needs to be fast and the rest will follow somehow. Obviously it’s still my main focus. It’s still let me say anyway, it’s the main focus of a team. I think the technical is where you’ve got the main of your activities and where you are putting your efforts. It’s true that there are a few more things to be done and to deal with but technical is still the main priority.

Q: Thanks. Toto, it was pretty difficult to read Mercedes’ programme in winter testing. What’s your summary?

Toto WOLFF: Yeah, also difficult to read for us. We hit the road and it wasn’t great. Then we brought a substantial upgrade package to the second test and slowly but surely started to understand and learn and put the dots together and at the end it was a quite decent end of testing. But like Mattia says, the teams were, lap time wise, very close together, but very few kilograms of fuel can make you look very good or less good. That’s why, pants down on Saturday, that’s the first real benchmarking this year.

Q: Well Lewis was in very confident mood in the press conference yesterday and fastest in FP1 as well. What about Valtteri? What sort of form do you see in him?

TW: Valtteri had a decent first session today. We tried a few things on his car and the absolute lap time would have been quicker if he had pushed for a quicker lap time. He came back very strong from the winter, did some rallying, rediscovered the joy of driving. I heard that yesterday he said that he got drunk a few times, to forget, so it’s a good start. And I expect Valtteri to be the strongest this year, the strongest Valtteri we have seen.

Questions from the Floor

Q: (Jonathan McEvoy – Daily Mail) Toto, Lewis does various things, has various distractions, as some call them, or hobbies that he’s involved in. Sky diving and things like that, does that put the wind up you? Do you have any rules and regulations? Do you need to speak to him, or do you just say: “Lewis, just get on with it.”

TW: Well, of course, I’m always worried, and we had a laugh last year because I couldn’t get hold of him and couldn’t get hold of my chief strategist and one of the race engineers – and found out they were racing motorbikes in Jerez and nobody would pick up the phone. And then they were a bit apologetic. But Lewis is not an 18 or 19 year old young man any more. He’s a five-time World Champion. He knows exactly what works for him and what doesn’t. All these activities, in my experience, are not a negative distraction but on the other hand something that he enjoys that he enjoys doing. Some things are just a hobby: like sports; others are more of a passion, like the fashion business and every time he’s able to decompress from motor racing, he comes back stronger. We mustn’t be judgemental. Some people go on a meditation seminar to India. Others do Sky-diving. Others are out for the ladies. Let’s accept how everybody is. He is justified and has shown that he is one of the best out there.

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Team Principal - Toto Wolff
Q: (Christian Menath – Question for Mattia. Did you investigate the rim failure from the Barcelona testing any further? Last time you spoke, you weren’t one hundred per cent sure what happened.

MB: Certainly we investigated. We still do not have a full picture, full picture or certainty on what happened. But we put a lot of actions in place and we are pretty sure that, with the actions we put in place, somehow we have cover there, we are safe for the next running. So, we are still doing some checks. We are making sure that we have the full picture of what may have happened – but let me say that we feel safe.

Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) The affiliation between some of the bigger teams and the smaller teams has been in focus the last couple of years. We’ve seen the likes of Haas use the regulations to good effect. Red Bull and Toro Rosso are obviously closer aligned this year. With F1 moving towards possible resource restrictions and things like that, is there a danger it was going to become essential for big teams to have these affiliations with smaller teams?

CH: I think mainly the benefit is for that of the smaller teams. There wouldn’t be a Haas if that model wasn’t available. I think the affordability of Formula One is extremely expensive. So, Toro Rosso, they’re using an awful lot of components from RB14. So, it’s effective for them within the non-listed parts they’re permitted to do. They don’t have to have the design resource, the R&D infrastructure – so therefore the cost for them to go racing is affected by that. I think that there’s ultimately a sensible offset between needing to be a full-blown constructor team and being able to acquire those non-listed parts. So, personally, we don’t have an issue with it, and feel that, for the smaller teams, it’s been demonstrated that it’s cost-effective and works.

MB: Fully aligned with Christian. The Haas model has shown how good it is for such a team, and I think at the end it’s a good thing for F1. As we’re looking ahead, I think if there are any concerns, it’s up to us to understand what are the concerns and make sure that we are mitigating, or avoiding them – but I think that the model in itself is the right model.


TW: Nothing to add to what the two said.


CA: Obviously in a bit of a different position here. I have mentioned that on a number of occasions. We could be spending hours to discuss that topic but it’s already a challenge for a team like us to compete against that top three teams who have thirty to forty per cent more resources than us. But if they are now capable of combining their resources with other teams, or getting the benefit of synergies within the scope of a budget cap, that’s a problem. That’s a problem for us. That’s a problem for at-least two other teams in the field. And I don’t want to talk for them – but that could also be a problem for a new entrant, willing to enter Formula One and willing to be competitive. So, that’s a serious topic because it’s maybe that we are now saying “OK, we have three top teams and that will be it. And anyone joining with have to accept they will not be in a positive to be competitive. I’m not here to complain or moan: we know the regulation but obviously we are extremely careful about what’s going to happen in 2021. For now, we are not convinced about the safeguards or the containment measures that have been put forward, despite the fact that you can trade some parts in the context of a budget cap – but we will continue to work with governing bodies to hopefully get to a more satisfying outcome.

Q: (Ben Hunt – The Sun) A follow-up on the question about Lewis sky-diving. Not for Toto but for the other team bosses. For clarify really, do you have clauses in your drivers’ contracts which prevent them from doing extreme sports?

CA: I’ve just been through that very recently. We have a different type of contract. It’s mainly, I guess an insurance and a financial topic because there is a way that you are managing the relationship with your drivers and there is a ‘what if’ scenario in case something bad occurs. So, without disclosing any confidential arrangements, I think as far as we are concerned, it’s a bit like Toto: we have two mature drivers who know what they should be doing and should not be doing. So it’s pretty much their call to decide. Obviously the financial consequences can be on their side if they commit something that causes them to not be in a position to honour their obligation any more. So, I would say that the generic, for younger drivers, you would want to have more control on what he does – that’s what I’ve seen in previous life. That’s the situation.

MB: What’s more important is to have the right relationship with your drivers, making sure they understand, that they are sensible – but these guys are professionals. There is nothing that you need to tell them. They understand pretty well what’s the danger, what’s the risk and they are behaving well.

CH: We’re Red Bull at the end of the day and y’know, no risk: no fun! We don’t actively encourage our drivers to go and take a lot of risks but they’ve got to live their lives and have some fun along the way. It’s great to see that our drivers take that seriously. We sent them surfing the other day. Max Verstappen demonstrated restraint where he was nervous to get on a surfboard for fear of being eaten be a shark. Despite nobody being eaten by a shark on that beach since 1963 or something. So, obviously, I think it’s an important thing that they take care of themselves but it’s good for them to enjoy and experience other activities.

Q: (Richard Bailey – Today, around the world, we’re seeing millions of school students walking out, staging a protest against government inaction to tackle the threat of climate change. Formula One sits at the pinnacle being able to demonstrate through its technical advances the positive impact that this can have in terms of fuel burn and energy regeneration, yet the message doesn’t seem to be coming through as effectively as it could. What more can the sport’s key players do to drive this message to the next generation?

Red Bull Racing Team Principal - Christian Horner
CH: I think, actually, the efficiency of these engines is so understated. The fuel economy that these engines are achieving is mind-boggling so actually what Formula One is managing to do, in terms of furthering this technology, is truly impressive and I think it’s a message we need to get across more. We’ve all come here on aeroplanes – or most of us – from across the world and been burning fuel at 38,000 feet which is obviously a far bigger carbon footprint than anything that’s going on in Melbourne this weekend but I think in terms of the messaging that Formula One is achieving, I think it should be actually praised. The technology that the manufacturers have brought in through these engines and the economy that’s now being achieved is quite phenomenal.

MB: I think there’s really not much to add. We need to communicate it better. What is good is when you see that such technology will be transferred into the automotive (industry) and certainly our, let me say, turbo technology at the moment is of interest to the entire automotive (industry) so that again F1 is showing on the edge of technology and in this case really pushing the message so it’s down to us really to explain it and make sure it’s happening.

TW: I think it’s more the macro picture than the micro picture for us. My teenage children are on the street today, walking out of school and I find it really strong that this young generation wants to actively take care of what the future is and there is this overwhelming problem burning fuel in the airplanes. I’ve read, most recently, that the 15 largest container ships burn or have as much emission as 760 million cars and the plastic that ends up in the seas is a phenomenon that we can even see in Europe every summer and I think these things need to be tackled and when we look into our micro-cosmos it’s like Christian and Mattia said, those engines have all the energy recovery that you can find in the most modern road cars. We have battery technology, we have energy recovery through various systems and they have become more and more efficient and they are very much at the forefront of technology that eventually ends up in road cars and each of us has the duty, be it in our little small world, of not using plastic bottles any more or looking after our own environment and in the same way as the guys being involved in Formula One, making sure the right message is transported into the world, that these engines are the most efficient and the most green engines that have ever existed.

CA: Well, I guess it will be up to the new generation to demonstrate whether or not it’s still relevant to race in cars and go around in circles around the world but more than that it’s important that Formula One remains at the edge of what technology has to offer and also those engines are just fantastic as Christian and the others were saying. The average efficiency of an internal combustion engine is in the region of 30 per cent to 35 per cent. We are above fifty per cent in Formula One; that’s massive. If this type of efficiency was affordable for all mass markets products that would be a massive contribution to CO2 emission. So that’s something we need to keep at the edge of in future. We are talking about e-Fuel, fuel that will not be composed of fossil energy. This type will be a game-changer, I think. We need to make sure that Formula One remains a demonstration for game-changers.

Q: (Louis Dekker – NOS) Do you agree that twelve teams is a necessity for Formula One, or do you say that the recent past proves that it might be a bad plan?

CA: I think that what’s important is the number of teams that are competitive and can really directly contribute to the show and can pretend that they are expecting to win. But if there is a business model which is sustainable for 12 competitive teams, I think that that should be what is looked at.

TW: I think it’s important that the starting grid looks complete and that for the live spectators that you see lots of cars going around the track, but I think we are in a decent place right now for Formula One and the value of the teams is more important, to keep those franchises limited to attract the best brands to enter or participate in existing teams. I think that is the most important thing going forward.

MB: Not much to add. I think what they said is good enough.

CH: Yeah, I always go quality over quantity. I think we’ve got ten teams that are in pretty decent health at the moment compared to previous years and I think that as we are seeing, when the grid is expanded, none of those teams that came in a few years ago are still here today. Formula One, the cost of entry is so high it’s virtually impossible unless you’re an OEM or multi- multi-billionaire and sometime not even that’s enough. I think we’ve got a good balance at the moment. I would prefer that we look after what we’ve got and have good quality and a closer grid than just inviting more entries for the sake of filling the grid shot and being more cars to lap.

Q: (Roger Bryon – Beyond Racing Line) Have any of you seen the Netflix series ‘Drive to Survive’ yet? And if so, what are your thoughts on it? And furthermore, what are your thoughts on a closer look for fans of more on the inside of the workings of Formula One?

Q: Well, who has seen the Netflix film?

CH: I’m really looking forward to season two. I think there may be a fight, maybe between Cyril and Toto this season. The Netflix thing, it was an interesting project. I think it shows a glimpse behind the scenes of Formula One. I think it’s had huge interest, from what I understand, because it’s not just obviously about what’s going on on track so it shows glimpses of behind the scenes action. I think it’s reaching a new market which is important, I think particularly in the US as well. I think it’s a different side of Formula One, certainly interesting.

CA: I think the bottom line is that it’s a good thing for Formula One. A number of people have talked to me about Formula One for the first time having never talked about Formula One so it’s definitely reaching a different type of consumer or fan group, which is good. Did I like everything that I saw in it? No, so I think it’s important to have some formal disclaimer that it’s a bit… although it’s unscripted, it’s a bit of fiction also. It’s important also, given what’s at stake in terms of brand reputation, that we don’t completely confuse what’s in between information and entertainment.

TW: We obviously didn’t participate for some reasons. I watched three episodes on the plane. I think I missed the most important one, the fourth. I thought Cyril and Christian were actually friends! There are some people who never watch Formula One who have given good feedback. There is a lot of fiction. People say that Guenther Steiner’s a decent guy so he benefitted from the series!

CH: I think what it demonstrated is that Formula One has a huge tourettes problem! The amount of blue language in that series, particularly… I mean Guenther, every other word… He’s scary!

TW: I think it’s a good promotion for Formula One, it’s well done, it’s obviously very intrusive in a certain way but the promotion is good.

MB: Not seen it yet, will do, but at least today I understand why these two guys are on the extremities of the table! I’m looking forward.

Q: (Mike Doodson – Honorary) I’m British which I mention because my country has resolved to liberate itself from the European Union. Some of you have already commented on the difficulties that this process is going to create for you. I wonder if things have got better or worse since then and if you could mention some of the things which are going to present the greatest difficulties after March 29.

CH: Well, trying to follow what on earth is going on in British politics at the moment is rather difficult for all of us and it’s slightly embarrassing from outside looking in at the way that politicians are acting within this whole process. The country obviously voted to leave and there seems to be too much self-agenda that’s being tabled at the moment so there’s almost a vote every day. Nobody’s quite sure what the votes are for. We don’t know whether we’re delaying, we don’t know whether we’re staying, we don’t know where we’re going so if somebody could explain to me what actually Brexit did mean that would be quite helpful because at the moment there’s an awful lot of confusion over it so for us, the reality is it’s business as normal, we’ll wait and see what and if and when Brexit does happen and when it happens then we’ll deal with it but of course you try and put as many what ifs scenarios in place as you can to protect the operation of your business.

MB: Pretty happy that Maranello’s in Italy and obviously I can see that these guys are pretty worried. Concerned obviously that Brexit is a concern not only for F1 and I think that we should look at the bigger picture rather than only F1 but I understand that they are worried at the moment.

TW: For some time, I found it really tragic but that tragic has somehow changed to really good entertainment. It’s better than the Netflix thing, actually. Every evening I watched and what they showed from the House of Commons and you’re not quite sure whether it’s Monty Python or whether it’s really happening. I will get in trouble there. I shouldn’t talk about politics. But for us, we have 26 nations in our company and it is a matter of concern. We are living from the just-in-time principle of getting goods in and goods and people out and if this were to be disrupted that would be a problem but I don’t think that can happen. Formula One is the silicon valley of the UK but there are many larger industries… the automotive industry would be massively impacted if there would be the so-called no deal – I don’t know what no deal would actually mean. But I think at a certain stage, common sense needs prevail. I would hope so.

CA: I’ve nothing to add really. Indeed, we looked at the options, we tried to make plans. Apparently it’s at least pushed back, so March 29, I understand, is not the deadline any more. What really matter is that particular people we could see massively lots of nationalities, we want to make sure those people can stay where they are and we can continue to invest in them.