Wednesday, 12 June 2019

STARD reveals first details on "projekt E" rallycross EV demonstration car.

PHOTO CREDIT: STARD.
Stohl Advanced Research and Development (STARD) official supplier of the IMG's "projekt E" series has released the first details of its state of the art demonstration EV RX Supercar.

The all-electric EV RX Supercar will feature: 4WD, 450 kW (612HP), 1.100 Nm and 240 km/h top speed, and has been named the STARD Ford Fiesta ELECTRX.

The first demonstration car for IMG´s “projekt E” will utilize STARD´s new “REVelution” EV motorsport powertrain kit with 2 propulsed axles (Fr & Rr) with an integrated LSD (Limited Slip Differential) and an electronically controlled Fr/Rr torque distribution.

The powertrain kit is fully flexible and designed to fit any type of road car bodyshells from the B-segment upwards, especially including current and future EV crossovers.

The Austrian firm aims for the "REVelution" kits to produce more performance than the current WRX Supercars, despite the utilization of a very cost effective and user-friendly systems.

Main components of the kit are:
- E Motors & Controllers
- Transmission
- RESS (Rechargeable Energy Storage System = HV Battery Pack)
- Electronics Package
- Wiring Harness
- Charging System

The Ford Fiesta ELECTRX is STARD´s interpretation of a future EV Rallycross supercar being cleaner, faster and especially also cheaper than today´s WRX International Combustion Engines (ICE) machines.

The Fiesta ELECTRX is one of the various cars expected to be run in “projekt E”, which like STARD´s car is meant to be a first step to showcase and demonstrate the all-electric future of Rallycross.

“The STARD Ford Fiesta ELECTRX shall showcase our EV motorsport competence," said Michael Sakowicz, CEO STARD. "It also will be used as a demonstration and testcar for the “projekt E” initiative to which we are the official exclusive technical partner to IMG Motorsports."

The plan is to demonstrate, showcase and test what can be done with EV powertrains in Rallycross throughout as early as 2020. "projekt E" will be just the start into a bigger long term and comprehensive electric future of Rallycross which of course we aim to influence may be even more with our Ford Fiesta ELECTRX, than we have done with our 1st all-electric RX car back in 2016”

“The plan is to make the first step and explore the great possibilities for EV powertrains in Rallycross," says Sakowicz. "Of course this makes only sense when it is done in close consideration of the entire WRX environment including the FIA, Private Teams, Manufacturers, Promoters, Organizers, and even sponsors, especially taking into account also their future plans." 

The all-electric Rallycross ''projekt E" series is scheduled to start in 2020.

Monday, 10 June 2019

2019 Canadian GP: FIA Post-Race Press Conference.

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA.com
1 – Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)
2 – Sebastian VETTEL (Ferrari)
3 – Charles LECLERC (Ferrrari)

TRACK INTERVIEWS

(Conducted by Martin Brundle)

Q: So, Lewis congratulations. We have to congratulate all three drivers on the podium that was a sensational race, a brutal race as well. Obviously I’ve immediately got to talk about the incident between you and Sebastian at the exit of Turn 4 there.

Lewis HAMILTON: Well, firstly I just want to say a big thank you to my team, because I wouldn’t be standing here today without the incredible effort from everyone. We had a problem this morning with the engine, with my crash on Friday. If they hadn’t been so diligent I wouldn’t have been able to race today as I have. So a big thank you to them. Naturally, it’s absolutely not the way I wanted to win. I was pushing to the end to try to get past, but obviously I forced him into an error, he went a bit wide, but then I obviously had a run on that corner and we nearly collided. It was unfortunate but this is motor racing.

Q: Sebastian has gone straight to the stewards’ office to talk to them about it; he’s not here at the moment. Obviously he feels he was just busy collecting the car up and trying not to crash and he had no other option coming off the grass.

LH: That’s to his opinion of course, you know for me I took the corner normally. When you come back on the track you’re not supposed to go straight back to the racing line, you’re supposed to come on safely and I assume that’s why they…

Q: As you say, you had a tricky day, you know, with the car. Even when you were on the grid they were working like made on your brakes.

LH: Yeah, absolutely. It was just so hot here, you know. The Canadian weather is just so hardcore for us here. Very hard on the brakes. Physically, I’m just destroyed just trying to hold onto Seb. The Ferraris were just so quick this weekend, so I’m really grateful that I was able to be there within the race. Nonetheless, this is good points still for the team.

Q: And finally, do you think you could have overtaken if you had to in those final few laps?

LH: Not towards the end I don’t think. I think we were all struggling with brake temperature towards the end. My tyres were good at that point where he made the mistake, I was as close as I was ever going to be. But then obviously I got that blocking and the gap opened up again. It was just very, very hard all the way through. It’s very, very hard to follow here. This is such a great track. And if it wasn’t for these fans it probably wouldn’t be as great as it is. So a big thank you to everyone that’s come today.

Q: Congratulations. Charles, you nearly took second place on the last lap.

Charles LECLERC: Yeah, it was close. I’m pretty happy about the performance, my own performance today. I think we were very quick. It’s a bit of a shame that yesterday I did some mistakes in qualifying. I need to work on my qualifying to get better on them. The race pace was very, very strong, so it’s a good sign for the future. I’m disappointed obviously for the team, we have all worked extremely hard to be there. I don’t know what happened for Seb, but the team definitely deserved a victory today so it’s a shame but we will come back stronger and we will keep pushing as we did in the first few races and hopefully the victory will come soon.

Q: Relentless pace from you but the team stopped you quite late and you just feel off the leading two.

CL: Yes, there was definitely a reason behind that. Obviously it was quite difficult to challenge the two in front at the beginning so we just tried to go long, hoping for a safety car that never came but yeah we will see.

Q: Sebastian, we missed you in parc fermé. Nine times you two have won a world championship. You are two of the finest drivers that ever graced a Formula 1 circuit but clearly you feel you’ve had a great victory stolen away from you today.

Sebastian VETTEL: Well, I think first of all I really enjoyed the race, I really enjoyed the crowd to be honest, every lap seeing them cheering me on, especially around the hairpin. It was very intense, I think Lewis was a bit quicker throughout the race but we were able to stay ahead. For the rest I think I’ve said enough. You should ask the people what they think. I think we had a great show. Lewis showed some good respect. Yeah, ask the people.

Q: Lewis, you’ve had a race taken away from you in similar circumstances, in Spa, so you know the pain. Does this leave a bad feeling between you two great champions?

LH: Well, all I can say is I didn’t make the decision, firstly, so I don’t know what they’re booing at. Maybe it’s the decision.

SV: The people shouldn’t boo at Lewis, because I think he saw what was going on and I don’t think there was any intention to be in his, harm’s way. I had trouble in staying on track. But the people shouldn’t boo at Lewis. If anything, they should boo at these funny decisions.

PRESS CONFERENCE

Q: What a difference 24 hours makes: complete euphoria of yesterday and the frustration of today. Can you just talk us through the incident at Turns Three and Four. What caused you to run wide on entry and is there anything you could have done differently when you were re-joining the track?

SV: Well, I lost the rear of the car, so obviously it wasn’t voluntarily going sailing across the track, not knowing how and in which fashion and so on I will be rejoining. I think it is pretty clear I was on the limit. I was pushing very hard throughout the entire race and… yeah. Obviously I was going through the grass and I think it’s quite commonly known that the grass isn’t very grippy. So – you agree? – and then I was coming back on track and just trying to, y’know, make sure I have the car under control. Once I regained control, made sure it was sort-of alright, I looked in the mirrors, and saw Lewis right behind me. As you said, yesterday we had the euphoria and the enthusiasm of a great day. I feel, in a way, the same today. I think we had a great race, the team did fantastic and, yeah, obviously I’m not happy with the decision the stewards took. I think you can understand. It feels a bit weird to sit here, not having won the race even though you crossed the line first. And as I said, I don’t think I have done anything wrong; I don’t feel I could have done anything different. I don’t know, actually, what the problem was. So… yeah. Not much more to say, I think, from my point of view. I think all the people out there, they probably agree with me.

Q: Where you aware of where Lewis was as you were rejoining?

SV: No! How? I’ve got two hands and I had them on the steering wheel, trying to keep the car under my control. So, I don’t know… I think we are pretty good at multi-tasking, driving these cars – but if it is required to drive… to catch the car once you come back from the grass or off the track, maybe one-handed, use the other hand to pull off a tear-off and maybe hit the radio button to talk to the team at the same time, I don’t qualify, I can’t do that. I had, as I said, my hands full, trying to keep the car somewhere in my control. Obviously I knew that Lewis was behind somewhere because he was, like, a second behind, but when I looked in the mirror he was right there. So I was obviously then racing him down to Turn Six.

Q: And the race pace of your car. What positives can you take away?

SV: Yeah, I think overall it’s been a positive weekend and I think a very positive result. Obviously we’re both sitting up here. as I said, on my side, it feels a bit weird but I think the pace was good. I think it was clear to see that Mercedes probably was faster throughout the race but yeah, we managed to fight them off.

Q: Charles, coming to you. You seem much happier with the car today than during qualifying yesterday?

CL: yeah, I was quite a lot happier today. I think race pace was quite strong, so, on that I was very happy. The start was quite tricky with Lewis but I decided to not take any risks. So then, yeah, it was quite a boring race from then-on, trying to manage the tyres in the first eight-nine laps and from then on I started to push. I could feel that we were quite good and, on the second stint, the car felt great. We were very quick. I could feel I was catching a little bit in front. The team asked me to pit to do the fastest lap, and I asked to continue because I could see that the gap was closing. I knew it will be quite difficult to catch them but if there was an opportunity I wanted to be there, so I didn’t give up. At the end, it didn't pay off. We do third, it’s a good result home, but the team definitely deserved more after such a great weekend. Also, Seb, disappointed for the team and Seb. I think the first position was in our hands and it's a shame it slipped away the way it did. So hopefully we’ll have other good races in the future.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Christian Menath – motorsport-magazin.com) Sorry Seb to jump in that again, could you just talk us through when you realised you lost it. Did you think about… was it only that you wanted to catch the car or did you also think about to get back the fastest possible way – and did you lift or did you stay in the throttle?

SV: Look, I think it was clear what happened. I mean, what’s the point of going through split-seconds for an hour now? With all the respect, there’s nothing to add from what I said. You lose the car, I don’t do that voluntarily because the outcome is unpredictable. Once I manage to catch the car, obviously I realise that I couldn’t stay on track, couldn’t keep the car on track, slowed down, had to slow down, go over the grass really cautiously, lost a lot of time. Managed to get back on track with dirty tyres, and once I regained, sort of, control, being somewhere on the track, I had to check my mirrors and Lewis was right behind me, just to see where he is, not to, I don’t know, be in his way or whatever. So, that’s what happened. I’m not the first guy in the world of racing that had a mistake on corner entry and had to catch the car going through the grass, gravel or whatever.

Q: (Michelangelo Choppi – La Voce Euro Canada) What do you have to say about the race today? You do everything you can do to win the race. After you have five seconds penalty. What do you think personally, for the Italian community here who support Ferrari all these days. What do you have to say personally. And for Charles Leclerc, what is the difference between racing with Alfa Romeo last year and this year with the Ferrari here in Montreal? Thank you.

SV: Well, I think we have tremendous support here, it’s crazy. In the morning I commute by bike so I see the people when they queue to get onto the island. It’s crazy. The atmosphere is fantastic. There’s so much support for Ferrari. Obviously a great Ferrari fanbase but I think a great atmosphere in general. During the race I really enjoyed it. Obviously it was very intense, when you have Lewis behind you, pushing you so hard – but I really enjoyed it and halfway through the race I was thinking ‘this is a good day, this is why I’m doing this’. So, I really enjoyed looking up at the grandstands in the hairpin – you have a bit of time while you wait for the car to turn – and the people are going wild and I really enjoyed that. Still, it’s very special. It’s a special position for us to be in. Drivers’ Parade, having the cheer from the people, sitting on the grid, people shouting. Obviously I think I share the people’s opinion after the race as well. It feels a bit funny – but certainly grateful for all the support we get.

And Charles?

CL: On my side it’s just different, of course. You approach the race weekend a little bit differently. Because obviously now I have the car to fight for wins and podiums which, last year, the approach was a bit different: podiums and wins were not on the cards, more points. And the support, as Seb mentioned, is just amazing. A lot more than what I would have expected, and a lot more than last year. Since the beginning of the season really, every race we come to there’s a lot of support and this has changed a lot from last year. So it’s great.

Q: (Phil Duncan – PA) Sebastian, will you be appealing the decision, or will Ferrari be appealing the decision. And do you feel any sympathy towards Lewis being booed – given that he didn’t really do anything do anything wrong.

SV: I said, nothing to do with Lewis. I obviously understand that the people weren’t happy, as I wasn’t happy myself with these sort of decisions – but nothing to do with Lewis. It’s just not nice when people boo you, so that’s why I jumped in. I’m sorry that I interrupted his answer but I jumped in and said ‘don’t boo him, he’s done nothing wrong’. If anything he drove a great race, put me under a lot of pressure and I really, really enjoyed that. I think we share great respect amongst each other. Nothing to do with him.

Q: Quick question for Lewis. Congratulations, by the way, win number 78, your fifth of the season. We’re talking about the incident. Can you just tell us what you had to do to avoid Sebastian as he came back on the track?

LH: Well, to me it’s a bit of an empty feeling today, which is kind-of crazy because we’re in this beautiful country. It’s been ultimately a really great race between two different teams and it ends with a bit of a kind of negative. From what I remember, I came through the corner, I was quicker at that point and I was really just trying to apply pressure to Seb. One, to try and get close enough, but two to push him into an error. It’s not too often you’re able to push a four-time World Champion into making an error but it came and at the time I was like ‘OK, great, this is my opportunity.’ So I continued the corner as normal. Came around, and was on the line. The gap just closed, it looked like we were going to crash so I just had to brake and come off the gas to avoid a collision. Fortunately we did avoid it. But obviously that was one kind-of window. And then the gap opened up because I did brake to avoid it. And even when I heard there was a penalty I just kept pushing because I was like ‘maybe we can still have that race’. It’s such a hard race to follow; the temperatures are so high; it’s the heaviest-duty track for the cars. It’s very, very physical for the car and also for the driver. It’s so easy to make a mistake, so I was really just trying to get as close as I could. The Ferrari is ultimately this weekend so strong. They were so quick on the straights. They definitely have another power mode that we currently don’t have. So, all of a sudden they turn up the power and he pulls away massively on the straight, even if I have DRS open. But I really… just trying to focus on the positive, in a sense, that my team worked so hard this morning to get… I nearly didn’t start the race because we had an engine problem. So, the guys have really had their work cut-out this weekend because I crashed the car on Friday – which is rare for me – and then had a good Saturday and then, this morning had that problem. To take the engine apart and rebuild it, was very, very easy to make mistakes and so, I just wanted to deliver them the best race I could possibly deliver. I didn’t feel I did anything wrong today. I just gave it my all. So, there’s nothing more I could really ask.

Q: (Maxime Sarrasin – 98.5FM) Question for Lewis. What happened, we understood it was your seventh win in Montreal, you equalised the record of Michael Schumacher here. So, what are your thoughts about that? Having equalised the record from him?

LH: I have not really thought about it, if I’m really honest. As I was saying earlier, it does kind of feel like a deflated win, naturally. Hopefully by 2021 they redesign the rules better, that enables us to race better than we can currently today. But, this has always been a great hunting ground for me. It’s been a place that I really have loved, and have always felt like I’ve been really accepted and supported here. There’s a lot of Ferrari fans in Canada but nonetheless I still appreciate them. And we get such a great crowd here, y’know. It’s in the top three of the best races of the year, arguably for me. The British Grand Prix is obviously is great for me because I’ve got my home crowd, which is even bigger than this place because it’s a bigger space. When the weather’s great, like today, it’s just one of the most beautiful weekends of the year. So, often have family come out here. I won my first grand prix here, lots of poles, and it’s just been a place that I’ve thoroughly loved driving. So, that’s never going to change. As I said, I felt a little bit odd, being booed – but it’s not like the first time I’ve been booed. I’m used to it – and I forgive.

Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) Sebastian, do you plan to go to talk to the stewards afterwards and Lewis, can you summarise what was your feeling in Spa in 2008 when the same happened to you?

SV: I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know what’s the procedure now. I was just thinking that I really love my racing. I’m a purist, I love going back and looking at the old times, the old cars, the old drivers. It’s an honour when you have the chance to meet them and talk to them; they’re heroes in a way. So I really love that but I just wish I was maybe as good, doing what I do, but being in their time rather than today. I think it’s not just about that decision today, there’s other decisions. Just hear the wording when people come on the radio, that we have now. We have an official language, I think it’s all wrong. I think we should be able to say what we think but we’re not so in this regard I disagree with where the sport is now. You have all this wording ‘I gained an advantage, I didn’t gain an advantage, I avoided a collision’. I just think it’s wrong, you know, it’s not really what we’re doing in the car. It’s racing, it’s common sense. If there’s a hazard on track, obviously you slow down because it’s quite unnatural to keep the pedal to the floor and run into the car and then say, ‘ah, it’s wrong that the car was there.’ I think Lewis… obviously as I said, I rejoined the track and then Lewis obviously had to react. I don’t know how close it was or close he was. Once I looked in the mirror he was sort of there but for me that’s racing and I think a lot of the people that I just mentioned earlier, the old Formula One drivers and people in the grandstands and so on, would agree that this is just part of racing but nowadays it’s just… I don’t like it, we all sound a bit like lawyers and using the official language. I think it just gives no edge to people and no edge to the sport. Ultimately it’s not the sport that I fell in love with when I was watching. Obviously it hurts me today because it impacts on my race result but I think this more of a bigger criteria. Tomorrow, when I wake up, I won’t be disappointed. I think Lewis and myself we share great respect and I think we’ve achieved so much in the sport, I think we’re both very very blessed to be in that position so one win up, one win down, I don’t think it’s a game-changer if you’ve been around for such a long time, but as I said, I’m not happy about all this complaining and stuff that we see so many times.

LH: Well, I second what Seb said in the sense of the respect that we’ve always had between us. We’ve had a lot of years racing together and there’s probably no one that I enjoy racing with on the track more than he. I always relish opportunities to battle like we’ve had today and the previous years and they’re really really memories that I will always cherish and I hope there are many more, so stick around.

I don’t think you can relate it necessarily to 2008 because 2008 I made an error. Obviously I overtook someone off track and then had to let them past and then overtook them again but back then, my team asked Charlie – who was a steward clearly – whether the overtake was OK and Charlie came back and said it was totally fine but if he had come back and told us at the time that it wasn’t OK, I would have let him back past and overtook him again. But the rest of that race was crazy, you know. I went off, he overtook me and then he spun and then I overtook him again and then he crashed and then I won the race – and I still got penalised at the end so it was a lot different, but I do understand what it’s like to naturally lose a race. It’s definitely not the way you want to win a race, it’s not the way you want to lose a race also, especially when you’ve driven so well.

Q: (Mike Doodson - ) It’s an apology because it’s more about the same incident but none of us have driven cars with a thousand horsepower at the speed that you do. Obviously you didn’t have many options, you didn’t have much time to make them. If you had lifted off, would it have been dangerous, would the car have spun because the grass was so slippery? What would have been the reaction of the car?

SV: I lifted off, of course, I lost time. I don’t think it was faster that way, I think you agree. Yes, as I said, I was busy enough to keep it somewhere under control so of course, once I’d lost the rear, already I lost the corner, then I lift off and I just sort of stayed somehow in control over the grass and then came back, so I wasn’t flooring it.  If I would have done that I would have crashed. So the priority at that point is just to survive, it’s not look around or going on the power or being fast or whatever.

Q: (Pino Asaro – Corriera Italiano) Seb, take us back to your state of mind as soon as you got out of the car? We saw you on the monitor, followed you into the Ferrari hospitality. What you going through? We’re all asking questions, are you going to race control, can you please take us back to that particular moment?

LH: By the way, I stopped at the end, I thought your car broke down. I stopped to pick you up.

SV: I thought maybe, OK. No, I wasn’t looking. I parked the car in parc ferme, a different parc ferme, the one that is not for the top three and then went to get weighed and then at that point didn’t really want to join anything that was obviously happening after that. I wasn’t very heated up, obviously angry and disappointed but I think everybody understands why but I think it’s a matter of respect to show to Lewis and Charles and also the representative for Mercedes on the podium, to be part of the podium. Certainly it wasn’t the place where I wanted to be because at that point you just want to get out but yeah, also sitting here is not of my free will but I have to be here.

Q: (Pino Asaro – Corriera Italiano) And the question for Charles: you almost came within five seconds of Seb. Did you lift off, the last lap or two, to make sure that Seb at least would finish second?

CL: I was not aware at all so no. I pushed but I didn’t know what was going on in front, I didn’t know Seb had a penalty. I was just pushing in case something happened in front, to be there if I had an opportunity but I was not aware of the five seconds penalty so no, I only did my own race.

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto Motor und Sport) Lewis, being the racer as you, if you were sitting in the stewards’ room would you investigate such an incident, or would you give a penalty then finally?

LH: Well, the good thing is I’m not in the stewards’ room so I’m not there, so it’s a hypothetical question.

Q: (Rebecca Clancy – The Times) Sebastian, you talked about wanting to race in the old days and obviously you’ve been around for a while. Do races like today, decisions like today make you question your future in the sport?

SV: Well, I don’t know. Not ready, what time is it now? I’m not ready for this kind of question. I don’t know, I just feel that nowadays we look at so many things that maybe we didn’t look at in the past because nobody was really making a fuss. Now, obviously it’s worth making a fuss for everything because you have these decisions. I sympathise in a way with the stewards. I’ve said many times when I’ve been in there that they are sitting in front of a piece of paper and they’re watching the race and they also came back to me and say we agree but look, we have to do these kind of things so I think just the way we are doing these things now is just wrong but it’s our times, we have regulations for everything. We need to have this jacket when… I don’t know, it’s clear there’s a hole when walking down a pedestrian walk and there is a hole in the street because they’re doing construction work and there needs to be a be guy who guides to the other side of the road, otherwise it’s the construction company’s fault that you fell into the hole and broke a leg, but I think you’re just an idiot if you walk into that hole and break you leg but that’s a little bit how my theory is nowadays. The approaches are drifting apart.

Q: (Abhishek Aggarwal – IndiainF1.com) Sebastian, when the stewards came with the official verdict there were still 15 laps to go and I think you were two seconds ahead of Lewis. Did you think there was possibly some chance or something else to do to get three more seconds of advantage?

SV: Yes, at some point I was three seconds in front but I was pretty sure that he was controlling the pace. Obviously once that happened it felt like he reduced pressure because there was no point. Then at some point it felt like maybe he doubted the decision and was putting pressure back on but also…

LH: I wasn’t backing off because of that. You just started going really quick, and I was like, shoot, he’s going to pull five seconds so I was struggling with the tyres when you suddenly picked up pace and then I was like I’ve got to do everything to try and keep up.

SV: Yeah, so I was trying to get this five seconds but I had a sequence of good laps, maybe that was in hand with when Lewis was struggling but then I was struggling more towards the end, plus we had to save fuel also to make it so not the easiest race to manage but I think we managed to stay ahead which makes me very happy and proud. I think the credit really goes to the team, hard work and this track looked a bit more competitive for us so despite what happened today, we’re looking forward to try and improve our car. There’s still work to do. I think Mercedes and Lewis were a bit faster in the race we’re still catching up but I think it was a good race overall for us.

Q: (Audas Ruszinov – Hungarian media) Lewis, your history in the winning circle started here in 2007. Would you take a moment to look back and compare the 2007 Lewis Hamilton to the person you are today? What was the most appreciated things of value which Formula One has taught you, as a driver, as a person, which you appreciated the most in the last 12 years?

LH: That’s a good question. Well naturally I was 22-years old, pretty much a kid still and for me, personally, I feel like I’ve matured a lot later. I was thrown in at the deep end of this incredible circus and sport. One thing I was prepared for was to race but I wasn’t prepared for the whole circus that comes along with it. I don’t know if I could say what the sport’s taught me. Naturally, through all these different experiences I’ve learned a lot about who I am, how to adapt to the different situations that surround me. I’ve done everything through trial and error. I’ve made a lot of mistakes over these years. Many of you here have been with me through that journey and definitely seen those mistakes, the good and the bad so there’s not really much that the media or you guys don’t know about me in terms of my character. I’m not perfect but I’ve grown a huge amount with the sport and the sport’s given my life meaning so I’m forever grateful to it and naturally today, I’m 34-years old, I’m a grown man and still love driving, still driving with the same heart that I did, I think, when I was 22 but just much more level head on my shoulders, a much wiser head of my shoulders which has enabled me to drive with the style and the skill that I had before but just finesse it a lot better. But also we get to travel the world, we get to see different cultures and all these different beautiful countries and people and I think what I’ve really really learned is really to enjoy… firstly not to take notice of what people think of you because every is going to have an opinion and then just, as long as you like yourself, know you’ve got great people around you who do love you, like your family most importantly, then all you’ve got to do is just enjoy what you do and do the best you can, because our days are limited, as I always say. I try to make sure I… like I can go to bed tonight and know that I gave everything this weekend and I’ll come back stronger at the next race and hope not to make mistakes on the Friday for example.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

FIA Post-Qualifying Press Conference: 2019 Canadian GP.

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA.com
DRIVERS
1 – Sebastian VETTEL (Ferrari)
2 – Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)
3 – Charles LECLERC (Ferrari)

TRACK INTERVIEWS
(Conducted by Jenson Button)

Q: Seb, well that was sublime. It’s lovely to watch.

Sebastian VETTEL: It’s better to drive, I tell you…

Q: That’s your first pole position in 17 grands prix. Can you believe it? I can’t believe it!

SV: Well, he’s bloody good in qualifying, hard to crack. Yeah, I’m full of adrenaline, to be honest. You know, with the feeling in the car, when it just keeps coming and you feel the grip and you go for it. That was one of those laps. So, really, really, really nice, and I really enjoyed it. So yeah, very happy, very happy for the team. The last weeks, the last 17 races! No, the last weeks have been quite tough.

Q: Obviously the big day is tomorrow. How did the long run pace go yesterday? It looked tricky for everyone – but do you think you’ve got the race pace to really back-up what you’ve just done today?

SV: It was awful! Today the car was a lot better. We take that into tomorrow. Obviously we also avoid the red tyre, the soft tyre, in the race tomorrow because we managed to go through with the yellow tyre, with the medium. So yeah, good day, the car felt good and I think we can carry that into the race. These guys will be very quick over the distance, but we’ll try to win it.

Q: Lewis, congratulations, I’m sure you’re a little bit disappointed. Having pole taken away from you by a small margin around a circuit that you are just exceptional on – but as Seb just said, racing could be a little bit different for them tomorrow. They struggled quite a lot on tyres, whereas you guys looked fantastic on your long runs.

Lewis HAMILTON: Honestly, I don’t know for whatever reason but I don’t particularly feel disappointment. I think we gave it everything we could. They were just quicker. Particularly that last sector: they were killing us. I think there’s something like four-tenths or five-tenths on the straight – but I did everything I could and we did everything we could. I think the timing was right, our procedures were perfect, so thoroughly happy with the job. Obviously we had P1 for a second – but we knew they were quick. But this is good. This is how racing should be. I’m glad that I was able to split the Ferraris and yeah, tomorrow, it’s going to be interesting. The weather’s fantastic. We’ve got a great group of fans sat here so hopefully we can put on a good show tomorrow.

Q: Charles, first of all, lovely to meet you properly. All weekend, you’ve been on it, you’ve been pushing Seb all the way in every session. It wasn’t quite there in Q3. What would you put that down to?

Charles LECLERC: I don’t really know to be honest. I struggled with the car, I think with the set-up maybe. I felt quite good with Q1 but then I didn’t felly follow the track, when the track was getting better, so I need to work on that, on the set-up and try to have the right set up for the final Q3 time. I struggled today in Q3 – but congratulations to Seb. He completely deserves it and hopefully we’ll have a better race on my side tomorrow.

Q: Tomorrow is going to be an exciting race. I watched your long-run pace on the medium tyre, which looked very strong – so does that give you some confidence going into the race tomorrow?

CL: Yeah, definitely. We were quite strong on the long-run pace and hopefully tomorrow is the same and we can have a good battle from there.

PRESS CONFERENCE

Q: Sebastian, many congratulations, it’s been a while. How much of a shot in the arm is this result for you and the team?

SC: A shot in the arm? Is that how…. I don’t know the saying. I translates really weirdly to German, like a mistake! Yeah, it feels much better than a short in the arm! Obviously a great day. As you said, it’s been a while and mostly for the team I think the last couple of races have been quite tough. So coming here and showing a stronger form than we had in the last races is positive. Obviously we knew that the track in a way would suit us, but still, you know, we have to do the job and the car felt better and better throughout qualifying. Not easy with the interruption with the red flag. Yeah, I’m still full of adrenaline. I’m really happy; I really enjoyed it. I wish I could do it again just for the fun of it. I had to pace myself in the first two corners because getting the tyres to grip up wasn’t straightforward but after that it was just a joy. The car was shouting ‘keep going, keep going!’ and yeah, really enjoyed it. I wasn’t quite sure if Lewis is improving. Normally he’s pretty handsome or p[retty good around here…

LH: Thanks!

SV: Pretty handy is what I wanted to say, but there you go, handsome as well. Look at him! Yeah, so I wasn’t sure it was enough but then they screamed on the radio ‘pole position’ and yeah, just amazing. I really enjoyed it. Obviously it’s only part of the job and the main thing will be tomorrow. It will be a very long race and difficult to fight and keep them off but from where we start I think it looks like a god race.

Q: What were your expectations coming into this weekend?

SV: I didn’t really have any to be honest. In the last qualifying sessions in particular we lost ground, so I was hoping that we could be quicker and closer, because the gap was quite big. I think we had so many sessions where it was looking good. At the last races as well, if you take Baku, if you take Monaco, where Charles was very fast on Saturday morning. But then in qualifying, Mercedes, and particularly Lewis, always seemed to be able to step up and we couldn’t keep up. So I didn’t really expect that much so I really just wanted to enjoy it and make sure my laps were alright and that was the case. If you then get pole then obviously all the better.

Q: Lewis, how surprised were you by the pace of the man on your left?

LH: Not surprised. I think obviously all weekend they’ve had really great pace and for a large part of it they were six tenths up on the straights. So we fought so hard throughout the weekend to make improvements. I’m actually really happy for Seb, he clearly did a really great lap. My first lap was really good and it felt great for a second to be on pole, particularly as I missed all of P2 yesterday, so quite far behind starting today but it’s been a real solid day from us. Obviously the last sector – I think you can now start writing that they have the party mode. I don’t know who said we had the party mode in the beginning. End-of-straight speed was particularly where we lost out in the last sector but nonetheless hopefully the race will be close. It’s great to be able to split the Ferraris, so hopefully we’ll have a close battle tomorrow.

Q: You apologised to the team over the radio on your slow down lap. Were you referring to anything in particular or was it just frustration?

LH: It wasn’t frustration it’s just, you know, the team rely on me. It was a good lap but it was not good enough obviously. I had two really solid laps, no mistakes and I’m generally really happy with the job I did, but of course you can go back to the drawing board and say there’s always going to be a little bit more time in it but I don’t think I had two-and-a-half tenths, what they had or whatever it was. We just have to keep pushing, keep fighting. We’re still in a strong position. But I think this is great for racing anyway. I think this is what we and what the fans want, to see us so close. If you looks at the top 15 or something there was around a second between us all. That’s really great to see. Everyone’s so close at this track and hopefully that provides good racing tomorrow.

Q: Charles, coming on to you. It seemed that the performance dropped away a little bit as the session went on. How was it for you?

CL: Yeah, definitely – and this is a point I need to work on, to try to set up the car, especially for Q3. In Q1, the car felt quite good – then Q2 a bit worse and then Q3 it slipped away and I also did some mistakes. So, yeah, I need to understand from where it comes to just try to anticipate the track evolution and have the car at its best in Q3. But yeah, it’s my fault and I need to work on that to make it better.

Q: How did the 25 minute red flag affect you and your flow and approach to Q3?

CL: This, I guess, is the same for everyone at the end. But no, it didn't affect me. We just had to wait, so we had a bit more time to look at data and then we went back on track

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Seb, we heard your emotional reaction over the radio as you celebrated pole, and obviously can see that you’re still buzzing now. How was that feeling when you found out you were on P1. Was it just excitement, or relief, or anything compared to how it’s been at the start of the season. And Lewis, you’re also in very good spirits despite obviously missing out on pole. You talked before about wanting to have more competition. Would you prefer it if – and obviously you’d want it the other way around – would you prefer if you could have Ferrari this competitive at other races as well?

SV: To be honest, just excited. I think, y’know, this is one of the tracks where you need to dare going very close to the walls in many places. It’s very bumpy, it’s very rough and, if you get it right, it feels great. So, I think I got it quite right and yeah, then you finish the lap and you’re full of adrenaline. Obviously I saw that I was a big chunk down and improving when I crossed the line. Then I was looking up and I didn’t know who was coming behind, and then I heard them screaming ‘pole position’, so, it was just pure joy. Mixed with the adrenaline. I don’t know, I’m not a singer but I was screaming quite hard.

Lewis?

LH: I didn’t say congratulations, so congratulations – though I did say it downstairs. As I said, I think this is fantastic for the sport. I love to fight with another team and today it was just so close. I had no idea where we were going to be; at some stages they were ahead of us and we were swapping all the way. I hope this is a turning point for them and this is going to be very close from now on and we get to have a really serious battle throughout the season. That’s be fantastic.

Q: (Christian Menath – motorsport-magazin.com) Question for both Ferrari drivers. Yesterday, apart from the ultimate lap time it didn’t look too great for you. You were good in the last sector, where top speed is key – but in the other two sectors I think Mercedes were faster. Today, you were faster in every sector. Is it just because the track ramped up – or did you find something overnight? Change something dramatic in your set-up?

SV: I think yesterday was difficult to judge because not everybody had a smooth session. I mean, Lewis, for most of the session, didn’t take part. So, practice is always difficult. The key is that we were able to improve the car, on the one hand, I think the track ramping up also helped us in that regard, so yeah, I don’t know how quick we were relative to the others in the sectors. What mattered, obviously, is that when we crossed the line, that we were faster. Quite pleased with how the car worked today.

Charles, anything to add?

CL: No.

Q: (Yhacbel Lopez – Motorlat) To the Ferrari drivers: this pole could be a turnaround of the season for Ferrari?

SV: Well, I don’t know, I’m not a fortune teller. I can’t look in the future so I don’t know. The last races were in Abu Dhabi. Maybe you come to Abu Dhabi and ask again whether this was the turning point. I hope I can give you a yes then but I don’t know. It’s a long way, long season, lots of different tracks, different challenges. I think we know still that we have to catch up. This track maybe favours us a bit more. We had more top speed in all the tracks so far. This is a track where top speed is a bit more relevant, not too many corners so we will see. The team is certainly pushing very hard, the whole of Maranello is throwing everything at it that they can to try and give us a better car and make better races to come.

CL: He’s saying everything I want to say so nothing to add, really.

SV: You start next time.

Q: (Omar Alvarez – Graining.es) My question is…

SV: Your website is called graining? Like raining or graining.

Q: (Omar Alvarez – Graining.es) Graining.

SV: You’re sponsored by Pirelli or…?

Q: (Omar Alvarez – Graining.es) Yes, and my question is precisely about that. Are you expecting the tyres for tomorrow, your sets are going to be working as well as today?

SV: I’m quite happy that we managed to qualify in Q2 on the medium compound so we should be a bit better off tomorrow because the soft was quite poor yesterday with lots of graining so we will see, we will see how it goes tomorrow. It’s still a long race, a lot of laps.

LH: More about graining. They only write about graining, right?

Q: (Les Kiser – speedcity Sirius XM) I was going to ask about the life expectancy of the tyres. You looked very confident through those laps, even when they were sliding it was like you were up on things, on your toes and you were managing it. Will you be able to do that through the entire lifespan of those tyres?

SV: No, you won’t, because there’s always a peak of the tyre, especially on that soft compound. It obviously gives you the highest grip but doesn’t last particularly long, but as I said, for tomorrow obviously we are able to start on the medium tyre and then hopefully go a lot longer so we will see what to do after that. Usually it’s not so nice when you get graining so hopefully we can stay away from that.

Q: (Michelangelo Choppi – La Voce Euro Canada USA) Sebastian and Lewis, do you think you can start from the position and you can win like last year and make a big victory for the ninety years of Scuderia Ferrari? And for Lewis, do you think if you start in second place you can try to do something at the beginning and try to win the race tomorrow?

SV: For sure. Obviously there’s a reason why we were able to put the car on pole position today. Looking forward to tomorrow, it will be a very very close battle. We know our strengths, we know our weaknesses. Obviously we are very quick down the straights, let’s assume not so easy to pass but we will see. It’s a long race, we know that in terms of pace it will be very very close and we need a perfect race tomorrow to fight for the win.

LH: Well, it’s a very, very short distance down to turn one so it’s not the easiest to make places up but it’s a long, long race, so 70 laps is a long way to go. Of course, whatever opportunity comes we will try to capitalise on it but yeah, the race is very long, probably a one stop so looking after the tyres is going to be really key. It’s very hard to follow here, even though there’s mainly straights, they are very quick on the straights so I don’t know how following Seb is going to be tomorrow – if I’m in that position, but I just hope that we are able to be close and have a real race throughout the race.

Friday, 7 June 2019

2019 Canadian GP: FIA Team Members' Press Conference.

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA.com
TEAM REPRESENTATIVES – Toto WOLFF (Mercedes), Guenther STEINER (Haas), Franz TOST (Toro Rosso), Mario ISOLA (Pirelli), Toyoharu TANABE (Honda)

Q: Guenther, last time you were in this press conference you talked about the need to unlock the potential of Pirelli’s tyres. What solutions have you found in the last couple of races?

Guenther STEINER: We haven’t found any! I think sometimes when you get the tyre to work it is working and sometimes it isn’t. I think in Monte Carlo, with the family of the softer tyres, we got them to work, but we don’t have a solution. If you ask me ‘what is your solution for the next race?’ I don’t know. Maybe we haven’t got one. It’s like we fall into it or not. We are working hard and for sure by going on and using the tyres you learn more and more but do we have a proper understanding of it, I would say, no.

Q: What did you learn during FP1 this morning?

GS: Again, the track is very dirty. It seems like we can get the tyre up to temperature. I said ‘it seems’, I didn’t go conclusive here because FP2 will be a lot more relevant because the track will be cleaner and we can learn more. At the moment everything seems to be OK, so let’s see what in the next hours is coming.

Q: What can you tell us about Ferrari’s upgraded power unit? You had it for the first time in Monaco, but what difference are you expecting it to make here in Montréal?

GS: I think the difference it should make here, because here the power is much more needed than in Monte Carlo. We had it in Monte Carlo just to see that everything works and for sure it helps there as well. But at the moment we are not running it; we are running it only tomorrow, so I cannot come to a conclusion here.

Q: Tanabe-san, this is the first real power track of the season. How much are Honda looking forward to it?

Toyoharu TANABE: It is a very good question and a bit difficult to answer for me. But anyway, I frequently told you that we are still in the position of catching up the top PU manufacturers, in terms of power and also the reliability. We are still developing for both. It means we know our position is a little bit down from these top competitors. But in terms of the performance since the first race of this year, our forecasts showed good performance on the track, so I’m looking forward to seeing tomorrow and then the race here,.

Q: What do you think is the gap to Mercedes no?

TT: I cannot tell you an exact number, but we will see the gap.

Q: When can we expect the next Honda upgrade?

TT: Our development is ongoing and we are considering when we introduce the next step up. But we are observing the current situation on the PU, mileage and then damage, and we are discussing with the teams when is the best timing to introduce new, updated PU to the trackside. It’s not only a Honda matter; we are closely working with the teams, for both Toro Rosso and Red Bull. At the moment I cannot tell exactly when but we are looking for a new, updated PU.

Q: Thank you Tanabe-san, good luck this weekend. Toto, we’re talking engine upgrades. You’ve got one here this weekend. Where is it better?

Toto WOLFF: Well, we hope it’s a tiny bit better than what we had before in terms of specification, but the biggest difference is just that it’s a fresh unit. The other one has had quite some high mileage. With mature regulations it becomes more and more difficult to extract pure lap time performance out of the engines. You’re trying to find a bit more reliability, maybe run a bit harder, longer, but you are not finding these kind of big jumps that we used to see in past years.

Q: Where do you the balance of power this weekend, between yourselves and Mercedes in particular?

TW: If I would know! Guenther surprisingly summarized it well! The track is pretty dirty after FP1 so there is not really clear picture, people have been sliding all over the place. We were very competitive but you need to sceptical as to whether this is really the balance of performance. FP2 is going to give us more guidance.

Q: We’ve got the same tyre compounds this weekend that we had in Monaco. What lessons have been learned from your Monaco strategy with Lewis Hamilton?

TW: Quite some lessons. We got it wrong in Monaco, in our assessment of how long the tyre would last, so that was an important step for us.

Q: Thank you and good luck this weekend. Mario, talking about that strategy in Monaco, how surprised were you that the mediums lasted 66 laps?

Mario ISOLA: The problem was not related to the wear life of the tyre, more on the performance life. On a track where it’s so difficult to overtake, like Monaco, Lewis was able to keep everybody else behind him – that’s the point. The hard was working well. The best information for us was that all the three compounds in Monaco, that usually is a track where everybody is using just the two softest of the three chose, all three compounds were working well.

Q: And what can you tell us about tyre wear this weekend?

MI: We need to wait until FP2 because it is a session where all the teams are collecting relevant data on tyres. We have some estimation. I believe it is not a surprise that everyone is targeting a one-stop race in Montréal because the wear in not high. It is a circuit where the rear degradation can make a difference, so saving the rear tyre is probably a target for everybody here. If we make a comparison to Baku rather than Monaco, because Monaco is a street circuit that is quite unique, we have tyres that are one step softer. The weather conditions expected are good, so they probably struggle a bit less with warm-up. I will talk to Guenther later in the afternoon to understand. But I can tell you, he was coming here with a jacket and outside it’s 28 degrees so probably he has a problem with the temperature in general himself.

Q: It’s been a busy few weeks for Pirelli, looking ahead for 2020. You’ve been testing F1 tyres and F2 tyres. What can you tell us about those tests?

MI: Yeah, we made a plan with F2 where at the moment we have eight sessions already planned. Obviously we have to concentrate the development this year to be ready latest in December. If necessary we are also planning some back-up sessions in the Middle East at the end of the year. For F1 the plan is confirmed. We have three sessions, one in the middle of September at Paul Ricard with Renault, one at the beginning of November at Paul Ricard as well, with McLaren, and we are trying to find a solution with Mercedes for the last session, that will probably be in December. All dry sessions for the moment. We will start soon to make a plan for 2020, where we have 25 days of testing to distribute to the teams that are willing to test 18-inch tyres.

Q: And how was the F2 18-inch tyre holding up in testing?

MI: We did just one shakedown in Mugello, but it was really a shakedown to understand the driveability of the car with an 18-inch tyre. Don’t forget that the F2 car is without power steering, so the first target was to understand if they need to adapt the car, and if how to adapt the car with the new tyres. And we are going to test in Aragon in mid-June, so in one week’s time.

Q: Thanks. Franz, a double points finish for the team in Monaco, your first since Spain 2017. Just how pleased are you with progress at Toro Rosso this season?

Franz TOST: So far Toro Rosso has a competitive package together. We have a car that is fast, a car that works well from the mechanical side as well as the aerodynamic. And with Honda we have a very strong partner on the power unit side. We have two competitive, high-skilled drivers. Both of them are doing a really good job and the team is improving as well. The complete package, I must say, currently is quite good.

Q: Tell us about the team, because Daniil Kvyat said yesterday in this press conference that the team has improved in many areas since he was last with Toro Rosso. What are those areas?

FT: We reshuffled our aerodynamic department. We changed a lot in the production to increase the quality. Also in the assembling we changed many working methods and processes and I think everything together came up with the result that the car is quite good.

Q: And what about Kvyat himself? How much has he improved since he was last with you?

FT: Daniil is much more experienced now. He is much more mature. He understands the technical side much better. Last year, as well all know, he was working at Ferrari in the simulator. I think that he learned there also a lot and everything is coming together with him and therefore he is showing a good performance. But also I must say that Alex is coming up with a very good performance and I think he is a surprise and he also this morning was quite fast, because we must not forget that he is here the first time and he has to learn the track. It looks very easy from the outside but also Canada has some tricky corners, as we know, and he is making good progress. As I said before, we have two real competitive drivers. They have high natural speeds; they are quite good, talented.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action / Speed Sport) For Guenther and Franz, Liberty is on record saying they want to increase the number of races. Unlike the big teams, you cannot afford to have extra staff to rotate. How concerned are you about the stress and strain on your staff and their families?

FT: I don’t care about the families. If we have a lot of races… we have 52 weekends, we can have 26 races. Where’s the problem? If we get the money for all the races, that’s important. Then I don’t have a problem.

Guenther, anything you can add?

GS: Yeah, I care about the families! That’s what I would like to add. Because then the people working are happy. I think if we reorganised a little bit the weekend, how we run it, we maybe could make some savings there. With days at the track. We cannot save days but we can adjust it a little bit. I agree with Franz, if the new races bring financial benefits, why not do it? But we need to be clever about it and try to find the days somewhere else. Just putting more and more on is maybe not productive. And also, we need to be careful what the spectator wants. There is a saturation factor which I am not entitled… or I have not the knowledge. Maybe Toto has because he knows a lot of things. When the saturation happens. In general, if we can make the weekends a little bit shorter for the people that work here, I think we can do a few more races.

Toto, shall we just open this up to you as well. What are your thoughts?

GS: He’s the expert!

TW: We’re a good combination. He knows all about tyres and temperatures and I do about saturation! I think Guenther summarised it very well. I think we… saturation is something that needs to be considered. Formula One is exclusive and adding more races is not adding to the exclusivity factor. On the other hand, we are all asking Liberty to increase revenue and doing more races is obviously the biggest leverage in that respect. In my opinion it’s a fine balance. We need to respect that, at the moment, the travelling population, all the race team, is pretty flat out. I don’t think you can really do much more than 21 races. You need to work with a second shift. We have started to rotate a little bit – but then you can’t really rotate the very senior personnel. So, if we do more races, my opinion is that it needs to be linked with more income and spectacular new tracks or markets that we open up. That would be important.

Q: (Éric Desrosiers – Le Devoir) Sorry, I have to ask, maybe to the three team managers: how do you like the new installations here on the circuit?

FT: It’s a very nice facility, thank you for this. Generally, I like to come here to Montreal, and especially now, we have much more space. People have – not only teams, also journalists and the marketing side – have much more space for working . A big thank you to Montreal, to the city, to the government that they approved this and authorised the building. I think it’s a big improvement.

Toto, the facilities…?

TW: It’s a bit cold here, that’s the only one in the new facilities. But like Franz said, it’s fantastic that Montreal has committed to Formula One racing by building such a state-of-the-art facility. They have done it really well, because we have keep the authenticity of the track and the island but equally built a purpose-built facility that’s great.

Guenther?

GS: There’s nothing to add, just to say thank you for what the city did here. It’s always good to have new facilities, because the old ones were run down – but very good that they came up with the money to do this. Thank you.

Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines / racefans.net) Tanabe-san  and Toto. As engine suppliers, as well as, in your case Toto, the team principal of the race team, the current engine formula was originally devised in 2009. It was given a reprieve and will now run through until 2024. What sort of formula would you like to see from 2025-onwards that would keep your wo companies in Formula One. And then, to the other two team principals: what sort of engine formula would you like to see?

TW: I think that we are in the middle of a transition of technology, at least on the road car side, and as much as we, most of us, are fans of the loud, traditional engines, it not where the technology goes and where the perception on sustainability goes – so I believe we’ve done the right thing in keeping the regulations almost stable for the next term – because it would have caused a tremendous amount of development to come up with the new formula. Also, it is not quite clear where this next generation of power unit actually should be. Listening to our chairman of Daimler, we expect 50 per cent of our fleet to be either hybrid or electric by 2030, so I think if this is the direction technology goes, we could as well have an engine that will have a higher hybrid component, renewable energies or electricity. Today, it’s maybe around 20 per cent, maybe that ratios going to go to 50 per cent. As long as it’s an exciting engine – the sound is something that we need to address or at least talk about it – but I believe the hybrid component is going to increase after 2025.

Tanabe-san, what’s Honda’s position?

TT: As Toto said, we think the a kind-of transition phase now and then we just finish discussion over the 2021 PU regulation and then we keep current concept until 2024/25. Then, one of the reasons, we couldn’t find any next step, green, sustainable and then high efficiency PU confirmation now. So, it means we need to discuss again and start again, what should be the pinnacle of Formula One race PU technology. I believe the same thing as Toto. We keep a hybrid and then what we can do is improve the current principle of the current Formula One PU.

Guenther and Franz, your thoughts…

GS: I think we need to stay current with technology. I don’ t know that the technology will be in 2025. Toto and Tanabe-san know much better what is happening there. It was asked from Dieter, what do you like? We all like a loud, screaming V10 or V12 but that is not, in this time, it is just not acceptable any more. So, I think I would like that Formula One stays current in technology with what is happening. The engine manufacturers know what it needs to be: it needs to be sustainable, adding more electrical element, as Toto said, so, I go with them. For me, the point is, we need to stay up with technology in F1 and not go back to what I like, because I was young then.

Franz?

FT: I think currently we have a power unit which is on a very, very high technical level and, unfortunately, this has not been communicated in a way the power unit deserved. We have a small engine, two energy recovery systems and all these components together is the technology for the future because with this engine also in a normal street car, maybe you can do 100km with one litre, two litres of fuel, and then you come home with a filled battery. They all are talking about the electric cars, and I’m just asking where from do they get the energy? It’s not like in Formula E when 20 cars are outside on the track and behind there are 50 diesel aggregates spending their energy. This is nothing serious in my opinion – but the great manufacturers go to the Formula E or have built electric cars. I’m just asking where they get the energy from? I think we have, in Formula One, the technology for the future. As Toto said, maybe the hybrid part, electric part will increase to 40 per cent or even more. That’s fine, but from the technology itself, for me, this is the solution for the future.

Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) – A question to the three team bosses. We’re all quite excited to see what we’re going to get for the 2021 regulations, sooner rather than later. Guenther, in one of your earlier answers you mentioned maybe condensing the schedule down. That might be a way to fit in more races or reduce the load. I believe one of the suggestions for5 2021 has been to move parc fermé to the beginning of Friday, shuffle the Friday practice sessions back later. Where do you stand on parc fermé to before you’ve run on track. I guess that would cause slightly more headaches for the engineers and move the preparations to simulations before the weekend?

GS: I’m OK with that, because that’s what I said before. We just need to plan it well, how we do it. So that we are prepared for it. We adapt all pretty quick here. There’s enough people working at it. That would be one of the solutions – to start on Friday the event, which now starts on Thursday, because we are all here, but we could do that job also from other places. That would be one of the solutions and that I think is the intent of it.

TW: I think if you can compress without reducing the show, then that is something we should look at. I believe that for the promoters it is not great. The Friday is an important day when they are able to generate some revenue and attract some audiences. We are not keen on the parc fermé format from Friday to Sunday. There is no motor racing formula out there that doesn’t allow the cars to be touched over the weekend and I don’t think we should start with Formula One, the pinnacle of motor racing. You open up a can of worms with penalties because cars will end up in the wall and they will need to rebuilt and I think from the sheer idea of how we can add more variability, more unpredictability, have more cars braking down, I think we will achieve the contrary. We will spend more time and resource in the virtual world, runs cars harder on dynos to make them last, because we know we can’t take them apart over three days, so I don’t think this is something we should touch. There are many other areas that make sense, but this one, not for us.

FT: Of course there are a lot of discussions going on and I’m not a big friend of this solution to be honest. As Toto mentioned before, Friday is an important day also for the organisers from the financial side. Whether we are now here one day earlier or later at the track, I don’t think this makes a big difference. We have to increase the show, we have to reduce the costs, we have to distribute the money in a fair way. I think these are the most important points. The parc fermé story is absolutely secondary. OK, it’s being discussed now among the teams but I don’t think these changes are important for the topics I just mentioned before. I think we don’t need to change anything in this way.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Two questions for Toto: one is about the complaining of Lewis yesterday. He said he wanted a different Formula One. He’s the most successful driver in the hybrid era. I would like to know your comment about this. And the second question: it could be ugly at this moment but I would like to know what has happened about Niki’s 10 percent of the team. Are you going to buy it?

TW: I think, on the first topic, drivers want machines that are difficult to drive and that are challenging and that is clear. I think when we need to look at chassis regulations going forward, that can be a point of discussion. I’m not entirely sure that we can go back in time. I think if you put a car on track it’s going to vibrate, not drive in a straight line and not do what the driver wants; I’m not sure the drivers would be happy about it but I kind of get the point that when you look at the images of Mansell and Senna collapsing after the end of a race that is exciting and they should be gladiators, so I can understand where he’s coming from.

On the Niki situation, we haven’t discussed that yet. It’s too close to the tragic event. That is going to be a topic we will address with Daimler in the next few weeks and months.

Q: (Maxime Sarasin – 98.5 FM) I want to go back to what Lewis told us yesterday. He told us that it was too easy for pilots to drive, that he was not exhausted at all after a Grand Prix and he could maybe do two or three others in the same day. And he didn’t feel that at that time, he was saying that new pilots were coming in are maybe the best athletes that they should be and he told us that that shouldn’t happen right now. So I really want to know what you think about that, what are your thoughts about that and do you think that going with technology should at least make an obligation to have drivers to be the best athletes possible for Formula One.

FT: In my opinion, the current level of the drivers from the fitness side is the highest I’ve ever seen in Formula One. You must not forget that we now have drivers who started motor sport when they were six or seven years old. That means that when they come to Formula One, they’ve already done 10 to 15 years of karting first and then the junior categories and I’m not talking about the Red Bull and Toro Rosso drivers. Our drivers have special physical training plans. They have their own coach, they have a nutrition plan. That means they are so well prepared that the driving itself is no longer so exciting for them and of course, you cannot compare this time with – let me say – twenty or thirty years ago when Nelson Piquet and Nigel Mansell or whoever collapsed after a race. They never saw a fitness centre from the inside and some of them were smoking as well and in former days, I remember that some cars did not finish the race and then they talked about gearbox problems. Hey, they were smoking beforehand and they were not fit enough to finish the race and then they put it in any gear so that the car stopped. They were not fit enough. This is the reality and nowadays we have really really good drivers in Formula One and we have a very high level and therefore you don’t see accidents – which on one side is very good – from the entertaining point of view is boring. Friends of mine say you don’t even see a crash after the start in the first corner because they all manage to do it. It’s because the driving level is very very high, I think the highest we’ve ever seen in Formula One and this we continue. But this is nothing to do only with Formula One; this is in all the other sports as well, in skiing and so on, therefore I think we should be happy to see these drivers.

MI: This is for the team managers, he said. I agree, it’s a completely different… we cannot compare the era of Senna, Piquet and so on with the current drivers. I believe that the level of the drivers is very good. We are changing the car from 2016 to 2017; it became a lot more physical to drive, I don’t know if it is (difficult) enough or not, for Lewis probably not. But talking about tyres, I would say that we are always trying to supply to Formula One what they want so just ask and we try to do our best. In terms of cars and so on, it’s more Toto that can give you an answer.

Q: Well, Toto, what about Lewis’s thoughts yesterday?

TW: You can look at the lap times. I think we have the quickest cars by now. We have changed the aerodynamic formula to take a few seconds off the cars and we are going faster than last year, so the levels of downforce are enormous and like Franz said, it’s very right that the level of perfection has just increased enormously and you don’t see these kind of mistakes any more. You could, artificially, make it much harder: take the power-assisted steering out, then you will have drivers like bodybuilders and they will struggle to finish races because it will be so tiring - that is easy – but it would be a step back in technology but maybe that is something we should consider in the future for the entertainment factor.

GS: Or we could ban the drivers from going to the fitness studios as Franz said, so they will be tired at the end of the race. It would be a lot cheaper. And to eat fast foods all the time! No, without joking, I think Franz explained it very well: the fitness level is just so high and the cars are so sophisticated so it’s just getting better and it’s evolution. It isn’t that they are easy to drive, we are just so well prepared – they are so well prepared altogether. That is why they now complain about it.

TT: I just remember 20 or 30 years ago, after the race, drivers got wet and then sometimes they couldn’t get out of the car. But with technology improvement, the current drivers work not only physically but also their heads. I don’t know which is good but Formula One wins, I think.

Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines, Racefans.net) Toto, continuing what Lewis said yesterday, he actually said that Formula One should be a man’s sport. I was wondering how this sat alongside the women in motorsport initiative and also what your wife (Susie Wolff) thinks about that comment?

TW: He was on a roll yesterday, I think! I don’t think he meant it in the way that it was seen as discriminatory. On the contrary, he’s someone who is very open to diversity and somebody who raced against Susie in Formula Renault. I think that what he meant was that it needs to be a gladiator’s sport, the toughest machines for the best drivers out there. In terms of the FIA initiatives that have been merged with Dare to be Different, I think this is wonderful to see that there are more girls now looking at go-karting and when in the past there were a hundred boys there were one or two girls now you can see there are five or six and that it’s starting to have an impact. We will see where that is in five years. I would very much hope that in our lifespan in Formula One we will see a girl racing competitively in F1.

Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Toto, again referencing something that Lewis said yesterday, hopefully not something that has been taken out of context. It was when he was asked about the engine upgrade here and he said that one of the things that had impressed him was the fact that Mercedes had not had the smoothest ride with developing the engine or working on upgrades at the start of the year. I just wondered if we could get your thoughts on whether there was anything in particular that was troubling with the development of these engine upgrades or has that been par for the course over the last few years when you’re pushing the envelope and trying to push the engines as hard as you can?

TW: I think we had times at Mercedes where the engine was described as the determining factor in the team’s success and then it has somehow transitioned to the chassis side and people nowadays are talking that the chassis is the leader of the pack but what really needs to be said is that with mature regulations it becomes more and more difficult to extract additional performance and keeping reliability and the guys in Brixworth are doing a fantastic job. Obviously I live in it and I’m seeing the struggles and the boundaries they are trying to push and the targets they set and sometimes they don’t reach them completely but they keep pushing and pushing and pushing and that is very inspiring to see that the group of people have not stopped chasing performance.

Q: (Trago Mendonca – O Dia) Franz, Indycar is testing a new system to protect the drivers, the aeroscreen, a partnership with Red Bull. What do you think about the system comparing to the halo that we have now in Formula One?

FT: The most important thing is that the safety is guaranteed. If this new system is working from the optical side, from the aesthetic side, I like it more and then we will see because the car looks more sophisticated but together with Red Bull Technology they will test everything and then we will see what the solution will be.