Friday, 7 June 2019

2019 Canadian GP: FIA Team Members' Press Conference.

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.


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.


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 / 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.


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, 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.

Thursday, 6 June 2019

2019 Canadian GP: FIA Drivers' Press Conference.

DRIVERS – Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes), Lance STROLL (Racing Point), Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN (Alfa Romeo), Lando NORRIS (McLaren), Daniil KVYAT (Toro Rosso)

Lance, it’s both yours and the team’s home race. Just describe how that feels?

Lance STROLL: Well, it’s obviously a very special weekend; it’s good to be back home. I don’t get to come back often. The week leading up to the race has been great, catching up with friends and family. I enjoyed my time playing hockey with the Montréal Canadiens yesterday, that was fun, and now back to business.

Q: And I think you’ve got your own grandstand this weekend, is that right?

LS: That’s right, yeah, at the hairpin, like last year, so that will be very special, my installation lap tomorrow, all the Canadian flags in the grandstands. It’s one of the best weekends on the calendar and definitely the highlight of my season.

Q: Well, let’s hope that Sunday’s race lasts longer for you than it did last year. Tell us about the car’s potential here at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. What do you think you can achieve?

LS: Well, historically it’s been a track that’s suited our car. I mean of course it’s a new year and the competition in the midfield is very tight. But I think there is an opportunity for us this weekend. It’s been a challenging couple of events, in Spain and in Monaco, not managing to score points, but we’re looking to turn that around this weekend.

Q: Well, you have scored points this year, in Australia and Baku. Qualifying seems to have been quite tough for you so far. How does the car feel on light fuel, is it very tricky?

LS: Yeah, I mean at times I think we have just unfortunately missed out. There are reasons behind why the performance has been poor, but it’s definitely a focus point and we’ll be working on it moving forward.

Q: Thank you and good luck this weekend. Daniil, your best ever result with Toro Rosso in Monaco, where you finished seventh. Fair to say it was one of your best races?

Daniil KVYAT: Yeah, I mean, you know how it is in Monaco – you start and pretty from there the positions are consolidated. It was good to get this kind of way, you know. It was a very good day for myself, for the team and to be honest the whole weekend felt quite good in the car – good qualifying. Lately it’s been getting better and better, so I’m pretty happy with things, how they are going, the way they are moving. Hopefully we’ll carry on the momentum and bring it into here as well.

Q: You say it’s getting better. Is your own performance getting better and better? Are we seeing the best Kvyat we have every seen in Formula 1?

DK: Perhaps, yes. I wanted to come back to F1 as an improved version of myself and I think I’m managing to do that so far and hopefully again it will be getting better and better.  

Q: You’re equalling a record this weekend: With your former team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne, you’re starting your 58th race for Toro Rosso, which is a record, and you’re only 25. How does that feel and how has the team evolved in that time?

DK: You’ve made me feel very old now. Yeah, I’m happy with where the team is going to be honest. I’ve seen a lot of things in Toro Rosso and now I think I’m happy with the team around me and I’m quite happy there. The guys are doing a very good job this year, I think improving many things that in the past were maybe holding this team back, and I’m happy to contribute, to help the team improve these things.

Q: Good stuff and good luck this weekend. Lando, you first time here in Montréal. What are you expecting from this race track? The walls are pretty close.

Lando NORRIS: It’s pretty difficult to say. I’ve obviously done my share of sim work and preparation and seen onboards and whatever, just what the usual is. It’s a new weekend. Monaco didn’t go quite so well for me but it’s an exciting one. From what I’ve seen in the past it looks a fun track, it’s a fun track to drive, although it’s pretty tricky. I’m just looking to have fun and hopefully some racing on Sunday and I guess our aim for the whole weekend is before we go into more details, let’s say it’s to get into Q3 and have a points finish. But the midfield is very tight, like Lance said, and it’s going to be tough. We just need to make sure we’re at the front of that, and yeah, just give it our best.

Q: The intra-team battle between you and Carlos is proving pretty tight this year, just six points between you? How’s the working relationship between you?

LN: It’s going pretty well, actually. I’ve team-mate in other categories of course, but it’s always different when you get to Formula 1, a lot of people… People try to make a lot more of fierce battle between team-mates, a lot of media and everything always look into that kind of things. But we’re have a lot of fun and yeah, we’re friends away from the track. We’ve had a lot of fun so far this season. There has been no conflict. There have not been any points so far where we’ve had different decisions or different opinions on different things; we’ve gelled pretty well. And for the team anyway that has been very positive. We have similar comments. We have different feelings and prefer different things on the car, but we work together, which also helps the team improve, go in a similar direction and that’s a positive thing. Looking ahead to the future, I’m trying to improve the car and become a better team. It’s been good fun and I’m sure it’s going to improve and help things going forward.

Q: You say you are looking to improve the car. Tell us a little bit about the car, as it appears that it tends to fluctuate a little bit from track to track. Is that a fair assessment?

LN: Yeah, I think if you look back…. I don’t know, the one fairly standout one was China and that was just not a good weekend altogether for us, as a tea. But we bounced back fairly well and apart from that we have been fairly strong – top 10 contenders shall we say. I think just because the midfield is close, it’s four teams, five teams, and different teams are better in different areas and at different tracks and it’s hard to make those differences sometimes more than others. Coming into this weekend, it’s just going to be one of those times where we could be very strong or not be strong but we never really know, although we have assumptions on where the car is good or bad. Other teams as well. It’s always a different track when you go out and drive. It’s getting there. It’s improving slowly, but it’s not where we want it to be yet.

Q: Thank you Lando and enjoy yourself this weekend. Kimi, we’ve heard about the performance of the McLaren, tell us a little bit about the Alfa Romeo. The season started very well for you guys but it appears to have dropped off in the last couple of races. Why do you think that is?

Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN: Honestly, we were not that fast. I think, definitely not what we wanted but in Monaco if you qualify quite badly that’s pretty much where you are going to race. After Saturday, after the first few laps and the first pit stop you know where you are going to be. But in Barcelona I think we understood some things that were wrong. Those are two separate things but I think those circuits overall were not very good for us. Hopefully we are back here a bit more normal position but we are only going to find out over the weekend, so we’ll see. Nothing major wrong, it’s just that we lack speed.

Q: Now, it’s Lando’s first weekend here. It didn’t go so badly for you back in 2001, your first time here, you finished fourth. Tell us a little bit about the track, the highlights from a driver’s point of view?

KR: It’s quite a tricky track in the end, because obviously… It’s not really a street circuit but it’s very narrow on the exit of the chicanes, so if you get it wrong you have to push over the kerbs and if your car is not very good over the kerbs it’s easy to touch the walls. Plus, there are a lot of brakings (sic) that have to be right. It not an awful lot of corners but it’s not the easiest place to get right.

Q: Thank you, Kimi. Lewis, well, fourth for Kimi on his first outing here in 2001, and of course you won your first ever grand prix here back in 2007. Can you tell us what it’s like to come back to Montréal, a track where you’ve had so much success and what you are looking forward to this weekend?

Lewis HAMILTON: [To Lando Norris] I’m just wondering, how old are you?

LN: Nineteen.

LH: Shoot… No, I love coming back to Montréal. The weather is often great here. The circuit is fantastic and it’s a track that I think everyone enjoys. It’s definitely in the top three of the favourite circuits of the year. And I think the city is a big part of that. The city is very vibrant. The people are super welcoming, great food. Even just today, you see the whole bridge is covered with fans, so you already know that you have a massive turnout for this race. From a driver’s perspective the track is awesome. It’s a bit go-kart-esque, with great long straights, so you can overtake, and you’re throwing the car over these big, huge kerbs around the track and there are not massive run-off areas, so it’s a bit of a high-speed street circuit, which is great.

Q: Why do you think you excel here?
LH: Well, I don’t think I’ve really excelled for quite a while here, if I’m really honest. When I was at McLaren it worked quite well. I think our car was quite nimble back then and working really well here. I don’t think I’ve been massively successful as far as I can remember in recent years. But it’s been a bit harder in the hybrid era, especially since we’ve had a longer car, since 2017, so it’s a little bit harder to get turned around some of these corners. But our car is a lot better this year in the slower-speed, medium-speed corners, so I anticipate that this year we will be stronger than we have been in the past. But being that we have these long straights, you k now that the Red Bulls and the Ferraris will be particularly really strong this weekend and I’m excited for that fight.

Q: Can you just elaborate on how you see the balance of power coming into this weekend? Are you more nervous about this weekend than the previous six this year?

LH: No, I wouldn’t say I was more nervous about this weekend. You do notice in Monaco that everyone gets a lot closer, or the top teams particularly are a lot closer, but generally everyone is more packed together. A lot of these other teams have got great packages and are getting closer and closer throughout the year, which is great to see. Here, there are not a huge amount of corners and it’s a lot of straight-line speed. Honda have really picked up their pace with their engine this year, so the Red Bulls should be really strong and they’re great through corners. The Ferrari is generally the quickest car in a straight line, all year long. In the past races we’ve been able to catch them up through the corners, but whether or not that will be the case this weekend, time will tell. But I hope there is a close battle between us all.


Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Lewis, when we were in Monaco, you said you expected to have an upgraded engine here. The team’s confirmed that. Because you’ve had six races, the team has won every race despite not having that engine upgrade your rivals have. How much of a step do you expect to take this weekend. And with the improvements to the car, making it better in lower and medium speed this year, do you feel the team’s in its strongest all-round position that it’s been since you’ve been with Mercedes?

LH: Well, on the engine side, the guys back at Brixworth have been working incredibly hard. It’s not been the easiest beginning of the year in terms of preparing an engine. Whilst it’s an evolution of previous years, each time you’re always trying to push the envelope, and there’s so many people working so hard to improve it. As I said, it’s not been the smoothest ride but we’ve had great reliability with the first engine. It’s always great when you have a new engine, being that it’s fresh. This is a power circuit, so it’s come at the perfect time. If you look at the previous years, this is the race we always bring our second engine. It’s Phase II so it will have all-new mods. Slight improvements everywhere: it’s not a massive… it’s not like at the beginning of the hybrid era where you took massive strides forwards – or even last year. It’s just small steps. The biggest difference is that it’s brand new; fresh. The old engine that’s done six races will have degradation etc., But the guys have worked so hard, it’s now small percentages but they’re very much appreciated.

Q: (Andrea Cremonese - La Gazzetta dello Sport) A question for Lewis. You come from two difficult life periods, not about yourself but we have the funeral of Niki and then there was death on Thursday of the poor kid, Harry [Shaw]. I know that you drew inspiration in Spain from this poor guy. I would like to know if these two things can stimulate you more over this grand prix to honour the memory of Niki and the memory of the young guy? Thank you.

LH: I don’t know if it stimulates more. It’s just that, as you go through life, when you see things happen, or you experience certain things, you naturally grow through it. I think, naturally we continue to race with Niki in our hearts and that’s not going to stop. We always want to continue to make him proud. Of course, devasting to… I can’t understand how… life is so precious and how such a young… how young people can lose their lives so early on. It’s just beyond me. But I have the greatest memories with little Harry. God has another angel. Coming into this weekend we’ve all got to stay positive. I’ve got a lot of people relying on me to continue to do the job. So, it’s just strange how the world continues to move on. The world just continues. What’s really important for each and every single one of us. We all have our own lives and we don’t know how long or short they’re going to be. You just have to maximise every opportunity. Every day that I have, I’m trying to grow, trying to be the best I can be, do what I love, regardless of people’s opinions, and just live life to the fullest.

Q: (Walter Buchignani – Montreal Gazette) I have a very local question for those of you who’ve been here before. Can we have your impressions on the new installations please?

DK: They renewed the paddock this year. I think it looks wider but looks good I guess. I don’t know. For me, more important is the track. The room is there where I can sit down and that’s it, that’s all that matters. The track is fine. Some other things stayed old. It’s good, always welcome the renovations.

LH: It looks beautiful. I’ve not really seen much of it – obviously we’re in it now. It’s only taken the 13 years I’ve been here for them to put it together, being it’s one of the most attended races, I’m surprised they didn’t do it sooner but it’s great that they have. It means that they’ve made a real investment, it means this track is going to be here for a long time, as it should be. They’re still working on the road works outside. That bridge! I swear they’ve been working on that since I started in Formula One! I don’t know if it’s every going to get done. Maybe they should hire the same people that did this building because they’ve done a good job.

LS: It’s beautiful. It’s great for the city, great for the grand prix. I hope it sticks around because we all think it’s a great place to come race. It’s awesome to drive around here and there’s great racing as well. Really please for Montreal. Let’s enjoy it.

KR: I haven’t been in the boxes or in a garage, so its hard to say. What I heard is that it’s better for the guys to work, so I think they will appreciate a lot. I think you’ll get the very honest answer from them if you ask after the weekend how was it. I’m sure it’s better for them to work and for everybody here, so that’s a good thing.

Q: (Luis Vasconcelos – Formula Press) Question for Kimi and Dany. Kimi, one-third of the season almost done. How is it to be back in the midfield after 16 seaons fighting at the front. And Daniil, you’re back to where you started in terms of teams. You just mentioned how much the team has changed and improved. How different are you from when you were driving for them the first time around, now that you have the experience?

DK: Yeah, I think, like I said also before, I think the team is moving in a good direction. I think in the winter there was a plan to improve certain areas that in the past weren’t fantastic. It’s important to see that it’s getting better. Also, our car, I think, is showing consistent performance on most kinds of track. Me likewise. I wanted to work on certain things for my comeback in Formula One. There’s been a lot of good work put in behind the scenes and it’s paying off, which I am very pleased to see. Hopefully it will carry on like that. We should never stop, as  a team, and I’m happy with the team around me as well. We should never stop developing and just aim to move in the same direction, for me and for the team.

KR: I think the work itself is no different. Basically do the same stuff, it doesn’t matter which team you are in. Racing, I think there has been some good battles. If it’s like Monaco, even in the front, if you’re stuck behind somebody, it’s not the greatest place for racing but there’s been good battles here and there. I wouldn’t say that a lot of things have changed. I think you get more close battles in quite a few races because the midfield teams are more close together. At least there’s been some overtaking this year – but generally the working side hasn’t changed. It’s a bit less busy, so that’s a good thing.

Q: (Philippe Lague – 98.5FM Montreal) I have a question for Lewis. We’ve talked about Niki Lauda and it was quite a loss but here I would like to have for our local audience your personal input. I read somewhere that he made you a better driver. Can you elaborate on that please?)

LH: Niki never talked to me about driving. As racing drivers, we don't really do that necessarily. He hired me to do a job. He didn’t hire me to then tell me how to do the job. He was just, for me, a massive part of my journey. Obviously I wouldn't have joined this team if it wasn't for Niki. And then, along the way, just understanding how he was a racer and his approach and how he pushed the people around him to help extract more from the team. I definitely learnt that sort of thing from him. I could see that from him all the time, so I’ve definitely incorporated that in how I manoeuvre throughout my year. In terms of driving, that’s all been trial and error through myself really but as I said, I wouldn’t have had the platform to develop as a driver; I wouldn’t have the platform I currently have without Niki.

Q: (Stu Cowan – Montreal Gazette) Question for Lance. What do you like most about this track and what’s the most challenging and/or fun part of it for a driver?

LS: I think just the technicality of it in general. It’s got a lot of character. Lewis mentioned it earlier. You’re riding the kerbs, there’s not a lot of room for error. Long straights which allow for good overtaking, so there’s a bit of everything. For a racing driver, that makes the weekend in general very exciting. It’s a lot of fun to drive over one lap. You have to be very committed and use all of the race track. On Sunday it’s a proper race, and that’s great for the fans as well.

Q: (Oliver Brown – The Telegraph) Question for Lewis. The programme that you did with David Letterman. There was an interesting section where your Dad was referring to the management breakup back in 2010, and he said that it broke his heart. I just wondered if you could reflect on how difficult that period was and how much more it makes you appreciate the relationship you have with him now.

LH: There’s nothing that hasn't ever really been spoken about before. The relationship is fantastic now and unfortunately it wasn't always great but that happens within families. The great thing is that… actually this year I had the first Christmas with my whole family this year. With my Mum and my Step-Mum and my Dad and sisters together and my brother together. So it was the first united Christmas that I’ve had over the years. So, there’s been massive growth within the family and between me and my Dad, we just went out partying for him birthday the other day until the early hours of the morning in London, which was awesome. Sometimes it just takes people time apart to build and grow within themselves so then they can come back into relationships. But for sure, as you get older you realise how precious time is. I’ve got friends who don't have their dads any longer and some that didn’t speak to their dads for 25-30 years. I never ever want that to happy. My Dad’s someone who I think is the greatest man I know and someone I aspire to be a lot like and for sure want him to be around for a long time. So, that’s why I’m pushing him in the gym to stay fit. Health is everything.

Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines, Lewis, you said this was one of the top three tracks in your opinion. Which are the other two?

LH: Silverstone and Austin, they are my… Why? Literally because… look, we’ve got Monaco which is spectacular. I live there, I love it but you all know how the race is from the day before. It’s not a race that… I personally don’t enjoy driving the race because you can make your car as wide as you want, you can’t actually entertain. You don’t turn passes in, for example. Austin, you can overtake, it’s a brand new circuit but it’s got a lot of great character, you can actually follow. Same with here, it’s a race track where you can get quite close. It is a street circuit on this incredible little island in this big city and it’s just very unique in its own way. It’s very high speed braking, big stops and there are some big curves. And then the Silverstone Grand Prix, that track has history galore, the layout is just incredible. It’s all high speed and medium speed and it’s the ultimate test… probably of all the tracks the ultimate test of the downforce of a car and you’ve got some of the coolest sections: Copse, Maggotts, Becketts, Stowe. Those sectors, that whole combination is not… I don’t think there’s many tracks in the world that have a better combination of corners in my personal opinion. But also there, you can, being that it’s wide enough, you can naturally follow and there is some really good racing there so that’s why it’s my personal favourite.

Q: (Phil Duncan – Press Association) Just on that Letterman interview, Lewis, you spoke about dealing with mental issues and instabilities. Is that something you still sort of not struggle with but contend with during your career now and is it easier to manage that aspect of your career now than it was perhaps in the earlier days?

LH: Yeah, it’s definitely better when you’re… I think probably the older you get, the more you understand about the world and yourself and about your health. I think a bit step for me was when I decided to go to a plant-based diet, that really changed a huge amount for me and the positive impact that’s had, mentally and physically, means I just wish I did it a lot earlier. Unfortunately, the education (about it) is pretty poor so for kids that are at school, and obviously parents aren’t probably educating their kids because they also don’t know of the positive effects it can have. Not every day is easy, you still come across humps but ever year I’m getting new tools to be able to handle and deal with them and learning new things all the time, so (I’m) definitely in the best place I’ve ever been but you’ve really seen that shift over the past years and I don’t think that’s ever going to stop, I think that continues to learn and grow and improve.

Q: (Bob Fouaur – The Correspondent) I have a question for Lewis and Lance. The rules are being considered for revision and right now we’ve got a pretty substantial gap between the top three and the midfield. I’m wondering what you, as drivers, think should happen to the rules?

LH: Regulations or rules? Which one? Regulations. In my personal opinion if you look over the last 12 years and beyond that, they always shift and change the regulations for the car, trying to improve costs, trying to improve overtaking and I think in general the decisions have not been great in all those years. You’ve got Liberty that’s taken over now and you still have the same issues, people are not so excited, you still have that separation between all the top wealthier teams and the lower teams. I think there’s more to it than just changing the regulations of the car. That continues to be a fundamental issue but there’s also the entertainment aspect. If you look, every weekend is the same four days for 21 weekends in a year and that format’s never changed, so I think there’s also the entertainment aspect of it that probably has to shift, to suit different tracks. You’ve got Monaco on which you can’t overtake – maybe you have two races there, I don’t know what it is but I don’t have the answers for it but I think that element also needs to have a real look into it because the fans are the reason that we continue to be able to do what we do and I see that whilst there’s a lot of people here, there are races where there are not big attendances, promotion is perhaps not always the best in some places. People do continue to comment that it’s boring because you still have a period of time where Ferrari wins for a period of time, McLaren wins for a period of time, Mercedes, Red Bull. How you stop that, that is definitely a part of the regulations but I think on a more global scale, I think there needs to be some more changes even outside of the regulations in my opinion. I think Ross and that (team)  are hopefully thinking about that for 2021 but ultimately we… if I had the choice I would go back to V12s, naturally aspirated engines, I would have manual gearboxes, I’d make it harder for the drivers, take away all these big run-off areas that you have everywhere, should not have steering assistance or even if you do have steering assistance you’ve got to have it low. I like it having low so it’s harder for me. You should be just so physically exhausted after the race, to the point… like a marathon. Sometimes you do these races and you can get up and… I could do a race… I could probably do two or three races in a row and Formula One should not be like that. Also it’s a man’s sport, you know, and a lot of youngsters come in and it’s quite easy for them to get straight into it but I do think it should be the most physically challenging and probably why a lot of us drivers are able to go on for a long period in time is because we can handle it. There’s a bunch of different things I have.

LS: I think closer racing, to start off with is the main thing. There’s a bunch of other factors which could use change but I think closer racing, budget caps to make the field more equal would be much more exciting. You look at the NHL, the NFL, the NBA, the teams are so close. On any given Sunday in the NFL any team can win. That’s because it’s capped properly, it’s managed properly and that allows for exciting competitions and it would be great to see the same thing in Formula One where instead of a second and a half, two seconds between the field, it comes down to tenths. I think that would really spice things up and then of course, closer racing, regulation changes to allow us to race wheel to wheel which I know is definitely a focus point so really all these things.

LH: We need better tyres. We need better tyres.

Q: (Yhacbec Lopez – Motorlat) Lance, this year you have had some trouble in qualifying. It’s for a particular reason with the car or set-up or what is the problem exactly?

LS: I think there’s always reason. I think we’ve been unfortunate a couple of times: traffic here and there, there’s always things but the last couple of races the car hasn’t been very competitive which is the main reason really. In order to qualify well, you need a quick car under you and the midfield being so tight, we see from track to track the strengths and weaknesses of different teams on different types of tracks. The last couple of events haven’t suited our car and then yeah, there’s definitely things on my side that I definitely need to work on, get to grips with the car. It’s a new car, new environment for me and I need to work on my weaknesses and build on my strengths. On a positive side, the race pace has been very good. We’ve managed to score points in a couple of events but we definitely want to be consistently in the points more often and fighting up at the front, that’s the goal.

Q: (Maxime Sarasin – 98.5 FM) Lewis, we were talking about possible changes to the rules. Do you think personally that drivers should have a louder say in all those changes, for the future? And what is the legacy you really want to leave as a driver, personally?

LH: Well, all the drivers are united for the first time. We are all part of the GPDA so we are all united, we are all working together, we all communicate. Unfortunately, the technical regulations are done by the people with power, with money and we generally have a little say, if any, as to what changes will take place. Ultimately we know what it’s like to race, we know what the challenges are and so we’re very open to being a part of it and contributing any of our ideas because we all naturally do have ideas and we all know where the limits are. One of the guys who works with us, Alex Wurz, for example, an ex-driver, he also knows and understands – because it’s pretty similar to when he was racing in terms of issues. So we do want to be a part of the conversation because ultimately we can help for the future. Also, a lot of the things that we push for are for the younger generation of drivers, things that we change in the rules for the drivers’ side of things is so that the younger drivers that come through will benefit from those things.

In terms of my legacy, it’s difficult to say, really. I think there are so many elements that are to be worked on. Ultimately, I want to somehow find some more… help pave the way for some younger drivers to come through from a similar background to myself for example. That means getting involved in go-karting from the early phases of motor racing. It’s so expensive now, to race go-karts. I think when I started, I think me and my Dad told me we spent £20,000 in the first year which was a huge amount of money from where we come from on a council estate in the UK. But today, to do a professional season of karting, it’s in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, like two or three hundred thousand dollars or something to be professional. Now that’s a lot of money to spend in a year. I want to be a part of somehow shifting that, also helping shift the diversity a little bit because there really is the most minimal diversity within this sport and I really somehow want to be a part of shape-shifting that with Formula One, working in co-operation with Formula One and the FIA. I don’t know why there’s not enough university students, engineers, mechanics and even within the media, coming through from more diverse backgrounds. I don’t know that’s always been the way it is today but I see a real opportunity there to be a part of shape-shifting that.  So that’s ultimately, in 20 years time, I want to look back or if I ever hear someone whispering they would say that I was a part of shifting that.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Cape Town approached to host a Formula E ePrix.

The City of Cape Town has been approached by the Cape Town Formula E Consortium about the possibility of bringing the Formula E to the city.

Formula E, sanctioned by the International Automobile Federation (FIA), is a class of motorsport that uses only electric-powered cars and has been operational since 2014.

Supported by the City, the consortium will undertake a feasibility study this month in order to test the practicality of hosting this event in Cape Town.

‘While we are excited to present this event to the residents of Cape Town, we have not yet taken a decision and our residents will be asked to give their input once the feasibility study hopefully confirms that we can indeed host Formula E in our beautiful city. We will follow all the stringent procedures and requirements that we have in place for events to ensure that all those who will be affected are satisfied with the process,’ said Mayor Dan Plato.

In the three years that Formula E has been hosted in Hong Kong, it has contributed approximately R1,4 billion into that economy.

‘An economic injection and the accompanying job creation opportunities for our local communities are just some of the benefits of bringing Formula E to Cape Town. The cars run on 100 percent renewable energy and having such an event here would also assist us in raising awareness and taking action against air pollution,’ said Plato.

Monday, 3 June 2019

Slipstream SA talks to fans about the Red Bull City Circuit and more.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool.
A capacity crowd witnessed an exhilarating Formula 1 display at the Red Bull City Circuit on Sunday. 

Former Formula 1 driver David Coulthard ripped through the streets of Cape Town in the 2011 championship-winning V8 powered Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB7 car sending fans in awe of its power and pulsating sound. 

Slipstream SA spoke to a couple fans in attendance at the Red Bull City Circuit about the event and Formula 1 in general. 

First up, was Sanjay Narshi who really enjoyed the RB7 show run.

Junaid Samodien: Are you a Formula 1 fan?

Sanjay Narshi: No, not really.

JS: Seeing that you aren't a Formula One. Would an event like the Red Bull City Circuit make you turn on the television to watch Formula 1? 

SN: Most definitely! 

JS: If you could support a Formula 1 team who would it be? After watching the show run. Are you a Red Bull Racing fan?

SN: Definitely Red Bull [Racing].

JS: With the giant world of Formula 1 and its large fan base. Do you know any Formula 1 drivers?

SN: Just Lewis Hamilton. 

JS: DSTv owns the rights for Formula 1 coverage in South Africa. Do you think it should be broadcast on a national level - the likes of SABC, etc?

SN: I think it should be broadcast on national tv - on SABC 3.

JS: Do you think South Africa should host a Formula 1 Grand Prix?

SN: Definitely, we did it in the past and I think we should have it again!  

JS: Where would you like to see a Formula 1 Grand Prix in South Africa? Durban, Johannesburg (Kyalami) or Cape Town.

SN: Cape Town. 

Some fans weren't really interested in sparing a few minutes of their time to answer a few questions. Until I met a very knowledge McLaren Formula 1 fan - Mikesh Harrilall and a possed a few questions to him.

JS: Are you a Formula One fan?

Mikesh Harrilall: Yeah! Definitely, I have been watching for about 20 years. Since 1998/1999. 

JS: Which Formula One team do you support?

MH: I am a McLaren fan.

JS: Do you think Formula One should come to South Africa?

MH: Definitely, I would love it to be here. I've always dreamed to watch a Formula 1 race (here).

JS: If Formula One were to come to South Africa. Where should it be hosted in - Cape Town, Durban, Kyalami (Johannesburg).

MH: I am a bit biased. I love Cape Town, it's like the most picturesque place. I think we can also set-up a nice street circuit. Street circuits are quite a thing in Formula 1 these days and they produce good racing. Kyalami is a bit of a tough one because it has got the history, but I think Cape Town is the place. 

JS: Do we have enough access to Formula 1 in South Africa? In terms of TV coverage, South African media coverage (SA reporters covering Grand Prix at race weekends) and National Broadcasting (SABC etc). 

MH: Supersport's coverage is pretty good. I think that maybe if we had a South African perspective, it would be nice.

JS: Have you ever attended a Formula 1 Grand Prix/events?

MH: So, I have been to a few. Firstly, this one now Cape Town circuit and a good number of years ago - 10 years ago there were Minardi's testing at Kyalami that I went to, and the first year that A1 (Grand Prix) came to South Africa was in Durban and I went to watch that event as well. 

Special Thanks to Sanjay Narshi and Mikesh Harrillal for taking the time out of their action-packed day!

TEXT - Junaid Samodien