Team principals: Ross Brawn (Brawn GP), Flavio Briatore (Renault), Mario Theissen (BMW-Sauber) and Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren-Mercedes)

Press conference

Q:
To start with, a couple of questions to you all. What is the situation coming here? What upgrades do you have on the car? How much are you working on this year's and next year's car? Mario

Mario Theissen:
We have brought an upgrade package here to Valencia. Two major issues: one is aero, including a new diffuser, and the other one is a lightweight chassis. It didn't look bad today. The drivers especially think it is a significant step forward. I hope we can turn that into results tomorrow and on Sunday. On the future, obviously we are looking for investors to take over and continue with the team and as long as we are doing so, we will continue with next year's car, F1 10, so the development programme is ongoing as planned.

Q:
Flavio, any developments here?

Flavio Briatore:
The normal step. We had a big step at the last race but unfortunately we had this accident and it was not possible for us to have a good result and we continue every race to add a little bit. It is not a big step every race. We have another development the next race just for Monza and obviously after that we are thinking about the new car and we will push very hard for the 2010 car. What we try to do is have a podium in the next two or three races. That is our goal for this year and maybe a victory as well. We try very hard to improve the car and we believe the car is much better in the last six or seven races. But for some reason we did not have any result. It is a frustrating situation, especially for the people working in the factory and for everybody at Renault, for us, for the sponsors. This is what happened this year. We try every race to do something but everybody is doing the same.

Ross Brawn:
We have a reasonable aerodynamic upgrade package here. We had one in Hungary. The last couple of races have been a bit messy for us. We did have some quite good upgrades in those races and hopefully today and this weekend we can take the benefit of those upgrades as we have not had some good races recently. Primarily another aerodynamic upgrade here. We are working hard on the 2010 car. I think we had a good FIA technical meeting on Wednesday which clarified some open issues to enable us to proceed properly with the new cars and we have got a balanced approach between what we are doing for 2010 and what we are doing still for this year. We will be working hard this year all the way up to the last race.

Martin Whitmarsh:
Like everyone we have had a shut-down between the last race and this race, so that has given an extra challenge to everyone at all the factories. Everyone has been working hard, I am sure in all the teams, certainly in ours. We have got a series of upgrade packages as evident from today, though maybe not a sufficient number of those parts. But we had a new front wing package here that we tried with Heikki (Kovalainen) this morning. We have had some floor modifications which we tried with Lewis (Hamilton) and we were running a shorter wheel-base version of the car with Lewis today, really something that we are looking for the higher speed circuits, probably frankly for the benefit of Spa and beyond. We are still pushing hard on this year's car. I think everyone is. That is just how competitive Formula One is today. You have to continue to improve every race but clearly we are in a slightly different position from Ross and Red Bull as we have got to concentrate and make sure that we come out of the box next year with a quick car. There is a tremendous amount of effort to do that as well.

Q:
We spoke with some of your drivers yesterday and there was a certain lack of clarity as to what their plans were for next year. Perhaps you could give some indication as to what the situation is with your drivers next year.

MT:
The only thing I can say is there is a lack of clarity because we don't know what we can pull off for next year. We are working on it and apparently it will affect the drivers as well.

Q:
Flavio, your drivers for next year? Do you have anybody under contract?

FB:
Work in progress.

Q:
Do you have neither of them under contract?

FB:
You have asked me this from the first race in 2008. When we are ready to announce the names of the drivers we will announce it.

Q:
But you are not saying if one is under contract?

FB:
I just told you. We are a work in progress. We are working on that.

Q:
Ross, what is the situation with your drivers?

RB:
It is a work in progress. I am sorry but we are in discussions with our drivers. We are obviously very happy with their performance this year and it is not appropriate for me to talk about what we are doing with our drivers at the moment. But we will announce it in good time what is going to happen.

Q:
Martin?

MW:
Well, I think we are very happy with the two drivers we have got. There is lots of speculation. We are not actively pursuing drivers outside our team at the moment but some people know the contractual situation but it is like others here it is not appropriate to talk about driver's individual contracts. But we have two very young, very committed drivers working well within the team. We are here trying to do a decent job this weekend and we will start worrying about Spa on Sunday night. Our drivers feel they can do a competitive job here and we will encourage them to do so.

Q:
Mario, could you just summarise the situation with what happened and what is happening at the moment?

MT:
Well, what happened was a decision by the BMW board three weeks ago to pull out of F1 at the end of this season. Unfortunately, it happened during the factory shut-down, so we were able to discuss with our people, with the team, only this week. We are working on a solution for the team. The top priority is to find an investor to step in and take over the team and continue. As a consequence of this, the team has applied for an entry for next year, in time, last Monday. Now we are working and trying to come to a solution.

Q:
Is it literally just trying to find investors to take over BMW's shareholding?

MT:
It is clear that BMW does not want to be involved any further. Apart from that any solution is possible.

Q:
And obviously the engine-side of things would close down altogether?

MT:
Yes.

Q:
Flavio, obviously a new driver here. Can you just run tell us you got rid of the old one and your preferences and your reasons for choosing Romain Grosjean?

FB:
For a young driver it is very difficult now. For me it is only performance. We had Nelson (Piquet) for one year, 2008-2009, and at the end of 2008 he had three or four races that were good and there was no reason to change. But it was not only me, it was everybody that was disappointed about the 2009 results. It is only the result. What happens in this business is that people judge you on the result and everybody is very aware that the result is the fundamental and we were not happy at all with the results. In the meantime, the fact that we didn't have any time to test a young driver, so to see how good Romain is, there was only one way to put him in the car for the last seven races. It is a very strange situation at the moment in Formula One. We don't know how good the young drivers are as they don't have any mileage in testing and this is something we have to work with FOTA to put right this situation. If not, it is very difficult for anybody to arrive in Formula One. This is the reason. With seven races to go I think it was good to give the opportunity to Romain. He did very well in GP2 last year. He is very talented. Let's see. Obviously when Hamilton arrived from GP2 to Formula One his performances for me were completely outstanding and we hope with Romain we have the same situation. At least we try. With Piquet we know where we are.

Q:
Ross, we heard a little bit yesterday what the plans were for today. How have you actually got the car back up to being competitive after the last couple of races?

RB:
Well, to be frank it is just tyre temperature. Obviously in these sorts of conditions we have no problem generating the tyre temperature. We did some scans of set-ups we have used in the last few races and all of them to be honest were very bad. Some were better than others. We did a couple of aerodynamic comparisons on pieces which we have tried and I think we have seen some differences, nothing that would necessarily be the reason why we have struggled the last few races, so I think the main issue is that here we are generating tyre temperature and the car feels good. The car feels as we have had at previous races. We have just struggled at the last few with tyre temperature which is still an issue which we will have to find a solution for as we have got Spa coming up and we have got some races towards the end of the year. But we are very pleased with today. We did some very good race work and both drivers are happy with the cars. It was a good Friday but we had a good Friday in Hungary but then it got a bit more difficult the rest of the weekend. But I think the reason there was the drop in ambient temperature on the Saturday and Sunday whereas here the forecast is for it to stay hot or perhaps even hotter for Sunday. That's the predominant reason. No magic switch has been turned. There was nothing horribly wrong with the car. We had a logical programme today and I think we have understood some things and we are pleased with what we did.

Q:
But you do really need a high ambient temperature then as well as high track temperature? Let's face it, Hungary wasn't cold.

RB:
No, we are in an unusual situation with having one tyre supplier as there is no longer a tyre war where the tyre is developed towards the car. It is a slight distortion in a way in that you have these tyres and you have to make the best usage of them. Those teams which make the best usage of the tyres that we have will succeed. Our strengths are consistency and ability to use the tyres in hot weather. We have got to work out how we can get the tyres to work in cold weather and how we can generate tyre temperature. We have got some things planned for Spa which I think may help. That is the conundrum we are trying to solve.

Q:
Martin, in a way a return to form for you as well. What sort of effect did Lewis's victory in Hungary have on the factory and the team?

MW:
Well, as you can imagine for a team that is used to winning, it is very difficult when you are not. You realise it is not so much fun going motor racing when you are not going there with the prospect of being able to win. You can't always go there and win but I think if you can go to a race believing you can win that is a very different frame of mind than going to race with the confident knowledge that you can't. So it was fantastic. I think it has been a tough year for everyone. I am delighted for everyone in Woking, Brixworth and Stuttgart who put their heads down and worked hard. I think a lot of people had written this car off and written us off and I think everyone realises that it was not a fluky win. On that circuit and in those conditions we were very strong. I think we will be strong here and I think it is where we should be, towards the front and pushing hard, but everyone is improving their car. Everyone is pushing very, very strong and we have got to keep doing that. At least for the factory it was a better shut-down than it might have been.

Q:
You have said you have brought some parts here. How many of those have you got? How many sets?

MW:
It varies from part to part. What we were doing with Lewis's car today was we were experimenting with wheel-base. We knew that if you change the wheel base you have to change the floor, the nose and the front wing assembly as well as we had moved the front axle position. In doing that we had insufficient parts. Lewis damaged the nose cone at the start of P2 and we have got parts that are literally in transit here. I don't feel embarrassed about it. I feel frustrated. There are some issues in Formula One for all the sensible prudent reasons that we have progressively cut down testing, the number of things that result from that, is that one we have got to be concerned about developing young drivers in the future. I think within the teams we have got to look at how we can do that. The other reason is on a Friday it is an engineering day and you actually have the cars in different specifications. You are doing back-to-back runs and you are gathering data and it is a very different day to what we have been used to. The dilemma is what do you manufacture. In the good old days you would have two cars and to cover you for the weekend you would have six sets of wings for instance. You would have three per car and if you lose one early on you still had one and a spare. You cannot justify that, so you take some risks. Doubtless there will be people who want to say that this cannot be right, you damage a nose cone and you cannot go out for the rest of the session. We are just pushing hard to develop the car, use Fridays as a test day and on this particular situation we were unfortunately left not being able to run. It is frustrating as I say, not embarrassing but I think both drivers are fairly comfortable where the car is and I am sure tomorrow the circuit will have evolved a little bit more and I think we can be competitive. But it is not nice having to sit there for nearly an hour-and-half not being able to run the cars.