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Friday press conference - Japanese GP - Pt.2

I think it's unlikely, to be honest, because I think Timo's really determined to drive tomorrow but there is a risk if he's not in good enough condition then there's a possibility that Kamui will be in the car but I expect Timo to be here tomorrow and driving the car.

Q: (Chris Lines – Associated Press).
Bob, in the past couple of weeks you've lost Flavio, Pat (Symonds) and now Fernando. You mentioned earlier that there have to be some major decisions at the end of the season. Should we have any worries about the future of Renault in Formula One, as a team and as an engine supplier?

Well, I'm not worried, if you can read anything into that. I think that for me the most important thing is that Renault are still here, despite the crisis we've just been through. It's been an extremely deep and difficult crisis, not just for the team but for the parent organisation and the fact that Renault have stood by us throughout all of this I think speaks volumes for their commitment, both to the team and to Formula One because their commitments to motor sport, even beyond Formula One, are very broad and long-standing, so it's not a matter that they take lightly, but they have stood by us and I think that answers the question for you.

Q: (James Allen – Financial Times).
To all of you: are we likely to see some testing re-introduced next year?

I think it's something that's obviously being discussed within FOTA. We've got this young driver test at the end of this year and theoretically when the race drivers step out of the car in Abu Dhabi, the next time they will be in a car is at the beginning of February. I think they get approximately seven days each before the first race. That's all the testing for the year. The most important thing is that the restrictions in budget and reductions in budget that we achieved this year were significant through reducing testing and I think that what we have to look at responsibly is that if we were to introduce any testing, that it doesn't necessitate teams needing to build up the resource of re-employing test teams. At the moment, we manage to do the mileage that we do with our race team on a rotational basis but it's something that for sure will be discussed and debated.

I think we're in exactly the same position as Christian. I think we'd like to do it but there are some challenges. I think it's being studied very hard and also the issue of trying to bring young drivers is another challenge associated with the reduction of testing and both those two are major issues which we think need to be resolved, but there are challenges, particularly next year.

I think one of the biggest problems is the young driver problem. I think that's very real. I think that if we can find a way of introducing some testing that doesn't involve us spending significantly more money, that it can be done at marginal cost with the existing resources, then it's something we should consider. But it does have to be under those conditions.

We have to be concerned about our budget as well. If we are spending too much money and if we have more testing then we have to prepare extra tyres and also manpower and logistics as well. We have to be concerned about these issues.

To the three team personnel: the current engine regulations are eight engines per driver, and penalties if you use more. Do you think this rule should be tightened or do you think the teams should press for eight? Should the engine builders try for longer life engines?

I think the proposal from the FOTA teams was to supply five engines per driver per race season, to achieve a lower price to support the smaller teams. But the current regulation is eight engines and honestly, because you do get a reduction in performance from the engine over mileage or kilometres, I think most people will probably be forced to go the route of supplying eight. I think it's a challenge for teams and the engine engineers. We are competing and if that's the regulation, our job is to deliver the best possible engine within the parameters that we're allowed to work in. There is a cost for the smaller teams to actually have a very reliable cheap powertrain.

Any initiative that attempts to sensibly take money out of the sport is worthwhile but it has to be introduced and managed correctly. Given enough notice we can do most of these things, we can make engines live that long or even longer. Let's just do it in sensible time frames.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Christian Horner (NED) Red Bull Sporting Director, Australian F1 Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, 27-29th, March, 2009
John Howett (GBR), President Of Toyota Motorsport, Bahrain F1 Grand Prix, Sakhir, Australian F1 Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, 27-29th, March, 2009
Bob Bell (GBR) Renault Technical Director, Australian F1 Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, 27-29th, March, 2009

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