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Abu Dhabi GP – Friday press conference – Pt.1

Nick (Heidfeld) was very positive about the track right away. Robert wasn't so sure initially. The pit-lane is really difficult, well, the track generally was quite dusty in the morning and during the day and we could see even until the end of the FP2 the times got quicker and quicker. Especially in the pit-lane it was apparently even dustier, so they had to be careful there. But other than that only positive comments.

CH:
I think both drivers have really enjoyed the circuit. The tyres look a bit conservative and took a while to warm up and come in here. I think the only concerns our guys have raised is how quick these guys (Brawn) are in sector two.

RB:
Take the wing off and you will be quick in sector two.

CH:
Yeah.

RB:
The lighting, no comment from our drivers. It is interesting that the lighting is a long way away from the circuit and it doesn't seem to be casting any distracting shadows, so the lighting seems very good. They are enjoying the circuit. I think like any new circuit there will be some gentle evolution as the drivers get used to it and no doubt next year there will be a few modifications but nothing major is needed as far as we could see. They are enjoying it a great deal and I think it will be a great racing circuit. The slow entry onto the main straight and the slow exit may give a chance to overtake, so it is going to be quite hard on brakes. That will be a factor in the race and you saw a lot of teams they had problems with the graining of tyres but the track will improve tomorrow and that may not be an issue by Sunday. But as Christian said, the tyres are perhaps a little bit conservative and as a result they are graining a little bit – but no major issues.

Q:
Bob, how is the team working forward to 2010? Are you expecting to remain Team Principal? Some people might suggest it is a rudderless ship in that there isn't a team principal or there is a temporary team principal.

BB:
We are all focussed on 2010. We do not hold any expectations about 2009 and we are making good progress. The team has picked itself up and is moving on very positively with the support particularly of Renault and all our partners and indeed some new ones as witnessed this weekend which is both good for the team and good for the sport. We are all moving ahead very positively. As for me I am happy to see the team through the next few months. That is my prime concern. There are some big issues we need to get in place and resolve before we go racing next year and that is my clear focus. Beyond that if Renault feel the most appropriate thing is for someone else to take over the helm I don't have an issue with that and won't stand in their way and equally if that decision came my way that is something I would have to consider in due course. But right now I am not being distracted by it. It is important that we get to the end of the year in good shape.

Q:
Mario, can you update us on the future of BMW-Sauber or Sauber as it will be?

MT:
Well, there is a lot going on behind the scenes. I think we are making progress but the crucial issue still is the place on the grid. That's all I can say, so there is no decision right now.

Q:
Do you have a time frame when you can expect a decision?

MT:
We don't have a clear deadline but it is clear that time is running and it gets more and more difficult for the team as obviously you can only sign drivers and sponsors when you have a place on the grid.

Q:
Is Robert's problem in the last session going to require a ninth engine?

MT:
Well, it has been an engine failure and it is related to our decision some events ago not to pick up a ninth engine for Robert. What we are trying to do is cover the final four race events with one engine, so Robert's race engine for Sunday has had three races already. The consequence is that especially on this final Friday we had to use an engine with way in excess of 2000kms, so we were aware of the risk. I just had hoped it would blow up in the final lap of the session.

Q:
So in fact you have got another engine which you will be using for the rest of the weekend which is still within the eight?

MT:
Yes.

Q:
Christian, how are you getting on with Sebastian's (Vettel) engine plan?

CH:
We are looking okay now. We got critical after a failure in Valencia. That plus us under quite a bit of pressure but I have to say Renault have supported us brilliantly and managed the mileage and exceeded the mileage with their target kilometres significantly. I think we were one of the highest mileage teams today. Sebastian has a race engine I think he last used in Japan for the race tomorrow, so there is absolutely no risk in terms of us using a ninth engine. Even if that engine failed we have another engine we could utilise. With the help of Renault we have managed to manage the situation.

Q:
You're definitely not going to win the world championship for drivers and you are definitely going to finish second in the constructors'. Is there a feeling of disappointment or is there great optimism and enjoyment of finishing in those positions?

CH:




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