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Abu Dhabi GP – Friday press conference – Pt.2

Team principals Bob Bell (Renault F1), Mario Theissen (BMW-Sauber), Christian Horner (Red Bull Racing) and Ross Brawn (Brawn GP) appear in the official FIA press conference on Friday in Abu Dhabi
Team principals: Bob Bell (Renault F1), Mario Theissen (BMW-Sauber), Christian Horner (Red Bull Racing) and Ross Brawn (Brawn GP)

Questions from the floor:

(Ian Parkes – The Press Association) Ross, just on that. You mentioned in a radio interview on Sunday that you were 99 per cent certain that Jenson would re-sign for the team. Jenson remarked yesterday that he would not want to put any kind of percentage on it. What makes you so certain that you will actually re-sign him at the end of the day?

Ross Brawn:
I see the way Jenson works with the team and I see the way we work with him. I think we have given him the equipment this year to show what he can do and he knows our plans for the future. We have got another little matter that we have got to sort out, but I am sure we will find a resolution to that, so that's why I am reasonably confident. Of course I want to keep Jenson in the team, so we are working hard to find the solution to keep Jenson in the team. He has done a fantastic job this year and I think he will be even stronger in the future with this championship behind him.

(Dan Knutson – National Speed Sport News) Mario Theissen answered this question in a press conference earlier this weekend, so can I ask the other three gentlemen to give a brief assessment of the direction you would like to see Formula One take now that Jean Todt is the president of the FIA?

Bob Bell:
I think that one of the things that Formula One needs desperately is good strong leadership and direction. I'm not necessarily suggesting that we didn't see that in the previous regime – we did, but perhaps it wasn't always in the direction that we agreed with, but I think the thing we would want most from Jean is clear direction, positive dialogue with the teams, to ensure the direction that we take is in the best interests of the whole of Formula One and is sensibly balanced to meet the needs of the teams that are supported by manufacturers, the manufacturers' requirements, all the stakeholders, the public, the sponsors, the circuits. There's a lot of diverse requirements in Formula One and I think the FIA has a role to play in showing strong leadership that marshals all of those needs and does its utmost to ensure that they are all satisfied and I hope that's what he brings to it and I have to hope that he will. His governance of Ferrari was obviously exceptional and if he can apply the same to Formula One in general then I think we will be in reasonably good shape for the future.

Christian Horner:
I think I agree with Bob to be honest. I think that the really reassuring fact is that Jean has sat here, he's had the problems that we face in running a team, so he can relate to the issues that we face in Formula One as he can in World Rally, as he can in sports cars, so his experience of motor sport is quite unique, he's proved to be a phenomenal manager and achieve great success in his competitive career. He now steps into a different role and one where he's responsible for fair play, for stability within the rules, for reducing costs, for improving safety and I think he's a great candidate. I think there's a real opportunity for the Formula One teams to work closely with Jean and his team, whomever he appoints to really focus on those aspects. Hopefully we can see a renewed close collaboration between the teams and the FIA.

I think he's an incredibly worthy successor to Max (Mosley) in that role. As Christian just mentioned, he's experienced our sport and other sports at all levels. He was a navigator and won the World Championship as a rally navigator, ran a World Championship-winning rally team, ran a World Championship-winning Formula One team. There are very few people with that experience. Jean's very good at bringing people together and finding solutions to difficult problems and finding solutions when there are a lot of different interests involved. He steered the ship of Ferrari over 12 or 13 years, I think, and particularly through the early periods it was very difficult and he managed it extremely well. He's got a great ability to manage situations, and he particularly likes working in a team environment. He's very strong at bringing out the qualities of people in a team environment and I know that he's building a very good team around him at the FIA, so I look forward to the future with a great deal of optimism. A huge amount has been achieved over the last period: safety in Formula One is at a very high level, lots of things in Formula One are great and I think Jean will take that forward.

(Walter Koster – Saarbrücker Zeitung) Quite another question and therefore it's an unusual one: Mr Theissen, a short test of your memory after ten years in Formula One. Do you remember your colleagues the first time that you were sitting on such a podium as here and do know your first answer to the mediator's question?

Mario Theissen:
No idea. Have you ever heard of the Alzheimer disease? But I'm sure the mediator knows… (He doesn't).

(Joris Fioriti – AFP) Question to Bob Bell: we heard that Heikki Kovalainen or Timo Glock could join Renault next year, or perhaps another driver. So could you tell us more about this? And the second question which links to it is what would that mean then for the French driver Romain Grosjean who comes from its ranks? Would it mean that Renault can't keep a guy who comes from its own programme after six or seven races?


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