Questions from the floor.

Q: (Joe Saward - Grand Prix Special).
You had a meeting about tyres in Spain. Can you name some names and tell us who is offering what and why it's taking so long to get a decision?

Martin Whitmarsh:
I think, if you go back a few weeks, Joe, it looked like there wasn't really anyone who wanted to provide tyres, so the good news is that there appears to be several companies that are interested in supplying tyres to Formula One. I think those names have been widely speculated, I don't think you need me to confirm them, and out of respect to those suppliers, we should wait until we've got a decision. A decision is necessary for everyone; it's necessary for the teams because clearly we are designing our cars. We need technical information and the information - or the selection - is necessary for the tyre company because we need to make sure that they can get ready, particularly if they are new to the game.

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Q: (Joe Saward - Grand Prix Special).
Without naming names, can you say what the benefits and the options are? One is expensive, one is cheap?

MW:
Yeah, I think as you would imagine, established players with more technical capability cost more than the newcomers. So there's a balance here and I think the teams will approach it in a responsible manner. Inevitably, in this climate, for all of the teams, having the lowest cost tyres is important. But at the same time, we mustn't compromise on the technical information and the integrity of those tyres, so there's a balance. I think the teams together have got to assess all of the new offerings and they're changing on a daily basis. Once we've got the best offers then the teams need to come together, we need to make sure that the FIA is also happy with the route that we go forward with.

Q: (Joe Saward - Grand Prix Special).
Tony, from your point of view, what usually happens when you have big tyre manufacturers coming in is that you have the teams up the front not paying and the teams down the back paying. How would you feel about that?

Tony Fernandes:
I think in my short period at FOTA, there is a pretty strong togetherness there to be honest. I think the will is that everyone will have a fair and equal deal. Certainly I've seen a lot of transparency under Martin, and I think it will be a pretty fair deal throughout for all teams.

Q: (Andrew Frankl - Forza).
As far as the weather this weekend is concerned, it seems a bit iffy. How long does it take to alter suspensions and moving from a wet race to a dry race? It looks as though it could be playing havoc and I'm wondering how you all feel about it.

Christian Horner:
I think the problem is that you have got to have a bit of a crystal ball because your set-up on Saturday dictates... with parc ferme regulations, the only variable you've got for the race is your front wing. Putting on wet tyres, obviously you have a deeper gauge, it raises the ride height, so basically I'm sure that the weather conditions tomorrow (Saturday) will principally dictate what set-ups people are going to end up on Sunday with. Grid position is extremely important here, but to be honest, these days the difference between a wet set-up and a dry set-up isn't that great and especially with the driver controls that are available to the drivers, such as the moveable front wing, they are able to have a degree of tuning within the cockpit.

JB:
As Christian said, you have to be very brave to work towards a wet set-up 24 hours before the race, so unless it's raining during qualifying, I'm sure everyone will have dry set-ups for the race.

Q: (Ian Parkes - The Press Association).
John, for a man from very humble beginnings, are you still pinching yourself that you're in Formula One, particularly when you come to a venue like this?

John Booth:
I suppose when I stop working so hard I will just take a breath and have a look around. At the moment it's just the challenge we're facing and I have to work very hard to overcome it. But it's so great to be here.

Q: (Joe Saward - Grand Prix Special).
Christian, on the grid at every race Red Bull Racing has five guys who stand at the back of the car, on each of the cars, hiding something, or not, as the case may be. Are you hiding something, or are you just pretending?

CH:
Obviously that's to cover our variable ride-height system, Joe, you should know that! Obviously the cars on the grid is the closest that the various technical directors get to view the competition, and the fact that our guys chose to queue up and happen to be standing at the back of their car might merely be coincidence, but obviously the back of the cars are so sensitive now we try and make it as difficult for others to see as possible.

Q:
(Joe Saward - Grand Prix Special) Martin...

MW:
I'm not interested in his backside, no!

Q: (Joe Saward - Grand Prix Special).
Martin, you have a chief engineer who has departed McLaren for places unknown. What are you going to do about that and will it affect your design process for next year?

MW:
We're talking about Pat Fry and Pat's been with the company for about 18 years, so he's made a great contribution to the team over a number of years. I think it was probably good for him, the right decision for him to take a bit of a break, take a breather. I think he's worked very hard for the team for a number of years. Within our team, then, I think we've got quite a bit of a talent and depth, so in these situations it's a great opportunity for someone younger, maybe hungrier, to come along and replace all of us. We're all replaceable. I think the process will be the same but we've manned with fresh new engineers.

Q: (Ian Parkes - The Press Association).
Martin, when Christian said his team was not as well funded as the more established ones you raised your eyebrows as if to suggest that maybe they are. Would you tend to disagree with him that they are just as well-funded these days as McLaren or Ferrari?

MW:
I think that whatever the level of funding, and I don't know the funding, in terms of resources, the larger teams are pretty similar. The RRA (resource restriction agreement) is already having some impact on that and those teams will all become of fairly universal size and scope, I imagine. Red Bull is a well-funded, well-structured, well-led organisation. Winning in Formula One has never been more difficult, certainly in the 20-odd years that I've been involved in Formula One. There are some good teams and Red Bull is obviously one of those, Ferrari is another. We've obviously got Mercedes who have clear hunger to win as well. I think it's going to remain very, very competitive in Formula One for a good many years to come, which is great for the sport.

Q: (Joe Saward - Grand Prix Special).
Teams have started looking now at their 2011 cars; I understand that some of the engineers have been quite shocked by the difference in terms of downforce that you're getting without the double diffusers. Do you think that's going to add a lot to the costs in the next few months, as you go through the research and try to get that back, or is that going to be less of a shocking change than they appear to say at the moment?

MW:
I think that regardless of the opportunity to improve we're all going to try as hard as we can. Not many Formula One teams save resources available, they spend it or use it, so I don't think it will add to the cost but clearly moving away from double diffusers means that the rear end of the car will be very different and one would imagine that there's quite a lot of work to be done in that area. I think that it's a positive thing. I think that one of the challenges that Formula One has always is to control performance but also to enhance the opportunity to overtake. I don't think any of us can, hand on heart, say we have the magic formula for that, because if you've got good drivers in good cars on the type of circuits we're at, then it's always going to be difficult but tendentially, if you can reduce the wake of the car, if you can reduce the effect that the wake has on you and you can reduce the aerodynamic downforce then one can imagine that's going to allow the cars to be closer in the first place and hopefully facilitate more overtaking. I think it's a good thing. I think Formula One was a little bit slow, frankly, in prohibiting double diffusers. Obviously this time last year there was a fair amount of controversy that caused teams to be dug in and not flexibly minded. We have now taken them out of the sport for next year. I personally think that's a good thing, but it does mean that we've all got a relatively fresh start designing diffusers and the rear ends of our car.

CH:
If you compare... this race last year was the first race that we introduced the double diffuser to our car and you compare where it's evolved to today and it's just monumental. Basic simulation suggests in the region of two seconds, maybe more. So it's an enormous contributor to performance. Of course it's had an enormous effect on the work of the overtaking working group because what they set out to achieve was significantly aimed around the wake of the car that Martin's just referred to and obviously the double diffuser has had an enormous impact on that. It will be a big change and it's going to be an interesting challenge. Engineers tend to be creative people and I'm sure they'll claw back some of that, but it's certainly a significant reduction in downforce for next year.

JB:
If there are new regulations when they become clear it will create a lot of work, a lot of expense but if it meets the target of ending up making racing more entertaining, then it will be worth it.

TF:
Well, for us, we're not that heavily developed anyway, so it's probably an advantage with the new regulations coming in and the quicker they come in then we will start developing the new car.