Questions from the floor

Q: (Frederic Ferret - l'Equipe)
Two questions for Ross: the first is on the F-duct. Are you happy with it today, and will you use it in the race? And the second is about Nico Rosberg. He suffered in Barcelona with the new pieces on the car. Did you find why he was suffering and what did you do to make him more comfortable?

Ross Brawn:
The F-duct for us is an on-going project. Having just said that we shouldn't test, we're crying out for some testing to get the F-duct sorted out because undoubtedly McLaren were very smart in getting their system working over the winter and for everyone who is trying to get their systems to work it's a massive challenge. So we're not where we want to be with the F-duct but at each race we make a little step forward.
I don't truly have an answer for what happened with Nico in Barcelona, why we didn't find the time. He's driving the car here, which is the long wheelbase car and he's reasonably happy with it. You do get races where it doesn't quite come together and so no, there isn't a black and white answer for Barcelona but he's reasonably happy with the car here.

Related Articles

Q: (Joe Saward - Grand Prix Special)
Given what you've just been saying about the economy and the need to be careful, you're talking about going to twenty races and there's even talk of going beyond that to maybe 24. How do these elements combine? More races don't cost you more money?

Franz Tost:
Normally you earn money doing the races. Tests cost money, because you don't get anything.

Ross Brawn:
There's an agreement with Bernie that the more races we do the more money the teams get, so we've got to make sure that the money we get is more than the money we spend, which is not easy with Bernie.

Adam Parr:
The costs of an F1 team are largely fixed as well. All the design and most of the manufacturing is fixed. I don't think drivers get more money per race and in fact they generally complain about how little driving they do. If the races are in the right places at the right times on the right terms, then it should improve our income.

Ross Brawn:
To be clear, we're all delighted that they're increasing the number of races. We just need to manage the situation properly because especially the races which are coming up, they're great for Formula One, so we will support them 100 percent. There are consumables involved: we use more engines, we use more brakes, we use things like that. We've got flights, we've got hotels but as Adam said, a lot of the core costs are spent before you even go to the first race.

Stefano Domenicali:
I hope it's not 24 to be honest because I always thought about twenty. But that's my personal view. I like other things. Anyway, I don't know if we've discussed 24 but if there's more money, as we said, it's good. For me, twenty is a good number.

Q: (Joe Saward - Grand Prix Special)
Is anybody interested in going over twenty?

Adam Parr:
I think we've talked about it in the context of floating the idea of changing the weekend format, if that were possible. Just to go to 24 races with the long weekend like we have now would be very difficult logistically. Maybe in the context of a different structure for the weekend I think it might be interesting.

Ross Brawn:
I think there's a step change, Joe, where you get to a certain number and you have to start taking on duplicate crews like they do in NASCAR. That first step change is quite expensive, so it can be done but we need to make sure it's managed properly.

Q: (Joris Fioriti - AFP)
Ross, do you think you will keep the same pair of drivers for next year?

Ross Brawn:
I hope so. Do you know something I don't? Yes, I hope so. There's no reason not to. We're pleased with the drivers, they're both enjoying themselves, so yes.

Q: (Ted Kravitz - BBC)
Ross, what were your and Michael's feelings on the move on Fernando being against Ferrari, and Stefano, what was your feeling on the fact that Fernando was overtaken by, of all people, Michael on the last lap in Monaco?

Ross Brawn:
I think clearly that what's come out of it was that there was some ambiguity in the regulation. We read it one way and Charlie (Whiting) and the stewards read it another way and you can see, quite frankly, both cases. We told Michael to race, I know Stefano told Fernando not to race, so it was a bit unfair. Fernando was being told not to do anything and we were telling our guy to go for it if he had a chance. It was unfortunate and I think that's why we wouldn't have felt great about going to appeal because I know that Fernando was told that he didn't have to race, but I think the penalty we received was something which certainly could have been looked at because it destroyed Michael's race for an ambiguity. So I think the penalty system needs looking at in those circumstances because I think that was unfair. So we're now in discussions with the FIA to try and find a better system.

Stefano Domenicali:
Nothing to add. Ross explained exactly the situation.

Q: (Danny Vear - Le Journal de Montreal)
I'm interested in your views on the new US Grand Prix. A very specific question: would you prefer to have a back-to-back race with Montreal in terms of costs or organisation or any scenario would do?

Stefano Domenicali:
In my view it's just a matter of logistics and to try to find the best solution for that. Texas and Montreal, I don't know how many hours of flight - five hours? - so I would say that would be possible because we had a bigger challenge - from Spain to Monaco by truck is longer, so it would be a possibility. For sure one thing we should work out, the best way - the more races we have - is really to find out the best logistics for the teams because this is affecting the preparation and the cost of it.

Q: (Joe Saward - Grand Prix Special)
Can we go back to the question of tyre supply? Can you tell us exactly who it is that makes the decisions because everyone seems to be making a decision and nobody appears to be? Who is it who makes the decision?

Stefano Domenicali:
Formally speaking, the decision on the tyres is related to the regulations, so you have the answer from that, but it is a little more complicated, because, as you know, the situation is under discussion, a lot of things are going on that we should really clarify all these things this weekend hopefully, because the more we go ahead - and it's already late - and we cannot really waste more time on it.

Q: (Joe Saward - Grand Prix Special)
With regard to the cars of the future, is there any possibility of ground effect coming back to make the racing better?

Franz Tost:
Why, do you feel the racing is boring?

Q: (Joe Saward - Grand Prix Special)
I didn't say the racing was poor, I'm saying that people always want it better. I'm saying, have you discussed this?

Franz Tost:
We haven't discussed it but I think that especially this year so far we have seen really very interesting races. I don't think that we would have more interesting races with a ground effect car.

Adam Parr:
If I may add one thing is that one of the things that I have learned in Formula One is that if you want to change something, you have to do it in the most direct way possible, so if you want more overtaking you have to ask yourself why can't cars overtake. A reasonable premise is because a following car has a major disadvantage. So if you want to change that, you need to change that specifically. I think F1 engineers are so clever that just by putting in an indirect rule like more ground effect, they will just work out a way that stuffs up overtaking in a whole new way that you hadn't imagined. I think therefore that if we're trying to do that - which I think we are - we need to be as direct as possible.

Ross Brawn:
Well, there's some very useful work being done with the FIA, with FOTA on the contributory factors to enable overtaking to take place. Circuit design is very important and if you look at the range of circuits we race on, some of them have much more overtaking than others and that's because of the circuit design. Format of racing is another important factor because we spend two days making sure the fastest car is at the front and we've now removed the variable of fuel weight for qualifying, so we've really made sure the fastest car is at the front. I think the technical side can't be ignored, and we need to do what we can to make the cars as benign as possible in terms of their ability to follow other cars, but we've also got to attack the other areas. I think we've got to be careful not to go too far. Formula One has a spirit, has a character, has a DNA that we don't want to spoil. I find basketball a little bit difficult to follow when they're scoring 90 points and football with one or two goals is exciting - for me. I think motor racing, with one or two great overtaking manoeuvres per race, is what we want. There's a lot of work being done, a lot of sensible work. People can be a little bit resistant to change when it comes too soon, but I think most people are happy to accept change when it's over a reasonable period of time.

Stefano Domenicali:
Going back to your question about ground effect, I think realistically speaking, I don't see that happening in the very short term but maybe in the new package, the new powertrain in 2013 that we need to rethink F1 completely to be a consideration to put on the table. I really cannot add anything more than that.

Q: (Edd Straw - Autosport)
Ross, going back to what you were saying about the Overtaking Working Group improving the show next year; given that we've got a situation where we've got a tyre supplier for next year which is going to have a less-than-ideal lead time for developing its tyres, does that not mean there's a danger of engineering in a tremendous amount of conservatism on things like compounds to make sure the tyres last and work which will therefore nullify any chance of the tyres creating the desired variables?

Ross Brawn:
I think obviously it would have been ideal if we'd had the tyre supplier nominated much earlier than this, but I think the point we touched on earlier in the discussion about the economic climate, people are getting a little bit more confidence now, so we are where we are today. Fortunately, within Formula One, the exodus of engineers from the tyre companies when they withdrew from Formula One, a lot of them came back into Formula One with the teams. We've got an ex-Michelin tyre engineer, McLaren have got an ex-Bridgestone tyre engineer. I know other teams have got other engineers from different teams and different tyre suppliers and we're all willing to work together with the new tyre supplier to make sure that we have the best chance of success. But it may take a few iterations to get where we want to be and undoubtedly there will be a degree of conservatism at the beginning because we can't afford to have any problems with compounds. We want an aggressive compound, but if it's too aggressive and it doesn't last very long, then it will be difficult. But we're all there to help the new tyre supplier and I think we've got a good chance of success.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi - La Gazzetta dello Sport)
Stefano, did you already decide to keep the F-duct on the car for the race?

Stefano Domenicali:
Yes.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi - La Gazzetta dello Sport)
Why?

Stefano Domenicali:
Because it seems it's faster. I hope. From the data, it seems so, yes.

Ross Brawn:
Stefano sounds like me, we're not completely sure.

Stefano Domenicali:
I said 'it seems'.