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Friday press conference - Belgian GP - Pt.1

I think it is pretty much where we expected it to be. Very much enjoying our battle with Lotus and overall to be about three to three and a half per cent off the front teams. I think we should be very pleased with that.

Q:
We have also seen some comments in the press on the future of the team. What is your response to that?

JB:
This time of year there are always comments from certain quarters but we are here for the long haul. Plans are well in place for next year, well advanced for next year. Our sponsorship base is very good. We have brought eight new sponsors to Formula One this year and we have got a solid base to go forward on.

Q:
So you would rubbish those stories.

JB:
Absolutely. Perhaps we haven't kept certain people informed of our position and maybe we should have done but there are no thoughts other than going forward next year.

Q:
Martin, you talked about unlocking the performance in the car. It sounds like a black art to me. If you knew how to do it you would do so but you feel it is there. You have been quoted as saying there is performance in the car.

MW:
No, I think at the last race certainly when we dissect the performance of the car. Obviously we know the raw material, we know the data and then we have expectations in terms of corner speed etc. We weren't achieving those in Hungary and I think we needed to have a look at that, understand it and try and get that performance out of it. Too early to say. Today has been an interesting day. A frustrating day, I am sure for all of us, for everyone to understand your car. To do the engineering development programme that you try and do on Fridays when the conditions are this changeable is almost impossible. Certainly to do it quickly. There is a lot of instrumentation on all of our cars, so I am sure most of the teams ran different components, different systems on their car today but most of them couldn't tell you if they have made any progress until they have gone into the detail as clearly the track was evolving one way or the other according to the weather conditions. But overall I am convinced that we can do a better job than certainly we appeared to do in Hungary and we will see as the weekend goes on.

Q:
There is also conflicting statements about whether to use the F-duct or not. Can you give us the reasons behind that, particularly not just here but in Monza as well.

MW:
I think you will find we will use it here. It is on the car. It is running. I have not heard that conflicting statement. I have heard some statements about Monza but I don't see, personally, any merit in us declaring what we are going to do to our competitors before we get there.

Q:
Surely Monza is all about straight line speed and the F-duct is all about straight line speed.

MW:
Well, as I said, we will see when we get there.

Q:
Ross, the season has been interesting; have you maintained the pace of development that you have wanted to up until now?

RB:
Not really, no. We saw some interesting technologies on other cars and it was difficult to understand how much they were worth. We followed those paths and they are worth performance but it wasn't enough to make the real differential up on ourselves and the real front of the grid. I think during the season, some races we get back to where we think we ought to be and other races we're not so good. I think we've had a very deep analysis of our performance this year. I think we understand where we need to make improvements and I can see already, with next year's package we're making those improvements because the fundamentals are all the same. You need a lower centre of gravity, you need less weight, you need more aerodynamic downforce, you need to use the tyres properly, you need a structurally stiff car. The basics always count, and I can see from the progress that we're making with the basics for next year that we haven't done a good enough job this year.

Q:
And has the Brawn mind been hard at work while you've been casting the odd fly on the water during the break?

RB:
I didn't do too much of that unfortunately. You never switch off in this business. It's very difficult to switch off – perhaps for a couple of weeks at the end of the season you can turn your mind off if you get away but yeah, thoughts have been flowing on what we need to do.

Q:
Are there any mysteries about the regulations next year?

RB:
Not at the moment, but there may well be when cars start appearing because that's the nature of this business. We had the example last year with the double diffuser, we had it this year with the F-duct. People are clever enough to take an interpretation of a regulation to gain an advantage. We haven't found that yet. At least, if we have, we're not going to say so, so the regulations… I think everyone did an honest and diligent job to try and create regulations that achieve the objectives, so the diffuser should be much simpler next year. There should be no F-ducts next year, so first or second or third read of the regulations, that's what we're achieving. But it's the fascination of this business that someone may be able to find a little wrinkle somewhere that they can take advantage of.





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John Booth, Team Principal, Virgin Racing
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Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal, McLaren Mercedes

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