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Friday press conference - Italian GP - Pt.2

Technical directors: Aldo Costa (Ferrari), James Key (BMW Sauber), Paddy Lowe (McLaren), Sam Michael (Williams) and Adrian Newey (Red Bull).

Questions from the floor.

Q: (Joe Saward – Grand Prix Special).
James, you said that Monza is a very unique circuit nowadays. Do you regret that? Do you all regret that? Would you like to see more circuits like this and do you think they are part of the spirit of the sport rather than the stop-go tracks we tend to have these days?

James Key:
Personally, I think it is good. Monza is obviously a wonderful place anyway. It has got such a history to it and so on, so it is a wonderful place to come to. A few years back we had both Monza and Hockenheim which were a similar spec of car, so it was slightly easier to soak up an aero development package in that respect. Now we just have one, so it is unique. But, certainly I think you wouldn't want to change that. It is good to have events like this and at the other end of the scale is Monaco which is also unique in its own way. It spreads the situation out from what are quite standard tracks in between in many ways. I think it is good to have events like Monza.

Sam Michael:
Same for me.

Paddy Lowe:
Yeah, variety is great. One of the issues though is that as the regulations drive us into narrower and narrower boxes, then the range of aerodynamic configurations does actually get smaller, so Monza is a very significant (inaudible word) now but actually most of the rest of the races are starting to cluster together which they wouldn't have done with older regulations.

Q: (Joe Saward – Grand Prix Special).
Do any of you regret that?

I think that is just the passage of time with development.

Aldo Costa:
Also, it is a positive element that there is a race that is different from the others. Otherwise if we standardise all the circuits with all the same corners I don't think it is a big challenge from the spectacle point of view. I like Monza. I like the old Hockenheim. I like the unique circuits like Spa for example. It would be nice to have more different circuits in the championship and not standardised, medium-to-high downforce circuits.

Adrian Newey:
I agree with that. I think variety is a good thing. Certainly if you go way back to my experiences with IndyCar circuits, one of the great things about that was that you had super speedways, short ovals, street tracks and then fast tracks like Elkhart Lake. That did give a variety of challenges to the engineer and the driver and, of course, tended to change the results about a bit which I think is the other positive about different circuits. You can get a change in results. A car which has got a very powerful engine for instance, obviously somewhere like Monza suits it. A car with more downforce somewhere else might suit that, so you do get these changes in performance.

Q: (Joe Saward – Grand Prix Special).
In the regulations that are being discussed for 2013, it seems like we are going in the direction of a small capacity turbo with KERS and other bits and pieces. You guys always say you build cars to the regulations, but do you think that this is the right way for Formula One to go in terms of being green or not being green? What are your views?

Do you mean the engine configuration specifically? I'm not a great expert on this; the engine was defined by the engine working group, working with the FIA with a lot of consultation. I think a lot of philosophy within those proposals has been driven by discussions with manufacturers and trying to promote technologies which will genuinely be transferred into the ultimate market. So the particular configuration they've come up with is felt to be the way forward and I think Formula One should not only embrace change but actually lead it. If that's what they believe is the right direction then I fully support it.

Obviously the correct thing to say is what Paddy said. I think the reality is, it depends… there's two levels, first of all, do we manage to pick the regulations which truly do forecast the future in terms of road car development, and secondly, if we do manage to do that, then does the technology that goes into developing Formula One engines actually enhance road car products or not. Those are the two questions which I think both need to be ticked for it to be a justified thing. Having said that, of course, the alternative is to stay with the V8s and at some point in the future the V8s will become sort of archaic Harley Davidson-like things, so there has to be a change. It's very important to get that change right and to try to make sure that the development that then goes into the race engines is truly relevant to the companies that are involved, so that they can justify it into their overall budget, as an engineering exercise rather than just a marketing exercise.

Yes, at Ferrari we are very open on new technology in the engine field, in the KERS field, in energy recovery, in hybrid vehicles. We are also quite happy to get closer and closer to the road cars or to work to introduce things that are road car relevant. Of course, our production is not small capacity engine production but it's GT car production, so we would like to be closer to our brand in the research that we do in order to be a help for future development. Again, we're open to discussion, quite interested. I think we need a change. If this change is right or not, we would like to discuss it. Furthermore, we would also like to discuss with our competitors and to find a good direction. To make a drastic change can be very, very positive but can also have some negative aspects that need to be considered very, very carefully before deciding.


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Friday, Aldo Costa (ITA), Technical Director, Scuderia Ferrari
Sam Michael, Technical Director, Williams F1
Friday Practice 2, Adrian Newey (GBR), Red Bull Racing , Technical Operations Director
Race, Adrian Newey (GBR), Red Bull Racing , Technical Operations Director

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