F1 » 15 April 2011
Friday press conference - Chinese GP - Pt.2
Technical directors: Aldo Costa (Ferrari), James Key (Sauber), Paddy Lowe (McLaren), Naoki Takunaga (Renault) and Geoff Willis (HRT)
Questions from the floor
Q: Andrea Cremonesi (La Gazzetta dello Sport)
Two questions for Aldo Costa: the first is about the drivers. You talked before that there is some difference understanding the tyres between the two drivers. I would like to
know which is the driver who understands the tyres better, between Fernando and Felipe. The second question is: today Fernando had new parts on the car, new front wing, new brake ducts. It was slower than Felipe; what does that mean when choosing these parts for the race or not?
Regarding Fernando and Felipe understanding the tyres; I think both are doing quite a lot for the team to give feedback, information, comments. At this moment there isn't a big difference between the two in terms of how they wear the tyres in the last race. Maybe Felipe is a bit more in difficulty in cold conditions with the harder tyres, so we are trying to understand that and trying to help him in that respect.
In terms of the development that we have done today; yes, we have tested aerodynamic components. If it was so easy to decide, just looking at the lap time, we wouldn't be here because we can stay at home and look at the lap times and then decide from there. Fortunately, there are, as Paddy said, tons of data. It's very difficult to test during a Friday with a limited amount of tyres and also tyres which are not in constant condition. So there is a lot of data to analyse and we will be busy all this afternoon, trying to understand which configuration has got more potential and then make a decision for tomorrow.
Q: (Joe Saward – Grand Prix Special)
After the last Grand Prix in Malaysia, the fastest lap list had Sebastian Vettel sixth, one second behind Mark Webber, which suggests that in the course of the race he might have gone a lot faster. Do you think that is a realistic reading of how far ahead the Red Bull is at the moment, or do you think the qualifying numbers are more
That's a difficult question, you know that. Impossible to know exactly where any of your competitors are, but particularly if the guy's in the lead, you don't know how much margin he's left. I don't know that Sebastian was really being chased particularly hard throughout the whole race and perhaps if he had been, we would know more. Certainly, we felt that if Lewis had managed to keep P2 on the first lap, he could have put him under more pressure potentially and we may have seen a very different race. I certainly don't think that Red Bull are cruising. I think they're feeling the pressure, we saw that in qualifying, in particular, in Malaysia.
Q: (Ted Kravitz - BBC Sport)
This is for Aldo and James. James, you're running essentially the back end of a Ferrari - minus the rear wing - the engine, the gearbox, the KERS. Do you understand why the Ferrari seems to be essentially a quicker car and Aldo, do you understand why the Sauber can do one stop less than you in races?
I think that what we get from Ferrari… obviously the KERS and engine, which are units which we build into the car. There are some architectural differences or let's say some influences architecturally that they have but fundamentally they are units that we put in the car. The gearbox is probably the biggest part of what we're supplied which influences the way in which we have to deal with the car, so the rear suspension obviously picks up off the gearbox, it's our design but the pick-up points are pre-determined although we worked closely with Ferrari and where they were headed with the 'box for this year and that works out as a pretty good process. I think that the rest of the car is really down to the philosophy that's supplied by the team and I think we would expect Ferrari to be a bit quicker than us, because they are, traditionally, a championship-winning team ultimately and we're not quite in that league yet. I think we picked up what we were given, we had some decent discussions at an early stage with Ferrari, but then it's really down to us to put the rest of the package together, and obviously that's the mechanical side. The aero side clearly plays a huge role in this and you've got to match your mechanical and your aero together to get the car to work properly and so on, and the front suspension needs to work in tune with the
way the rear of the car is so the philosophy is that it's the whole car and the parts we get supplied play a part in that, but not a huge part.
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