Eric Boullier (Lotus-Renault), Pat Fry (Ferrari), Andrew Green (Force India), Paddy Lowe (McLaren) and Sam Michael (Williams).
Questions from the floor.
(Thomas Richter – TV Nova).
We basically have all the engine manufacturers represented here and the discussion regarding the new engine generation post-2012 is becoming a little confusing for us, so please can you independently from each other, clarify your respective positions regarding the future engines in Formula One and what are your preparations?
It's maybe starting to be confusing for us as well! In the case of Renault, Renault
clearly wants to go and push for a new engine format and new engine architecture and is clearly in favour of the four-cylinder. I think there are some concerns from some other engine manufacturers who would maybe like to see a different architecture, or push a bit further or postpone directly the arrival of the new engine, so this is basically why there are discussions.
For me, from the technical side, I think it is a very interesting technical challenge, a huge project. At some point some clarity will be good, when we need to start working on it, really, but as for the political situation behind it, I don't think I really want to comment.
(Matt Youson – Matt Youson and Associates).
As a follow-up to that question: you've decided to steer clear of shaped undersides for 2013 onwards. Is there a plan in place for an alternative or will we see slower cars when the smaller engines eventually arrive?
Shaped undersides, for the bodywork regulations. I don't know if you've followed that but the aerodynamic package that's been agreed for 2013 is an evolution of what we have today rather than what was called ground effect concept. So the ground effect concept, which the FIA had worked on, has been held for the moment. I think they did some interesting work and that's not necessarily dispensed with forever but the concept that's been agreed for 2013 is an evolution from where we are but in a way which generates some changes which cause the cars to be more efficient, which is all part of the package, which together with the power unit, which is the engine and the hybrid system, will generate total fuel savings of perhaps thirty percent. The teams made a case to the FIA that this evolutionary approach would achieve the same objectives in a more robust manner with more certainty, because it was based on the current position, so evolving from that, gave more certainty to reach the target, and frankly, at less cost for everyone, because it was a small set of changes.
(Peter Windsor - Clarcksport).
Fan response and perhaps controversy; there was a lot of discussion after the restart at Monaco, particularly about new tyres going on the cars and repairs being made and effectively free changes being made to the cars. I would be interested in everybody's view about that, what took place there and whether you think that's going to happen for ever more or whether it's up for review, whether or not perhaps tyre changes should be allowed, or indeed, modifications to rear wings or whatever?
I suppose the tyre situation… in that sort of situation you don't know if anyone's run over some debris or damaged a tyre in any way, I suppose you could say like Lewis today, for example. So I think to change tyres is actually sensible and it's a safety issue, really, so I think it's essential that people can. As for how badly damaged your car is, I think that's going to be debated, isn't it? It's been that way for as long as I can remember, which is quite a long time! Again, it does stop you having to take risks. Would you send your car to the pit lane to fix it or do you think that whatever is slightly damaged might last for the five laps left or whatever? Safety-wise, it is best to allow both to happen, I would think.
Peter, I think I can see what you're saying from the fans' point of view, because that part of the race is effectively destroyed, if you like. Very difficult to race. There were three or four different things happening towards the end of that race and they were all knocked on the head. It's not something that happens very often, which is probably why it probably needs a debate and it's probably going to be a long time before it happens again. I agree with the safety factor of being able to change tyres because of punctures, but there were three or four different strategies going on there, with some cars that had taken a hit on their race time such as Hamilton, Maldonado and Ferrari
and others that hadn't, such as Kobayashi and Vettel, so clearly those guys were playing the long game, and they were all very exposed at the end of the race and that helped them out, straight away. It can go both ways, with teams, it's more really what does it do to the show? I'm not sure, it might be a long time before you see it again. In terms of car damage, obviously you take a free repair, because you're allowed to work on your car as soon as the race starts, you can do whatever you want to your car: you can stop and change the set-up if you want to, so it's pretty hard to have a rule that says that just because you're on the grid you can't repair it. And once again, you could pull in the safety arguments, so sometimes you lose from it, sometimes you gain, but maybe it's something that needs a chat about again, but it would be very difficult to get a rule that covers all those situations.
(Peter Windsor - Clarcksport).