F1 » 25 June 2011
Friday press conference - European GP - Pt.1
Team representatives: Ross Brawn (Mercedes), Mike Gascoyne (Team Lotus), James Key (Sauber), Geoff Willis (HRT), Franz Tost (Toro Rosso)
Mike, can I start with you. Principally about General Electric. What sort of effect are they going to have on the team?
Well twofold. It is great to have one of the world's biggest corporations coming on board in what is a very major sponsorship deal for the team and I think it really makes the future look very good for us, both financially and also as a technical partner. I was lucky enough to visit their research facilities when we went to New York to make the announcement and (they have) some fantastic technology and facilities. It was actually, for me as an engineer, very inspiring to go around their labs just and see the level of technology and enthusiasm and the freedom to think. I think in Formula One we are very good at what we do in getting to races every two weeks and turning things around very quickly but sometimes as engineers we lose that capacity to think and be innovative and give people the freedom to have time to do some fundamental research. So it was very inspiring for me, as an engineer, to go around there, and I am sure some of the technologies they have got in battery technologies and electric motors for electric vehicles will be very relevant to where Formula One is going in the future. All in all, on all fronts, a fantastic announcement for the team.
When do they start getting involved?
Well, I think you will see at the next race the unveiling of the car with all the signage on and from a technical point of view we are already in discussions with them.
Geoff, 13th place in Canada, most people would say not fantastic but it was a step forward for yourselves, so what are the aims now for the rest of the season?
Certainly, it was a good result for us, if 13th place is ever a good result. It was important for us in the championship fight we are having. Again those sorts of races are races where you have to finish and you have to finish as far up as you can. Those are the times when a backmarker team can get lucky but you have to make your luck. We are still developing the car this year. We will carry on as long as we can through the season. We were going to have a development here that actually will come to Silverstone and we are trying to get something on the car pretty much every race I would say for the next four or five races. We have got a new wind tunnel programme starting very shortly, which we will do some 2011 car work on, so I am hoping we will get something from that test immediately on the car.
Are you just duelling, as it were, with Marussia Virgin or are you aiming at Lotus as well?
I think you always have to aim high and being realistic there is quite a big gap to cross. It would be nice to be able to cross some of the gap this year and continue to cross it next year.
James, slightly contrasting messages coming out of your team. You said that you slightly need to improve on qualifying, you feel that you need to. Then, yesterday, Kamui Kobayashi basically said that qualifying wasn't that important. Interesting contrast.
Well I guess Kamui is a bit individual in that respect isn't he, as he is such a good racer and he again proved in Canada I think that he can go from one position and quickly make places up. But I think as a team in general our race performance is much better than qualifying. I think it has got something with the way we are using the tyres. But if we need to look at our race weekend and improve one part of it, I think for us it is qualifying. We tend to build up to it and I think in Canada it was a bit of a disappointment. In Monaco it was better up to a point, obviously, but I think that's our focus at the moment – to try and make the car quicker over the weekend.
Just talk a little bit about Kamui. How pleased are you with his performance and how far can he go do you think?
Well, we are very pleased, as he has continued from where he left off last year. The good thing with him is that he does challenge in races. He has got a very good racing head on him. Even in Canada I think he made up three or four places until we had the red flag and that's the wet conditions. But he keeps it clean. You know he is not knocking his front wing off every five seconds, so I think we are extremely pleased to have him in the team again this year and he is continuing to prove to be a great racer. Kind of going off from last year, we continue to have a lot of faith that he can make a strategy work which with these tyres et cetera is quite important I think.
Ross, we are seeing you it seems inching up the hierarchy. Is that the case at the moment? We saw Michael (Schumacher), for example, fourth this afternoon and he was very nearly on the podium in Canada.
Tagged as: Mercedes , Toro Rosso , Ross Brawn , Franz Tost , press conference , Valencia , Geoff Willis , Friday , HRT , Sauber , Lotus , Mike Gascoyne , james key
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