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Friday press conference - European GP - Pt.1

I think they are little snapshots rather than the complete movie. We can, in certain circumstances, make an impact but not consistently enough. You have to say at the moment the only team who is consistently performing is Red Bull. We have those little short periods when things can look good but we cannot put the whole thing together yet. That's what we have to do. We have to improve the car to put the whole thing together.

Q:
Do you think Michael has got back into his rhythm now? We saw it in Canada and we are seeing it here.

Ross Brawn:
Well, I thought he was always in his rhythm. As I say in Canada we gave him an opportunity to demonstrate it to a bigger audience. But if you watch his racing, particularly at the beginning of the race, we are always highly entertained by the in-car coverage we see of Michael, it is great. I think he has got one of the best records this year for people gaining positions in the first few laps. An opportunity developed for him to show what he has been doing all the time and what we have been seeing all the time and I think for both drivers [is] if we can give them the right car they will both succeed.

Q:
Franz, first of all can we have a little update on what happened this afternoon.

Franz Tost:
We started the engine on Jaime Alguersuari's car for the second free practice. We recognised a strange noise, a mechanical noise, and then we removed the gearbox and started once more, but it seems that we had a mechanical failure and therefore, unfortunately, he couldn't go out. The engineers are just investigating the reason for this. I don't know currently what happened.

Q:
How much do you think that is going to hurt him in terms of overall time?

Franz Tost:
Especially on such a track here in Valencia it is important to do as many laps as possible and therefore it is not a good preparation for him for tomorrow. Hopefully, we can sort out all the problems so he can do a good third practice session and be prepared then for qualifying.

Q:
We see Scuderia Toro Ross very much as the Red Bull junior team, which is very much what it was set up to be initially. One driver is in his third season. The other driver, it is his second season. Admittedly you are trying Daniel Ricciardo but there is also Jean-Eric Vergne in the wings as well. What is the policy now for the team these days?

Franz Tost:
The policy for the team is that it is the Red Bull rookie team. When Dietrich Mateschitz and Red Bull bought Minardi the reason for this was to give young drivers from the Red Bull driver pool the chance to come into Formula One. To be educated in Formula One and then to be transferred to Red Bull Racing if they show good performance. Sebastian Buemi is doing his third season and so far he is performing well. Jaime is in his second season and he had a little bit of troubles at the beginning of the season but in Canada he showed a good performance. We will see how he will do in the next races. Ricciardo is the driver on Friday. We prepare Ricciardo for the future and so far he is doing a good job and then we will see.

Q:
There are technical matters. The the map changing, which obviously is being stopped here, off-throttle blown diffusers, exhaust, the future engine. Pick one of those subjects that most concern you. Mike, would you like to start.

Mike Gascoyne:
I think with the changes for here and Silverstone, I don't think the changes here will radically affect anyone. Yes, people were running sort of more extreme maps in qualifying but I don't think the effect will be very great for any team. I think, on the change for Silverstone with the blown diffuser, I think it is frustrating when there is a change in the middle of the season. We have all spent a lot of money developing something. I think from a pure point of view, as an engineer, Charlie [Whiting's] interpretation within the rules, I think you can argue that it is probably correct in some respects. We, as engineers, are always pushing to get an advantage and will obviously implement it if it is within the rules. If Charlie thinks it has gone too far or if something shouldn't be happening then he is right to act. It is just frustrating it is done in the middle of the season without consultation. I think that is the main sticking point for everyone really. But we have all got to get on with it. Is it going to change anything? Probably not. For sure the teams at the front have probably got more developed blown diffusers and will take a bigger hit. For those of us at the back that have only started with that technology this year, probably the effect we are getting will be slightly less but actually will it change the pecking order? Probably not. It will just compact it a little bit.

Q:
Geoff, what's your chosen subject?

Geoff Willis:
Well, I think I will stick with the technical directive changes and the changes for Silverstone, as it is a complex issue. We can debate whether or not the technical directives are a regulation change or not, but for a small team these changes are significant in a sense that we have to make decisions on our cost performance criteria whether we do something or not. And in our particular case, we started to play catch-up by modifying exhausts to get some performance benefit. [We] stopped that when TD15 came out. [We] realised when TD16 came out we could carry on, missed a race from it and then introduced it for Montreal, where it was probably a significant help getting that P13, which is pretty important for the team. Now, we will lose a little bit of performance from it in its Silverstone guise and that probably might be the wrong side of the performance-cost criteria for a small team like ourselves and we may well have spent that budget elsewhere. Or certainly [spent] that time and effort elsewhere. But the bigger picture here is that, as Mike has hinted at, we probably shouldn't be making these changes mid-season. We can argue, for example, why, with the F-Duct, we waited until the end of the season and why some other things historically have been changed mid-season and other ones at the end of the season. Really the Technical Working Group is the group that should be making recommendations about technical regulations and clearly if there is something, whether or not if it is a regulation change strictly or whether it is an interpretation change, if we do that mid-season it is clearly going to be very difficult in the TWG to get agreement or even to have an open – and I hope all discussions are rational – but an open and unbiased discussion, as clearly some teams will take a benefit from a change and some teams won't. We really should be moving these sorts of discussions into next year's regulations or even further away, such that we can have an appropriate and what I would say is a complete disinterested conversation about it. But, for example, if there was an issue that came up midseason that was a safety critical thing then without doubt we would discuss it and if we had to we would change rules mid-weekend if we had to if it was that important. But that's what I think at the moment. We do need to have a proper process where we discuss things in the TWG and it goes through the hierarchy of TWG, F1 Commission, Council or whatever.

Q:
James?

James Key:
Well, I think on a similar note from our side it has been good to have some clarity from the FIA as it is, as Geoff says, a pretty complicated area. You are always going to have exhaust gas exiting the car somewhere, so you will always have some form of aero influence. So, in that respect, I think what has been done for next year with some proscribed position for the exhaust is very sensible, as it removes all the ambiguity and also removes a fairly expensive development direction which, as people have seen from this year, is pretty expensive and complicated. I think the moves for next year are sensible. The change in the middle of the season is always going to be tricky because it does alter things. Having said that, I think there is a distinction between the exhausts and things like the F-Duct and the diffusers that we had recently as they were deemed legal and they were pure aerodynamic devices. I think the difference here is that engines shouldn't be aerodynamic devices and they weren't deemed legal and I think that is the distinction for a mid-season change rather than an end of season.

Q:
Ross?

Ross Brawn:




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