9 July 2011
Friday press conference - British GP - Pt.2
Sorry, my hearing is damaged after 30 or 40 years. Life goes on. Max – I happened to see him yesterday, actually, he came by at the office, clever as ever, sharp as ever, a little more genial at last. Retirement, in a way, is doing him some good. I think he was an outstanding administrator and leader of the FIA – I didn't say Formula One, I said the FIA.
Q: (Niki Takeda – Formula PA)
Tony, following on what you have said, you mentioned that the rules have to be black and white so how do you propose in your opinion to remove all the different shades of grey in this sport?
I'm the last person [to ask] because I don't understand half of them, but I think there are enough smart people in this business to make the sport easier to understand the rules and I have proposed it at the last FOTA meeting and I think there are some suggestions being put forward at the TRWG in terms of the terms of reference. I'm coming in as someone who is an outsider and saying how I look at it and making some suggestions. I think there are lots of smart people in there who can make it an easier and more black and white sport and I think that's what I put forward to FOTA last week because I think it is. This blown diffuser, I think it should be at the end of the season. I've always said that. If you're going to make a rule change like that, where teams have invested, it should be at the end of the season and now you're getting things being changed in practice sessions. I think this kind of greyness needs to be taken out. It has, in many other motor sports, where it is black and white, and I think it would be good for Formula One. I don't know how to do it but there are enough people in there who do know and I think there should be less energy spent on so much of the rules and the engineering ways of getting around the rules and they should just be black and white, so you know this is what you can do as opposed to we spend so much time trying to find ways to circumvent the rules. It should be very clear, and I think it can be done, because it is done in 99 per cent of other sports.
The other point to make there is that I think it's much better to address these problems in private, so that we don't add too much confusion for the spectators. A bit of in-house housekeeping before it goes public would be helpful, I think.
Q: (Byron Young – The Daily Mirror)
Putting aside the technological gobbledy-gook that most of us didn't understand just now, am I right in thinking that what you're saying basically Martin, is that you believe that Renault-powered cars have a technical advantage – Red Bull have a technical advantage – and Christian is saying No, they don't?
I don't know whether they've got a technical advantage or not. All I'm saying is that we've evolved into quite a complex set of guidelines as to what's permissible. We've done everything against what Tony's suggested i.e. what was not exactly black and white but what was reasonably clear and what was being exploited has become a whole heck of a lot greyer and subject to negotiation which probably wasn't appropriate and I think that again, everyone here agrees, having clear rules that aren't unambiguous and are changed after good consent and between seasons is the right thing to do.
I agree with Martin. I think that at the end of the day, we don't want to be disadvantaged. We think it's unfair to have been excessively penalised through a technical directive that was released just after Valencia, that has been addressed in an equitable manner and I think that inevitably McLaren or Mercedes will think that they're losing out to Renault and Red Bull. Red Bull feels exactly the same, that the way that they operate their engine offers an advantage. It's something that we're just not going to agree on but I think that that's where the role of the regulator is, to balance this and on what is a very complex subject, they've done their best to do it. I think that as Charlie will probably admit, it would have been best to deal with this at the end of the year, because it is tantamount to a rule change and when you enter the championship at the beginning of the year and you design your car around it – and let's not forget that there's other teams that have significantly designed their cars around this set of regulations – for them to suddenly change halfway through the year is cost, it's time, it's effort, it's money and it's confusing. It's confusing to you, it's confusing to the fans and it's confusing to Formula One. So that's where we are. I think hopefully we can now draw a line under it and move on. It's probably not the last you're going to hear about blown exhausts or whatever else is blown these days but hopefully we can now move on.
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