24 September 2011
Friday press conference - Singapore GP - Pt.1
Well it's a street circuit, so it has very low grip. There is always a lot of oil on the circuit so you always get a lot of progression of lap time during the weekend as the Formula One tyres pick up a lot of the debris and contaminants on the surface. It is similar to Monte Carlo, which is like that as well. The most important thing is slow-speed corners, getting rid of understeer, making sure traction is good. There are no real high-speed corners compared to a normal closed circuit. It's a maximum downforce track and quite a few kerbs as well around this place. You can do a lot of damage there. Normally quite difficult to overtake around a track like this but with DRS and the tyre situation there should be plenty of overtaking on Sunday.
Is it a little less bumpy than before?
The track itself is. The actual tarmac, but the kerbs are just as big. They are hitting the kerbs even harder now.
We have seen quite a lot of bits and pieces coming off most cars.
That's right. A lot of that is because they are trying to take more and more kerb as there is lap time in it.
Is that something we have seen today or are we going to see that for the rest of the weekend?
Well I think today you will see a lot more of it as the drivers are trying to find out how far they can go and how much damage they can get away with. Then tonight you will repair your car and tell them where you can and can't drive.
Norbert, Michael Schumacher's performances over the past couple of grands prix. Two fifth places.
Well I think he was excellent in the last two races. He was very good in some of the other ones, probably not at the right position. Our current car is not capable of doing a much better job and I think especially in the races, especially after the starts, nobody overtook more cars than Michael did in the first lap. He is an excellent starter, still a fantastic racer and the more we improve our technical package the more he will deliver. I think we know from Nico (Rosberg) what he is capable of doing so we have a very strong driver combination. I think a lot of people got excited in Monza. It was fantastic to watch and the guys like us who like racing enjoyed it very much. I can understand Martin (Whitmarsh). I had a word with him afterwards. I can understand Lewis (Hamilton) but if they had been in our position they would not have acted differently and I guess 99 per cent of the television viewers enjoyed it. Probably more than that.
Do you expect those sort of performances to continue for the final six races or was that just the two ow downforce circuits?
Well it certainly fitted much better to the current package we are having. This race here in Singapore, first of all it is a fantastic event I have to say and hopefully it stays forever on the calendar. It is producing the most spectacular television pictures. It is so unique and we all have to thank the organisers and Bernie (Ecclestone) for making this event happen. But it is a challenging track. It probably looks not such a typical street course but you could see what happened today. The walls are very close. The drivers push to the limits. We discussed that right now so I think there will be a lot of surprises here. For us, it will be challenging. We made a good step between first practice and second practice. We're heading in the right direction. Hopefully there is a little bit more to come but we honestly cannot expect a Monza or a Spa like performance under normal circumstances. But, having said that, this race will have safety cars probably. You need to be there. There is a chance of rain, whatever, so that can be quite a mix up in the field and we need to be prepared. Michael will deliver. There is no doubt he is as committed as ever. I think we have to see that he was outside of Formula One for three years. The formula changed a lot. There is no testing and so on and so on. He gets more mileage and he gets better and better and I think not a lot of drivers could have done a better job than he did in the last two races. His race speed, if you compare it to Nico, looks very balanced and Nico is – and I think Sam can describe that as well – certainly one of the most talented, most experienced ones. One of the definitely top five drivers and if you can compare yourself after a comeback, after a break of three years, with one of the young superstars, then you are heading in the right direction. For me it is a little strange to say Michael will create surprises because he won everything, he won more than anybody else, but believe me the better our car goes the more he will deliver and he is fully committed. He is an asset to the team, doing a fantastic job, keeping the together, motivating everybody and we are 100 per cent pleased to have him with us.
Tagged as: Williams , Mercedes , Norbert Haug , Sam Michael , Singapore , press conference , Force India F1 , riad asmat , Gerard Lopez , Team Lotus , robert fernley , Renault Sport F1 , Lotus Renault , Jean Francois Caubet
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