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Post-race press conference - Japanese GP - Pt.1

Japanese GP Friday FIA press conference with Giorgio Ascanelli (Toro Rosso), Pat Fry (Ferrari), James Key (Sauber), Paddy Lowe (McLaren), Adrian Newey (Red Bull) and Naoki Tokunaga (Renault).

Team representatives: Giorgio Ascanelli (Toro Rosso), Pat Fry (Ferrari), James Key (Sauber), Paddy Lowe (McLaren), Adrian Newey (Red Bull) and Naoki Tokunaga (Renault).

Press conference

Naoki, do you regard this as a home race?

Naoki Tokunaga:
Yes of course. Coming back to Suzuka is always quite a good feeling. Not only because the circuit is very challenging both for the driver and the engineer but also it is my home grand prix. Also the fans, they are fantastic. They are always respectful with us and very happy and they know how to enjoy their race weekend. This year I came here with a little bit extra emotion obviously after the tragedy, so I am quite happy that the fans and the teams all got together again here in Suzuka for this great sporting event.

When Honda and Toyota were involved there were a lot of Japanese people in F1, but not so many these days. What is your background and how did you get into F1?

I studied in Japan and since then I have always wanted to work in motorsport and in particular F1. My career started in an automotive company in Japan, but I always wanted to seek an opportunity in England to get a job and luckily I think it was in 2000 I got the job as a vehicle dynamics engineer at Enstone. It is how my career started and I enjoy the life there. It looks like it is a bit stuck in England but, nonetheless, it is not at all a bad country and I am quite happy being there.

This weekend so far, are you happy to be back on this circuit rather than the slower corners of Singapore.

Yes, this circuit is quite hard on tyres because the tyre energy as a biproduct of the tyre forces are quite high. Especially the front tyres. It is one of the highest circuits of all grand prix tracks. Coupled with this is the abrasive surface of the tarmac. Those combined can make the tyre degradation quite high so I think it is important you set the car balance right to avoid understeer in the high speed corner. We focussed today on getting a good balance and we worked on ride height and spring rates to get an easy to drive car. In P1 the balance is a little bit loose on the rear and poor traction. The good thing is the front of the car was quite strong in mid-corner so we try to keep it and we worked on the rear to get it a little bit better. Also we try a little bit new differential mapping to help traction so in P2 the drivers were generally much happier so I think it was good sessions.

Giorgio, we heard basically the expansion plans of the team at the Italian Grand Prix. Tell us how those are going and in comparison to the RRA, the Resource Restriction Agreement.

Giorgio Ascanelli:
Well, we have developed a plan. We will increase our capacity in aerodynamics, of course, and then in more or less every other part of the company. The accent is on aerodynamics and simulation. As per the RRA they are not a consideration yet. I don't think we are going to hit the limits anyway. A good selection of people is ongoing and we will have to try to make the best of it.

Looking forward, when it comes to next year the rules are pretty much the same. But with the exhaust, how big a change is that?

It is a very large change. I think this morning our car was quite better than this afternoon just because we had an evolution of the exhaust which unfortunately broke on us. I don't quite see this happening next year.

Which, you don't see such breakages happening next year?

I think there is going to be more limited space for development.

So there is more work than perhaps would appear to be apparent?



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
22.09.2011- Adrian Newey (GBR), Red Bull Racing , Technical Operations Director
06.10.2011- Pat Fry (GBR), Technical Director (Chassis), Scuderia Ferrari
James Key, Sauber F1 launch, Valencia, 2011 [pic credit: Sauber Media]
27.08.2011- Qualifying, Adrian Newey (GBR), Red Bull Racing , Technical Operations Director

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