Indian GP - Post-race press conference - Pt.2
30 October 2011
Drivers: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), Jenson Button (McLaren) and Fernando Alonso (Ferrari).
Questions from the floor
Q: (Sridhar Potdar – Sakaal Media House)
Vettel, we have to say V for victory and V for Vettel. Speaking about India, you say that here people don't have money but they're happy, compared to Europe. Is this a very fond memory of the most memorable race of your life so far?
Well, as I said, I think some things are very difficult to imagine for us. If you look where we come from, I think it's hard to imagine things if you haven't seen them. The really surprising bit for us… where sometimes you measure happiness in our lives, in our world, with what you have achieved, what you have etc. For the people here, it doesn't really matter, they're happy with what they have, even if you compare they have so little, but they are happy and friendly, helpful, respectful. Obviously I haven't spent a lot of time here, so I can't judge as well as people from India, but it was very inspiring when I had a bit of time to spend in the country. I went to see the Taj Mahal which is obviously a touristy thing to do but driving there by car, and not falling asleep because the roads were pretty… it was a good adventure, let's say. Keeping your eyes open, there are a lot of things which make you appreciate a lot of things much more than you probably do. Yeah, it opens your eyes, as long as you allow yourself to look at certain things, so I think it was an inspiration and something that you should never forget. All in all, it was great to be here, a great circuit, which obviously – speaking about our job, about racing, that's what we judge most, the circuit is fantastic to drive. I was surprised that the race went by pretty quickly. Obviously I was always trying to keep the gap to him (Button), trying to push but my engineer came on the radio and said 'twelve laps to go' and I was surprised because I thought, bloody hell, that went by quickly. It's a good sign, because you enjoy the circuit and there are some great corners as Fernando said, high speed corners which we usually enjoy a lot, because it allows us to put us on the limit, the cars on the limit so great to be here. Having had debuts in different places the last couple of years, this will be one of the races that settles in very quickly and we will all be happy to come back. Even though there has only been one race so far, I'm already looking forward to next year.
Q: (Sudhir Chandran - Chequered Flag,).
When Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, he said those famous words 'one small step by a human being and one giant leap for mankind.' Any famous first words?
I think it should just be the winner who has these special words.
Dhanyawaad… aapki aankhei bahut khoobsurat hai (thank you, your eyes are beautiful). Obviously that's for the ladies of India. You know the girls, to all the girls in India, you have beautiful women in this country. They have beautiful eyes.
Thank you very much. As I said we all enjoyed it, everyone is happy to be here and happy to come back which is a good sign.
Q: (Sudhir Chandran - Chequered Flag,).
India has an advertising tag-line which says Incredible India. Would you guys like to endorse it or add to it after the weekend you've spent here?
I think I answered that question before already. I agree, yes.
Yeah, I agree with Sebastian.
I agree with both.
Q: (Amanpreet Singh - PTI).
Vettel, we appreciate you have said good things about India but twice you have mentioned that India is different from what you know in Europe. Would you like to elaborate what impression you had about this country before landing here and what differences you found eventually?
Well, it's difficult to say. Expectations, you obviously only know from what people tell you. To be honest I didn't expect anything really. I heard a lot of good things, I heard a lot of bad things. I prefer to come here myself and take a look, so I took a little bit of time to have a look outside the circuit, as I said. Basically what I saw is very inspiring, it's very different. I think you will find the same if you go there. Sometimes it's difficult to imagine for us, which is why I think you really have to come here but it's a country that I think is very interesting to travel around, because I think there are a lot of things you can learn. Some things you have to get used to because they are so different, but it's not a drama, it's a different culture, the people are different but as I said, they are very helpful, very friendly and happy, so that's a good thing.
Q: (S.S. ShreeKumar – New Indian Express, Bangalore).
Alonso, you said things will improve in future. What areas do you think need improvement?
I think when you host the first race even in a new country, there are things that for sure you learn and you improve. I think the paddock, even if it's finished and it's working fine, I think next year it will be even better, in terms of how the teams will settle, how the electricity will work, after we had some problems on Thursday, which is very normal for a first time that we use an environment like this one. I think the circuit itself will improve as well. There was too much sand on the circuit on the first day and now the circuit is in a very good condition, on Sunday, after the race. I think the starting point next year will be a lot better than the starting point this year. We saw a couple of issues with kerbs with Felipe, yesterday breaking his suspension, today again another suspension, so I'm sure that they will find a better solution for this type of kerb, obviously stopping us cutting the corner but in a different way, to avoid any risk or any accident that it can cause at the moment. As I said, the starting point is already very high, from zero to ten maybe it's nine so it's very good but the ten will be reached very soon.
Q: (Flavio Vanetti - Il Corriere della Sera).
Fernando, two races left and 13 points behind Jenson, do you still believe it's possible for you to cover the gap and get second place in the championship?
Yes, perfectly possible, that's for sure, because there are 50 points available but as we said a couple of races ago, OK, finishing second is maybe better than finishing fifth. We are four drivers all together: Hamilton, Jenson, Mark and me but it's not a big priority for us. If I finish second it's OK, if I finish fourth it's OK. I will not remember the 2011 season if I finish second or third. I will probably remember the win in Silverstone and a couple of nice starts and a couple of nice races, but the position of the championship, once you are no longer in the hunt for the World Championship win, the other positions are less relevant. I think we will try to do two last good races, try to be on the podium if we can, which is always a good feeling, taste the champagne and take the trophy after a hard weekend, as it was this one. I think I have to congratulate the team, they did a fantastic job to maximise the potential we have in our hands now, we know that the car is not as competitive as it was a couple of months ago but we are still fighting for podiums. Today we had a problem on the front wing on the lap to the grid, twenty minutes before the start, and they worked until the last minute just to put it all together and they did it perfectly right and the car was very well balanced all through the races. Everyone is doing 100 percent of his job to maximise the potential and the podiums are very welcome. In the last two races, I think we will continue in this direction.
Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport).
Jenson, when you look at the lap times, sector one and sector two were pretty evenly matched, but you consistently lost to Sebastian in the last sector, three to four tenths. It's the shortest sector with just four corners; where are you losing?
I haven't got a clue! That's the first I know about it. I don't know. I'm guessing turn 13, 14, 15 and 16 probably! I don't know why that's different to the other sectors. I'm surprised that I didn't lose more in the middle sector because that's been a little bit of a weakness throughout the weekend but we've obviously sorted that out, but yeah, there are two high speed corners in that sector and two low speed corners so it's strange why there's such a difference.
Q: (Sarah Holt – BBC Sport).
Jenson, Sebastian's not going to be untouchable in the last couple of races is he? I know, when you get the chance, you can push him hard during the race, and just for Fernando, what is your priority then in the next two races? Have you got one?
I don't have an answer for you really. Is he going to be untouchable? I don't know. I hope not, and we're going to do everything we can to make sure that he doesn't win the next two races but he's obviously been very strong all year. It's very very difficult to challenge Red Bull and Sebastian, but we're doing everything we can and I think today we did everything right but we just weren't quick enough, so for the next two weeks, we've got to hope that we can make some improvements for Abu Dhabi, a circuit where they're generally very quick but then again, they were generally very quick in Japan, Suzuka, so… Hopefully we will work well there and we will get everything right and we can challenge Sebastian.
Our priority will be 2012, car, team, me. I cannot tell you where I need to improve!
Q: (L. P Sahi – The Telegraph).
Sebastian, I was just curious to know: new circuit, new track. In terms of strategy and tactics, how was this much more demanding for you and your team to get onto the circuit and to emerge the winner straight away?
I think it's always… if you have a debut on a new track, the first time you're here there are a lot of questions to be answered. Obviously the tyre choice, with hindsight, was conservative compared to some of the other races, so we knew that the soft tyre will be the quicker compound, will be faster, just how long is it going to survive? We weren't sure if we would have to pit twice or three times. In the end we only came in twice. As I said, it's difficult to know what to expect. Obviously these days we get a little bit of an idea on the simulator about the track, about the kerbs, about the layout, about the speed of the corners, but it's different when we come here. The circuit was very dusty on Friday, improved pretty quickly on the racing line, once it was clear of dust it was very grippy, the grip level was very high and we could go very quickly and I think the lap times were very quick as well. Obviously for next year we have a lot of things we can take out of this year to improve, to learn, to understand about the car, the set-up. Yes, the cars will change but the circuit is not unknown, so it's always more difficult if you talk about something that you don't know for everything, strategy, set-up. Obviously throughout the weekend it was dry, the conditions were consistent, so we were able to get the information on the Friday which helped us a lot yesterday and today so that made our lives a bit easier but, as I said, if you race somewhere for the first time, there are always a lot of boxes to be ticked.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo).
There is an important meeting on Thursday in Geneva with the F1 Commission. One of the subjects to be discussed is the possibility of one team to supply another team with a car. What's your opinion about that, is that good or bad for Formula One?
About the car, I think it's something we need to think about. It's not something we should jump straight into and give a comment. I think it's difficult for the teams that do build their own car. They put all the effort into designing a car and working on that car over a winter to suddenly be racing against a Red Bull re-badged or something or a McLaren re-badged or a Ferrari re-badged. It's a little bit unfair on teams that are in the middle of the pack and they build their own car, but I don't know the full extent of the conversations that are going to take place and when this is going to be for.
It's the first time I heard about it as well. I think I agree a little bit with Jenson. Obviously you put a lot of effort in your car, the whole team is pushing. I know there are a lot of people behind us here on the track, it's not only the guys you see here changing the wheels during the race and working on the cars at the race track, there's a lot of people at the factory. They push hard to build these two cars and yeah, obviously if you have a good car… I don't know if the idea is to sell that to someone else. I don't know if it's the idea of Formula One. It's the first time I heard about it, so I don't know.
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat).
Jenson, McLaren sealed second place in the Constructors' championship today. How would rate second place in the Drivers' championship if you get it as well?
First of all, yeah, congratulations to the team for second. It's sad always to say congratulations for second but it does make a big difference to the team, moving into the new season. Second in the Drivers' doesn't mean as much as second in the Constructors'. I think when you've won a World Championship, nothing else will do really except for first place. The important thing is that we're strong; for the next couple of races and every race I'm going into I'm fighting for a win. I'm not going to give up on that until it's the end of the season. I'm very excited about the challenge of Abu Dhabi and especially Brazil – I saw you (Sebastian) look over then! Yeah, that's exciting, very exciting. Second in the championship? You've beaten everyone except one person and it's that one person that you really want to beat.