F1 » 13 April 2012
Chinese GP – Friday press conference – Pt.2
I don't think there's one particular area to be honest with you. I think we continue looking at every part in the car, both aero-wise, mechanical set-up-wise and also the way we go about our race weekend in qualifying and in the race, so I don't think there's one single item that we specifically concentrate on, it's just an overall group effort on the whole car.
In our case I think it's very clear. From the teams that we are close to in qualifying, especially in our case, the difference is aero. Ninety percent of our lap time gap to the front row is aero. Of course there is a difference in aero programmes and budgets, so we just need to get more with less money, so it is possible.
The same for us really: aero is the key at the minute and that's what we're working hard on, but in lots of areas though, not just finding parts that we think have got more downforce but correlation and understanding flow structures and all that kind of stuff. We're on a steep learning curve and that's where we're heading, basically.
I'm with Matt, you fight the thing on all fronts and try to pick, across the whole gamut of bits you could put on the car to improve it, the ones that will bring the most improvement the fastest, but there isn't a family of parts that you pick from. It just depends on what ideas you've come up with in the factory, what the team has come up with in the factory.
Q: (Luigi Perna – La Gazzetta dello Sport)
For Pat Fry and Paddy Lowe in particular: are you going to develop a solution similar to Mercedes for your car in the next few races – I mean the F-duct?
We've been looking at it for a while. I think it's just a case of weighing up what the performance is on our car. It's bound to vary differently from car to car and particularly if you've had that system in mind and developed your car to work around it, you're further up the development curve so it's not just a case of applying it to our current aerodynamic characteristic, it's then trying to exploit it further after that, so I expect there will be a two-fold thing: we will know instantly – or we know instantly – what it's worth in terms of lap time and we can weigh that up in the cost performance and the effort needed. And then we also need to look at what's the ultimate potential of that device. We've been looking at it for a month or two. Now it's clear we can at least start working for sure, weighing up everything properly.
In these days of really very limited capacity – whether that's people or time in wind tunnels – to develop aerodynamics, you do have to carefully select where you put your effort to make the most profit in performance, so this will fall into that camp. We have to decide how much we can get from it, how it ranks compared to other areas we may work on. It does have the immediate downside that it really is only a qualifying benefit as far as we can see, so immediately it has to earn quite a lot to make that worthwhile.
Q: (Cheng Liang Zong - China News Service)
Antonio, we know that the Chinese driver Ma Qing Hua joined HRT recently. How do you describe his future at HRT and what do you think he should do to ensure that he becomes a real Formula One driver? And secondly, after nine years of Formula One coming to China, Chinese people are still concerned that there is not a native Formula One driver or team so do you think it's just a question of a lack of money or lack of some kind of culture or is it just about timing?
We still don't know – the driver hasn't jumped into the car yet, so we still need to know his capabilities and as soon as we have an opportunity, he will drive in the young drivers' test so we have hopes of him and of course he's a part of our young development programme. We don't know how much we can expect from him but of course there are big hopes.
Regarding China, I think there are many countries, including India and China, that are far from Europe where the centre of gravity of Formula One has been in the past. They are just becoming important and we can see that China is an important country for the future. There are many countries that were not important in F1 and now they are becoming important in the last two years, so why not China in two years?
Q: (Andrew Benson – BBC Sport)
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