11 May 2012
Spanish GP – Friday press conference – Pt.1
Adrian and Sam, interesting to see both your teams today seeming to do a lot more work on the car, seeming to do perhaps more than usual. Was this a continuation today of the Mugello test? Were you still working on test parts?
I wouldn't say this weekend has been any different to the first four races from how we've approached the weekend and so forth.
It's pretty similar for us as well. We've had a pretty intensive Friday programme of bringing upgrades and taking lots of measurements throughout P1 and P2 and we had a few bits that we carried over from Mugello to finish off but we would have had a very similar programme whether we went to Mugello or not. All the teams are geared up to not have testing, to not having test teams and that means we're equipped and do our planning to do all of that work on Friday. So, it wasn't any different for us here.
How important to both of you was that Mugello test? For instance, Sam, your race drivers didn't take part in it, whereas Adrian, your race drivers did. How important was it?
From our point of view it was interesting because we used it to get correlation. All of our testing is to do with correlation now. It's not to dial in the last little bit of the setup. And by running our two test drivers there we get a straight back-to-back with the guys that do the majority of the running in our simulator. So, that's quite important for us to verify all of our models. I think the test itself, personally, I think you could do without it. I think it's a lot of energy and expense during the season that we probably don't need. Of course McLaren will gain a lot out of that test but Formula One is all relative, so all we really did was spend a load of money. And did we really shift relative to Red Bull or Ferrari or Mercedes and the people who we're competing against? I don't think so.
Adrian, do you feel the same way?
I think we learnt the pasta in Italy is still the best in the world and that's about it really. I'd agree with what Sam says. To me, yes you go to the test because it's available. We didn't learn anything… relatively speaking. I think Sam's point is valid. We all spent money but the value of in-season testing has to be questionable.
Adrian, in terms of driver performance this year, how much has changed do you think? Do you think anything has changed between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber in the first four grands prix of this year?
No, obviously Sebastian's confidence is high and Mark is very talented and keeps working so I think y'know, generally Sebastian's had slightly better results but it's been close and I'm very happy with both of them.
Sam, it's a little bit of a mystery that when you were at Williams you were technical director there and now you're sporting director – could you explain how your duties have changed?
Sure. I work for the senior management group, which means that I work with all the engineering and technical directors at McLaren. My main responsibility is the race track and the drivers but I work within that group in the factory to make McLaren a faster car and a better place.
Very often the sporting director is seen almost as a team manager.
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