F1 » 11 May 2012
Spanish GP – Friday press conference – Pt.2
Present: Pierre Wache (Sauber), Paui Hembery (Pirelli), Mark Smith (Caterham), Giorgio Ascanelli (Toro Rosso), Adrian Newey (Red Bull), Sam Michael (McLaren).
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Ian Parkes – PA)
Question to Sam and Adrian. So many times since in-season testing was banned we've heard teams and drivers bemoan the fact there is no in-season testing, that they can't test things, they can't improve the car etc. So why are you two guys now bemoaning the fact that we've just had an in-season test and you learnt nothing from it? Sure that was the whole point of having an in-season test, that you do learn things from it and you move forward.
Neither of us is saying that we haven't learnt anything from it, it's just, has it brought anything in particular of real value? And obviously because Formula One is a relative sport and in particular relative to your competition and, as Sam said, since those comments were made we've had three years, or whatever it is, of no in-season testing. We've all learnt how to use Fridays more effectively as test sessions, so the value of in-season testing has depleted because of that.
Q: (Daniel Ortelli – AFP)
Now that you've answered that question, do you think that in-season testing would be more useful later in the season?
I guess if you wanted to use it as research for the following year's car, possibly. But I think the fact is Formula One budget-wise is… things are tight for a lot of teams and the most expensive thing to do is run the car. That's far more expensive than wind tunnel testing or CFD or simulators and whatever else you might like to name. If one of the major things is to save costs then I think in-season testing would be one of the relatively low-hanging fruit.
Anyone else have any further comment on that, Giorgio?
Well, things are extremely profitable when they are the same all the time. A team evolves itself to adapt to the conditions of operation which are offered. If you change something you need a different operation. I think that's what these two gentlemen have tried to say. They are both structured team with a lot of infrastructure. For us it's a blessing to be able to drive – because we don't have the infrastructure. Although I agree with Adrian: the most expensive way to make experience it going around a circuit. If you don't, and you have a simulator and a good tunnel you make a good profit. If you haven't got a simulator and haven't got a good tunnel then you need some running to certify what you do.
Mark, anything to add?
Nothing particularly different to add.
Nothing to add, no.
Paul, did it make a big difference as far as you were concerned or just expense?
Just expense I guess. But, y'know, we have to follow what the desires of the teams are. I think if we were to get any use, it would be to go to one of the tracks where we actually run a Formula One race, [that] would have been more useful to us.
Q: (Mike Doodson – Honorary)
Giorgio, you have worked with some of the true greats of our sport, you're now with a smaller team. I wonder if you would tell us if you see any signs of potential greatness in your drivers and specifically, can you tell us about the moments in the season so far when you've been most impressed by each of the two drivers?
I think I already said that I think the qualifying in Bahrain from Daniel has been quite extraordinary. It wasn't just one lap, the last lap, it was the whole of Q1 - all runs in Q1, in Q2 and Q3 were extremely good. It was sort of what I've already said about Sebastian Vettel when he set the famous lap – which I've quoted many times – in Valencia when he was running on full tanks and on used tyres and the lap time was, to my eyes, quite exceptional. I think that Sebastian made a big step that day when he noticed that and he thought about it and he could repeat it. Unfortunately we cannot repeat it yet because the race was another story. It's down to the drivers to find the answers in themselves and in us to help them finding answers. I would say that Daniel has done something that is quite extraordinary. Jev (Jean-Eric Vergne) has a big heart, he is one of the best fuel controllers that I have seen in my life but this is only his fifth event and I think we have to wait a little bit.
Q: (Gary Meenaghan – The National)
This year, we have three teams registered to ASNs from outside of Europe: India, Malaysia and Russia. I'm just wondering if any of you guys can a point at any time in the future when a team can actually be based outside of Europe, working from outside of Europe. I know there were some rumours about Abu Dhabi in the past with Toro Rosso and you've obviously got Malaysia with Caterham as well.
I think it's possible but whether it can be competitive will depend on… Strong Formula One teams are made up of good people; whether they can attract enough good people, that will be the critical thing. It's definitely possible from a manufacturing point of view and setting up equipment and designer, test facilities. That can be done anywhere within reason, but you need, to be competitive in Formula One, you have to attract good people, it's whether they could cross that boundary.
Q: (Ian Parkes – PA)
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