24 May 2012
Thursday press conference - Monaco GP - Pt.1
We often get the question on our budget and that maybe we cannot develop the way that we want to. Now with the Barcelona package I think we showed everyone that we can develop quickly, efficiently and also bring a good and a big package to the track. So we will continue to do that. And it's valid for many other teams on the grid who are in a similar position, the more funding we have, the more we can develop, and you'll see that on track.
Ross, we've seen the ups and downs of the Mercedes team this year, we've heard how unpredictable Formula One is. Is that what it's all about? You won obviously in China but since then the performance doesn't seem to have been there.
I think teams… if we take a normal season, there's always some variability between the teams and if you overlay on that the difficulty in getting a good understanding of how to make these tyres work most effectively, then the two together can sometimes bring quite big discrepancies. Take some of our competitors in Barcelona, they were a second quicker than us, and we were a second quicker than them in the previous race. There's big differences sometimes when these tyres are working or not working properly. I think it's a combination of the two, which makes it quite difficult to always understand where you are in the car and what you have to focus on to improve it. But we've done some useful progress with the car I believe, and when we get to those circuits where it would naturally suit the car and we're in the working range of the tyres, then you'll see the performance come back again. But it's true the last couple of races have not been so great after we had such a wonderful weekend in China.
Is there more strategy decided on the pit wall now than before? Is it becoming harder and harder to think on your feet as the goalposts move?
It's true to say you don't always know what you're going to get in the race, even if you've done the work on a Friday and Saturday, you don't always know what you're going to get in the race and you have to be prepared to react from what you see in the race. Sometimes the tyres don't last as long as you anticipated; sometimes they're more consistent than you anticipated. So you need to have the capacity to evolve your strategy while you're on the pit wall. I think the signs you get are relatively clear in terms of lap times and degradation and so on and so forth. So, it has made strategy, I think, more interesting in many ways, more relevant so, yeah, it does make it more challenging on the pit wall but that's something we enjoy.
Yesterday we had a question from a journalist which quoted you in a German paper – which meant there were about three translations involved – saying that you had said that the team had let down Michael Schumacher this year, so far. Did you say that? Or could you perhaps clarify what was said?
When I talk about the team, I talk about the drivers as well, the drivers aren't outside the team, so when I say “the team hasn't done a good enough job with Michael”, I mean collectively. We – and that includes Michael – have not done a good enough job collectively in the first five races because Michael's got two points and that's not good enough. So, my view is that we always look at these things collectively; it's not 'the driver's made a mistake', or 'the team's made a mistake' it's 'together we haven't done a good enough job.' And that's the situation with Michael. It's been a bit better with Nico. Certainly the race win was great and I think in the last three races actually Nico's scored the second or third highest points of any driver. So for Nico we're not doing too badly. But I think also the issue of Michael scoring only two points is not just down to Michael. It's down to some of the technical problems we've had with the car.
Tagged as: Caubet , Monisha Kaltenborn , Kaltenborn , Mallya , Sauber , Frank Williams , Force India F1 , Monaco Grand Prix , press conference , Vijay Mallya , Monaco , Ross Brawn , Brawn , Renault , Mercedes
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