26 July 2012
Thursday press conference - Hungarian GP - Pt.1
Thursday FIA press conference from the Hungaroring with Narain Karthikeyan, Kamui Kobayashi, Heikki Kovalainen, Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and Pastor Maldonado
Drivers: Narain Karthikeyan (HRT), Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber), Heikki Kovalainen (Caterham), Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus), Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) and Pastor Maldonado (Williams).
Narain, tell us how HRT has changed in the last six months. How much has it changed and developed?
Yeah, I think we've come a long way since Australia and the team has a permanent facility now and the factory is very impressive. Everything has come under one roof. There's a design office, we're hiring a lot of people and the car is getting slightly better. It's a positive step and hopefully this will continue throughout the season. We have some upgrades coming during the holidays and hopefully we'll start using them soon and close the gap. The car at the moment is similar to the Marussia, but we can improve still a little bit and that's what we are planning to do.
It's an unfortunate fact that you do see a lot of blue flags in your position. Tell us how difficult it is from that point of view, and how much your race is compromised by that? How much do you have to race in the first quarter of the race?
Yes, that part where you don't have the blue flags in the first of the race is where you try and do what you can and push. But after that, yes, once the blue starts coming you have to go offline sometimes and you pick up lots of marbles and after that it's managing the tyres and so on. It's quite difficult for us but we try to stay out of the way of the leaders.
Kamui, your best performance in Hockenheim: in fact a fantastic performance from both Sauber cars. Have you sorted out the problems you had in the past few races?
I think it's not really a big problem. It's basically that we had speed everywhere but unfortunately we missed some piece of the puzzle and we could not compete at the end of the weekend, in the race. We believe we had a really good car and had good performance but we just need to piece together all the puzzle. Yeah, I think otherwise we are not worried about our pace. For sure it's not the best of the car but for sure we can fight for good positions.
Is there a problem with qualifying? If you started further up perhaps you could be a winner?
Definitely. In Hockenheim I had quite good confidence in the dry but unfortunately in the wet, especially on the inter tyre in that situation in Hockenheim qualifying, we struggled a lot to warm them up. I think a lot of drivers struggled but we struggled as well and that is the point – if it had been dry I think we could quite easily have found Q3 and then I think the race would have been completely different. This is what we need. Unfortunately in the last two races we had a wet qualifying and a little bit of a difficult time. In the dry we definitely have a good car. In the wet, sometimes it's good, sometimes not good. It's difficult to say what is the clear answer [to that]. We show a really good car in the dry and we definitely we see in the factory many people are working so hard and we see really good performance in the car and so thanks to all the guys working on the car.
Heikki, a lot of rumours going around the paddock at the moment about where you might be going etc. What can you tell us?
I think it's the time of the season where you hear a lot of rumours regarding a lot of drivers, and for me nothing has changed at the moment. The only focus is improving our team and our car, and making the best out of what we've got. Then at some point we'll sit down with my management and sit down with Caterham first and then see what we'll do for the future.
You're a previous winner at this circuit. What are you feelings coming into this race?
Pretty similar feelings to any other grand prix. It's too long since I won here. It's just one weekend in the whole championship. Of course, as a Finn this feels a little bit like a home grand prix. We have a lot of people from Finland always turning up here. In that way it is perhaps a warmer feeling through the weekend than some of the races. But apart from that, it's business as usual.
Tagged as: FIA , Ferrari , Williams , Fernando Alonso , Heikki Kovalainen , Kimi Raikkonen , Pastor Maldonado , press conference , HRT , Hungaroring , Sauber , Lotus , Maldonado , Kamui Kobayashi , Kobayashi
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