31 August 2012
Belgian GP - Friday press conference - Pt.1
Team Representatives: Paul Hembery (Pirelli), David Greenwood (Marussia), Mattia Binotto (Ferrari), Ross Brawn (Mercedes), Paddy Lowe (McLaren).
Paul, are these ideal conditions and temperatures for you at Spa? Seriously, looking at temperatures though, this combination of dry tyres is the same as we had in Malaysia and Monza, which you can imagine would be similar temperatures to each other and this here is pretty cold.
I think you have a situation here where the temperature can change very rapidly here. We can easily have 25-30 degrees and you can obviously have what we have today 11 degrees and full rain. We do have a limitation on the choices, we have four compounds to choose for the season and sometimes you're maybe a little bit more compromised than you'd like to be. Having said that, the harder tyre will work reasonably well in cooler conditions. If it gets near 15 degrees that will be right at the lower end of the area we'd like to working at. Here the challenge is normally for integrity reasons – the loadings on the tyre, which are our real challenge.
What about the rest of the season? People have talked a great deal about how unpredictable the championship has been. Has there been a policy change? Are you going to stay very much with the way the choice has been so far this year?
Yeah, pretty much so. We're certainly not making any changes to the tyres. Last year we did make a few changes during the season. This year, because it's so close with 10ths of a second between the teams, it would be wrong for us to have changed anything because if one team had started then maybe performing better we would have been accused of favouritism. So we've had to leave it. The choices probably going through to the end of the season are pretty logical now and I'm sure the teams will guess what's used.
Have you been happy with the way things have gone so far?
Yes, absolutely. It's been an exciting season. I'm sure the headaches for the technical guys here have been quite big. But the racing's been fun – very interesting. I think we're seeing a pattern emerging now in terms of results.
Dave, have you been happy with your season so far, from the Marussia point of view?
Yeah I mean, obviously from the start of the season we knew we had a long way to improve. That's mainly what we've working on with recent upgrades. I think it's easy sometimes to look at the classification sheet and see the gaps and the positions at the end of the race and not think that there are improvements being made but that's not the case. But if you look at the underlying pace that's getting a lot better. We started the season around 4.5% off the leaders in the race and it's somewhere around 2–2.5% now, so that's a good improvement and going forward that will look even better when we have these upgrades and at the end of the year the gaps will be significantly less.
Now, you've already announced Cosworth continuing for next, plus you'll have KERS next year as well. Are you feeling that's heading in the right direction?
Yeah, I mean one thing this year, obviously we haven't had the KERS. Conscious decision to concentrate on aerodynamics. That's all happening now and we're much happier with progress on aero and correlation to the windtunnel etc. So logical step with 2014 in mind and the new powertrain that's coming along is to take KERS for 2013, get operational and sort of start the next stage of our journey.
Mattia, quick question about Felipe this morning: what was the problem there?
Mattia Binotto: Obviously the engine failed. We'll need to analyse it. I don't think we have a clear answer at the moment. The engine was quite close to the end of its life, so it's something that can normally happen on a Friday even if you never expect to have such a problem during a Friday practice session. We have been lucky due to the weather conditions so we have not compromised the programme of Felipe. The engine will be back in Maranello, we expect, next week.
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