Questions from the floor
Q: (Dieter Rencken – The Citizen)
Ross, I believe after the last race the FIA circulated a multiple-choice proposal about the RRA. With entries closing on the 30th September, with it being effectively a month away, what's your prognosis of the situation?
We've always been strong supporters of RRA. We're also strong supporters that there should be correct procedures and policies followed in F1, so on that basis, the existing Concorde Agreement, it's difficult to see the FIA RRA being introduced next year unless there's unanimous agreement. We believe you should still follow the policies and principles that have served F1 very well for a number of years – but our feeling is also on that basis, because there was a strong majority, that it should be something which can come in for 2014, the FIA-policed RRA. Because we have an RRA at the moment but it's an inter-team agreement and probably we'd like to see some more strength in terms of the application of the RRA, some more consistency between all the teams on how it's interpreted and I think that's the next step we have to make with the resource restriction.
Q: (Oana Popoiu - F1 Zone)
Question for both Ross and Paul: what is the connection between the Mercedes engine and the degradation of the tyres? How does the characteristics of the engine influence that?
I think any engine, whether it's Renault, Ferrari, Mercedes or Cosworth, can have an influence on the tyre's behaviour and tyre degradation and every team in the pitlane is looking at their setting-up on the engine, the tuning of the engine that we're allowed to do during a weekend to make the best of that. I don't think there's any evidence we're in a more difficult or better position than anyone else. I think undoubtedly the more power you try to deliver, the more stress you put on the tyres, so it's a balancing act at always. But I don't think we have any unique issues – but it is a challenge for all the engine engineers – and Mattia can probably comment with more experience than I can – but you're always seeking over the race weekend to find the best setup of the engine as well as the chassis. Hot track, high temperatures is where you can feel perhaps the most sensitivity to the engine characteristics.
Mattia, would you like to comment on that?
It seems that Ross already commented. Mainly it's very difficult to work on the engine in some way to improve the durability of the tyres. Setup-wise you can do a lot more [with] mechanical grip of the car itself. We can try to help: we do it by fine-tuning and calibrating the mapping but at the end, the things you can do from the mechanical parts of the car are a lot more important that what you can do with the engine.
Paul, anything to add?
Not really anything to add to that.
Q: (Pierre Van Vliet – F1i)
Question for Paul. A couple of months ago your test team came here to test the 2013 tyres, I believe. Do you plan any other tests this year and what about the future? Because I read somewhere that you consider the Renault you are using is becoming a bit obsolete now.
We have some more testing planned, yes. When we were here we had much better weather than we've got here now, so it was a very useful session. We were meant to have been at Monza at the beginning of August, but unfortunately for some reason we weren't able to test – but we are going to Barcelona in a few days. So we do have a number of sessions still planned before the end of the season. The Renault car that we're using has been extremely good, very reliable. Going forward it depends of course whether we're going to be in the sport beyond the end of our contract – because anything we did next year would be related to cars for 2014, not 2013. And also, probably the Renault is the right level of car going forward, because the cars of last season were quite substantially different. So, at the moment we're happy with what we've been doing with the test plan. Very reliable, good engineering support and we've been able to achieve what we want – so at the moment we're happy.
Q: (Stephane Barbé – L'Equipe)
Ross, 300 GPs for Michael [Schumacher]. You've been alongside for most of them – can we have your comments? And also, has Michael been still able to surprise you over the past two years, compared to the previous times?
I've been very fortunate to be a part of Michael's racing career in F1. It's been… there's so many records that Michael has established that will be extremely difficult for anyone to match. It may happen one day, as with all records. But quite the exceptional performance, quite an iconic performance that, as I say, is going to be extremely difficult to match. I've been privileged to see most of those race wins. And I think Michael's achieved it, not just from his raw ability – which of course is exceptional – but from his attitude and his approach. Being part of a team he's always been very committed, and enjoys being part of a team. So, he understand that part of it. And that's why I think he achieves such consistently good results because he was able to motivate and incentivise the whole team to achieve the results, not just for him but for the other car as well. So I think he's been the most – in my view – the most complete racing driver of my generation. Does he still surprise us? Of course he does. In Monaco he was the fastest driver in qualifying. It's a shame that because of the penalty he wasn't on the front row. So he's still producing exceptional performances and still a privilege to work with.
Q: (Sven Haidinger – Sport Woche)