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Belgian GP - Friday press conference - Pt.2

I have a question for Ross concerning your Ferrari era. It was a time you were very successful and that success was very much based on the testing and the tyres. At that time McLaren already focussed very much on simulation and that turned out to be weakness of Ferrari recently – was it on your agenda that Ferrari has to improve in that area at the end of your time at Ferrari – or wasn't it a big topic at Ferrari?

Ross Brawn:
I think F1 does evolve in different directions to suit circumstances. It's possibly correct that we had a very heavy commitment to testing when I was there. We had two test tracks of our own and of course we focussed on the most effective way of improving the performance of the car. Which for us during that period was intensive testing. Also, there were a lot of battles between the tyre companies and that needed track testing. If we had… all the stuff Paul's finding out, it's pretty challenging to develop the tyres without every car in the pitlane out there testing them. I think if we had a tyre war at the moment, that would be very, very difficult without track testing. But I think we also recognise, the period I was at Ferrari, the need for modelling, simulation – and the driver simulator is only a portion of all the simulation that's going on within the team, it's obviously an important part because it does involve the driver – but there's a huge amount of simulation going on in aerodynamics, in the mechanical behaviour of the car. And all of those things I believe that my time there, Ferrari were pretty strong. And, the driver in the loop simulator was something we were starting to look at, and I think most teams are in a pretty good position now with that sort of technology.

Q: (Luigi Perna - La Gazzetta dello Sport)
Two questions to Mattia Binotto: first of all, at what stage is Ferrari in developing the new V6 engine, and how much can it influence the performance of the car aerodynamically in 2014?

Mattia Binotto:
So, at what stage are with the V6? We are on plan, our plans. We don't know what that means to the others. In F1, it's always a matter of being better than the others and not being good in absolute. We are on schedule in that respect. We are happy. Each day there is something new to be learned. 2014 is just around the corner, so in some ways it's really difficult, very challenging and we cannot be happy at the stage that we are. We are pushing every day, trying to do more than what we are doing at the moment because we know that 2014 is nearly here. At this stage of development we are quite worried because you don't really know what will be the latest stage of your engine. It's really early days. You are mapping it, you are trying to know it better than what was on the paper at the very start but as well, in terms of reliability, I think it's an entire work that needs, in some ways, to be understood. We are pushing, we are on time, we are on schedule but it's never enough. In F1, you cannot be satisfied, you can never be satisfied. In terms of aero, I think it will in some ways modify the car. I think that my friends beside me are more expert than me, but the power unit is quite different to what we had so in terms of layout and architecture it's quite different. It will have big implications for the gearbox as well and I think that even now, maybe we have not chosen what will be the final architecture of the new engines. As well, in that respect, we are still developing.

Q: (Tom Clarkson - Tom Clarkson and Assocs)
As a follow-up to the earlier question about Michael's 300th Grand Prix, Ross, were you here in 1992 when Michael won his first race and if you were, what are your memories of that weekend?

Ross Brawn:
Er, yes, I was here. I think it was a mixed weather race from memory. Again, it's completeness that I think Michael has a racing driver, his ability to make the most out of those mixed conditions. I think his ability to work with the team, to come to the right decisions from the pitwall on what to do with strategy, what to do with tyres and giving you the information, giving you the pointers that you need to help come to a conclusion. Yeah, I think those first few race wins that Michael had were probably opportunist wins in the sense that we perhaps weren't the fastest car on the day but he managed to put it all together in difficult circumstances. Then of course as the car improved and we were able to give him a better car then the wins became more consistent.

Q: (Tom Clarkson - Tom Clarkson and Assocs)
Could you just elaborate more about the B192, its strengths, weaknesses, what it was like to work on?

Ross Brawn:
I'm getting old now. I think most of the people up here would know that you forget your car almost as soon as you stop racing it and get on with the next one so I can't remember that well quite frankly, but obviously it was the start of my working with Michael, working with Rory Byrne and the start of that era that started at Benetton and then continued at Ferrari. Each year is an evolution when you stay together like that. When you stay together as engineers, when you stay together as drivers then you evolve well, I think, from year to year. I can't remember the B192 specification but it obviously wasn't a bad car but not as good as the cars we were able to do after that.

Q: (Tom Clarkson - Tom Clarkson and Assocs)
And the fact that Michael was so quick in that car and is still quick today, just talk us through the versatility of the man who's been able to drive both?

Ross Brawn:
I think it relates to what I said about variable conditions. Michael looks to get the most out of every situation. He's extremely competitive and obviously hugely talented, so it's not looking upon those situations as a problem, it's looking upon those situations as an opportunity. When those situations get difficult, then how can you get the most out of them, how can you extract a result from that, get a race win? I think Michael stated this as one of if not his best favoured track and he's had some sensational results here. I think it is that all-round ability and most importantly consistency. You can count on less than one hand or one hand the number of bad races that Michael has over a season and there's not many drivers who can say that.

Q: (Michael Doodson - Honorary)
Ross, you just spoke most eloquently about Michael's ability to incentivise a team but only yesterday Michael himself told us, rather surprisingly, that the lack of reliability that he's had this year, was no big deal for him. This suggests to me that perhaps he's rather less ambitious now than he once was. I wonder if this is going to affect your decision about whether or not to re-employ him next year?

Ross Brawn:

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