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Belgian GP - Friday press conference - Pt.2

I think you need to separate the opinions Michael gives to the media and the opinions he gives to the team. They are sometimes quite different. Michael's tough, Michael's very demanding in terms of within the team, but he does that in a very positive way. He demands things of the team and he commits himself to the team in return, but that's not something Michael shares outside of the team. As I say, he's a good team member so when we do have a problem, Michael's as disappointed as any of us, perhaps more so and will express that disappointment. But quite honestly he doesn't express that to the media because that's not part of being a team. It's as simple as that really.

Q: (Sven Haidinger - Sport Woche)
Ross, you know this year's Mercedes car very well; where do you see its biggest weakness and where do you have to improve the most to be fighting for the championship next year?

Ross Brawn:
It is very close this year. A few tenths seem to make a huge difference. Sometimes we've had qualifying where there is a very small amount between the whole top ten so small differences are pretty significant this year. We've had some good races with the car and some more difficult races. I think the more difficult races - for instance the most recent one was Hungary, we struggled with the balance. Paddy mentioned about what you try to seek with a racing car and it's balance, consistency of balance through a corner: entry, middle, exit. We've been struggling a little bit to find the right balance that also gives the consistency we need with the tyres so we can get consistency with the tyres, but then we don't have the quickest balance, the quickest car. When we have perhaps the balance we need for the quickest time then we perhaps struggle with the consistency of the tyres so it's just finding that... yeah, optimising the car around that has been difficult. We've got ideas, we've got our theories and views on what we need to do with the car and some of those will be implemented this year in order to understand what we need to do for next year's car. But it is this question of finding consistency of balance against tyre consistency and tyre durability. I think at the beginning of the year we had a very quick car but we were damaging the tyres too much. As we've improved our usage of the tyres, we haven't necessarily taken the performance forward and that is what we're focusing on now. But these challenges, these aspects of the car are what all of us here faced, it's what we're fighting all the time. Sometimes your car becomes a reference point; with no changes, after a period, it's not quick enough, because other people have improved, so it's a constantly moving target.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi - La Gazzetta dello Sport)
For all three at the front, it's a question about the V6 engine. The V6 is on the dyno for everybody. With the current test situation, not being allowed to do any testing; what will happen? Are you discussing a new open session just for the V6 and is it a possibility to put the new engine in this year's car or next year's car for some testing?

Paddy Lowe:
There have been a lot of discussions about whether we might make what is called a mule car to run the new engine next year. It's very expensive to make a mule car, especially when we have other programmes running as well, not just expensive in money but in terms of the people you need to design it. We talked earlier about the challenge between different seasons; then you're adding a new challenge. Actually, most of the teams are agreeing that we will not have mule cars. The regulations wouldn't currently make a mule car of any benefit anyway but we're not agreeing to introduce any new test sessions that would use mule cars. So then the question is: can we enter a new season with a new power unit, without that track testing? That will place great reliance on the laboratory testing, using dynos, transient dynos. I think that compared to previous points in time when new power trains were introduced the technology is far more sophisticated now in the lab, so I think generally the manufacturers and the teams are feeling that it is realistic to bring in these new power units without needing to introduce special cars to get that earlier learning. But we will see. As we get closer to the time and the fear builds, maybe different agreements will be reached but at the moment, that seems to be the consensus. Ross, I don't know if you have some comments on that.

Ross Brawn:
I think Mattia should answer this one as well.

Mattia Binotto:
It's clear that from an engine point of view we are very keen to run the new power unit earlier because what you can find on a car is never equal to what you can find on the dyno: all the dynamics of the car, gearchanges, running on bumps, whatever, is quite different to the dyno itself so we are all afraid that by the start of the season you find out that you have a big issue with the engine and the power unit, and you have no time to sort it out. On the other hand, I think it's very equal for all the manufacturers so whatever will be the decision, and it will be the decision of the teams, we have to accept it and we will try to do our best from that.

Ross Brawn:
I think the points have been expressed absolutely correctly. I think the only point I would add that rather like Paul is doing now with testing of the tyres, he's using an old car to test the tyres and my understanding is that there's nothing to stop a team testing an engine with an old car if they want to. Whether that is the most effective thing to do is a different matter, because it's a huge resource to do that and as Paddy said, there's a lot of improved technologies there since we last introduced a new engine. We have lots of ways of trying to understand the engine and the complete power train and the systems will work together, so I think there's going to be a lot of laboratory work but I think a team can chose to use an old car and put the engine in it, but it's a pretty massive programme.

Q: (Ben Edwards - BBC Sport)
Paul, some teams did have issues with blistering here last year. I just wondered if you could just run through what Pirelli have done to look at that and what the teams have been asked to do in terms of that as well?

Paul Hembery:
Yeah, we've obviously got a similar issue to last year, in that we haven't been doing any running today in the dry so replicating what happened last year there's always that risk that the teams don't have a chance to run at what is a very very difficult track for the tyres. Here we've made some slight changes. We've got a slightly thinner tread to reduce the material in the shoulder area which is subject to blistering, reduce the camber levels for the front tyres. We ran here earlier, as I said, in testing and that seemed to give us a positive result so if we get some dry weather we will see.

Q: (Paolo Ianieri - La Gazzetta dello Sport)
Ross, there are rumours of Mercedes thinking of quitting the team and AMG becoming the owner of the F1 team. Can you say something about that?

Ross Brawn:

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
20.07.2012 - Free Practice 1, Paul Hembery (GBR) Pirelli Motorspor Director
12.04.2012 Paddy Lowe (GBR) McLaren Engineering Director
06.07.2012- Free Practice 1, Ross Brawn (GBR), Team Principal, Mercedes GP
31.08.2012- Press conference, From back row (L to R)):Dave Greenwood (GBR) Marussia Racing Chief Engineer; Paul Hembery (GBR) Pirelli Motorsport Director; Mattia Binotto (ITA) Ferrari Race Engine Manager; Ross Brawn (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 Team Principal; Paddy Lowe (GBR) McLaren Technical Director.
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