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Friday press conference - Japanese GP - Pt.2

Martin, among Lewis's other comments was the possibility of him going back to McLaren in the future. I don't know when the last McLaren driver was who came back to McLaren after leaving but is that possible? Would you say that's a possibility in the future?

Martin Whitmarsh:
Yes, certainly, yes, I think it is. But I think he's joining a strong team in Mercedes, I don't think he'll be coming back any time soon. I'm sure they've got a good contract and they will want to work with him. I don't think Lewis's intention is to hop from team to team on an annual basis. I'm sure that's not Ross's intention either but never say never, as they say, and we'll see what happens in the future. Again, people want to talk about it a lot, obviously, and we're trying to focus on doing the job that we're here to do, but I think the relationship between the team and Lewis is a good one, I think it's a respectful relationship between Mercedes and McLaren as well. We're out there competing and we don't have a problem with anything that's happened, with Lewis's decision or anything else. In the future, I don't think it will be in the very near term but who knows?

Q: (Sam Collins - Racecar Engineering).
Question to the engine suppliers: you have, from the sound of it, V6 engine designs, on the test bench or on the CAD system. Are you looking at full energy recovery systems or are you outsourcing those?

Stefano Domenicali:
Yes, as we are doing this now in the current situation, so developing our system together with our suppliers and this is part of the challenge of the 2014 powertrain project, to confirm the fact that we are already on full boost in our department, to make sure that we are ready in proper time for this new huge challenge, because for us, it means that we had to start and to update all the infrastructure, to make sure that these new engines and this new system are ready to run, first in the facility and then we need to be ready with a new engine, trying to find the customers for the future and trying to make sure that we are competitive, because one of the things for 2014 is the fact that for all of us, both from the chassis point of view, due to the regulations and also for the engine and powertrain regulations point of view, we are starting from target references that are purely - how can I say? - self-made without having any kind of information or relation with the other competitors. So it will be an incredible task, at least for us which is a small team in terms of dimension to make sure that we are able, both, as I said, from the chassis project but also from the engine, to match strong teams like Mercedes, like Renault and all the other teams that are working very hard already on this new 2014 project.

Ross Brawn:
This past couple of seasons we've done our own energy recovery system in-house. We felt we wanted to take that under our control and so the battery technology is bought in but most of the other technology is developed within Mercedes and we will plan to continue to do so for 2014.

Kim Spearman:
Yeah, we'll be developing a bespoke Cosworth system with an outsource supplier and by necessity, different chassis will need variants of that, so we will be doing our own with somebody else, if you like.

Q: (Gaetan Vigneron - RTBF).
Ross, were you surprised by the announcement of the retirement of Michael Schumacher yesterday, or was it something that you suspected for a few weeks or months? And for all of you, would you give your opinion about his retirement, which is a big loss for F1?

Ross Brawn:
We've had a lot of discussions with Michael over the past months, six weeks or so and whilst Michael hadn't made his decision in those early discussions, he came to that conclusion in the past few days. In many ways, it's a sad moment, when someone of the calibre and achievements of Michael stops racing but he's happy with that decision, he's at peace with that decision, and I think that's the important thing. He's happy with the decision that he's made and I think we've all got to have huge respect for him making that decision. I think Formula One will be losing someone very important, especially as this second time that Michael came back he had a slightly different approach and I think I saw many fans who were perhaps not quite so enthusiastic during Michael's first era coming back and really supporting him. When he got a podium in Valencia, it was nice to see how much support he had from the paddock. But he's done a very very good job for us and we've repeated many times that if we'd provided him with a better car then he would have won races. There are some races where he was certainly quick enough to win - this year alone, Monaco - so it's the passing of an era and one which is hard to imagine anyone repeating the achievements that he's managed in his driving career.

Stefano Domenicali:
What I can add to what Ross has just said is that I think Michael has showed that he is still a very very fast driver He's a seven time World Champion but he's still one of the top drivers in the field and as a friend of his, I'm very happy for the decision that he takes because I think that in his experience he's come to this conclusion because I think that considering the situation it's the best for him. We all wish - not only from my personal side, but from all the Ferrari family - the best for his future. He's still young, so he will do a lot of things for sure.

Martin Whitmarsh:
Firstly, I'm not as qualified as the two gentlemen on my left (Domenicali and Brawn) who know him much better than I do, but his achievements are difficult to imagine, certainly in our lifetime, being improved on so inevitably it's a loss. He's a name, a brand within the sport, his achievements have been great whatever he does. I personally think this year has been his strongest since he returned and as Ross said, with a bit more luck he could have won some races this year, but clearly it's his decision and it's a loss to the sport but I guess any great athlete has to decide when it's time to go.

Kim Spearman:




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
05.10.2012- Press conference, Ross Brawn (GBR), Team Principal, Mercedes GP
05.10.2012- Free Practice 2, Monisha Kaltenborn (AUT), Chief Executive Officer, Sauber F1 Team
05.10.2012- Press conference, Stefano Domenicali (ITA), Team Principal
05.10.2012- Press conference, Ross Brawn (GBR), Team Principal, Mercedes GP
05.10.2012- Free Practice 2, Martin Whitmarsh (GBR), Chief Executive Officer Mclaren
05.10.2012- Press conference, Martin Whitmarsh (GBR), Chief Executive Officer Mclaren and Stefano Domenicali (ITA), Team Principal
05.10.2012- Press conference, Martin Whitmarsh (GBR), Chief Executive Officer Mclaren and Stefano Domenicali (ITA), Team Principal

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