David, you've made progression in 2012, presumably you're hoping to carry that through to 2013. How is work progressing on that car?
I think it's been mentioned many times, the aero rules are quite consistent between 2012 and 2013, so a bit like a few other teams we opted to stay developing this car a little bit longer but now we've firmly switched over to the '13 car and that's going reasonably well. A little bit of layout change required because of the KERS, so it's taken a few wind tunnel sessions to start getting into that with different wheelbases etc., so really that's what the aero guys are focussing on. To mention the KERS, obviously quite bit of installation work going on to there to get that into the car from the design guys. But that's gone reasonably well, the first chassis is in manufacture and the guys are starting to do sample crash tests, so we're in a lot better position than maybe we were last year. So hopefully with doing a bit more of our homework earlier one, we're looking to progress.
You're in the intriguing position of having technical partnerships with two other teams: McLaren
and Williams. How does that work and what are the benefits to that?
Starting with the McLaren
one, which is the first one we did, with McLaren
Applied Technologies, it's going very well. We're pleased with the wind tunnel, we're pleased with the correlation we get to the circuit, which is one of the things that's given us the ability to progress at the back end of this season. Most updates that we've had have done what they should, so that's been very pleasing. The simulator programme is going well, particularly helping Charles with learning circuits. This back end of the year has been perhaps circuits that he's not used to, so that's been a valuable tool for him. Moving on to Williams, we're exceptionally pleased with the support we've had from them on the installation of the KERS. It's been really, really good support from them and it's enabled us to get it into the car relatively easily and all of that work has gone well so far.
Mark, we've seen the Williams
good in the first part of the season, then there was a less productive middle part, and now it seems to be coming back again. How do you see the season so far?
In terms of pace, our performance has been improving through the season – we just haven't capitalised on the general pace of the car. We obviously had a high point at the beginning, at Barcelona, and really haven't delivered the points that we should have over the last number of races. Hopefully the last race was a turning point: we didn't qualify as strongly as we were hoping, the race pace was very good but we need – as you always do – to string it all together through the weekend. And that's something that we have to aim to do.
And plans for the rest of this season and maximising the good points of this car for next year?
Last season we basically spent the last six events developing the car for this year and understanding the weaker points on last year's car. This year we're really pushing to the end of the season with development, and balancing the development all the way to the end of the season with 2013 – and obviously very importantly 2014 as well.
Pierre, I guess the burning question is 'can you catch Mercedes?'
I don't know. What I know is our car performed well in Suzuka, we had quite a good car. I don't know if for these kind of races we'll be at the same level but I think it will be more challenging for us in qualifying, maybe more in the field – but we can expect good performance for the race.
Can you maintain this car for next year? It's interesting that things have slightly changed on the technical side of the Sauber team.