Eric Boullier (Lotus), Monisha Kaltenborn (Sauber), Ross Brawn (Mercedes), Stefano Domenicali (Ferrari), Christian Horner (Red Bull Racing) and Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren).
Questions from the floor
(Dan Knuston – Honorary).
For Stefano and Christian: the championship has come down to your two drivers. Please evaluate the strengths and qualities of your driver over the season and how do you evaluate your opponent?
I'll start with my driver. I think that Sebastian has driven incredibly well this year. It's all too easy to say he's had the fastest car because on numerous occasions this year he hasn't. McLaren
have had a very strong car throughout this year but Sebastian has never given up, he's kept fighting. He came back from the summer break almost 40 points behind the championship lead. He focused hard, he worked hard at it and he maximised his chances. I think he's driven superbly well this year. He is up against a formidable opponent, who is very much at the top of his game and I think you're witnessing two great talents and hopefully it will be an exciting race on Sunday, but I can't speak highly enough of certainly the job Sebastian has done this year against some formidable opponents.
For my side, Fernando, in my view, up to now, did one of the best seasons of his career. We knew that at the beginning of the season our car was not really the quickest. Well, I would say it was on the second half of the grid rather than the other side. He was able to extract from that the maximum out of it. He was able to get great victories in a moment where the car has improved, he drove really well in wet conditions when he was in that situation. He was always at the maximum. Always he was working with the team knowing that it was a very delicate situation for all of us in that moment. So on top of his ability on the track he was able to keep the team together in a difficult moment. So I agree, who will win will deserve it. And of course, on his side the only remark we have to say is that he was not able to do all the races because he was unfortunately kicked out two times. Not his fault, but of course in this situation where the championship is so tight they're very heavy points. But as I said, don't look back, look ahead. I'm sure Fernando will do the maximum of his capability to make sure… to do the best with the car that he has with a team that is working hard under a lot of pressure. I'm happy for that, because the team was able to do sometimes incredible work. As I said the spirit together I think was the most important thing… was the most significant thing, sorry, that I would like to remark on that respect.
What about Sebastian?
I'm exactly of the same opinion as Christian, I speak about my driver.
(Gary Meenaghan - The National).
Stefano, we're coming to the last race of the year again, and again, Ferrari
are capable of winning the last race of the championship. Can you just compare how you are feeling, compared to how you felt in 2008 and 2010?
Well, also 2007 we were near. Different feelings, of course. In 2007, I think that if you remember well, Martin, we were in a situation where honestly we had the same approach as at this race: try to do the best job that we can, we could, but knowing that the opponent was very strong and the race evolved in a situation where we were able, as a team, to work extremely well. Then in 2008 we were able to win the Constructors' title, to have Felipe as World Champion of Drivers for 20 seconds, but after Hamilton won the race, in a championship where I would say we lost, if I remember well, mainly because the car was not reliable enough, because we had some races where unfortunately we had severe DNF that caused us to lose that championship. And I believe that season, Felipe did an incredible job and we were very disappointed for him, because I think we deserved it, but at the end of the day Lewis did (win).
Then 2010 was the most frustrating because we knew that we had a couple of situations to handle and it was our fault that we were not able to do it, for a mistake that we made; we didn't help Fernando. I think that season we didn't have the best car. I believe that we were able to always be there winning a lot of races but because of unfortunate situations that Red Bull
had and we lost that championship. This is, I would say, the heaviest of my thoughts on the past. On Sunday, I think that, as I said, we are in a different spirit. We cannot look back; we need to see whatever will be the outcome we need to accept it. So therefore I would say our mindset is closer to what we had in 2007 at the moment.
(Lucas Santochi Da Silva – ESPN Magazine).
Christian, when do you think was the turning point of the main factors for Red Bull
to develop from a medium team to a team that may now win its third title in a row?
It's a good question. Red Bull
came into Formula One
at the beginning of 2005. Dietrich Mateschitz had a vision. He'd been a sponsor, he'd been a shareholder and for the first time, after acquiring the Jaguar team became a team owner and his vision was very much to compete at the front in Formula One. Certainly the perception, perhaps, in the early days was that Red Bull
turned up, played their music loud and were perceived as a party team, perhaps just happy to be in Formula One
but underlying that was a determination to work our way to the front and slowly and steadily we gathered the right people into the team during the course of 2006 and at the beginning of 2007. We started to build, we started to work as a unit, to work as a team and then by the time the new regulations came along, a clean sheet of paper in 2009, it allowed all of the departments to demonstrate their abilities to work together as one group. In 2009, we started winning. We challenged for the championship; we fell short that year, but then we have kept that momentum. We went on to win both titles in 2010, both titles again 2011 and again a third Constructors' championship this year. And that is purely down to the hard work, the dedication, the application of every single member of the team. We've got some great leadership in the team: Adrian Newey does a stunning job of leading the technical team but it requires all of the departments to do their bit. I'm extremely proud to say that they've absolutely done that and the testimony to that is the 34 races that we've won, the 80 podiums that we've had in only eight seasons. It's all down to the people and of course to talented drivers: Sebastian and Mark Webber
have been a very successful pairing and what Sebastian has achieved in only 100 races again is quite remarkable.
(Michael Neudecker - Sud Deutsche Zeitung).