F1 » 19 April 2013
Friday press conference - Bahrain GP - Pt.1
Well, clearly if we had more resources we could do more. We still have room to move on top, but on the other hand we are of course fighting for a resource restriction but the gap actually just gets smaller. No, our situation is pretty clear there: we still have room to move to the top but with whatever we have we're trying to do our best.
Martin, no doubt about it, a very difficult opening three races of the season. What progress do you feel the team has made since winter testing, and Australia. Is it enough or are you really pinning your hopes on a major breakthrough when we get to Spain?
It's never enough, wherever you are in your level of competitiveness, but this year, as you say, we had a very difficult start. We didn't have the performance in the car that we wanted and Australia was a very hard weekend. I think since then… clearly, there's no testing, it's quite difficult to make some progress and these first four races comes quickly, one after the other. I think we've been, again today, every time the car leaves the garage it's another experiment. We've been gathering data and we've been trying things. I think we've made a little bit of progress – never as much as I'd like or as the drivers or the team would want. I think we're gaining a little bit of performance, we're gaining a little bit of understanding but clearly there's a big push for an upgrade package for Spain and it's important for all of us that we make good progress. But in the meanwhile, we're racers, so those of us in the field we'll take the car and do the best job we can with it, try to maximise the points we can get out of these first four races.
It's likely that you'll be even further behind in the Constructors' Championship when we get to Spain. I know that will only be round five and it's very early, but realistically, are you still racing for a Constructors' Championship or is it now just wins?
I think after three races or even after four races you don't give up in these championships. I think Ferrari did an excellent job last year of showing all of us how you can turn it round and be there right at the end, capable of winning both championships. So, there are always big hills to climb and mountains of challenge but that's why we come motor racing. At the moment we're concentrating on understanding and improving the car. As soon as we make progress we'll be trying to win races and as soon as we win races we'll be thinking about championships. But at the moment clearly we're focused on the here and now and what's the best we can do this weekend. It's a tough circuit for us. This is clearly a rear-limited circuit. It's a circuit where traction is important and that's been a deficiency in our car so far. We came here knowing it was going to be a tough weekend but we'll fight as hard as we can to get what are possible.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli made the decision to change the tyre compounds from soft and hard to medium and hard, can you explain why that was?
Yeah, it was done on the Sunday night after the Malaysian race. Malaysia obviously being similar in some respects, from a tyre point of view, to here in some respects: very hot, very abrasive. We felt that both had worked well there and that was the right thing to do coming here.
Pirelli were tasked with spicing up the racing. Given the level of opinion on the tyres and the racing this year, do you think the introduction of softer compounds has been an aggressive step just a little bit too far?
It depends what you're looking at. If you look at it with three different winners in three races, three world champions, then it's been pretty good. Melbourne was probably one of the more exciting Melbournes than we've seen for many a year. We almost have this conversation every year: we've had it the first two years we've been here, and then as we get through the season, the teams – obviously there are very talented engineers in all the teams – and they master the challenges given to them and going beyond certainly mid-season then you'll find these sorts of discussions die away.
If you're looking at it from the Saturday afternoon and a lack of action in the early part of the qualifying sessions and then on the Sunday with drivers having to pit after two, three or four laps. Is that what you would have wanted as a tyre supplier?
Tagged as: FIA , Ferrari , Mclaren , Whitmarsh , Martin Whitmarsh , Domenicali , Stefano Domenicali , press conference , Pirelli , Bahrain , Friday , Sauber , Lotus , Eric Boullier , Kaltenborn
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