19 April 2013
Friday press conference - Bahrain GP - Pt.1
Well, pitting two or three laps in is no different than pitting two or three laps from the end, we've seen that as well many, many times as well in the past, so it's just doing it the other way around. It really doesn't change that much. As long as you've got a core product that will give a racing tyre and gives what we were asked to achieve, which is two to three pitstops. I think there was only one time in the past where we felt it went too far, was Turkey I guess in 2011 when we were at four stops. That was too many. I think you'll find the average over this season will be just over two pitstops average so from that point of view, we're happy. In terms of qualifying, last year was probably a good year for qualifying because the cars were very close together in performance. We often saw 16 cars within a second in Q2 – that's maybe pushed out a little bit this year, there's been some strong development from the cars at the front and we're starting to see a little bit of strategy coming into play for Q3 that we saw in 2011. It's early days, one event like that, let's see what happens going through the season. But if it's only on the odd occasion then it's probably not an issue. There are different points of view: some people will say that adds a strategy element to the Q3, and people are generally really interested in who's got pole position and maybe the first three places. Obviously last race we had three ex-world champions in the first three with less than a few tenths between then, so that was good from that point of view. And you could probably say as well a couple of cars starting on a different choice gave us quite an interesting finish with Sebastian coming flying through at the end. And probably if he hadn't had the traffic he might well have even got a better result. So it's a game of opinions. Ultimately we'll do what the sport asks us to do, of course, and if we do feel together that the qualifying's not work I'm sure we'll all find a solution together.
Eric, Romain Grosjean has a new chassis for this weekend and for the next few races. What was the thinking behind that? Was there a problem with the old chassis? Was it trying to help his confidence rebuild?
It's a whole thing package. We try to find out. He's not as his best, let's say, where we think he should be. There's nothing to blame, actually to finger-point anything, it's just the addition of different things. So, we decided to go though in details and deep enough to even take into consideration to change the chassis.
We have a debate in F1, as F1 fans, what's more important: good car or a good driver. At the moment you've got a good car and in Kimi Raikkonen a very good driver – how important is Kimi Raikkonen to the long-term success of the Lotus team?
I think he's part of the success, or sort of success, that we've had since a couple of years, or let's say at least last year. It's true that Kimi does help the team stepping up but behind Kimi there are a lot of people – and good people – working hard and actually working well. I think as usual it's to get the full package really working all together. Then you can see some results.
And you're confident that once again you have the budget to cope with a title battle and a development race off the track as well as on it as well.
Yes, we do.
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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