Cyril Abiteboul (Caterham), John Booth (Marussia), Toto Wolff (Mercedes), Claire Williams
(Williams) and Franz Tost (Toro Rosso).
Questions from the floor
(Joe Saward – Grand Prix Special).
Question about the number of races and which races we're going to have next year. Does anybody want more than 20 and which races present the biggest challenges for a team? And as a back-up to that, is the German Grand Prix
important to you all?
Any more than 20 would be very difficult for a small team to service. We would start drifting into the area of having to have back-up crews, to rotate staff – and that obviously becomes very expensive. German Grand Prix? All European races are very important. I think it's where grands prix were born and we need to maintain them as long as possible. Most difficult one… no difference really!
I think there is a consensus about doing 20 races and, like John said, anything more and you need to ramp-up the organisation. So, let's stick to 20 – I think it's a good number. Most difficult one for us is the hottest – so I hope not Hungary this weekend.
The German Grand Prix?
Obviously that's our home grand prix, so ultra-important.
I don't really have a huge amount to add except that 20 races for any team is a lot of races for team personnel to have to go to and manage. To make it any greater than that would be, as John said, a significant difference for everybody. Germany clearly is a very important race for us, in particular next year when we have our partnership with Mercedes starting.
I'm happy with as many races as Bernie can organise because we are a race team. If it's 22 it's 22: if it's 24 it's 24. I'm happy to go everywhere. Germany is very important. Nürburgring of course because of the history but also the Hockenheimring. I think these are the classic races which we need in Europe. It's one race in Germany, Monaco, Silverstone, Monza, Austria of course – which is a new race on the calendar next year – we need to have more races in Europe, not just to go overseas.
I tend to agree with Franz. If you look at other models, other series, in particular in North America, you see that the number of races is almost irrelevant. I think we need to know what is the right model between exclusivity – making our show a bit exclusive so that we do not saturate an audience about Formula One – and making sure we are here for a sufficient period of time. And then I guess the economics can be done in such a manner that every outfit can cope with that. I guess it would mean proper preparation and in that respect it would be good to know for the time being, to start with, to get some confirmation about the calendar for next year before talking about expanding. In that respect I think more notice, more lead-time in the preparation would be welcome to know where they are. I think Germany, I would agree is important. When it comes to a challenge, the biggest challenge for us is when we hit a new track and when in particular the conditions on a Friday are totally different to the conditions on a Sunday. Everyone has to deal with the same issues, except that our simulator – which is now a very important element of the team's preparation – may not be as developed as other teams. Therefore familiarisation on the Friday is particularly important for us.
(Dan Knutson – National Speedsport News/Auto Action).
To all of you: there's always talk about cost-cutting in F1. Compared to a couple of years ago, have your operating costs gone up or down?
There is no cost-cutting in F1. F1 is expensive, we all know that. Next year we will have an increase of – I don't know – 15, 20 million and that's reality. This is the reason why, as I said before, the more races we do, the more income we have. We have to show a good entertainment, that sponsors are interested in F1 and we have to go all over the world to different countries which are important for our sponsors and therefore I think that real cost cutting will not happen as we all discuss all the time. F1 was expensive and F1 will always stay expensive.