Crash.Net F1 News
Singapore GP - Post-race press conference - Pt.2
22 September 2013
Drivers: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing), Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) and Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus F1).
Questions From The Floor
Abhishek Takle – Mid-Day) Fernando, another strong drive, another strong second place but Seb just keeps extending his lead. Is there some sense of inevitability or perhaps acceptance on your part that you have to wait yet another year for that first world title with Ferrari?
Well, as I said, there's nothing we can do. Obviously we try our maximum, we're trying to improve the car for every race and we are doing it but obviously not enough compared to our opponents. They are doing a better job than us, they are fantastic every weekend. They are winning and they deserve those wins. This is a sport, someone always has to win and the best one wins and we are not the best ones at the moment but we will keep working.
Q: (Heikki Kulta –Turun Sanomat)
Kimi, was this the most painful race weekend you have ever had?
Yes, I had some pain yesterday but for sure there have maybe been some more painful ones where something goes wrong, it doesn't always have to be physical pain, there can be something... you don't finish the race which is more painful in a way. Other things sometimes happen like this weekend and you have to live with it.
Q: (Jacob Polychronis – F1Plus.com)
Sebastian, very sadly the boos returned this year. This was perhaps expected at Monza because it was Ferrari's home race and the fans are very passionate, but this is like the tourist Grand Prix, people are from all over the world, it's no home Grand Prix.
It's called travelling, they are on a tour, they come to every race. Fortunately we keep winning so they've got a reason to boo.
Q: (Jacob Polychronis – F1Plus.com)
Sadly perhaps they are going to stay on tour. Is this something that is very sad for you, are you concerned, is it mentally exhausting even?
It's not nice but I think you should look around the grandstands. Most of the fans are dressed in red, Ferrari has a very strong fan base for a reason: they have a lot of tradition in Formula One, they've been around longer and won, and they've been more successful than any other team. There's more and more blue people – more and more people dressed in blue so we are doing a good job on that front but obviously they are quite emotional when they are not winning and if somebody else is winning, they don't really like it and as it seems, as I said, they are on a tour and they come back to... they are wealthy enough to go to a lot of races, Monza or take the flight to come here to Singapore. As long as they keep booing, we are doing a very good job so that's the way I see it. It's not people from Singapore or from one country only. It's normal in sports if some people support one driver then they don't like another driver to win. Equally there were a lot of German flags around the track, there are a lot of Germans here in Singapore, it's a very international city. The parade lap was quite nice and also the lap after the chequered flag there were a lot of people cheering. Obviously I didn't give them the most exciting race but on days like this, I really don't mind.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo)
Fernando, you did 36 laps with the same set of tyres; did you have any reference that the tyre could support the race conditions or were you just playing the game?
We didn't know exactly how long the tyres would survive. We were maybe not expecting that long but... We are sixty points behind in the championship, if it works OK, if it doesn't work maybe we don't finish second, we finish fourth or fifth. It's nothing really... what we can do. There was a small chance that if Rosberg, Webber and Hamilton were not that slow after the safety car, maybe Sebastian didn't get the 28 seconds necessary to exit in front of me but Nico, I think, had a problem with the front wing, Webber was without tyres and Hamilton pitted very late, the last. So when I had a free track and Seb pitted and exited in front of me already so we had a small chance to maybe lead the race but obviously very difficult to keep Sebastian... probably in the last part of the race with new tyres and we with a very slow pace. But we tried, nothing to lose and I think that will be the strategy in the last part of the championship. We are not as fast as they are in qualifying or in the race so we will try something different.
Q: (Carlos Miguel – La Gaceta)
Fernando, a lot of people are talking about how this championship is finished. What's your mentality, no surrender? Do you think there are some tracks where you can try to win? What is the situation?
Well, as I said before, it's very difficult. Nothing changed too much over the last two or three Grands Prix. We need to be very lucky but not only in one weekend, we need to be lucky for the last six races if we want to win the championship. We have a points deficit which is a big gap and we have a performance deficit which is a big gap so we need to be very lucky. We saw today, again: Webber stopped on the last lap. If this happened to Sebastian one weekend, we have to be there, in second place. If we cannot win the race, we need to be right behind and try to take any opportunity but being realistic, we know that we need to be very very lucky.
Q: (Lim Say Heng – The New Paper/People Singapore)
Sebastian, you said before that the race in Singapore is probably the toughest in the calendar. Now that you have won here, would you say that the toughest part of this year's title race is now over?
Well, the toughest race in terms of physical challenge, I think – at least, that's the way I feel. A couple of years ago, Fernando asked for the race to be a bit shorter. It's quite long, to be honest. Obviously it depends where you are in the race but I think from a physical point of view this is the most challenging, not because there are so many high speed corners but it's a long lap, there are a lot of corners, no room for mistakes, very bumpy, it's very humid, artificial lights – all this makes it a very tough combination. It's then even sweeter to be successful here.
I think it's long, obviously the only race where we have two hours, every single year. We're running 1m 55s and it's 61 laps so it's very easy to do the calculation that it will be two hours all the time. In Monaco, that is also a slower, street circuit, it's not 300, it's two hundred and something, it's more or less a reasonable time. So it's something that we may think for a year but they don't, they don't consider it's OK. It's five years that we race for two hours, last year was 59 laps, it was not 61 because we reached the two hours before the 61st lap and we need to check with the federation, but happy with any decision.
Q: (Paolo Ianieri – La Gazzetta dello Sport)
Fernando, whose call was it to try to stay out? Was it your call or was it from the team to try to stay out and to change the strategy?
It was the team. I asked how may laps to go and they told me 36 and they said we will pit and then we will decide. At that moment, we lost only two positions with Webber and Hamilton so if we pit we will have new tyres for the restart and then looking at the safety car it was quite long etc, they were telling me 'our aim is to go to the end' so from the restart, taking care of the tyres for 32 laps.
Q: (Frederic Ferret – L'Equipe)
To all three of you: today we saw the Red Bull was good, the Lotus was good and there were two failures. Do you have an explanation as to why the failure often happens to the other car, not the leading driver?
I have no idea what happened to Romain.
He had a problem with the air system.
The air system. And Mark?
Gearbox, that's what he told me.
It sometimes happens. I've had some issues. It can happen to anybody and then it's up to us, up to the team to try to make sure we don't have any issues but although they do everything to 100 percent you can have a failure, even the cheapest part of the car can fail or the most expensive part. It's just one of those things that happens, even though we do the best we can to make sure there are no failures.
Yeah, I don't think there's a reason. We both had issues with the gearbox - if Mark had a gearbox issue - in Monza. When we came here, I think we understood it to some extent but not entirely. I had more issues on Friday with the gearbox than Mark had. Maybe he was in traffic the whole race. It's quite hot, temperatures were maybe a bit higher but on the other hand his gearbox suffered already a little bit more in Monza because I think a radiator had an issue. So maybe it's a consequence of that but I don't think there's a reason for that, between cars. We both get the same stuff from the same shelf.
Q: (Anthony Rowlinson – F1 Racing)
Fernando, do you feel confident that Ferrari will be able to close the performance gap to Red Bull next season?
Well, I think we start from zero next year, completely from zero. Big change in regulations so it's our best opportunity to close the gap. This year was a continuation in a way. I think we started in a good way, we were competitive in Australia, maybe not in qualifying but in the race we were taking care of the tyres very very well, together with Lotus. We won in China, we won in Spain and then we seemed to lose a little bit of performance, especially when the 2012 Pirelli tyres came back so that was probably our point in the championship; when they changed the tyres, we said bye bye. For next year I think we start from zero. Really we will put all our effort and hopes into 2014, because starting from zero is our best opportunity to close the gap with all the top teams.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport)
Fernando, we heard during the race a radio message from (Andrea) Stella (Fernando's race engineer) when he said 'take care of the tyres, we have to put on the car the supersofts, take care of Paul di Resta, he's behind you.' It was a tricky joke for everybody else, to push Mercedes to stop again?
I think it was maybe not clear on TV because, at least, what they told me, was take care of Paul di Resta behind because he's on supersoft, new supersoft and I was on medium, so there was a performance advantage, as Seb said before, of around one second in the first couple of laps, so I knew that maybe Paul was trying to attack me in those first laps with fresh supersoft. So that was the message: be careful with di Resta.
Q: (Trent Price – Richland F1)
Sebastian, late in the race, Rocky (Guillaume Rocquelin, his race engineer) radioed in that he thought there was a brake vibration on the car. Was this something you could feel, was it affecting you under braking?
Yeah, definitely, I could definitely feel it. It was building up towards the end of the race. Fortunately we were in the lead and we had a new set of supersofts which we saved yesterday, so I could afford to take it a bit easy. Surely, if we had been under a lot of pressure then... we've had those kind of issues before but it's not the most comfortable... you use the brakes quite a lot to stop around here. Then we could control it but had we raced harder until the end I think it would have been tough.
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat)
Kimi, do you think that you will be fully recovered for Korea and what do you target there?
For sure, we will have to see. I think it should be OK and we try to do a better overall weekend there.
Transcript Courtesy FIA