Questions From The Floor
Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action and National Speedsport News)
For the five chassis guys, how do you see next season unfolding and what is the target for your team?
Our target is to carry on where we've been now, so try and be around the top three in the constructors. It's a bit hard to say how it's going to develop right from this point. The changes are so big, it's the biggest change in regulations that I've seen in 20 years in the sport and there's going to be a lot of different solutions. It will be very interesting to see what everyone takes to the first race. There will be different solutions for aerodynamics and some cars will be better packaged than others.
I think that Nick's right about the magnitude of change. I think it's going to be a development war all the way through the season and probably into the next year as well, it's such a big change to not just the powertrain but the aerodynamics and knowing that the slope that we currently have in the wind tunnel... when you have a slope so steep, then it normally means that you're far away from the optimum when you first make these type of changes. The powertrain is probably bigger in reality and probably more visible because you have such a brand new gearbox, brand new engine, completely new ERS system and don't underestimate how developed these current powertrains are on all fronts because they've been... especially the engine, obviously, but also the gearbox so those changes are significant as well. I'm sure you will see different levels of reliability, even though teams are much better now than what they used to be 10/15 years ago with dynos and simulations etc, there's nothing that has anywhere near... you can't replicate the almost decade of powertrain mileage on the track across different teams so I think that's going to be a big player in the next year and potentially a bit longer.
Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action and National Speedsport News)
And the team's target?
Ferrari's target is always to win. As far as how next year will work out, I think that the size of the rule change means that there will be some unanticipated reshuffling of the pack in terms of where all the teams will find themselves in the pecking order. However, I think – notwithstanding the size of the changes – over the years it's been fairly clear that the teams, although they're hundreds of people in different places end up producing cars independent of one another that come together and are very competitive with one another and I would expect that to be true next year as well. I would also imagine that the first half of next year is likely to be heavily affected by reliability. Next year's rule changes are big enough, just in terms of the configuration of the car but they also place a much much higher burden of reliability on us as well.
Adrian, Mark Webber was saying that he sees Red Bull as the clear favourites for next year. Do you see it that way?
Don't know to be perfectly honest. I think that first of all, as James said, the cars are hugely complex compared to the cars that we've been used to. The level of reliability that everybody's achieving now is the result of a lot of evolution on what actually looks a relatively simple product compared to what we're facing next year so I think reliability's going to be quite an issue for the teams, could well be a deciding factor in the championship, who knows? And then, as everybody's said, then effectively you can divide it into the very large powertrain regulation changes which is obviously in the powertrain itself down to the three manufacturers for next year, but then from the team's point of view, how you install the engines and the power train... I'm sure there's going to be a lot of different solutions to start with to what is a very complicated problem.
Our target is to win and I think the exciting aspect about next year is that we return to competition amongst engines. The last seven or eight years, the engine has been a frozen product. Of course there are differences between the engines but not in the way they used to be, so we return to an issue of a campaign not just with the chassis but with the power unit as well and I think that's really exciting and a good thing for F1.
Q: (Ian Parkes – Press Association)
James, having worked with Kimi for a while at Lotus, how important do you feel your familiar face will be to him at the start of next season to ensure that he hits the ground running?
I don't think it will make much difference to Kimi at all! Beautiful though I am, I don't think I have a massive impact on his life. Kimi's relationship with the team is predominantly with the people that are at the track, racing the car, with him, with his race engineer and with the chief race engineer and the people that campaign round the world with him. My job is mainly a factory-based one and while I would try to lead a factory team that is sensitive to what the drivers are saying about the car and hopefully making the most of the feedback that they give us, my day-to-day interaction with the drivers is not overly extensive.
Q: (Karen Crouse – New York Times)
Adrian, what are the one or two qualities Sebastian possesses that you think separates him from all the other drivers right now?
Crikey. I think he, like all the true greats, then he has the ability to drive the car and at the same time have enough mental reserve to be able to understand how he's driving the car and be able to play that back and understand when to push and when not to, how the race is unfolding. I think he has very good recall which means that when he gets out of the car he's able to play back in his own mind what he's experienced, digest that. He works hard in the evenings with the race engineers and the result of all that is that when he steps in the car again the next day he's learned that little bit more. You apply that over many races then he keeps improving.
Q: (Edd Straw – Autosport)