Technical directors: Luca Marmorini (Toyota), Sam Michael (Williams), Adrian Newey (Red Bull) and Pat Symonds (Renault).

Press conference.

Q:
How much have you developed for this circuit, how much have you changed the car for Monza and what do you change back if it's wet?

Adrian Newey:
I think it's the same for everybody: lowest drag level by a long way now that Hockenheim has gone in its old format, which is basically front and rear wings, detuning some of the appendages, the T-wings, that sort of thing. And that's really about it. Because it's only one race, it's not worth putting a huge amount of work into, so you could argue that the car is not as optimised as it could be for this one race, but it is one race, and you have to look at how you balance your resources.

Q:
If it's wet, what happens?

AN:
We put a bit of wing level back on but obviously, with parc ferme regulations now, whatever you qualify with you've got to race with, so you've got to try and take a balanced view of what gives you the best results at the end of the race.

Q:
Patrick Head said to me it's a fairly expensive operation developing for this one race; what's the Williams situation, Sam?

Sam Michael:
Well, it's pretty similar to what Adrian just said: it's a front and rear wing and then maybe some trims of things that come off the rear bodywork rather than go on, just to get you in the right lift-over-drag area for the track. A few years ago at least you had Hockenheim as well, so you got two races out of one very low drag package. The other extreme is somewhere like Monaco. At least at Monaco now there are probably places like Hungary and Singapore that you get two or three races out of them (high downforce parts). Now Monza is really all by itself in terms of top speed and drag levels. The front and rear wings are the main manufacturing loading because they are completely different to anywhere else. And then in terms of wet, it's exactly the same as what Adrian just said. The other thing you've got as well is that you've got to fix the gear ratios for tonight, so it's pretty unlikely that you would take the risk that your weather forecast is that accurate that you would tie yourself into one drag level at this stage.

Q:
So is it to some extent guesswork, Pat?

Pat Symonds:
I would like to think it's not guesswork. We do a similar thing. Actually, in response to a similar question earlier this week I did have a look at when our programme started and we started work on our Monza aero package on March 30th, which gives you an idea of how far back these things go, and there are something like 60 days of manufacturing for the wings. We've brought two alternative low downforce rear wings here, plus front wing. It's a lot of work but we need to do it, we need to try and be competitive at every circuit. It's a very expensive process these days. It's now amortised just on this one race rather than two. Yeah, maybe there's some room for some cost-savings there.

Q:
Luca, where is Toyota on KERS at the moment, when are you likely to test is first?

Luca Marmorini:
We are working flat out on KERS, but if I should tell you that if today we are ready to run the car, I would say not yet. But we have put in place a programme and we are confident that we will have a good solution to put in the car and our schedule at the moment is to run for the first time in the new car in the first month of next year, in January.

Q:
Another one for all of you: how far advanced are you on next year's regulations, big aero package, and do you believe those regulations will produce better racing?

AN:
Well, I guess in common with most teams the big components, the long lead items - chassis, gearbox casing - are finalised and then we'll work through the rest. It is a huge change. It's the biggest regulation change we've had for a very long time. It's been known for a long time, it's been known pretty much since last November and that has meant that to some extent it's been a resource battle. Obviously in an ideal world you would have a second or third or fourth wind tunnel. You would have two aero teams and you would separate them out and off you would go. We're certainly not in that position, so we've had quite a difficult juggling act between developing this year's car and starting to research next year's. Will it achieve its objectives? I'm sure there will be more overtaking - a little bit more, I don't think it's going to be hugely different, frankly. I think it's been shown this year that the most important difference for overtaking is circuit layout and weather conditions. I still think that if overtaking is too easy, it actually could be quite dull because the quicker cars which are stuck behind (now) are just going to go straight past and then you've got wide open tarmac whereas some of the best television has been Imola, for instance, when Alonso was stuck behind Schumacher or vice versa, I can't remember now, but I remember it was good television. For me, the jury is out. We will see.

SM:
I think it is a massive rule change for next year aerodynamically, and I think everybody, no matter where you are on the grid, is struggling to get the balance of resource for this year, especially over the last three or four months because some of the teams are fighting for a championship, like McLaren and Ferrari and BMW, so they're having to put resource in but there's also a battle all the way from fourth down to eighth place, so it's been a very difficult juggling act but that's what we're here for. Whether it makes the changes or not in terms of overtaking we will wait to see. I tend to think there's not going to be a huge change but maybe a step in the right direction.

PS:
It is hard to say. The aerodynamic changes came about as a result of some wind tunnel testing to look at these aspects of racing. It was decided, when those tests were done, that we'd look at downforce levels that were substantially less than - even half of current levels and of course as soon as development starts, they escalate up - I won't say they are going to get to current levels, they won't but they're probably going to be 15 percent off or something rather than 50 percent off. Now, if in doing that, the wake structure hasn't substantially changed, then yes, I think we will get slightly better racing and better overtaking. But in addition to that, we've got the KERS system which gives the drivers the opportunity to throw in an extra sixty kilowatts of eighty horsepower from time to time. If everyone uses it with exactly the same strategy it makes no difference at all, but if there's some variation in that, then that's another factor which can lead to more overtaking. I think I agree with Adrian that getting the balance right in overtaking is quite difficult. I do agree and I think most spectators agree that there's not enough at the moment but certainly there are some types of racing where I believe there is too much and it no longer becomes the pinnacle that we are looking for, so getting that balance right is a very difficult thing to do and I think we will only see next year just how successful we've been.

Q:
Luca, where do you feel the Toyota engine is in comparison to the other engines around you?

LM:
I cannot make this kind of comparison. I think we are happy with the performance of the engine, and I think that we are most concentrating to control that the engine can keep its reliability and this means that there is some activity on the engine side, to keep the engine as reliable as possible. On top of this, we have races like this one where we have one engine that already did Spa, so Spa and Monza together represent quite a big challenge for the engine. In terms of ranking, I think unfortunately it's difficult to make a ranking of the engine on its own. We should put all the engines on the same dyno, driven by the same people, with the same experience and probably you could do some sort of ranking. We have mostly to judge the package, so this is why, for me, it's very difficult to do. I think, at the moment, with the current regulations the engines are quite close to each other.

Q:
When the frozen engine regulation came in, you said it was very difficult to keep your team together and motivated. Has that been the case?

LM:
It has been difficult to keep motivating the people, especially if you think about the designers, that from a job which was definitely very creative to doing more maintenance work than before, but we had to work a lot to understand which were the limits of the existing engines. At the moment we are running much, much closer than before to these limits. I would say that if this kind of regulation is going on for more years, it will always be more difficult to keep engine people motivated. At least there is the KERS activity on the power train that we can re-deploy people working on, and I think it will be interesting anyway.

Q:
Question for all of you: what sort of special preparations are you making for Singapore?

LM:
From the engine point of view unfortunately there is not a lot to be done. Basically we are working and preparing in the best way possible, with all the simulation and so on. We don't have any experience of running during the night and possible rainy conditions makes the situation a little bit more difficult. So we are preparing ourselves for all the unpredictable things that might happen.

PS:
I think from a technical point of view, not a great deal. All the normal preparation we have to do for a new circuit, which really revolves around trying to understand that circuit, looking at the sensitivities of the various tuneable aspects of the car to that circuit, things like that. We've just been through that with Valencia, we are just going through it again with Singapore. I don't think the fact that the racing is later in the evening in the dark is going to be a particularly big deal. We sent people out there when they did the lighting tests and as you say, it was certainly a lot lighter than it was this morning here in Monza! I think that a lot of the burden in this particular case has fallen on our team manager, Steve Nielsen. He's had to look at a lot of different aspects of the logistics and the human performance aspects of things. How do you keep people working through the night? What sort of time zone is their body going to be in? We know what it's like to go to Japan and move eight hours but this is a different situation again, and it's one where, possibly at the beginning of the week, we've got people working during the day and sleeping at night and then transitioning to sleeping during the day and working at night, and some of those aspects are really quite tricky. I think there's a lot more burden on those guys than the technical guys this time.

SM:
Yeah, the same as what Pat just said. A lot of the team managers have been putting a lot of work into that, and most of the engineers come in just a day before, so they can deal with just immediately changing their patterns, but if you just offset the meeting schedules and things, it means that we will be finishing at five o' clock in the morning on Saturday and Sunday mornings, so it is quite a big change. You could look at it and say 'well, everyone's in Europe normally, so they should be on that time zone,' but it's quite difficult to go back to the hotel and sleep during the day, especially when you've got people walking around tidying it up. So one of the other things they've done is to make sure that they can have one floor in the hotel that's only got team members on it and not have people knocking on your door at nine o' clock in the morning saying 'shall I come and clean the room up?' So those are some of the basic things of living in that environment. I think from the technical side there's not much, to be honest. There are a few little things like the brightness of the display on the steering wheel and things like that but they are quite straightforward and easy to sort out. The weather itself... we just got our long range forecast this morning actually which is just two weeks in front and it's predicting fifty to sixty percent chance of rain at that time of night. Because it's such a humid environment, I think there's quite a reasonable chance of rain on one of the nights.

AN:
Pretty much as Pat and Sam have just said. Normal preparations technically, so a maximum downforce circuit as Sam mentioned earlier, so I don't think there's anything particularly unusual technically. The night thing is different; I guess Kimi should be on form, he's used to performing when it's dark, but other than that, I don't know.

Comments

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment