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Monaco GP - Thursday press conference - Pt.2

26 May 2011

Team personnel: Graeme Lowdon (Virgin), Vijay Mallya (Force India), Adrian Newey (Red Bull), Peter Sauber (Sauber) and Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren).


Questions from the floor


Q: (Alberto Antonini – AutoSprint)
Coming out in the paddock yesterday, you could see that there was still a lot of action going on. Some of the facilities hadn't been completed, they were still being set up. So, I just wondered whether it's sensible, given the size of the current infrastructures, to have back-to-back races, coming to a place like this? Is it turning into a sort of logistic nightmare?

Martin Whitmarsh:
Well, it's incredibly tough. Back-to-back races have always been tough on the crew and the team. Clearly because Monaco starts one day earlier, it's just that little bit tougher. There was a lot of action here, now there's a lot made of a forklift incident with Jenson but I think Jenson's probably done more dangerous things here in his life, both in cars and out of cars in Monaco, so I think it was probably a little bit overstated. It's tough. I'm sure that we're grateful – just as all the teams are here – to the people who build garages, build hospitality units, rebuild the cars to make sure we can be here racing.
Graeme Lowdon:
We've probably got the smallest motorhome of anybody here but dare I say, one of the friendliest. We tend to have to wait until all the large structures are put together before we can put ours together but I think we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that Formula One and the finances of Formula One are very complicated nowadays and these structures do actually play an important part in servicing the requirements of sponsors and guests. So it is an important part of the whole show, and the people who put them together do a tremendously professional job under very tight circumstances. I take my hat off to them.
Vijay Mallya:
Well, we sometimes pay the price for our own enthusiasm. We wanted to create a sort of Taj Mahal out of our motorhome. In the process we created a pretty heavy and complex structure that requires a lot more time to erect and disassemble but that's life, we're used to it. We know that they're going to be back-to-back races and the guys coped pretty well.
Peter Sauber:
Yes, it's tough but we have done it in the past many times.

Q: (Pierre Van Vliet – F1i Magazine)
Martin, what is FOTA's position regarding the 2013 engine rules following the Barcelona meeting last week?

MW:
I think FOTA's view is that this really is a decision for the engine manufacturers, not for the teams themselves. I think teams want to have affordable engines and they've made those points to the engine manufacturers and to the FIA and I have to say that those views appear to be respected. I think that with any rules changes, it would have been great if we could have introduced more engine manufacturers into Formula One but unfortunately, we're perhaps coming out of a recession, we were a little bit too early with these changes, but at the same time, we have to move forwards in Formula One, we have to be seen with developing technologies that are relevant to the needs of society, so there will always be an emotional pull to the past. Lots of us speak about 'wasn't it great when we had V12s', 'wasn't it good when we had V10s', isn't it great that we've got V8s?' And I think we must be careful that we don't get emotional about those things. What we need is Formula One to be the pinnacle of motor sport, to have the most advanced powertrain and they've got to be affordable for all of the teams. I think also, we need as many engine manufacturers in Formula One, we need independent manufacturers like Cosworth. We need to make sure we don't lose any of the engine manufacturers we've got now. We're very fortunate as a sport to have Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault with us. We'd like to make sure that we've still got them in 2013 and beyond and I hope, in time, find ways in which other automotive companies find this sport attractive to invest in it.

Q: (Ian Parkes – Press Association)
Vijay, could I ask you on what basis you took the decision to allow Adrian to continue racing after his incident in Shanghai. And secondly, you've just launched your own driver development programme, I think for 14- to 16-year olds; is he still a good role model for the team?

VM:
As far as my position is concerned, there has been a press release issued which describes an incident. We have not heard of any formal complaint being registered in any country for any sort of misconduct by Adrian. So it would be highly inappropriate for us to presume that he did something. It would be equally presumptuous that he would [be found] guilty of wrong-doing and take action against him. So my position is very clear: if at all we receive a formal complaint or there is some form of formal legal enquiry in any country, we'll take appropriate action at that time but we can't be presumptive.

Q: (Edd Straw – Autosport)
Adrian, there was a lot of talk in Spain about the legality of the exhaust-blown diffuser operating while the driver is off the throttle. What's your interpretation of the legality of that, specifically relating to article 3.15 and could you explain your reasoning behind the position you take on this technology?

Adrian Newey:
Well, I think the key to 3.15 is that it talks about 'driver over-run then the throttle should be closed' then in brackets 'idle speed' so it seems to be implying that the throttle should be closed at idle, which it clearly is. What the throttle does on over-run at other times is not clear in the regulations, not as expected. Certainly, in the case of Renault, then they open the throttle to full open on the over-run for exhaust valve cooling, and that's part of the reliability of the engine. It has been signed off through the years for dyno testing and for them to change that would be quite a big issue, because the engine's not proven that it would be reliable if the throttle remained closed in that situation. Obviously if other people are going further and perhaps firing the engine on the over-run then clearly exhaust valve cooling is not part of that and that would be something that presumably they would need to explain to keep Charlie (Whiting, technical delegate) happy.

Q: (Alan Baldwin – Reuters)
Vijay, you mentioned the Indian Grand Prix and Bernie's comments about it but I was wondering if you've spoken to Bernie or talked to him about it and what is your personal position on any possible re-scheduling of that race?

VM:
There are no issues on whether the track will be completed or not. That track will be ready well in time. There's a huge amount of interest. I can tell you that people are already clamouring for tickets and it's a major step forward in Indian motor sport and sport in general in our country, so everybody is looking forward to it. Whether it's October 30th or December 4th - I believe that's what the media report said – really doesn't matter to us. In fact, in December the weather is cooler in India and Delhi in particular so it shouldn't impact the race in any way.

Q: (Alan Baldwin – Reuters)
Can I just ask the other team bosses whether it would impact on them at all, to be racing in December?

AN:
Makes for an awfully long season, doesn't it? It is for the people involved.
MW:
I think it's tough on the team, simple as that. I think the teams will go to the races that are on the calendar, that's for sure, but I think it makes it a very long season. The guys started working very hard in mid-January, building cars to go testing and it will make it a very, very long season for them.
PS:
I think first we have to wait for the decision about Bahrain.
GL:
I agree with Martin. I think it does make it quite tough on the teams. I think one of our guys is getting married on December 4th as well, so we might have a problem.

Q: (Rodrigo Franca – VIP Magazine)
Question for all of you: what kind of advice would you give for a teenager who is beginning to study and one day wants to work in Formula One? What piece of advice would you five guys give?

AN:
I guess the first question is where he or she wants to work, so is it technical, is it in marketing and so on and so forth? In my own area, on the technical side, I think by and large, academic studies help, so going to a good university, if that's possible, is clearly useful. At that point the person probably needs to decide which area they are going to specialise in, is it mechanical, aerodynamics, electronics, maths etc? Try and get some experience as well, even if it's working with a very small team, then anything that helps to build your CV and show that you are a committed, dedicated to motor racing and have both an academic flair and a real enthusiasm is mainly what we're looking for.
MW:
I don't have much to add to what Adrian said. I think you have to be realistic. Those of us who are working in Formula One or in motor sport, are very, very lucky. It's a great career but it's massively competitive, it's still a relatively small industry so I think if anyone sets their sights on a career within motor sport they should also have a Plan B because however good you are, you might not be fortunate enough to get in.
VM:
A lot of Indian technology companies are already supporting established Formula One teams but I represent a country that is full of aspiration, with 500 million youngsters under the age of 18, aspiration levels run really, really high and everybody wants to be part of Formula One because of the image that Formula One has. But I'm not just very, very pleased with the level of response in our one-in-a-billion hunt for a driver, the number of CVs and applications coming through from people who want to be involved in engineering and design is quite incredible. There's a lot of talent out there. In the technology industry per se, India has been in the forefront for many decades and there is talent out there and we can use that talent as well, as we go forward. We have some internships already running for young Indian engineers so yes, there's a huge amount of opportunity.
GL:
I agree with Adrian, it's a mixture of experience but also knowledge. There's a remarkable number of people who look to get into a racing team who haven't prepared themselves with either and it constantly amazes me. I'm sure like all the other teams, we operate internships as well, with SMT University – I'm sure the other guys work with various universities and have close links with them, with education, which is important and there is no secret, it's hard work and application, and if you're prepared to put in the hard work and apply yourself, then anybody can get into the sport. But as Martin says, whether they stay in is a different matter.

Q: (Ian Parkes – Press Association)
As you know, the state of emergency is due to be lifted in Bahrain on June 1, two days ahead of a decision being made about the Grand Prix, but I was wondering if any of you have made representations to either Bernie or the FIA that it is arguably morally and ethically wrong to still be going to Bahrain after what has happened there this year and is still going on?

PS:
I think it's important that we be safe and the other point is that if we have three back-to-back races; that's really crazy.
VM:
Well, I understand that there's a team principals' meeting at 5pm to discuss this and after that I'm sure it will be debated at the World Motor Sport Council of which I'm a member, and I think it would be rather inappropriate for me to pre-judge the issue here, so let's wait for all the team principals to meet and to discuss it at the FIA level and see where we go.
GL:
I think you asked 'have we made any representations?' Certainly I haven't and John (Booth) hasn't but that's more because the situation so far is not clear in terms of what the recommendations would be from the FIA and from FOM etc and so we just have to wait and see what develops. As a company, we want to play an important role in this sort of decision as well, but I don't think we necessarily have all the information.
MW:
No representations, but I think, as Vijay said, I think it's probably something that's best discussed with the FIA and amongst the teams rather than via a press conference in any case.

Q: (Byron Young – The Daily Mirror)
Could I ask Dr. Mallya: are you in the situation with Adrian Sutil that regardless of what he has or has not done, you're obligated to put him in the car for the year? If he's got a contract, he's got a contract.

VM:
You know, contracts do not supercede misconduct so unless I'm convinced that there is misconduct the contract shall prevail. And I'm not willing to jump to any conclusions, based on a press release that has been given out by a potentially or supposedly aggrieved party. I don't know what happened there, none of my people know what happened at that particular incident so there's a due process of law. So if Adrian is to be charged with misconduct, let him be charged. If and when he's charged, I will assess the situation.


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