» BACK TO CRASH.NET

Crash.Net F1 News

Canadian GP - Friday press conference - Pt.1

11 June 2011


Team personnel: Eric Boullier (Lotus-Renault), Pat Fry (Ferrari), Andrew Green (Force India), Paddy Lowe (McLaren) and Sam Michael (Williams).



Press conference


Q:
Andrew, Force India have always, supposedly, been good on low downforce circuits. This is a low downforce circuit and it would seem that this is exactly true isn't it? You seem to have been pretty good today?

Andrew Green:
It does look as though the track came to us, that's for sure. Low downforce, low drag really is the way you want to look at it. The car seems to respond well to the lower downforce set-ups, that's for sure. It is not something we actively pursue. We would like to make it a bit more of an even car as we definitely seem to struggle as we get to the higher downforce tracks which is where we have just come from. But it is nice to be a little bit more competitive.

Q:
You were running three drivers today. Did you think Adrian Sutil really missed out a bit this morning and that perhaps was a contributory factor this afternoon?

AG:
I don't think so. Adrian knows the track really well. It was just unfortunate he picked up a little bit of understeer on the exit of Turn Seven and once he got onto the dirty part he just kissed the wall. It was unfortunate he couldn't complete the session. I am sure he would have done as good a job as Paul (di Resta). But I don't think sitting out of the car this morning was any big deal for him.

Q:
Paul has done a really good job on a circuit he has never seen before?

AG:
Yeah, again. Acclimatizes really quickly. It really only takes him a handful of laps to get up to speed. Quite impressive.

Q:
Paddy, how much of a low downforce setting have you got? Have you brought a low downforce package? Is it as much as, for example, in the past?

Paddy Lowe:
Nothing particularly special, nothing like we would have done in the past. I think as we have seen the regulations push us into a smaller and smaller box, the difference between a high downforce circuit such as Monaco and a lower downforce circuit such as Canada has become less and less and that is true for us here.

Q:
Is that helped also by DRS?

PL:
I wouldn't really factor that in too much. If you look at the race you are not factoring in DRS as a routine element, so in terms of race performance DRS is not a factor.

Q:
Coming to DRS a bit further. Here, of course, there are two DRS zones. How do you see the drivers using DRS? Is it just going to be in the second zone or is it going to be in the first zone as well?

PL:
The first zone is longer than the second and would be the natural overtaking place anyway. I think we will have to see how that pans out on Sunday. If you manage to make the overtake, which ordinarily would be possible in the first section, then DRS will just give you an advantage in the second section to extend the gap from the guy you just overtook – which may not be the required outcome. That may prevent a re-overtake should the guy not get the best speed through the final corner. But if you don't make the overtake stick in the first section but manage to get very close, then the second section should help maybe to make it count. We will have to see. I mean it is the first time we have done it so it will be an interesting experiment.

Q:
We have had 11 wins from McLaren, 11 wins Ferrari in the Canadian Grand Prix so from what you have seen today what chances of making it 12 do you reckon?

PL:
Well that is what we would like to do obviously. We felt we had a good chance and nearly got the win in Monaco. If we can make one here that would be absolutely fantastic. Just the score we need to take us into sort of the second third of the season and to try and turn it around into a series of McLaren wins rather than the Red Bull wins. But from the performance today it is clear that other teams are looking quick as well. It could be very close so either way we will get an interesting race, but we hope to win it yes.

Q:
Sam, things seem to have turned around. You had a rotten start to the season. Would we be right in thinking things seem to have turned around a bit?

Sam Michael:
Yeah, I think over the last three or four races we have definitely started to qualify better. We still only have two points on the board but we have definitely turned it around from the first few races. We are getting a lot of parts onto the car that we really should have had on earlier but for various reasons we struggled to get them onto the car and make them work. But we took some good steps over the last race and another really good step today here in Canada in identifying those designs and making sure that they work properly. I am pretty hopeful that we can take another good step tomorrow here. It's good as it gives the wind tunnel direction, it gives you focus inside the factory and the way it is going at the moment it's a really nice direction. I think over the next couple of races with the parts we have got coming, which complement the bits that are working now - and I refer mainly to diffusers and front wings which are the primary devices on the car - it is quite encouraging to see that turnaround and really understand and learn a lot about it.

Q:
Have many of those parts been to do with low downforce here or not?

SM:
None of them actually. We did bring a lower drag rear wing but we are not sure if we will race that yet. I think we are in a similar state as everyone else in that you tend to race a much higher level of downforce in Montreal than what you are used to. I think from our point of view DRS does have an effect as what we used to do in the past was race a level of drag that was maybe seven or eight kilometres quicker than your optimum lap time to make sure you could overtake and not be overtaken. You would lose lap time off your optimum. We tend not to do that now and that is what's really pushed us towards one set of wings and it looks like Montreal is not going to be an exception to that but we haven't made our final decision.

Q:
How are your own personal plans coming along?

SM:
Fine. I mean my short-term focus right now is on Williams to be honest and it has been for the last few months. And that's that.

Q:
So it is looking good on the CV anyway?

SM: As I said, my focus is Williams right now.

Q:
Eric, would you recap what happened with FOTA's involvement with the Bahrain business. How exactly have you seen that? How pleased are you with the outcome?

Eric Bouiller:
I think we have followed what happened in the World Council, the decision which was taken there unanimously. I think the teams have expressed their views in the recent weeks and their concerns, mainly about what we had already agreed, India and the safety issue. I mean the usual one. We decided to write a letter –which was a private one but it became rather public – to the FIA and to Bahrain. You know the rest of the story because it was all public so at the end I think a decision was made and we are happy to be back in Bahrain in due time.

Q:
Are you a little unhappy at the confusion. Could it have been resolved a bit simpler?

EB:
I think reading on the forums and spending some time with the fans you can understand the reaction and you cannot be happy when such mess has been raised and it is not good for the image of Formula One definitely.

Q:
Talking of fans. Last night you had the fans' forum. How did that go?

EB:
Very well. Very, very well. This kind of opportunity is very good, not only showing off to the fans but to have dialogue with them and we had a very good communication. We let them speak and ask the questions and also discuss their concerns about F1, the actual current F1 and the future F1 and it is good to have a good contact with them and understand better.

Q:
Renault's performance today?

EB:
Bit down, let's say. Not fast enough. I think we are understanding, as I said recently since a couple of weeks now, where we are wrong and why we went a little bit down in the performance compared with our competitors. But we are in the process now to fix it and we should be back on form.

Q:
You've already been in your new job for quite some time, but you've just had more responsibility. How have things changed for you having been appointed director of chassis?

Pat Fry:
There's a reasonable amount of work to do. I would say mainly we've been concentrating on organising the factory a little differently and making things work better. I think there's a very good group of engineers there. We just need to get focused on what we think is important and obviously to do the most important things first. So there's been reasonable progress.

Q:
Obviously you've come from McLaren. Are things very, very different at Ferrari?

PF:
Yes, it is quite interesting on lots of fronts really. I suppose I've been in the fortunate position of seeing how McLaren worked, how they set a car up and the basis behind how that worked and then to come to what was one of my biggest rivals and now working for them, to then see the different philosophies, so it's been a very interesting experience for me over the last ten, eleven months. Hopefully we can learn from both; there's good bits everywhere.

Q:
We've seen two very different Ferraris over the last couple of races: one that performed fantastically at the beginning of the Spanish Grand Prix but not so well later, and then one that was right there at the end of the Monaco Grand Prix. What Ferrari will we see here?

PF:
Well hopefully one near the Monaco performance! In Barcelona we had a few particular issues that we were struggling with which sort of exaggerated some of the problems that we were having. I think we reasonably understand that now, having worked in the simulator and simulations to try and understand it. Monaco was a bit better and we didn't have the issues there. Here we still need to analyse and understand but I think we're looking in reasonable shape.

Q:
And in terms of development, how long does the development continue absolutely flat out before you start moving over to next year's car for example?

PF:
We're learning all the time, so I think that while we continue in the development of this year's car it actually helps us for next year's. It's not like there's a big radical rule change or something and you need to stop and re-think so you've just got to keep on working at understanding what the issues are. While putting performance on this year's car, effectively we're making next year's quicker as well. There will be, at some point but not now, the dilemma of when you swap your wind tunnel over to being fully on next year's project rather than this year's, but that decision will be in a couple of months' time, before we start finalising a plan.


» BACK TO CRASH.NET