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Belgian GP – Thursday press conference – Pt.1

25 August 2011

PRESS CONFERENCE

Q:
Bruno, how ready are you for your return and what about coming back here at this particular circuit?

Bruno Senna:
Well, it is going to be a big challenge to come back into the middle of the season - or a bit later than the middle of the season – into racing but I have been participating in all the meetings with the engineers so I have been very much up to date with what is going on in the team. The Friday in Hungary was very useful for me to get a feel for the car and get a feel for how the car can go. But, of course, it is going to be a big uphill battle to get up to the level of these guys who have been racing for 11 races now. The fact that it is here, in Spa, is very special. It is my favourite circuit and a circuit that historically I have done very well on so I am really looking forward to it. I hope I can progress fast and hopefully do a good job for these guys because it is the best way to appreciate the opportunity that they are giving me.

Q:
And, of course, you've driven a Formula One car around here quite recently in May. There is, I believe, photographic evidence of that.

Bruno Senna:
Yes, it was also good too. Every time you can drive the car recently it makes it easier for you to learn. It was for a demonstration, only a few laps, but still great to have a better reference than from my previous references and hopefully this time it will be a more serious run.

Q:
What can you expect from yourself really this weekend?

Bruno Senna:
It is hard to say. Friday was very tough, Friday in Hungary was really, really difficult but again I only had one set of tyres. I know I will be having to learn how to deal with the tyres from the first set all the way to the sets in qualifying and then again learning how to deal with the tyres for the race as that will be my first experience with the Pirelli tyres on high fuel going to low fuel. All this experience I don't have so if I can be anywhere near Petrov that would be a good reference.

Q:
Jerome, your local race. What are your expectations?

Jerome D'Ambrosio:
Well it is something special to be here definitely. For 17 years there were no Belgian drivers in F1 and Spa so coming back here is special. I felt it. It has been busy days for me with the first press conference for the grand prix back on the 10th of August. There is a lot of enthusiasm about me being here. Now on the other side I just have to keep on doing my job, stay focussed. I will just try to do the best. There is not much more we can do. I will just focus on getting the maximum out of the car. Hopefully the weather can play for us a little bit and then we will see.

Q:
So what are your hopes for the Belgian weather?

Jerome D'Ambrosio:
Well, a bit of drizzle in the race would not be a bad thing for us.

Q:
What are your thoughts about the second half of the season and perhaps your thoughts on staying on with the team for next year?

Jerome D'Ambrosio:
Well, first of all the break was something good. I think that as a rookie you take a lot of information in within a very short period of time and it is nice to have a break not thinking about Formula One. Then it is kind of a natural processing of all the information you have taken in during a couple of months. That is something good before the last eight races so I am looking forward to these eight races. I really wish to make another step and really put into application what I have learnt over the last 11. Now with the team I am really happy. I think they are happy about me as well so definitely at the moment we are speaking and hopefully we will be able to work together again next year.

Q:
Sebastien, I believe you had a pleasant break in the United States during August. Tell us about that?

Sebastien Buemi:
Yes, I went to Orlando and then to Miami for a few days. I came back on the 14th to go back into training for at least a week to prepare as well as possible for Spa. The rest of the season as we know, Singapore and all the next races, are going to be very hot and you have got to be fit. It was a good break and I could enjoy myself a bit but it is very good to be back here as Spa is a fantastic circuit.

Q:
Things seem to be going a little bit better over the last two or three races. Perhaps you can just explain that. Obviously you have qualified 16th here for the last two years, well that's where you have started, and you have also finished 12th here so presumably you are hoping for better. But tell us about the improvement in the car.

Sebastien Buemi:
We have been working really hard with the team to try and improve the car as much as possible. I would say the last race in Budapest was really good for us as we finished eighth and tenth so we scored a lot of points for the team. Hopefully now we can have a good weekend as well. We know in Spa everything is possible with the weather and also that can change really quickly. I think we have got some new stuff on the car which will help us as well so hopefully we will be able to use the maximum out of it and score points again.

Q:
So quite hopeful of improving on that 16th in qualifying and 12th in the race?

Sebastien Buemi:
Yes. I mean we know that qualifying is important but not as much as in the past so even if we qualify there the race is really long and everything is possible. I am really looking forward to the race and score points at the end so even if I have to start at the back of the grid or not the best position I will not think too much about it. But it is really important to have a good base and if you have got it then you can finish well.

Q:
Vitaly, a new team-mate. How is that going to affect you? Will it affect you at all?

Vitaly Petrov:
First of all, congratulations Bruno. I know he has signed for the next two races. For me I think it doesn't matter now who is my team-mate. I know what I need to do. I know how I need to improve the car so I will just do my job.

Q:
And your feelings about this circuit as, for example, Renault was third on the grid here last year. You went from 23rd to ninth here last year. What are your feelings about this track?

Vitaly Petrov:
I like this track. I had very good battle with Mercedes with Michael and Nico (Rosberg) last year. Now it is very difficult to say where we will be right now. We bring some new good parts here. We bring some upgrades. We hope these upgrades will work here and we know our car likes this track so we will try our best.

Q:
Michael, a big weekend for you. A 20th anniversary. Can you imagine, could you have imagined 20 years ago that you would still be here?

Michael Schumacher:
Could you? You've been here 20 years ago, haven't you?

Q:
I'm afraid so, yes. But I don't have to be as fit as you.

Michael Schumacher:
Well it is an unusual situation and certainly not something to be expected from the beginning but proud to be here and glad. As I often call it, it's my living room and a very particular place that lots of things, great things and special things, have happened. It is obviously a perfect scenario to celebrate this moment.

Q:
Just looking back at the six wins plus one, but interesting that only one pole position. Is there a reason for that or just circumstance?

Michael Schumacher:
In the end of the day there is no reason for this. Neither there is for other race tracks where I had more pole positions. I don't think it is anything to do other than with having certain characteristics of cars that maybe suit some tracks and other tracks less. In terms of statistics if you look at the number of pole positions or race wins I don't think it is up on the driver that you are particularly strong or weak in one or the other it is more adapting and having the package available for doing one or the other.

Q:
And obviously it worked well with wins, particularly with the six wins.

Michael Schumacher:
Yep.

Q:
Looking forward to this weekend, the team has said they feel the car is well suited to the track. What are your thoughts on that?

Michael Schumacher:
Well I mean we always feel this and indeed it is what it is. We have to face the reality and the reality is that at the moment we are sort of the fourth strongest team and the gaps to the front are unfortunately too big to battle with those guys unless there are unusual circumstances. Maybe this track potentially suits us a little bit more but the gaps are too big to really make an impression to the guys up front so seventh and eighth that's our possible target that we can achieve and that's what we are going to aim for.

Q:
Sebastian, a good break? Can we ask how you recharged your batteries?

Sebastian Vettel:
I think I did what most people do in their holidays. I didn't work. I had a good time off trying to forget a little bit about Formula One. Just doing the usual things, enjoying the sun, enjoying the weather, good food, moving a lot, so yes enjoyed the fresh air, enjoyed the summer. After I think Hungary, which was unusual, and Nurburgring especially and England I think it was a good call.

Q:
Is this a circuit that will return Red Bull to winning form?

Sebastian Vettel:
We will see. It is not our favourite circuit as there are a lot of straights here, more than on most of the other tracks. There are some corners but they are all in sector two, so sector one and three is quite difficult. We have seen that in the past but I think generally we had a very good car around here, the last two years especially so I am looking forward. It is a very nice track all in all and looking forward to the weekend. The last couple of races we know we might not have been on the top of our game but I think we have understood, learnt quite a lot so we will see where we are this weekend.


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