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Abu Dhabi GP - Thursday press conference - Pt.1

10 November 2011


Drivers: Sebastien Buemi (Toro Rosso), Paul di Resta (Force India), Timo Glock (Virgin), Heikki Kovalainen (Team Lotus), Vitantonio Liuzzi (HRT) and Vitaly Petrov (Renault).



Press conference.


Q:
Tonio, one or two changes in the team. Have you seen differences within the team and how the team has reacted?

Vitantonio Liuzzi:
I have to say the team is changing, on-going at the moment, the structure is improving every time and I think there are a lot of changes for next year, plans on-going in the next month. I think the structure improved a lot during the 2011 season, we are focussed on 2012. We want to improve and get better in the field and I feel these changes are going in the right direction for the future. Still nothing completely clear how will be the line-up for next year in terms of the set-up of the team, but I think we are going forward.

Q:
Your future? Would you just clarify that? Did you say something has not been decided yet?

Vitantonio Liuzzi:
No, I was talking about the team, not about me or the other drivers. For me I always said I have a long-term contract with the team. We started with this adventure and we knew that it could not be just a one-year situation if we wanted to improve. The team hired me to help them develop and bring experience in the team and I think everything is going well and everything is looking positive for the future so not much to say about it.

Q:
So you are hopeful of staying and going forward?

Vitantonio Liuzzi:
Yes, I believe so.

Q:
Heikki, both drivers have been confirmed for next year. You seem to still be making progress as well with the team. Again, a certain amount of optimism I would have thought?

Heikki Kovalainen:
Yeah, absolutely. I think we made more progress than the other two new teams in these last couple of years especially this year. We need to take the next step, but I think the team is making the right kind of moves back at the factory and in terms of the structure of the team to go forward so I am confident and I am optimistic that next year we will move another step forward. It has not been too far away, actually, in the last few races. I have been able to race some of the cars ahead of us so it is not that much we need anymore to join the pack and then the middle of the field and to be ahead of them we need a bigger step. Hopefully over the winter we can make another gain compared to the teams directly ahead of us.

Q:
Tell us your view of the way Tony Fernandes works. He seems to be a particularly dynamic guy running goodness knows how many companies. Not only the racing team, Caterham and even Queens Park Rangers.

Heikki Kovalainen:
Yeah, he is an exciting guy. He is not afraid of making decisions and taking an adventure into an unknown. I think that, quite often, is how the good leaders and successful businessmen, how they work. To make a successful business you have quite often got to do something different to what the group of people is doing and he is certainly doing that. This morning was a good example of how Tony operates. I sent him a text regarding Caterham, his car company, and I said we should do that. He just texted me back, 'Done, tell Riad (Asmat)' and so, the deal was done. That's how he works and I believe he meant that. I really enjoyed working with him and it was one of the reasons I joined the team and I have enjoyed these last two years. He is a funny guy.

Q:
Timo, do you feel you have done a good job this year overall? Obviously it has been a very difficult at the back of the grid and what are your thoughts on next year as well?

Timo Glock:
Yeah, I am happy with my performance in general. I think I got the maximum out of the package we had. I just did my best in qualifying and the race. Sometimes we were a bit unlucky in the race, like in India at the last race. In general, as I said, with the package we got it out most of the time and now we have to keep concentrating on working for next year and make improvements like Lotus did this year and move on.

Q:
And looking forward to this race. We have got two DRS zones here. I know there is not a lot overtaking going on at the back, but what are your feelings about two DRS zones here?

Timo Glock:
I think you are right, you have to ask the guys in front, it is difficult for me to say. But I think it will be good possibilities here to overtake, especially with DRS and it could make the race quite interesting. Let's see, maybe we can overtake on the back of it as well but the possibilities are much higher here.

Q:
Paul, you are probably better prepared for this circuit than any of the ones we have been to so far as you did about 110 laps in a Force India this time last year.

Paul di Resta:
Yeah, I think coming here obviously having a bit of experience isn't negative having done the Pirelli test last year. But, really, it is all about the work you carry out on Friday and Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon in this case. We want to try and maintain position in the Constructors' Championship and our performance has been very close to Toro Rosso and Sauber and Renault if we get it right and really that's our focus at the moment.

Q:
So it is quite tight between all you guys. You still feel there is potential for change there?

Paul di Resta:
Yeah, I don't think you can really give up on any approach. I think you have got to be fairly aggressive. Already this year we saw it change a lot. We are in a strong position at the moment but we are very focussed on trying to get our performance level and equally bring new updates if we can. Really just to try and maintain that. These guys seem to be very strong in the race and really me and Adrian (Sutil) are doing our upmost to try and grab as many points as we can and race against these guys.

Q:
Given that no announcement has been made about the drivers, although that has been brought forward, I am sure you put pressure on yourselves anyway. But does that put more pressure on you?

Paul di Resta:
I suppose it does in a way. I have always said you always want to know as quick as you can but you have to respect Mr (Vijay) Mallya's decision and really he has said he is going to change. But, at the moment, I have a contract for the year so I am focussed on doing the remaining two races, which we should be, and really the future will take care of itself hopefully.

Q:
Sebastien, we only have to look at the last few races to realise the team has made a lot of progress. So you feel, probably, in a position where you can fightback?

Sebastien Buemi:
Yes, now we have got the same amount of points as Sauber so it is already good for us. We are 10 points behind Force India. It was a shame what happened in India, but still I think we can continue to fight and, like you said, the car is really quick now. We have a good qualifying pace. We were both in Q3 in India and then, also in the race, we are normally quite quick as well so hopefully we can finish in the points and be in front of Sauber by the end of the weekend. Then for the last race we will see what we can do.

Q:
The problem in India, does that have consequences for the rest of the year? Are you going to have to use a ninth engine perhaps?

Sebastien Buemi:
No, we were not planning to use this engine anymore so it is not going to be a problem at all.

Q:
And your thoughts about the future, for next year?

Sebastien Buemi:
I don't think too much about it right now. Let's say I try to get the maximum out of myself and the car in the remaining two races and then we will have enough time to speak about next year. I believe we have got to be concentrated. We have a good chance to achieve a very good result for the team so I think it is really important to dedicate ourselves completely to this before thinking about anything else.

Q:
Vitaly, we remember you last year with your red shadow. Would it have been very different with DRS?

Vitaly Petrov:
Definitely, and with new Pirelli tyres.

Q:
It would have been very different, would it?

Vitaly Petrov:
I think we need to forget already what's happened last year here. I know I did a good race by myself to improve and to show the team I could stay for next year. It was not to use tactics for Fernando (Alonso), and with the lack of overtaking here he couldn't do anything.

Q:
There have been a few changes in the team this year; is that something that affects you most recently?

Vitaly Petrov:
I don't think anything changes for me. I think it will be better for the team. It's like football; when a new coach joins a team, what he does first of all is look at the team and watches where the players are playing. Then he puts the people in the right places, where they should be playing. Then teams become more competitive and play stronger. This is actually what we try to do inside the team. The team principal tries to change some people, to move them around and try to profit from this.

Q:
What's the situation for next year, your future?

Vitaly Petrov:
For me, everything is clear. I have a contract for next year, I don't need to be worried, so I just try to do my job, try to gather a lot of information for next year for us in these last two races. I and the team are fully concentrated on the team for next year also so I'm quite clear.


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