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Malaysian GP - Friday press conference - Pt.1

23 March 2012

Team Representatives: Riad Asmat (Caterham), Monisha Kaltenborn (Sauber), Gerard Lopez (Lotus), Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren), Stefano Domenicali (Ferrari), Christian Horner (Red Bull).

Press conference

Q:
Riad, if I can start with you, just a quick question about Melbourne to here. I think you were perhaps a bit disappointed with the performance in Melbourne - are things going to be better this weekend?

Riad Asmat:
We're hoping so, we found reasons why we were disappointed in Melbourne but obviously that's been sorted. Obviously I still want to second or two definitely, but I think for sure we'll show some good pace for this weekend. We're prepared for tomorrow and we'll see where we go from there.

Q:
Does that mean Q2?

Riad Asmat:
We always try, because my head is on the block.

Q:
Monisha, first of all the result in Melbourne was what you should have had a year ago I guess. It that the feeling?

Monisha Kaltenborn:
No, we don't want to think about a year ago actually. Indeed we have this time a very good start to the racing season. Our drivers showed an excellent performance during the race, we weren't that happy with qualifying but we're glad that overall we could get confirmation on the potential of the C31 and that it's a good basis for developing further, which will be key this year.

Q:
Gerard, you have obviously hired Kimi Räikkönen. When he was perhaps going to Williams, allegedly he was asking for a share in the team. Does he have a share in the team at Lotus? Did he ask for a share of the team?

Gerard Lopez:
No he didn't and no he doesn't. It's that clear. I don't know where that came from. It probably came from his previous negotiations but we would not hire anybody, a driver, by selling shares of the team, that's kind of a nonsense thing.

Q:
You wouldn't want to give a shareholding to a…

Gerard Lopez:
No, I mean he's a driver, and that's it, so you pay him as a driver. You don't make him a co-owner of the team, that's kind of an odd way of dealing with drivers. It would be for us in any case.

Q:
Martin, I mentioned this yesterday to Jenson, it was interesting in the preview to the race Lewis talked about how Jenson had the ability to light up the tyres in Melbourne at the start of the race when he pulled away and also after the safety car. Is that something you've noticed? Is that something that's been manifesting itself in testing?

Martin Whitmarsh:
I don't think we've noticed it as a particularly significant phenomena. Clearly it depends where you are with tyre heating but I think in that race both drivers were able to get the tyres going pretty quickly. They're very different conditions from here, obviously. It was pretty good for both of them, I think.

Q:
So that's not going to be something that's an issue?

Martin Whitmarsh:
Well I think circumstance here is quite a lot different - I think it's pretty easy to over-heat the tyres here.

Q:
Stefano, give us an update today. Have things changed, has anything changed in comparison to Melbourne?

Stefano Domenicali:
I don't think so, to be honest with you. In one week I think it is important at least as we already said we have identified issues on the car and we are working at home to solve it. At the moment we need to maximise what we're doing on the track and that's it.

Q:
So we don't expect anything different?

Stefano Domenicali:
I don't know. In the race everything can happen, so we need to be focussed then. And of course with no magic stick you can't do anything.

Q:
Christian, it's a measure of the team's success last year that we expect you to be at the front all the time. Not today necessarily, and well, you were very close in Melbourne. What about today? Tell us about the results today.

Christian Horner:
Well firstly Melbourne was an exciting race and congratulations to McLaren who put on a great show there. We did our best to try to get amongst it but Jenson drove an excellent race. The McLarens again looked very strong today, I think Mercedes were also looking quick, and it's a tighter field this year. I think the midfield has bunched up as well. We've worked through a programme today. Obviously with the limitation in testing there is, both drivers have worked through different programmes, had a look at the two tyre compounds and tried to do our preparation for the race on Sunday. All the forecasts say it's going to be dry for the rest of the weekend. Occasionally you look up and you think there's a big thundershower coming.

Q:
Now, a question for you all but starting with Stefano. Obviously the story of the last few days has been the possible flotation of F1 and I guess you've had a look at a draft, I guess you've all seen a draft and you know something about it. What are your views on it, looking at F1 as a whole but also your own particular teams? How is it going to benefit your own particular teams and F1? How is it going to affect your own particular teams?

Stefano Domenicali:
First of all I mean nothing to comment on what are the speculations coming out because you never know what is the reality at the end. What I can see is that there are ongoing discussions that are, as I said, ongoing, going ahead. At the moment the situation seems to be reasonable but nothing more than what I'm seeing now.

Q:
Christian…

Christian Horner:
What are we speculating on? You didn't say…

Q:
The floatation of F1.

Christian Horner:
Oh, floatation. I though you said flirtation… at the end of the day it's not down to us, it's down to the shareholders, it's down to CVC and Bernie. It's their business at the end of the day, not the teams.

Q:
Will you benefit, you as a team, would it benefit F1?

Christian Horner:
Possibly, possibly. We're not involved in the detail. I heard that there is potential discussion and it's an interesting concept.

Q:
Martin…

Martin Whitmarsh:
I don't think it will benefit us as a team. I don't think, but again I have no detail of proposals anyway. But generally floatations and change of ownership aren't done for the benefit of a sport. I think what us as race teams need to concentrate on is putting a show on here and clearly the owners can decide what they do with the asset.

Q:
Gerard, your thoughts on that?

Gerard Lopez:
As I said, there are no details out there and floatation can mean many things. If you take to the market a minority share it doesn't change anything in ownership, it gives more liquidity to the owners, maybe more money to the sport, so as long as there are no details on what might by IPO'd or not, I don't think there is much to be discussed because it can mean many, many things to many people. It really depends on what you're going to take to the market.

Monisha Kaltenborn:
On the flotation itself, we also do not know more, so anything I guess we'd say is mere speculation. As a team, what's important to us is that whoever owns F1 should prepare the sport to face the challenges, which we all will be (facing), and to create parameters whereby running a team can be sustainable for everyone here.

Riad Asmat:
Mere speculation I guess. On my side, we focus on what we do best and what we're doing right now, and if anything comes along, we'll review it and see what's beneficial.


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