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German GP – Friday press conference – Pt.2

20 July 2012

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Edd Straw - Autosport)
Franz, we understand that Giorgio Ascanelli is out of the team or should we say on his way out of the team, and is certainly no longer in active service. Can you confirm exactly what his status is and what the reasons are behind this move, please?

Franz Tost:
I can only tell you that Giorgio Ascanelli is on holiday and there's confidentiality between the two parties. That's all that I can say to this.

Q: (Edd Straw - Autosport)
Can you just, in general terms, make any comment as to whether it's sensible to let your technical director be on holiday during a Grand Prix? Obviously we can read into this the fact that there is something clearly going on.

Franz Tost:
Sorry. I've said everything.

Q: (Sonya Kreye - Speed News)
Norbert, the season is wide open - this is a more general question - is this for you more enjoyable or does it put stress on you?

Norbert Haug:
Well, I would say it's positive pressure and you grade your pressure inside the team. None of the guys you see here on the podium doesn't like to be in the best possible position, and the best possible position is ultimately P1, but you need to work very hard. This is a very very competitive environment. We've seen very very good races this year. We've seen surprising results. We saw guys winning who nobody probably thought would win, so it's very good for the spectator. I think we have seven or eight teams that are in a position to clinch podium positions and as far as I can remember, that was never the case in Formula One. All the teams of course want to finally dominate. This is the plan but first of all you have to score points, then podiums then race wins, and it's a very very good mixture for the spectator this year and yes, it is demanding but I think we all do what our destiny is, what we want to do and we are not forced to do this but we enjoy it; not every second, not if you have bad results, if you do not achieve what you wanted to achieve, but this is part of the game. Even more, you can enjoy the good part of it if you really got on the podium, if you get a race win, if you get a feeling like China, with Nico, that's fantastic. I'm sure Peter can describe his feelings from Malaysia, fighting for victory which was a deserved result and a very positive surprise.

Q: (Dieter Rencken - The Citizen)
To the four team principals: during the Silverstone weekend, an article was published in The Daily Mail in London in which Mr Ecclestone was quoted that commercially the Concorde Agreement was all agreed, saying that the commercial terms for the replacement of the present Concorde had been agreed with everybody. Could you four team principals confirm that you have actually signed a document with Mr Ecclestone, which forms part of the replacement for the 2013 Concorde?

Franz Tost:
Toro Rosso signed a Concorde agreement.

Norbert Haug:
I'm not one of the four.

Peter Sauber:
I think... we have an agreement with Bernie, yes. We have signed an agreement with Bernie.

John Booth:
We haven't signed an agreement.

Q: (Dieter Rencken - The Citizen)
Mr Haug, you may not be a team principal but you are here as a Mercedes Benz representative. To the best of your knowledge has Mercedes signed a document with Bernie.

Norbert Haug:
Well, I can only tell you that we are in constructive discussion still, so that implies that we didn't sign yet.

Q: (Matt Coch - pitpass.com)
In terms of younger drivers coming up, how actively do you look at the supporting categories and the feeder series and how much interest do you take and how active a part do you play?

Franz Tost:
From my side, I only look at Formula Three races, Formula Renault races, the two litre and 3.5 litre, GP3 and GP2 of course and to get an overview of skilled drivers, because, as you know, Toro Rosso is a team which is responsible to Red Bull to provide good, young, skilled drivers.

Norbert Haug:
Well, I'm looking at it, traditionally, as much as I have time. I'm following it as well as I can, if I'm not busy.

Peter Sauber:
With Esteban Gutierriez we have a test and spare driver in the GP2 series, but for us, it is not possible to support some drivers and some teams in this series.

Mark Smith:
As a team we are obviously involved in the formulae and look closely at potential young drivers. As an individual, I have limited time to do that.

John Booth:
Yes, we are actively involved in GP3 and GP2 and in fact we gave our GP2 drivers a run out at Silverstone last week in the young drivers' test, so we watch all categories but particularly GP2 and GP3.

Q: (Gary Meenaghan - The National)
Following on from the young driver testing, I was wondering if the other four guys could talk about where they're planning their young driver test this year. I understand Mercedes is considering running in France. Is that correct?

Norbert Haug:
No. It's probably not finally decided.

Peter Sauber:
We will test in Abu Dhabi, I think so. I hope we can do the test there with three different drivers and with Esteban Gutierrez of course.

Franz Tost:
As it looks now, we will also drive in Abu Dhabi, but it's not 100 percent decided with which drivers we are running there.

John Booth:
We had a look at the calendar at the end of the year and Abu Dhabi would have meant that the mechanics were working or travelling for five consecutive weeks and five weeks away from home. We didn't feel that we had the necessary manpower or human resource or parts for the car to conduct that kind of the test, so we opted to use Silverstone last week.

Mark Smith:
We plan to be in Abu Dhabi.

Q: (Edd Straw - Autosport)
Franz, this season has been a little bit disappointing for Toro Rosso. Could you just give an overview of what you think has gone wrong with the team, and where you can maybe improve to get the kind of results that you would expect?

Franz Tost:
The season's not over yet. So far we started the season quite well. We scored points at the beginning and then we struggled a little bit. For example, in Monaco, Jean-Eric Vergne was in seventh place ten laps from the end but then it started to rain a little bit and di Resta and some others passed him. In Valencia, Daniel had a good chance to score points but then he had a crash with Petrov. I think that we will come up with some new upgrades for the next races and I hope that it's wet tomorrow here and on Sunday because it looks as if the car and the drivers together are quite competitive in the wet. And I'm quite positive and optimistic for the second half of the season.

Q: (Stefan Skolik - Mannheimer Morgen)
Can you comment on Michael's accident at the end of practice, Mr Haug?

Norbert Haug:
He just lost it. He was on the radio and he said 'not fully concentrated.' Things like that just happen, it's not an ideal situation but we can recover, I'm sure.

Q: (Vanessa Ruiz - ESPN Radio)
Norbert and Peter mainly; we're now reaching the middle of the season; how do you see the development? Do you believe that we already have the top three teams in a situation where it will be difficult for the others to catch up? Or do you understand that it's still open as many people say, in terms of winning races?

Peter Sauber:
I think it's still open. It's not so easy for us. Maybe it's easier for Norbert, I don't know.

Norbert Haug:
I think it's still open, and if you look, there were possibilities. I think Peter can tell some stories and has some memories of that. I have some where we didn't score the points which were possible. Probably other people as well. But I would not say that there is a big gap at the moment. You really need to get your act together, get the set-up right and then, as I said before, we can have quite a few cars that are very competitive and I can see the situation not changing in the short term.

Q: (Dieter Rencken - The Citizen)
Talking about the young driver test - and here I'm talking generally, not a specific, this year situation - but if we have a look at some teams testing at Silverstone, some at Abu Dhabi, I believe that some are going to Magny Cours after Monza, others are looking at Jerez in early December; is it impossible for 12 teams to actually agree on three days out of 365 to go testing?

Franz Tost:
We were discussing this for a long time and as John just mentioned before, one of the main arguments against Abu Dhabi for some teams was that the mechanics would have been out for five weeks and then we decided, OK, to split the test with Silverstone, because teams which are situated in England wanted to do the test at Silverstone and OK, now a third race track, Magny Cours, has come into the plan and normally we should say OK, let's do the test altogether, three days at the end of the season, but you know we are in a democratic world and therefore it was decided to split it.


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