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Japanese GP - Friday press conference - Pt.1

5 October 2012


Team representatives: John Booth (Marussia), Monisha Kaltenborn (Sauber), Kim Spearman (Cosworth), Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren), Stefano Domenicali (Ferrari) and Ross Brawn (Mercedes).



Press conference


Q:
John, the excellent result from Singapore means the team is currently 10th in the Constructors' Championship? What does that mean to a team, its people and what does in mean in terms of finance as well?

John Booth:
As far as the finance is concerned it's a little unclear at the moment as the Concorde expires at the end of the year so we don't really know where we are with that at the moment. But certainly it was a great lift for the whole team. There are only 12 places there and 10th place takes some earning. These Formula One cars just don't break down anymore. You have to earn every position. We had a small celebration afterwards, as you do, but we do realise that we still have a mountain to climb. It's a small step. It's the right direction but it's not where we want to be; we want to be a bit further.

Q:
You've recently announced Max Chilton as your third or reserve driver. What are your plans for him and what are your plans for Charles Pic, who has done a good job for the team this year?

John Booth:
We're in discussions with Charles. He's done an outstanding job, as you say. He's had a wonderful rookie year. We're in talks with his management and we'd love to keep him for 2013. He's done a great job, particularly in getting quite close to Timo in race situations; I think he's done a really good job there. Max is part of our young driver programme and has been for a couple of years. He's part of the natural progression and maybe we'll give him a Friday morning before the end of the year.

Q:
Monisha, first of all, you've lost Sergio but is Esteban Gutierrez almost an instant replacement for him?

Monisha Kaltenborn:
Well, as we've been saying before, we will announce our driver line-up for next year in due course and we're not in a hurry in doing that.

Stefano Domenicali:
We will do the same!

Monisha Kaltenborn:
We still have to sort things out. Regarding Esteban, he's been with the team a long time, and this goes back to Formula BMW times, and whatever we do with him, and he's been our reserve and test driver for the past two years, is something totally independent from Sergio's leaving and we don't really want to mix them together. We'll announce whatever we have to in due course.

Q:
In terms of performances over the last few races, they've been a bit up and down but there have been some very promising performances as well. Is there a certain frustration within the team that those performances haven't led to the results they should have?

Monisha Kaltenborn:
Of course there is, because we have been seeing that the car is a very competitive car and when you don't get the results you expect because of situations which you have no chance to change, you're just in there without any fault of your own, it is a bit frustrating but more important is that we still continue to believe in this car, which is also the basis for next year's car. So we just take it race by race and we hope it will turn out better next time.

Q:
Kim, can you tell us where Cosworth is at the moment, in terms of 2012 and 2013?

Kim Spearman:
For 2012, obviously we turn our attention to the next six races and helping out teams to do the best they can. Trying to consolidate John's team's situation in 10th place in the Constructors' (Championship). As you've probably read they've re-signed and partnered with us for 2013 when they'll use a KERS-enabled package, which we hope will bring yet another step up in pace for them. We're very excited about that. And we're still in negotiation with HRT.

Q:
And in terms of 2014, new engine; what are the plans?

Kim Spearman:
Love to do it. If we can find a commercially sustainable way to provide a competitive platform for some potential customers, we'd like to do that. We are in useful negotiations with customers and hopefully we'll find a way to be in. We've been in business for 54 years, much of it in Formula One. We've got passionate people back at Cosworth who want to stay in Formula One and we'd like to get there.

Q:
Has anything started on paper?

Kim Spearman:
Oh yes. We've been working on the engine for 18 months.

Q:
Martin, very interesting, your driver line-up for next year; they're two drivers who are known to be very easy on tyres. What effect will that have on the team and the car?

Martin Whitmarsh:
I don't think it will have a distinct effect. I just think we will be working hard to make the car as quick as we can and of course as kind to the tyres as we can. It's not easy but obviously if you have a well-balanced car with plenty of downforce then typically they're kinder on the tyres but I don't think the drive line-up will influence that, we'll be doing the best job we can in that regard.

Q:
Drivers always say they're always learning. Where is Sergio Pérez on that learning curve, in comparison with Lewis Hamilton?

Martin Whitmarsh:
In fact, Sergio's about the same age now as Lewis was when he started in Formula One, so he's some way further down the learning curve, which of course makes it intriguing and exciting to see what we can do and how he can develop. So I think it's going to be a very interesting spring as we work together, and of course the goal is to have him in a condition where he can go into that first race with the potential to win it.

Q:
Do you think it weakens the team at all in comparison with the current situation?

Martin Whitmarsh:
Well, I think the current driver line-up is a very strong driver line-up and we'll see next year just how strong Sergio can be and we'll whether it's weakened us or not. But I think whatever happens, we've got a super experienced guy in Jenson and we've got an exciting, fresh young talent in Sergio so we're looking forward to it.

Q:
Stefano, you've already denied that you're going to tell us who you're drivers are going to be next year, so a very easy question for you: do you know who's going to drive for you next year?

Stefano Domenicali:
I should.

Q:
You should know? Do you?

Stefano Domenicali:
I think to go ahead with this kind of speculation I don't think it's so relevant or interesting. As we said: very soon we will tell you what is the situation and up until the moment I have news on that I will stay quiet. Also because I would start to be very boring in giving the same answer to the same question.

Q:
In terms of the wind tunnel, interesting news there. What can be done to the wind tunnel in the short term? Is there a problem with it, do you think? What is the problem with the wind tunnel at the moment?

Stefano Domenicali:
I think for sure our structure is not the best one in that respect, it is quite old, so as always – and I think it's happened to all of us – for sure in different situations, we're trying to improve the quality of the tools that we have. And this is something that we are trying to do mainly to improve the correlation issue that we had and this is the plan: that we should be able to do in the next season.

Q:
So, when will it be open again?

Stefano Domenicali:
First of all it's still open and we're working in our wind tunnel. As you know we are using another facility and in the next couple of weeks we will define what is the problem to be more specific than that, in order to see what's really the time we have to spend by shutting it down and trying to improve the things that are not at the maximum level at the moment.

Q:
Ross, obviously new driver, what sort of promises did you make to him? Obviously all drivers want a winning car, what sort of promises did you have to make in terms of your team, the team which will be building next year's car?

Ross Brawn:
I'm not sure you'd describe them as promises but we set out the path that the team is on, what we're trying to do, the people we have in place to try and achieve that, the facilities we've built up over the last couple of years and, as you do with any driver, you present that vision and the objectives you have for the next few years and that's what we did.

Q:
What sort of pressure are you under from a driver like Lewis, but also from the board as well?

Ross Brawn:
I think all of us here are under substantial pressure but a lot of it is pressure you generate yourself because you want to take part in a very competitive sport. I think none of us have handcuffs holding us to this business, we do it because we enjoy it and it's our ambition to succeed in this business, so there is pressure at every level. There's pressure at John's [Booth] level, he's trying to achieve tenth place, a massive task; we're trying to go forward. Most of that pressure for me personally is the pressure from within, not the pressure from a driver or the pressure from a board.


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