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Brazilian GP - Friday press conference - Pt.1

23 November 2012

Team representatives: Eric Boullier (Lotus), Monisha Kaltenborn (Sauber), Ross Brawn (Mercedes), Stefano Domenicali (Ferrari), Christian Horner (Red Bull Racing) and Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren).



Press conference

Q:
Eric, first of all great news from you yesterday on the Burn sponsorship. Can you tell us a little more about it? Is it a title sponsorship? How big is it?

Eric Boullier:
I'm not going to release any more information; we have a marketing and communication plan about the endorsement and so you will know later a little bit more detail about this deal.

Q:
Is it big enough to make a big difference to your budget for next year? Does that mean you can spend more on development? You know what it takes now.

Eric Boullier:
Whatever it is, it's always welcome. It's obviously more budget for next year and the next years, and it's going to be good to have this brand on the car, obviously, and all the activations that go on around; also promotion for the team and Formula One.

Q:
Can you be a top contender for next year then?

Eric Boullier:
Ah, I don't know yet to be honest. There is some stability in the regulations so it's going to be up to every team to deliver a good car for next year. I cannot see any reason why we would lose some ground, I just hope that yes, we will be better. I know Kimi will be on top form from race one, so that will be a big change for us as well.

Q:
Monisha, today you announced Esteban Gutiérrez as your… number two driver I guess. How important was it to maintain the Mexican connection?

Monisha Kaltenborn:
Well, it's always good if you have stability but I think you have to also see clearly that these are two different issues. Just because Esteban is from Mexico it's not the same situation as we had with Sergio because unlike Sergio, Esteban is not a member of the Escudería Telmex. Of course there's a natural connection there because Telmex has this bigger vision of establishing motor sport in Mexico and Latin America, but it's a different situation. But it's important for the team's stability to continue with the partners.

Q:
Both your drivers are very popular but sadly it seemed that worked against Kamui, is that the case?

Monisha Kaltenborn:
I won't say it worked against him. To take up a new driver is always a strategic decision where many factors play a role. Kamui has been with us for the last three years. He's a very good driver, he is an excellent team player and actually a very fine human being so it's tough to take such a decision. I think if a driver deserves to be in Formula One he's definitely one of them and I hope he can get support from Japanese companies – because Japan is an important market for Formula One – and stay in the sport.

Q:
Ross, obviously we're losing double DRS next year. Is that going to be a big change for you for next year's car?

Ross Brawn:
Not a huge change. Obviously as a facility it's only of benefit when the DRS is being used and next year there's also a move to DRS only being used in small areas during practice and qualifying, so there's a general move away from it anyway. It's always helpful, it would be foolish to say it's not been an advantage, but we've got other solutions in place for next year.

Q:
Change in the financial structure in that Mercedes have brought back a shareholding from Aabar. How much is that changing for you? How much does that mean things change for you?

Ross Brawn:
No change for the team, quite frankly. I think it's part of a bigger disinvestment Aabar are making in the Daimler group and it wasn't logical for the Formula One team to stand out separately. So part of an overall strategy from Aabar. I think it demonstrates the commitment of Daimler to F1. So for our team it makes very little difference, but it gives us reassurance and confirmation of Daimler's commitment to F1.

Q:
For Stefano and Christian, basically similar questions. Stefano, first of all, preparations so far: has everything gone according to plan? I'm sure you had a strategy worked out, a plan worked out for this weekend.

Stefano Domenicali:
First of all, last weekend was the birthday of Christian and this weekend is the birthday of Ross, so happy birthday Ross. We have to keep the tradition of that. We have done the job we were supposed to do today. We know that this weekend for us is a challenging weekend. We have to do the maximum on our side and that will not be enough if we want to win the Drivers' Championship. We need to go in the race, as I said, trying to be perfect on our side and then seeing what's going to happen. But that's the only thing we can do and we will do.

Q:
What's the mood like within the team?

Stefano Domenicali:
The mood is that we have nothing to lose, because we are already behind. We need to go there with a rational approach, as I said, to try to be there, if some situation will arise, we need to be prepared to take them. This is really the spirit that is around the team at the moment.

Q:
And the weather forecast doesn't look very good. Does that work for you or against you?

Stefano Domenicali:
I'll tell you later. Before, it's always difficult. It can be good in terms of mixing the cars but it depends on how intense the rain is, when it will come. It is another thing on the table that has to be used in the best way we can.

Q:
Christian, similar for you: preparations so far, how have they gone.

Christian Horner:
It's been a pretty normal Friday really. Track temperature has been very high today, so I'm sure that's been a challenge to some degree to each of the teams, but it's been a sensible Friday. We've worked through our programme with both cars and plenty of information to look at tonight. How relevant that will be, as Stefano has alluded to, with the rest of the weekend, we'll only see when we get up in the morning and particularly on Sunday morning. It's been very much a normal Friday for us.

Q:
And the mood within the team?

Christian Horner:
Fantastic. I mean, obviously, just having sealed a third consecutive Constructors' World Championship the mood in the team has never been as high. It's extremely focused; we're approaching this race just as we have the other 19 and you know for us it's a question of trying to extract the most out of ourselves, out of the cars, out of the drivers this weekend and we'll see where we are at the end of it. But certainly our approach to this race isn't any different to any of the previous 19.

Q:
And is the rain, is it a variable you could do without?

Christian Horner:
At the end of the day it's the same for everybody so whoever wins this championship is going to have to have mastered different conditions, different circuits, different challenges and we could well get another factor on Sunday. We take absolutely nothing for granted despite the fact we're coming here with a 13-point advantage. We know from our own experience how quickly that can change. We saw that in 2010 in Abu Dhabi when I think we were actually more than 13 points behind going into the race. So our focus is very much, as I say, going into this race to try and get the most out of it we can and when the chequered flag falls we'll know where we are.

Q:
Martin, a great race last weekend for Lewis Hamilton. A great win for Jenson Button at the start of the season. You had the fastest car at the start and the end, but is it a source of frustration that you're not involved in the title battle.

Martin Whitmarsh:
Of course. I think we've had six great wins this year and we haven't done a good enough job for the rest of the season one way and another and that's a little bit frustrating, but at the moment we're in a position where with one race to go we're going to focus. These guys have got some pressures on their shoulders and we're going to try and win the race. In one sense it makes it simple for us this weekend.

Q:
How much does that affect your preparations for next year, knowing what you've had from this?

Martin Whitmarsh:
I think there's no secrets: to be consistently winning you've got to have a quick car, you've got to have reliability. We've often had a quickish car this season, we've had a number of errors, a number of issues, which are disappointing, but we know we've got to work on that and we'll aim to come out next year with a quick car and hopefully be reliable and be there at the last race.


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