Press conference.

Q:
A question to you all starting off with your feelings about your preparations so far. How do you think testing has gone? How do you feel coming into this race? Pastor, your debut about to take place in a couple of days time, how are your preparations before your first grand prix?

Pastor Maldonado:
For sure it was so great especially the pre-season. My first time with the team, working hard, looking forward to the first race especially. It was not so easy, but it was quite tough, quite difficult to adapt myself to a new team, new cars, everything, new rules but I really feel ready to do the race and start the championship.

Q:
Narain, bit of a difficult question for you really.

Narain Karthikeyan:
Yeah, we had some mileage in the old car but the new car, we will have to see how it goes tomorrow as it will be the first time. An uphill task but I will go with the flow and see what happens.

Q:
Has it been difficult coming back into F1 for you?

NK:
Yeah, things have changed a lot. The old car wasn't so bad so I will perhaps adapt quickly and that's the plan. I have a good team-mate in Tonio Liuzzi so I think it is easy to benchmark and see where I am.

Q:
Mark, the car seems to have been quick and very reliable so far.

Mark Webber:
Yeah we have had a pretty smooth winter. It is always easy to have niggles and little problems with it being a completely new concept, new regulations as well so the team have done a good job to get on top of those to a degree. There are always niggles here and there but in general a pretty smooth winter. Both myself and the team put a lot of effort in, also Seb (Vettel) to make the most of the limited testing days that we have. We couldn't quite achieve the mileage Ferrari did. They did a good job in terms of mileage but in general it went pretty well for us getting an understanding of the new regs. Bit of rain here and there in the testing but generally it was a good winter for us and we will find out in the next few weeks where we are performance wise so the first three races will be interesting.

Q:
Kamui, Sauber had a lot of red flags, more than anybody else. Thirteen red flags during testing. That was not a record I expect you wanted, but also the car was quick in Sergio Perez's hands in the last test.

Kamui Kobayashi:
Yeah I think the car's performance overall was quite okay. In the beginning we had quite a lot of car issues but I think winter testing was going quite well as we had a lot of problems. Last year we didn't have any problems in the winter tests but then we had trouble during the season. I think it was a good sign. I hope. All the testing went quite well especially the last Barcelona test so I think we are looking quite well. Not fighting for the top, just scoring points like last year. I think that was enough for us. We have a new team-mate which is working quite well, I am very happy. Very difficult situation with tyres but I think we still improve a lot.

Q:
Fernando, your preparations. More mileage than any other team.

Fernando Alonso:
Yeah, it was okay for us. Winter has been smooth for us as well with not particularly big problems, always new challenge when the regulations change so you need to adapt your car to the new regulations. There are many things to test and many things to learn about the new things but I think we did enough mileage to understand more or less everything that we introduced this year. Finally we are racing, as from the last race of last year it has been a lot of months. Also the extra 15 days with Bahrain cancellation it was not the best thing so finally we are racing again and we are very happy to be here.

Q:
Another question to you all. Your expectations this year. Fernando, The President has set the bar pretty high for Ferrari hasn't he.

FA:
Well I think if you race for Ferrari there is no other goal than fighting for the World Championship. I think that is the history of Ferrari, the power of Ferrari as well and I think this team and this history around us is about passion, about motor racing and about winning so that is our aim, that is our goal for the 2011 campaign, trying to fight for the World Championship. At the end you can win, you can lose. It depends how competitive you are. It depends on many other factors as well, but we need to be there and I am sure we will be until the last moment.

Q:
Kamui, you are leading the team with a newcomer so it is a lot of responsibility on your shoulders as you come into this season. What are your aims?

KK:
I think it is a really different situation for myself. I have a lot of responsibility, but I think this is the way we have to be. Okay, we have a lot of pressure, second year at Sauber, a very difficult winter because we have a lot of trouble. Finally we found quite good pace so I am very happy and now we start to race. The aim is is to score points. Still we know we are not a top team. If we can score points, that is a good goal for us.

Q:
Do you think you can be the best of the midfield teams?

KK:
Yeah, we must try. We are quite confident so we will see.

Q:
Mark?

MW:
We are just a drinks company but in the end we had a pretty good season last year so hopefully we can build on what we did last year. We have some sensational rivals, like Fernando touched on. The red guys are a phenomenal team, phenomenal history and that's what gives us great rewards to come out and compete against those guys. The team again has a high bar set in terms of looking for championships. Both of them would be nice but again as we saw last year if we go to the end it can go either way. That is the goal for the team.

Q:
Narain?

NK:
The car was designed very late and we have some clever people in the team, Geoff Willis is the main man behind the new design of the car, so as the season progresses and when updates come we should be in a reasonable position. It is easy to sit here and say we want to be the best of the new teams but Lotus has made a big step forward. Anyway we will go with the flow and it is an important year for me with the Indian Grand Prix. As you know motorsports in India is going to grow a lot. I am looking forward to it. Hopefully we will have a reasonable year.

Q:
Pastor, your first grand prix season. What are you looking for?

PM:
To finish the race first of all. To get the maximum out of the car and, for sure, to be in the points. I think we have all the potential to be there and to improve race-by-race during the season. I am quite confident even because my team-mate is so experienced, so quick so I think we can improve together during the championship.

Q:
Finally, to all of you, your thoughts on this race itself. Pastor, have you had a look around the circuit? What have you seen so far?

PM:
It is great, fantastic circuit. I love Melbourne. I think I will enjoy my weekend here.

Q:
Have you done any laps on the simulator or whatever?

PM:
Yeah, sure.

Q:
You know it pretty well already?

PM:
Yeah, I am ready.

Q:
Narain, you were here before of course?

NK:
Yeah, been here before. Good memories, I like the track and hopefully we finish the race. First qualify and then finish the race, we will see.

Q:
You qualified 12th in 2005. That is going to be difficult to beat?

NK:
Yeah, I think for sure it is going to be hard. The Bridgestones that year were working well and it was wet and damp and everything so we got in a lap. This year will be difficult for sure.

Q:
Mark, always massive expectations.

MW:
Yeah, well I'm lucky to have a home race. We have several drivers on the grid who have a home race. It is always a good atmosphere whether it is in Brazil or Spain or the UK with Jenson (Button) and Lewis (Hamilton). Happy to be here. It's always a good event in terms of the race, it is always a little unpredictable, always a few safety cars here and there so looking forward to it.

Q:
Front row last year but that fifth place still remains the best finishing position.

MW:
Yeah, I'll try and improve.

Q:
Extraordinary enough your team-mate hasn't seen the chequered flag here

MW:
Yeah well sometimes it is just tracks isn't there. I think Rubens (Barrichello's) record in Brazil is pretty tough. Some tracks are just like that for drivers so hopefully we have a clean weekend and get a result here.

Q:
Kamui, you can improve on last year?

KK:
I think so. Last year I didn't have much mileage as I had front wing failure after just five corners. This year I hope we can find the chequered flag. I know the track very well, I love this track, it's a really nice track so let's see. But with new Pirelli tyre compound I don't know how it's goes as it is a different tarmac. it is going to be very tough but I think it is a very exciting place here.

Q:
Fernando, a win here and a second place and never any retirements in nine races. That has got to be a pretty good record.

FA:
Yeah, I love the place. I love Melbourne, but not only the track. I think the atmosphere around the grand prix is fantastic. All the people here enjoy the whole weekend, not only the race as there are more events around the race on Sunday. They enjoy from Friday onwards and we do as well. Obviously, first race of the championship is always very exciting, always some strange races with retirements, with safety car as Mark said. Sometimes it is a race to survive in a way, the first race of the championship. We will try to do our best, hopefully score some points and start the season in a good way and in a very good atmosphere.

 

Comments

Loading Comments...