Questions from the floor.

Q: (Matthew Cochinos - PitPass).
Fernando and Mark. The change in tyres this year is going to change the strategy of the race. How do you see that panning out given that we don't necessarily understand the way the race is going to shape up like we have previously?

Mark Webber:
Well there is a lot of questions for us to answer this weekend. We have done mileage in the tyres in the winter. They have given us a rough idea of what we should expect, but we need to go racing to see how best to adapt that within a grand prix race. We have got a pretty good idea what the tyres are going to do for us, but how do we integrate that into a grand prix with pit-stops, strategy, things like that. There are some things which are not going to be a surprise probably and that is going to be the tyre performance, but it is how we are going to skin the cat in the grand prix in terms of where you elect to pit, how you are going to tackle the grand prix in terms of the strategic side. Those are going to be the things that need answering and then I suppose a trend will start from this race and in subsequent events after this we will get a trend on how grand's prix will unfold in a dry situation.

Fernando Alonso:
Same. I think there are many things to learn this weekend. We've just tested with these tyres. For sure there is a new way of doing the races in terms of strategy, so let's say that a new F1 is starting here in Melbourne in terms of the strategy point of view, but we need to learn from here and keep all the new things for the coming races but this is like a new one and we need to be very focused, very concentrated on the strategy because I think it can play a big part of the race result. On the other hand, maybe qualifying on Saturday has a little bit less value compared to last year, because on Sunday there will be more things to come, more factors on the track.

Q: (Livio Orricchio - O Estado do Sao Paulo).
About the tyres again, the weather forecast predicts maybe rain until Saturday and then sun on Sunday. In the winter tests, the maximum asphalt temperature was 27 as far as I remember. Maybe you face a situation of 40 degrees of asphalt for the first time here in race conditions; how will you face it?

MW:
I don't know if the track will be forty on Sunday, but I don't think there will be too many surprises on Sunday in terms of tyre behaviour. We have a very reasonable idea of what's going to happen, give or take a little bit. But maybe at Sepang we need to get a little bit more interested in track temperatures but here, it looks pretty sensible.

Q: (Phil Brannigan - Motor Sport News, Australia).
For Mark and Fernando, there's been a lot of talk about the new regulations this year and in particular the rear wing. Do you expect that, as senior drivers, you will have some sort of dialogue as the races unwind about how that's going to be implemented in future races?

FA:
I think everyone will have a different opinion. In my case, I don't think there is any particular problem with the new rules so all the things we need to do on the steering wheel, they are part of our job. We are professional drivers and we need to understand between us and our team, to make the most comfortable way of using all the new things. If you have no time to do all the things on the steering wheel, you don't do it, it's not a mandatory thing to do. It will take time and I think that for us, we did a lot of mileage in the winter. I think I can say that for Felipe and me we can get used to the new things and it comes automatically the things that we need to do on the steering wheel, corner after corner, and I don't see any particular problem or anything to discuss in the near future.

MW:
I don't think it's too bad for racing. Obviously we have to see how the wing will go in terms of overtaking for the show. I'm a little bit surprised that we have everything at our disposal for qualifying because it doesn't really add to the show, it doesn't really add to overtaking because obviously it's not that type of session, so for us to have to get used to the overload, all that sort of stuff, it's just an added bit of tummy-tapping, head-rubbing, multi-tasking which is a fraction unnecessary for qualifying, maybe, but I think for the race we need to see how it's going to work because we're going to use it a lot less in the race. The rear wing is not going to be used anywhere near as much. You have to understand that in qualifying we're using it every single time we're at full throttle so it's pretty busy. I'm on for a challenge. Both Fernando and I have done Formula 3000 races round Monaco with a gear stick so we can drive with one hand, this is not the problem. It's just that I think that some corners, like Eau Rouge and some of these other places, if you have to loosen your grip or do something different with the steering wheel; it's not the way you would normally do things. I think Ayrton Senna hung onto the steering wheel with both hands, even in those type of corners, so you need to be reacting, getting ready for anything that might happen. So we will see. It's just that sometimes new things come along and you need to adapt. I'm not over the top with them, but that's the way it is, get on with it.

Q:
Can you envisage how many times you might use the rear wing during qualifying, in one lap?

MW:
Yeah, every straight.

Q:
(Tony Lopez- La Vanguardia) Question to Kamui and the other drivers if they want: do you think that the GPDA or the FIA or whatever should organise any action of solidarity with the Japanese people?

Kamui Kobayashi:
We definitely need help from the world in this situation. The situation in Japan is really bad. Anyway, the GPDA, the FIA or whatever, if they can help us we do really need help because the situation is so bad, so many people with no house, no food. The situation is not easy. But at the same time, New Zealand had an earthquake as we had three weeks ago as well, it was a big one. Two countries have a big problem, so I think that at this moment we have to think what we can do. We cannot do anything when an earthquake or a tsunami is coming. The people have to understand that it's not something we have done wrong, this is an earthquake which we cannot control - the tsunami as well. I think we need to help each other. I hope they can help us.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi - La Gazzetta dello Sport).
Fernando, could you already estimate how many laps you could do with the hard and soft tyres here? And how much is your feeling with these tyres?

FA:
I think the number of laps is impossible to predict right now but I don't think there is a big problem because it's the same tyres for everybody, so after qualifying or after tomorrow's practice we will try to understand a little bit better how the strategy can work on Sunday but I don't have any particular worries on that. The feeling with the tyres is OK, obviously. It's a new tyre, as I said before, compared to last year, a new way of approaching the weekend, a new way of approaching the strategies etc but it's something that we've been practising all winter and we will have more experience after race one now and it will be OK, and hopefully more fun for the spectators.

Q: (Yoris Fioriti - AFP).
I know you're going to tell me that we don't know the values of the teams now because we haven't had a race yet, but do you think that Michael Schumacher, Nico Rosberg, perhaps a Renault driver and their teams could be title contenders too, which means that we will have more than Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren as title contenders?

MW:
I think the Renault and Mercedes are fast, yeah, they're not hanging around. They've done a good job in the winter. Renault have always been there or thereabouts. Obviously we should also touch on the fact that it's a big shame this week that we don't have our very popular mate in Robert (Kubica) so we're going to miss him this weekend but I think they will be quick this year. They've got a very experienced team there at Enstone so it will be very interesting. Whether they can put a championship together obviously remains to be seen. Also Mercedes have had a good finish to winter testing and they're going to be winning some races for sure this year. They've showed good reliability so there's no reason why they couldn't challenge for the title along with McLaren and Ferrari.

FA:
Yeah, I agree. Now it's impossible to say what is the order or who is competitive and who isn't but before race one, on paper there are six teams, five teams able to win races and to fight for the championship. After three or four races you see much better that maybe only two or only three can really fight for the championship. I think the important thing for each team and for us especially is to do well and to be competitive in these three races and can be in that smaller group of two or three teams after three or four races, but at the moment everything is very open, I'm sure.

Q: (Jens Wolters - ARD Radio).
Mark, how was yesterday's barbecue and do you have a special recipe for this season?

MW:
Well, I'm pretty good on the barbecue, actually. I do it quite often. Unfortunately, living in the UK I don't get a big chance to get it out but I have a few Aussie mates round and we always have the barbie and it's second nature for me. My father taught me at a very young age how to handle the barbecue so it's easy. The recipe this year? A similar season to last year with a slightly different finish. That would obviously be a good season; build on what I did last year - obviously a lot of highlights for me - and go from there.

Q: (Matthew Cochinos - PitPass).
Narain, you've been out of F1 for a few years. You're coming back in with a car that you've not tested. What are your concerns for the pace of the car and is it likely that we'll see you on the grid come Sunday afternoon?

Narain Karthikeyan:
Yeah, of course that is a concern, but we believe the car is a good step forward with the Williams rear end and everything else so it should be a positive step, at least on paper but until you drive you never know. We will see what happens. I can go on and on and on, but only when we drive on the track will be know where we stand.

Q: (Yoris Fioriti - AFP).
Fernando, what do you expect of your teammate this year? Do you think you will still be driver number one at Ferrari or due to the change of tyres could the fight be stronger between the two of you?

FA:
I think that there wasn't a number one last year, there isn't a number one this year. I think we all try to do our best. I think Felipe has been very strong all his career and he was also strong last year. I think that he was maybe losing too many points in the end, also with some unlucky moments. I remember Singapore, a very good weekend for our car and he had a mechanical problem in qualifying and started last so it's not only the pure pace of the performance, it's just also some other factors to fight for a championship, so I expect Felipe to be very strong and a title contender and hopefully between us both scoring many points for the team, because the Constructors championship is a big thing for Ferrari.

 

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