Team representatives: Franz Tost (Toro Rosso), Bob Fearnley (Force India), Tony Fernandes (Caterham), Claire Williams (Williams) and Eric Boullier (Lotus).

Press conference

Q:
Let's start with today's two practice sessions. Bob, if I could turn to you first. Progress made or was it a bit of a struggle for the team?

Bob Fearnley:
It was a little bit of a struggle but I think we saw a little bit of progress in FP2, so optimistic.

Q:
Same optimism for you Franz?

Franz Tost:
Yes, if we find seven to eight tenths then I'm optimistic for tomorrow.

Q:
Any chance?

Franz Tost:
I hope so. The engineers have some time now. It's a wonderful night and I'm convinced that they can study all the data and they will find a solution for tomorrow's set-up.

Q:
For yourself, Eric, one of your drivers spent more time on the track than the other. Romain Grosjean had problems.

Eric Boullier:
Yeah, it's a concern in these early days but it should be fixed for tomorrow. Some issues yes on Romain Grosjean's steering, power steering and hydraulics but still fast, and obviously happy with the second session when we could see on the high fuel pace Kimi was matching the so fast Red Bull cars, so we'll see tomorrow.

Q:
At Williams, Valtteri Bottas, driving here for the first time, was slightly faster than his team-mate Pastor Maldonado.

Claire Williams:
He was but I think we're still where we are and I don't think that was a surprise. We had a few changes to the car this weekend that we have evaluated so we have a lot of data to go through and we'll see where we are tomorrow.

Q:
And Tony and Caterham?

Tony Fernandes:
As Claire said: we are where we are. Young drivers who get used to the track every practice session and we improve every session, so we're expecting a bit more out of FP3 but we are where we are.

Q:
Eric, if I could turn to you next. Not for the first time in F1 history we've seen drivers and engineers leave Enstone recently to head off to Ferrari. How concerned are you about the impact the departures of Kimi Raikkonen, James Allison and Dirk de Beer will have on Lotus regarding your future competitiveness.

Eric Boullier:
Not so high as you could maybe surprisingly imagine. It's true that it's a new chapter for Enstone, we lose valuable people and obviously a very charismatic driver. But as you said it happened twice already in the Enstone and every time the team has been world champion right after. So actually I'm quite motivated saying let's start a new chapter and do as well or as good as happened before.

Q:
Claire, you've strengthened your staff at Williams. Pat Symonds, just over a month ago, started as Chief Technical Officer. Have you started to notice differences yet? What areas has Pat identified that you need to make improvements in. And also, will you be looking to bring others in in the future?

Claire Williams:
I think Pat started just before Spa, so he hasn't been with the team for a huge amount of time, but already we're seeing the impact he's having. He's a guy that's worked in Formula One for a huge amount of time and he has a huge amount of experience. He's won numerous world championships and of course that's going to bring with it a level of experience we really need at Williams. So he's definitely looking... or spending a lot of time at Grove. He's not here with us this weekend, he's got critical meetings to attend to back at the factory, making sure we are where we want to be next season. But we all know that he's not the magic bullet but he's doing a great job for us so far and we will take his advice and see what we need to do once he's had time to evaluate the business as a whole.

Q:
Franz, at the end of the season you and Toro Rosso say goodbye to Daniel Ricciardo, his replacement expected to be another Red Bull young development driver. As team principal, what are you looking for from whoever gets that seat. What qualities do you think a young driver to bring to be an asset to Toro Rosso.

Franz Tost:
The best one is always when he finds the right-hand pedal and pushes it - that's quite good. Generally speaking he has to be skilled; he has to have talent. For example, currently the Red Bull drivers, all the drivers from the Red Bull driver pool, have won a championship when they were racing in a lower class. Vettel, for example, in BMW junior. Daniel Ricciardo as well as [Daniil] Kvyat and [Carlos] Sainz won in the Renault 2.0 litre championship. Jean-Eric Vergne won the English championship as far as I know, with the highest number of victories. That means this is a good basis where they showed their talent. This is the first point. The second point: they must be patient. That means if a driver is coming to Toro Rosso he has to live Formula One 365 days a year. There should be nothing around that disturbs him and he has to be 100% concentrated on this job. The next important point is discipline. Discipline does not only mean he arrives in time for the meetings, discipline means also that he, for example, in qualifying does not overdrive the car; that he respects the schedule for his physical training; that he respects all the important facts of nutrition and that he respects what the engineers tell him. The next important point is innovation. He should think first how he can beat, at first his team-mate and for second all the other competitors. That he must think in advance; that he must be well prepared. All these factors together decide together whether a driver becomes successful and wins races and championships or not, and we are looking for this.

Q:
On a similar note to Franz, if I could turn to you Tony, is that the same at Caterham? Are they the qualities you're looking at or do you have to look more at the budget that a driver can bring as well given the situation that the Caterham team is in?

Tony Fernandes:
I think this year was the first year that we took the budget into consideration. We were trying to save as much for 2014. This is the state of Formula One right now where unfortunately sometimes the budget plays a large part in your decision making. We've got two fairy inexperienced drivers driving for us in the hope that we can put more resource into the 2014 car.

Q:
Bob, we were talking to Adrian Sutil here yesterday. It was his opinion the recent dip in Force India's form was related to the change in the construction of the tyres that we saw halfway through the season. Is that a view you share? And if so, what as a team can you do to combat the downturn in results before the end of the season?

Bob Fearnley:
I think Adrian's absolutely right: it's not coincidental that the dip in form obviously ties in with the change in tyres. It's very difficult because we're past the time in the season where we've already committed through to the 2014 car. We ideally would need to put the 2013 car back into the system. I think what we've got to do - and it might not be very exciting - but I think we've got to just eke the best of the performance we can out of it, we've got a great team of engineers and I feel sure that they will overcome the problem but we've got to do it on the track and we've only got Fridays to do that. So it's challenging and it's going to be a little bit tough and it's disappointing after what was an incredible start to the season - but we are where we are and we can't change things.

Q:
Question to you all next regarding costs in F1. We heard from Christian Horner in the FIA press conference in Monza, his thoughts that although teams have been working to reduce costs, 2014 looks like being a very, very expensive year with the regulation changes. In his words, "collectively," he said, "the mistake the teams made was not saying 'no' to the new engines." I just wonder, do you share his view? Have costs escalated beyond what's ideally realistic for your teams to deal with the larger outfits on the grid? Start with you Tony.

Tony Fernandes:
I've been consistent since day one I've been in F1 that costs are too high and every... when I came into F1, people talked to me about costs coming down but I don't think there's been a single year it's come down. I think next year will be probably the highest year - so I think there's something fundamentally wrong. I don't think it's just the engine, by the way, I think the teams lost out an opportunity to get costs under control. I think self-interest overrode the sport and we are as much to blame for this problem as an engine.

Q:
Franz, is that a fair assessment?

Franz Tost:
Yes, as I said, next year's power unit package costs are double the price of this years and we are always talking of reducing the costs. Regarding now that power unit, on the one hand we must say F1 is the peak of motorsport and we should come with new innovations. I think the new package from another point of view is quite economical and is quite interesting - but it costs us a huge amount of money. But the teams are stupid enough to decide to do tests during the season. This is totally a waste of money because we have eight test days and as soon as the car goes out on the track it costs money. But the teams want to do it. On the one hand they're complaining they don't have money, on the other hand, they throw it through the window. It's a little bit difficult to understand for me but we were voted down because we were against the tests. And who wants the tests? The rich teams. As usual.

Q:
I'd be interested in your thoughts now Eric.

Eric Boullier:
It's true that F1 is costing too much money and regarding the next year engine, I do agree with Franz, F1 needs technology, this is the pinnacle of motorsport. I think just rather than blaming engine or not, it's more about the process, about how this technology has been developed and sold to the team, which should have been controlled more. F1 needs technology, we need car manufacturers, we need obviously sponsors but we cannot afford to spend more and more every year. I was not there personally but last decade car manufacturers were in this place and the lowest budget in F1 was around $250m and the highest about $400m. Today it's not the case anymore and the smallest budget is around $60m and the highest is around $250m. But still, it's... you multiply by four. If you want to be competitive you need to spend unfortunately some money, because you cannot afford if not, and you cannot be competitive then... This is a circle: you are not attractive, you do not bring in any new sponsors... so where is the balance? I think it's a complicated debate. Obviously all the teams should stick together first, which is obviously something very difficult to do, and also sit down with Bernie and the FIA and make sure the regulations are stable at least for the next few years. I think in the new strategy committee we have a chance to voice what we would like to do. That's going to be the first step, to make sure we go to a sustainable F1.

Q:
Claire, to you next.

Claire Williams:
I don't think I really have much more to add. Everyone's covered the arguments. Williams, you know, we're an independent team and we rely on sponsorships to go racing so the escalation in costs for next year across various different elements of what is involved in going racing, aren't great for us and we have to just push and push to try to get the budget in for next year. But we have high ambitions as to where we want to position the team and to get the team back up the grid - but to do that is going to take more money. So to have more costs piled on top of each other, it's going to be a challenge for us.

Q:
Bob, where do Force India stand on the current debate?

Bob Fearnley:
I think the teams have demonstrated that they are not capable of being able to agree a cost control, so I think the answer is to take it outside of the team's control. I think it's up to the FIA to decide a formula, bring that in and implement it.

 

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