Drivers: Giedo van der Garde (Caterham), Max Chilton (Marussia), Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso), Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing) and Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus).

Questions from the floor

Q: (Abhishek Takle - Richland F1).
Mark, following the last race, you said you were surprised at the switch in strategy from a two stop to a three stopper. Having gone over all of the data, do you still feel the two stop was quicker, or are you satisfied with the strategy switch?

Mark Webber:
I haven't gone over any data whatsoever from the last race. I still stand by what I said at the time but obviously a bit surprised that we elected to do that. Having a three stop, you've got to pass two cars to win the race instead of maybe sticking to a two where we just focused on trying to beat Romain. What I said at the time is still pretty accurate today.

Q: (Sandeep Sikdar - IndoAsian News Service).
Nico, Mark and Kimi, we're quite uncertain about the future of Formula One here in India. I wanted to know what exactly is the feeling in the paddock regarding visiting India, coming to India for the Grand Prix?

Nico Rosberg:
The track is fantastic to drive, they've done a really good job with that. There's a growing fan base and a lot of fans in India. It's great to be here and it's a pity that there's no Indian Grand Prix next year and I hope that maybe some time in the future we can come back again.

Mark Webber:
Yeah, Nico's right. Obviously the fan base is certainly growing very, very fast. I know cricket is the number one sport here by a long way but they've certainly shown some incredible enthusiasm to try and understand and get some... attract some interest in the sport. They're proud to have a very, very high profile sport which Formula One is and the track layout is sensational. The enthusiasm... they're doing what they can to hold a very nice event here but it doesn't seem to have been enough for next year. I hope that we can come back in the future.

Q: (Bharat Sharma - IndoAsian News Service).
For the front row, if you talk about the track, most drivers have praised the track, they like the layout but as far as overtaking is concerned, there's only the first sector which has a real chance of overtaking, so how do you see the track in terms of overtaking opportunities?

Mark Webber:
That's generally the case at a lot of circuits actually. There's not any more than one or two chances these days. The second and third sector are quite quick, it's not easy to get a move done there so yeah, most of the focus is on the first sector and the beginning of the sector. But that's not against the circuit, that's how a lot of tracks are and we like the rest of the rhythm and the layout because it's quite challenging, it's quite quick, a little bit of undulation so there's a lot of good qualities inside this circuit. As you said, the racing maybe hasn't been super exciting over the last few years, maybe it's not going to be the same on Sunday but time will tell.

Q:
Is that right, Kimi, there's really only the first sector where you can get past?

Kimi Raikkonen:
In a normal situation, yes, but on some of the circuits there's not even one place. You might get a chance in some other places - it depends - but it's a good race circuit. Last year I got stuck behind (another car) but that can happen anywhere.

Q:
It rather drives the set-up, Nico, doesn't it? It's a compromise track anyway, but you need to give yourself that chance of getting some overtaking done?

Nico Rosberg:
Yeah, but it's OK, the track has what it needs to be able to overtake well and for there to be exciting races. They've extended the DRS zone a bit to try and make it easier to overtake - see how that goes, should be in the right direction.

Q: (Ajay Devadason - Sify.com).
Mark, is it a cause for concern that the series that you're moving to recently had a fatality in their event?

Mark Webber:
At Le Mans? Look, we know motor racing can be dangerous. It was very, very tragic, obviously, that they had a fatality this year and they've certainly learned from that accident, I believe. Every time we step into a racing car there's obviously risk; I accept those risks as we all do and they are always going to try and find ways to improve motor sport to a degree which is finding the levels of safety and risk-taking to the right levels. I'm certainly very comfortable with my decision, what I'm doing in the future and looking forward to it.

Q: (Paolo Ianieri - La Gazzetta dello Sport).
Kimi, in the last few races, Lotus seem to have been the second team after Red Bull. Do you think that you have the chance to try to grab second place in the Constructors' championship in the last four races and that this could be a place to win?

Kimi Raikkonen:
That's the aim for us but it's hard to say if it's going to happen. It seems that the last races have been strong for our team but I have to qualify better, to put myself up there and maybe try to win some races but it will not be easy.

Q: (Kate Walker - GP Week).
Max and Giedo, you are the only two men here whose futures aren't yet set for next year, or not so that we know about. Could you both please rate your chances of staying both within Formula One next year and with wearing the same uniforms?

Giedo van der Garde:
Of course I hope to stay in (F1) next year but the management is very busy, talking to some teams, also Caterham. At the moment, they told me to be focused for the last four races and I'm doing that, but hopefully we will have some news soon, but it's still far away.

Max Chilton:
Yeah, I think my chances are looking good. Nothing's set in stone yet. I've learned in GP2 how much continuity can help. I'd love to stay with Marussia again because you always get more out of yourself when you know the team, it's a natural progression. We have been contacted by other teams but at the moment we know where we want to be and we're not far away from it now.

Q:
Do you two both feel you've met your targets and your goals for this year?

Giedo van der Garde:
Yeah, I think so. At the beginning, I struggled a little bit, then in the middle of the season everything fell into place and since then I've good speed, still have to improve the qualifying a little bit but race pace has been very good.

Max Chilton:
Yeah, I think to be honest it took me a little bit longer than I was expecting to kind of get up to speed. I think it's hard without the testing, but from the August break, when you have a bit of time to go through everything with the team, we had a really good sit down and picked on key areas where you can really enhance your performance and since then, I think I've proved why I deserve to be here and I'm hoping to keep that on until the end of the year.

Q: (Vinayak Pande - AutoX).
Kimi, given the way Lotus is performing towards the end of this season and how Fernando has been struggling recently, how do you feel about your decision going to Ferrari next year?

Kimi Raikkonen:
Good, otherwise I wouldn't have made the decision if I didn't think it was right for myself. It's so competitive... and the rules, nobody really knows how it's going to work out next year.

Q: (Sandeep Sikdar - IndoAsian News Service).
Nico and Mark, Pirelli have brought different tyre compounds this year unlike the last two years, how do you think they will affect the lap times?

Nico Rosberg:
I'm not sure. The cars are also so much quicker this year. It's been very variable throughout the season. You've never been able to predict how we're going to go, in terms of lap times from one track to another. Sometimes we're faster, sometimes the same, so it changes all the time and I don't know yet for this weekend.

Mark Webber:
Yeah, very difficult to predict how the tyres will behave. We know how sensitive they are. Even when we had the slight change of construction during the year we see some teams coming forward, some teams going back, some drivers being happy, some drivers less happy. The tyres are super super sensitive. I think we will find out here whether it's... last year was quite easy on the tyres, we had a pretty comfortable one stop. Whether that's possible again, I'm not sure. We will find out on Friday with the long runs, maybe.

Q: (Chetan Narula - Planet F1).
Mark, your teammate is going to be a consecutive four time World Champion and obviously you've had your differences with him, you're not the best of friends but as his teammate, and somebody who's worked with him closely for quite a few years now, can you shed some light on Sebastian Vettel, the racer and the four time World Cham... or soon to be four time World Champion?

Mark Webber:
Yeah, obviously he's had an incredible run. Some of the championships have been tight, some less tight. Obviously '11 and this year have been pretty much a non-event but 2010 and 2012 were up to the last race. I think he's certainly done an incredible job. I think he's been very strong on the Pirellis; obviously (on) the Bridgestones was probably a little bit tighter but on Pirellis he's certainly been very strong and no real weaknesses on those tyres so it's been strong for him. Just super consistent and that's what's made him strong, obviously, and also getting the most out of the package. Obviously the car's been quick and he's capitalised on a lot of venues. He's won with a dominant car but also he's won with a car which some races is probably not... certainly over those four years to win races he probably shouldn't have won races. That's also been a quality of his.

Q: (Unnatee Gidithuri - Auto India Magazine).
To you all, what are all of your opinions on the Indian Formula One fans?

Daniel Ricciardo:
I think that as the boys touched on earlier, it's growing each year we come here, there seems to be getting more and more interest. It's good, there are a lot of seats to fill here. Unfortunately they are not always full but they are filling up each year so that's good. I don't think a sport can grow overnight and it does take time. It's definitely gone in the right direction.

Max Chilton:
It's obviously got huge possibilities. I think there's over a billion that live in India and that, from my calculations, is a seventh of the world, so it's probably got one of the biggest potential markets anywhere in the world, so it's a shame we're not back here next year but there's a lot of other countries that want a Grand Prix as well. It is a bit of a shame.

Gideo van der Garde:
I think it's good to be back here. It is a special place, especially when you see cows on the street, dogs! It's different to Europe and I have to say I quite like it. It's good to see different environments, the track is very nice. Of course, it's my second time here. Last year I saw some friends in the grandstand and hopefully this year there are going to be more.

Q:
I think you tweeted a photo of a cow in the road, Nico.

Nico Rosberg:
We had a bit of a close call yesterday because the cow decided it was going to cross the motorway just in front of us but we managed to keep out of its way, let it cross over nicely and then we could continue.

Q: Mark, Kimi's touched on his love of India, what about yourself?

Mark Webber:
Yeah, you can see the enthusiasm. Again, I don't want to talk about the cricket too much but you see how much they love their sport with the cricket, they are super passionate about it and the same here, they want to understand, they're very willing to understand the sport as quick as they can. It's been a very quick snapshot for them, in terms of coming to the circuit and seeing the cars and maybe having the drivers as heroes for them. What's also been interesting for me in such a short period of time is also the journalists here and the people are making such a good effort. Their questions, even away from the track, and different things... they're quite knowledgeable on our sport, they want to understand which is a big advancement on some of the other fresh countries that we go to which are super super naive. A lot of good positives about it, so it's a shame it's not here again.

Q:
Did you watch the one day yesterday?

Mark Webber:
It was washed out, wasn't it? Not lucky for us: 296 or 293.

Q: (Rachit Thukral - RachF1).
Daniel Ricciardo, two years ago you were racing for HRT. At that time, could you imagine that you could be racing for Red Bull one day?

Daniel Ricciardo:
Seemed like a fair way away at the time but I think that going back years before that, since I got Red Bull supporting me and knowing what opportunities I had with them, then I think anything was possible. A lot of it was up to me. With HRT, I knew there was a bit of a road to travel on, but yeah, it's come along quite quickly, obviously to my delight and as I've said, I can't wait but if you would have said, back in 2011, that I would be in a Red Bull seat in 2014 then I would have smiled and said 'beauty.' One other thing I found out, just touching on the cricket, apparently myself and Mark don't come from Australia. We come from Ricky Ponting country! That's what they all say. Nice.

Q: (Vinayak Pande - AutoX).
Mark, it's your last season in F1. Do you think the sport is in good shape going into the future with the new regulations? Do you think that's a good direction for F1 to be taking, or are you going to a technologically more sound series, in terms of sports car racing?

Mark Webber:
Again, pretty good question. To be fair, I think Formula One needed a bit of a facelift in terms of technology, which they're going to get next year. Maybe it's not what we all want in terms of all the electric stuff and those type of things but that's the way all the manufacturing and all those types of things are going in terms of car production, so Formula One should be the benchmark in terms of rolling that stuff out. How it's going to go in terms of a spectacle only time will tell. I'm sure it's going to be good. The main thing with Formula One is the drivers, the drivers are the important thing. You can have what cars you want but if you've still got the best drivers out there then that's the most important thing. But in terms of sports cars and Formula One, obviously the technology is going to be very similar. Sports cars now are super technical as well as Formula One will be next year. As long as the smaller teams can have a chance, I think that whenever you make a big regulation change, like we are going to do next year, the midfield and the smaller teams are really going to be stretched, so I think that the gap between Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren maybe is probably going to be bigger.

 

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