Drivers: Felipe Massa (Williams), Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull Racing), Kevin Magnussen (McLaren), Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing) and Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)

Press conference:

Q:
Sebastian, can we start with you. You're a four-time world champion, it's your 121st grand prix and your seventh season in Formula One. Four times a world champion consecutively but would it be fair say that as we sit here today you're not terribly optimistic about making it a fifth in a row this year?

Sebastian Vettel:
I don't think that's fair to say. It's a long year. Our pre-season testing, our preparation, hasn't been ideal and, yeah, we're probably not in the best position for this race but I think it's a different story when we think about the championship. There's a long way to go. Two years back Fernando was on the grid with 1.5 seconds to pole position but he was very close to beating us to the title at the very last race. Anything can happen. That's why this race is important, just as any other one. But there are a lot of races this year.

Q:
Obviously we've all seen from the outside, and you've mentioned now the difficulties you had in pre-season testing but what are you doing to try to put that right - you personally?

Sebastian Vettel:
It's obviously a tough step for all the teams, all the drivers, a lot of new things to get used to. We know that obviously we're not in the best shape yet. There are a lot of things we need to solve. Unfortunately, you can't solve them overnight. We'd love to but we can't. So you really have to go step by step, together with Daniel, I think just trying to be as precise as we can, trying to give the engineers the best feedback possible about the whole power unit so that we move forward on that and also talking about the car because at this stage it's a bit unknown where we are. It's not a secret: you need very, very strong reliability to be a title contender, so we'll see... I'm looking forward to tomorrow and especially Sunday to get a feel for the new regulations and see where we are.

Q:
Thanks for that. Moving on to Fernando: two-time world champion of course, 193rd grand prix this weekend, 14th season he's beginning in Formula One. Ferrari a little hard to read from the outside in terms of testing, you haven't really stood out, for good or bad. From your perspective how to do you feel Ferrari is placed with this new technology going into this very different new season?

Fernando Alonso:
I think it's very difficult to tell how competitive we are at the moment. We'll get some answers in 24 hours or 48 hours, we will know a little bit more than we know now. The car itself and the technology that Formula One brought this year are a little bit complex to everyone. We are learning and we are developing the car every day that we work on it. As I said, a little bit of an unknown situation for everybody. We just need to put everything together, maximise what we have, and see where we are.

Q:
Some changes have just been announced recently to the qualifying format, particularly in relation to the final part of qualifying. I was wondering if we could get a comment from you on those changes and the impact they might have?

Fernando Alonso:
I think it will not be a huge difference, from the outside especially. OK there were some cars that didn't run in Q3 or they only did one run in Q3 and now maybe we'll see an extra lap from everybody but apart from that I think it's not a huge change in approach in the qualifying for the teams and the drivers. Anyway, I think this change is welcome, to see more cars on tracks. I arrive many times with no new sets for Q3, so now I'm happy.

Q:
Moving on to the 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton, who is starting his 130th grand prix. It's his eighth season now in Formula One at the age of 29. Obviously it looks very promising after testing and both you and Nico Rosberg it seems are in a position to take an advantage of Mercedes' competitiveness. I wonder will it come down to which one of the two of you wants it more?

Lewis Hamilton:
Possibly. Yeah, it's very technical this year and we're all in the same boat. We're always trying to find where the advantages can be between two drivers. From race to race I think you'll see... one race he'll be ahead, one time I'll be ahead, same as you saw last year. Obviously the goal is to be ahead all the time.

Q:
Can you talk about the feeling of driving these 2014 cars, compared to the cars of the last generation: the pleasure you get from driving them, whether they're more you're kind of car, what's coming through the steering wheel to you?

Lewis Hamilton:
Well, naturally I think.. I probably speak for all of us that last year's car felt better, it was perhaps a little bit nicer to drive, when we had lots more downforce. But that was a car that was in the fourth year of its evolution. Now we're in a new phase and it's just something that just takes some time to get used to. The sound, for example, is not as impressive as what we had in the past but once you get all the cars on the track, on the grid, I'm pretty sure it will be impressive for the fans still.

Q:
Felipe, 192nd grand prix this weekend, your 12th season you're starting in Formula One and certainly from the outside, your decision to move to Williams at this stage of your career is starting to look fairly inspired, judging by the winter testing programme. What do you think can be achieved this year, in terms of results?

Felipe Massa:
I don't know. I think it's new to everybody so maybe we start having some answers this weekend. Not all of the answers but some. I'm really happy to be with Williams. Really enjoying the working with it to now, to feel the car and the working. It's a lot to do. You can never forget that it was a very difficult time for Williams in the last years and it's a lot to do, a lot of work, a lot of development going on inside the factory, inside the team. So many new people arriving - including me. But, I'm pretty motivated. For sure we can be there. I don't know how competitive we're going to be compared to the other teams. Maybe we will see teams better than us - I don't know. Maybe we can see ourselves fighting with them and be as competitive as the top teams like these three guys here - but I think it's just the beginning. It's a lot to do, a lot to understand and the understanding will be very important for trying to make the car better and better all the time. But, feet on the ground, I think maybe this weekend we start to understand a little bit.

Q:
Obviously you've got the Mercedes engine which at this point looks to be the one to have, going into the season - but there's clearly more to the Williams renaissance than just that. Can you tell us some of the things you've noticed? Maybe one or two points of things that you've noticed that have changed?

Felipe Massa:
Well, I feel the team is really motivated. They want to grow, they want to get better and they want to be back in the good times. So I feel a lot of understanding for the people. I'm really happy with the people I work with, they're really professional. So many new people are arriving and there are many good ideas inside the team. Me as well. I'm trying to give as much experience, as many ideas as I can from my experience in a different team. So, yeah, I'm really looking forward. I think it can be a nice season for us - but how nice I don't know. We need to see.

Q:
Daniel, it looks like you had one really good day of testing in the car. Observers were saying the car looked pretty good when it was going around. Do you share that view.

Daniel Ricciardo:
I think we had one stand-out day. There weren't many, as Seb said but at least one for me was pretty good. I think we're all a bit unsure how good our cars are. Speaking for all the drivers, I think we're just curious and hanging out to get on the track this weekend and see where everyone stands and get a clearer picture. I've had a busy week leading up to the race and I'm probably more excited than anyone else right now to get in the car.

Q:
You've got your big break, here you are, it's the big time with the World Champion team. You've got a four-time world champion sitting on the other side of the garage from you. What's your strategy from here? Are you going to just focus on your own job or trying to look at what Sebastian's doing and try to beat him?

Daniel Ricciardo:
I think for now just focus on what I've done the last few years and keep doing what I've been doing to get to this point - and then assess it from there and see how it's going. Obviously I get a good view behind the scenes from the engineers of how Seb works with his guys and understand a little more through that as well - but for now it's just do my thing and see where I stand off that and we'll work from there.

Q:
Kevin, welcome to Formula One, if you look around you at the drivers sitting here with you this afternoon, who have seven Drivers' World Championships won between them, 104 grand prix victories between them. Do you feel you have to pinch yourself to believe you're sitting here today.

Kevin Magnussen:
Yeah. Definitely. It is a dream come true and every day is fantastic at the moment - I'm sure it will keep staying like that. I'm just really excited to be here. It's been a long winter, since signing. I've been looking forward to this weekend but yeah, feeling good. It's been a good winter in terms of preparation with the team. They've done a really good job in terms of preparing me for this. It's not easy. It's a big job, a big challenge but I think I'm pretty much as ready as you can be these days. I've done a lot of work over the winter but I'm not underestimating the challenge that I'm facing. It's a big challenge but I'm looking forward to it.

Q:
Shed a little light on it for us. McLaren looked very strong at the start of the testing but perhaps the end looked a bit more difficult. What was going on?

Kevin Magnussen:
I think the whole testing we pretty much ran the launch car and were behind a little bit on development - but the car feels good. If you didn't know the lap times of the other guys you would think that it's pretty fast - and that's a good sign. If we can just put some downforce on the car and keep developing as we did over the winter with the car, I think we can be in a good position. The team obviously come off a difficult season and they are massively motivated to come back to where they belong and that's a good feeling.

 

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