Drivers: David Coulthard (Red Bull Racing) and Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes).

Team principals: Christian Horner (Red Bull Racing) and Ron Dennis (McLaren-Mercedes).

Press conference.

Q:
Ron, a lot has happened since the initial invitation to you to come to this press conference, and perhaps the emphasis has slightly changed from one subject to another. We understand, obviously, that for legal reasons you are limited as to what you can say, but is there anything you can update us on about the finding of Ferrari data in the home of one of your employees?

Ron Dennis:
Well, I think you accurately say that it was in that person's home. We've been very specific in our press releases. This concerns the intellectual property of another Grand Prix team and there is no intellectual property of another Grand Prix team on our cars, nor will there be, nor has there ever been. We have very high standards in our organisation. My own integrity is woven into the fabric of our company and I am now, having supervised a very detailed investigation within our own organisation, able to say that with absolute certainty that as this unfolds over the next few days, people will clearly understand all the facts behind what has been a difficult experience for McLaren. I can attempt to answer questions, but I want to be constrained in what I say because there are lots of people's reputations at stake here, not just our company's. But in speaking for our company, we, I'm sure, will be completely vindicated with the passing of time.

Q:
A question for all of you about Lewis's career, because Lewis has come into Formula One with remarkable success and I think with incredible preparation and incredible back-up from McLaren. I'm just wondering if that has re-defined the job of a Grand Prix racing driver because it has almost become a full-time job in that Lewis spends so much time at the factory. Is this a new way of introducing drivers to Formula One?

Christian Horner:
I think that obviously Lewis has arrived in Formula One very well prepared. McLaren have done an impeccable job in grooming him for his entry into Formula One but at the end of the day he still had to go and win the races, win the championships that he's competed in to prove his ability. He's made this step up into Formula One and he looks, for somebody in their seventh or eighth race, he looks like a guy who could well be in his 80th or 200th Grand Prix. That's certainly impressive. That shows the calibre of youngsters as well in the lower category and it's something that Red Bull, through the young driver programme, has invested in heavily over the last few years to bring youngsters all the way from karting ultimately to a Grand Prix seat.

David Coulthard:
Having been part of the McLaren system, I know some of the facilities that they had up to the point that I left, and I would be surprised if any Grand Prix team has quite as complete a package in simulation devices that the drivers can use. Its obviously a state-of-the-art facility, more modern probably than anyone else's out there. As Christian has said, though, all the way through Lewis has had to prove himself, otherwise he wouldn't be sitting here. It's not charity work that McLaren are doing. They invested because they saw the talent and they've helped him develop that over the time. As to how much time a driver spends at the factory, I think that what tends to happen - and I lived through it all those years ago - is that the guys in their first years, they're so approachable, so nice, still fly EasyJet, go to the factory all of the time, all of those things. When I was test driver at Williams, I was at the factory every day, because frankly I had nothing else to do. I was trying to soak up as much information and create a career for the future. As Lewis inevitably moves off-shore and grows into his life, he will inevitably spend less time at the factory because there just won't be the time. He will need energy, recovery time to maintain the level that he's achieved already over the next 10-15 years, however long he wants to be in Formula One. So I think that expanding on the question a little bit, I don't think that you can just put the lid on the box of 'this is the blueprint' because I think it's a continually evolving process. I think that's the fantastic thing about Formula One and our business is that you can never say 'right, that's it.' You always have to try and find another way, another edge and improve constantly, and I'm sure McLaren are doing that as we are trying to at Red Bull and you should all be doing as well, to have life evolution, job evolution.

Q:
Ron, am I right in saying that? It seems that you've formed a career path of phenomenal preparation for Lewis.

RD:
First of all, we've done it for several young kartists and obviously gone from karting into other categories. We constructed a karting team for both Lewis and Nico Rosberg. Obviously they've both done a great job and Nico - though really more because of his age than anything and the way the licensing system works - I think he just stepped ahead as regards getting into Formula One a little earlier. But I was always keen for Lewis to dominate every category in which he raced, because that gives you a certain mind set and obviously we were very keen for him to follow what I felt and other people felt was the right path into Formula One. But it's important to remember, no matter who gives opportunity to young drivers, ultimately it's their own abilities, their own commitment, their own dedication and sacrifices that determines the result. I will never ever claim to be the reason that Lewis is the great success he's been this season. That is his own efforts and his own commitment. Yes, he's had opportunity; yes, he hasn't had to worry about money but the most difficult thing is actually to deliver, given those opportunities, and that's all down to him and obviously the support of his family. So the reality is that for McLaren we couldn't be in a better situation: a double World Champion, tremendous ability and focus, dedication with Fernando and Lewis there to keep everybody, including Fernando, honest. We're all working hard to get the job done and so far it's going quite well.

Q:
Lewis, you really do seem to have made the huge effort to spend as much time at the factory, to prepare as well as possible.

Lewis Hamilton:
Yeah, absolutely. I don't think you get to this position without working hard, as they've said. I was given an opportunity. I remember Ron said 'you have the opportunity but I want you to be the fittest guy out there' and so I had to make sure, even in my own self-confidence and self-belief, I wanted to be the fittest out there. Whether I am or not, who knows? So I had an opportunity to have a training programme, learn as much as I could about the car, so that I got to the first race and I had no problems and we didn't look back and say 'I wish we had done this differently' or 'I wish we had worked an extra day'. We took every day as it came and really maximised every day. This is what I've been working for so many years so when you get the opportunity, you don't just let it pass by, you get as much out of it as you can.

Q:
Lewis, could you give us an update on how things went today?

LH:
Today didn't go too badly. I think the first session obviously went extremely well. I don't know what fuel loads everyone was on in the afternoon but we weren't particularly focussing on going out there to be at the top of the time sheets. We had a programme to stick to which we did. Now we have to go and analyse the data and figure out where else we can improve. But I feel quite optimistic about tomorrow. I think, again, we go into P3 with quite a good balance, but we can still better it. And I think we have a very good strong package for this weekend, so without a doubt, I still think we are able to battle with the Ferraris.

Q:
David, could you comment on the fact you are being re-signed for 2008, which is obviously good news.

DC:
Yeah, obviously I'm happy to continue the work with Red Bull. At the risk of repeating what I said before, it was a new challenge when I started there to try and see if I could play my part and help guide the team from the driving seat. Obviously, Christian has been busy with the recruitment side and the journey continues. We've had a bit of a troubled year this year but the pace has certainly improved and logically we would expect to build on that through the course of this year into next season. My enjoyment of racing remains absolute and my commitment to the team is 100 per cent as well. So yeah, looking forward to it.

Q:
Christian, final question: what's the thinking behind signing David and what happens with Mark Webber?

CH:
The logic behind David was very simple. We're very happy with the job that both of our drivers are doing. We're in an evolution phase of Red Bull Racing and David's done a very good job for us in the three years that he's been with us, and it was therefore entirely logical to extend that relationship for a further year. The team is still a young team. There have been a lot of changes over the last 24 months but it's coming together and, as we've seen, glimpses of pace this year. We've had a poor reliability record but that's something that everybody's firmly focused on and that will improve during the second half of the year. In David and Mark, we have a very strong professional committed line-up. I don't think there's probably a harder working line-up in Formula One than the two drivers that we have. They're very focused, they're both big team players and they contribute a great deal to our programme.

Q:
Mark was signed up for another year anyway.

CH:
Mark's agreement was always for a two year period so there's no real surprises there.

 

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