Q:
To all of you: your reaction to the hearing yesterday and the penalty, and also your reaction if you've read the final judgement published today.

Nick Fry:
We were just joking outside that you were going to ask us that question because I think it [the final judgement] was released when we were all sitting on the pit wall, so we suspect most of the audience have read it and we haven't, unless Flavio read it while he was on the pit wall, so we have not seen it. I think it's very difficult to speak about the judgement itself. My personal perspective is that it's good that McLaren are racing. I think from the Formula One point of view it would be extremely disappointing for all of us if a competitor of that calibre was missing from the grid, so I think that's the good news. I think we all hope that this is the end of it. Obviously there's a danger it won't be but I think we would be better off focusing on the sport, the entertainment, getting the rules right to help that, getting the engine rules worked out and getting on with life. I hope it doesn't continue to perpetuate.

Q:
What about the size of the penalty?

NF:
McLaren are very rich, I guess.

Q:
If somebody hit you with that penalty?

NF:
I don't think I'd be sitting here.

Mario Theissen:
Well, what Nick just said is exactly what I said to him outside before. In fact I'm in the same position. I haven't had the chance to read the final judgement, the detailed judgement. I haven't been involved... we haven't been involved in the case at all. We haven't been there at the hearing. What I know I know from you guys and I'm sure you know more than I do at this point of time. It certainly is a big fine and I can only hope it is over now, although I don't really believe in that.

Christian Horner:
Yes, hopefully it brings this issue to an end and everybody can focus on the last four races and on the drivers' championship. Obviously, the FIA has acted with the evidence that they had to hand and have made the decisions that they feel are obviously appropriate. One can only feel slightly sorry for McLaren in that the actions of a few reckless individuals have obviously hit them with a pretty draconian penalty. But the evidence was there and the FIA have acted accordingly. But it's a big cheque.

Q:
You talk about a couple of individuals; how can you prevent that happening within a team?

CH:
I think it's very difficult, but when an employee comes to work for you, they sign on the dotted line to abide by the rules of that company and part of those rules, certainly in our team, is that they don't bring written down IP (intellectual property) or IP from other teams with them. Those actions have obviously been fairly reckless by those individuals involved and the company has picked up the can for it.

Gerhard Berger:
I think everything has been said. I think that the guys said it just now - I just agree.

Flavio Briatore:
Same. I'm with Christian completely. I was on the pit wall - maybe you are too far from me so you didn't see me - and I'm very... What is more important is that everybody knows the truth. Now everybody has the script (WMSC Decision) which they are able to read and we need to go on. We need to stop talking about this story and talk about the sport. If McLaren has been found guilty, it is because of the evidence at the World Council, only that.
The size of the penalty depends. It's important.

Questions from the floor:

Q: (James Allen - ITV)
Flavio, I understand that McLaren have brought to your attention something involving your team, and a similar sort of situation. Have you been told that there's going to be an investigation into that and do you expect a similar sort of penalty if there is?

FB:
First, if somebody tells me it's the same, I sue somebody, quickly. Second, it's not an investigation regarding myself and the team. Third, we give all the information to the Federation, at least when we found out something, and this is it. It's as simple as that. And I give the evidence as well to McLaren, nothing to... And I don't think that in this case McLaren said to bring this case in the World Council as well for more confusing is possible, I think this result was not achieved. There was no confusion, there was just the fine for McLaren but it was important to try to take rocks in the direction of everybody. This I try with Red Bull for what I know. It's as simple as that. I think McLaren was judged by the World Council, and there was enough evidence to find McLaren guilty, it's as simple as that. I don't want, at this moment (to talk) about Renault because first we are not being investigated, second we give all our evidence to McLaren and to Mr Mosley and to the Federation.

Q: (Miran Alisic - POP TV)
I read a comment in a newspaper today that $100m for a normal human being is a huge sum of money, probably not for Formula One teams. You are representing five teams. What is $100m for you as a team? What would happen if you lost $100m?

GB:
For me, it's very simple: I'm bankrupt.

FB:
It's a lot of money for everybody because... $100m, for example, you have three or four Alonsos, three or four Schumachers in the team. This is what you have. It's a fairly high penalty. I'm sure it's very high.

NF:
I think in Formula One, because the numbers are big, sometimes people talk about millions as if it's trivial. I can assure you, certainly in our team and I suspect in all the others, the budgets are worked out very carefully, we try and allocate the money as effectively as possible and $100m is a vast amount of money for any of the teams, I believe. The results of having to pay that, if it was actually cash, would be very significant. It would mean that we would have to find it elsewhere or whatever. I don't really know... It's not happened to us and I hope it never will but it's a vast amount of money even by Formula One standards.

MT:
Well, it's quite simple. If you are running a team during the season, you get aware of being fined $100m, you certainly don't have it put aside before, so if there is no one to open his pocket, you have to wind down your operations.

CH:
In terms of monetary, it's obviously an inconceivable amount of cash. However, in proportion to budgets, I'm sure the FIA thought long and hard about the size of the fine but certainly from our perspective, I don't think our cheque book is that big. We can't fit that many zeros on it, so from our point of view we certainly wouldn't be in a position to be able to cover a fine of that quantum.

Q: (Stuart Codling - F1 Racing)
Gerhard, a quick question about Sebastien Bourdais. I was wondering if you could say a few words about your personal expectations for him for next year, what you expect him to do for your team, what qualities he has that have got you so excited about him and have made you hire him?

GB:
Well, Sebastien, as you know, is going to start next year, start testing after the last race. We've had him in the car three times already and gave him quite a lot of mileage, so it was good for him to get used to the car and to show us his potential and also good for us. We got a lot of data to study his strengths and weaknesses. He showed us good performance. He also showed good performance back in America, winning one championship after the next, so overall we got the picture from him which makes us feel confident that he theoretically can do a good job in Formula One. We're just going to know next year when he's in (the team) and after we've given him a little bit of time to get used to everything, but until now, in the way how he worked with the engineers and the way how he's driven the car - long runs - he did very well. So obviously we're expecting that he comes here (Formula One) and proves that he can do what we expect from him.

Q:
On the driver market, Flavio, when can we expect to hear about your second driver?

FB:
The second or the first? I think we are working on that and maybe before Japan, maybe, because really I believe that we need to look carefully at what's going on, what's happening, and then afterwards we decide. For the moment, we are not really ready.

Q:
Are there fewer options this year? There's nobody who has dominated GP2, for instance.

FB:
I think last year it was much easier because last year you had Hamilton who was really superior and you had Piquet, they were the two fighting. This year is much more equal, it's difficult. I don't see anybody this year who is a strong winner in GP2. You see the points as well, you have three or four drivers who are basically the same. We don't see a Hamilton, a Piquet, a Kovalainen or Rosberg. This year is the first year. Still, Pantano, who is ex-Formula One, is doing a good job. It's not like the years before though.

 

Comments

Loading Comments...