Press conference:

Q:
To Ron and Jean, how do you see your chances at the moment? And then maybe we can have an overall view from Flavio.

Ron Dennis:
It's pretty much as we've said it from day one. We're trying very hard to demonstrate equality and both drivers have different points positions. One has a slight advantage over the other and obviously Kimi is also capable of winning the World Championship, so we're just trying to stay calm, do a thorough, disciplined job and under stressful conditions, and it's as simple as that: try to keep calm.

Jean Todt:
We know that it's very difficult for us with Kimi seven points behind. Our competitor has been very quick, very reliable. We are not favourites but in this business so many things can happen. We saw that at the last race, so even if there is a prediction for dry weather and high temperatures, it will be difficult but we will try to do as much as we can and then we will see.

Flavio Briatore:
I'm sure I'm more relaxed than both Ron and Jean, and I'm more relaxed than last year. But I believe it's a fantastic finish to the season this year. We have three drivers with the possibility to be World Champion and it's very difficult to say whether it's Hamilton or Fernando or Kimi because it will be a long race. We don't know exactly what kind of weather we will have on Sunday, but you know it's open. For me it's still very very open, including for Ferrari because you never know. McLaren had a good opportunity to win last weekend, they got nothing, it's never black and white but I believe that for Formula One and for the spectators and for the television it will be fantastic tomorrow and on Sunday.

Q:
Flavio, the Brazilian press would be very interested to hear what your feelings are regarding Nelson Piquet Jr, what's his future with the team?

FB:
Nelsinho is in our team and we haven't yet decided the line-up, the drivers for 2008 for the moment. We have the option of Fisico (Fisichella) and Kovalainen and of course Nelsinho. We have time, we have time to see what happens and we don't want to decide immediately. We will see what happens in the next few days, few weeks, few months. I don't think we are in any rush to make a decision.

Q:
Flavio, you know Fernando very well having won with him in the last couple of years here. Would you back him in this championship battle?

FB:
Normally, Hamilton has four points more than Fernando. Second place is good enough for Hamilton but Fernando, in very very difficult situations, is a guy who never makes a mistake. He handles pressure very very well and I believe it's 50-50 between Fernando and Hamilton. Four points is a lot and it's nothing. I remember last year we were fighting with Michael and Jean and it was always three points, four points difference. Anything is possible. First you need to finish in the race, and if both finish in the race, Hamilton has the four point advantage.

Q:
Jean, I think the aim is one-two and nothing less, isn't it?

JT:
It also depends what the others do, but yes, we need to be first and second but it's easy to say, difficult to do but as I've said before, we will try our best as we have since the beginning of the season.

Q:
Does Kimi ever show any pressure?

JT:
With Kimi, when you start to know him better, you have to translate his feelings. He's a great guy, he's very dedicated, doesn't complain, just does his job and we are very happy with him, and we are very happy to try to do as much as we can for him as he does for the team.

Q:
And just before this race you announced a contract extension for Felipe. What are your feelings about him?

JT:
There has been a lot of speculation over the last weeks and rather than entertaining this speculation we knew what we wanted to do for the drivers for the future, so we simply confirmed an extension for Felipe. He's doing an excellent job, motivated. He's really a driver who has grown up with our team and it's as simple as that. I think the responsibility (for the problems) is more with the team than with the drivers. We know that if we give them a winning car they are going to win races, so it's up to us. It has never been questioned that our drivers were not quick enough to get the best out of the car, so we need to give them a winning car, a reliable car and then they have demonstrated that they are able to deliver.

Q:
Ron, it was interesting to hear yesterday from your drivers that they were very much thinking of their championship positions and that's what was going to influence their races. Is that the case with the team as well?

RD:
We're not thinking about it or talking about it at the moment. We're focusing on every day singularly. Today we were just trying to make the best out of a very difficult damp-dry condition type practice. Tomorrow we'll obviously fight for the front row and then we'll worry about the strategy for the race as we enter the last qualifying but clearly either of our drivers can win. We've got to demonstrate to ourselves and to everybody that's going to be putting us in the spotlight along with Kimi that we've done a competent job and given every opportunity to win. We're not really getting into the details at this stage.

Q:
What's the atmosphere like within the team? Obviously you're running two drivers almost against one another within the team.

RD:
It's a little tense but it's professional and calm.

Q:
Who has got the most difficult job: McLaren or the English rugby team?

RD:
Certainly we've got the most difficult job on Sunday! I think they've played very well. I don't know a great deal about rugby. I was fortunate to be there and they're a very good defending team at the moment, so I hope they do well tomorrow because we are all nationalistic, but our race is on Sunday, theirs is on Saturday.

Q:
Finally, what happened today with the tyre mix-up? Was it a mix-up?

RD:
A hundred percent team mistake. Lewis did an install (installation lap) on one set of wet tyres and we just put on another set. It was one hundred percent our fault, nothing to do with Lewis. He only did an in and an out lap. It wasn't as if there was any advantage but it clearly was a breach of a rule, as two other people made the same mistake. It's up to the stewards to decide if and what is the appropriate penalty. We're trying so hard, maybe there's a little too much tension in the team but it was a silly mistake. But hopefully it won't cost anything other than the team some problems. Take some World Championship Constructors' points away - oh, they've already done that!

 

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