Questions from the floor:

Q: (Dan Knutson - National Speed Sport News)
For Jean Todt. The fact you have so many wins and are fighting for the championship proves that Ferrari are strong in the post Schumacher and Ross Brawn era, how do you see your own future now at Ferrari?

Jean Todt:
You know, each thing at a time, so for me the most important future is qualifying tomorrow and then the race on Sunday and then when the time will be appropriate to decide other things as you said, even with a very strong change in the team, Ferrari has remained very competitive, very strong and very united together, very good atmosphere, so that is what we wanted to achieve and that is our main objective to achieve with or without me.

Q: (Ian Parkes - The Press Association)
Ron, everybody appreciates people make mistakes but with the season that you have had and what's gone on, can you imagine the furore there would be right now if you had made that mistake with Fernando's tyres and Lewis's?

Ron Dennis:
Well, we can do no more than our best and we are really trying hard and people make mistakes and I am not trivialising it and this perhaps shows that we are all human. As I said I don't think anybody will imagine there is any advantage come out of it at all, but you know there is a rule there and so we broke it and so we have just go to get on with it.

Q: (Anne Giuntini - L'Equipe)
To Ron. Do you think that tomorrow there should be time enough for an extra lap for one of the two drivers?

RD:
I think when we did the analysis in the beginning of the season we thought this was a circuit where we felt a fuel-burn lap was appropriate, but I think that is actually not the case now and I don't think this is a fuel-burn lap circuit, but I haven't asked the question, so I can't give you an answer on it. If there is a fuel burn lap, then we will do what is planned which is laid out in the procedures, but I don't think it is.

Q: (James Allen - ITV)
Ron, I heard a story after China about something to the effect that Lewis was told he is not allowed to celebrate exuberantly or some sort of message going around on what is and isn't appropriate in terms of celebration. Could you clear that up for us and could all three of you give your views on this? What is appropriate for a driver when celebrating?

RD:
I think the important thing is to stay within the regulations. There are regulations that govern the post-race procedures and I think the important thing is that we are in a heightened atmosphere of compliance, let's put it that way, and it was quite clear that we were told to please strictly adhere to the regulations.

Q:
Flavio and Jean. What are your feelings on that? Do you have any thoughts on these celebrations on the podium?

JT:
It depends on the situation and the emotion is not something you have to guide, you have to control that. Normally if you are on the podium, it is such a pressure and a moment of attention and the tendency is that you forget everything around you and you just feel happy and deliver and that is about it.

Q: (Ian Parkes - The Press Association)
Ron, we understand the FIA official is going to be in the McLaren garage tomorrow overseeing things. Bernie Ecclestone said today that he felt it was unnecessary for that person to be there. I just wondered how you felt about it personally?

RD:
Well, first of all I made contact with the FIA representative in Spain and met him and his colleague, his assistant, and invited them here because there is obviously a firm belief in Spain that we are not being equal handed and that is contrary to the fact. I felt that it would perhaps defuse the situation and we did, we meet on Wednesday morning and had a perfectly amicable conversation and I said to make sure there is no inability to communicate, that Pedro would translate for them and they can ask any question and we will give them an honest answer. I think there is going to be an additional scrutineer in the garage tomorrow. As far as I am concerned he can wear a headset and he can do anything he wants. It only makes it even more transparent and more apparent to everybody that we are only doing what we said we would do and I have no problem with it, but the people said are you offended? or upset? and it is just not relevant to us. We just get on with our job and be judged by the results of the race and, hopefully, it will be a good fair outcome and nobody will have any complaints.

Q: (Alan Baldwin - Reuters)
Ron, yesterday we saw Lewis and Fernando looking very relaxed and smiling and looking like they are the greatest of friends again. Nobody actually asked Fernando yesterday how his relationship with you was. Has that improved?

RD:
To be honest, I have tried to step back from both drivers in this very difficult situation and I have tried to be even handed and available to both of them and you know I'm trying to make sure they their engineers and the rest of the team are dedicated to their cars and understand the sensitivities that exist and we just do a good job. So I am available to anybody at anytime but I am not going to push myself into any situation I am just being even handed and again I can only be judged by my actions and I am prepared to be just that.

Q: (Byron Young - The Daily Mirror)
Ron, can I make it clear as it is a bit difficult to hear back here because of the cars outside, but is it right that you said that Lewis has been told that he is celebrating too much?

RD:
I never said anything like that or you have got selective hearing.

Q:
I thought that was the question..

RD:
No, that wasn't the question. I think the question was had the FIA issued any specific instructions to the team in respect of the post-race behaviour of our drivers. That was the question. Correct? Or specific Lewis? And my answer was that the FIA had advised us to strictly apply to those regulations that were applicable after the finish of a Grand Prix and gave some examples of things they would not be comfortable with...

Q:
Could you let us know what those are?

RD:
Inappropriate...

Q: (Ed Gorman - The Times)
Were they all things that are laid down in the regulations or are there some things that are specific things about Lewis?

RD:
I don't want to make a big issue of this. They were simple things that they said they would prefer it if we were mindful of being appropriate to happen and I suppose their thoughts were the youthful behaviour that Lewis may have if he had been in the fortunate position of having won the world championship, very mindful of the very hyper-sensitive environment in which we are competing at the moment and I had no problem in being asked to ensure that we were in strict compliance of the regulations. It was not directed at me it was directed at our team principal and team manager and I am cool and relaxed about it as I am about many of the other things that come our way at the moment.

Q: (Heather Alexander - BBC Radio 1)
Speaking to some of the Brazilian fans they tell me that they still miss Ayrton Senna. This is a question for everyone. They miss him here as a driver. Could each of you speak about the legacy of Ayrton Senna and what he still means to Formula One?

RD:
Following his death, I personally realised I was going to be asked a lot of questions and I have been asked this question before and I think I would rather give the same answer which is that I had a private and personal relationship with Ayrton. We shared a great time together and I wouldn't have been surprised if things had unfolded that he wouldn't have come back and driven for McLaren, but at the time I said I am not going to share anything with anybody because I think it is the wrong way to go. It is too personal, less emotional than it was then, but still too personal. He was a phenomenal driver and a tremendous human being and it was a privilege for him to be in our team and obviously he won all his world championships in our team and in our cars and we miss him whether it is when we think of him here or even in any other place in the world and that is as elaborate as I would like to be.

Flavio Briatore:
When you lose somebody like Ayrton, especially in the way it happened to him, surely it was very emotional and I remember at Imola... Senna was so good in everything you thought he would be in Formula One forever. Nobody could believe it, that Senna could have such an accident. For us Senna was somebody really... I never had any relationship with him because he was driving for Ron and then afterwards for Frank, but for Formula One Senna was somebody incredible. He had an incredible personality, incredible fans and he was really a big star, like we had never had before. But it was a shock. All weekend was a big shock in Imola. I am sure the Brazilians miss him very much and people in different nationalities in Formula One miss him too.

JT:
Ayrton was a legend, like Fangio was a legend, Jim Clark was a legend and you cannot forget them and of course when you go to Brazil the first driver you think about is Senna and unfortunately he is not here anymore as a living person and he will always be remembered as a hero and I feel it is rightful word for him.

Q: (Niki Takeda - Formula PA)
Question to all of you. Would you like to have Fernando Alonso in your car, not necessarily in 2008, but in the future? And in the case of Ron, I have to re-phrase that: would you like to keep him in your car?

RD:
I'm faced with the most difficult question, aren't I? The reality is I can only give you the same answer. Fernando has a contract with our team, this was the first of three years and we said last week, two weeks ago, four weeks ago, that we aren't going to have any dialogue with any of our drivers about whether they may or may not wish to stay in our team until after this Grand Prix. That's the only answer I have. The results speak for themselves this year. He's obviously a great driver and a great talent, so I don't think any team would not recognise that, but as regards our own position, as I said, it's not under any consideration - the future of any of our drivers - until after this weekend. We are concentrating on the World Championship.

FB:
Fernando is with McLaren, like Ron said, he's under contract and he's with the team. I've already had him in my car. I had four or five years with Fernando and then he decided to move from us to McLaren.

JT:
He's a great driver. You don't achieve World Championships twice in a row, competing for the third time in a row, but at the moment it's not a question we have to answer. He has a contract and we have contracted drivers with us, with whom we are very happy. We just announced an extension with Felipe.

Q: (Ian Parkes - The Press Association)
Ron, I appreciate the answer you just gave then about Fernando and his contract situation. Looking beyond the final race, if he came to you and said 'I would like to leave' would you agree to that, or are you somebody that holds a driver to their contract?

RD:
I can only give you the same answer. I'm not going to talk about anything about the drivers until it's an appropriate time and that's certainly not here, certainly not this weekend. It may be in the future, but the future is just that, so that's the best I can do for your answer.

Q: (James Allen - ITV)
Can you clear up the issue of the tyre temperatures in the final run in Q3 in China. Fernando said again yesterday that they were a bit high and he didn't know about that at the time. Can you clear up whether that is the case?

RD:
You can't just do a yes/no answer to that, so I will try and give you an understanding and it will be interesting to see if Jean and Flavio have the same point of view. A racing tyre is a very challenging thing to understand. The pressures on a racing car's tyre are influenced by several things. The first thing about China is that it was incredibly humid throughout the entire weekend, which means that keeping the humidity out of the fitting cycle, out of the cleansing cycle, purging cycle was very difficult, so maintaining consistency in tyre pressures through their heat range is very difficult. Second thing is, no tyre is pre-set to the pressure at which it runs on the circuit. You are trying to determine how much more pressure a driver is going to put into the tyre on the out lap and you target that and virtually every tyre goes out with a different pressure to each other depending on where it is on the car and then you project, based on your experience in practice, where the tyre is going to finish in its given one lap and then coming in on a cooling lap. So you are targeting something which is an inconsistent and I would say that the ability of our engineers to get our tyre pressures absolutely to within a tenth of a pound when the cars come in after qualifying they probably achieve it less than 10 per cent of the time because of the intense variables.

So all of the tyres that came in on both of our cars were out of the optimum pressure target that we had set for them. Is it true that they were a bit high on our tyres? The answer is yes. Were they abnormally out of target in relation to the challenge? No. If, as we were able to analyse, the performance between the two cars, there was below five-tenths of a second difference between the drivers qualifying, two and a half tenths were fuel difference because Lewis was fuelled lower and most of the time that Lewis made up on Fernando was at two specific braking areas, one in which he picked up nearly two tenths of a second and the rest of the lap took care of the rest. So the difference in lap times was fuel load and specific points on the circuit where Lewis did a very good job on braking. And they are the facts, the absolute facts. Maybe not what Fernando felt when he got out of the car, but I feel sure he understands now.

Q: (Byron Young - The Daily Mirror)
Can I just ask a rider to my question just now. May I ask Jean or Flavio if they have seen this guidance about drivers' celebrations?

JT:
It is the first time I have heard about it and I have no comment to make as I have never heard of any kind of special rules for the podium.

FB:
I have the same opinion as Jean. I just heard the news.

Q: (Niki Takeda - Formula PA)
To all of you. If you have the choice between a very unhappy, but brilliant driver in your car or a happy, brilliant driver in your opponents' car, which would you choose?

RD:
I struggle to understand the question.

Q: (Niki Takeda - Formula PA)
Would you rather have an unhappy brilliant driver in your own car or see him happy in your opponents' car?

RD:
Our objective as a team is to win every race and how we win is very important to us. But it is not win at all costs.

FB:
It is very difficult to make everybody happy. Sometimes you have a difficult situation in the team. We are competing and the drivers are competing. Don't forget that the first opponent of the driver is the other guy in his team. I think it is so difficult to have everybody happy.

JT:
We always try to achieve excellence and that is to have everybody happy in the team including drivers, management, engineers and the mechanics and that is what we try to do. You cannot do it all the time, but it helps if you have continuity and people are happy.

 

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