Australian GP: Friday press conference

Present: Team principals Flavio Briatore (Renault) Eddie Jordan (Jordan) David Richards (BAR) Peter Sauber (Sauber) Paul Stoddart (Minardi) Q: Gentlemen, we've had all of one day of the 2004 season. What are your impressions of your own team...


Team principals
Flavio Briatore (Renault)
Eddie Jordan (Jordan)
David Richards (BAR)
Peter Sauber (Sauber)
Paul Stoddart (Minardi)

Q: Gentlemen, we've had all of one day of the 2004 season. What are your impressions of your own team performance, of the new regulations, of other teams' performance, particularly some people who seem to be rather far ahead of everyone else?

Eddie Jordan: Pretty disappointed, I suppose. I think the way the series is now, this business that we used to use in years gone by of very little fuel on the Friday one run, that probably is no longer evident, but we'll see tomorrow. I think it's not necessarily an important thing to do, so I think the times from Friday are still a bit of a mystery, because you don't know what people are actually trying to achieve by Friday at this stage. My opinion is that... I didn't really look at any other teams apart from my own and I wasn't particularly happy with what I was seeing so there's certainly room for improvement tomorrow and hopefully we can find some.

Paul Stoddart: I think pretty much the same as Eddie: a bit disappointed with our performance today, certainly the gap between the top of the grid and the bottom of the grid has become even bigger. I probably shouldn't be too surprised about that, but we thought we'd found quite a bit over the winter but clearly we've got a bit more work to do. It will be even more interesting tomorrow to see how these new qualifying procedures work because they worry me quite a bit as well.

Q: David, Jenson's performance was obviously encouraging and then perhaps there was disappointment. I don't know what happened...

David Richards: No, nor do I. No. I've been in meetings since then so I'm just texting someone to try to find out. No, reasonably encouraged by that so far.

Q: What about Ferrari's performance at the front there, the general structure of today, how did it go do you feel?

DR: Well, clearly Ferrari's performance was very, very impressive, but let's wait and see where everyone is when we're actually running for the grid tomorrow afternoon.

Q: So are we being a bit premature if we...

DR: No, no, I don't want to undermine... it's obviously a very quick car and obviously they've obviously done a very impressive performance and probably even if we drained all the fuel out I suspect we might not be able to get those times but nonetheless, let's wait and see what happens tomorrow. I think today is rather a strange day. You're never sure what anyone's running and what strategies people are working to and even tomorrow afternoon people I guess will still be speculating, what laps everyone is going to stop on, so in many ways, it's not the clean way it used to be with qualifying with low fuel etc. It is quite confusing. If it's confusing for us, it must be very confusing for the spectators out there.

Q: Perhaps the next question is should it be confusing for the spectators out there?

DR: Well that's the bigger debate, that's the bigger debate. Have we overcomplicated the sport or do people like this slight mystique about it. What is going to unfold on Sunday, because that does create that question and maybe that is a valid way of looking at it.

Q: Flavio, what are your feelings about today?

Flavio Briatore: Not bad, not good, normal. Like David said, Friday is the testing day. I'm very happy with the performance of the car on long runs, more than one timed lap, because one timed lap today means nothing. What we have been doing today is preparing the car for tomorrow. We're happy with that. Our car on the long runs was very, very quick and this was good for Friday because now we can concentrate on the race Saturday and Sunday. I don't think the people are confused because Friday is the testing day, there's no qualifying. It's different from last year. Last year you had qualifying but now you are only testing. What are you doing? You are preparing the car for tomorrow, logically, and I'm quite happy with this. We're close to Williams, to McLaren. This is very good. If all the team are close like this, it is very good for the championship anyway.

Peter Sauber: My team was not so bad today, but it's very difficult to speak about performance after Friday practice.

Q: You've got a strong couple of drivers; what about the possibility of a third driver for you?

P.Sauber At the moment, it makes no sense for us. We don't have the infrastructure to drive with three cars properly.

Q: Eddie, did you feel there was an advantage with a third car today? Did you gain an advantage?

EJ: Our philosophy on a third driver is that Jordan has to go back to where Jordan got its best results from and that was developing and creating. It's something with the idea of young drivers and young engineers, and if you're going to do that, well you'd better take full advantage of it. Yes, of course, Peter is right. There's a significant cost in the running of a third car but we will gain out of it as the season goes on. It's difficult to say. To say what you actually get at any one given moment, probably at this moment in time gives a complete novice driver a bigger advantage than perhaps the team, because he's thinking about himself and the car but in Timo Glock, the driver we're making reference to, it is part of the education that is so vital to prepare for a quality race-winning Formula One driver these days. It's not like when Michael came into it and immediately he got the chance. There's a lot of very experienced drivers in Formula One and if we've ever going to bring up the level of the young drivers we have to stand up and give them a chance, and to be honest, I think it's teams like Jordan and Minardi and of course Peter in the past that have given these young drivers the chance I don't think that will change, that's the way it should be.

Q: What is your situation with a third driver Paul?

P.Stoddart: We had one here. As you all know, we announced Bas Leinders as our test and reserve and Friday driver but sadly, as we've now gone under super-licence rules - this is a big chance from last year, last year, I could have given him permission, he has his National A, he's done thousands and thousands of miles in open wheel racing -- that's now taken away. I tried to get the super-licence quickly, wasn't able to, so the guy's got to get back on a plane now and go and drive a Grand Prix distance in Italy and come back for Malaysia. I think we made a lot of mistakes by changing the regulations last year. We had a massive change, everybody got used to them, it was deemed to be a success overall and then we go and change the whole lot again. I just can't see the sense in it.

Q: But according to FIA releases, a lot of changes were made at the demands of the teams.

P.Stoddart: Well, the changes were made at the demands of some of the teams, and some of us in that meeting did not vote for those changes but like in any democracy, we have to accept them. If we're outvoted, we are outvoted and in that case, we were. The Friday testing for us, last year, really, really worked and I think it's fair to say that everybody sitting up here would have joined it this year and yet we didn't have that opportunity.

Q: David, how good was your third driver, Anthony Davidson for you today?

DR: Anthony is an integral part of the team. He's been a part of the team for some time now, he's tested all last year with us, and all through the winter, and provides great feedback and we have a very good relationship with Jenson and Taku, so it's very helpful.

Q: You had benefit from him today?

DR: Oh, I'm quite certain of that.

Q: Flavio, you're not running a third driver, but last year you were. Would you go back to last year's rules?

FB: The rules are these ones. I would like to go back to '93, '94 and '95 but it's impossible. We need what we have now and to look in the future. This is the past. It doesn't make any difference what you prefer, because it's not possible any more.

Q: Peter, is the possibility of a third driver for you later on in the season?

P.Sauber Yes, it's possible.

FB: Can I drive for you?

Q: And who is it likely to be? Will it be Neel Janni?

P.Sauber No, that makes no sense. When we drive with the third driver, it's important that we have a driver with experience who has the knowledge of the circuit. Badoer, for example. It could be.

Q: Eddie, back to you, how difficult has it been with Georgio Pantano learning the circuit?

EJ: Absolutely. I think any young driver, and particularly a driver who's just signed a contract two weeks ago, with the limitations of the testing that was able to be done before the cars came here, the more mileage you get, you know that the better the situation is going to be, but we're not the master of our own destinies. That was a choice I made, I know when I was signing him that we would suffer the penalty for the first couple of races, but Georgio is a seriously professional, and anyone who has CVs like what he's done in karting and winning Formula Three championships and races that he's won in F3000, he deserves his crack at Formula One, there's no doubt about that, but it is a daunting prospect, current Formula One for a young driver, coming in now. Unlike years ago, there are so many gadgets, there are so many things to remember and you know there are going to be more pit stops too, so coming in and out of the pits. Today, he made a classic little mistake, he was two kilometres over the 60 kilometre pit lane speed limit and he was fined seriously and... I'll say no more. You don't like it.

Q: And that hurts.

EJ: You don't like it.

Q: Paul, situations regarding engines, cheap engines. Just give us the situation as it stands at the moment.

P.Stoddart: Short version goes something like this: You all remember last year traction control was going to be banned. We had a meeting on 29 April with all the team principals and in attendance with all the technical directors as well together with Max. An agreement was made, an absolute agreement, to provide the commercially affordable engine and thus far it's not been implemented. And no matter how you look at that it doesn't make it easy for the teams that rely upon the customer engines. Much was said last year about the fighting fund, much was said about cheap engines. All I think that people like me would like is for those promises to be honoured. It was a contractual commitment and all I would say is that I would like to see the manufacturers sort out their lives and particularly on the engine issue bring this to a conclusion.

Q: How close is it to a conclusion?

PS: That's perhaps a question best answered by them, but I think it's fair I don't believe it's all of them; we are very clear here that people like Ford have been tremendous supporters of us through their engine, Cosworth, people like Renault have been supportive of the independent teams and supporting our plight, but perhaps those at the other end that actually have all the money seem to be holding up. At least that's what I'm told.

Q: David, different subject. You've spoken about the tobacco legislation and I don't know if you have had a word on the European arrest warrant as well, but those are two things that I think concern you at the moment. Perhaps you can tell us your concerns and what is happening there?

DR: The direction that concerns us at BAR is the situation to do with - it's specifically the UK legislation in respect of tobacco. Just to clarify the point, we are not complaining because the fact of the matter is that the BAT had already voluntarily agreed, as had all the other tobacco companies, to withdraw sponsorship until the end of 2006. But the way the legislation has been drafted in the UK will effectively mean that we couldn't carry any advertising in places like China, Bahrain, Malaysia, where it is legitimately allowed after July 2005. Now, that puts enormous pressures on our team in terms of the financial structure of the team, the business, and the income sponsorship. That's what we are trying to get clarified and I firmly believe it's just an administrative issue inside the way that the drafting has been done, I think there is almost an admission of that by members of the government in the UK. And we are hopeful we will get this clarified in the coming months. We will then run to the end of 2006, as was planned, it gives us plenty of time then to have alternative streams of income in place and resolve matters.

Q: Flavio, one of your things has been cost cutting. Are you happy with the measures that have been taken? Are you still looking for more cost cutting?

FB: We spend more, I don't think was ..... Nothing happened. I believe in the future the fact we have one engine for weekend we go in the right direction. For me, talking about Renault, we doing chassis and we are doing the engine, if you arrive at one point to have maybe two weekends with one engine is better because sure less pieces you use, the cheaper it is. I believe as well we need, talking about 2006, what we are doing about the engine because now we are at the point we need thinking about something in the future and for me the right way to go is go down in power if you want to saving money....the V8, 2.4 engine, and everybody the same and I think it is the right way. Two weekends. This is for the engine, you are saving a lot of money and in the chassis side depend to us, to have an agreement to spend less because really every time you change any rule in Formula One we are spending more. The fact we take away the traction control -- the launch control -- was not cheap because we are spending more again. Every time we try to stop something, we are opening different windows for doing something else. I believe the team principals needs to sit together really and look at 2006, 2007, 2008. If you are serious, we need to cut the costs dramatically. If not, I don't think when you cut five per cent, we need to cut 50 per cent of what we spend and it's possible to do the same show. Absolutely possible. I was looking in 1994 we spend less than 50 per cent than what we spend now and we have a very good race and I think every team had a good race in 94 and 95. The escalation of the price is completely crazy and between engine and chassis you are talking about 1,000 people and in this way the economy going I think we are going completely (the wrong) direction and one day somebody is hurt, before somebody is hurt, I believe we need to sit together and about this time finalise what we need to do for cutting the costs.

Q: Peter, this year you are using the same specification engines as Ferrari themselves as opposed to the years past. How much has things changed for you running that same specification?

P.Sauber We had some advantages in the past with the old engine but the difference was not so big between the new and the old one. The advantage was we know exactly how many energy go to the water and to the oil and we know exactly the size of the radiators, for example. The engine was very well tested (indistinct) and for sure that was an advantage. Now we have the same engine and when there are problems with the engine then we have the problems too.

Q: Does that mean you are running them more cautiously, more carefully?

P.Sauber Yes, of course.

Q: So more control by Ferrari of the engines?

P.Sauber Yes.

Q: Some questions from the floor, please.

Q: One question for Paul. How much cost your engine for this year? It's been the big deal so far so we would like to know how much you pay your engine for this year?

P.Stoddart: None of us will tell you exactly how much we pay because we contractually can't tell you, but I will tell you it's a multi-million dollar deal and that it is probably more than what I would have hoped it was going to be had the agreement been honoured.

Q: It's a question for Mr Sauber. You now have the same engine as Ferrari and the same gearbox, apparently. Your chassis is very similar to last year's Ferrari, you get the very, very good driver so are you surprised to be nearly two seconds behind the Ferrari today?

P.Sauber Yes, but there are some teams that are one second behind Ferrari, that's also a surprise. Also two seconds, not only we are two seconds behind Ferrari, but the Ferrari were very, very fast today.

Q: Eddie, you have been a key campaigner for fully-affordable engines in Formula One. What's your view on the current situation, the promises that were made on April 29 last year?

EJ: I was hoping that the conference wouldn't sort of just target in on some of the things like that but once you mention it, it has to be addressed or answered. I was sure of the situation that obviously promises were made, documented and in place, and my reference is actually two letters of January when certain manufactures made a commitment to supplying an engine which was the affordable engine of the 10 million euros, if that's what you are talking about. Well, to my knowledge, that has not been honoured. But you know, I'm not going to make a witch-hunt, this is a private matter and I think that this is something that is my obligation to resolve those things and I don't think that we should be talking about an internal issue, as such, between all the teams and the manufacturers because it's not a fight, it's not a private team against a manufacturer's team, it's a matter of finding a solution to resolve it but at this moment in time there doesn't seem to be any solution.

Q: Mr Sauber, you didn't bring a third driver to the practice today. For what reason, didn't you see the advantage or what reason?

P.Sauber I don't understand your question.

Q: You don't bring a third driver. And I just want to know the reason.

P.Sauber I told that before.

Q: I came in a little bit late.

FB: It's not our fault that you are late.

P.Sauber We don't have the infrastructure to drive with a third car.

Q: This is to Eddie and Paul. With regard to cutting costs, particularly with the independent teams, what are your views on being allowed or not allowed to run customer cars, for example next year's or this year's Williams or McLaren?

P.Stoddart: I think the problem with that is simple: you need a unanimous decision within the team principals to get that through. It's something that has been suggested and just like other things it got voted down so it's just simply not going to happen. Could be a good idea, maybe something for the future, but in today's world it's just not a reality, I'm afraid. We will find other ways to cut costs.

EJ: I think two ways of looking at it. I would be quite keen to go and buy Flavio's car but it would be the conditions of the contract that would be the important thing. The devil would be in the detail, and by that I mean I'm not making any suggestions about any team but for Jordan it has to be totally independent, as the word you said is quite appropriate, and by that it means it has to be allowed to win, if it has the chance to win, it must be able to take it and it must be the master of its own destiny at all times. It also has been one of the main reasons that I've probably all endured, we have all endured, pain one way or another. There's two ways of looking at it. I support it strongly, I have no objections to anyone doing it, but I would have to have serious thoughts with myself as to whether I thought it was the right thing for my team, the brand, what I have come into this business to do, and that is I feel that there is something - like the birth of a child - to build a car, to design a car, to create a car, and to try your best to beat everyone else. Whilst at the moment I'm not able to do that I believe I can do it otherwise you would have to stop. But you are either a complete fool or a complete optimist, and I will accept that I might be a bit of an optimist.

Q: Mr Jordan, what about the issue of co-operation between you and the Bahrain international circuits?

EJ: Great question. That's at least a more positive thing and I think that something we can attract. I think these two new races, Bahrain and China, are a huge, huge, asset to our business. They've opened up a complete new territory and area for co-operation and sponsorship. I went not just to Shanghai but I also when to Bahrain to be part of getting ourselves as a team established there and I was able to discuss with the Crown Prince the opportunity of accompanying on a humanitarian mission which he had, if you like, thought about and put together and we have come up with some ideas, he came up with some ideas, and the launch last night was something unique I think where somebody actually takes over space on the car and is less selfish, let's say, and they have an opportunity financially or otherwise to be able to point out and point messages to the world at large. Remember that Formula One still has the biggest platform in TV audience, 350, 400 million you hear great figures. Hopefully we are able to get the car on the telly, I'm not sure after today, but we should be able to get the car and I think the message of the dove of peace is particularly appropriate because there is an association between Australia and Bahrain, they work well together and the first message we wanted to get across to emphasise on what we are all doing on this planet and trying to get some semblance of peace established. So I applaud them, they have been fantastic in this and if some of the other circuits and countries that are providing races they will, I believe, just when Australia came in to do the races here, they did a fabulous job and I'm sure they will too.

Q: Flavio, what are Renault's ambitions this year? Do you think you can actually go for the championship? Are you in that bracket just yet?

FB: We compete to win some race and the beginning is very difficult for us because only Imola we had the final engine, the first race we know was difficult, but the car looked good and this winter we done much more mileage than in the past and with the points, eight points if you are winning, 10 points if you are winning, eight points if you are second, etcetera, etcetera. If you are there every race, at the podium, or close to the podium, why not? I don't know. I don't know. I think so we need race by race what happen, first we need to win the first race and after we see. But I believe it's four or five team basically at the same level, look like Ferrari today was very, very quick but like we said before, we never know the position in one day. I see at least four teams very close.

Q: You mentioned testing, that you've done massive testing. Bernie mentioned that he thinks that 20 races a year would be better and far less testing, maybe only 20 days testing. Would you go with that?

FB: With testing we spend the money, when we are racing we make money because our business is doing racing. Normally, we are doing three times mileage for testing and not racing. I believe this is not only saving in testing, I think so like we said before, we need saving 50 per cent of what we spend now. It's not only ten days or two weeks. More you test, more you spend because it is the pieces more chassis and all this cost you. But I believe the Formula One problem is not only saving 5 per cent or 6 per cent, we need reducing our budget around 40 50 per cent. It's possible doing. I still don't understand why we are not sitting together and doing it because really it's possible doing it and I'm very happy to have a 20 race.

Q: Which teams don't want to save money?

FB: I don't know. A few. Always the same.

Q: You must know from the Formula One Commission?

FB: I'm sure everybody knows. I don't think so only me. Is team make you spend money because if I want to compete with Ferrari, example, doing more than a day of testing. I was very happy to testing only Friday with Jaguar with everybody last year, but we know it was impossible and whenever everybody said was one year deal. Logically, was more logic, if everybody was testing Friday with us. But look like people love spending money and this is the way we are going. I don't know, just at the point when you stop thinking about what we are doing because really if we caught in the test and we have more race and very happy to doing it, everybody is happy to do it like that because our business is racing, it is not testing. Some teams still like doing 40,000, 50,000 kilometres of testing and maybe 20,000 a race. This is completely mad.

Q: Any of the other team owners as well?

P.Stoddart: Simple fact is that the teams at the top are spending so much, whilst the manufacturers have done a great job bringing all these billions of dollars into the sport eventually at some point I think people have got to stand up and take notice of how much money is being spent. Flavio is right, we could easily save 50 per cent, probably more, but it's got to be a full commitment and you are just not going to get that from the teams that have the money. The teams that have the money will keep spending, spending, spending, spending. Why not trying to win the world championship? If you take it away from them one way, they will find another way to spend it. If you try to put some kind of a ban or limitation on certain things, it will be spent somewhere else. It's just how it is. And if you're trying to keep up with them, it's a pretty difficult world.

Q: All three private teams are represented here. With the one-engine rule this year, it should be a lot of savings for the motor manufacturers. Is that saving been passed onto the customer at all, without going into numbers of course? Are any of you getting discounts on your engine deals?

P.Stoddart: Absolutely not. That is what we were talking about earlier on, that we were supposed to, through the one-engine rule and through other things that were given to the manufacturers who said it would cost tens of millions of dollars to lose traction control per engine manufacture, that was to enable a situation so it could be passed on and the commercially affordable engine was what it was all about. Has not happened. Let's hope it does soon.

Q: Do you get a discount on your engine, Peter?

PeSA: Yes, but we have Petronas as an engine supplier and that helps us to save money. About 20 per cent. For us is good.

EJ: It's difficult for me to answer because I'm getting the same engine as Jaguar. In the past I had a year behind so if you compare apples with apples I can't do that but the cost is more, and this is no reflection on the people who are supplying the engine in Cosworth's case, the problem is that a figure that I believed that I had in my cash projections required for this year and the figure that I'm paying is substantially more than what was the 10 million Euro deal. If that's what you are asking, then that's the facts. Whether I'm saving money or losing money or making more money has nothing to do with it, all it is is the cost with a different engine.

DR: Clearly we are in a slightly different position but I think one of the things that comes out of all this discussion is there are a whole raft of issues out there that could easily be addressed, whether it's the engine supply to the private teams, whether it's testing, many other aspects of Formula One need looking at. Whilst we talk about these individually it's far more important we resolve a new Concorde Agreement, we get the GPWC thing sorted out, we move this whole sport forward and move forward in a positive way and that's what our focus should be, not on these individual elements for just getting that next big jump forward and taking it into the future.

Q: That is happening now?

DR: I hope. There have been lots of promises made by the manufacturers, GPWC group, various things, but I just sincerely hope that is actually happening but certainly on the face of it it's moving very, very slowly. Not fast enough for me.

Q: Towards the end of last year there was a government warning about travelling to high-risk areas of the Middle East. What is your understanding of the status of that, and are you all happy with your insurance positions vis-a-vis Bahrain?

P.Stoddart: I suppose I see the security warnings in my other business with airlines and at the moment the risk is, as it is with many other countries, considerable. We live in an age where, sadly since 9/11, terrorism is a real threat. I think we are all very responsible people in the way we look at our security and the way we take precautions but we should not target out any single country; we are at risk anywhere in the world, that is the sad fact of the age we live in post 9/11. I think Formula One proved when it went to Indianapolis so shortly after 9/11 that we are a sporting community that is not going to allow politics and world events of that kind to interfere with the sport. But we are also responsible people and we take necessary precautions.

EJ: From my side, I was somewhat surprised with the government warning - and I don't want to make this a political issue - but my daughter wanted to go to a party last week and she told me it was in Zimbabwe and if you go to the government warnings, there is no government warning about going to Zimbabwe and yet there is to Bahrain. I have been to Bahrain three times in the last couple of months and I don't think you could find a more peaceful, homely place. Now, I think you may be talking about a major event and the opportunity, so whatever applies anywhere, so I'm at a loss as to how these things are actually worked out. It's a confusing situation. I can only say from my personal experience I would be staggered if anyone had the slightest hesitation about going to Bahrain.

Q: Anything further to add?

DR: I think it's all been said.

Q: But you are all happy with your insurance positions?

P.Stoddart: I can certainly speak that we carry war risk and terrorism risk and I suspect everybody else does, it's just standard business practice, and it's not just Formula One.

Q: Just going back to where we started this afternoon about the times that were being set this afternoon and how representative or not they are. I'm a bit confused by what I see and I was just a bit surprised that some of you guys expressed confusion. Can't you give us some insight into what is going? David and Flavio, what were you guys basically doing, were you using today largely to prepare for your configuration tomorrow and then for the race, or were you going for lap times?

DR: We were preparing for the race, it's part of a race weekend and it's part of our whole testing strategy working towards qualifying tomorrow and the race on Sunday.

FB: The same.

Q: So they are representative of the race pace?

FB: Like we said before, Friday now is really the testing day, meaning the testing day is the preparation for the race. Tomorrow we have the qualifying and, you know, we have two different lap, one we call a strategy and one not. Normally, I believe today is the preparation for the race. Today is the day you need to choose the tyre, and the tyre is very important ruling in our race now and you need to evaluate the tyres.

Q: So then it's logical to assume that Ferrari were doing the same?

FB: I hope not.

Q: What benefit would it be for them to go for a lap time?

DR: You have to ask Ferrari that.

Q: Come on, guys, you can give us some insight.

FB: I hope not. Not too quick.

PS: No benefit, Mark, and I think you might have just seen a very quick car out there today.

Q: That's what I'm trying to determine and you guys are supposed to know more than us.

EJ: Don't bet on it, Mark.

Q: Considering that Formula One is facing problems for a few years, you team principals often say that we are altogether to be more focused on show, fun, sport. But for the first Grand Prix of the season this press conference is all about contracts, money, business. Do you think you deserve the media to be more focused on this point?

DR: Good question. Very good question.

EJ: I think you have to ask Bob first because, no disrespect, but the tone of the way the questions were asked didn't invoke a lot of fun and, quite honestly, normally at this stage I would be throwing water at Flavio and he would be doing something nasty to me but the thing is that this particular conference seems to be more doom and gloom than normal and we can't ask the questions for you so if you give us something that we can have a bit of fun with, I'm promising you we give you a bit of fun.

Q: What would you think was a good fun question, Eddie?

EJ: I won't entice you, I'm sorry Bob, you can think up your own.

Q: Why don't you throw some water over Flavio then?

EJ: He's going for a grooming, he's got a sensational new girl for tonight's performance and I think I'll let you in on that later.

Q: Just talking about fun and the sport and the showing sports. Do you guys think that today's show was worth the price of the ticket for the public grandstand?

P.Stoddart: You are a bit lucky here in Australia because the prices are quite sensible and people can come in and I believe, just as we came in, that we possibly got a record crowd today so a lot of people do actually think so. Yesterday was a record crowd and, of course, Formula One wasn't even running yesterday. But I think that's a testimony to Australian Grand Prix for the amount of work they put into making sure we are entertained all weekend.

DR: I think that's a valid point. This event puts on more for the people out there than any other event in the championship, I would say. It does beg the question when you turn up at the certain Grand Prix whether it's just a Formula One race on the day, whether that represents value.

P.Stoddart: And the ticket prices...

DR: I don't have the ticket price, unfortunately I have not had to buy one recently. I think all the promoters are aware of this and I think it's beholden on the teams as well to support them and I think this weekend we are supplying our drivers for autograph sessions and trying to work with the promoters more and more.

FB: Is exactly the same. I don't see the difference between Friday last year and Friday this year. Friday is always like this. I don't know, I believe the public enjoy to see the car, at least we are running the car. At least today the fact we had a third driver in the same team was always ..... But I don't see really the difference between last year Friday, this year Friday. The interesting is tomorrow and tomorrow I believe if you concentrate it's very difficult to keep the event for four or five days, we don't have material for three or four days. I believe if you are doing very well Saturday, Sunday, it's what we need doing. Friday is always ideas, always the people .... For me it was easier on the Friday and only Saturday and Sunday. But really nothing changed from last year because last year was the same, everybody ask Friday's work is work for the public but the same. This year at least we have a very busy Saturday and hopefully a very good race Sunday, like usual.

Q: Thank you very much indeed, gentlemen.


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Anthony Davidson , Eddie Jordan , Paul Stoddart , Flavio Briatore , Peter Sauber , Timo Glock , Bas Leinders , David Richards
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Minardi , Jordan