Brazilian Grand Prix FIA Friday press conference transcript with Ross Brawn (Ferrari technical director) Patrick Head (Williams director of engineering) Christian Horner (Red Bull sporting director) Pat Symonds (Renault executive director of ...
Brazilian Grand Prix FIA Friday press conference transcript with
Q: Christian, Dietrich Mateschitz, the owner of Red Bull, says he's only going to stay on for another three years; does that threaten the future of the two teams?
Christian Horner: Certainly Dietrich is a very young 62-year old, he's a very active guy and obviously heavily involved in the Red Bull business and across its global marketing platform. Formula One is a key part of that strategy. His commitment to Formula One is for at least the next five years, which is the length of the new Concorde or FOM agreement, so I think in the short term, it certainly won't have any affect on our plans or aspirations and Formula One is something that's key to the marketing goals and ambitions and targets and we have a medium and a longer term strategy which is the foreseeable future, so I don't see it having any direct impact and three years is a long way away.
Q: What do you think you've achieved this year with Red Bull Racing?
Christian Horner: I think that this year has really been about consolidation. We changed the technical group and a lot of factors within the company during the last twelve months and really this year has been a settling down period with that group coming together, working cohesively and it's obviously been a slightly frustrating year on circuit. We've had issues that took a little bit of time to get on top of and ultimately some time ago, we made the decision to really focus all our attentions behind Adrian and what will be his first Red Bull car next year. There are a lot of good things in the pipeline and I think that this year we've really consolidated where we are and that group is now working together as a cohesive unit and I think we should start to see the results of that, hopefully in Adrian's first car for us next year.
Q: Looking ahead to next year, there are a lot of possible changes in the pipeline in Formula One in other teams, so would you expect to capitalise on that?
Christian Horner: Formula One is an extremely competitive business and we were up against some formidable opponents, but I think we have a strong technical group, we have good assets within our facilities now. We have a good driver line-up for next year, all the core ingredients are there. That doesn't obviously guarantee an instant strike rate or instant success but I'm certainly a believer that this is a people industry and you put the right people in place, give them the right support and hopefully results will follow on from that.
Q: Patrick, busy day for you, a new sponsor announced for next year.
Patrick Head: It's obviously good in terms of partnering with a big company like that; it's obviously good financial assistance for the team and we obviously both... in terms of a very variable and generally rather poor performance and then added to that, very poor reliability on average this year, it's quite tough persuading people that they should invest in your future and so it's encouraging that that should happen in that environment.
Q: Then Alex Wurz set fastest time this afternoon; there's a rumour that you've got a 20,000-rpm engine this weekend; did he have one of those engines?
Patrick Head: No, the Cosworth engine - as has been the case since the beginning of the year, although there was a period that we were held back a little bit when they had a small bearing problem - but it's always been capable of revving to 20,000 rpm and obviously when Alex ran at the end of the session, he was running fairly low on fuel and new tyres and running the engine in its highest mode, but we will see times a lot faster than that tomorrow.
Q: And a reported technical department re-organisation within the team; can you tell us about that?
Patrick Head: Obviously it goes on in all teams but it's obvious that we were very disappointed with the results we've had this year and quite clearly, sometimes when you're in a pit without much light at the top and everybody's working like hell and you're not making progress, you've nearly always got to bring in a bit of new blood and so we've had a few changes, both affecting our mechanical design side and our systems support, and our aerodynamic programme, but you can hardly expect a team, having the sort of results that we've achieved this year, to sit there and change nothing.
Q: Ross and Pat, questions really for both of you: it's a vital weekend for you both, can you tell us how you approach this weekend, if anything's different at all or is it all the same?
Ross Brawn: No, just the same as previous weekends, there's nothing different. We know what we've got to do and there's a certain part of the equation which is out of our control but that part of the equation will only become relevant if we do our job as well, so to have any chance, Michael's got to win the race, and then we've got see what Renault and Alonso can do. But it's not changing our approach to the weekend.
Pat Symonds: It's exactly the same for us. Our whole philosophy for this weekend was to come here and try and do the job that we've done all year, really, and we believe that that... or we certainly hope that that will be enough. I think that in some ways Ross has got a slightly easier way of getting to the target. There's one way of achieving what Ross wants to achieve and we have multiple ways of achieving it so we've got a little bit more to manage, during the race particularly. In terms of approach, it's business as usual, I think.
Q: Michael Schumacher is leaving Formula One this weekend; you've both had an affect on his career, he's perhaps affected your careers as well. Give us just some insight as to how you've seen him develop over the years.
Pat Symonds: I guess I can really only talk from the inside up to a point of ten or eleven years ago, and in those early days, yes, we saw him develop, but he started from such a high level as well. Ross knows a lot more about how he's developed over the last ten years but I think that from the outside, what I see is just this incredible dedication that he has and no loss of enthusiasm. It's not just another job that he's been in for years. I think that's pretty fantastic.
Ross Brawn: I guess changes are quite gradual so it's sometimes difficult to notice them but I think to summarise Michael, the thing that struck me the other day that's quite outstanding is that he's never had a bad period. He might have a bad race - I think every driver has a bad race - but he's never had a period when you think he's not performing terribly well. He's always performed at top level all the time. Sometimes the races go well for him, sometimes they don't but you get a footballer who goes through a bad spell or you get sportsmen -- a golfer -- goes through a bad spell. I can't remember Michael actually ever going through a bad spell. He might have the odd race or very rarely two races that don't work for him, but the fact that he's been so consistent at the top, has featured in virtually every World Championship, challenging for it or being close for the whole of his career is really outstanding and I think that's a measure of Michael Schumacher, and I'm sorry to see him go, but I'm delighted that he's finishing showing the strength he has this season, and the competitiveness he has this season.
Q: A final question for you both, about engines this weekend; I think all four cars have got new engines this weekend, and of course, they've only got to last one race, so having said you approach the race as normal, how much are they just one race engines?
Ross Brawn: Pat can go first this time.
Pat Symonds: In our case, not at all. We've actually got two different specs of engines in the car. Giancarlo has got an E-spec and Fernando a D5-spec. The E-spec is slightly better but it's really a very small difference. Our approach is that the performance is there, we will use it if we need to, we won't use it if we don't need to, and this really is our approach every weekend.
Q: And what did he change from and to this morning before practice began?
Pat Symonds: It was from one D5 to another D5. It was a simple problem that was found on the dyno last night and just as a precaution we changed the engine.
Ross Brawn: Over the life of two race engines, we have a certain number of higher rev laps you can do and they are generally spread over two races. I think all of us run low revs in practice, run medium revs in a race and then high revs in qualifying, and occasionally higher revs in a race if you need them. Of course, having a one race engine, those higher revs are available over one race instead of two, so if we need to, there's a greater opportunity to run revs, but like Pat said, we won't do it unless we have to and we've always taken that approach: you don't use the revs unless you have to but we know they're there if we need them.
Q: And the Suzuka problem?
Ross Brawn: The Suzuka problem was a one off, we hope, and it was a failure of the top end of a valve where it connects to the collets around the pneumatic piston; nothing we've seen before, so we've been super-vigilant -- we always are -- but super vigilant on the build of these engines to try and make sure that we can avoid the problem occurring again but we don't have a complete explanation for what happened.
Continued in Part 2