Monaco GP: Thursday press conference

Present: Patrick Faure (CEO RenaultF1) Paolo Martinelli (Ferrari head of engine development) Adrian Newey (McLaren technical director) Tony Purnell (Jaguar CEO premiere performance division) Q: Tony, you've recently taken over the whole Jaguar...

Present:
Patrick Faure (CEO RenaultF1)
Paolo Martinelli (Ferrari head of engine development)
Adrian Newey (McLaren technical director)
Tony Purnell (Jaguar CEO premiere performance division)

Q: Tony, you've recently taken over the whole Jaguar and Cosworth operation -- PPD -- to what extent are you rebuilding the Jaguar team?

Tony Purnell: Well, the foundations for rebuilding the team were put in place over Christmas. We did a pretty wholesale change of the senior management and now it's a process of refinement that is ongoing because in Formula One if you stand still, you're dead.

Q: How long do you think that rebuilding process really takes to get, say, to the position of Ferrari?

TP: Well, people told me that it took Ferrari eight to ten years to get from the depths to the heights so that seems a reasonable time frame to me. I can't imagine that we will be very much quicker but hopefully we can just make steady progress as the years roll by.

Q: To what extent is the long term signing of Mark Webber involved in that process?

TP: A little bit of a cornerstone. Mark reflects the philosophy of the team in that he's straightforward, honest, hard-working and he's at the top through achievement and we want that message throughout the team, and having the centre of attention -- and the drivers always are the centre of attention -- reflect the philosophy that you want within the whole organisation is very, very nice, so we're delighted that he's staying with us for the foreseeable future.

Q: So he's a cornerstone of the team - could he become a team leader in that way?

TP: Well people often ask me if he's the next Schumacher, with a team built around him. I wouldn't have thought so, but it would be a very nice outcome and I wouldn't complain if history recorded that he was the second Schumacher.

Q: Now what about the car's position. Where is its evolution and how much more is there to come from it?

TP: I think with the engine we're probably about there for the rest of the season. It's beginning to look quite reliable and we've got a major change for next year, so we have to change our development philosophy. With the chassis, of course, we've got lots of bits to come but the crying shame is that all the other teams have lots of bits to come so while I'm confident we'll have a better car by the end of the season I'm confident that everybody else will as well so we'll have to see. That's what the competition is all about.

Q: Adrian, first of all, the new car has finally appeared. Why did we have to wait so long for it?

Adrian Newey: I think we probably underestimated the difficulties of manufacturing a new car at the same time as racing the existing one plus there's some new technologies, new manufacturing techniques in the new car which we haven't done before and that's been a learning curve really, on a production and manufacturing basis almost more than the design. The design has been finalised for some time now and indeed the aerodynamics were finalised, I think, in the middle of February from memory. So, certainly for me it's been frustrating being this long in the birth, but I think we underestimated the difficulty of manufacturing whilst racing the existing car, and the drain on resources that that causes. I don't know, we hope it's worth the wait, I guess.

Q: You were talking about new technologies. Has it been a problem getting this new gearbox operational?

AN: Well the gearbox that was in the car when we ran it at Ricard is really last year's gearbox with minor re-packaging of last year's gearbox to fit the new car's aerodynamics. What we hope will be the definitive gearbox should be running shortly.

Q: The new car did 10 laps one day, 17 laps the next so it would not seem to be a very promising debut. Is that the case?

AN: Well, we had a hydraulic problem on the first day -- well, actually the first and second days - which kept the running right down until we understood that. It was a silly little problem which was easily sorted once we understood it, so it was frustrating that we were right off the mark on that one but once we got running on the third day, we were able to start putting a few more laps in. Unfortunately by then the circuit was reconfigured to be a Montreal simulation and, of course, being a new car we didn't have the wing range so it's really difficult to say very much about the performance of the car at the moment. We're at Barcelona next week and hopefully we can get some proper running done then.

Q: Now Michael Schumacher has dismissed the new McLaren as being nothing out of the ordinary. Would you comment on that?

AN: It depends what you call out of the ordinary, doesn't it? It sounds a bit of a funny comment to me, but I don't know what he meant by it.

Q: Yesterday, David said that this current car has never been particularly good in qualifying -- it's only been on the front row three times, he told us. What is that problem, have you rectified that problem on the new car?

AN: I don't honestly know if we've changed the balance between qualifying and race with the new car compared to the existing car. What we've concentrated on is trying to extract the most performance possible out of the new car. Certainly it's true to say that generally he's raced better than he's qualified. Exactly why that is, I wouldn't like to say. Certainly under the old qualifying rules, when you could do what you wanted to the car, then we almost certainly did less than other people did. Obviously that wouldn't now go to Saturday qualifying where you're not allowed to change the car prior to the race then that's not the case any more.

Q: Patrick, you recently changed the philosophy of your engine design for the future. Can you just outline that first of all?

Patrick Faure: Well, very simply, it took us more time and more work to have the reliability on the engine with the wide angle and when we had to decide for the 2004 engine with the new regulations, after giving quite a lot of thought in the last three months to this, we have decided to take probably the most reasonable solution which was to come back to a more classical engine which would allow us to quickly have a reliable and powerful engine, with probably less risk being taken on an 800 kilometre per weekend engine. So it's probably an insurance that we took for the future.

Q: Are you happy with these new regulations? Are you able to supply another team, for example, in the future?

PF: Well, obviously we'll be ready to supply another team in the future with three conditions. The first one and the most important one is that we want to have our engine completely reliable and powerful because the first target we have is our engine, for us. When we are ready, we are absolutely ready to supply another team under two conditions. The first one is not to lose money. We don't want to make money, but we don't want to lose so it means selling it at a reasonable price and the second one is that we probably want to be not only a supplier but a partner of the second team, and to be able to have with them a few possible deals on trying some young engineers, young drivers or whatever, so being in a position of partner more than in the position of pure supplier, but we are ready to supply another team, let's say from 2005 or 2006 onwards.

Q: It sounds a very attractive proposition. Have you spoken to any teams yet?

PF: Well some teams started to discuss with us, but we are not ready yet, we want to finalise our engine before thinking of supplying a second one. This is why there will be no second team in 2004.

Q: Now we've also seen Jean-Jacques His change jobs and finally leave the company altogether. What was the connection between the decision and his departure?

PF: Well there was probably a very clear connection. Jean-Jacques probably wanted to continue with this wide angle engine. After lengthy discussions, we thought it wasn't the right way to go. At the end of the day it's the job of the CEO of the company to decide so we have decided the other way and Jean-Jacques took his decision afterwards, which he is completely free to do and on Tuesday we had a farewell drink with him and I think we've leaving on a very good relationship. He has done an enormous job for Renault. We will never forget that. I think he has spent probably the best part of his professional life with Renault, he has said that also. But now he's engaged in a new assignment and I really wish him very good luck.

Q: Paolo, first of all can you give us some indication of what needs to be changed within an engine to race here in Monaco?

Paolo Martinelli: Mainly the calibration for drivability. We have to consider that the course in Monaco is not high stress or continuous wide-open throttle condition but lubrication of other integral parts of the engine. So we try to simulate Monaco testing on the dyno and testing on the track and we try to prepare to our best as usual.

Q: When you look at the performance of the new car in comparison to the old car do you think it is doing as well as you had expected?

PM: We are happy with the new car and with the new engine applied to the F2003-GA and I think we have the potential for further improvement that is the normal way of proceeding. We have to start from a point that may be a step forward and from this position, with the end of the old car it was almost impossible to make another development; with the new car we have some more potential for further improvement.

Q: With the new engine as well?

PM: Maybe yes, from now until the end of the season, but considering also that the challenge for the second half of the season will be more difficult, considering we have to prepare properly in time for 2004 with the change of regulations, so you also have to consider the implications in 2003 to be prepared for 2004.

Q: Now, Renault have two engine teams working leapfrog in a way. Have you got the same sort of thing at Ferrari?

PM: We have not two separate teams, we have a group of staff that is dedicated to medium-term development and some that follow the day by day operation, not two separate organisations but in the organisation of course we have people dedicated to the different subjects.

Q: How difficult is it for you to be working on two programmes at once?

PM: I think this is something different because the step for next year is different to what it has been in the past. We have to double the life of the engine so we cannot wait until November, running the new engine on the dyno for 2004, to be reliable for the first race and we cannot think to use a development of the previous engine to use next year. We have to be ready for 2004 with a new engine with almost double the life, so we have to organise that in the second half of 2003.

Q: Patrick, the FIA has talked about teams supplying customer engines for 10 million dollars per year. Do you regard that as an attainable goal for Renault?

PF: I think that having made our calculations we are maybe more expensive than the other ones probably, but for 10 million we are losing money. In our calculations, to not lose money we should be around 15 million, maybe slightly less, but very slightly. At 10 we are losing money.

Q: Adrian, do you plan to race the new car into next year because now you will only race it for maybe nine or eight races?

AN: Yes, I would say that given there are fairly stable regulations for next year -- the change to the rear wing is the only significant one and I don't think that has a fundamental effect on the design of the car - so I would anticipate that the start of the year will be a development version of the new car. Obviously, we have slight complications with the engine regulation change so there might be a hybrid car with a 1000km engine in it but otherwise the car that we have just introduced.

Q: Tony and Patrick, when the FIA agreed not to ban traction control next year it was on the proviso that the manufacturers supply fully affordable engines for independent teams. Do you believe that will happen next season and do you think there is a threat that the FIA will actually impose a traction control ban because the manufacturers are not living up to their promise?

PF: Well, basically I do not think there is a threat and I don't feel in business we should have threats, we should have discussions and negotiations. Having said that I really think there will be no issue for next year because one of the manufacturers at least has already said they are ready to supply other teams so I think there is no problem to wait until 2005 for a second manufacturer.

TP: I think the term 'fully affordable' is nice and vague and our view is a little bit like Patrick's -- we certainly are not in a position to do anything that is not economical and these engines are terrifically expensive. So I suspect a way might be found, not a technical route because we are not clever enough to produce these engines cheaply.

Q: Mr Faure, about the GPWC negotiations. There have been various suggestions that there could be a settlement fairly soon. Is that your understanding of the situation?

PF: I think we are probably in the last stage of our discussions or negotiations - use which word you like -- between us and the banks and the trust. I really think that in three months either we will have an agreement or we will have the end of negotiations.

Q: Mr Purnell, Mark Webber has been doing very well in qualifying. It is a two part question -- how much have the new rules about qualifying, parc fermé etc played into your team's favour and secondly, can you comment on Mark because he seems to really excel on one lap and hardly ever makes mistakes...

TP: I certainly don't think the rules have played into anyone's favour. It is the same for everybody, and we have had highs and lows. Today was a bit of a low, but it happens and I would like to see (Formula One) perhaps copying the Americans where they clean the tracks when there is an incident. But Mark's a very strong character and I think to do well in this game strength of character helps because you perform on demand and Mark has certainly done that for us so we are very happy.

Q: For Mr Faure, can you tell us where next year's Renault engine is being designed?

PF: Without any doubt in Viry.

Q: Can you tell us who the designer is then?

PF: Well, the designer, the team, which is already in Viry today, is designing right now the 2004 engine and I suppose you want to talk about the small team at Enstone that is also working on the engine side. It is really a small team of 15 people who are helping us in some areas and they are under the responsibility of somebody in Viry who will stay in Viry, so it is really a help on some precise points and it is in no way a sign of the fact that Viry will go to England. Viry will stay in Viry, don't worry.

Q: Tony, after all the stuff that happened in Barcelona, how is Antonio doing. Has he settled down now?

TP: I think if you watched him in Austria, his first ten laps of the race or so were pretty damned good, so I think he is speaking for himself and given time he will be a regular well, I wouldn't say front runner, but hopefully alongside Mark.

Q: If other manufacturers were to say, like you, that they cannot supply a team with engines next year and then the FIA would then insist on traction control being banned, how much would that cost you to ban traction control?

PF: Probably the same price as the other teams.

Q: Can you put a sum on it?

PF: No. I don't want to.

Q: Mr Faure, you said you thought there would be an answer from the GPWC within three months, do you have a gut feeling whether that would be a yes or a no?

PF: It is fairly difficult to say when you are in the middle of discussions if it is going to happen or not. I personally do hope that everybody is going to be responsible at finding a good solution for making sure that the future of Formula One is there for 10 or 15 more years now. This is what I hope but you never know what happens. The only thing I can say is that I think that at least two of the parties involved are really willing now to find a good solution for the future, so it depends probably on the third one to know if we can arrive at a good solution, the third one being the banks, obviously.

Q: To Patrick and Tony, what is the state of discussion between the engine manufacturers and the FIA regarding the customer engine for next year? Are you trying to persuade the FIA to raise their price limit? Is there any negotiations going on now?

PF: As far as I am concerned, no.

TP: No formal negotiations are occurring at the moment.

PF: I really don't think that somebody can impose on a manufacturer a price to deliver an engine to another team. It is not the way you do business. We won't sell an engine for 10 million.

Q: Tony, obviously you do most of your work at Cosworth and the Jaguar factory, but how much is Ford involved with the overall design and input of the car.

TP: Ford as an owner is really pretty good. They leave us to get on with it but say if you would like our involvement in any aspect of the car or you want to use any of our facilities then just ask and we will try and lay out a programme. I am pretty happy. They certainly don't interfere and they certainly don't force their will on us. It is very much a pool relationship. If we want it, they will supply it, and I am very happy with the Ford people.

-fia-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Mark Webber , Adrian Newey , Paolo Martinelli
Teams Ferrari , McLaren