Korean GP: Friday Press Conference
John BOOTH (Virgin Racing)|
Ross BRAWN (Mercedes GP)
Paul HEMBERY (Pirelli)
Christian HORNER (Red Bull)
Martin WHITMARSH (McLaren)
Q: Paul, can you tell us what is the thinking about the tire choice here and in India as well?
Paul HEMBERY: Here we have come with the soft and super soft. From the information that we saw it is a track that needs compound grip. It is an aggressive choice, we donâ€™t deny that, but from what we saw with the inters running today, the surface is not very aggressive. The wear rates were quite low. Thatâ€™s the reasoning for that. India, being a new track, we have gone with the soft compound and the hard compound. The soft that we have used throughout the season, in every race in fact, and the hard because it is an unknown and it gives us a back-up. It also helps us to prepare for next year. We do need some more data to ensure that we make our choices correctly for next year. These guys are a moving target. They do improve the cars a lot during the season and what maybe was true at the start is certainly not true now. We are seeing they are lighter on their tires from some points of view and more aggressive in others so it is a pretty good challenge.
Q: If tomorrow is going to be dry and Sunday is going to be dry, first of all we havenâ€™t had any running on dry tires, and there were predictions of multiple pit-stops in the race on Sunday. So what do we know?
PH: I think some people were mentioning five or six stops, I doubt that is going to be the case. I am willing to do a private bet on that one with Martin. I think three, four stops yes. Itâ€™s unfortunate, but we cannot control the weather. It would have been ideal for everybody to have run today in some dry conditions. We didnâ€™t manage that. We ran another wet race, a wet morning and more or less afternoon. Martin reminded me quite rightly that we did make a change to the rules this year that the teams do get an extra set of intermediate tires for use over the Saturday and Sunday and that has proven this year to be a correct move as we have had a lot of wet running. We have made a change for the better from that point of view. Going forward, what can you do, as you canâ€™t control the weather? I know last year as well it was a lot of wet weather here so it has been a tough one for the teams for sure.
Q: Finally, the burning question. The Q3 tires. Whatâ€™s your idea. How can you make sure that everyone runs in Q3.
PH: Well I donâ€™t know about idea. We understand why people have maybe not wanted to run, from a sporting point of view, trying to obtain a better result by holding onto a set of tires. From a fansâ€™ perspective it is clearly not ideal. From our point of view, if we can do something we are happy to sit down with the teams and try and find a solution that works for everybody.
Q: Have you got any ideas of your own?
PH: Have we?
PH: Well, we have some ideas but those are obviously imperfect when you havenâ€™t had a two-way discussion. We need to have a two-way discussion and if we can do something then we will try and do the best we can to find a solution going forward for next season.
Q: Whenâ€™s that discussion likely to happen?
PH: We have had a couple. We are having a chat tonight as well with Oliver (Weingarten) and representatives of the Sporting Working Group so thatâ€™s a starting point for going forward.
Q: John, I donâ€™t know how much is happening in the garages themselves but there is quite a big push going on back in the UK for next year isnâ€™t there?
John BOOTH: Yes, absolutely. Pat (Symonds) is back at base building his design team, well finalizing his design team, for development of the 2012 car and, of course, the partnership with McLaren is getting stronger and stronger as we go forward and learn more about each other.
Q: How is that developing? How does that move forward?
JB: Well it is a very, very positive thing for both sides. Both sides are very keen to make it work as well as possible and it will get stronger and stronger. It covers most aspects of race car, not the design obviously, but the theory behind design and the testing facilities and, of course, the wind tunnel eventually.
Q: Do you have a program of what you ask them or is it ad-hoc? What happens?
JB: I am sure Pat is on the telephone every five minutes asking something. There is a program in place and structures are starting to form and itâ€™s becoming a very good relationship.
Q: Is it purely chassis? Is it suspension, aerodynamics?
JB: It covers the full spectrum of the car. Not engine, of course.
Q: I was going to ask about driver line-up, but Iâ€™ve been told there is an answer but it will be fairly short, even shorter than the previous ones?
JB: Same as. We will make that decision towards the end of the year. Jerome (Dâ€™Ambrosio) is doing a fantastic job and the more races he has like the last two, the better for him.
Q: Is that the end of the year or the end of the season?
JB: End of the season.
Q: Right, so we can expect something before Brazil?
JB: Ask me in Brazil.
Q: Martin, 700 grands prix for the team. It must be something you are very proud of.
Martin WHITMARSH: Obviously we are very proud. I think our friends at Ferrari have been around longer than us, but 700 is still an important milestone. I think it is something we are recognizing within the business. It is nice to look back on the 100th, 200th, 300th, 400th cars. It is just a moment of reflection. Apart from that clearly we have got to look forward. It would be nice to think weâ€™ll be here, still alive and competitive in another 700 grands prix time, but it is a great achievement for the team and for the brand.
Q: After last Sunday at Suzuka, is there sort of renewed confidence within the team?
MW: Well I donâ€™t think our confidence was lacking, our pace was on a few occasions, be we always thought we could win. We set out, rather belatedly, to try and catch our friends at Red Bull. We felt we could go into the last five races with an opportunity to potentially win some of those. Delighted, of course, to do so particularly on a great circuit like Suzuka. It was a fantastic win from Jenson (Button). He is driving better than ever so that was great. Weâ€™ve only had a few days to celebrate it, thatâ€™s the trouble with winning the first of a back-to-back but hopefully we will move on from there and be successful here.
Q: This is a question for both you and Christian, looking back at Suzuka. In the press conference on Saturday afternoon, Jenson said â€˜looking at Red Bull Racingâ€™s long runs on the Friday, I think we are in major troubleâ€™ and yet it didnâ€™t seem to turn out that way.
MW: Well, again, you never know fuel loads so we try to be realistic or we always assume they are lugging about 150 kilos of fuel on their long runs. I donâ€™t know if they were or they werenâ€™t. I think also as you improve the balance of the car, as a driver learns how to drive that circuit, I think Jenson in particular did a good job of looking after the tires. It was a circuit where the tire degradation wasnâ€™t linear, they fell off when they were worn. That is an interesting thing. That is not a criticism of our friends from Pirelli. I think it is fact, just as we have here. The challenge for the engineers and drivers now is â€˜itâ€™s the same for all of us, now we have got to try and exploit that the faster cars will tend to put more load, more potential to wear the tires, but, between us, when we have to try and get the right balance, look after the tires, and see how we can exploit that strategy in the raceâ€™.
Q: Christian, whatâ€™s your reply to that?
Christian HORNER: Certainly on the Friday in Japan, McLarenâ€™s single lap performance looked mightily impressive and the opposite on the long run. Our long run pace looked as impressive as McLarenâ€™s short run pace. Of course, you are trying to find a tradeoff between qualifying and the race and the tires have been a challenge this year. A good challenge for the engineers and certainly the behavior of the tire on Sunday wasnâ€™t quite perhaps what we expected certainly from the lessons learned on what we had seen on Friday. It is always finding that trade off and at the end of the race it was fascinating to see three cars split by nothing really once the rate had settled down into that final stint. There was plenty of data, feedback and information to go through following the weekend but it has been a trait of this season that you can sometimes think of a Friday that we are looking in really good shape, or vice versa, and things on Sunday can be quite a bit different.
Q: Going back to the result on Sunday which gave you your second Driversâ€™ Championship, which is fantastic, but what has been the reaction within the team and even from Red Bull themselves?
CH: Well itâ€™s phenomenal. Sebastian (Vettel) thoroughly deserves the championship and to have done it so early, with four races to go, is a fantastic achievement. The level at which he has performed this year has been absolutely huge in terms of the performance, the consistency that he has managed to achieve. Nine grands prix victories, he has had I think four or five second places, one third, one fourth place, it has been a massive performance rate that he has been scoring at week in and week out. Not all of those victories have been runaway victories. If you think back to Monaco, if you think back to Barcelona, there have been a lot of tough victories that heâ€™s had to earn there. But he has been the stand-out driver. The team are hugely proud to have defended his driversâ€™ championship. Of course we celebrated and enjoyed that result in Suzuka with a few fairly poor renditions of various karaoke, but your focus immediately changes to the next target and that target is winning the Constructorsâ€™. Both championships carry equal weight to us. I think to the public the prestige sits with the driversâ€˜ championship, but I think amongst the teams the Constructorsâ€™ in many ways is ranked with equal weight. Immediately focus turned following the Japanese race to Korea after a few bleary eyes appeared on Monday morning.
Q: Does the approach change?
CH: No, not at all. I think our approach this year has been very strong. Operationally we have been very strong. I think tactically we have been strong. Our rate of development has been strong. We have won races where we havenâ€™t expected to be competitive at, such as Monza and indeed Spa, and going into Japan we had won three on the trot so our approach this weekend will be the same as it has been at the previous 14 or 15 races. That will continue all the way through to the checkered flag in Brazil.
Q: Ross, I donâ€™t often spend races in the press room but I was amused to see journalists actually taking pictures of the screens during the Japanese Grand Prix of Michael Schumacher leading a grand prix. The performance oddly enough seems to have improved, in spite of the fact that you have said there wasnâ€™t a huge amount of development coming. But have you been heartened by the performance over the last few races, not necessarily from him but from the team?
Ross BRAWN: We are not where we want to be and thatâ€™s a fact but the guys at Brackley and the team put in a huge effort to maintain where they are. I think from our analysis we are still about the same gap behind Red Bull that we were at the beginning of the season. Now, Christian just talked then about the development rate and the fact that we have managed to maintain that gap I think is a credit to all of our staff as it is not easy and you have seen that some of the teams havenâ€™t done that and have fallen further behind. There is a tremendous rate of progress in Formula One and we have managed roughly to keep up that rate of progress but we have got to make a step change in performance to get where we want to get to. It was heartening to see, slightly artificially of course because of the pit-stops, Michael leading a race, but it was nice to see and certainly from Michael, the last four or five races he has had quite a good run, the incident with (Sergio) Perez in Singapore excepted. But he has done a very, very solid job. It just confirms my view that with the right car both of our drivers can win races and mount challenges so it is for us to produce the car they deserve and we need to produce.
Q: The next grand prix is India. A brand new circuit and no-one knows anything about it. How does a team go about preparing for that?
RB: You do gather a lot of information beforehand. We have got circuit maps, we have got as much information as we can. We are doing simulations, we are doing models. We have got some rough work going on, on the driver simulator. Of course, there is not a huge amount of information available yet about the circuit so we are doing all the prep and all the simulations and modeling that we can do so we can go as well prepared as possible. What you canâ€™t anticipate is the surface roughness, the bumpiness of the circuit. There are various things that you just canâ€™t know about until you get there and you experience it. So just all the normal prep and very similar to what we do at all the other races, except we are lacking a bit of information so we have to make some assumptions.
Q: Because it is an unknown does that give you a better chance of taking on the teams ahead of you?
RB: No. No. I think, if anything, the strengths of the teams come to the fore when they are faced with those sort of circumstances and I think we are pretty strong in that respect. But I think the top teams can all deal with those new challenges more effectively than the less strong teams.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: Fulvio Solms â€“ Corriere dello Sport) Christian, Red Bull won one title - or is it better to say one-and-three-quarter - and your drivers used at the moment six engines of the available eight. Are they going to close the year with seven?
CH: Well Renault donâ€™t give us a refund so we are planning to use all of the engines between now and the end of the year. It is testimony to the reliability, touching wood, that we have had throughout the season that we are in that situation so I think there will be a plan to utilize, probably, one of those engines here and the remaining engine at possibly Abu Dhabi. Thatâ€™s for the engineers to decide. Itâ€™s at their disposal and we will see. Renault have done a great job this year and it is very different to the situation we were in 12 months ago.
Q: (Dieter Renken â€“ The Citizen) Martin, as chairman of FOTA you have been fairly upbeat about the RRA. That it is working, that itâ€™s not broken, and the teams are adhering to it. Yet there continue to be allegations that certain teams, more particularly Red Bull and Mercedes have been pushing the bounds of the RRA. I wonder whether each of the four team principals could give us your views of the RRA, whether it is working and how to go forward on this thorny subject.
MW: I think, firstly, we have achieved quite a lot with RRA. We are pretty good at focusing on issues and concerns but I think RRA has in the way weâ€™ve restricted testing, the way we have restricted the number of operational personnel we have at the circuit, wind tunnel time, CFD timeâ€¦ I know that within our business the spirit and nature of conversations between engineers now, talking about efficiency, the need to do things with a finite level of discourse, I think that is a very healthy level of discussion, very healthy debate, and undeniably RRA has saved money and had been to the benefit of Formula One. Is it perfect? Will it ever be without contention, challenge, suspicion and paranoia? Almost certainly no. Just as technical regulations, sporting regulations, particularly if a team is doing very well or doing a good job it is always a more comfortable assumption to assume they have got a dodgy wing or they have got something else. I think that is the nature and spirit of Formula One. I think we have got to continue to work hard together as teams to see that we can make, improve and refine the RRA. I think it would be a shame for the teams to say this is so difficult, weâ€™ll walk away from it and weâ€™ll turn to a spend-what-you-like culture or spend-what-you-can-lay-your-hands-on culture within Formula One. It is not perfect, there are concerns. What I can say is that I have been reasonably involved with the process, there has been no evidence other than, if you like, the normal paddock gossip or accusation, but there has been no evidence of a breach of the RRA. Each of the teams and team principals continue to assure FOTA that they are abiding by the limitations that are contained within the Resource Restriction Agreement. Bear in mind that although, clearly, there is a lot of media interest we are doing this for one reason. We are doing it for ourselves. We are doing it for the sustainability of Formula One. It is not intended to be part of the show or the spectacle of Formula One. It is an internal process, but I understand people are interested in it and like to speculate if there is some controversy behind it, but certainly my view is it isnâ€™t perfect, there will always be challenge. I think we have got to improve it, I think we have got to work together to enhance trust and mutual respect in the process. Will we ever reach a stage where everyone is very comfortable, has no concern, no accusation? I doubt [that], just as there isnâ€™t with technical regulations in my experience. But I think it has been the right thing for the sport and I think we have got to continue to persevere with it.
CH: I think Martin sums it up very well, in reality. I think that RRA has been a positive thing for Formula One, or a positive thing for our business. Itâ€™s saved genuine cost, taking out testing cost, reducing engine costs to affordable levels, to all of the independent teams. Restrictions on personnel coming to the circuit, the ratio between CFD and wind tunnel time have all been hugely beneficial to driving costs down within the sport. Certainly for Red Bull to compete with teams such as Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, RRA is important with that. Now, inevitably there has probably been more speculation about our team than others, inevitably with performance does come paranoia. Red Bull does favor the RRA being around, but in a way thatâ€™s clear, tangible, policeable and encompasses all of what Formula One is rather than cherry-picking elements of it. I think that all of the teams would agree that the RRA, which came out of the back of the financial crisis at the end of 2008, beginning of 2009, has been the responsible thing to do for the sport and I think that the stage now is that, as the first agreement draws to a close next year, we focus on a new more workable, more transparent agreement for a longer duration potentially, that is clear for all to understand and that doesnâ€™t involve commenting or politicking. Thatâ€™s the most fundamental thing for us and hopefully in the latter months of this year, the teams will be able to achieve that.
RB: I think for us, weâ€™re respecting the RRA but I think itâ€™s at a crossroads, I think itâ€™s at a crossroads because itâ€™s now starting to bite to those three or four teams who have to control their resource to comply. I think thereâ€™s seven or eight teams for whom RRA means nothing because theyâ€™re always going to be below the limit. Now weâ€™re at a stage where the targets that were set are starting to bite into the three or four teams and this is where it starts to get contentious and we havenâ€™t structured it well enough yet to have the controls and checks and reassurances in place that gives everybody comfort and [that] leads to the innuendo and accusations that get thrown around. Weâ€™re total supporters of the idea of RRA, but for us, it has to be much more robust in how itâ€™s controlled, how itâ€™s monitored, how itâ€™s policed, because it is a performance differentiator. You canâ€™t deny that a team spending five million more each year will have an advantage over a team that doesnâ€™t do that, and therefore it has to be very well controlled, very strongly audited and it has to be done by a reference which is the same for all teams, otherwise we have no guarantee of parity, and I think for us, RRA is at a crossroads. We support it totally, but the teams have to come together to find a solution to make sure that weâ€™re all comfortable with the way we go forward or else we will have a continuation of the problems that weâ€™re having at the moment, all the comments, the rumor, the innuendo, the distrust that we have. Christian commented, quite rightly, that the agreementâ€™s coming to an end. Well, weâ€™re working on an agreement that we thought we already had, which doesnâ€™t end for several years, and thatâ€™s the problem that we have at the moment. We donâ€™t have complete unity on RRA and we have to have it, because Mercedes are total supporters of the concept of RRA but it has to be a fair and proper, correctly policed, correctly monitored, correctly audited system which is the same for everybody.
JB: The RRA is very, very important to us. Remember we gave up a lot, together with the other new teams, we gave up a lot in the entry to the sport. We gave up the option B and we gave up the price cap and bought into the RRA wholeheartedly and itâ€™s very, very important to us that it continues and we work towards the agreement. I think a spending formula where three or maybe four teams could thrive is not what people want and we must work very hard to avoid that.
Q: (Alan Baldwin â€“ Reuters) I just wondered if Christian, Ross and Martin could talk about the pit lane exit; we saw Nico going into Alguersuari this afternoon. Obviously itâ€™s not a problem that can be resolved in the space of a weekend but does something need to be fixed on the track, is it safe at the moment?
RB: Well, weâ€™re obviously the ones that got involved in that â€“ I donâ€™t know whatâ€™s happened, but our driver and our team manager are up with the stewards at the moment, presumably having to explain the circumstances behind it. I have to say that itâ€™s a little frustrating that we have that problem on a brand new circuit like this, because if you look at the number of cars that went off at turn one during practice and of course, when we have wet conditions, difficult conditions, I think 20 or 30 cars went off. It was neither driverâ€™s fault, neither Alguersuari nor Rosbergâ€™s fault, but that is the consequence of that pit lane exit. Thatâ€™s what we will live with. Obviously, we will try and help the drivers, particularly during the race. Itâ€™s a little more difficult during practice because cars stop and do practice starts from the end of the pit lane. You canâ€™t always anticipate where they are going to be, but we will try and help the drivers during the race but itâ€™s not ideal.
CH: I guess, as we saw today, as Ross has said, itâ€™s an unfortunate incident and a lot of cars will run wide into turn one and unfortunately when you exit the pit lane and it filters back in at that point, it was a law of averages that an accident was going to happen. Itâ€™s a shame that that one hasnâ€™t been addressed. Itâ€™s good to see that the visibility at the pit lane entry â€“ the wall has been moved back so thereâ€™s better visibility coming in to the pit lane or pit lane entry. Itâ€™s probably impossible to do anything, certainly for this weekend.
MW: Well it can be improved upon and hopefully it will be by the time we come here next time.
Q: (Joe Saward â€“ Grand Prix Special) Ross, you were talking about there being two levels of team; thatâ€™s also true in name changing. You have a bit of a problem going on at the moment with some teams wanting to change the names and others not wanting it to happen. How many brands do you think are essential to Formula One and how many teams should be allowed to change their names just to survive?
RB: Weâ€™ve been fairly ambivalent about the name change. Obviously, weâ€™re a team that has changed its name a number of times over the last 10 to 15 years. In fact â€“ I know itâ€™s a slightly debatable point â€“ but we are also one of the oldest teams in Formula One, because we started as Tyrrell and that is the same company all the way through to now, with some variations of our name. So we donâ€™t have any strong views. I think it would obviously be very very disappointing if a brand of the strength of Ferrari changed its name, but we know thatâ€™s never going to happen and if it suits the commercial purposes of teams to change their name and it helps them survive, helps them prosper, then we should consider it. So we donâ€™t have any strong views and we wouldnâ€™t stand in the way of a sensible proposal. We donâ€™t want anything thatâ€™s perhaps derogatory to Formula One. We wouldnâ€™t want someone naming their teamâ€¦ I shanâ€™t make any suggestions as to what you could call it but we donâ€™t want that sort of thing going on but otherwise we have no strong views.
CH: I think the situation is a tricky one in many respects because there are two sides to it. On one side, it doesnâ€™t make any sense for a team to be called Renault when it isnâ€™t Renault, therefore a name change in a situation like that makes sense. I think that where Formula One needs to be a little bit careful is that the teams are brands and when the promoter is selling Formula One around the world, can sell Ferrari, can sell McLaren and now sell Red Bull Racing and Mercedes â€“ they are all strong brand names. I think itâ€™s something to perhaps consider for the future, that there needs to be more careful consideration given to the names of teams and the mechanism by which they can be changed. As Ross says, if thereâ€™s a logical, sensible reason then why not, but I think we also have to be careful that it just doesnâ€™t end up in a merry-go-round and companies that have the same company number just change effectively [the] entrant name on a yearly or biannual basis.
RB: One thing Iâ€™d add that is unfortunate about Formula One is that if this becomes a judgment call, people start to make judgments on the merit then thatâ€™s fine, youâ€™re entitled to a judgment. Unfortunately, if it becomes a trading position and I guarantee those teams that are trying to change their name will have had approaches from other teams who want different favors paid in order to agree to the name change, and thatâ€™s not correct. I know that happened to us when we wanted to change our name. People sought to get favors from that decision. Thatâ€™s what we mustnâ€™t have. If thereâ€™s a genuine reason why a team shouldnâ€™t change its name, because itâ€™s not in the interests of Formula One, thatâ€™s correct, there should be a proper debate. It needs to be done in an adult way and not used in a divisive way.
MW: I agree with what Ross has just said. Philosophically, I can understand the desire to retain names and Ferrari, McLaren hopefully, proud brands, are not going to plan to change, so I understand that but I think also that weâ€™ve got to recognize that weâ€™re in a commercial environment, I think it makes a lot of sense that for there to be two Lotus teams in the sport doesnâ€™t seem very sensible. The issue that Ross that just raisedâ€¦ I recall, within the last couple of years, when there was a desire to change the team name to Mercedes Benz, how a number of people conspired against that, which was a ridiculous position to take and very damaging to the sport. Hopefully, the established brands are just that, and they would have no motivation to change. I think if it was a small team and itâ€™s going to help them commerciallyâ€¦ there are a lot of teams there whom we talked about there being two tiers, obviously itâ€™s not quite that simple but there are a number of teams for whom itâ€™s a reasonable struggle, to stay in Formula One, itâ€™s a reasonable struggle to generate the budgets to go racing. I think we should encourage them to remain in the sport. As we mentioned earlier, this is the 700th Grand Prix of McLaren, but in that time 107 teams have failed. Now thatâ€™s a sobering thought. I think we should be doing, as a Formula One community, everything we can to help and facilitate teams and as Ross said, if they come up with a clearly silly, divisive name or a name thatâ€™s damaging to Formula One, then we should be able to use good judgment to prevent it, but if itâ€™s clear that the name change facilitates the funding and the retention of that team within Formula One, then we shouldnâ€™t use the polemics and politics of Formula One to prevent it.
JB: Yeah, we are a team that has changed our name this year for commercial reasons, and it was very important for us to have that flexibility, so in general, we are in support of it.
Q: (Gary Meenaghan â€“ The National) Christian, Red Bull have obviously come a long way since 2005; I was just hoping that maybe you could just speak a little bit about that journey and some of the struggles and highlights, also the importance of Abu Dhabi in that journey. In 2009, you won there, to set yourself up for a successful 2010 season and then you obviously won there again last year, to get Sebâ€™s title.
CH: Itâ€™s been an incredible journey in a relatively short space of time. I think McLaren have done 700 Grands Prix, weâ€™ve done about 120 odd. This is only our seventh car. When Red Bull bought what was the Jaguar team at the end of 2004, Dietrich Mateschitz had a vision of what he wanted to achieve and he set that out and spelled that out at a very early stage, internally, and it was a question of getting the right people in place, the right structures, empowering the right people and taking what was there already and developing that, and I think the first few years were building years for the team as we put the right infrastructure, the right facilities into place. Obviously Adrian was a key recruitment, together with other key placements within the team. When the 2009 regulations came along, which were probably the biggest regulation changes in the past 20 years, it was a perfect opportunity for the design team with a clean sheet of paper to demonstrate what they were capable of. Obviously 2009 was a strong year for the team, certainly the second half of the year was a tremendously strong period for the team and we managed to carry that momentum through into 2010 and at the same time saw the emergence of Sebastian, who had joined the team from Toro Rosso in 2009 into â€™10 and last year was a classic year in the sport, I think. For it to go down the wire on that evening in Abu Dhabi with potentially four drivers that could have won the World Championship that evening was phenomenal and our expectation, to win it with Sebastian, was quite low going into that race. It was quite a long shot, it was Fernandoâ€™s championship to lose but it all panned out and Sebastian won the race, the results went his way and he became the youngest World Champion. And then obviously again, with more regulation changes, with the introduction of a new tire supplier, with double diffusers being banned, with F-ducts going, with DRS being introduced, youâ€™ve got some challenges to incorporate into a new car and what Iâ€™m especially proud of what the team has achieved is the continuity that it managed from the end of 2010 into 2011 and then throughout this season, to deliver at a consistent level. Itâ€™s been a phenomenal journey so far, and a very exciting one and one that is testimony really to the people behind the scenes, the level of commitment, the level of effort. The super-human efforts that have gone in from each member of the team, men and women alike, has just been phenomenal to achieve the kind of results that we have. Obviously weâ€™re keen to build on that, not only in the remaining races of this year but obviously into 2012 and beyond.
Q: (Ian Parkes â€“ Press Association) Weâ€™re all aware of the culinary dangers of going to India â€“ Delhi belly doesnâ€™t get its name for nothing. I was just wondering what you were all doing, health and safety-wise, above and beyond what you would normally do for a Grand Prix, what you are doing food and drink preparation-wise for that particular race. We hear that youâ€™re all taking your own produce rather than using local stuff, which you would normally do.
PH: I donâ€™t know what the Italian chefs have done but they seem to conjure up some sort of Italian food wherever weâ€™ve been around the world so far. I think itâ€™s a bit of a mix: sometimes we do take some things with us and then the rest of it is sourced locally. Itâ€™s a bit of a mix.
JB: I took (cricketer) Freddy Flintoffâ€™s advice at Silverstone. Heâ€™s done 15 tours of the sub-continent: eat street curry and drink lots of beer was his advice so maybe we will follow that.
MW: We shouldnâ€™t overstate the issues there. I think thereâ€™s a logistics challenge for the team to go anywhere in the world. Iâ€™m sure weâ€™re enjoying local supplies and there will be some taken, but thatâ€™s very normal. I donâ€™t think we should single out India as a particular challenge in that regard.
CH: Weâ€™ve had a running show car team out in India for the past couple of weeks now. Theyâ€™ve done show runs in Delhi and then theyâ€™ve gone off to the Himalayas where they drove up the highest road in the world, up to 18,000 feet. Weâ€™ve only had one incident of an upset tummy, but I donâ€™t think that had anything to do with the food, probably more to do with the beverage. No, weâ€™re not taking any additional precautions. Weâ€™ll be buying local produce and obviously as a British team, curry is a relatively popular dish.
RB: I think the same as Christianâ€™s just described. Weâ€™ll be using local supplies, really the same as every other race. Weâ€™ll be relying on local produce.
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