Chinese GP: Friday press conference
Ron Dennis (McLaren-Mercedes), Nick Fry (BAR-Honda), Christian Horner (Red Bull Racing), Jean Todt (Ferrari)
October 14,  2005

Q. Nick, first of all, the takeover of Honda, how much are things going to change?

Nick Fry: We are told not much. The basic structure of the company will stay the same, the people in the key positions at the moment will remain, I think what it will mean to us is more application of Honda resource and technology. We already have a good linkage with the guys in (unclear) which is where Honda's main research headquarters are, but I think that will just be reinforced so hopefully that will help us improve our performance yet further, so fundamentally more of the same.

Q. What about this supposed second team, how disruptive is that likely to be?

NF: We are absolutely going to minimize. Honda have obviously supplied a second team with an engine in the past and the ability to do that again not only remains but has also improved, so that side we are not too concerned about and the other team, the objective is that they would have the same engines, a V8 rather than a V10, and obviously the other commitment the car manufacturer has made is for a level of technical support and that is necessary these days, it is very difficult to just hand over an engine and we will give that as well but we are very much going to ring fence that, we can't really let it disrupt the efforts of our team so we will decide with the other team what we need, which we haven't done yet, and provide it, but it will be in a very defined fashion.

Q. Are you expecting to have to build new chassis as well?

NF: Yet to be decided.

Q. Christian, again, a second team, how closely linked will you be with the current Minardi team when it becomes Red Bull?

Christian Horner: The two will remain as totally separate entities. Minardi will continue to operate from Italy and both teams have different objectives. Red Bull Racing's objectives are totally clear, going forward, to move further up the field. We have quite a lot of developments coming over the winter that should help us to move forward, whereas the Minardi team, the second team, is very much the final step on the Red Bull ladder for the young driver programme and the perfect shop window for those young drivers.

NF: The factories are quite close to each other and we have worked together in the past. Actually we have been talking about making one big Formula One factory and we will just turn out the cars for all the teams!

Q. So, a Formula One supermarket. Yeah! Christian, you were talking about the team development, what sort of things can we expect in terms of progressing the team during the winter?

CH: We have had a solid first year in Formula One, I think we have strengthened our technical team considerably, we have a new engine coming for next year, which I believe is going okay at the moment, a new electronics package, and I think with stability now in the team we should see a natural progression. There is a reasonable resource, plans are on target for the new car and I am fairly optimistic that it should be a reasonable step forward for us.

Q. What sort of departments will you be strengthening still?

CH: There are areas of the team that have obviously perhaps been slightly neglected over the past few years but there is no one particular area that is weaker than the other.l It is just generally moving the whole thing forward and I think that, as I said, with introducing some new technical staff under the leadership of Mark Smith, I think we should start to see some of the evidence from that.

Q. Just going back to the current Minardi team, any comment on this rumour that Franz Tost will be the team principal?

CH: I am sure in the fullness of time things will be confirmed officially. Obviously there is a great deal of speculation but I am sure, as I said, fairly shortly things will be officially confirmed.

Q. Jean, you mentioned in Japan about next year's car being brought out in January. Can you explain the rationale behind that?

Jean Todt: We start with new rules, new eight cylinders, 2.4, and of course a new chassis, a new layout, and as soon answer can start, even if I mentioned that obviously it will not be with the latest specification, but we will start by the middle of January, about, with this new 2006 package.

Q. Another subject that has come up in your Sunday afternoon press conferences has been possibly joining the testing agreement. Is Ferrari any closer to joining that?

JT: It is under discussion, our team manager is doing that with his colleagues and if we can find a suitable proposal then we may go with the others, otherwise it will be (unclear).

Q. What about today, Ferrari seemed competitive this morning, maybe less so this afternoon.

JT: On Friday I will not take any conclusion. Definitely we have been working very hard with Bridgestone on this new kind of asphalt so we are using tyres that are different from what we had in the past and this kind of asphalt and so far it seems quite promising. We will see over the weekend.

Q. Especially as you won last year here.

JT: Last year the rules were different, the package is different, so you I don't think you can really make a sharp comparison compared to last year.

Q. Ron, obviously a fantastic weekend last weekend, you were glowing on the podium afterwards, what was the feature you really enjoyed most about that race?

Ron Dennis: Well, I think everyone could see the determination and commitment that Kimi had throughout the race but what is never really apparent to most people, those who watch television and even some of the people who come to the event themselves, is the role the strategy plays in the outcome of a Grand Prix. That was a particularly well structured race for us, a race that saw us modifying the strategy several times through the race, I think the last stop was particularly impressive from the team and was another thing that contributed to the outcome. So the overwhelming feeling was one that the team did a great job and Kimi took full advantage of the opportunity we gave him. That was against the psychological blow of losing one of the cars early on I the race, which can be distracting and de-motivating to everyone. I think we put it behind us and concentrated on the job and the outcome was that more satisfying as a result of it being sort of against the odds. Of course, our qualifying was sort of like a qualifying from hell really, when you try to do a good job and you carry your momentum of a one-two from your previous race and you are sat 17th and 18th on the grid, that is pretty hard position to cope with overnight. So, taking everything into account it was an enjoyable race for us.

Q. You have had the fastest car, particularly in the last three quarters of the season really. What contribution has the third driver made, do you expect that rule to continue next year?

RD: We would not be hypocritical and vote against the concept of a third car for the future, we have a neutral position on it and we certainly recognise there has been some benefits this year. I don't think they are as extreme as people would make out because all it does, at the end of the day, it is just determining what tyre to use and having a slightly better handle on how to set the car up for that particular tyre. Not a huge advantage, certainly not a disadvantage but not a huge advantage. So we would be supportive of whatever the majority of teams wish to have in the future. We won't vote for or against, we will go with the majority according to their wishes and if that leads to a third car for those teams that fall out of the top four next year then so be it.

Q. Talking of second teams, what is the situation with the McLaren-supported second team and is it true the deadline is October 22?

RD: McLaren Racing is one company in a group of companies. We have initiated three years ago a strategy that led to the birth of McLaren Applied Technologies, and this is a company that effectively looks at the intellectual property that is emerging out of all the group companies and looks at whether we can turn that intellectual property into a moneymaking business strategy. Of course, with a Grand Prix team, no matter what you invest at the end of the day you only have two Grand Prix cars on the grid, so the business grows because of the R&D and all the investment you put into it but actually the customer, the end user of everything, is focused on two cars. So there is a business argument to say lets try to broaden the customer base, let's try to bring four cars to the grid, at the same time complying to the regulatory constraints that are laid down in the Concorde agreement, and it was really that that gave us some sort of thought to assisting the creation of another team. Our model is very different to other peoples', that doesn't mean to say theirs is right and ours is wrong or vice versa, it is just a different model, and it will only be a model that we will implement if we are convinced that we can a) implement the programme in a manner consistent with the Concorde agreement and b) that it makes economic sense for the people involved, and that we can seriously contribute to the creation of a second team without having any detrimental impact on our own racing efforts.

Q. So does that mean it is still alive?

RD: It means it is constantly under review and we are going through a period at the moment of evaluating another option that was presented to us over the last few months. As regards confirming or denying a date, I don't know where these things manifest themselves from, if it was true or not true I would not confirm it because that is just a business decision, it is just a could or couldn't be a deadline, and to be honest I cant remember what date, if any, attaches to this particular programme.

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