Austrian GP – Thursday Press Conference

Fernando Alonso responds to media questions

Drivers
Fernando Alonso
Daniel Ricciardo
Sergio Perez
Marcus Ericsson
Max Chilton
Esteban Gutierrez

Q: Daniel, can we can start with you? Obviously a winner last time out in Montreal. Has it sunk in yet? How did you celebrate and what kind of messages did you receive?

Daniel RICCIARDO: Yeah it has, it's sunk in now. It took a few days but yeah it was awesome. We had obviously a great day and a good night with the team; we celebrated and enjoyed the moment. It was nice. I got lots of messages from lots of people, fellow drivers and other sportsmen and people around the world, which is pretty cool. I didn't see all of them but the amount I saw were really nice.

Q: Obviously this is a big weekend for your team on essentially its home track. What are your thoughts on that and how everyone is prepared?

DR: It's obviously exciting for us now. We've got a bit of steam as well from the last race. I think we're all really excited – the home one for Red Bull. We'll see what happens on track. Hopefully we can be strong again but I think as the weekend goes it's going to be a lot of fun. Not only for us drivers but for the spectators as well. I think they're going to put on a good show. There's a few planes flying around today and I think that will continue throughout the weekend with a good show.

Q: Marcus, coming to you. Obviously we're just over a third of the way through your debut season in Formula One. How do you evaluate your progress?

Marcus ERICSSON: I think it's going better and better. I think my improvement is good but obviously as a team we want to be performing a bit better. I think I had a really good race in Monaco equaling Caterham's best ever result, which was really great for me. I think compared to Kamui I'm improving all the time and can compete with him. It's getting there but of course we need to keep pushing and keep improving all the time.

Q: And how is the morale in the Caterham team at the moment?

ME: I think it's good. We know that we need to improve of course but everyone in the team is working really hard. Straight away after Montreal I went to the factory in Leafield and everyone there is pushing 100 per cent. We're going to keep pushing and hopefully turn things around here in Spielberg.

Max, coming to you. Your unbroken run of finishes was ended in Canada with that first-lap accident. How do you feel about that now?

Max CHILTON: Obviously I was hugely disappointed when it happened. It was a typical first-lap accident; two drivers in pretty close proximity. I was pretty upset after the race, losing that, and for the team because there was a lot of damage. But we've got to draw a line in the sand and move on from that and I think we're on a good roll at the moment as a team, we're definitely pulling away from certain teams and catching others up, so we've just got to keep focusing on that now and focus on the future.

Q: As you say the team is in pretty good shape – ninth in the championship with the two points that were scored in Monaco. So where do you go from here?

MC: We've just got to keep moving forward. We're not a top team that can bring huge updates to every race. We just need little and often. We've been doing that I think fairly well this year, better than previous years. Just getting a few more points of downforce at each event just makes the car more drivable for me and Jules and that means we can then extract more from the car. It's amazing what that little difference to the cars around you. I think we've been racing cars that we've never raced before.

Q: OK, thank you for that? Esteban coming to you. Obviously still no top 10 in qualifying or the race yet this year for your team. However, last year developed pretty well in the second half of the season and picked up results. Do you feel it's possible to repeat that this year?

Esteban GUTIERREZ: It's going to be a little bit more challenging. At the moment there is not any quick fix to our situation. It's not easy to accept and to realize the position we are in but all the team, every mechanic, every engineer, is doing his best to recover. At the moment we are in a position where we are fighting for ourselves. I mean I'm fighting basically with my team-mate and that's the only reference I can have and that's the only thing I can show from the driver's point of view.

Q: I think I'm right in saying that you've never raced any kind of car around this circuit. What are your thoughts on the track and how you've prepared for this weekend?

EG: I heard very good comments from various drivers that it's a fun track even though it's quite simple, so I'm really looking forward to it. At the team we don't have a simulator, so there's no real preparation for it, but I've seen a lot of footage, some data as well, which I'm able to look at and that's basically it; not much to do. I'll do the track walk later on, pretty slow, to really see every detail on track and enjoy the weekend.

Q: Sergio, first of all, how are you feeling after your accident at the end of the Canadian Grand Prix? Any after-effects and have you had any conversations with Felipe Massa since then?

Sergio PEREZ: Yeah, luckily nothing happened. We went straight to hospital; it was a pretty big shunt. I had a little bit of back pain, which went away during the days. I couldn't do normal training for a couple of days and no, I haven't had the chance to speak with Felipe.

Q: You were running competitive at the time [of your accident], so what about this track? Is it going to be another weekend that will suit Force India do you think? I understand you've got some upgrades coming this weekend as well?

SP: Yeah we have a couple of upgrades, so we are really enthusiastic. I think this can be a good track as well for us. Yeah, we were doing so well in the last race; the strategy was going really well, we managed to do one stop and keep a very competitive pace, so I think we are really enthusiastic. It's the first really big upgrade we bring to the car since the beginning of the year, so hopefully that will put us in better shape and a better position.

Q: Fernando, you are the only driver on this panel who has raced a Formula One around this circuit before. What do you think about the circuit, what are your memories of your races here from the early 2000s?

Fernando ALONSO: I think the circuit, as Esteban said before, is a very short circuit, so there are only five or six corners around here where you can make the time, so I expect all the cars to be very close. One or two tenths you can make a lot of places, so you just need to make a perfect lap on Saturday. If not it's a big penalty in terms of positions on the grid here. And to be honest I don't remember anything. We raced in 2001 and 2003 and I have no memories. Too long!

Q: We spoke in Montreal, obviously Ferrari brought quite a lot of upgrades to the car, which worked quite well in practice, but you weren't able to use all of them for the whole weekend. What's the plan for this weekend and what sort of shape do you think you're going to be in?

FA: We have some new parts also coming here, as every race, and we will try to evaluate them tomorrow in the practice, trying to understand which ones we can put on the car on Saturday and which ones will require more time to bring to the cars. So tomorrow will be as usual a test Friday and hopefully we'll pick out the good ones for the rest of the weekend.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOORQ: (Ian Parkes – Press Association): Question for Sergio. Sergio, we've just covered Felipe Massa's Thursday presser. To précis what he said: he described what you did in Canada as dangerous; that he would never trust you on track again; that he would think three times before considering an overtaken maneuver against you. However, he would be willing to sit down and talk things through with you. If I could just get your thoughts on all of that and whether indeed you might actually want to sit down with him?

SP: Yeah, of course. Felipe, we all know he is a good guy. He has his opinion, I have my opinion, and we just have to sit down. Also we get the opportunity tomorrow, with the FIA, to review the accident once again, as we believe we have enough evidence to prove I did nothing wrong.

Q: (Frederic Feret – l'Equipe) – A question for Daniel. Is there any kind of advantage to drive on a Red Bull circuit this weekend? Did you drive it years before on a simulator, things like that?

DR: Yeah, I did some simulator work last week – like a lot of us probably though. And last year I did a filming day with Toro Rosso, so I've been around the track but just a few times. It's a short lap and we won't take too long to adapt and get used to it. And as Fernando said I think qualifying is going to be really, really tight, especially by the time that comes we're all going to have our eye in and yeah I think mistakes are going to be costly here so it's just about putting it all together. But it should be fun. I don't think I've got an advantage here, I think by Saturday we'll all be up to speed.

Q: (Peter Vamosi – Vas Nepe Kiadoi KFT) Question to all drivers. Did you make any bets on the football championships?

FA: I didn't. I didn't. I don't know who's going to win, it's open and…yeah… I will not bet, it's too difficult.

Q: How about you Esteban? Mexico are going really well…

EG: Yeah, really well and I feel proud of it. It's great to see. They barely made it into the World Cup and now they're playing really well and in a good position. So hopefully they keep on going like this and we can fight for the win at the end.

Q: Max, big night for England tonight.

MC: It is a big night. I didn't put a bet down because I've never seen a poor bookie but it was a good game [England vs. Italy]. I did tell someone to put a bet down on it being 2-1 but I got it the wrong way around. Italy beat us 2-1. If we can get a win in today it will really boost us for the rest of the tournament.

Q: Daniel, the Australians tried hard yesterday…

DR: Yeah, we're now playing for the wooden spoon. We'll see how we go, hopefully we can win one but, y'know, they fought well, I think both games. Obviously they lost but they scored goals, found the back of the net, they attacked and took risks, so we have to be proud of that at least: went down swinging.

Q: Have you been enjoying it Sergio?

SP: Yeah, really enjoying it. We've done a fantastic job in the first two game. We played against Brazil the other day and are doing really well. Right now we have the best, the most important game with Croatia to go through to the next match. Hopefully we can go on and keep going. They're definitely doing a good job and I think it can be one of the best World Cups in the history of my country.

Q: Marcus, Sweden watching from the sidelines. Have you put a bet on?

ME: I haven't, no. It's a shame we're not there but I'm sure Sweden will fight back and be strong in the next one.

Q: (Kate Walker – crash.net) Looking ahead to the German Grand Prix, could you tell us what you're looking forward to about racing at Hockenheim please.

FA: It's just another weekend I guess. Is there something special there? No? Normal.

Q: Max, how have you gone there?

MC: Yeah, I've raced there a couple of times in GP2 and it's a challenging track, not particularly easy to get right but I'm looking forward to it. I like Nürburgring slightly more but I'll give it my best shot.

Q: Esteban, is it one of your favorites?

EG: Yes, I really like it a lot. I have very good memories there. In my early days in my career, Formula BMW, Formula 3, GP3 as well, so it's going to be one I'm really looking forward to.

Q: Marcus?

ME: I've been there quite a few times and won there in Formula 3. I usually go well there and hopefully can keep that up.

Q: Sergio?

SP: I have good memory. It was my first-ever podium in Europe, when I was racing in BMW. And, always good memories to go into that place.

Q: Daniel?

DR: Turn One is fun. It's fast. Also coming into the Stadium, the other fast right-hander – are my two preferred corners. Yeah.

Q: (Flavio Vanetti – Corriere della Sera) Couple of questions to Fernando. In these days we had some quotes by Luca di Montezemolo about the necessity for big changes in Formula One. How do you judge them? Second question: yesterday it was decided to reduce the in-season tests. What's your opinion about this decision about Formula One?

FA: I think the president is right, in a way. The show that probably we've put in this year is not good enough in some of the races. Also, when one team is dominating so much as Mercedes, probably the spectators prefer some more action, as probably they like Canada Grand Prix that everyone seems to enjoy. Yeah, we will try to put on a better show in the next races and if the teams or the fans or whatever, they have any ideas, they will be welcome to have a better show.

[In-season testing]

Obviously this is the way the sport has been going in the last couple of years, y'know? Now for many years, reducing the tests more and more. They have some good things and some bad things. Probably the cost is the good thing. The teams can save a lot of money and we have more teams that can survive year after year and we can keep having a good grid. On the other hand it's the only sport in the world that you cannot train. So, for us probably it's not a big thing but for a young driver coming from Formula 3 or GP2 or whatever, the first time they go to the circuit if FP1. There is no possibility to test at any time and that's probably a unique thing in our sport unfortunately. But at the same time, as I said, I understand the cost problem and if they decide this it's because it's the best decision.

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