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FIA Thursday press conference - Monaco, Pt 2 29 May 2003

Patrick Faure (FRA) Renault F1 Chairman and CEO.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, 29 May 2003

THURSDAY PRESS CONFERENCE - May 29, 2003
TEAM PERSONNEL: Patrick FAURE (RENAULT), Paulo MARTINELLI (FERRARI), Adrian NEWEY (McLAREN), Tony PURNELL (JAGUAR)

Published with permission from the Federation Internationale de l' Automobile.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

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?

Patrick FAURE: 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?

Adrian NEWEY: 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.

Tony PURNELL: 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.