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FIA press conference - reaction to new rules 22 Oct 2004

(L to R): Ross Brawn (GBR) Ferrari Technical Director, Mike Gascoyne (GBR) Toyota Technical Director, Sam Michael (AUS) Williams Technical Director and Pat Symonds (GBR) Renault Executive Director of Engineering in the press conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Interlagos, Brazil, 22 October 2004

Reproduced with kind permission of the FIA

With technical directors Ross Brawn (Ferrari), Mike Gascoyne (Toyota), Sam Michael (BMW Williams F1), Pat Symonds (Renault). Guest questioner: James Allen (ITV).

Q: Obviously today has been dominated by the rule package for ‘05/’06 - package two confirmed, no great surprise, but confirmation of two race engines for next year, and 2.4 litre V8s from 2006. Just a reaction from each of you to that please, starting with Mike.
Mike GASCOYNE:
Well, I think first and foremost relief that we’ve actually got some regulations and from the chassis side, pretty much what we expected obviously, and what we’ve been working to. So relief on that side. Toyota have always supported the 2.4 litre V8 and the two race engine for next year, so that’s not a problem for us. The only thing where our stance is at odds to what’s happened is that Toyota wanted freedom in the engine regulations and freedom to put technology in the engines, which is one of the reasons that Toyota came into Formula One. So we’re disappointed, but overall it’s pretty much what we expected and, as I say, just a feeling of relief that we can get on with it and design and finalise the design of the cars.
Pat SYMONDS: Very similar comments to Mike. The rules are really exactly as we expected, there are no surprises in that. We also have supported, in general, these changes, certainly accept that something needed to be done on the engine side to reduce performance. I think it was a good thing, at the same time, to maybe look at a few cost–saving options and those have been incorporated so all in all, a package that we’re quite happy with.
Sam MICHAEL: Same for us, nothing was really a surprise in there because it was all basically formulated in the last three or four TWG (Technical Working Group) meetings anyway. I think everyone’s been working to the new bodywork and aero regulations for next year, but as the guys have said, it’s very important to make sure it’s on a bit paper that says that’s what’s happening for next year. Same thing with the tyres, there’s no surprises there and also the engine, all of that was nothing new to us so it’s good for next year.
Ross BRAWN: I think in common with the other guys we recognise that periodically you need to slow the cars down. We all work very hard to make them as quick as we can but then you start run out of space on the circuits, so it’s necessary, periodically, to slow the cars and I think they are a sensible set of regulations to begin that process. I think we’ve got 2008 coming up which will be a blank sheet of paper for Formula One. I think we need to really think about what we want in Formula One from 2008 onwards. There’s no constraint of a Concorde Agreement at that stage, at least not to the present understanding. I think vis-à-vis the technology of the engine. We were totally supportive, we believe it will reduce costs, and I believe there has been an imbalance in the regulations, the technical regulations consists of 40 pages of which one page was about the engines. The other 39 were about the car. That doesn’t seem sensible. The constraints we place on the car, I think we are now starting to place some constraints on the engine, but there will still be plenty of potential for people to create discriminating technology between the cars and engines.

Q: One set of tyres for the weekend, does that mean more testing, because presumably to evaluate a set of tyres that’s going to do three or four hundred kilometres you’ve actually got to do three or four hundred kilometres to understand what they’ll do. So does that mean you’re going to be out running a lot more often?
RB:
I think there will be a lot more predictive techniques developed to avoid that because I don’t think it’s practical to be out testing every set of tyres for three or four hundred kilometres. I think the teams and tyre suppliers will develop techniques whereby after a short period you can make an initial assessment and then when you’re down to the – let’s say – a short list of candidates you may well do long runs on them, but I don’t think it is necessary for us to do that sort of mileage on every set of test tyres.

Q: So much for Bridgestone, what about the Michelin contingent? Do you share that view?
SM:
I think it’s the same. It’s pretty difficult to do much more testing than we do at the moment. It will have to involve either testing those compounds, or doing less long runs on those compounds or using predictive techniques which has just been mentioned.

Q: This morning in the team principals meeting three car teams were mentioned again, running a third car was mentioned again. Is this becoming closer to becoming a reality and if so how will you approach that?
PS:
I believe it is becoming closer to reality but like all things, it’s is a binary decision, it either happens or it doesn’t and you don’t know until the last minute. It shouldn’t be underestimated, the difficulty of running a third car. Of course, we have some experience of it from operating under the Heathrow agreement last year. It’s surprising how it ramps things up. It is pretty difficult to co-ordinate and control two cars at times, and three cars is that much more difficult. It involves quite a lot of expense for us, the obvious ones of building the extra parts and things but even the number of personnel you need at the circuit, the number of people you need backing up at the factory. Just simple things like modifications to trucks and what have you, it’s an expensive exercise and what’s perhaps a little bit unfortunate is that the way things look at the moment there’s a high possibility of running three cars in 2005 and perhaps a low possibility in 2006, so there’s an awful lot of work there for one year.
MG: We obviously ran three cars today. When it is just one day and you are not racing that car you can plan for it. It still involves extra effort and extra expense. We have extra people here to be able to do that and we would have to increase that were we to do it so that we were racing that car. So I don’t think it should be underestimated. Like most things in this business, it’s do-able, we could do it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean to say that we would want to do it under ideal circumstances.

Q: Sam, the CRB (Contract Recognition Board) obviously went in BAR’s favour so you’re looking for a driver in 2005. Is it a risk, do you think, to put Antonio Pizzonia alongside Webber given their history and antipathy between them?
SM:
I don’t think there’s an issue at all, to be honest. The main thing is, the first thing we consider when we look at a race driver is, is he quick enough and Antonio’s definitely in that category. He’s obviously one of the candidates on the list and someone who we will make a decision on in due course.

Q: Going back to the engines rules, you were saying that you were in favour of two race engines and none of this is a surprise but BMW…
SM:
I didn’t say I was in favour of them, I just said it wasn’t a surprise.
Q: But you did vote for two race engines in one of the TWG meetings, didn’t you?
SM:
No.
Q: But BMW are saying that they are going to take some time to consider this. What’s your view on how angry they are about it?
SM:
It is something that is playing on and something that I’m sure will be going on in the background and in due course we will see what happens with it. It’s not something that I’m really in a position to comment strongly on at the moment.

Q: Can you give us a summing up of your 2004 season? Obviously, given where you were last year, you were expected to win the championship or at least challenge for the championship this season. Why were you not able to and where do you go from here?
SM:
Well obviously, yeah, you’re right. We came off the end of last year and we made a lot of poor decisions on the car, particularly aero and mechanical decisions early on in the design stage, and it took us all year to correct half of those and there’s probably two or three things on the car that we can’t change until next year, but obviously it’s been a disappointing year, but at the end of the day it doesn’t mean you give up on this year or at least try and correct things for 2005. So we’re busy putting as much effort, like everyone else, into next year to try and return to return to fighting at the front but yeah, it has been disappointing but you keep moving on.

Q: And your analysis to today’s running? How are you looking?
SM:
Still a bit early to tell at the moment because obviously on Friday you don’t know what condition tyres people are running and what fuel loads they are running but a fairly normal Friday. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.

Q: Mike, two different drivers finishing the season, compared to the two that started. What does that say about Toyota’s year?
MG:
Obviously we’ve had a difficult and frustrating year. We haven’t had the results that we wanted at the start of the year. I joined last December and I think our level of performance didn’t come as a great surprise to me. We knew what we had to do to improve the team and a lot of that has involved work back in Cologne in the factory, in the way that we work there and that’s inevitably going to take time. It’s a process I’ve done before and I have to say I’m very comfortable with where we are. But we still have to do the best we could this year and obviously we haven’t had results we wanted. In terms of drivers, certainly the last change, with Jarno becoming available, given that he was going to be a driver for us next year, wasn’t something that we expected and the ability to have him in the team is something that is very useful to us. Obviously very direct feedback from some of our competitors who are obviously much more competitive than we are and that’s obviously very useful feedback. It’s been a season of change for us and with the drivers that’s reflected that, but we have to make the decisions to make sure we get set up to be in the best position at the start of next year because one thing’s for sure, if this season’s been disappointing, next year can’t be.

Q: You’ve had a year, as you say to get your feet under the table, you’ve got two top drivers for next year, when will Toyota start to deliver, do you think?
MG:
Well it has to start delivering from the start of next year. There’s absolutely no doubt about that and I’m very confident we’re in a position to do that. You can’t make the step to the top in one step. It’s far too difficult to do that, and the teams you are racing against are far too good to allow that to happen but I’m very confident we will make a significant step forward.

Q: What about today’s running? Jarno seemed to be pretty consistent on the long runs. Are you reasonably happy with where you are?
MG:
Yeah, I think all the drivers did a good job today and Jarno, in particular, has added a lot to the team and he’s very happy with the car. Obviously it was a difficult first race for him in Suzuka with no running before raceday but he still did a good job and he’s confident and happy with the team and it’s definitely lifted the whole team.

Q: Pat, you’ve moved forward, at least, one place in the World Championship, probably just the one place. You’ve won a Grand Prix, you’ve had pole, you’ve had a few podiums and yet there’s a slight feeling of disappointment about Renault’s season. Do you look at it that way or are you quite pleased with 2004?
PS:
I’ll always be disappointed if we haven’t won the championship, that’s what we do it for. It’s right but there seems to be a lot of perception that we haven’t had a good year but of course, we have. As you say, we’ve won a race, been on the podium, we’ve moved up, not just one place in the championship but actually a lot closer on points. It hasn’t been an unsuccessful season. I think within Renault one of the things I like about our team is we are very self-critical. We don’t try and hide our feelings from the public and the press. A lot of things haven’t met our expectations this year but that just makes us try harder. It certainly hasn’t been an unsuccessful year and I think any team that finishes third in the championship, and let’s remember it’s not quite over yet, should be proud of it.

Q: Your car number seven hasn’t scored any points since France, seven races ago. For team of your calibre, your level, that can’t be allowed to happen. In retrospect is that a big error, allowing that to happen?
PS:
We didn’t allow it to happen, we certainly didn’t intend it to happen. There are several things this year and I certainly would say it is a year of missed opportunities. There were races - Canada, Indianapolis, Spa – races where we could have had an extremely good result. In Canada, I think we were really in with a shout of winning that one and right up there in the other two. Reliability in a couple of cases and an accident in one let us down. Yes, it is true that one of the cars really hasn’t had a very great second half to the season. You say why do you let that happen; you don’t let that happen. You are trying as hard as you can to get both cars up there all the time.

Q: What’s your analysis of Jacques performance in his two races so far. Obviously he was caught out by the extraordinary circumstances in Suzuka, but over the two races, what’s your analysis?
PS:
Well, I think that…I guess I didn’t know Jacques particularly well before he came to drive for us. I’d spoken to him a few times and you may remember a few years ago he was quite high on the list of possible Renault drivers, so that time we were speaking quite a lot. Certainly the perception, I think, largely through the press is that he is very laid back and a little bit undisciplined and I’ve found that to be completely untrue. The guy works very hard and I always respect people who do work hard. It has been difficult for him and the first tests that we did at Silverstone, he was taking a while to get into things and it sort of woke me up a little bit when he said well, OK, that’s not a great time, but it is nearly two seconds quicker than I’ve ever gone round here before. And when you think that was only a year ago, that’s a measure of the progress that’s been made. Some of the things I think he’s found quite hard. Physically he has found it hard because no matter how much training you do, there’s nothing like driving a racing car. He has had to get used to different tyre characteristics which I think he’s probably now got used to. We sent him down to Jerez last week to do a bit more work with that and today we have seen a pretty good performance from him. So it’s been hard for him but I think he’s a guy with quite a lot of ability.

Q: Talking to your drivers throughout the season, the mantra has been ‘it’s a tricky car to drive.’ Is making the ’05 car a less tricky car to drive a big priority for you?
PS:
No, the big priority is to make it quicker. It is true that our 2004 car is more difficult to drive than the 2003 car, but equally it’s quicker and if I went to Fernando and said ‘what do you want, an easy car to drive or a quick car?’ I think I would know the answer.

Q: Ross, I believe you ran a 2005 car spec car recently, what was the feedback from the drivers and what did you learn from it?
RB:
It is not strictly a 2005 car, it’s a car which we have modified to achieve the performance levels which we think we will have in 2005. It wouldn’t comply to the 2005 regulations but it’s a sort of muletto of bits and pieces that put it at the performance level. I think we got exactly what you expect when you reduce the downforce by 15-20 percent: less grip, more tricky to drive initially, so for the first day, the drivers were finding it a little bit of a handful but once they readjusted their reference point, then it was fine. The reason for doing it is to have some meaningful development on tyres and engine management and things like that. It’s been very useful in that respect. I think the tyres are at a very early stage. We don’t have a tyre yet which can do a complete race. It would be pointless to try and develop a one race tyre with the car we have now. We need to develop a one race tyre with the car we think we will have next year.

Q: You said your car has 15 percent less downforce. What sort of amount lost would you be happy with by the time you get to Melbourne? How much of that do you expect to have clawed back, percentage wise?
RB:
Well that’s where we would hope to be. When we put a 2005 package on the wind tunnel model we lost nearly 30 percent. We’re gradually getting that back. We would be pleased if we get to 15 percent less than where we are now.

Q: Can I just ask you the rest of you if that’s the target you’ve got?
PS:
Well I think if Ross’ target is 15 percent we will go for 10.
SM: Yeah, we’re the same. We lost almost exactly the same. How much we get back is the big question. It’s obviously a long way away, but then so is Melbourne, but at the moment, because of the changes to the bodywork, particularly the diffusers, there are fundamental restrictions on how much expansion you can get, so no matter how much you work away with it, it will be never be anywhere near what you had before.
MG: If Ross’s if 15 and Pat’s ten, I’ve got to go for zero. Obviously we’re all doing the work and pushing very hard. It a very key area, it’s an area where we have been doing a lot of development because it’s where Toyota have been behind and so it’s the key area of development on the chassis for next year.

Q: Back to Ross again, you’ve ticked just about every box there is to be ticked this year. Rubens said yesterday he doesn’t expect any presents in going out to try and win his home Grand Prix but it would complete the picture for a totally dominant 2004. How are you going to do it, what’s going to happen?
RB:
There is obviously a lot of people trying to stop us doing it, so I think it’s going to be a challenging weekend. We are very pleased with the car and tyre performance today. We started the session a little bit out of shape, the car was a bit tricky to begin with but the engineers and drivers dialled it in pretty quickly and when track cleaned up a bit the whole thing was working well and we had some very encouraging runs in the second session with fuel and race tyres. But it looks like Rubens and Michael are going to be very close this weekend. Rubens is very determined to correct his record in Brazil, it would be fantastic if you could. But Michael’s determined to stop him and I would be disappointed if he wasn’t. There is no team orders and they are free to race so it’s going to be a fascinating weekend.

Q: You mentioned team orders, when the championship’s still open, I think I’ve right in saying your policy is to let them race up until the final pit stops and then to hold stage. As it’s the last race and the championship is already wrapped up, are they racing to the flag on Sunday?
RB:
Well, the only reason we apply any management is to preserve the cars. We have a good finishing record and that doesn’t come by accident. We don’t want the drivers abusing the cars any more than they have to. It is important that they finish the race, so I don’t think we will change our policy because it’s the last race. But they are free to race and there’s plenty of potential.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Heinz Pruller - ORF) Gentlemen, I’m sure there’s a lot more behind the new tyre rule. What about the pit stops, obviously you don’t have pit stops for tyre changes now? Will you have bigger tanks, will you have less pit stops because you don’t have to change tyres? And, what happens if you have a puncture or a slow puncture? Who will decide if you can allow to change this tyre? I think there are a lot of loopholes in this regulation, can I have your comments?
RB:
I think the fuel situation won’t change dramatically because of the need to qualify with race fuel. I think if we fill the cars up too much qualifying is going to be difficult. We’ve seen lots of times when if you get some free space at the beginning of the race you can use it. I don’t think the fuel tanks are particularly going to get much bigger. I don’t think the strategies are going to dramatically change. There may be times when we would have done a three stop because of the tyre situation and it will now evolve to a two-stop. I would be surprised if we see many one stops, even with these regulations but it depends how the situation develops. If you run high fuel load you just stress the tyres more, so we’ve got to look after the tyres for the whole race. In terms of puncture, I believe there is some detail to sort out, it’s true, because we want this set of regulations where we all clearly understand how we can operate. One suggestion, with the puncture scenario is that you can change the tyre but you have to use a tyre which is at least used, one of the tyres that you have already used in practice rather than put on a new set. But I believe that now the rules are clear there is a need to sit down with the FIA and debate the best way forward to apply these detailed points.
PS: I agree with what Ross has said. Tyre degradation will obviously be lower, there will be less stops but it is not going to be one stop racing. It is, perhaps, a slight over-generalisation to say there will be one less stop than there’s been this year, although that will be the case in a lot of places. I think the replacement of tyres is a tricky thing but what the FIA have essentially done at the moment is laid out the principal and it’s up to us to sort out the detail. But I think the FIA are rather good at looking at systematic abuses of the rules. I think that if you saw a team who were continually stopping with punctures or flat spots or whatever, I think it would be looked at quite closely.
MG: Obviously there is an issue with punctures and damaged tyres which we’ve seen this year and if it happens twice, what are you going to do if you’ve only got two sets of tyres. We need to address it.

Q: (Dan Knutson – National Speedsport News) Sam, Ralf is leaving the team after six years. What’s it been like to work with Ralf in the team? I know you also work with him at Jordan?
SM:
Obviously he has brought a lot of years to Williams. He is obviously a very talented driver. He’s very good analytically, working with engineers and going through data. He’s extremely good at understanding tyres and set-up, so he has obviously contributed quite strongly. During the last half of this season, he hasn’t done… or a third of the season, you could say, because of his accident, but he also came back strongly after that and I wish him all the best at Toyota. I’m sure he will do a good job there and be a really big benefit to them on their climb to the top.

Q: (Alan Baldwin – Reuters) Sam, Juan is also leaving. Is there one area in which Ralf and Juan stand out in the team, and one area in which you would like them to be remembered in their time with you?
SM:
Juan is obviously as positive as Ralf. Juan’s a very talented driver and everyone can see he has got a fantastic racing and overtaking ability. They compliment each other very well. Although you see from the outside a lot of things in the press about them fighting and not liking each other, internally they actually work very well together and when they turn up for an engineering debrief there is no funny business going on. They’ve both got a common goal, they’re both smart enough to realise that if they work together on the car, the car will go faster. It has been a reasonably good partnership and so I wish them both the best.

Q: (Dominic Fugere – Journal de Montreal) Pat, bringing in Jacques Villeneuve for three races was a big gamble for him and a big gamble for the team. Could you tell me a little bit about your assessment of the results that this has brought on?
PS:
Yeah, you’re right. Gamble is perhaps not the word I would use. I think risk is a similar but slightly different word. The reason I say that is because you can assess risks much more than you can assess gambling. We had got to a point, as has been pointed out earlier, where were not scoring points with one car and things were really going from bad to worse. I’m not blaming anyone for that. I wish I could understand and analyse it, but I think for an engineer it is sometimes quite difficult to understand the human side of things. Jarno is a great guy, he really is one of the most pleasant people in racing today. He’s done some fantastic things for us, but for one reason or another it wasn’t working. And therefore, if you do a risk analysis on a situation like that, and you say ‘actually is it going to get any better?’ and if you believe it isn’t, then you’re on a ‘we might win, we’ve got nothing to lose’ situation. Looking around at who we could put in the car, it was a really quite a close call between Franck (Montagny) our test driver, and Jacques. Franck has really done a great job for us testing and particularly recently he’s really got to grips with the car. I’m sure he would have done a great job as well. Jacques, I think we probably underestimated just how difficult it was to put someone in at such short notice, but, as I said earlier, I have an awful lot of respect for him, just for his sheer work ethic. He really has worked at it. Circumstances have conspired against him a little bit. Certainly I think you have to say that in Japan, a circuit where he has been very good, but we didn’t get his set-up right, very largely because we don’t know him that well. It takes a while to build up a rapport between the engineers and the driver, but I think we’ve already seen this morning that he’s doing a good job here this weekend and I think he will have a strong race and I think he’s… I was going to say he has a bright future in front of him, but of course he’s proved an awful lot already, but I think he’s still there.

Q: (Niki Takeda) Question for all of you. Is there a situation this year you would have done differently?
SM:
For me that one is easy - Montreal.
MG: I think from our point of view Ricardo blowing up at Spa with two laps to go. If we hadn’t done that it would have helped us.
PS: I think in our case funnily enough also Montreal. I think a race where we did have a great opportunity. I mentioned them earlier Indianapolis and Spa. But you don’t get second chances in this game.
RB: Fortunately very few. But Spa was a little bit disappointing because the safety car sequence made it quite difficult, but I guess Monaco was the biggest disappointment. I think from a situation where we were not as competitive as we wanted to be, we suddenly had an opportunity to maybe at least challenge for the race and it was taken away from us by a silly incident. That is probably the most frustration race for us.

Q: (Alan Baldwin - Reuters) Ross, I know the new car is the best ever and each season you try and make it the best season you have ever had. But can you realistically do better than this season?
RB:
Yeah, each season is different. I must say after 2002, it was dream season and I didn’t imagine we could repeat that but this year has been just as good. Each season is shaped by your own efforts and the efforts of the other teams and all we can do is work hard and try to produce the best car we can and see what the opposition is like. It is hard to imagine any season to be better than the one we have had. But I think we just put them in different categories: 2003 was rewarding in the end because we won the championship under very difficult circumstances and we showed we can fight very hard when we have to. This season has been rewarding because of the performance of the team and car in different circumstance. Any year you win the championship is a fantastic season and we don’t forget that.

Q: (Peter Windsor – F1 Racing) Ross, the new tyre proposals might mean that a three-stopper might come down to a two-stopper. How does that sit with the FIA’s decision earlier this year to increase the speed limit to try to encourage more to do three-stop races rather than two-stop races? Where are we at, in fact, in terms of what Formula One thinks of pit-stops? It is a bit confusing. Is there an argument to not have pit-stops at all and have non-stop racing?
RB:
I think as always there is lots of good arguments and lots of good counter arguments. I think one of reasons that perhaps we moved away from one stop was the fuel loads. I know we have not had any fires for a very long time, but the cars are extremely heavy with that fuel load and if we do have any accident it could be worse. There are very fine points for debate. Whether Formula One is better with pit-stops and what shape those pit-stops should take is really a difficult question. What I think has got to be interesting with the one tyre race is the driver’s need for sure to look after the tyres through the whole race. I’ve said it before but Prost was a master of conserving the tyres and using when they were most effective and I think we will have that sort of scenario next year. You will have to look after the tyres at the correct stages of the race and use them at key parts of the race and it will bring another dimension to the drivers’ ability. At the moment there is a lot of races where the driver can drive 100 percent the whole session, which is good in itself, but I think we get overtaken when there is a disparity in performance between cars and I think the one tyre per race rule will create situations where there is disparity in performance between cars.

Q: (Heinz Pruller) Gentlemen I have asked about the low points of the season. I would not like to ask about the high points of the season and the most strange and extraordinary thing, the secret or funny story.
RB:
I think the high point for us was obviously Melbourne when we saw how competitive we were because over the winter…the winter Grand Prix means very little. I think Bridgestone had diligently putting their programme together with compounds, constructions and tyre shapes, but we hadn’t really run the definitive 2004 tyre until quite late in the programme. There were times testing at some of the tracks where we looked to be behind in performance. But with the new car and the final version of the car we went to Melbourne and that is where everything becomes clear. That was the high point of the season for me. We had some great races as well. The craziest thing for me was to crash behind the safety car in Monaco. It is unheard of.
SM: Probably Suzuka, the last race funnily enough because we put a lot of effort in to improve this car and work on next year’s car as well. There were points before Suzuka where we thought we should be competitive, Spa, for example, we had a good race and end up with a gearbox on one car and gearbox failure on the other. But Suzuka obviously we managed to get some good points and the car was strong.
PS: Well, obviously the high point was Monaco, winning that one. Low points, some of our retirements when in competitive position and strangely enough, and I hadn’t thought of this one before, I guess one of the low points was realising how much quicker Ferrari were than the opposition.
MG: I think compared to Ross it is a pretty unfair question. I think we haven’t had many high points unfortunately. There is always things you enjoy throughout a season, but not many high points. We just have to look forward to next year.

Q: (Alberto Antonini) We hear that your team is being involved in arbitration about the ’06 engine rule. Does that mean it will hold up any real development on the V8 as the arbitration goes on. And is there any deadline?
SM:
I think it is something that is between the teams that are represented by BMW, Mercedes and Honda. At the moment it is something that is going on, but I don’t know the full details, I’m not directly involved. Until I know the full details it is not much I can comment on to be honest. It’s not a matter of being secretive, I’m not involved in the coalface of that decision.

Q: (Byron Young – Daily Mirror) What are the cost implications of the new regulations?
RB:
I think for us there is potential for cost saving on the engine. I understand to some degree the reluctance to follow the compliance to change the 2.4 V8. Our view is that there will be a few less engines produced, fewer components, which may not sound a lot but it is fewer components. In my experience over the last few years engine manufacturers have built new engines every year. We certainly build new engines every year and the architecture of those engines have often been quite different. I think going to a new 2.4 V8 is not a big change, there is nothing dramatic to it and I think the constraints to that engine in terms of geometry and material – it will fundamentally be a cheaper engine. You may say that a team like Ferrari spend what they get, which is true – we make good of the funding that is released into other projects, but it is very important for teams like Sauber and other teams that have to buy their engines to provide a reasonable cost base. Those teams will see the significant difference in their engine bill in the future. That is partly the reason why we supported it. Ferrari will spend the budget it can generate from its partners and its sponsors. The car point of view it is no different, and from the tyre point of view there is a small saving from the consumption of time.
SM: I think particularly on the aerodynamic side there is no real difference if you make your new parts any way. You are still going to spend the same amount of wind tunnel time and analysis time even if you are doing a completely new car with a similar design. The only thing would be potentially the smaller teams, if they wanted to carry parts over which they now can’t such as front wings, diffusers or the whole car for that matter. For Williams it doesn’t affect our cost at all the aero change. The tyre change is the same as what Ross just said. The only thing really is that there are a lot of quantities on the race weekend. I think the quantities on testing will remain pretty similar, maybe a small reduction but nothing more than five percent, 10 percent, something like that.
PS: It won’t alter our spend one iota. There will be redistribution of course because the actual manufacturing costs of the V8 engine will be slightly lower. I think that a team’s job is to generate income and then spend that income wisely. And we will redistribute it a little bit. The rules won’t save money for the teams represented here - it is much more for some of the other teams. It will have an affect on them. But maybe in the long-term it will help us. For example if we end up supplying an engine to a second team and they carry out some of the track development it might have some affect on us then.
MG: Really mirroring the other guys’ comments. All the teams here are well funded and it won’t change what we spend. I think from Toyota’s point of view we have always said we support a two-race engine and it will help the smaller teams and it will allow them to have a reduced budget. We as a team said we would look to supply or could supply in the future and that is something we could now consider. I think from a personal point of view if we want to reduce costs and help smaller teams, I’m disappointed we have not been able to agree to reduce testing because to my mind one of the easiest ways to reduce the cost of a Formula One car is to not run it. So if you reduce testing you don’t have to build engines and you don’t have to physically run it and that is something we have to look at to agree in the future.

Q: (Dominic Fugere – Journal de Montreal) With the two-race engines, by my calculations, it will cut in half the race costs. Would there be the possibility of generating income by furnishing smaller teams with Renault engines or Toyota engines as Ferrari are doing right now?
PS:
I think one of the things that you have to appreciate, your maths is certainly not wrong but a little simplistic. The number of engines we produce over the year, a relatively small percentage of them go into the race. A lot are used in testing and on the dyno as well. Yes it helps but we are not cutting our engine bill in half or anywhere near that.
Q: Would you consider supplying another team?
PS:
Yeah, I think there is merit in running your engines in a second team. There is certain constraints as well. You want to be associated with a front running team, I think there is certain standard a team would have to meet if they want Renault or Ferrari or Toyota or whatever engines. It does make it easier. It doesn’t turn the switch and suddenly make it the thing to do but it is a step in the right direction.

Q: (Byron Young) We’ve seen a lot of teams come and go over the years, but is there any extra sadness to see a name like Jaguar go, especially when they connected to a giant car company like Ford?
RB:
I worked for Jaguar in the late 80’s early 90’s on their sportscar programme and I think there is a strong heritage Jaguar has with sportscars. They had a lot of tradition at Le Mans and perhaps that is where they were at their strongest. I don’t think Jaguar and Formula One really worked. It is a shame to see them go. If I put my other hat on as a Brit…what could have been a very strong national team doing well. I’ve seen the spirit Ferrari creates in Italy and it is fantastic and if that had been created by Jaguar in Britain it would have been quite an achievement. So it is bad to see them go. But I don’t think they have been able to make a success of their Formula One programme for whatever reason.
MG: It is obviously sad for any team and it is obviously sad for all the guys that have put a great effort in. You look at great names that have disappeared from Formula One like Lotus, Tyrrell and Brabham and you’d have said how will Formula One survive and it has. It is just a fact of life. It is always a great shame especially for the workforce who have put a lot of work in.

Q: (Heinz Pruller) Can you tell me how many engines you build a year? Is it around 100?
RB:
It is a little bit more but of course we are also supplying Peter with his engines. Before the one race engine rule we were producing about 150 but it is reduced now. We obviously predict to build less next year. Those numbers a lot of the top teams are looking at. A lot of those engines aren’t full cost engines, they are made up of bits that have been used. They are not necessarily 100 or 150 brand new engines. There are a lot of engines we put together from bits and pieces for testing or development.
SM: We use a similar number, around the 100 mark. There are quite a lot of engines that don’t see the test track. They spend their life on the dyno.
PS: I think we are at a similar number. I don’t know the exact number that we have produced this year but it would be around that sort of level. As I alluded to earlier a lot of them just go on the dyno, they are just development engines.

Q: (Byron Young) If we have three car teams next year does it make any difference to the way the races are run if that third car does or doesn’t score points?
SM:
First of all on the cost of third car, we put it at any where between five and six million sterling to actually run a third car. Mike said before they bring mechanics for the third car on Friday, we don’t at the moment. To keep all those people working over the weekend and run the car on Sunday – even during the race with two cars now and judge your pit-stops and make sure the cars are not overlapping in the pits and making sure you have the most competitive stop lap for each car and concentrate on those, it is a really difficult job on a Sunday afternoon. If you add a third car to that you’ve got to consider a third fuel rig and then when you get into the situation of whether it scores points or not. If you look at it from a purist’s point of view I think it has to. Then if it does score points you have the question are you running the third car for the whole year or if there is only nine teams does each team run a third car for four races or something like that. The problem is if you are not scoring points you are consuming mileage on that car and it is costing quite a bit to run that car. If you have a fast car that runs at the front and you can’t score points does that mean he’ll block cars that can score points. It gets quite complicated. The simplest way would be to allow all the teams to run three cars all year. If you have nine teams on the grid that’s potentially 27 cars in the race. I think it has been up at those numbers quite a bit of time ago. But there is a few issues to be resolved before we jump into it. Another thing that adds to the cost is race drivers because it is not like you will be thinking we’ll just stick a young kid in there and he’ll be okay because its not that important. If you’ve got three cars scoring points that third drivers is as important as your first race driver so that basically means you have three prime drivers in your team. It is doable but it is not a five-minute decision.
RB: I understand what Sam is saying. It is difficult if it scores points for lots of reasons. It makes it compulsory to run a third car and we go from a scenario where probably none of us wants to run a third car to all of us wanting to run a third car in a full-blown format. But I agree it makes it difficult in the race if you have cars that can score points and cars that can’t score points. Whether there is a system that could be evolved to allow each team an equal share of a third car, because there are teams that can’t fund a third car. If you look at the scenario for someone like Peter Sauber to run a third car, next engine bill, all the consumables that go with it. He doesn’t have the resources to run a third car. It would be unfair on him if teams who were able to run a third car were away scoring points and he can’t do that. There is a lot things to sort out if we get into the third car scenario.
PS: Our analysis shows the costs to be slightly higher than Sam has mentioned. So it is not something we are taking lightly. In terms of scoring points I believe that some while ago when this was discussed was that the third car wouldn’t score points but equally no-one else would take those points. If a car finished third then no points would be awarded for third place. I think from the manufacturers’ championship that is probably the right way to do it, but from the drivers’ championship I actually think they should score points because the public follow the drivers’ championship a lot more than the constructors’ and if they watch a couple of race where driver X has had some good results and he is still not showing in the championship table it won’t look right. I think the best thing is for the car to not score and the driver to score points.
MG: The guys have raised all the points. It is a complex situation but it needs someone to sit down and figure out a solution to it, but it is not straightforward.

Q: (James Allen) Surely another problem is that the small teams would never score any points?
SM:
You’d have to change that wouldn’t you.