FIA Friday Press Conference - USA 18 Jun 2004
Reproduced with kind permission of the FIA
Team Principals: Ron Dennis (McLaren), Eddie Jordan (Jordan), Tony Purnell (Jaguar), Paul Stoddart (Minardi) and David Richards (BAR).
Q: A question to all of you to start off with about the regulations for 2006, which I believe that youre going to discuss at a meeting on Monday week, where its being finalised? I dont know what the situation is. Have those regulations been agreed on, do you agree with them because we were told you all agreed on them, and whats the situation with that meeting.
Tony PURNELL: Certainly Im not under the impression that the regulations have been agreed - far from it. Its a fact-finding exercise at the moment. From our point of view, were just hoping that moves to contain the expense of Formula One and get it back into something that meets the sort of market forces will be achieved. I think thats the mood of everybody. I hope were successful in finding that formula.
Paul STODDART: I certainly dont think anythings been agreed. The Monaco meeting was simply a fact-finding mission. Perhaps it was played up a little bit more than that after the meeting, but I certainly dont feel we went away from there agreeing anything. What worries me a little bit is we havent seen an agenda, or I certainly havent seen an agenda, for Monday weeks meeting, and since it is so important I would have liked to have seen one by now. But weve got to try, as Tony says, to contain the costs and teams like Eddie and I are very interested to see just where this goes.
Eddie JORDAN: Certainly nothing has been agreed. There was a meeting in Monaco where Max told us the things he would like to see. Some were possible and (he) look(ed) for an answer back from the teams, weve done that, we did that almost immediately. So the position of Jordan is, within reason, clear on certain aspects and there were some things that he said that were not negotiable but well have to wait and see what the agendas like when we receive it.
Q: Can I change the question slightly for David Richards and Ron Dennis? What are the contentious issues in those suggestions and are you worried the regulations may be railroaded through? What dont you agree with?
David RICHARDS: I think the fact of the matter is that what has been put to us is a set of regulations for 2008, at the end of the current Concorde Agreement, and there can be no argument about that. Its within the FIAs remit to present regulations that they are going to run the championship with from 2008 onwards and its up to us to decide whether we are going to enter or not. As to whether any of those regulations can be brought forward or theres any benefit to bring them forward, thats a further debate, but I dont see thats going to happen overnight.
Ron DENNIS: First of all, I echo pretty much everything that everybody else has said. The fact is that it was a constructive meeting that took place in Monaco to discuss changes. It wasnt just a cost-driven discussion - we are very keen to improve the spectacle of Grand Prix racing. There are other issues the number of races, technical and commercial issues that were discussed. But the format both there and in future meetings shouldnt be a public format. Im always mystified coming to an FIA press conference and to be asked questions that are by an FIA representative which are contentious questions. We are looking for a harmonious internal set of discussions which leads to a set of regulations or a commercial agreement that we are unified behind. So I am always mystified why contentious questions are asked. For example, you asked the question 2006 regulations. There are no regulations that are going to change in 2006 unless its by way of unanimous agreement between the parties that are signatories to the Concorde Agreement. That means the teams, the governing body and the commercial rights holder. Its a simple fact and, for once, I think we are in harmony, as teams. We want to make things better, we want to make it a better spectacle, we want to reduce costs and we are all committed to that. But its never achieved in a public forum.
Q: Tony, what is needed at Jaguar to turn it around? They seem to have slipped back a little?
TP: Thats fair. Were thoroughly disappointed with the season. We started with a very nice quick car and weve been let down by a lot of small mistakes. We have a limited resource and we put the effort into what we thought was important with the money we had and I think weve been quite successful there. But in Formula One youve got to be good at everything, you cant make any mistakes anywhere, and its a no prisoners game. The areas that we havent been so strong on have hurt us very badly. Im sort of 50-50 with it because when we were designing the car, if anybody had mentioned what sort of lap times its capable of nine months ago we would have shaken our heads and said just now way, were not going to make a car that good. But the standard this year is fabulous and fantastic lap times compared to last year are ordinary Im afraid. So its a tough game and we have to find all those little improvements. I have to say that its one of the problems when youve got an adequate budget but not an excess because money can mask mistakes. Its very easy to buy your way out of mistakes. We cant do that. Weve got to get everything right and if we dont were punished. But thats the game were in, so no complaints.
Q: Paul, Ive seen quoted that you reckon that youre worse off than you have been for many years, but youve probably got a better budget this year. How does that work out?
PS: Two reasons. One, as Tony just touched on, is that there are no bad cars, there are no bad chassis, there are no bad engines and there are no bad drivers and, simply put, weve taken two seconds a lap out of most of the tracks that weve visited this year and its not enough. Were just getting left behind and were being outspent enormously, which we accept. We accept our budget is the smallest in Formula One but its starting to always show and I think if you add that to the fact that weve had stable technical regulations now for several years in a row youre seeing the by-product of that, which is ultra-reliability. In the main, most of the teams now will go through a race weekend with very little problems. We see, consistently, 15, 16, 17 cars finishing races, which would have been unheard of a few years ago. Were just being outspent and thats our problem.
Q: Eddie, obviously you had a superb result a week ago. What was your reaction to that and also the fact that the third driver played such an important part?
EJ: Extremely fortunate. I had no idea, leaving the circuit, what the final outcome was going to be. It doesnt matter where you are, two cars in the points is a result, whatever position youre in and I was very pleased about that, of course, but it doesnt mean that were any quicker and the quick cars are fantastic at the moment. It seems like a distant past when we were fighting for a podium. Thats not possible at the moment, but the fight back is good. We started this year when there was a lot of doom and gloom about Jordan and weve get our heads down and weve kept our mouths shut and what we have done is get on with our job and prove that we are a significant member of the Formula One establishment and we will come again. This was part of the fight back and Im enormously pleased by Timo Glock, who stepped in at extreme short notice. And Id like to say, not just to the four other team principals here, but I had to send a document around, if you like, professing my faith in this driver and why he should get a super-licence and Id like to say thank you, their judgement was right. He is a good young driver, hes got great potential and he deserved his licence and he did us all proud for the people who signed for that.
Q: David, for you two questions about the future of the team. How long does your contract as management last for and, similarly, whats the situation with Honda at the moment?
DR: Both are still having final discussions. The intention is that theyve asked me to stay on for a longer period of time than my current agreement is and were just discussing that at the moment. And Honda, as theyve obviously told you, are going to continue but, again, the terms of that will be announced by Honda themselves, not me. Theyre both under discussions. Its not an immediate issue, quite clearly, because my agreement doesnt come to an end until the end of 2006 anyway and the Honda situation is ongoing.
Q: Ron, you may not like this question much either. Can you tell us what the situation is with GPWC because after that set of regulations came out it was suggested that that was the end of GPWC. Is it still in existence?
RD: Well, I dont know why you are asking me. I am no better informed than any of the other team principals. I understand its moving forward and it seems to be evolving into a different entity but still with the same name. Obviously the more options the teams have the better and at some stage in the future maybe there will be a choice between one series or another. I think its highly unlikely that common sense wont prevail and there will be one entity but time is almost the dangerous element in this because we dont have any decisions to take until the end of 2007. So unless everybody agrees, that is current a signatory to the Concorde Agreement, we will be running rules, regulations and commercial terms through to the end of that season. So anything that takes place will have to be through a process of unanimity which I sometimes doubt is ever possible in Formula One.
Q: How has it changed?
RD: I think that theres a common understanding of the format that more effort being put into the operational aspects of the series, and alternative commercial approach, and perhaps bringing in third party competence to bear on some of the issues. Its an ever-changing thing at the moment.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Bruce Martin Sports Ticker) Speaking of cost, how much better has it been to have the two North American events on consecutive weekends, from an efficiency standpoint, from travel standpoint, with your teams?
RD: I think, first of all, consecutive Grands Prix, as regards controlling our costs, have a relatively minimal impact. Obviously its a shorter period of time that our people are away from home and therefore the, lets say, fixed costs, hotels, those sorts of travel costs etc, tend to have some small impact on it, but as percentage of the whole cost, its a relatively small percentage. Where the costs increase is that you have to have more people to cope with the workload and its a more intense period of preparation because youre not going back to base and therefore you have to carry all the equipment and spares to maintain the cars between the events. So from a saving costs point of view, its probably hard to say that theres any cost benefit at all. The biggest negative for us all is the tremendous pressures on the workforce. It probably impacts less on the people sat in front of you than it does on the guys who are preparing the cars or who direct responsibilities that involve them directly in the team operation. The pressure comes not necessarily on them physically but more on their family lives and the burn-out that negatively comes with personnel travelling around the world and that being impacting by these back-to-back races. But having said all of that, the teams all contribute to the view that a World Championship must be that and America and Canada is extremely important to our calendar. It obviously gives us the ability to attract some American investment into our sport and we wouldnt want to see these races move off the calendar. But we are all feeling the strain of what is going to be an 18 race series this year.
DR: How can you add to that?
EJ: Just very briefly, Im not sure if Ron completely touched on it. I think the workforce, when we discussed it with them, would rather have two races back-to-back like this, where theyre not having to stay out, for example, the previous race between Indy and Japan they all stayed out and it was never viable either from a time-frame or cost to go back, so from that point of view, I would advocate strongly these back-to-back races because what it does do is take pressure off when were trying to negotiate a calendar with Bernie and the other people involved in putting on the races, that the three week gap in the summer is still the most vital thing that we must preserve, because that does give a meaningful home life to people who have young families and thats the key. And if it means back-to-back, they should be retained.
PS: I think I would just add that the back-to-back for us has certainly worked with these two races, but as Eddie said before, when we had the 2002 situation with Japan when we were out for three and a half weeks, that does take a heavy toll on peoples home lives. We as a team probably saved a little bit of money. We didnt quite get raped and pillaged on our freight charges as much as we would have if it had been two races instead of one.
EJ: I must show you mine. (Laughter)
Q: (Joe Saward F1 Grand Prix Special) On the question of a set of rules or whatever it is, the crux of the matter very clearly is the commercial deal and if theres a commercial deal everything else will follow from that. Now it seems to me that Ferrari has a deal. I would like to know if any of you have agreed terms on a deal and if not, why not? And are there any sensible offers on the table? Starting with Eddie.
EJ: Is that because you know I will give you a truthful answer? (Laughs) I wouldnt bet on it. (More laughter) Never knowingly told a lie. Lies are always sinful, did you know that Joe? (More laughter) The answer is Hes spellbound for the first time ever. No, I have never been offered a deal. Ive heard talk about a deal and theres no deal on the plate for Jordan that I can know about and I wish there was, at least, something that we could look at and think about and drool over.
PS: Im probably even worse than that. Ive never even had a deal discussed with me. I have no knowledge of it whatsoever and simply, I dont feel, being serious, that were going to move forward with many things in Formula One until there is a new commercial deal. Thats it, the simple fact.
TP: Joe, I echo that. At the moment, weve got a sport with a degree of crisis coming up with this great uncertainty of where the commercial side of life ends up. Its something that other sports have faced, especially over in the States, and where you end up is that you have the technical regulations but were going to need some commercial regulation as well. It happens in business and certainly the way Formula One is structured at the moment, where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, doesnt lend itself to competition, because money is such an important element of this sport. So it would be lovely to think that you could come up with a commercial arrangement somewhat inspired by the sports out here where theres franchises, theres salary caps, theres things like drafts, you know, where the weakest teams get the pick of the best players. Things like that, which is a commercial regulation, is what the sport needs and certainly I hope that the mighty forces are going to act to produce something like that and make the sport good for everybody over the next twenty years. Certainly Ive had no offer.
RD: Its not really a yes/no answer. I think youve got to go to the root of the issue. The fact is that we are governed, at the moment, both technically and commercially, through to 2007, by a contract that we all willingly signed and we are all party to it. The pressure to establish a new commercial arrangement with the teams, strangely enough, its not as a result of the teams asking for money, or a bigger slice. Thats not where the pressure is. The pressure comes from the fact that the three banks who inherited equity by way of the demise of Kirsch and, prior to that, EMTV, are sat with significant debt or equity however you want to interpret it on their books and they know that that equity is reducing in value as we move closer to the end of 2007. Two of the banks have taken the prudent view of significantly writing down the value of that equity. One bank, whose involvement is currently indirectly underwritten by a government, is reluctant to write that equity down, so we have a strong desire of those three banks, and remaining shareholder, to construct a commercial deal that is attractive to us enough to sign, or extend, either the existing agreement or a new agreement. So theres very much a pressure on us to agree some sort of commercial arrangement for the future. There is the inevitable sound-bite language: We are only getting 23 per cent of the revenue, we would like a bigger share. Theres all the things that we can accurately put into the pot but the fact remains that our destiny at the moment is not in our own hands. We are bound by a contract that we intend to honour and any movement away from that is going to require some pretty Herculean negotiations from a variety of people. And I dont think the banks realise yet how precarious their position is and until they do nobodys going to really move from the position theyve adopted. Thats my view.
DR: Ive forgotten the question! (Laughter)
EJ: Sorry Joe, did we get an answer to the question?
Q: (Joe Saward) We got an answer from people yes.
RD: I have an understanding of what commercial options are available to all of the teams at the moment and the guys behind me, Im quite sure, do not have as much information as they should have and that is unfortunately part of the inevitable process of negotiations: Keep as many people in the dark as possible, divide and rule. Am I part of the divide and rule strategy? Most definitely not.
DR: Ive certainly not had an offer made to me but Ive had it presented to me in the form that I assume is going to be presented in the longer term as a renewed Concorde Agreement, just as a loose outline of it. But Im pretty sure Eddies had the same instructions as well so I dont think any of us have had any privileged position.
PS: I havent seen anything about it.
EJ: I thought you were offered a deal. The answer is no.
DR: Not offered a deal, no, but Ive been shown the basis on which it would be presented.
PS: Looks like Tony and me have seen nothing
TP: Absolutely nothing.
PS: Rons seen a lot but made his point very clear and the other boys have seen some.
EJ: Sorry, I got piece of paper with a post-it and there were some pieces of pencil on the post-it and if thats what they call Are you joking me? I can show you. Have you had a structured deal? The answer is no. I havent.
DR: Not in a form that is acceptable at the moment, put it that way.
EJ: Have you seen an organised deal Ron?
EJ: David, have you? None of us have.
DR: Ive seen the financial structure and the way thats put
EJ: Was it on a post-it? (Laughter)
DR: Not that I recall.
PS: Ill just check the back of my fag packet here. No, I cant see anything.
Q: (Matt Bishop F1 Racing) Tony, in the light of rumours that HSBC may not be continuing their sponsorship of Jaguar Racing next year, could you comment on stories circulating here which suggest that Sir Jackie Stewart, a non-executive director of Jaguar Racing, may have been hawking another bank, the Royal Bank of Scotland, as a sponsor to other teams?
EJ: Oh, I love that one.
TP: Jackie has acted correctly in that he informed the board and HSBC that he was going to take up a role with the Royal Bank of Scotland so theres nothing untoward there. But youre suggesting, here, an act of betrayal which would be inconceivable, I think, for a director of a Formula One team. Youve got bear in mind that Jackies the father of Jaguar Racing. Hes worked for Ford for 40 years, hes got huge standing in the sport, and that implies a set of first class ethics. Im inclined to discount that as rumour-making. For sure, Jackies always assured us that hes steadfastly behind the team, and Im sure he is.
Q: (Bruce Martin) Tony George has advocated his desire to see another United States Grand Prix, possibly on the west coast or something, and he believes it could only benefit this event. How do you feel about that?
RD: I think we would all support it providing it didnt increase the calendar size. A west coast race would be very beneficial to the commercial interests of all of our teams and probably Formula One as a whole.
DR: I think we have also got to look at how we get better penetration into American per se. Someone was telling a story at lunchtime about how little awareness there was of Formula One despite the fact that we are here this weekend and we were in Montreal last weekend. Will it help us to have an extra race in the west coast? Well, I am sure it will do but there is still an awful lot of work to do with what we are doing already and as far as extra events are concerned I have a slightly different view on this. I would rather do extra events and far less testing. I think extra events actually drive revenue and increase the value to everyone and testing does absolutely none of that.
EJ: There is also a rumour around about whether there will be a renewal of the contract and the options here at Indianapolis and it is my desire, certainly, as team principal of Jordan that there is. I think it has been a huge success and you must be a little patient. I remember not very long ago going to Barcelona to a handful of people and going to Canada to a handful of people and they turned out to be probably two of the best supported events on our calendar. So I am quite sure that things will turn around. We also have to get our act together. We do realise in an American context that we are not close enough to the people. We must make sure that we think carefully about this. We understand we have technology and we have new fangled cars and stuff but we also have to reach out and make that extra effort. That is part of the American culture and it is not for them to change, it is for us to change. And if you are going to have another race in America will you please have it in Boston so that I can get more Paddies on board because it is ridiculous going off to the west coast of America, it doesnt suit me at all! Thank you very much! (Laughter)
PS: I think the west coast race would be great but I echo Rons thoughts that we need to look very carefully at the calendar. I mean, 18 races is a killer, we dont do a lot of testing so I look at it from a purely race point of view and I look at people that are getting severely burned out and I fear 20 races, I really do.
TP: From Fords point of view we would be delighted to have another American race - it is an American company and it is the biggest market for Jaguar. I think the only caution is that Americans like to be entertained and if we dont entertain them it wont catch on simple as that.
Q: (Dan Knutson National Speed Sport News) Tony, you said that Jaguar has been very disappointed with the results this season. What has been the reaction from your parent company Ford to the season?
TP: Pretty good really. They never give me a hard time about results. They are very steady as a company, that is my relationship with them, so no complaints, no accolades. They were impressed in Malaysia, I have to say, and we need to pull something out of the bag to give everybody in the team a lift and, for sure, that is what we are trying to do. This would be a nice weekend to do it.
Q: (Joe Saward) Eddie, was your impassioned plea about keeping the three-week break earlier on because you are under specific pressure to give it away?
EJ: Joe, I am not sure you are on this planet! I said it was a purely humanitarian wish. We are trying to keep it.
Q: But is there specific pressure?
EJ: No, not at all. It does come up every year why do we need to have the three-week gap? And I think in particular before David was on board I think actually Ron was a very great supporter in this respect. Is that right Ron?
RD: Yes, you are quite right.
EJ: Thank you, Ron.
RD: It is not under pressure other than that every time the calendar comes up the three-week gap comes under pressure.
Q: But how would you get 20 races if you
EJ: You divide 20 into 52 and I think you get something like
Q: You are very good with numbers Eddie, arent you?
EJ: I have had to be! (Laughter)
Q: (Niki Takeda Formula PA) This habit of having a three-week break and a testing ban is relatively new. Can you explain why it has become so important in the last few years because you never used to have that 10 years ago.
RD: Well, I mean, if you go back to when I started motor racing in 1966 I think we had eight Grands Prix and there was huge amounts of time between the races. Now it is just a question, you know, Eddie uses the expression humanitarian, it is just for everybody that is working in Grand Prix has some family and it allows the teams to plan a holiday in the middle of what is an intense racing season. It is as simple as that, it is not complicated, and the winter testing, the bans that are in effect at the end and the middle of the season are purely to save money and, again, to stop the teams putting pressure on themselves to perform because inevitably if there is an opportunity to improve your team you are going to take it. If that opportunity is taken away from you then clearly you can focus on other issues and perhaps one of those issues is giving people time off, which is desperately important.
Q: (Mike King Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network) Mr Richards, forgive my ignorance of the technical rules of Formula One but your third car was obviously very quick today with Anthony Davidson second only to Rubens Barrichello. Is the third car required to meet the same technical regulations as the other two cars and if that is the case how impressed are you with his performance today given it is his first appearance at this track?
DR: Well, the answer to the first question is yes, they have to comply at all times with the technical regulations as all the other cars. He does, however, as the third driver, have the benefit of additional sets of tyres, which the other drivers dont and so fresh tyres do make a significant difference. But nonetheless Anthony has driven superbly all year and he is a really integral part of the team, not just on the Fridays but during testing throughout the season. I would say he is well deserving of a drive in Formula One in the near future.
Q: (Dan Knutson) What are your thoughts, guys, on having radio transmissions between the driver and the pit available to the television audiences and also to the fans in the stands who have scanners like they do in NASCAR?
DR: Very happy with it. No problem whatsoever from my side.
EJ: Does it have parental control?!
RD: I dont have strong views in either direction. If it could be demonstrated to improve the spectacle I wouldnt be violently opposed to it.
DR: Could I just add one point there? I think that the one-lap qualifying would have been significantly, or could be significantly improved if you have an interface from the television into the car on the slowing down lap and be able to talk to the driver and get the immediate reactions about his lap. I think we havent made the most of single-lap qualifying and the way it is presented.
PS: We have killed that one now, so there is no point. You have only got one more race.
Q: (Bob Constanduros - Bob Constanduros & Associates) What about radio transmissions for you?
PS: Oh, a great idea, and I think if we dont start (EJ interrupts) to the public you know, it is a great idea. Sorry Eddie, did you want to get in there first?
EJ: No, no, no, not at all. But I think its Im not sure that we want to hear some of the things that are said during the middle of a race. Some of the stuff is pretty basic, to say the least. (Laughter) Yeah, but it could be fantastic. We need to come up with more things, it doesnt matter, every idea is a good idea. Put them on the table, please.
TP: I certainly support it but I think it is tickling at the edges. I think to make Grand Prix racing more entertaining we just have to do something to make the cars overtake more easily because I think that fans want to see bunches of cars and overtaking. We just dont have that and we need to.
Q: (Jonathan Noble Autosport) You have all signed off for the new qualifying format from Silverstone, can you give us an indication of how convinced you are that it was a positive move and the right move and are there any processes that have been put in place to ensure the last five minutes of the second session arent a huge confusion for fans and televisions audiences with purple sectors and green sectors and the guy on pole not being quickest in the second session?
EJ: I think we have answered the question.
RD: First of all, the teams are constantly positioned as being solely and exclusively responsible for change and certainly this is one of those times. We have all contributed to trying to make the spectacle of qualifying better and there is no question if you look at the current situation that we have failed so far to make Formula One better than it has been in the past in respect to qualifying. I think everyone started simply from what was the best it has ever been and everyone said the best it has ever been was when all the cars were on the circuit at the same time and the drivers were effectively faced with getting a clear lap in a 12-lap window. Everyone I think agreed with that perception but then immediately pointed out that that meant that in a one-hour session everybody would be very slow to go out and that would mean 20 minutes of nothing happening. That was an issue that was addressed by splitting the practice sessions and then things tacked on as teams either were successful in politicking in some sort of advantage into the regulation or whether an interested party was able to politick something in and where we have ended up is definitely a different format. Whether it is better or not, I think time will tell. But if it isnt I dont think any team is not prepared to change it yet again but we have got to run probably the rest of the year in this format or stay as we are and that is still a possibility, I think.
DR: I think we have consistently proven, as teams, that we should not be setting the agenda here and I dont think we are actually doing things in a very rational way. In most businesses you consult the customer and you actually do your market research and you say here are the options and I think the way to have gone about it personally would have been to come up with three or four options, whatever it might be, and go out there and see what the television audience and production teams want themselves to make the job work for them because we are constantly under criticism of that. But on this particular occasion I think, at the end of the day, it was a request from Bernie, who said this is what I would like to do and he put the things forward. And quite frankly he is accountable for the television audience, he is accountable for people coming through the turnstiles, he is the promoter of the championship so I am afraid he got my vote on that basis. I dont think it is the right thing to do, however.
EJ: My concern was purely selfish and that was I was able to sell an element of time to my sponsors for not just terrestrial television but for global feed and I felt that was being taken away or could be taken away because, whether we like it or not, there is not a person who is responsible for the production of television who would be shot by his editor if he doesnt follow a red car. And on that basis it will go down to the next best one, whoever is likely to be there, and if we are in England he would follow an English driver, if we are in Germany he would follow a German driver and so be it all the way through and I cant have that pot-luck effect when I am doing proper sheets and spreadsheets about potential income and value of media because anyone who thinks that a sponsor does not have a media value on every particular second that has an appearance of your car is crazy. Those days of someone coming around and saying hey, I am a chief executive. Id like to have my sticker on your car and were going to have some fun and well go racing and well see how it goes are gone because you have proper marketing people who are all clamouring for other aspects of commercial viability and Formula One is no different. You have to stand up and if the figures meet the criteria you get the sponsorship, if it doesnt, you wont. So, a little bit selfishly, I was considering what Jordans prospect was. And, from that point of view, I probably agree with Ron that if you were to take the best scenario so, thinking of the sport for once, I think it is a better solution, but it has deprived Jordan of television income that I am disappointed about.
PS: I think the point has to be made that two years ago it was recognised that the share of voice that the small teams were getting was minimal and the whole idea of single lap qualifying was to give us all equal opportunity on the qualifying single lap. Now, that was achieved last year and I felt that we had something that worked. All year we had no complaints about this system, we had something to give the media on Friday, Friday meant something because we had a provisional pole position, we had a Saturday single lap that people didnt complain about. But pulling the two together was a chronic mistake and we have to take into account the fact that we probably shouldnt have changed what we had last year. Both championships went to the wire. That wouldnt have happened this year but I dont think we would be having the complaints that we have had this year had we left the format alone. Famous words: If it isnt broke, dont fix it. And as for this new format, which as David said is Bernies suggestion, I think it has got to be said that we will have to wait and see. But certainly the small teams are massive losers in this and our television share of voice is only really in qualifying - unless we are being lapped - and that has just been taken away. It makes it very tough.
TP: Im open minded to see how it works out. Who knows, it might work out very well. Its always difficult when you try something that has not been done before. I think that if you step back, you know, what are the problems? Friday, there is not much for people to come and watch, Saturday the same thing, for spectators and the television, and Sunday we wanted to try and get some unpredictability in it. That was the idea two years ago and I am worried that that might have got lost. So, if you want a bit of fun, just heres a little suggestion see what you think of this. You replace qualifying with miniature races, as they have in some other forms of motor racing. You have a ten-lap sprint race, celebrity pulls names out of hats, you know, have a jumbled-up grid on the Friday, have a second race with the grid reversed on the Saturday, pull all the points together, if there is a tie the fastest laps gets the nod, and something great to watch on Friday and Saturday, masses to talk about in the press and, for sure, you would get a jumbled-up grid and what would be so nice is that drivers would have to overtake to get the good position on the Sunday. But thats just a bit of fun. Lets hope that this second half of the season works out very well. You never know.
Q: (Ralf Bach R&B) Why didnt you want to stage the first half of the qualifying on Friday afternoon so you could have upgraded the Friday, which is still pretty meaningless to everybody?
PS: As I recall the three of us at the back (EJ, PS, TP) did want to retain it so you had better ask the others.
DR: I dont remember being asked one way or the other about that particular point. I think the fundamental point, however, is we are playing around with qualifying here but Tony made the reference to the whole notion of the way it was structured to create, you know, not in an artificial way as you do in other sports, but to create a set of circumstances where there would be a grid on Sunday that was different each race. What we have put in is a proposal going forward now for the latter part of the year which will produce the fastest drivers at the front of the grid and will be repetitious time after time in my opinion and it might produce interesting qualifying I question that, I dont think it will be very easy to televise but will certainly produce duller racing as a result of it.
RD: Nope, nothing to add. Just to re-state something I said earlier, which is, dont put the teams as the villains in this process, they are not. We are under constant pressure for change and we have remarkably little voice in some of the change that takes place.
Q: (Jonathan Noble) Eddie and Tony, much was made at the start of this season that Jordan and Jaguar would run with exactly the same engine. There have been rumours over the last few races that Jordans engine cant run in the same configuration in terms of power and revs because of reliability. Can you just clarify what the situation is, please?
TP: Eddie does get the same engine as us. The contract allows for a significant upgrade mid-season, which will happen. There are small variations between the engines but on the whole, up to this race actually, there hasnt been a time when I can honestly say, you know, we could have picked the engine number out of a hat and distributed it in that way. This race we have got an upgrade that we are trying with Mark. We have just built one engine and we will see how it goes. It is always a risk when you try an engine for the first time but we are trying to keep the engines on par as much as is practically possible.
Q: (---) Mr Purnell, two questions. Firstly, do you think performance has changed after Jaguar fired Niki Lauda two years ago and secondly how disappointing is it to see Jordan in front of you?
EJ: (Laughter) Oh, I love that!
TP: First of all, the performance of the team. We are operating on a huge amount less money, just about everything the technical department do is an improvement, we just have to be very, very prudent and I think the progress of the car, you know, to produce something that can even touch the McLarens, who are undoubtedly operating on double the money that we have, I think is outstanding. So, I am actually proud of what everybody has done over the last 18 months for Jaguar, they have done a good job. As far as the challenge of Jordan, it is very healthy. The Jaguar team has got to beat the Jordan team and I am sure that Eddie is mindful that the Jordan team has to beat the Jaguar team. And if you have got the same motor, more or less, it is easy for people to judge.
Q: (Joe Saward) Eddie, it was said more or less the same engine. What are your views on the engine thing this weekend?
EJ: I have nothing to add. I mean, it is very clear he Ford have promised us equality and I am sure that Cosworth and Tony, like he said, does it.
TP: Yeah, I think the Cosworth guys have done a good job this year. The engine is pretty reliable and they have made some good steps with it. Good show.
Q: (Jim Rosenthal ITV) At a time when you are trying to sell the sport here and in Canada, how do you all feel about 114,000 people leaving a circuit and millions more turning off their television sets only to find out the next day that the result has been changed. Is there a more satisfactory way of doing it?
EJ: I think its great! (Laughter) It was GREAT!
RD: I think fortunately it doesnt happen that often
EJ: And he (RD) says the same but he wont say it! (Laughter) And he (DR) is a liar as well because he says it was great!
PS: And I just wish they had disqualified two more!
EJ: Oh, God, what a race!
RD: It is part of Grand Prix racing and I have been on the opposite side of the fence so many times of small infringements, most of which are certainly not performance enhancing and most of them relate to oversights by technical staff. Of course, the most famous was when one technical director stood in front of the world and acknowledged that his car didnt comply and that was subsequently reversed on the basis of, you know, the whole charade that took place post that event and cost me a Constructors Championship. But, I mean, that is motor racing. But it does happen from time to time but it is so infrequent teams dont normally go out and breach those sorts of regulations and there has to be a price paid and unfortunately the team suffers the points loss and the media and the viewers suffer the consequences of information changing after a period of time. There are things that happen much longer and athletics is, I suppose, a good example, where the drugs issues can take months, sometimes a year or more, before you know what the outcome of a ruling is, so we are not unique in our sport at having a result change after a period of time but we do try and minimise it.