Reproduced with kind permission of the FIA
Drivers - Marcus Ericsson (Caterham), Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber), Max Chilton (Marussia), Sergio Perez (Force India), Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull Racing), Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
Q: Daniel, can we can start with you? Obviously a winner last time out in Montreal. Has it sunk in yet? How did you celebrate and what kind of messages did you receive?
Daniel Ricciardo: Yeah it has, its sunk in now. It took a few days but yeah it was awesome. We had obviously a great day and a good night with the team; we celebrated and enjoyed the moment. It was nice. I got lots of messages from lots of people, fellow drivers and other sportsmen and people around the world, which is pretty cool. I didnt see all of them but the amount I saw were really nice.
Q: Obviously this is a big weekend for your team on essentially its home track. What are your thoughts on that and how everyone is prepared?
DR: Its obviously exciting for us now. Weve got a bit of steam as well from the last race. I think were all really excited - the home one for Red Bull. Well see what happens on track. Hopefully we can be strong again but I think as the weekend goes its going to be a lot of fun. Not only for us drivers but for the spectators as well. I think theyre going to put on a good show. Theres a few planes flying around today and I think that will continue throughout the weekend with a good show.
Q: Marcus, coming to you. Obviously were just over a third of the way through your debut season in Formula One. How do you evaluate your progress?
Marcus Ericsson: I think its going better and better. I think my improvement is good but obviously as a team we want to be performing a bit better. I think I had a really good race in Monaco equalling Caterhams best ever result, which was really great for me. I think compared to Kamui Im improving all the time and can compete with him. Its getting there but of course we need to keep pushing and keep improving all the time.
Q: And how is the morale in the Caterham team at the moment?
ME: I think its good. We know that we need to improve of course but everyone in the team is working really hard. Straight away after Montreal I went to the factory in Leafield and everyone there is pushing 100 per cent. Were going to keep pushing and hopefully turn things around here in Spielberg.
Q: Max, coming to you. Your unbroken run of finishes was ended in Canada with that first-lap accident. How do you feel about that now?
Max Chilton: Obviously I was hugely disappointed when it happened. It was a typical first-lap accident; two drivers in pretty close proximity. I was pretty upset after the race, losing that, and for the team because there was a lot of damage. But weve got to draw a line in the sand and move on from that and I think were on a good roll at the moment as a team, were definitely pulling away from certain teams and catching others up, so weve just got to keep focusing on that now and focus on the future.
Q: As you say the team is in pretty good shape - ninth in the championship with the two points that were scored in Monaco. So where do you go from here?
MC: Weve just got to keep moving forward. Were not a top team that can bring huge updates to every race. We just need little and often. Weve been doing that I think fairly well this year, better than previous years. Just getting a few more points of downforce at each event just makes the car more driveable for me and Jules and that means we can then extract more from the car. Its amazing what that little difference to the cars around you makes. I think weve been racing cars that weve never raced before.
Q: OK, thank you for that. Esteban coming to you. Obviously still no top 10 in qualifying or the race yet this year for your team. However, last year developed pretty well in the second half of the season and picked up results. Do you feel its possible to repeat that this year?
Esteban Gutierrez: Its going to be a little bit more challenging. At the moment there is not any quick fix to our situation. Its not easy to accept and to realise the position we are in but all the team, every mechanic, every engineer, is doing his best to recover. At the moment we are in a position where we are fighting for ourselves. I mean Im fighting basically with my team-mate and thats the only reference I can have and thats the only thing I can show from the drivers point of view.
Q: I think Im right in saying that youve never raced any kind of car around this circuit. What are your thoughts on the track and how youve prepared for this weekend?
EG: I heard very good comments from various drivers that its a fun track even though its quite simple, so Im really looking forward to it. At the team we dont have a simulator, so theres no real preparation for it, but Ive seen a lot of footage, some data as well, which Im able to look at and thats basically it; not much to do. Ill do the track walk later on, pretty slow, to really see every detail on track and enjoy the weekend.
Q: Sergio, first of all, how are you feeling after your accident at the end of the Canadian Grand Prix? Any after-effects and have you had any conversations with Felipe Massa since then?
Sergio Perez: Yeah, luckily nothing happened. We went straight to hospital; it was a pretty big shunt. I had a little bit of back pain, which went away during the days. I couldnt do normal training for a couple of days and no, I havent had the chance to speak with Felipe.
Q: You were running competitive at the time [of your accident], so what about this track? Is it going to be another weekend that will suit Force India do you think? I understand youve got some upgrades coming this weekend as well?
SP: Yeah we have a couple of upgrades, so we are really enthusiastic. I think this can be a good track as well for us. Yeah, we were doing so well in the last race; the strategy was going really well, we managed to do one stop and keep a very competitive pace, so I think we are really enthusiastic. Its the first really big upgrade we bring to the car since the beginning of the year, so hopefully that will put us in better shape and a better position.
Q: Fernando, you are the only driver on this panel who has raced in Formula One around this circuit before. What do you think about the circuit, what are your memories of your races here from the early 2000s?
Fernando Alonso: I think the circuit, as Esteban said before, is a very short circuit, so there are only five or six corners around here where you can make the time, so I expect all the cars to be very close. One or two tenths you can make a lot of places, so you just need to make a perfect lap on Saturday. If not its a big penalty in terms of positions on the grid here. And to be honest I dont remember anything. We raced in 2001 and 2003 and I have no memories. Too long!
Q: We spoke in Montreal, obviously Ferrari brought quite a lot of upgrades to the car, which worked quite well in practice, but you werent able to use all of them for the whole weekend. Whats the plan for this weekend and what sort of shape do you think youre going to be in?
FA: We have some new parts also coming here, as every race, and we will try to evaluate them tomorrow in the practice, trying to understand which ones we can put on the car on Saturday and which ones will require more time to bring to the cars. So tomorrow will be as usual a test Friday and hopefully well pick out the good ones for the rest of the weekend.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Ian Parkes - Press Association): Question for Sergio. Sergio, weve just covered Felipe Massas Thursday presser. To précis what he said: he described what you did in Canada as dangerous; that he would never trust you on track again; that he would think three times before considering an overtaken manoeuvre against you. However, he would be willing to sit down and talk things through with you. If I could just get your thoughts on all of that and whether indeed you might actually want to sit down with him?
SP: Yeah, of course. Felipe, we all know he is a good guy. He has his opinion, I have my opinion, and we just have to sit down. Also we get the opportunity tomorrow, with the FIA, to review the accident once again, as we believe we have enough evidence to prove I did nothing wrong.
Q: (Frederic Feret - lEquipe) - A question for Daniel. Is there any kind of advantage to drive on a Red Bull circuit this weekend? Did you drive it years before on a simulator, things like that?
DR: Yeah, I did some simulator work last week - like a lot of us probably though. And last year I did a filming day with Toro Rosso, so Ive been around the track but just a few times. Its a short lap and we wont take too long to adapt and get used to it. And as Fernando said I think qualifying is going to be really, really tight, especially by the time that comes were all going to have our eye in and yeah I think mistakes are going to be costly here so its just about putting it all together. But it should be fun. I dont think Ive got an advantage here, I think by Saturday well all be up to speed.
Q: (Peter Vamosi - Vas Nepe Kiadoi KFT) Question to all drivers. Did you make any bets on the football championships?
FA: I didnt. I didnt. I dont know whos going to win, its open and yeah I will not bet, its too difficult.
Q: How about you Esteban? Mexico are going really well
EG: Yeah, really well and I feel proud of it. Its great to see. They barely made it into the World Cup and now theyre playing really well and in a good position. So hopefully they keep on going like this and we can fight for the win at the end.
Q: Max, big night for England tonight.
MC: It is a big night. I didnt put a bet down because Ive never seen a poor bookie but it was a good game [England vs Italy]. I did tell someone to put a bet down on it being 2-1 but I got it the wrong way around. Italy beat us 2-1. If we can get a win in today it will really boost us for the rest of the tournament.
Q: Daniel, the Australians tried hard yesterday
DR: Yeah, were now playing for the wooden spoon. Well see how we go, hopefully we can win one but, yknow, they fought well, I think both games. Obviously they lost but they scored goals, found the back of the net, they attacked and took risks, so we have to be proud of that at least: went down swinging.
Q: Have you been enjoying it Sergio?
SP: Yeah, really enjoying it. Weve done a fantastic job in the first two game. We played against Brazil the other day and are doing really well. Right now we have the best, the most important game with Croatia to go through to the next match. Hopefully we can go on and keep going. Theyre definitely doing a good job and I think it can be one of the best World Cups in the history of my country.
Q: Marcus, Sweden watching from the sidelines. Have you put a bet on?
ME: I havent, no. Its a shame were not there but Im sure Sweden will fight back and be strong in the next one.
Q: (Kate Walker - crash.net) Looking ahead to the German Grand Prix, could you tell us what youre looking forward to about racing at Hockenheim please.
FA: Its just another weekend I guess. Is there something special there? No? Normal.
Q: Max, how have you gone there?
MC: Yeah, Ive raced there a couple of times in GP2 and its a challenging track, not particularly easy to get right but Im looking forward to it. I like the Nürburgring slightly more but Ill give it my best shot.
Q: Esteban, is it one of your favourites?
EG: Yes, I really like it a lot. I have very good memories there. In my early days in my career, Formula BMW, Formula 3, GP3 as well, so its going to be one Im really looking forward to.
ME: Ive been there quite a few times and won there in Formula 3. I usually go well there and hopefully can keep that up.
SP: I have good memories. It was my first-ever podium in Europe, when I was racing in BMW. And, always good memories to go into that place.
DR: Turn One is fun. Its fast. Also coming into the Stadium, the other fast right-hander - are my two preferred corners. Yeah.
Q: (Flavio Vanetti - Corriere della Sera) Couple of questions to Fernando. In these days we had some quotes by Luca di Montezemolo about the necessity for big changes in Formula One. How do you judge them? Second question: yesterday it was decided to reduce the in-season tests. Whats your opinion about this decision about Formula One?
FA: I think the president is right, in a way. The show that probably weve put in this year is not good enough in some of the races. Also, when one team is dominating so much as Mercedes, probably the spectators prefer some more action, as probably they like Canada Grand Prix that everyone seems to enjoy. Yeah, we will try to put on a better show in the next races and if the teams or the fans or whatever, they have any ideas, they will be welcome to have a better show.
Obviously this is the way the sport has been going in the last couple of years, yknow? Now for many years, reducing the tests more and more. They have some good things and some bad things. Probably the cost is the good thing. The teams can save a lot of money and we have more teams that can survive year after year and we can keep having a good grid. On the other hand its the only sport in the world that you cannot train. So, for us probably its not a big thing but for a young driver coming from Formula 3 or GP2 or whatever, the first time they go to the circuit if FP1. There is no possibility to test at any time and thats probably a unique thing in our sport unfortunately. But at the same time, as I said, I understand the cost problem and if they decide this its because its the best decision.
Q: (David Croft - Sky F1) There are two big issues that have been discussed: theres the cost cutting and then theres the improvement of the show. Gentlemen, as youre the guys that are out there racing, do you think the show needs improving, and if so, what can the sport do to put on a better show on a Saturday or a Sunday afternoon? Whats the one thing youd like to see to promote better racing, if we need it in Formula One?
ME: I think the show is obviously there is room for improvement but I think overall its good fun to drive, the cars are quite tricky to drive but weve seen this year in many races that there is good racing, good battles, its just yeah, there are always things to improve, I dont know exactly what, but I think still, the racing has been good this year - and we saw in Canada how good the racing can be.
SP: I think there is a big room for improvement, to improve the show. There is one team dominating, normally every year. I mean in Formula One there is always one team winning pretty much every race, so thats a bit boring for the fans and also for the drivers if youre not in that car. I think theres not much you can do. Reduce the cost to give an opportunity to the smaller teams to try and be competitive. I come from a big team to a smaller team and I see the reduced amount of budget and with this limited budget it is very difficult to compete against big teams. I think that would help a bit, to reduce a bit the cost to be able to have more equal chances of fighting big teams.
Q: Esteban, any other thoughts on this?
EG: I think everything is more related to the cost cutting, which is probably the most important topic at the moment. In terms of the show, it was been very mixed in the last years which more regulation on the tyres, more pitstops, everything has been probably more interesting but at the same time in some way a little bit more confusing. I think the more information is given to the fans about whats really happening in the race, this can improve the understanding and it can directly improve the entertainment as well.
DR: Not much more to add, I think its all been said. I think theyve improved it with things like DRS and all that. I think its been quite a good addition in my opinion and at least I mean the F1 cars this year, in high speed corners and that, you can still follow fairly well. We can keep, I think, a closer distance than probably what there was in the past. From what I see, there are things that are definitely going in the right direction. The rest, a lot of it is related to cost-cutting and all the rest but thats about it.
Q: Max, your thoughts.
MC: Yeah, I think cost-cutting has a huge part to do with it. I think it has to be slightly more efficient or the winnings have to be spread more fairly so the smaller teams have more to play with so then the cars are closer in comparison so then the racing will increase. I think thats one that will definitely help the spectators. Instead of having two seconds between some cars if theres only half a second its going to make the racing better to watch. And I think, Formula One is cutting edge technology and we all know everyone spends there lives on their phones and iPads now - I think we can try to put it out there slightly more. Ive seen some pretty cool apps where you can select whatever camera you want, pause it when you want, rewind. I think getting it out to the younger population as well would really help.
Q: Fernando, any thoughts what youd like to see
FA: Well, probably, as weve all said , the cost is the biggest thing here. All the ideas you have are closely related to the cost as well. So thats not an easy thing. In my opinion the KERS should come back to our cars. We have now the electric helping us on the straight but we cannot decide, or we dont have the extra boost we had last year to help with overtaking because you can use it in different places compared to other cars. Now we all use more or less the same energy in the same places, so thats impossible to overtake. And then tyres are a big thing. Bringing in a tyre competition or whatever will mix the teams. We could help the small teams like they do in MotoGP, giving them a different spec of tyres or different fuel quantity or whatever to use in the race. So there are some ideas we could take from other sports - but as I said, all needs to take care of the cost as well and thats the main priority.
Q: (Adam Hay-Nicholls - Metro) Fernando, another football question. How surprised and depressed are you about last nights result?
FA: Im surprised, Im not depressed. I think that (sooner) or later we had to lose. Weve been winning for some years now and we knew that sooner or later the day would come that we were back home, we were back home a little bit earlier than we expected, probably. They will enjoy a little bit more holiday break now but thats the way it is. We didnt play well enough to qualify, the others played better - sadly because the country has a lot of expectations when the World Cup comes around, so its good to give some happiness to everybody but we just need to say thanks for all that this generation gave us in the last couple of years and hopefully come back stronger in four years time.
Q: (Christobal Rosaleny - Car and Driver) To all of you: Fernando introduced the topic of the tyres and it seems that Pirelli is going to keep the blankets next year. Did they ask you for your opinion to take that decision, and whats your opinion?
SP: Yeah, we asked them. I think its very unsafe to take the blankets away. I dont think that will really improve much the show. I think I agree with Fernando, we need to do something quite different to what were doing at the moment, to give more opportunity to all the teams, smaller teams to be able to fight, maybe not for wins but if you do a weekend well, to be able to score points to give a bonus to the team. This thing is what we need a bit more mixed in Formula One; its always the same teams winning and its normal that people get bored of that.
ME: I think its the right decision, especially with the tyres that we have this year; in general theyre quite hard so to take away the blankets would be making life a bit too difficult, in my opinion.
EG: Very hard to say. I used to race in other categories without blankets. All the slicks are very different tyres but obviously that can be adapted. Its all related to safety as well. If its raining a little bit and for the right tyres its getting drier and you go out without the tyres at the right temperature then it can be very difficult and very dangerous in my opinion.
DR: I think its more for safety, especially at the start of the race when there are a lot of cars in close proximity. I dont think its quite necessary right now to do that. I think we can find other measures or other things, better solutions. I think tyre blankets are still a good thing.
MC: Yeah, as Esteban said, we all came from junior formulas where you dont have tyre blankets and we survived perfectly well, but I think for Formula One wed drastically have to change the compounds for it to be safe so its a good thing weve still got them.
FA: (You agree? OK).
Q: (Marco Canseco Fuentes - Marca) Fernando, can you understand the difficulties that Sebastian Vettel has found to adapt to the new powertrain, new way of driving compared to the high level of Daniel Ricciardo?
FA: I dont know. We have enough problems in our garage that we are not competitive at all at the moment, that you dont look so much in the garages around you. You just take the opportunity. I think Daniel is doing a fantastic job and Sebastian was also doing a good job in some races with some bad luck but Im sure that at the end of the year is when you need to see how the championship went and Im sure that Sebastian will come back very strong sooner or later so we will see.
Q: (Sim Sim Wissgott - Agence France Presse) Daniel, what does Red Bull have to do to catch up with Mercedes? Can it do that and is your win in Montreal the start of a winning streak?
DR: We just have to keep... like everyone, everyone is chasing them and just keeps working. Definitely the win gave us more motivation, not that we didnt have it but its given us that extra little bit. Its encouraged everyone to want more of it. I saw the team on the pit wall when I crossed the line and it was as if it was their first win again in Formula One. It was refreshing, so the motivation is there. I think its still going to take a bit of time, its not going to happen overnight, the gap is big as we all know, but as Ive said, hopefully we can stand on the top step again this year and try and close them down. Were chipping away at it.
Q: (Vladamir Rogovets - SB Belarus Segodnya) To all the drivers: the Red Bull Ring is a new track to young drivers. In your opinion, which point in this track can be the most exciting?
MC: I think its probably a huge percentage of drivers on the grid who havent actually driven it so its going to be an exciting experience. I quite like the look of the last two (corners) to be honest. I dont think theyre going to be great for overtaking but driving-wise, if you can get a quick entry into the second to last corner and roll the speed through into the last corner, I think when you get that right it will be pretty satisfying.
FA: I dont know really, probably the last corner, downhill and youre over the exit kerb many times so you get excited that its the last corner, you want to finish the lap perfectly if you havent made any mistakes so its a tricky corner.
DR: Yeah, what looks good is the last two... Fast, flowing and the last corner looks like you can throw the car in, use the banking of the circuit there to help so I think the last sector will be fun.
EG: Yeah, the last corner looks exciting but at the moment I dont know, because I havent driven it so I will have a look tomorrow.
ME: Yeah, I think the track is quite cool, to be honest and it will be quite fun to drive. Its not super-technical, it doesnt seem like there are any corners leading into one another but still there are some good parts like the double left-hander and the last couple of corners, so I think it will be good fun for us to drive.
SP: Very short circuit. I think definitely the last two corners look really enjoyable, difficult to overtake and to follow a car as well, so maybe I will tell you after the race which one gives you the best opportunity to overtake and to have more fun in the race.
Q: (Mikhail Rudoi - Autodigest Belarus) Daniel, after your win, do you still have good relations with Sebastian or has something changed?
DR: I think its still OK. He showed a lot of respect and good sportsmanship after the race. Obviously he would have loved to have been on the top step but as I said, he showed that he was happy for me, that I got it. Yeah, its good. I think its just going to make him more motivated so I obviously cant rest now, I cant get too complacent, keep pushing and hopefully it works well for both of us, get both of us further up the grid.
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