FIA Team Principals press conference - Sao Paulo
TEAM REPRESENTATIVES - Alessandro ALUNNI BRAVI (Alfa Romeo), Tom McCULLOUGH (Aston Martin), Mario ISOLA (Pirelli) , Diego IOVERNO (Ferrari)
Q: Tom, why don’t we start with you. FP1 looked promising for the team. Is the car performing better at Interlagos than it was in Mexico last weekend?
Tom McCULLOUGH: I think the short answer to that is ‘yes’ – but you really only get to find out the real answer come Qualifying, and the rest of the events. The Sprint format is a bit unusual, you don’t know what people are doing with fuel loads, engine modes, all of those things. Based on two pretty tough Qualifying sessions, we attack this one to give the drivers a good shot. Unfortunately, Fernando ended-up with a puncture and having to save tyres, so he didn’t get to run anything but the Hard tyre today – but again, he was reasonably happy with the car, so early days, but looking a bit better.
Q: Looking a bit better. So, what did the post-race debriefs in Mexico reveal about the problems you had there? Do you fully understand it now?
TM: I think we have a really good understanding of the car on track. Aerodynamically, that’s one of the strengths of the team, to actually understand what the car’s doing. We have been quite aggressive with some developments, a few races ago, introducing them at the Sprint, really research and development for next year’s car in some ideas. That means it’s quite hard to optimise the car at a race weekend, especially in a Sprint format. We unfortunately had a few problems in Free Practice One in Austin too. We’re definitely learning. We’ve put a lot good data in the bank for next year. This weekend, we’ve just got our focus on operationally executing a strong weekend in the now, rather than gathering data for the future.
Q: Tom, this is the last time we get you in an FIA press conference this year. So, can I ask you to just reflect on the season so far. What conclusions do you draw when you look at 2023 as a whole?
TM: We’re obviously a bit disappointed with some of the form at the end of the year, but if you actually step back and look at where we were last year, where we started the year. As a team we are growing, we are really growing quickly, that’s never pain-free. It always takes a while to get to work with new people. We’re also in the process of, during this year, I think just after the Spanish Grand Prix, we moved into building one of three of our new factory. It was a worksite for the start of the year when we initially moved in. We only moved in upstairs, downstairs was still being finished. Now, building one is totally finished. building three, the new wind tunnel is making really good progress, and they’ve started now on building two as well. So, we’re in a huge growth phase, we’re up against some top, top teams. All nine teams that we’re fighting against are top, top teams. We ‘re trying to fight the ones right at the front. We did that at the start of the year. Have we developed as well as them during the year? No. Are we a bit disappointed with that? Yes. But, I think, the learning and the way the team’s growing, is really positive for the future.
Q: Tell us more about the learning. What have you learned with this car, this year, that you can apply in 2024?
TM: Going back to the first test in Bahrain, obviously when Lance had his injury, Felipe driving for us. The morning of the third day, I think it was, we did a race simulation. We were just trying to give him some experience, if he needed to race. It was quite poor track conditions. He went out, and it was the first time we thought: ‘this car’s pretty good’. Obviously Felipe is pretty good too but I think Russell was doing a race simulation at the same time and we were basically the same, if not quicker with Felipe driving. Then Fernando did a race simulation. We were pretty confident that, over the winter, using our development tools, we’d put together a really good car. We obviously started strong. We’ve got a few directions which, in hindsight, you wouldn’t do – but that’s engineering. I think that learning has been key. We have a real solid understanding of where we need to go and a whole group of people who haven’t worked together before, working together, gelling, respecting each other. There’s a great atmosphere among the technical team. We all want to do better, but we’re all working well together. I think that’s just going to help us going forwards.
Q: And can you talk about the drivers now? Fernando Alonso, seven podiums. Lance Stroll, best of fourth in Australia. What sort of seasons have they had, from your point of view.
TM: I think what we’ve seen from both our drivers is that, if we give them a good car, if we operationally execute well at a weekend, if they don’t have any unfortunate circumstances, they can get us good points. Our main issue hasn’t been the drivers this year: our issues have been not always delivering a strong-enough car and, sometimes, having a failure here, a strategy decision there. A Qualifying risk her and there that has backfired on us. Fernando is new to the team. He’s a force of nature, some of you have worked with him before, but he's been fantastic. He’s pushing us. He’s so motivated. He’s so understanding that it’s hard, doing what we’re doing. It’s not easy developing a car in Formula 1 against some very good teams, and he has been amazing. I obviously didn’t know him before but you work closely with him and his ability to sense the car, to tell you what’s good. Keeping calm, as well. I thought it could get harder than it has done. But yeah, he’s been fantastic. Lance we obviously know well, we’ve known him for the last few seasons. He was really on the backfoot at the start of the year. When the car was competitive, he was scoring the points. He's had, and it’s easy to say ‘bad luck’, but right from race three, when he’s having an exhaust failure, and not getting the points he deserved there. There’s been quite a few circumstances again recently. In Suzuka, we had a rear wing failure, nothing he’s doing wrong, but at the end of the day on the days when the car’s been able to score good points, he’s often not been able to do that, which has not really been down to him, so we know if we give either of our drivers a good car, they’ll get us the points.
Q: Final one from me. Is the car good enough for points this weekend here in Brazil?
TM: I really think so. It’s obviously a Sprint event format. The main race is going to be interested here. It always is, from a tyre degradation and… probably not a one-stop race. But I think we’ve got a good understanding of how to get the most out of our current car. We’ll really just focusing, these next few races, on trying to get as many points as we can do, rather than doing too many R&D projects in front of you all at the track.
Q: Alessandro, let’s come to you now. Can we throw it back to Mexico, first of all. It promised much after Qualifying but the race turned into frustration for you. Valtteri put it down to circumstances and a bit of bad luck. What’s your read on what happened on Sunday?
Alessandro ALUNNI BRAVI: First of all, let me say sorry for my delay in joining the press conference, to you and all the journalists. It was a strange weekend for us. I think that, as most of the teams this season, we missed something in terms of understanding the tyres with different track configurations and different track temperatures. We were competitive on Friday, and also in qualifying, being able to be in Q3 with both cars but in the race, I think that race performance was not at the same level. So, it was not just because we have been in the DRS train for most of the race with Valtteri but Valtteri was unable to attack or defend, so we were missing something in terms of performance. We didn't have a problem with the tyres degradation. We were able to extend, for instance with Valtteri the first stint, until lap 32, so one lap before… or the same lap of the Safety Car. Of course, this has jeopardised our strategy. We could have been better but I don’t think this was the main factor. We simply miss some performance during the race. We need to investigate and to understand this, because this has been a recurring problem during this season, where we have been alternatively quick in qualifying and the race and vice versa. So, this is part of the analysis that we need to do, and where we need to go through the car understanding for next season, because I don’t think that this situation will change if we are not able to fix, with proper technical solutions, this problem.
Q: Before we talk about next season, what about this weekend? We’ve just had the one and only practice session here at Interlagos. Do the long runs look better here?
AAB: Difficult to read into this session for the long runs because we use our tyres and we don't know if this will be really representative for the race or the main race tyres. So, I think that we rely more on our stints on the medium tyres and the soft tyres. We are, I would say, there's still a lot of work to do. We don't think that we are really far, but Q3, for me, this race will be quite difficult. It's not a matter of car balance, it’s the overall package that we need to improve. We are lacking of grip, especially in high-speed corners. This has been one of our weakness points this season. So, we started not far but we didn't have the feeling that we are as strong as the last race in Qualifying.
Q: Alessandro, how does 2024 look? I mean, James Key joined, what, six weeks ago now? How are things going back in Hinwil?
AAB: First of all, we are really happy about having James on board. He started the first week of September, so he’s also contributing to next year’s car, to our C44 car. We review completely the project, together with him, thanks to his experience we went through an in-depth analysis of all the areas of the car, taking decisions. So, the next year car will not be an evolution of this year’s car, because we think that there are some limits in this concept that we cannot exploit further. So, we will really have as completely new car from chassis to suspension, everything, all the areas. Of course, it’s easy to identify the problems, but then you need to be able to fix it. So, we are working hard, the group is growing. We have new appointments that are joining, and that will be able to contribute also to next year’s car but the answer will be given to all of us next year in Bahrain.
Q: And, same question that I asked Tom: can we get your thoughts on the performances of both of your drivers Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu?
AAB: I think that what Tom says is correct also for us. If we are able to provide a performing car to our drivers, there they can deliver. But it's really a matter of giving them everything that they need to perform. There is no issue with our drivers, they are experienced, we have seen that they can contribute with points. But the matter is to have a stronger car with more performance in any track condition, with every tyre temperature, with… you know, all the elements. This has been our weakest point. Too many up and downs and not consistent throughout the season.
Q: Just on the subject of drivers. Théo Pourchaire had a frustrating time in FP1 last weekend in Mexico, is he due to get another run in the car?
AAB: Yes, of course. But please let me pay tribute to him, because, he was expecting this FP1 session all the year, and he wasn't able to complete any laps there in Mexico, because of an issue we had on the car. And he remained calm also on the radio, he gave the right indications: precise and concise messages to the team. So, first of all, for me it was positive, this experience for him. He showed to be mature. He will have another opportunity, of course, in Abu Dhabi, the second FP1 session and also the rookie test. He deserves, you know, despite the fact that we confirm our driver line-up for 2024, he will remain as one of our reserve drivers and we are now looking for him, what will be the best racing programme to keep racing shape. But he’s part of our driver line-up. We will have three drivers next year, not two official race drivers and one reserve.
Q: Is there talk of him going to Japan or is that you're not you can't say?
AAB: Super Formula is one opportunity for sure. You know, it's important for drivers in targeting Formula 1 to race in a single-seater category, if possible. And we know that Super Formula, together with Formula 2, is the closest feeder category with a good cornering speed. So of course, this is an opportunity, but we need to evaluate many, many other elements.
Q: OK, Alessandro, thank you very much. Mario, if we could come to you now, please. This is the first time you've been in the Official FIA Press Conference since Pirelli signed its new long-term deal with Formula 1. Both technically, and from a marketing point of view, what does the new deal mean for Pirelli? What do the next few years look like?
Mario ISOLA: We are super happy to extend our contract. Obviously, it's an opportunity to continue our partnership with Formula 1, both on the activation and marketing side, but also on the technical side. We learn every day from Formula 1. It’s a technical challenge. The teams are always very demanding. And there is a big project for 2026, with the new cars, and obviously, maybe also new tyres, as well as all the plans on sustainability for the future and the journey towards sustainability that we started with Formula 1. So there are many challenges and it doesn't mean that because we are in Formula 1 since a long time now, 2011, our mission is finished.
Q: You mentioned sustainability. Next year's tyres are going to be FSC-certified. What does that mean for Pirelli and for Formula 1 as we head towards net zero in 2030?
MI: I believe it's a great message. It’s not the only action that we are working on on sustainability, but it's a stamp on the tyre that has a big meaning. This certification means that we are expecting a lot of rules on the use of raw materials, and how we extract them, and all the process until the end of life of the tyre. So it's a clear message, together with other a lot of other projects that we have, from the Alternative Tyre Allocation to reduce the number of tyres that we use at each event to the blanket ban and many other ideas and projects that are running. And we are fully committed to that. We started with sustainability and sustainability projects in the company many years ago. But Formula 1 is the perfect platform to show our commitment in this area.
Q: Let's bring it on to the racing now, this weekend first of all. What can you tell us about tyre life, tyre performance after FP1?
MI: We decided to nominate, to select the same compounds we had last year, so I believe that there is good information for the teams. Obviously, a Sprint weekend is always difficult because we have only one free practice. But data collected last year are still useful I believe, because the change compared to last year, obviously it's a new construction that we introduced beginning of this year and then we had a step after Silverstone. They know the construction they know the compounds. It is a high degradation circuit with a lot of track evolution in free practice. So I believe they can rely also on historical data. I have to say that this morning we didn't find anything strange. Obviously, teams were focused on the Hard compound because it's the more consistent and can give them a possibility to run some laps with, let's say, controlled degradation. But I haven't seen anything strange for the moment.
Q: And in two weeks’ time – Las Vegas. New track. It feels like a step into the unknown. What can you tell us about the track, the asphalt? How are the tyres going to react?
MI: It is a step into the unknown, for everybody I believe. Las Vegas will be cold, it’s a street circuit. So we were working with the teams and we asked them for simulations in advance to try to understand how much energy the layout of the aircraft is putting on tyres. We had information from the companies that are making the tarmac in order to understand how abrasive is the tarmac, and which is the level of creep we can expect. But still, a lot of question marks are on Las Vegas. We decided to use the three softest compounds in the range to try to generate grip. I can imagine a lot of track evolution and very low grip. So they will complain! It's fine. We will manage also this situation. But it's a big unknown. Fast track, long straights, high speed and all conditions that are quite difficult to manage.
Q: In terms of energy does it remind you of any other track layout. Baku? It's got the long straight hasn’t it?
MI: We made a comparison with Baku, but I believe that Baku… Yes, there is a long straight but for the rest of the circuit it’s quite different. But we based some of our assumptions on Baku.
Q: Mario, thank you. Diego, thank you for waiting, let's come to you now. Welcome to the FIA Press Conference. Great to have you join us. How are you enjoying life back as Sporting Director of Ferrari. It's been a few years…
Diego IOVERNO: It has been a few years. I enjoy a lot, honestly. I’ve enjoyed it [at Ferrari] since 2000 when I joined the team. I've been lucky in these years because I had the chance to do different things, to cover different roles. Now I'm back on the track. For sure,. you must be able to do this job and I'm happy too.
Q: Now, you've been at Ferrari a long time…
DI: That makes me feel old!
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about Fréd Vasseur’s way of doing things? How different are the inner workings of the team now compared to previous eras that the team?
DI: Fréd is a very direct guy. He is straight to the point. He knows the business, knows motor sport. He knows Formula 1. So, it's quite easy to work with him. It’s easy to understand what he wants. So it's very efficient like that, because you don't have to make your own conclusions, he tells you. He can be also very funny. I don't know, maybe some of you saw videos on our Instagram or whatever of him trying to put Carlos’ face in the cake when we were celebrating. So he knows also how to enjoy but I think it is better not to upset him because I think he can be also hard.
Q: Now, we're coming to the end of a long season. What positives does Ferrari take from the year. Five podiums, one win so far. What have been the biggest learnings for you guys?
DI: This season is not over yet. So we need to wait for the last three to see. Obviously in our DNA there is the need to win. So we are here to try to win the championship. Obviously we didn't succeed. So we cannot be positive overall. Sometimes we showed good performance. I think as the guys execution and managing the weekend has been also many races positive, so in many races it was positive. We scored some good points, we win. It is a mixed feeling. It is a mixed bag. We’ll see how it ends up and then we will give our conclusions.
Q: Tell us about the drivers now, Carlos and Charles, the performances they've put in?
DI: Yeah, I think you cannot complain about our drivers. They are super-fast. They work together. They are very involved with the team. They are nice. They know how to behave. It’s really up to us to give them the right car, and to execute with them the races and we could get to wherever we need to go. The car has not been always as we would have liked to, but nothing to say about the drivers, they are fantastic.
Q: Well, what about here then, you say the car hasn't always been where you want it. But it started well in FP1. How hopeful are you about the long run pace and the rest of the weekend?
DI: I would be careful to say ‘started well’, because the programme in FP1 in the Sprint weekends is very different team by team. I mean we are on the top of page one now, but just because we ran the Soft tyres, others didn't do. My colleagues are working while I'm here, trying to understand where we really are and what to do this afternoon. The afternoon, possibly, will be challenging because the forecast is calling for possible rain. So it will take a while to realise where we are and where we go. We try always to do the best, try to win. Not sure it will be an easy one.
Q: Diego final one from me. You're in a battle with Mercedes for P2. How important is that second place to you guys?
DI: As I said before, for us the important thing would have been to win. Obviously we didn't succeed. Second is already better than third or fourth. This is what we are giving ourselves as a target. We'll try to do our best. If we manage it, it will be welcome because it's a good boost, a good tribute to the team effort. If we don't manage it, we'll keep on analysing why and try to move forward for the next year.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Jon Noble – Motorsport.com) Alessandro, it's been more than a year now since Audi confirmed its future involvement in Formula 1. We don't hear much from them. It prompted some rumours several months ago that the project was behind. There have been rumours in the last week that they're even questioning whether to continue. What's the reality in terms of how your relationship with them is working? And how does it work in terms of their investment into the team? Are they pumping everything in they need at the moment? Or is it still dependent on the current owners, because someone likened it to when you sell a car to someone new, you don't take it to garage and change the tyres and leave everything new for them.
AAB: First of all, thank you for this question, because it allows me to clarify a bit all these rumours that went around. Audi has a strong commitment to Formula 1, and of course together with Sauber. This commitment comes from a decision not only of the board of Audi but also the advisory board of Audi and the Supervisory Board of Audi/Volkswagen. So it's a group decision and the commitment is there. Why there is a lack of communication is simple. We are Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake. So until the end of the year, we have certain limitations in communicating about the team, about the future, about the involvement of Audi, and we fully respect Alfa Romeo for this and we don't want to make any kind of announcement or more than what is strictly related to the race and the Championship. The commitment, as I said, is there. We are working hard to develop the structure of the team. We have a strong recruitment plan in place. James Key is one, but we have on a weekly basis new appointments. And it's not a matter of, you know, the involvement of Audi in financing the team or sustaining this development process. We have two owners, you know, two shareholders, there is a governance in place according to the different stages of the transaction that will be completed ahead of the 2026 season and so we are proceeding with the investment plan, with everything, in accordance with the governance that has been agreed.
Q: (Matt Kew – Autosport) Mario and then for Tom: I think there are a couple of tyre issues in that session. Could you please clarify if it was a problem with the tyre, the debris on track? And Tom, I know you did a lap of the track last night, is that something you identified that it was mucky, and after that did you go to the FIA and ask for it to be cleaned a bit?
MI: OK, we had a couple of punctures due to debris and we also found some cuts on the tread. And obviously, we are going to inform the FIA to clean the… I believe that the problem is in the pit lane more than on track, but yeah, we have to pay attention because we had a couple of genuine punctures on the tread.
TM: As you say, we always walk the track, we always measure the track to understand the grip level and the state of the track. It was very dirty as far as the rain water running across the track with the mud, you could see that as you were going round. We always report back what we think to the track to the to the race director. We said it was dirty, we didn't actually notice any debris like Mario says, maybe in the pit lane. But you know, out on track when Fernando did his first run, the first comments he had were ‘lots of stones, I feel like I’m being sandblasted as I'm driving’, and we could see the front wing, the front of the car, taking a hard hit. So we then subsequently ended up with a puncture unfortunately, on the left rear tyre so that curtailed some of his running and we had to adjust the plan to suit that.
Q: (Gabriel Araujo – Reuters) Tom, Toto Wolff was just on TV saying that the teams have been talking to Stefano Domenicali about potentially changing the Sprint weekend's format, moving the Sprint shootout to Friday, Sprint race on Saturday morning and then qualifying for the Sunday race on Saturday afternoon. Do you have any inputs on that? Are those changes you all agree on - if the others want to make some inputs too?
TM: We obviously have the sporting advisory committee meeting this week. I'm sure Diego was there and there's been discussions about how to improve how we go about the Sprint event. The Sprint event was brought in for a reason, you know, the fans. From a technical point of view, it's a headache. The car goes into parc fermé after one practice session and it is difficult. But from a commercial side and from a fan side, I think there are elements that are exciting. It needs tweaking, it's been tweaked already. I think it needs tweaking a bit more because even my Dad who's quite an understander and follower of Formula 1 sometimes says to me, ‘so just remind me, is it qualifying on Friday for the main race?’ And I just think if somebody at that level is having questions, the fans are going to get confused. So our job is to put a simpler, better, more understandable format, still have the excitement of two races, I think.
DI: There are some discussions ongoing. For sure, the Sprint weekend has a lot of merits because there's many competitive sessions, you get as more interesting you can generate. It’s possible to improve probably, everybody is having a thought. We discussed in the Sporting Committee. There is still not a definitive proposal but our target will be once that FIA and F1 have decided the format, teams will have to work together to make it good for the spectators, good for us because it's quite tricky. If you move the Sprint race on Saturday morning, then you have to make sure that you allow enough gap to teams to react for qualifying in case of problems and stuff like that. There are also other options on the table. We will work together because at the end this is our target now, to make it as good as possible for our fans.
Q: (Ian Parkes - New York Times) Tom, you explained the drivers’ seasons earlier this year discussing Lance. His best results are from the start of the season when he was recovering from two broken wrists. And you mentioned he's had issues along the way but there have been too many other occasions, both in qualifying and in the race, where he's been considerably off the pace. He's cut a frustrated figure. How would you explain away those performances?
TM: What I would say to that is that at the start of the year, when the car’s competitive, it's quite easy. If you are two or three tenths from your team-mate, which at the start of the year Lance was, he was recovering, Fernando was very comfortable and on top of the car. When you are two or three tenths off your teammate and sometimes there were definitely some events, Baku when he was within the same tenth, where if the car’s competitive you’re just through quali one, you’re quali two, you’re into quali three, everything gets easier. When the competition gets stronger and you’re a tenth, two tenths off your teammate… Fernando had three or four quali ones in a row where he nearly went out by a half a tenth or a tenth. When it's that competitive and you haven't delivered a good enough car or operationally you haven't quite done a good enough job, the combination of those factors means it's pretty easy to get spat out in quali one or quali two. So Lance, as far as how he works in the factory, he is in and out of the factory between every event, he's going back after this event, he's simulator running, he's sitting with his engineers. The Lance we see is different. He works so hard, he's so motivated to learn from one of the best drivers this sport has ever seen. And that's what Fernando is. And, again, the last few races, always trying to develop how he gets the most out of the car, out of the tyres, out of the evolving aero package that we have. And that work ethic is what's allowing him to learn and to be better. So yes, there've been events when we operationally have taken a risk in qualifying, trying to save soft tyres and that just puts you on the backfoot. But I think collectively as a team, and with Lance, it's just all about that learning process. And I'm really pretty convinced these next three races, we're going to hopefully see that with a car that’s a bit more competitive and into the new year carrying on that momentum.
Q: (Matt Kew – Autosport) Tom and Diego, the drivers are talking in recent races about potentially making cars smaller, lighter. I just wondered, from your engineering backgrounds, what capacity is there to do that with crash structures and packaging and what are we talking? An inch, a foot? How far could you go? And as engineers and presumably purists, is that something you personally would like to see?
DI: I think drivers, all in all, would like to have a smaller car because they think, rightly so, that would be more fun to drive, possibly quicker, lighter, as it was in old times. Everything is possible. It's just a matter of how you define the Technical Regulations. We have to remember that our main target is always the safety of drivers. So there are again, a lot of discussions between teams, FIA in the Technical Committee, to set rules that can make also drivers happy, not only teams and fans. It may happen, it’s not defined yet. Everybody will be happy to have a quicker car, easier to handle, to give a better show. So discussions are on-going.
TM: Yeah, I think Diego’s covered that well. I think these are some of the fastest Formula 1 cars we've ever had. The cornering speeds in the high-speed are phenomenal. They are by far the safest cars we've ever had which we all want. To do all of that and to also make the car lighter is a challenge but the FIA are looking to the future to try to get the cars a bit lighter and obviously still keep some performance and always improving the safety, that is the job for us all.
Q: (Jon Noble – Motorsport.com) Primarily to Diego but also Tom as well: in Austin, you fell foul of the plank problem on the bumpy track, the last Sprint race. Have you changed any approach or checks or extra processes for this weekend to ensure no repeat? And secondly, the parc fermé rules originally came in to stop teams creating qualifying cars and to save costs. But now we're in a cost cap era with the curfew is there any need really to keep such parc fermé restrictions as tight?
DI: I think are both very good questions. Clearly in Austin we were caught out. We have reviewed all what happened that weekend. We understood what could we have done differently. Obviously, we are going to apply that because that feeling, I hope, we will not have anymore because it’s really tough to be thrown out. Others did a better job and we have to learn and move forward. And I think we did. Obviously I can guarantee you that we are on the, let's say, safe side here. There is always a trade-off, because to be more safe, you have to give away a bit of performance but it’s worth the effort. Parc fermé. Again, we are discussing about it. The original one was, as you say, to prevent teams to do crazy things, quali to the race. But there is also another aspect: that is to prevent, to protect teams by themselves, because engineers have always a lot of fantasy and sometimes mechanics are a bit too stressed. I think there is still some merit in parc fermé rules. Probably we may relax some of them because there are other ways to control what we are doing. There is the budget cap limitation, tracing of parts. I don't think we will get rid of parc fermé completely but we are discussing these amongst others with the FIA.
TMcC: The fantasy is the bit I enjoyed there. There's a lot of good things about when parc fermé was introduced. Like Diego says, I think it's a matter of evolving the rules to achieve what we're all trying to achieve. We allow certain things to be changed. You can change brake material, you can do various bits and bobs. Obviously, we can't change the skids and the plank on the car, therefore you've got to make some decisions on very limited running very early. And there are things like the weather effects that, a headwind to a tailwind and a big straight can influence that and forecasting that three days in advance is tough. So I think tweaks to the regulations are always welcome from an engineering side of things, but I don't think we should get rid of it.
Q: (Ian Parkes - New York Times) Mario, you touched on Las Vegas earlier and the likely issues that you're going to be encountering. What, at this stage, two weeks away, would you assess will be your biggest challenge going into that event? Are we looking at the temperatures here being that obstacle because it's just something that Formula 1 has not encountered at all going throughout this season?
MI: No, we had a lot of discussion with Formula 1 and the FIA before Las Vegas and also last year. I remember I started discussing Las Vegas with the Ross Brawn, so it's quite a lot of time ago. Obviously, we cannot change the weather, we cannot increase the temperature. A challenge could be to keep the temperature in the tyre. That's why we decided to select the three softest compounds. And then, as I said before, it's a bit jumping into the unknown because we just have data based on simulation, nothing else. So we try to do our best but consider that the tyres are homologated so we cannot make a special tyre for Las Vegas as we cannot make a special tyre for Monte Carlo, for example. So it is what it is and we have to just select the best option we have.