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FIA Thursday press conference - Singapore

18 Sep 2014

Drivers - Marcus Ericsson (Caterham), Pastor Maldonado (Lotus), Sergio Perez (Force India), Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) Adrian Sutil (Sauber), Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso)


Q: First of all, a question to all of you about the ban on large amounts of radio traffic between the team and the driver. What's your reaction to this? Sergio, perhaps you could start?

Sergio Perez: Hi everyone. I don't think it's ideal that they, suddenly from one race to another, they change it dramatically that you cannot get certain calls. But it doesn't influence it much. I don't see it as a big deal, it's something that we as drivers need to get more used to. We will have, definitely, more information and we're going to be a bit more busy throughout the race to basically try to keep everything under control - fuel loads and engine modes, all that kind of stuff. I don't see a problem to get used to, it's just a dramatic change from the last race to this one.

Q: Kimi, you famously told the team "leave me alone, I know what I'm doing." Does that mean you welcome this change?

Kimi Raikkonen: Well, obviously we don't speak a lot on the radio in my case usually, when there are no issues - but obviously it might get quite complicated if there are some problems with the car and you have to change certain things to try to finish the race. I don't know how the rule goes at those times. Obviously it makes it more complicated for us but it's part of the game so it's OK.

Q: Pastor, your thoughts on it.

Pastor Maldonado: For sure it's not a great thing, especially with all the complex systems we have at the moment - but it's the same for everyone so it doesn't matter.

Q: What about from a rookie perspective. Presumably there's been quite a lot of coaching going on over the radio Marcus, so far this season. Are you going to miss it? Particularly on the approach to the start, getting everything prepared for a start, for example?

Marcus Ericsson: No, I think...I like the idea, to be honest. I think it's good to get the drivers more in focus. I think it's good. But for us as a small team I think it's a bit trickier because our steering wheel, we don't have a big display. A lot of the other teams, I think they have a big display, so they can show a lot of stuff on this, whereas we have a very small one. So it'll be a bit more tricky - but yeah, like I said, I like the idea and I think it's good to make us drivers a bit more in focus.

Q: Jean-Eric, are you supportive as well?

Jean-Eric Vergne: I don't mind it. I think it will be more or less the same as before. I like to do things by my own and many times this year I changed the settings before my engineer told me, so yeah, I will be a bit more lonely on the radio - but it should be fine.

Q: Adrian?

Adrian Sutil: No problem really. I think all manageable. It's a bit more work but we'll handle it.

Q: Kimi, coming back to you, obviously this season hasn't been quite what you expected it to be - but did you expect to have your problems sorted out by now? And what's your focus for the remaining six races or so?

KR: Obviously to do as well as we can and have good results for the team and for myself. I expect it to be difficult. Probably the team didn't expect to have such difficulties over all. We expected to be stronger overall. It's part of the game and we have to try to sort things out. I think we have done pretty good improvements - compared to where we started - as a team and obviously then I'm getting more happy with things but obviously still not where we want to be in the end. Still a lot of work to do.

Q: Pastor, front row qualifier here two years ago with Williams, it's always been a strong Lotus track - so is there some optimism there for a top ten result maybe this weekend?

PM: I hope. For sure, the qualifying pace is always a bit tricky for us but during the race, for any reason we are able to recover the pace and sometimes we are much more competitive. So hopefully here we can be a bit more competitive than Monza for sure but it's difficult to say something before we get in the car.

Q: Sergio, you've scored points in all three of your appearances here at Singapore and you've come off the back of two strong results, so your thoughts on this race? And also how close you are to committing to Force India for another season?

SP: I think things are settling down and I think we should be very close to committing for next year with the team but you never know; I have experience from the past so you never know what's going to happen. Yeah, we are really optimistic for this weekend. We have a good upgrade package and I believe we can be competitive and definitely our target is the McLarens which we are fighting with really closely and hopefully we can score more points than them this weekend with both cars and the upgrade package gives us some boost.

Q: Adrian, like Sergio you've scored points in your last three races here in Singapore but there's no getting away from the fact that Sauber is yet to get into Q3 this season, so what's the rescue package and what lies ahead for the rest of the season?

AS: We have a good package here, the last one, but it should give us a little bit more speed. We have to try it out on Friday. We're not so far away - especially in qualifying - from the group in front and it's just missing a little bit to the top ten normally but Monza was quite tricky, especially in the race. We were losing a bit too much time and our performance was a bit slower but this track is very special and very different so I hope it suits our car. There's a lot of work, we need some points and this is the main target for the moment.

Q: Marcus, since the last round, obviously the team principal has moved on so can you tell us a bit about the structure now at the team and the plan for upgrades and so on?

ME: We're still pushing hard like we've done the last couple of races and bringing some more updates for here, so not much has changed. Obviously Christijan left which is a shame, we got along very well, but still I think the team is pushing on quite a lot and it's a positive atmosphere from everyone. We just have to wait and see this weekend, see how it suits our car but in general I have a good feeling. I had a really strong race last time out on a street track so I think hopefully we can try and repeat something similar to that.

Q: Jean-Eric, still six races to go but you've already scored points more times this year than you did last year so what's the plan now for you for the rest of this season and what about next season? Have you made any progress yet with your plans for 2015?

J-EV: Yeah, talking about this weekend and the race and the season, I really want to end the season strongly. I think we should have had a lot more points with our team if we didn't have so much bad luck but I think now that's behind. I really want to make the best out of the last six races with Toro Rosso and then find a good option for next year.


Q: (Heikki Kulta - Turun Sanomat) Kimi, it's two hours in very humid conditions; Nico Rosberg said that the last laps are always very painful here because it's physically so demanding. How painful are they for you?

KR: I don't know. Everybody has their own feelings so I can't know how they feel like but in the past it hasn't been a problem. It doesn't feel as hot or humid in the last years unless the course has slowed in the race, so I don't see why it should suddenly be a problem.