Friday, 08 June 2012 21:50
Page 1 of 15Formula One driver and team comments following the Friday practice sessions at the Gilles Villeneuve circuit in Montreal.
2012 Canada FIA Friday press conference.
Andrew GREEN (Force India)
Antonio CUQUERELLA (HRT F1)
Graeme LOWDON (Marussia F1)
Jonathan NEALE (McLaren)
Mark GILLAN (Williams F1).
Antonio, today there was an incident in the pit lane with one of your mechanics and Pedro De la Rosa. Just to clear up any misconceptions or any misunderstandings, can you tell us how your mechanic is?
Antonio CUQUERELLA: The mechanic I think, happily, is OK. He just got some bruises and a swollen knee. So, it looked worse when it happened but luckily he’s going to be back with us tonight from hospital. Some checks have been done but nothing important. He’s going to have some pain but in a few days he’s going to be back to work.
No broken bones?
AC: No, no.
Andrew, your drivers are expecting updates, at least Paul Di Resta told us so yesterday. What’s the situation? Are you going to be able to deliver those updates?
Andrew GREEN: We’re going to follow the same plan as last year, which is we’ll continually bring new part to the track every race, as a strategy that we’ve followed before, as most teams do. Yeah, we will deliver what we can, that’s our target. There are updates here, there will be updates in Valencia, there will be a bigger one at Silverstone. That’s the idea. We’ll keep pushing. It’s incredibly tight and fractions of a second can mean multiple places on the grid. It’s harder than ever. There’s a big push back at the factory, more than ever.
Both drivers very well placed in Monaco, and today as well. How well are those two working together and how good is it to have two competitive drivers, perhaps pushing one another as well?
AG: Very important. It’s also important that they’re both team players. They know that they want to push the team forward, they’re not just individuals, and they work as a team. We all work as a team pushing the team forward and they get pulled along with that. They both work together very well. It’s good that they both push each other. They’re both very talented, extremely talented. We’re very very happy with the way they work. It’s a nice place to be.
Antonio, you’ve been in our new premises now for over a month. Are you beginning to see the benefits of that?
AC: Absolutely. Now we are all together under the same roof and that has been a massive step forward for us. The factory is a much better place. It’s a place we can work together and communication wise it’s of course much better. Assembling the cars, engineering, marketing, finance, all departments are together. It’s normal for everybody but it wasn’t for us, so it’s a big step forward.
I guess it’s not working at 100% of what you hoped, so what sort of percentage is it?
AC: Well, we still have two big departments that are recruiting people, you probably have seen a lot of advertisements, but I would say we are probably at 60 per cent. I hope that at the end of the year we should be at 90%.
Graeme, same thing with you really. You’ve moved into new premises. How much of a difference has that made?
Graeme LOWDON: It has made quite a big difference. Three years in Formula One and we’re on to our second factory already. I think the main thing, that has already been said, is that it improves communication and that’s been a big help. So, we’re quite happy with the location we’re in now.
I believe you’re going to the Fan Forum in New York on Monday. What are the thoughts behind that?
GL: I think all the teams are pretty much the same. Effectively, we’re racing teams but we’re manufacturing businesses working in a global market and you can’t ignore North America. No company with global aspirations if you like can ignore such a big market. Formula One has been out of North America for a few years now and I think it is a very important marketplace.
One thing we do know is that there is a huge response from the fans. They want to get close to the teams, they want to understand what’s happening and it’s a really good thing that we can take our drivers, talk to the fans, interact with them and really understand what it is that they enjoy about Formula One and try to give a little bit back.
And, as I say, it's such an important marketplace with its heritage and its history, and you look at the car manufacturing base in North America as well, I think we have to make a really big effort and try to put on a great show for all the fans.
Jonathan, today we saw Jenson in the pits for rather a long time. What actually happened there?
Jonathan NEALE: We had a mixed day today. Jenson this morning in P1 had an oil leak, which was leaking onto the clutch, and we thought we’d fixed it. The oil leak was in the gearbox. The mechanics did a great job in rebuilding, repairing the seal but as soon as we fired the car up we could see there was a secondary problem that hadn’t revealed itself before that time. And unfortunately we had to change the gearbox and the whole rear end of Jenson’s car.
So, disappointing that we didn’t get the mileage in that we were looking for. But I have to say, hats off to the mechanics, anybody who was pointing a camera in the garage, and on Lewis’s side as well, the moment that Lewis’s car left the garage, all of the mechanics came across to help Jenson get running and that was terrific. But on the other hand a great day for Lewis. We know that the pace is in the car here, it looks strong today, today is today, and listening to what’s going on around us, who knows what tomorrow brings?
But yeah, I think we’re here to race hard this weekend, and getting Jenson out was really important. You could see him setting green sector after green sector. This is a circuit where you have to build, build confidence and feel that the car is underneath you. We saw a few people visit the wall this afternoon, and to be quick around here you’ve got to get close.
How much of a worry are two little deficiencies within the drivers, we’re used to seeing Lewis winning, for example, but he hasn’t yet won this year, and Jenson seems to have just had a few races of… I don’t know if you call it bad luck or what it is. How much can you build those performances back up?
JN: I think we can build them up well, actually. You’re right, we’ve had a couple of ups and downs in the last few races, some operational issues which hopefully we’ve put behind us now. We’ve got two strong drivers. Lewis put the car on pole by over half a second in Spain, which is a pretty demanding circuit as colleagues here will attest, so we know that the package is good but it’s very tight this year.
Six races, six different winners, five different constructors at this time. As I said during the week, great if you’re a fan of Formula One, stressful if you’re trying to be consistent. But consistency is what it’s about.
Mark, looking back at Monaco, particularly after the victory in Spain, where do you think you could, or should, have been in Monaco? Could you have been better off in Monaco?
Mark GILLAN: Yes, obviously after the Barcelona win we were very much on a high. Going into Monaco we had high expectations and I think the car certainly was… we should have been good enough for P4-P5. Obviously it was disappointing, there were a range of issues that hit us through the weekend and I think that as a team collectively we could have done a better job. We look to make amends this weekend.
Q: What sort of effect has Renault’s return had on the team?
MG: It’s had a massive impact. They’re very impressive as an engine manufacturer and they’ve slotted in seamlessly with the team. A very very good relationship has built up very quickly and things are going very well with them.