Brazilian GP: Friday Press Conference and Quotes
Eric BOULLIER (Lotus)
Monisha KALTENBORN (Sauber)
Ross BRAWN (Mercedes)
Stefano DOMENICALI (Ferrari)
Christian HORNER (Red Bull Racing)
Martin WHITMARSH (McLaren)
Q: Eric, first of all great news from you yesterday on the Burn sponsorship. Can you tell us a little more about it? Is it a title sponsorship? How big is it?
Eric BOULLIER: Iâ€™m not going to release any more information; we have a marketing and communication plan about the endorsement and so you will know later a little bit more detail about this deal.
Q: Is it big enough to make a big difference to your budget for next year? Does that mean you can spend more on development? You know what it takes now.
Boullier: Whatever it is, itâ€™s always welcome. Itâ€™s obviously more budget for next year and the next years, and itâ€™s going to be good to have this brand on the car, obviously, and all the activations that go on around; also promotion for the team and Formula One.
Q: Can you be a top contender for next year then?
Boullier: Ah, I donâ€™t know yet to be honest. There is some stability in the regulations so itâ€™s going to be up to every team to deliver a good car for next year. I cannot see any reason why we would lose some ground, I just hope that yes, we will be better. I know Kimi will be on top form from race one, so that will be a big change for us as well.
Q: Monisha, today you announced Esteban GutiÃ©rrez as your... number two driver I guess. How important was it to maintain the Mexican connection?
Monisha KALTENBORN: Well, itâ€™s always good if you have stability but I think you have to also see clearly that these are two different issues. Just because Esteban is from Mexico itâ€™s not the same situation as we had with Sergio because unlike Sergio, Esteban is not a member of the EscuderÃa Telmex. Of course thereâ€™s a natural connection there because Telmex has this bigger vision of establishing motor sport in Mexico and Latin America, but itâ€™s a different situation. But itâ€™s important for the teamâ€™s stability to continue with the partners.
Q: Both your drivers are very popular but sadly it seemed that worked against Kamui, is that the case?
Kaltenborn: I wonâ€™t say it worked against him. To take up a new driver is always a strategic decision where many factors play a role. Kamui has been with us for the last three years. Heâ€™s a very good driver, he is an excellent team player and actually a very fine human being so itâ€™s tough to take such a decision. I think if a driver deserves to be in Formula One heâ€™s definitely one of them and I hope he can get support from Japanese companies - because Japan is an important market for Formula One - and stay in the sport.
Q: Ross, obviously weâ€™re losing double DRS next year. Is that going to be a big change for you for next yearâ€™s car?
Ross BRAWN: Not a huge change. Obviously as a facility itâ€™s only of benefit when the DRS is being used and next year thereâ€™s also a move to DRS only being used in small areas during practice and qualifying, so thereâ€™s a general move away from it anyway. Itâ€™s always helpful, it would be foolish to say itâ€™s not been an advantage, but weâ€™ve got other solutions in place for next year.
Q: Change in the financial structure in that Mercedes have brought back a shareholding from Aabar. How much is that changing for you? How much does that mean things change for you?
Brawn: No change for the team, quite frankly. I think itâ€™s part of a bigger disinvestment Aabar are making in the Daimler group and it wasnâ€™t logical for the Formula One team to stand out separately. So part of an overall strategy from Aabar. I think it demonstrates the commitment of Daimler to Formula One. So for our team it makes very little difference, but it gives us reassurance and confirmation of Daimlerâ€™s commitment to Formula One.
Q: For Stefano and Christian, basically similar questions. Stefano, first of all, preparations so far: has everything gone according to plan? Iâ€™m sure you had a strategy worked out, a plan worked out for this weekend
Stefano DOMENICALI: First of all, last weekend was the birthday of Christian and this weekend is the birthday of Ross, so happy birthday Ross. We have to keep the tradition of that. We have done the job we were supposed to do today. We know that this weekend for us is a challenging weekend. We have to do the maximum on our side and that will not be enough if we want to win the Driversâ€™ Championship. We need to go in the race, as I said, trying to be perfect on our side and then seeing whatâ€™s going to happen. But thatâ€™s the only thing we can do and we will do.
Q: What's the mood like within the team?
Domenicali: The mood is that we have nothing to lose, because we are already behind. We need to go there with a rational approach, as I said, to try to be there, if some situation will arise, we need to be prepared to take them. This is really the spirit that is around the team at the moment.
Q: And the weather forecast doesnâ€™t look very good. Does that work for you or against you?
Domenicali: Iâ€™ll tell you later. Before, itâ€™s always difficult. It can be good in terms of mixing the cars but it depends on how intense the rain is, when it will come. It is another thing on the table that has to be used in the best way we can.
Q: Christian, similar for you: preparations so far, how have they gone.
Christian HORNER: Itâ€™s been a pretty normal Friday really. Track temperature has been very high today, so Iâ€™m sure thatâ€™s been a challenge to some degree to each of the teams, but itâ€™s been a sensible Friday. Weâ€™ve worked through our program with both cars and plenty of information to look at tonight. How relevant that will be, as Stefano has alluded to, with the rest of the weekend, weâ€™ll only see when we get up in the morning and particularly on Sunday morning. Itâ€™s been very much a normal Friday for us.
Q: And the mood within the team?
Horner: Fantastic. I mean, obviously, just having sealed a third consecutive Constructorsâ€™ World Championship the mood in the team has never been as high. Itâ€™s extremely focused; weâ€™re approaching this race just as we have the other 19 and you know for us itâ€™s a question of trying to extract the most out of ourselves, out of the cars, out of the drivers this weekend and weâ€™ll see where we are at the end of it. But certainly our approach to this race isnâ€™t any different to any of the previous 19.
Q: And is the rain, is it a variable you could do without?
Horner: At the end of the day itâ€™s the same for everybody so whoever wins this championship is going to have to have mastered different conditions, different circuits, different challenges and we could well get another factor on Sunday. We take absolutely nothing for granted despite the fact weâ€™re coming here with a 13-point advantage. We know from our own experience how quickly that can change. We saw that in 2010 in Abu Dhabi when I think we were actually more than 13 points behind going into the race. So our focus is very much, as I say, going into this race to try and get the most out of it we can and when the checkered flag falls weâ€™ll know where we are.
Q: Martin, a great race last weekend for Lewis Hamilton. A great win for Jenson Button at the start of the season. You had the fastest car at the start and the end, but is it a source of frustration that youâ€™re not involved in the title battle.
Martin WHITMARSH: Of course. I think weâ€™ve had six great wins this year and we havenâ€™t done a good enough job for the rest of the season one way and another and thatâ€™s a little bit frustrating, but at the moment we're in a position where with one race to go we're going to focus. These guys have got some pressures on their shoulders and weâ€™re going to try and win the race. In one sense it makes it simple for us this weekend.
Q: How much does that affect your preparations for next year, knowing what youâ€™ve had from this?
Whitmarsh: I think thereâ€™s no secrets: to be consistently winning youâ€™ve got to have a quick car, youâ€™ve got to have reliability. Weâ€™ve often had a quickish car this season, weâ€™ve had a number of errors, a number of issues, which are disappointing, but we know weâ€™ve got to work on that and weâ€™ll aim to come out next year with a quick car and hopefully be reliable and be there at the last race.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Dan Knuston - Honorary) For Stefano and Christian: the championship has come down to your two drivers. Please evaluate the strengths and qualities of your driver over the season and how do you evaluate your opponent?
Horner: Iâ€™ll start with my driver. I think that Sebastian has driven incredibly well this year. Itâ€™s all too easy to say heâ€™s had the fastest car because on numerous occasions this year he hasnâ€™t. McLaren have had a very strong car throughout this year but Sebastian has never given up, heâ€™s kept fighting. He came back from the summer break almost 40 points behind the championship lead. He focused hard, he worked hard at it and he maximized his chances. I think heâ€™s driven superbly well this year. He is up against a formidable opponent, who is very much at the top of his game and I think youâ€™re witnessing two great talents and hopefully it will be an exciting race on Sunday, but I canâ€™t speak highly enough of certainly the job Sebastian has done this year against some formidable opponents.
Domenicali: For my side, Fernando, in my view, up to now, did one of the best seasons of his career. We knew that at the beginning of the season our car was not really the quickest. Well, I would say it was on the second half of the grid rather than the other side. He was able to extract from that the maximum out of it. He was able to get great victories in a moment where the car has improved, he drove really well in wet conditions when he was in that situation. He was always at the maximum. Always he was working with the team knowing that it was a very delicate situation for all of us in that moment. So on top of his ability on the track he was able to keep the team together in a difficult moment. So I agree, who will win will deserve it. And of course, on his side the only remark we have to say is that he was not able to do all the races because he was unfortunately kicked out two times. Not his fault, but of course in this situation where the championship is so tight theyâ€™re very heavy points. But as I said, donâ€™t look back, look ahead. Iâ€™m sure Fernando will do the maximum of his capability to make sure... to do the best with the car that he has with a team that is working hard under a lot of pressure. Iâ€™m happy for that, because the team was able to do sometimes incredible work. As I said the spirit together I think was the most important thing... was the most significant thing, sorry, that I would like to remark on that respect.
Q: What about Sebastian?
Domenicali: Iâ€™m exactly of the same opinion as Christian, I speak about my driver.
Q: (Gary Meenaghan - The National) Stefano, we're coming to the last race of the year again, and again, Ferrari are capable of winning the last race of the championship. Can you just compare how you are feeling, compared to how you felt in 2008 and 2010?
Domenicali: Well, also 2007 we were near. Different feelings, of course. In 2007, I think that if you remember well, Martin, we were in a situation where honestly we had the same approach as at this race: try to do the best job that we can, we could, but knowing that the opponent was very strong and the race evolved in a situation where we were able, as a team, to work extremely well. Then in 2008 we were able to win the Constructorsâ€™ title, to have Felipe as World Champion of Drivers for 20 seconds, but after Hamilton won the race, in a championship where I would say we lost, if I remember well, mainly because the car was not reliable enough, because we had some races where unfortunately we had severe DNF that caused us to lose that championship. And I believe that season, Felipe did an incredible job and we were very disappointed for him, because I think we deserved it, but at the end of the day Lewis did (win). Then 2010 was the most frustrating because we knew that we had a couple of situations to handle and it was our fault that we were not able to do it, for a mistake that we made; we didn't help Fernando. I think that season we didn't have the best car. I believe that we were able to always be there winning a lot of races but because of unfortunate situations that Red Bull had and we lost that championship. This is, I would say, the heaviest of my thoughts on the past. On Sunday, I think that, as I said, we are in a different spirit. We cannot look back; we need to see whatever will be the outcome we need to accept it. So therefore I would say our mindset is closer to what we had in 2007 at the moment.
Q: (Lucas Santochi Da Silva - ESPN Magazine) Christian, when do you think was the turning point of the main factors for Red Bull to develop from a medium team to a team that may now win its third title in a row?
Horner: It's a good question. Red Bull came into Formula One at the beginning of 2005. Dietrich Mateschitz had a vision. He'd been a sponsor, he'd been a shareholder and for the first time, after acquiring the Jaguar team became a team owner and his vision was very much to compete at the front in Formula One. Certainly the perception, perhaps, in the early days was that Red Bull turned up, played their music loud and were perceived as a party team, perhaps just happy to be in Formula One but underlying that was a determination to work our way to the front and slowly and steadily we gathered the right people into the team during the course of 2006 and at the beginning of 2007. We started to build, we started to work as a unit, to work as a team and then by the time the new regulations came along, a clean sheet of paper in 2009, it allowed all of the departments to demonstrate their abilities to work together as one group. In 2009, we started winning. We challenged for the championship; we fell short that year, but then we have kept that momentum. We went on to win both titles in 2010, both titles again 2011 and again a third Constructorsâ€™ championship this year. And that is purely down to the hard work, the dedication, the application of every single member of the team. We've got some great leadership in the team: Adrian Newey does a stunning job of leading the technical team but it requires all of the departments to do their bit. I'm extremely proud to say that they've absolutely done that and the testimony to that is the 34 races that we've won, the 80 podiums that we've had in only eight seasons. It's all down to the people and of course to talented drivers: Sebastian and Mark Webber have been a very successful pairing and what Sebastian has achieved in only 100 races again is quite remarkable.
Q: (Michael Neudecker - Sud Deutsche Zeitung) Question for Mr Whitmarsh and Mr Domenicali: 2013 might be a very special year because you have to be prepared for the rule changes coming up for 2014, but at the same time you want to be successful. Maybe you can give us a general view on what you expect for 2013?
Domenicali: I think that 2013, as you quite rightly said, in terms of regulations, will be a stability, so I'm expecting to see the situation that we are facing now in terms of performance of the team. What I believe will happen during the season, depending on how the season will go, is that some teams will start to dedicate more and more resources to the 2014 project because it's a project that will be totally, totally different and at least on our side, we already have, at the moment, a small group of people that is working on this project, and of course, on our side, we also have the duty - being a constructor - to work on the new powertrain. For us it's a massive job next year. This is maybe the most difficult in that respect because there are so many new things that we have to do at the same moment where we need to make sure that we are fighting for another season and championship. So for me, the 2014 season could be a year where we can see once again a split between the group of the cars in terms of pure performance. If you remember, at the beginning of this year, we had so many cars that were very very close. I'm expecting a different scenario for 2014 because all these changes which will come into place very very soon.
Whitmarsh: Well, not much to add to that. I think, as Stefano alluded, I think it will be quite interesting. It will probably be two or three of the teams sat before you today who are underperforming at the halfway stage of next year's championship and the decision that they might take to then give up on the '13 championship and apply all of their resources to '14 makes it quite an intriguing process. It's a difficult one. If you're competitive as we all aim to be next year, you'll want to win the races, you'll want to win the championship next year but knowing that in doing so and in applying the resources to do so, you're actually robbing 2014. I think it's an interesting second half of the year and as Stefano said, undoubtedly a very interesting start of 2014.
Q: (Alberto Antonini - Autosprint) As you may be aware, Honda has shown some interest in the new engine technology coming up in 2014. I would like to know whether a possible comeback by them fits the frame of the new regulations. If so, how much will you welcome Honda back in Formula One?
Whitmarsh: As we just said, 2014 we've got, as far as I know, only three manufacturers committed to the sport. I imagine there will be a greater level of technical diversity than we currently have in powertrains just as there will be in the aerodynamic solutions that run with it. Normally, when you have a new regulation that encourages a certain amount of creativity, and then over a period of years you get a convergence onto very similar technology and very similar approach.
Brawn: I think this is the sort of challenge they relish, they quite like. I know from my time with them they like to have fresh technical challenges. They very much look upon Formula One as a research and development exercise and I think the new regulations appeal to them. But there's no concrete signs they're doing anything at the moment. I gather, as a company, they're improving after some difficult years and I think there are lots of engineers there who would love to get involved. Whether there will be a strategic decision high up to do it, there's no signs of that yet. But we would welcome Honda in as well. I think the more manufacturers, the more engines we have in Formula One the better.
Q: (Vanessa Ruiz - ESPN Radio) Christian, how do you see the possibility of maybe having another drink company joining Formula One as a title sponsor? Would it be bad for Red Bull? Is it a difficult or easy business model to follow? What are your thoughts?
Horner: I don't think it will be bad. I don't think it would be bad for Formula One. I think that Red Bull welcomes competition and that's the way it is in the market place. Red Bull's positioning is quite unique, not only what it's achieved as an energy drink but in terms of what it's done and the way it carries itself in Formula One. There would certainly be no concerns from our side. I think it would be welcomed within Formula One. I have no idea what their business model is. The Red Bull one works OK.
Q: (Kate Walker) Ross, happy birthday; for next year, obviously you have Lewis Hamilton signed up to drive with you. Now Lewis is something of a free spirit and the Daimler brand is not associated with free spiritedness. I was wondering if you have any plans to try and curtail Lewis's free spirit, or if you're just going to let him be Lewis?
Brawn: I think that's going to be taken on a race-by-race, day-by-day, week-by-week basis. I think it's impossible to predict those sort of things. I know Lewis. Obviously I've had a lot of conversations with him. He's an intelligent guy, he understands Formula One, he understand the exposure Formula One gets. He understands the positioning of Daimler and an understanding of all those things, I think, will avoid any issues in the future. But I think Formula One needs characters. I think Formula One needs individuals, so we're not going to suppress is too much. I don't anticipate any major issues.
Q: (Ted Kravitz - Sky TV) A quick one to all of you: you're all from quite different backgrounds: a lawyer, engineers, an ex-racing driver. Just a quick word on what makes a good team boss and whether you only look like a good team boss when you're winning?
Whitmarsh: A thick skin!
Boullier: When you start to win races. The proof is not only one profile, it's just the capacity of managing the right people, to bring the right people at home, to build up the right business for your team, and obviously to seek the best drivers and make all the group of people work well together in a very competitive environment and having also a little bit of some politics around this which makes the whole package a success. I think this is a simple definition but this is the way I think it should work.
Kaltenborn: I don't think there are any hard and fast rules about that. I think we are all measured at the end of the day by performance and if you are good, if you are performing well then you must be a good team boss.
Brawn: I agree. I think you're measured on your results. One of the things that is very demonstrable in Formula One is the results in the team and there's no hiding place. But I think all of us in Formula One probably demonstrate our strengths mostly when we are failing rather than succeeding. I think the reaction to failure and how you deal with it, how you continue to motivate the team, how you continue to put all of the pieces in place is the most critical quality that all of us round here, this group needs. All of us have faced failure many times, that's the nature of Formula One, there is only one team that can win and the rest of us are failing. How we react to that, what we do and how we try and improve our situation is, I think, the measure of being the boss of a team and trying to make it work.
Domenicali: I agree with what they said, so really nothing to add to that
Horner: I don't think there's any hard and fast rules. I guess the role of team principal in different teams represents different things even, and I think that fundamentally it's a people business and it's a question, a matter of what your background is, what your education is. It's a matter of getting the best out of people, encouraging people and removing obstacles where necessary and sharing one vision, one goal, one objective and that needs to flow through an organization from the top to the bottom, throughout an entire team, because Formula One is the biggest team sport in the world, and it is still a sport. You can argue that from Monday to Friday it's a business, but at the end of the day it's a sport where you are competing, department for department against your rivals and if you work collectively as a group, you can go on to achieve great things. There are no guarantees, nobody is owed success, but it's a type of sport that what you put in you get out.
Whitmarsh: Not much to add, really. I think a lot has been said about the team, and I think all of the Formula One teams are really great teams of people that work incredibly hard, whichever end of the grid you're at, everyone's working very hard. I think to be a good team member, to recognize it, just one part of the team's important but everything else has been said already.
Sebastian Vettel (2nd, 1:14.300): "It was alright today, it was very slippery for everyone. It was quite hot today and in terms of track conditions not that easy, so I think everyone suffered the same kind of problems looking for traction and stability etc. So far we can be happy, we have to do our homework now, first comes tomorrow morning and we go from there."
Mark Webber (3rd, 1:14.523): "The track was slippery today, it's very hot. I think we're all a little bit surprised by the lack of grip we had, but we got what we could out of today in these conditions. We got through plenty of stuff and also did a bit of'13 work, which was useful. It's the last test before next year, so we made the most of the beautiful sunny day in Brazil, before we go to colder Jerez in February."
Lewis Hamilton (1st, 1:14.026): "I'm savoring every moment It's been a positive first day - I hope we can maintain our form or even progress it tomorrow. We're certainly looking strong, but this place can be so tough on tires that it's hard to make any accurate predictions at this stage. The track and ambient temperatures were so high today that it felt almost as though I was sliding around the track with the tires melting! Having said that, our long runs are usually tougher on the tires [than shorter runs], but our long runs still looked quite good today. It's great to have such a positive final Friday with the team - it's been one of the best Fridays we've had for a long, long time, in fact. I'm savoring every moment of this weekend, and I'll be taking photographs of my engineers and mechanics through each day. The car feels really good - thanks, guys - and it would be the perfect Saturday if I could take pole tomorrow."
Jenson Button (8th, 1:14.863): "We were running a lower downforce set-up package to Lewis this afternoon. It was quite an interesting comparison, but, in the hot weather, lower downforce makes things trickier because the car slides more, which hurts the tires. Still, it was a useful test, because we needed to see how well the smaller rear wing works. Obviously, it operates in a different way [from the higher-downforce set-up package], so we wanted to be able to understand that. Using the smaller rear wing, our long-run pace was surprisingly good. However, our single-lap pace wasn't as strong - probably because we weren't able to use DRS as fully as we could with the bigger wing."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "Topping the time-sheets in both today's sessions was a nice fillip for the whole team, and it gives us great motivation to carry that momentum forward with us for the rest of the weekend. Indeed, our car appears to be competitive on both low- and high-fuel loads, and, as ever, I'm sure our hard-working engineers will once again mine the data this evening, further to refine our package ahead of FP3 and qualifying tomorrow. For Lewis, it must have been an emotional final Friday with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. But, as ever, he performed faultlessly. Jenson, too, has worked diligently with his engineers, following a divergent set-up route from Lewis's, and has given us plenty of useful data to work through this evening. Finally, the decision to provide each team with 2013-spec Pirelli rubber was extremely useful. Many teams, ourselves included, took full advantage of the opportunity to measure and understand the new tires' behavior ahead of their introduction next year. It was an extremely productive day in terms of strengthening our understanding of a key performance variable. Now, though, our focus narrows towards qualifying: we expect strong competition from our key rivals, but we're in a good position to fight for pole, and victory, this weekend."
Felipe Massa (4th, 1:14.553): "A very busy Friday in terms of our work on track, with a lot of kilometers completed to find the best set-up for the car. I am reasonably pleased with my times, especially when it comes to pace over a long run: I think I was the fastest man on track in the final part of the session. On my first lap with the Mediums, I lost a few tenth at the second corner, so, in terms of an outright time, I could have done even better than fourth place. The tires are the same, but their performance is completely different to what we saw in Austin last week: definitely degradation is much higher here and so I don't think we will see a one-stop strategy. The helmet? It's odd not seeing anything yellow in the mirrors to the extent that sometimes I thought it wasn't me at the wheel!"
Fernando Alonso (5th, 1:14.592): "It was very hot out on the circuit today and, especially this afternoon, the track temperatures were well above normal, even for this circuit. We have not yet found the ideal balance on the car, so there is still a lot of work to be done with the engineers going into the rest of the weekend. The predictions are for very different conditions from Saturday to Sunday, further reason to concentrate on the best choices when it comes to preparing the car for qualifying, but especially for the race. After so many Fridays, there is nothing much new to say about the tires: the Hards appear to be more consistent, while the Mediums produce a quicker lap time. It's hard to say if we prefer rain or the dry: as I said before, it is vital to be prepared to tackle both situations. We know we have to score 14 points more than Vettel for the Championship and not lose the same number to McLaren to maintain our second place in the Constructors'. Our targets are clear, but also difficult to achieve."
Pat Fry: "We have reached the very tight finale and today it was important that we managed to complete our entire planned program: we did it and that is already a first, if small positive step. We worked this morning on evaluating various aerodynamic solutions, while in the afternoon, we concentrated mainly on a comparison of the two types of tire brought here by Pirelli. It's always difficult to assess the hierarchy in the pit lane on a Friday and today was not different. From what we can see a few minutes after the end of the session, we can say that we are reasonably competitive, especially over a long run. We are well aware that, in order to reach our objectives, first and foremost we will need to be perfect in everything we do and be ready to exploit whatever opportunity might come our way. It's not just the Drivers' title that's up for grabs, as there is also a second place in the Constructors' classification which is actually something quite important for us."
Michael Schumacher (6th, 1:14.654): "It was a reasonably good day, and we kept working on our planned program. However, the predictions for Sunday at the moment are for rain, so there may be totally different conditions then. We therefore have to see what we can make of today's data and transform it into a good qualifying and, even better, a good race."
Nico Rosberg (7th, 1:14.669): "It was a decent Friday for us today. There were difficult conditions out there because of the high track temperatures and the altitude which made it hard to find grip. However we managed quite well and, especially on the long runs, the pace was good. So I hope we can do better here than in the previous races. But it will be tough for us, and our focus is still on learning and understanding for 2013."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "We had a pretty good final Friday of the season today. We had the 2013 development tires from Pirelli to work with and spent this morning going through a series of evaluations. It was a good session and we collected a lot of interesting data. This afternoon, we focused on race preparation and high fuel work. The car seems fairly well balanced and the tires for this weekend proved consistent despite the high track temperatures. There is speculation that Sunday will be very wet so it may prove futile, but we've completed a large part of our preparation if it remains dry."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A smooth and decent first day for us at this last Grand Prix of the 2012 season. During the first session, we had our first experience with the Pirelli tires for the 2013 season. In the second session this afternoon, our lap times looked quite consistent during our race simulations. The weather forecast predicts rain for Sunday and slightly cooler temperatures tomorrow than we experienced today when track temperatures reached about 50 degrees. If the forecast is right, everybody will have to handle different conditions than experienced today."
Romain Grosjean (9th, 1:14.994): "It was a very hot and sunny day which wasn't so easy for the tires as it was difficult to get them to work properly so we struggled a little bit. Speed was not especially easy to find today, but we ran through our normal program with a little bit of focus on a wet set-up as we know there's rain forecast for Sunday. We only ran a little with the 2013 tires in the morning; my initial impression is that they feel a bit better and you can notice they have a different construction. Our long run pace was good so let's see what we can do tomorrow."
Kimi Raikkonen (12th, 1:15.371): "We had a problem in the morning but it's just one of those things; you don't want it to happen, but it's not the end of the world. It's unfortunate it took a while to fix as we missed time on track. Other than that, it was a very normal Friday for us. It was quite difficult to find a good set-up so we tried quite a few things. Tricky is usually the way for our Friday's and we've always been able to find a better set-up for Saturday so that's exactly what we'll try to do for tomorrow."
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer: "We've had an encouraging start to the weekend. Although Kimi's track time in FP1 was restricted, Romain completed some interesting back-to-back comparison runs with Pirelli's 2013 development tire which looks to be a few tenths quicker than the current configuration even on this year's car. Kimi had some catching up to do in the afternoon and struggled initially on the prime tires, but with a few balance tweaks to accommodate the soaring track temperatures and his engine now running as it should he settled down to put in some decent runs. The track temperature was around ten degrees higher than in the morning - one of the hottest Friday's we've seen all year in fact - and therefore yielded less grip. Despite this however, our long run pace with Romain looked very competitive. We also ran differing setups in anticipation of a potentially dry qualifying, wet race scenario, so there's a lot of data to look at overnight but overall we're pretty pleased."
Paul di Resta (10th, 1:15.129): "I think we can feel quite positive about today. It was all pretty straightforward and the data looks quite encouraging. The hot conditions were tricky for everyone and the car was moving around quite a bit, but we've ended the day with a pretty sorted car that is working well in the low and high speed parts of the lap. I'm certainly feeling more confident with the car compared to recent races and I think we are looking reasonably competitive here."
Nico Hulkenberg (11th, 1:15.131): "You certainly felt the heat today and the car was quite loose and difficult to drive at times. Apart from that it was business as usual - doing the long runs and getting the tire data. We also had an extra set of the 2013 tires available this morning so it was interesting to get a taste for them and do a direct comparison with this year's tires. It's difficult to judge where we stand at the moment, but we have all the information we need, so it's just a case of trying to understand things more tonight to be ready for tomorrow."
Jakob Andreasen, Chief Engineer: "Two productive practice sessions today have left us well prepared going into the weekend. There were some aero test items on the cars this morning and we also had a chance to sample the 2013 development tires. That proved extremely valuable and we made the most of the opportunity to try and get a head-start on next year. In the afternoon the temperatures continued to rise, with the track reaching a high of 55Â°C - one of the highest peaks we have seen all year - and the drivers said the car was sliding around quite a lot, as you would expect in such conditions. More warm weather is forecast for tomorrow, unless the rain arrives, and there is also a high risk of rain on Sunday."
Sergio Perez (14th, 1:15.542): "It was a good day in terms of getting done everything that was on the program. We did a fair amount of work, but the heat just doesn't suit us. I found the car very difficult to drive this afternoon and I think some big changes are required. The difference between the two tire compounds is really marginal. Let's see how we can improve."
Kamui Kobayashi (15th, 1:15.839): "We did a lot of set up work today and also tested some aerodynamic items. We had a busy day, but performance wise we are not good yet. Because of the high track temperatures the rear tires overheated. The lap times were slower in the afternoon than in the morning. The rear is really weak and so far I don't know how to cool the tires. We will now work on that."
Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering: "With regard to today's program, everything went well including the evaluation of Pirelli's tires for next year. That was important for the 2013 car design. With regard to this weekend, we will have a long night ahead of us as we are struggling with the grip, but we have collected a lot of data regarding down force levels and set up. Now we just have to put it all together to understand where we can find performance and hopefully to be where we want to be tomorrow."
Daniel Ricciardo (16th, 1:15.902): "We must try and learn from today, but we have to bear in mind that the conditions could be very different when it really matters on Sunday. The two sessions could have been better, but hot conditions have not been the most suitable ones for us this year. All the same, we tried various different set-ups, splitting the work between me and Jev to learn as much as we could. It's going to be a long night trying to evaluate everything and then see what the weather does. In performance terms it would have been nice to do better, but in terms of knowledge I think we gained a lot. The 2013 tires? They felt a little bit different, but nothing dramatic. Let's say we didn't find any negatives with them."
Jean-Eric Vergne (18th, 1:16.048): "I don't have much to say as we seemed to struggle a lot today to get the car working properly. That was mainly linked to the high temperature which did not suit us and made life hard for the tires. We will have to work very hard tonight to come up with ways of improving the car for qualifying, even if we expect Sunday's race to be a wet one. Rain would definitely suit us better. We had some 2013 tires to try and we had some sensors fitted this morning to see what they did. It's interesting to see for next year as the shape of the tire is slightly different which will have an impact on the aero."
Laurent Mekies, Chief Engineer: "Quite a tough day for us, which was not unexpected as we know we find things a bit more difficult when the conditions are as hot as this - the track temperature reached 54 degrees today - and this year we have always suffered a little bit more than our competitors in these conditions. On the plus side, it has been a trouble free day, during which we tried various changes to try and find the right set up. Even though it is meant to stay hot tomorrow, I feel we can improve the car and then we are expecting a wet Sunday anyway. It was interesting to have both drivers run the 2013 tires that Pirelli supplied to all the teams here. We got some useful data for next year, therefore it was important to invest some of our track time in this exercise in both sessions."
Bruno Senna (13th, 1:15.432): "It was quite a tough session today as we didn't get as much information as we would have liked for tomorrow. We've got some work to do to understand how we can do things better to make sure we're competitive for tomorrow, as the grid is very close here. It's very hot today but it was great to see all my home fans out there, even with sweat in my eyes!"
Pastor Maldonado (17th, 1:15.953): "The car felt good today; we were alternating the strategy between the two sessions, as we were trying different things, which meant we lost a bit of performance against this morning. However, I think we'll be competitive in qualifying tomorrow. We just need to work through the data to get the set-up right, but I feel confident heading into tomorrow."
Valtteri Bottas: "Today were predominantly doing some tests for next year which mainly involved doing short runs just to gather data. It was interesting to feel the difference on the new 2013 tires and we will now go away and analyze the data from FP1. The last run was slightly busy with traffic but it's great to experience this track for the first time as it was really enjoyable to drive."
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: "We completed a very busy FP1 program in the morning testing the 2013 prototype tires and some development items. With the very high track temperatures and track evolution it was difficult to find a decent balance, especially in FP2. The weather still looks like it will play a big part in the race on Sunday so we need to keep the changeable weather conditions in mind as we prepare for tomorrow's qualifying."
Vitaly Petrov (19th, 1:16.126): "I think we made some good progress in both sessions and I'm reasonably pleased with where we ended up. In the morning session we ran both the development tire and the prime we have for this weekend and have a lot of very good data from both. We also tried a couple of different aero configurations which gives us options for this weekend, particularly bearing in mind the chance of bad weather on Sunday. In the afternoon we were looking at fine tuning the setup on long and short runs - we have more to do to get the best out of the harder of the two compounds but the car felt pretty good on the options and we can get even more out of them for the rest of the weekend. One thing that was immediately clear was how high tire deg is going to be here. It's completely different to last week in Austin where one stop was the obvious choice - if it's dry here on Sunday it's much more likely to be two or three stops so tire management is going to be key."
Heikki Kovalainen (20th, 1:16.655): "Having sat out FP1 I was back in the car for the afternoon session and it was important to get as much mileage completed as possible. We went through the usual program, focusing on tire usage and setups on different fuel loads and I think it went ok. It's a shorter lap here in Brazil than quite a few of the other circuits, but our times looked ok relative to the cars around us and with some more work tonight and tomorrow we should be ok both for qualifying and the race on Sunday."
Giedo van der Garde: "That was a really good way to sign off my 2012 FP1 sessions for sure. We got through a decent number of laps and I have to say I enjoyed myself today! The track is great, especially with the 2013 development tires I was on for the first couple of runs, and it's good to know I've helped the team get through a lot of work that will be really valuable this weekend. I thanked the guys at the end of the session for today and for all the work they've done to help me this season. I've really enjoyed working with them this year and I feel like I've learnt a lot and developed well. Now it's back to the normal race weekend plan and I hope it's a good one for the team."
Pedro de la Rosa (21st, 1:17.244): "This is an amazing circuit and really fun to drive. We found a good set up base from the beginning but it would have been better to do many more laps and long run simulations to fine-tune it in order to get a better use of the tires. We have a lot of work to do mainly on the rear end because traction is still pretty poor. Today's times may not be quite representative, as we haven't worked on full loaded configuration but, on a positive note, the car worked very well on the medium tires and I am confident that we can improve on the hard compound for tomorrow."
Narain Karthikeyan (24th, 1:18.139): "The circuit is exactly how I remembered it. It is very nice and flowing and there are a lot of nice corners, which makes it quite enjoyable to drive around. It was a difficult day because we couldn't do many laps and we didn't get the most out of the option tires as I got a lot of traffic on my flying laps at the end of the session. I have to say that the car balance has been pretty good from the start and we managed to improve it slightly throughout the sessions. We certainly have room for improvement, though. Rear tire degradation is still too high and we must improve traction so that's where we are going to mainly focus for tomorrow."
Luis Perez-Sala, Team Principal: "It has been a first positive day overall; much better than in Austin. Here we don't have any issues with getting the tires up to temperature. On the contrary, temperatures have been very high and I think everyone struggled with tire degradation. We need to take a step forward to improve this as well as traction, especially on the hard compound. This track seems to suit our car better and hopefully we can do a good qualifying tomorrow. Once again, I want to thank the whole team for the job they are doing here in Brazil despite the circumstances."
Timo Glock (22nd, 1:17.675): "It has been a difficult start to the weekend to be honest. As usual it's all about the tires and we are experiencing a bit of a different behavior here again. We had quite a bit of oversteer in the car this morning, which was slightly better for FP2. However, at the end of the day we were still struggling with the balance of the car. Overall we concentrated more on race pace and didn't do much for qualifying yet, so we have some work to do tonight when we will try to improve the car and, I hope, make it a bit quicker!"
Charles Pic (23rd, 1:18.127): "The day started well for me as I completed some aerodynamic testing whilst acclimatizing to one last new circuit for me. This afternoon we were focusing rather more on set-up work and the behavior of the tires in race-representative conditions. We were not able to get a good read of the option tire and then unfortunately, towards the end of the session, I had to pull off the track as we experienced an alternator problem. I'm pleased with my long run pace but we have some more work to do to improve our qualifying pace."
John Booth, Team Principal: "A very interesting first day of running at the final race weekend of the season. The work we were able to do this morning with the Pirelli PZero prototype tire was extremely useful and the information we gathered from that will be fed straight into the development cycle so that we can work on the set-up for winter testing. Timo did a great job with carrying out most of the evaluation work, while we tried to give Charles the opportunity to learn what is another new circuit for him. This afternoon we opted to stay with running the program which evaluated the tires in the eventuality of a dry race. Although this seems slightly at odds with the weather forecast, since there were no wet conditions today this is the only thing we could prepare for. We are reasonably happy with the performance of the car on high fuel, although we do seem to be experiencing some quite specific tire issues at this event. We need to look a little more at our low fuel pace and that's what we will be focusing on this evening."
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