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GP Week : Issue 192
F1 >>> FEATUrE drivers, inexperienced drivers, one was a rookie, one a half-rookie and I think it was one of our best seasons. We’ve had other situations as well where we had a very experienced driver and a rookie and they were not so good. So we as a team have had a lot of experience, and we will do the best with whatever driver line-up we have. Are you still trying to hold onto Nico, though? I will not comment on that. Can you convince him to stay on after this season? Every driver has to decide that for himself and he can see what kind of a car we have. I think we are among the few teams which is showing how we are still going up through better understanding of the car, which is very important also for your future development. So it’s for him to make his opinion of it. Moving on to a lighter subject now – since Monza you’ve had an upturn in form. In Monza you said it was a surprise, but have you figured out why you’ve had that upturn in form and are you expecting that to continue through to the end of the season? I don’t think Monza was a surprise in the sense that we thought we were going to be really bad there and suddenly we were good. We can see since the Hungarian Grand Prix or even, for that matter, the Nurburgring, that there is the upwards trend coming in now. It didn’t always reflect in results for various reasons, but we knew that we were slowly getting to where we want to be. Then with the points coming in slowly we also saw it confirmed by the results on track. Then we had Monza, then Singapore where Esteban qualified so well. So I think it’s more than a trend now – it is really the direction we are going. I’m sure we will have a setback or so, but the direction is clear because it’s based on a solid understanding we have of the car. So I hope it continues that way. You identified early on in the season that it was the rear-end aerodynamics but it was still an evolution of last year’s concept wasn’t it? Not really. so you tried a new concept and it didn’t quite work out? Yes, but you also have to know how far a concept you have can be developed further. And when we knew there was nothing much we could do there, we went a different way. Maybe we went here and there a little wrong or didn’t understand the things correctly, but I think this shows that since we have not fundamentally changed the car, that it wasn’t as wrong as it might have looked. Now we understand the problems better and we can remedy them better. And what has that done for team morale, since Monza? You see smiling faces, which is good. It’s very important because when you struggle this much... It’s at the end of the day in the team about success, sporting success. And that’s what we all strive for. So if you can repeat these kinds of results, the positive morale, the positive thinking establishes itself again. And then you can also handle situations which are not that good, maybe better. It’s important, that the people believe in themselves. And we are lucky to have a very strong core team which we can always rely on and that has always been our strength. Couple of questions on next year, starting with the calendar22 races. Is that doable, or is it a bit too much given you’ve also got the in-season testing? I would like to first wait and see what the actual calendar is, the final one. Personally, I think 20 races are more than enough because we shouldn’t be saturating the market. On the other side are the logistical issues which maybe you can still manage, but it is mainly for me the manpower behind it because you cannot expect people to do the races and the testing – although it is going to be at the track where the race takes place. You still need different people. You can’t make the people do all that work. So that doesn’t avoid the problem you have with getting extra people in. And then you can’t forget that teams also need to do some PR, like we did with the demo run in Sochi, and this adds to it. And new regulations next year. Are you excited about it, or are you concerned about the conservation formula we seem to be heading towards? It’s going to be a challenge. We already went back on the aerodynamic side a lot considering what was originally planned to be in there. But it will be a big challenge with the new powertrain coming in. Of course, as a customer team on the engine side we have certain disadvantages compared to the manufacturer teams, so I do expect that they probably will have a certain advantage at the beginning but we should be able to catch up later on. Like you say, you’re a customer team. You just announced a deal for next year with Ferrari. so all this time that you’ve been designing the car for next year have you been designing it under the assumption that you would be putting a Ferrari engine into it? Yes, and we also did get information [from Ferrari]. This was more about certain technicalities which we sorted out and we have a long-lasting relationship with each other, so it was not that tricky an issue. 26 GPWEEK.com // 26 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: