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Indian GP: Friday Press Conference

NEWS STORY
26/10/2012

Friday's press conference with Cyril Abiteboul (Caterham), Eric Boullier (Lotus), Stefano Domenicali (Ferrari), Christian Horner (Red Bull), Monisha Kaltenborn (Sauber) and Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren).

First a question to all of you: I believe you have had several occasions to discuss your team's future in Formula One. How do you feel those discussions have gone with regard to your individual interests and concerns? Eric, would you start?
Eric Boullier: Obviously, as you said in your question if you look at the personal interests there are always some concerns and issues, but I think we had positive and constructive meetings all together with Bernie and the FIA and even if we are still far let's say from closing and signing any Concorde Agreement, even if I think it should not take long now, we, with a global vision for Formula One we all believe there are some positives.

Monisha, your concerns?
Monisha Kaltenborn: My concerns straight away! I agree with Eric that it was good that the teams were invited to this kind of meeting to get the status on the negotiations between the commercial rights holder and the FIA and what for us is important is that we come to a conclusion which is good for Formula One. We know that each team has its own position in Formula One – you have the bigger ones and the ones who are in the middle and further back – but we need to have something which is good for the sport, the stability of the sport.

Cyril?
Cyril Abiteboul: Pretty much the same thing here as Monisha. Obviously, it looks like the last corner of a long negotiation and as always there are last-minute adjustments and last-minute compromises. Not everyone can be equally happy but you just need to make sure that not everyone is particularly unsatisfied, which is certainly not our case. We're making sure to protect our key interests, because obviously smaller teams are fragile and we need to make sure not to be unnecessarily exposed, so that's what we are making sure of but we are on a good track.

Martin.
Martin Whitmarsh: I think in the short term we've all got our own self-interests, but in the longer terms we've all the same interests and I think that's the sport is successful, that it's buoyant, it's exciting and that it's also viable. As a few of the others have said in front of me I think you've got to recognize that there's a lot of challenge for quite a lot of teams and it's important for all of us to reach for compromise, find a way forward that's going to make sure that we can sustain all those teams. The good thing is this isn't the old era, which was I think very confrontational and probably good for the media but less good for the sport. I think people here are recognising that now is not the time to have wars, now's he time to be constructive, where necessary compromise and find a way forward for the sport.

Thanks. Christian?
Christian Horner: I think the guys have done a tremendous job of telling exactly what wasn't discussed at the meeting, which is obviously confidential between the parties. So I'll follow the party line and say, yes, it was a very constructive meeting and we're getting close to a conclusion but I think that's really all there is to say at the moment.

Stefano.
Stefano Domenicali: Well, the last thing I can say in this spirit is that it's clear that there was something discussed between the teams and the relevant parties – the FIA President and Bernie Ecclestone, who represented the commercial rights holder. The thing is that at the end of the meeting it was the President of the FIA that left room for discussion for future points that the teams may suggest to improve what we are discussing. But I believe it is the right thing to say that here it's important to speak about the division of the future of Formula One and I believe that we are starting from good grounds and we need to make sure that we finalise this as soon as possible.

Okay, thank you. I'm sure there will be some more questions for all on that subject. Now, some individual questions to each of you. Eric, starting with you, if I may. Obviously you've done a fair amount of development over the last couple of races, but looking back at the whole season, have you exceeded expectations this year, given that you've also lost quite a few points as well? And looking forward, do you think you can make the top three or top four?
EB: That was the target – to be top four this year. Top three would be the cherry on the top of the cake, but obviously it's tough to fight with the guys in front of us. But I'm quite happy… I should say actually very, very happy with how the team developed and worked this year. Obviously, we had a tough 2011. A lot happened last year which was not in our favour but this year we clearly pushed back and brought back the momentum for us. The team at Enstone and at the track here did an amazing job and both drivers did contribute a lot to the success this year with so many podiums. But yes, we all want more. Obviously being in the fight for the third place is nice. It's nice for the team. We obviously want to keep this momentum and keep pushing and take any opportunity. I think the session this afternoon, we had good pace on one lap and on high fuel, so I'm happy to be the headache of my colleagues.

Monisha, definitely the first lady of Formula One, and of course you've recently stepped up to be team principal of the Sauber team. Here you are at your home grand prix. How proud are you of getting that far?
MK: I think for oneself it's a bit difficult to feel proud about that, I think that's for others to say, because I was given this opportunity and I was very happy to take it up. Not much has actually changed for me because I was anyway doing more stuff, for sure. It's just this little step to this title but now you really feel the entire responsibility on your shoulders.

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