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United States GP: Friday Press Conference

NEWS STORY
17/11/2012

Present: Cyril Abiteboul (Caterham), Eric Boullier (Lotus), Norbert Haug (Mercedes), Christian Horner (Red Bull), Stefano Domenicali (Ferrari) and Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren).

A question, first of all, to all of you: your overall impressions of the circuit and the challenge. What have you found? What do you think of it?
Cyril Abiteboul: First of all, it's great to back in the US. It's a great market, a great market for the sport, for motorsport. A great market also for the automotive business. Looking at the track, well, it looks challenging. It looks great in terms of the layout. It looks like, also, it's quite icy, both in the air but also on the track - quite slippery. So it will be interesting. Obviously, it was not easy to do a lot of work today, as we need for the track to stabilise, so that we are able to see the impact of our settings and our change to the set-up and distinguish that from the evolution of the track. Not so tricky but really interesting, truly, from inside and hopefully from outside also.

Norbert, I'll ask you about the market in general, the importance of F1 here later, but just the circuit for the moment and how Mercedes have found it?
Norbert Haug: Well, I think the circuit is fantastic and congratulations to the organisers, to Bernie. To get this event on the calendar is fantastic. The US is so important for Formula One. A race here belongs to a world championship, a true world championship. We have been here before and after a five-year break we are back again. The circuit is very, very demanding, very challenging. The track is developing currently, getting better and better, more rubber on the asphalt. But I think it has huge, huge potential. I think it will be televised worldwide of course, like usual, and make a big impact. So, this is a race with enormous potential and kind of a milestone in Formula One's history I would say.

Eric?
Eric Boullier: Well, I'll just follow my colleagues. Congratulations to the organiser, the promoter, who put this amazing track in place and constructed it. Thanks for Bernie for bringing us here. Obviously, as everybody says, America is important for everybody. I think it's quite an impressive track with a different, you know, layout. I think we could see today, obviously, the track evolution was huge. The drivers found it challenging, so that's promising for the race.

Martin, the challenges of the circuit in particular? And what is it about Turn 19. Has anyone explained to maybe the front row here what it is about Turn 19 that everyone seems to be going off there?
Martikn Whitmarsh: It's an enormously challenging circuit. I think we can all be a little bit repetitive in these responses but again, I think we have to congratulate everyone, Bernie and the organisers, for putting together not only a great circuit with great facilities and also it's great to see how many people were here on a Friday. So we've got to make sure that as Formula One as a whole, we put on a show this weekend; that we reach out over the coming year and we build this into a fantastic event. Clearly, the foundations are here to be able to provide that. I think it's for us now to work as hard as we can to create the interest here. As far as the track is concerned, there are a lot of different corners on this circuit. I think [Hermann] Tilke has brought an assembly of corners from the other circuits he has built and tried everything here. The topography is great and there's something about hills and dips and blind corners that make it very challenging for drivers but also make it look great and spectacular to drive on. But I think today, as has been said, the circuit seemed very shiny. I think it's exacerbated by a reasonably conservative tyre choice here. So, I think we're going to have to work hard, certainly we know we've got to work hard on low fuel; we found it a little bit easier on high fuel, which suggests we weren't working the tyres well enough on low fuel. Some of the corners have got some unusual camber, which just makes it an interesting challenge. I think it's slippery, some interesting cambers on the circuit and some interesting compromises you've got to try and find between the vast variety of corners we have.

Christian, do you think it suits the Red Bulls?
Christian Horner: Yeah, it's been a good day mainly for us today. Again, it's incredible to see what's been done in the last 18 months. We came here 18 months ago when it really was just a construction site and we ran a car with David Coulthard on just dirt and rubble that existed here. And to see what's happened and how the track's been built and the undulations and the corners, the way it's been incorporated - just hats off to the Circuit of the Americas and to Bernie for convincing them to take up this race and so on. It's a great challenge and a great spectacle and hopefully we can put on a good show for the American fans and public and it will be a race to remember.

Stefano, good for Ferrari?
Stefano Domenicali: First of all, just to start in a different way: happy birthday to Christian, he's getting older but with good results. No, I would say that everything has been said. For us, I don't know. We are there. Today, it's difficult to judge the performance because you never know the first day as we said with such a new track. But for me, the most important thing with regard to your question Bob, is that I'm sure it will be a great show for the Americans, because we need that in order to make sure that this is the first day of a long term days when we speak every day about Formula One. For me the most important thing from let's say now, from this weekend onward, is really to make sure that our American friends speak about Formula One every day. In order to build up what is Formula One is all about. I think that being here in this condition, helped by what Martin was saying about the tyres, makes very spectacular situation for everyone to... and I'm sure that will be the case on Sunday.

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