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British GP: Friday Press Conference

NEWS STORY
04/07/2014

Gerry, head of track operations at Caterham, could you fill us in on the details of the changes at Caterham in so far as it affects your department?
Gerry Hughes: Well, I think it's fair to say that from a track operations perspective it's business as usual. The new owners are here for the first time this weekend, to observe the trackside operation. We'll show then what we do on a race weekend and as I said, it's business as usual.

So what are the objectives for the team for the rest of 2014 and looking ahead to 2015 in terms of resources and allocating them and that kind of thing?
GH: Well, after a period of uncertainty with the new owners coming in, they've given us a direction and a remit and certainly our goal for the remainder of the season is to finish 10th in the championship. The design of the new car is going ahead and is on schedule, so we look forward to 2015, but certainly the remit from the new owners is to finish 10th in the championship.

James, coming to you, obviously some good pace recently from Toro Rosso, but also some reliability concerns - retirements etc. And also of course the issue with Jean-Eric today.
James Key: If I could you tell you everything James I think we'd have our issues sorted. I think some of it to be honest is a little bit of bad luck we've had recently. I think the last three events for us have been problematic, before then it was OK towards the beginning of the season. We've had a couple of self-inflicted issues and we've had a couple of unexpected issues. Monaco, for example, was entirely unexpected, we traced the issues we had with the exhaust but they'd never happened before then or after. So that was a bit of a one-off and a great disappointment because we were strong there. Since then we've had a couple of niggles that have been self-inflicted - a bit of brake blanking which was maybe a bit too high and this sort of thing, little operational things occasionally. A bit of a surprise in Austria with the suspension issue, so it's been a frustration for sure, because when you have a little bit of pace and can finish in the points you want to make the most of that. But we're looking at everything very carefully. Clearly we want to make sure we can get through this rather rough patch of reliability and just get on with the rest of the season.

Your drivers seem to be performing well and they're well matched as well. How are you seeing their development?
JK: I think it's good actually. I think having both of them so close. Dan's come in this year and has an old head on young shoulders. His learning curve is extremely steep. His feedback and so on has developed tremendously. He's been really quite strong right from the outset, which we've been quote pleased with. And Jean-Eric is a great driver and he's more focused this year than we've seen him this year. He recognises that there is a hot-shoe across the table, pushing him, so it's a very healthy situation. They work well together and we're enjoying the fact that we've got two guys who are pushing each other.

Jonathan, there's no escaping the fact, when you look at the championship table, that you're the fourth-placed Mercedes-powered team. What's the plan for turning it around and do you take some encouragement from what's happened today in free practice?
Jonathan Neale: I don't think we take much encouragement from free practice today. Just talking to colleagues here about how the track has been today, it's been quite unpredictable out there, both this morning and this afternoon. We've got a lot of work to do internally to rebuild on the difficulties we have last year. It's well known that we're actively strengthening the team at the moment. Eric and I and Ron are working hard to make sure we return ourselves to the performance of where we should be as quickly as possible, but it's a tough job. There's no easy way through this. You have to remember that whichever end of the grid you're at, each of us has 80 runs per week in the wind tunnel by regulation. That's it; you've got to make the most of it. So you have to fight hard and that's what we're doing. But there's a lot of culture change going on, there's a bit of strengthening of the team, there are some tough things to do, but we're coming back.

This week Ron Dennis, your boss, gave Jenson Button a little bit of a hurry-up, as we say here in England, ahead of the British Grand Prix. What are your thoughts on that?
JN: I think he did the same thing to Ayrton Senna. I'm pretty sure he did the same thing to Kevin. I think if you listen to my phone on a daily basis he'll be doing the same thing to me. It's chip paper.

Thank you. Coming to you Pat. Can you tell us about this morning? It was not a trouble-free morning for the Williams team and also this afternoon, with Valtteri's engine cover.
Pat Symonds: Yeah, it's been a difficult day. These are the sort of contrasts you get in motorsport. A great weekend in Austria and today we've been like a dog running after a rabbit, trying to chase down our problems. Engine problems this morning; power unit problems. We were running and engine right up past the end of its life and it was a risk we decided to take and it didn't come off. Accident from Felipe, bodywork problems this afternoon. And then on top of that it's not been an easy day anyway, as Jonathan said. The wind has been gusting, it's been very difficult to get a read on the car, the tyres have been hard too. It brought us back down to earth today.

It's been quite a turnaround for the Williams team from last year to this year. At this stage of last year's championship you had zero and now you have 85 in the Constructors' Championship. It shows it can be done but what is still missing do you think?
PS: It depends what your ultimate targets are and the ultimate target is to win the Constructors' Championship, so there is still a long way to go there. The improvements that have been made in the team are quite dramatic and they continue to show improvements all the way through. I think we need a good, solid, ambitious, long-term plan and just keep improving from here.

Adrian, it's the first time we've had the chance to talk to you in an official session since it was announced that you are staying at Red Bull but in a revised role. Can you tell us how hands on you will be in Formula One cars in the future.
Adrian Newey: Much less so than I am at the moment, obviously. I think I will really be stepping back to become an advisor and mentor for the team, the engineers that we have there. Some involvement, of course, in the design. But that's really towards the end of the year. For the moment I'm still fully involved.

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