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Belgian GP: Friday Press Conference

NEWS STORY
22/08/2014

John, can I start with you? Obviously, a new driver today, tell us how did he go and where do you go from here?
John Iley: I think Andre's been... possibly he should have been in Formula One 10 years ago. I think he subsequently proved in world sportscars and Japanese single-seaters that he would have been more than vindicated in being Formula One. He's well known to the owners and the management of the team. They rely on good feedback and we're basically getting his experience and feedback on the car during this weekend and he's done a very solid job for us so far. It's important to stress though that Kamui remains part of the Caterham team and they both worked together in the simulator in the week prior to Spa and gave us good assistance for this weekend.

Obviously there have been a lot of changes and restructuring, what's it been like for you on the shop floor as it were, on the technical side of the team? Do you know, for example, what resources you have to work with going forward, that kind of thing?
JI: It has been a very, very challenging time. The last six weeks, if you include shutdown, has been a transitional period for us. We were struggling a lot prior to that period. We were non stop; we were unable to do what we wanted to do. Fundamentally, the new owners have come in and it's been difficult on the human side - restructuring and various things - but you can see this weekend we're starting to add performance and do upgrades to the car that frankly we've not been able to do for a long time. We've been wanting to do them, we know what we need to do, but we haven't been able to do them. So whether it's aero, mechanical, car characteristics, even some powertrain things, you're starting to see this weekend the beginning of that process.

Thanks very much. Dave, sort of same first question to you as to John really. You had Alex Rossi in the car for FP1, Max Chilton back in the car for FP2. How did you as an operations group of engineers deal with that and what happens next in your situation?
Dave Greenwood: Well, clearly we had quite a lot going on yesterday as a team and I'm quite proud of the way we handled it and the guys in the garage have ultimately been very professional and got on with everything thrown at them during the course of yesterday and today. They've done a fantastic job. In terms of the drivers, all three have done a good job today. Alex's first run out in FP1 went quite well for him. We subsequently had a few issues on the car in between the two sessions, which probably hampered him a little bit in terms of his overall performance. But he got right in touch with where the problems were and gave good feedback. From that point, overall it's been a good day and credit to all three drivers and the team for dealing with what we've been thrown at.

Jules Bianchi said here yesterday in the drivers' press conference that the target isn't to try to catch Sauber as far as he's concerned, it's to stay ahead of Caterham, but what's your objective?
DG: Well, catching Sauber obviously, but that's going to be a little bit more tricky. I prefer to look forwards at all times. That's not to say that we don't respect Caterham. They occasionally get closer and we need to keep watching what they are doing as well. They've clearly got some upgrades on the car this weekend, but so have we. We've managed to come here with a few mechanical parts that actually have paid massive dividends to us today.

Thank you very much. Coming to you Rob: one of the notable features as far as Williams is concerned is that most, if not all, of the developments you've brought to the car have worked. Can you tell us a bit about what's gone on to create that situation and your part in it?
Robert Smedley: I think that we've had changes in process if you like, where we've looked at correlation between wind tunnel and track, how we improve the accuracy of the measurements that we take here at the track and the process of that whole thing. I think that being able to have accurate feedback from the start of the year from the track back to the tunnel, not only as to what the parts are doing in terms of correlation but also in terms of what we want from a car - not only from total downforce but from car characteristics as well, in high, medium and low speed - has ultimately paid dividends. That correlation has thankfully been very good, because even when you do all your homework you can't take it for granted that it will be. But I think that the work that has been done by the people back in Grove in the wind tunnel, by the operations group in terms of the accuracy of the aero measurements. It's an ongoing process. We're still improving it and we've still got a way to go with it, but at the minute it's working well and I think we're quite pleased with it.

A few points have gone begging along the way, but on the other side pit stop times have improved a lot. Looking at the whole picture then, how far off being at the level you want to be are you operationally?
RS: Miles away! It's an ongoing process. I've said before it's an ongoing process. The team is on a bit of a journey. We've already made inroads as to where we need to get to but if the team wants to make good on its ambitions of eventually winning races and then going on to win world championships again, as it has done in the past, then we still have a way to go. But the good thing is, the encouraging thing is that there has been progress made already and the team, as a group of people, there's great synergy there. Everybody's on board with it and everybody is pushing forward with it and every new target that we set, however big or small, the team gets on with it and gets it done and that's really encouraging.

Thanks for that. Coming to Andrew Green. Your team has always been a strong performer around this Spa-Francorchamps circuit, what do your prospects look like after today do you think?
Andrew Green: Yeah, we've always had fond memories of Spa, we've had some good results in the past. I think as a general rule we always look forward to Sunday more than we do Saturday. I think we've got a good race car and I think it will be the same here. I think come Sunday afternoon, regardless of where we are on the grid, we can score some good points and keep the pressure on the people around us. That will be the aim for this weekend.

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