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Friday's press conference with James Allison (Lotus), Robert Fernley (Force India), Pat Fry (Ferrari), Mark Gillan (Williams), Adrian Newey (Red Bull) and Rob White (Renault Sport F1).
A question for you all first. Tell us about what sort of upgrades you've brought here? Have you been able to test them? Have you had anything conclusive from them? Are you going to carrying on using them for the rest of the weekend or have you not been able to evaluate them? Bob, if you'd like to start.Bob Fearnley: Ours are just mainly small aero changes, nothing significant. We haven't been able to fully track evaluate them but we will continue to run with them.
Rob, does this apply to you or not?Rob White: We're not in upgrade mode at the moment. We're more in short-term countermeasures, following the incidents we had in Valencia, so it doesn't really apply to us.
Mark?Mark Gillan: Similar to Bob. Basically, with the weather conditions we've not been able to look at the updates but we will do tomorrow, weather permitting.
I was told that they weren't on Bruno's car today.MG: No, they weren't.
How very wise. Presumably just because of the conditions?MG: Yes, purely because of the heavy wet conditions we thought it prudent to leave them off.
Pat?Pat Fry: I think we, like most people, have a few little updates all over the car but with these conditions it's impossible to do any sensible evaluation of it. We need to see what we can do tomorrow, if anything, and then try to make the right choice for qualifying and the race.
Adrian, more for you after Valencia?Adrian Newey: Yes, a big upgrade in Valencia, here very small stuff, but as everybody else says impossible to evaluate them in these conditions.
James?James Allison: We've got two or three things that are all fitted. We didn't back-to-back them but they don't seem to be misbehaving. The only bit we were able to test sensibly was some changes to our pit stop equipment and they seemed to go OK.
Rob, we know it was an alternator problem in Valencia, can you say what the problem was? Have you managed to cure it?RW: A bit of background if you will. The first thing to say was that there wasn't any change underway that went pear-shaped. The spec was something that has been stable for quite a long time - some years - apart from little details in the piece that actually broke. Both Sebastian's car and Romain's car stopped on the track following the alternator failure. Clearly the alternator generates all the electricity on the car. Without electric power the car stops very quickly. Some small differences in the exact sequence of events after the failure and before the cars stopped were incidental. The failure was due to overheating. Overheating from within the piece, not from outside the piece. I guess we didn't at the time know all of that. We wanted to find out if we were outside our experience. It turned out that we weren't. We wanted to find out whether there was anything unusual relative to our recommended operating conditions. The truth of the matter is that both of the teams were completely within the recommendations we had previously made. We had to look deeper. We had to challenge ourselves on whether the recommendations we made were the right ones. We were able to find places where, with hindsight, we were at risk. We found some conditions where we felt we might have pushed the piece beyond its comfort zone and that's where we've had to focus our attention for this week. A very small amount of time to react. Without any great surprise, we don't have a magic wand to wave that will make all the trouble go away, so we've had to deal with it in a fairly classic way. We tried to make the conditions less severe for the piece, so we've tried to reduce the electrical load on the car, settings on the car, on the engine. We've tried to improve the electrical generation in the most marginal conditions, which are typically at low engine speed and then we've tried to select within the population of existing pieces the ones that will give us the best chance of succeeding. Thos selection criteria are based on electrical behaviour and then for the avoidance of doubt, classic quality [control] type criteria to eliminate the batch numbers we had a problem with. All of that goes in the right direction. It would be unjust to say that I'm 100 per cent confident we have done enough. We've had great support from Red Bull and Lotus who suffered the failures and from Williams and Caterham who didn't but have identical pieces on the car. Also from all the suppliers in the supply chain. We've got what is obviously a short-term plan for this weekend and in parallel we've got a longer-term look to see if we can do a more robust job for the future.
Continuing on with that, what have the two teams been able to do to help Renault with the cooling? James?JA: We just work with Renault Sport. Most of the action is happening in Viry. But we try to provide help and support with the tests that happen in Viry. There were certain bits of our car kit that were necessary to go to Viry to form part of that testing chain. So we all just muck in together and try to get it fixed.
Are you able to provide more cooling to that part, to that area?JA: Yeah, you can blow air on it.
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