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Today's press conference with Jean-François Caubet (Renault Sport), Robert Fernley (Force India), Tony Fernandes (Caterham), James Key (Toro Rosso), Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren) & Toto Wolff (Williams).
James, welcome back, new shirt, you've had your feet under the desk for a week or two now, what have found at Scuderia Toro Rosso? What are the strengths and weaknesses?James Key: Thanks for the welcome Bob, I think - it's early days obviously - but I think one of the big strengths I noticed very quickly in the team is the enthusiasm everyone has and the ambition to make it succeed. Everyone is desperate for it to work, there's a real passion there, as you can imagine, being Italian in the team's origin. Primarily it's a very good atmosphere to work in, something a little bit familiar to me in a way, there's a bit of family atmosphere because it's a small team that's grown very rapidly. As a result of that with the rapid growth it means that it needs a little bit more gluing together in a way. There's still separate departments doing a very good job but it needs to come together - and everyone recognises that. It's just a case of going through that process. So, the strength, I think, is the will and the ambition of everyone. On the weakness side, I think it's just still a team that's growing. There's no lack of effort from everyone, it just needs to be given direction. There's certainly some work to do on the aero side, which is very clear and mechanical, for that matter, from a technical point of view. There's some pretty clear steps. Some of it takes time, some of it's fairly obvious for next year.
And what can you do for this year's car? What can you do for next year's car? Can you still put your stamp on next year's car?JK: I think for this year, obviously time is short, and this is a time of year when you've really got to prioritise and so we're doing what we can with this year's car. What we can do now is obviously carried over to next year too. I think for next year, the architecture and a lot of the suspension geometry was already defined before I arrived, so it's a case of picking up what I can, together with the guys in Faenza and at our wind tunnel in Bicester from this point forward. I'd say there's probably 40 per cent of the car still to go, so certainly we can work on that. But I have to say a lot of very sensible decisions have already been made for next year's car, exactly what I would have done. Which is good. So, we're all aligned in our direction and we'll do everything we can in between now and Melbourne.
Toto, obviously a very competitive car this year: we've seen it in the top ten in qualifying quite a lot and of course it's won a race as well. How easy is that to preserve and to keep on, and improve on for next year?Toto Wolff: I think that most of the teams are going to have a carry-on car for next year. It's not going to be a massive development because everybody is looking forward to 2014, which is a big change. So, I hope we can carry the momentum and keep the good base of the car and then carry it over for next year.
And looking at your drivers but particularly one you have an interest in, what is Valtteri Bottas' future?TW: I think Valtteri Bottas' future is Formula One. We have not decided yet where we are going to head to because we go on to give maximum support to the two current drivers. He has been with us for a couple of years now, so he is definitely part of our thoughts - but no decision has been made until now.
Bob, first of all, I think you've moved on already to next year's but already you car looks very competitive here. Last year here we saw Paul Di Resta do a phenomenal run of 31 laps on the soft tyre. Is this looking like a good result for you here? What are your thoughts? Bob Fearnley: It is early days. You don't know what fuel levels everybody else has been running on today. But it is reasonably encouraging for the first two sessions.
Looking at Jules Bianchi, his performance in the Magny Cours test. What's his future with the team?BF: We're looking for stability for 2013 with all drivers, that's our first goal. But I think from the young driver test, it just goes to show how beneficial running the FP1 programme was, because Jules was very quick all three days, particularly in the Force India car. So I think it's a testament to the team's effort to having a reserve driver who is really up and running and competitive all the time.
Jean-Francois, I'm sure you're expecting a question about alternators. What is it about Sebastian Vettel that it seems to happen to him and nobody else?Jean-Francois Caubet: First of all we started to have a problem in Valencia with two drivers Sebastian Vettel and Romain (Grosjean). It was not easy to detect or find because both alternators were completely melted and destroyed. So we were thinking it was an electric problem and probably the levels of power in the car, so we decided to change a bit the levels of power in each car. Spa was OK but again in Monza we have a problem with Sebastian two times and another driver also. We had a bit of fortune because we stopped the Lotus car just maybe some problem with the alternator and at the end it was not an electrical problem, it was a mechanical problem, a bearing probably. So, we are trying to change something. It is not easy because we detect that a few days but I think we are quite optimistic. The problem we have is that we are running the new solution in the dyno but only the race will give us an answer.
Do you think the heat is going to be a factor here?J-FC: I don't know. P1 was OK, P2 was OK. We cross our fingers for P3, qualifying and the race.
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