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Monaco GP: Thursday Press Conference

NEWS STORY
24/05/2007

Do you think this year's rule changes have worked? And what do you think of the future plans as being considered for 2011?
Nick Fry: I think this year's rules have had some benefits in closing up the field. From our own point of view, it has not been beneficial yet, but I think for the quality of the grid and the racing it has been a good thing. One thing I would say is the absolute importance of aerodynamics in the framework of the current rules with the engines similar to each other and the tyres the same, it does throw a lot of emphasis on one particular area and the question really is the relevance of that area. We are all working like crazy on very clever aerodynamics, a lot of time and money is going into that, but the question is does it have any real relevance to the outside world. I'll save my answer on that one for the second part of your question.

But in general about this year's rules, it is good?
NF: Yes, it is favourable.

Mario?
Mario Theissen: Well, on the one-make tyre, I have the same view. It has closed up the field. We used to have four to five seconds between the first and the last on the grid and it has shrunk to two and half and that is good. The other important change is the Friday schedule. I think it doesn't really fit the original purpose, which was to turn Friday into a test day. What we have now is an extended practice day. The original idea of doing extensive testing, taking young drivers, has not materialised and I think it would be worth discussing again for next year.

Jean Todt: Friday, I mean it is true to say it has made things easier for testing the car, the set up, to know the tyres and definitely for the reliability of the engine because normally we started the engine rules with one engine for 400 kilometres and now we are ending with one engine with about 1000 kilometres, so it makes it different. Definitely to have one engine for two races, it is a way to reduce costs and goes in the right direction not to reduce costs, but to stabilise costs. Over the last years it has been a huge inflation about costs and like that it does make Formula One much cheaper, but it stops the escalation of the costs. Tyres? As usual, in all new regulations there are some positive and some negative points. It is true that less testing is required and leaving it more to racing because everybody uses the same specification of tyres. But competition is a high technology competition and you lose part of it by having only a single tyre company. And about testing, the teams have agreed at 30,000 kilometres a year, which is acceptable, but I think we must not make a wrong judgement about that, because it seems from outside that it reduces costs, but in order to remain as competitive as possible you have to invest in simulation facilities. There is no limitation on simulation facilities – it is a high cost and you cannot test young drivers and you just focus on the development of the car and it is very expensive so on that I would be more cautious to make final conclusions.

Ron Dennis: First, I endorse much of what Jean said. Dealing with the engines first, we have had significant cost saving and stabilisation and we commonly use the Friday engine for two sessions, sometimes three, so we are not bringing fresh engines always to a Friday. I think two races out of a fresh engine is a positive thing because it creates a more reliable field, which I think is better for Formula One. The tyre situation has had a dramatic impact on testing because you can now concentrate primarily on the car and as a car manufacturer we prefer to be spending time on developing the car and the drivers to tyres. The one thing I disagree with Mario on is Friday not being used in the manner it was designed for. The priority was to put cars on the circuit because Friday was an event where we sat the majority of the time conserving engines and the second was to bring young drivers on. I think it is a question of asking what that means. To be able to put a driver, who has his first year in Formula One, in Formula One, then you need that Friday. And (for) many of the drivers that are currently competing, or several, it is their first year. I don't think it was ever designed to evaluate drivers for that season or to evaluate them for the next season. You do that at testing. You don't do it on Friday. I think Friday is to put you in a position in which you are comfortable if you choose to take a young driver as opposed to a mature experienced driver. It certainly helps that decision. It certainly helped our decision, ultimately my decision, about giving Lewis the opportunity to race and so I think it has achieved a full Friday as today was interesting for everybody and when it comes to the debate about whether we should be complaint to the regulations, whether it is a test day or a race day, I am relaxed in each direction and I am happy to support whatever the majority wants. It makes no difference to us at all. We treat it like a test day, so I think most of the things are positive and there is the odd negative and so long as we are moving in the right direction it is fine.

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