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Bahrain GP: Friday Press Conference

NEWS STORY
04/04/2008

A question to you all. Your feelings about your performances so far this year in the first two races.
Stefano Domenicali: As always we need to be very cautious. We have seen the reaction of the team after the very difficult race we had in Australia. The performance seems to be there. We saw the performance of the other teams which was different from race to race. I am expecting to see this kind of variation in terms of performance all through the year. There will be certain tracks for sure where we will have some teams that will be performing better than the other. We need to be very cautious. At the last race we showed that the performance was really there and we hope to keep the pace.

It was a temporary circuit in Australia whereas in Malaysia it is a permanent circuit. We go to more permanent circuits than temporary circuits. Do you feel that you are at an advantage at a permanent circuit than on a temporary circuit?
SD: If you look retrospectively we are more competitive on a permanent circuit. But don't forget that we won races in Australia. That shows as I said we will have a situation where everything varies from time to time. As you know the performance in qualifying is making the difference above all on these kinds of tracks.

John, your feelings?
John Howett: We were encouraged by the performance in Malaysia. It was more or less where we think we should be competing based on the winter test evaluation. We didn't do a particularly god job in bringing the cars home in Australia, but certainly that second bunch behind the two quick teams is very tight.

And that is where you wanted to be?
JH: No, we race to win. But we have to be practical as the gap in our view to Ferrari is still fairly significant.

Christian?
Christian Horner: We had one of our best winters since Red Bull Racing came into Formula One. For the first time ever we have had continuity of engine partner and other areas within the team. We arrived in Australia after quite a positive winter test programme but we had a few incidents there. There was a brake issue with Mark (Webber) in qualifying and then to have both drivers go out in the race in what turned out to be an atypical race with only six finishers was disappointing. In Malaysia we had a far better sight of our potential. We had a fuel pump issue with Mark in the race, but generally the performance was promising. We can see that the car has got potential. But as John said, it is an immensely tightly fought pack behind the big two teams but certainly we took a lot of encouragement out of Malaysia.

A lot of us were concentrating on the reliability of your cars, particularly after last year. Do you feel you have got that beat or is it still a bit of a niggle?
CH: Having completed almost 10,000kms trouble-free in testing we were disappointed to have a brake failure with Mark in qualifying in Australia. Then there was obviously a track rod issue in free practice on Friday in Malaysia with David (Coulthard) which caused in the end quite a spectacular looking accident. Certainly the transmission problems blighted us last year, but the whole transmission group back in Milton Keynes have done a really good job especially with the new challenge of the four-race gearbox, so hopefully we are now going in a very strong direction.

Just to go back to that track rod issue. Can you tell us how the track rod issue was resolved? What happened in Malaysia? Can you give us an update on that?
CH: We had a component failure with a titanium shroud on a carbon rod that basically de-bonded itself. That caused David to run wide and hit a very large bump. It was a very heavy impact into the side of the kerb which caused spectacular looking damage. It was fairly similar to I think an issue McLaren had here three or four years ago on a rear track rod. Basically we took precautions and strengthened the components in question. Having completed so many miles per season we really didn't expect it to be an issue, but we took an extra precaution to make sure it doesn't reoccur.

So they have been reinforced?
CH: There has been a very slight process change because the design actually wasn't at fault. I think it was a human error with a component that had infant mortality and it was replaced with a component that had done approximately 2,500kms and trouble free. We have looked at the process very carefully. We worked with the FIA over that and are happy that there are no issues and the suspension is more than integral.

John, the team has tested here as has Ferrari. You were the only two teams. One or two people are sort of saying ‘well, we didn't think it was worth it'. Of course they would say that because they weren't here. What are your feelings about the advantages of having been here?
JH: I think one of the reasons we wanted to come was we were running a new cooling operation with a more undercut side pod and we wanted a guarantee of reasonable ambient temperatures and we got it. With two teams here we kept out of each other's way in race simulations and completed them without red flags, so from our side it was an extremely good test and a very high return on the investment.

You have got a new driver in Timo Glock. What sort of effect has that had on the atmosphere within the team and on Jarno (Trulli) who has been there for a little while?
JH: I don't know about Timo but I think it is really great to see Jarno so motivated and so happy at the moment. That's mainly the car. Timo is very quick and I think they are pushing each other. They have a good relationship and at the moment things are going very well.

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