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Italian GP: Friday Press Conference

NEWS STORY
12/09/2008

How much have you developed for this circuit, how much have you changed the car for Monza and what do you change back if it's wet?
Adrian Newey: I think it's the same for everybody: lowest drag level by a long way now that Hockenheim has gone in its old format, which is basically front and rear wings, detuning some of the appendages, the T-wings, that sort of thing. And that's really about it. Because it's only one race, it's not worth putting a huge amount of work into, so you could argue that the car is not as optimised as it could be for this one race, but it is one race, and you have to look at how you balance your resources.

If it's wet, what happens?
AN: We put a bit of wing level back on but obviously, with parc ferme regulations now, whatever you qualify with you've got to race with, so you've got to try and take a balanced view of what gives you the best results at the end of the race.

Patrick Head said to me it's a fairly expensive operation developing for this one race; what's the Williams situation, Sam?
Sam Michael: Well, it's pretty similar to what Adrian just said: it's a front and rear wing and then maybe some trims of things that come off the rear bodywork rather than go on, just to get you in the right lift-over-drag area for the track. A few years ago at least you had Hockenheim as well, so you got two races out of one very low drag package. The other extreme is somewhere like Monaco. At least at Monaco now there are probably places like Hungary and Singapore that you get two or three races out of them (high downforce parts). Now Monza is really all by itself in terms of top speed and drag levels. The front and rear wings are the main manufacturing loading because they are completely different to anywhere else. And then in terms of wet, it's exactly the same as what Adrian just said. The other thing you've got as well is that you've got to fix the gear ratios for tonight, so it's pretty unlikely that you would take the risk that your weather forecast is that accurate that you would tie yourself into one drag level at this stage.

So is it to some extent guesswork, Pat?
Pat Symonds: I would like to think it's not guesswork. We do a similar thing. Actually, in response to a similar question earlier this week I did have a look at when our programme started and we started work on our Monza aero package on March 30th, which gives you an idea of how far back these things go, and there are something like 60 days of manufacturing for the wings. We've brought two alternative low downforce rear wings here, plus front wing. It's a lot of work but we need to do it, we need to try and be competitive at every circuit. It's a very expensive process these days. It's now amortised just on this one race rather than two. Yeah, maybe there's some room for some cost-savings there.

Luca, where is Toyota on KERS at the moment, when are you likely to test is first?
Luca Marmorini: We are working flat out on KERS, but if I should tell you that if today we are ready to run the car, I would say not yet. But we have put in place a programme and we are confident that we will have a good solution to put in the car and our schedule at the moment is to run for the first time in the new car in the first month of next year, in January.

Another one for all of you: how far advanced are you on next year's regulations, big aero package, and do you believe those regulations will produce better racing?
AN: Well, I guess in common with most teams the big components, the long lead items - chassis, gearbox casing - are finalised and then we'll work through the rest. It is a huge change. It's the biggest regulation change we've had for a very long time. It's been known for a long time, it's been known pretty much since last November and that has meant that to some extent it's been a resource battle. Obviously in an ideal world you would have a second or third or fourth wind tunnel. You would have two aero teams and you would separate them out and off you would go. We're certainly not in that position, so we've had quite a difficult juggling act between developing this year's car and starting to research next year's. Will it achieve its objectives? I'm sure there will be more overtaking - a little bit more, I don't think it's going to be hugely different, frankly. I think it's been shown this year that the most important difference for overtaking is circuit layout and weather conditions. I still think that if overtaking is too easy, it actually could be quite dull because the quicker cars which are stuck behind (now) are just going to go straight past and then you've got wide open tarmac whereas some of the best television has been Imola, for instance, when Alonso was stuck behind Schumacher or vice versa, I can't remember now, but I remember it was good television. For me, the jury is out. We will see.

SM: I think it is a massive rule change for next year aerodynamically, and I think everybody, no matter where you are on the grid, is struggling to get the balance of resource for this year, especially over the last three or four months because some of the teams are fighting for a championship, like McLaren and Ferrari and BMW, so they're having to put resource in but there's also a battle all the way from fourth down to eighth place, so it's been a very difficult juggling act but that's what we're here for. Whether it makes the changes or not in terms of overtaking we will wait to see. I tend to think there's not going to be a huge change but maybe a step in the right direction.

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