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Chinese GP: Friday Press Conference

NEWS STORY
13/04/2012

A question to you all. If you'd like to give a swift appraisal of where you feel you are in the pecking order after two grands prix, and what you think the potential is, where you think you can be?
Matt Morris: I think it's very difficult to tell. I think there are five or six teams that are all very close, and I think we're one of those teams, but exactly where we stand, we probably need another couple of races.

What about potential?
MM: Yeah, I think we've clearly shown that we've got a competitive car, but we also need to keep our feet on the ground, remember who we are and who we're competing against. But, for sure, we feel we can be scoring points on a regular basis.

Toni, a very difficult start to the season for you.
Antonio Cuquerella: Yes, it was indeed. For us we came later, we started later than the others and it's a race to catch up for us. We are just trying to bring the car to the performance it was supposed to have in the first race, so that's where we are. It's quite clear, everyone can see that, we are at the back, we are the last ones. So we are just trying to get closer to the rest.

And the others?
Dave Greenwood: A similar situation to Toni for us, a late start to the year, which is not what we wanted. Again, we're towards the back end, which is fairly obvious, and we're just working hard to catch up to the guys in front. I think there's a fairly big gap between us and the front, there's no disputing that, but our main job is to close that gap and we've already seen from last race to this we've closed that slightly and we've just got to keep going like that.

James Allison: I think the first couple of races would suggest we're Q3 material. I would hope that we're towards the front of Q3 but, as everyone will say, it's very tight this year, the gaps in the grid are very small and the tiniest error makes a lot of grid places at the moment.

Paddy Lowe: We're obviously over the moon to have had the qualifying results we've had in the first two races, front row in both races. That's what you dream of really, with all the work you do on a new car that starts early the year before. It's a great result for the whole team. A bit less satisfied with what we've delivered from the races but in terms of overall performance - very pleased.

Pat Fry: I think our performance here is likely to mirror the first two races. We've got a few small upgrades here that should improve it a fair amount but then I think this track suits us less favourably than the last one really, so I expect the gaps are going to be similar. We have a lot of work to do to catch the others, particularly in qualifying.

Matt, a more specific question to you. Now you're very close in that midfield and one of the teams that perhaps can improve by using a Mercedes-type device, they cal it a DDRS. Have you got the time; have you got the money and the budget to do that?
MM: We're looking into the system to try and assess it fully, to work out the lap time, or qualifying lap time gain, versus costs. I think at the moment for us it doesn't balance out. We're probably better off spending our money on more conventional lap time.

A question related to last year, when perhaps you're exhaust-blown diffuser didn't work. Was there any advantage in that this year?
MM: It's not really been an advantage; I think we've just lost less than some of the other teams maybe, because, by our own admission, we didn't have the best exhaust blown diffuser last year, so for sure we had more to lose.

Has that had something to do with the performance do you think?
MM: I think it's brought us closer to some of the other teams, yes.

Toni, it's an uphill struggle for you. Just give us some indication of the sort of facilities you have at the moment, the staff you have etc?
AC: It's clear that we are changing. From last year to this year there has been a big changing hands in the management of the team and we are even relocating to a different country in Europe. Our car has been designed by different clusters around Europe, with not everybody in the same room. Now we are trying to centralise everything and work as a team, which has not been the case in the last two years. The main goal then… we still need to get organised and that will bring performance and the development we want on the car.

That sounds like the sort of think that will take an awful long time to do, like a whole year almost, a whole season.
AC: Of course we are making some appointments and we are trying to hire more people to reinforce ourselves but it is not going to be something we expect to be working in two or three months. It going be, as you say, probably more thinking of next year but some results need to show this year, in the second half of the season.

Dave Greenwood, to some extent you've been doing the same thing because the whole factory has relocated as well. Where are you in that process?
DG: I think we're basically in the process where we now have a solid design team and an aerodynamic group that's expanded rapidly over the last six months. We're in a process now where we're using a wind tunnel on a regular basis, matching that in with the CFD, so if you like we're further along that process. We're still very much at the start of it but I think it's bringing improvements to the car much better than we've seen before in the previous two years of how we worked. So all in all a positive.

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