Site logo

Brazil GP: Friday Press Conference

NEWS STORY
07/11/2014

Paul Hembery, if we could start with you? Interesting day today to say the least. Obviously a new track surface here at Interlagos [along with] your choice of soft and medium tyres for this weekend. What did you learn today, particularly in the extremely high track temperatures, up around 57-58 degrees [Celsius]?
Paul Hembery: Well, the track is very different from last year. We've lost a lot of the macro roughness, 50% less than last year, so it's a very smooth track and in the first sessions we saw a lot of oils coming out from the new tarmac that we've got out there, which you get from new surfaces. So a lot of graining going on in the first run on the tyres in P1. It improved a little bit through the day. Having said that it's a strong pull for something like the softer compound here when you get up to nearly 60 degrees on the track. A little bit of blistering we started to see on the front tyres. But who knows what the rest of the weekend is going to hold. Nobody foresaw having this high temperature today, so there are still a few question marks, I guess, for the rest of the weekend.

What about 2015 tyres? Give us an insight, if you could, about your thinking, what you want to achieve on strategy, performance, that kind of thing?
PH: Well, we're not planning any great changes. We're trying to improve a little bit the footprint area of the tyre, which is what you do as a tyre maker. Compounds? Well, again minimal changes. Maybe working on some of the temperature ranges of some of the compounds, but not planning anything dramatic. Primarily because we still want to understand what these technical guys are going to come up with in terms of developments for next season. They've had a year to understand the new regulations and we are expecting some quite strong improvements during next season.

Thank you very much. Rob, coming to you, same first question for you as it was for Paul, but from a team's point of view. What did you find today running with these tyres on this new track surface? Anything you'd like to share with us about it?
Rob Smedley: I think that the track improved quite dramatically through the first session as Paul just said. There were a lot of oils coming out. As you put Formula One cars over the surface you impart a lot of load into the surface and the oil comes out. I think that's quite normal. And as it did the track gripped up a bit, between the first and the second set there was quite a big track evolution. We started the second session about 17 or 18 degrees hotter than what we finished the first. We were 56 degrees, I think, track temperature, about 34 or 35 ambient and that went up to 57-58 at the end we were measuring at the end. So they were quite extreme temperatures. On the old surface round here with that tyre of temperature you'll get quite a lot of degradation. And that's why I think everybody put the option on and the people who looked best on it were simply the people who'd run least in their short runs. Anybody who'd run four or five laps, as our cars had done, we grained the rears and blistered the front. But I think that's quite normal for these track temperatures. We're predicting, for what it's worth, that it will be quite different conditions for tomorrow and Sunday. I think the main thing to take out of it, as always, is that Friday, yes it's important and it's good to go and do your homework, but the track can change quite dramatically for the rest of the weekend.

Felipe, yesterday in the press conference was very optimistic about the next steps for Williams. They've obviously been a midfield team for a while now but the car and the technology are clearly on the point of being race-winning again. What needs to be done about developing the mentality of the team to that point as well?
RS: It's a long-term project. You have to change cultures and methodology within the team and, like I've always said since I arrived at Williams, it's very easy to change process, you can change process in a week - but it's much more difficult to change culture, y'know? The team's got to get back to being able to win. Being ready to win. Being pretty much ready to beat everybody. If you look at the most recent success - bar Mercedes - in F1 then it's Red Bull. They started off some years back with not the quickest car and certainly not the best operation and I'm sure they wouldn't mind me saying that. And right now, in terms of their chassis, they still have a fantastic chassis, in terms of how they operate, they operate very well - but it's because the same core group was there for a long time. And that's what we have to do at Williams. I think we've got reasonably sensible people there now, there's a good level of competence, a good level of young talent as well - which is always important - it's not just the people at the top end who make all the decisions but the people who actually do the work as well. And yeah, for the moment it's working. There's more to do. We have to go further but as long we stay on the road that we're on, hopefully it will work out.

Pat, tell us about the contrasting day for your two drivers: obviously Kimi at the top of the timesheets in FP2 and the fire for Fernando. Is that going to mean a penalty?
Pat Fry: The fire, it's a high-mileage Friday engine to be honest. I'm sure every team's in a similar boat so it doesn't really affect the strategy that we run on a Saturday and a Sunday, so that side of things, it looks more spectacular and it's hard work for us to clean it all up but it's not that big a deal. I think this morning we, like most people, we struggled with graining of, particularly the right front, and it takes a little bit of a while for us to work out how to deal with that. As the track improved the graining reduced significantly in the second part of FP1. We've been trying different setup options with Kimi and he seems happier. We've been reviewing... it's been a constant battle for us to try and work out and give him the front end he wants in the car. We're a little bit closer and it shows that, if we can give him the car that gives him the right feedback, he's right there and right on the pace. So, I think that side of things went reasonably well. Long run pace, it's hard to say really. I think everyone's long run was disrupted by, firstly, the red flag we caused and then the following red flag. On Fernando's side, again, similar comments with graining and car balance. I think everyone's struggling a bit with the tyres and the way they're behaving here. But yeah, we didn't get a clean lap on the very first lap but other than that I think they're relatively close together.

Tell us how the Mattiacci long-term plan is manifesting itself in the technical department.
PF: I think, like all these things I've said to you before, to stop and look at what you're doing and realise where... or start thinking long term, is definitely what we needed to do. It's good that we've done that. Some of the changes that have been emplaced are already paying huge dividends in the way we're developing next year's car. Only time will tell really. There's a huge amount of catching-up we need to do but at least there's the drive to improve the technical process, invest where we need to. It's a long-term process but the right path is there to get us back to the top.

Sam, you've obviously announced that you're leaving Formula One after a long career at the end of this season. Why have you decided to leave the sport and what are your plans?
Sam Michael: Thanks James. First thing I wanted to say was that it's been really been an honour and a privilege to work alongside all the engineers and technicians and drivers, media and all the people that make up Grand Prix racing. It's an incredibly privileged position to be in and I've enjoyed every moment of it. There are some fantastic people in this business, it's one of those businesses where there's lots of different characters and a great deal of diversity but the one thing that bonds us all together is that we're all racers. We always have conflicts and fights about whether it's technical regs or sporting regs or who said what or did at different times. We're all here to do the best thing for Formula One and if it didn't exist like that then we wouldn't be here. It's been a fantastic run, 21 years with four different teams and I looked at it and thought it's time to go back to Australia. Looking forward to that, probably spending a bit more time with my family. As you know, yourself, motor racing itself is an incredibly selfish business when it comes to families and I think it got to the point where I thought if I don't see my kids grow up at this point then I probably never will. So that was basically the driving factor behind it. It's been a great trip and that's it.

LATEST NEWS

more news >

RELATED ARTICLES

LATEST IMAGES

galleries >

  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images

POST A COMMENT

or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment

READERS COMMENTS

 

No comments posted as yet, would you like to be the first to have your say?

Share this page

X

Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2019. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms