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Spanish GP: Thursday Press Conference

NEWS STORY
07/05/2015

Fernando, shall we start with you? Last time out you only missed Q3 in Bahrain by a few tenths of a second and finished only a few seconds away from a points finish. Is that the end of that chapter of McLaren-Honda and does the more competitive chapter begin here this weekend in Spain?
Fernando Alonso: Well, let's hope so. I think in Bahrain we had a nice step and that brought us closer to the Q3 cut-off and also to the points and we need another small step to reach that goal. Obviously it's not what we want, we want to be on the podium and win races, but one step at a time and hopefully here in Barcelona we can see this step, as you said. But we need to see what the others are bringing here to this race. Obviously it's the first European grand prix, which normally everyone brings some good updates, as we do as well, but it's just a matter of which one made the step a little bit bigger.

There was some glowing praise for you in the past week from McLaren boss Ron Dennis, how has that relationship evolved since your return to the team?
FA: It's been great. I have been always very luck to have the support of all my teams and all of my bosses, especially when I am in the team. When I say no to them they change their opinion a bit but that's how the sport runs and I understand but what is important is to be happy with your job, to know and to make sure that your discipline and your professionalism is at the highest level when you are working for a team and that the people who pay you at the end of the month are happy.

Daniil, coming to you. It's been a tough start to your Red Bull Racing career, the car has let you down several times. Is that what's prevented you from getting the most from yourself or is there more to it than that?
Daniil Kvyat: It hasn't been an easy one so far, like you said there have been a few weekends that were quite tricky, for many reasons. We just need to get it right and then we start looking deep into the things and hopefully it will happen very soon.

So what goals have you and the team set yourselves for recovery going forward?
DK: No real goals to be honest. We just try to take the best out of the package that we have, we try to extract everything and then we see where we are. No particular goals or anything like that.

Thank you for that. Coming to you Felipe, four races in, a fifth place among four top-12 finishes for you and 14 points on the board. How satisfied are you with the opening phase of your debut season?
Felipe Nasr: I'm quite happy with it. It's been a good first four races. We have been maximizing our opportunities in these early stages of this championship, but I expect things to become more difficult as we move on. We know our limitations; we know what we can do. So far I think the team gave me enough preparation and I think I was ready to take those chances early on.

As you say, Sauber have obviously capitalized on their early-season form and reliability. What lies ahead then do you think in this next phase of the season, up to the summer break, in terms of development and being able to fight, to continue to fight, for points finishes?
FN: Well, Barcelona is always a good picture to see where everybody is sitting and it's not going to be any different I would say in the way that we are also bringing a few updates on the car but we don't know how big is this step compared to our main competitors and we just have to capitalise on these opportunities we have when they show up. It's never easy to be in those points, so any points really matter for us. Let's see. We were quite good in testing here in Barcelona, so it's one for me to look forward to.

Roberto, coming to you: How do you sum up the first four race weekends with Manor this season and what are your feeling on a home race as a Formula One race?
Roberto Merhi: Yeah, obviously the first race we could not race in Melbourne. Then we did Malaysia, which was my first grand prix and was a great experience, it was good for us, for the team. It was really important to finish the race there. Obviously after that we did Shanghai and Bahrain and I think Shanghai was quite OK, in Bahrain I was struggling a little bit. All the tracks I raced were new for me, I never drove on those tracks and now coming here to Barcelona, it's the first track I know in the world championship and I am quite confident to do a good result and to have a strong pace in this race and I am quite happy to race here at my 'house'. I think it's going to be a good race and also the first normal track I would say in the calendar because Barcelona is a normal track with a good combination of corners, with a very slow last sector. Then we can know better about the car and also push more the limit here.

The pace of this car is clear, relative to the rest of the field. Can you tell us about the next steps, development parts and the scheduled arrival of the 2015 car, do you know when that's going to be?
RM: The team right now is pushing hard right now to put the new car on track as soon as possible but it takes a little bit of time. As you know we started two weeks before Melbourne and I mean it was everything done in a hurry but I think they are doing already a very good job to be racing and to be finishing the races and everything but yeah it looks like around August we will have the new car. We hope to have it around there but they are trying to work as hard as they can to put the car on track as soon as they can.

Thank you very much. Carlos, highest placed Spanish driver in the championship heading into your home grand prix. Can you talk a little bit about your feelings racing a Formula One car on home soil?
Carlos Sainz: Well, it will always be a very special weekend for me and a very special race to remember. I remember being here 10 years ago for my first grand prix when I came to watch, getting into these huge hospitalities, meeting some important people, meeting my idol here on my left, Fernando, for the first time, when he was in Renault. That was a big shock for me and an amazing experience and probably thanks to that it's where I take the decision that I really wanted to be a Formula One driver one day and I really wanted to make this dream come true and 10 years later here I am achieving this dream and having my first chance in my home grand prix.

Are you proud to have inspired that Fernando?
FA: Yeah, obviously I feel proud of seeing Carlos here. Obviously the talent that he has has no questions in all the categories and now in Formula One. Everyone is surprised by I'm not. He's the future of our country and I'm happy to sit together here.

Second question to you Carlos: Barcelona has not over the past 10 years been a great circuit for Toro Rosso - never had a top 10 qualifying and only two 10th-placed finishes. Do you see anything in the development parts that you've brought here this weekend that encourages you to believe you can buck that trend this weekend?
CS: Well, I didn't know that, that's something new. We know it's a track that should suit our car fairly well considering that there is a bit less straight, more fast, flowing corners, fourth-gear corners, where you need the downforce. We know we have the downforce, we just need to make it work. We need to make the car balance correctly. Probably in Bahrain we didn't get it right, so well. Here we are bringing our upgrades as every other tea. But yeah, the season will develop and big teams like McLaren and Red Bull they will start cutting back and going to the places they are supposed to be and it will become difficult. As Felipe said, for us it's now about using every chance we have and I am confident that here in Barcelona we can have on with this track layout.

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