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Mexican GP: Friday Press Conference

NEWS STORY
31/10/2015

Claire, if I can start with you. Williams won this race the last time it was here back in 1992. Did you watch that race and what are your thoughts on coming back to this circuit today?
Claire Williams: I was 14 when that race was one and I don't remember watching it. I probably did; I'm sure I did. But it's great to come back here. We won the race prior to that with Riccardo Patrese as well, so Williams has a good history here. I'd love if we were able to repeat that this weekend. Obviously we haven't had some great races in the past few, so the team really needs a strong result here. But it's a great venue. I think everyone in Formula One for our return to Mexico has really enjoyed the experience so far. The promoters have done a great job with the facilities we have, so it will be a good weekend.

This time last year you were battling for position in the Constructors' Championship but you're looking pretty solid now in third for this season. It's obviously progress but are you satisfied with the season you've had?
CW: This year for us was all about consolidation. If we are able to secure third this year again, that's fantastic for a team operating on the budgets we are operating on. We are operating on a budget that is half or a third of some of the bigger teams out there and I'm really proud of the job that everybody in our team has done. It's been hard work this year. We haven't had some of the podiums we would have liked to have had but we've done a job. But it's not over yet, we still go work to do but getting thirds again would be fantastic.

Thank you. Vijay, if I can move on to you. It's a huge weekend for your team, in particular Sergio of course. Are you enjoying it, are the team feeling added pressure this weekend at all?
Vijay Mallya: No, we are absolutely enjoying being here in Mexico. As you may know we launched the car in Mexico in January this year. Checo has a huge following, we have many large Mexican sponsors and I personally love Mexico because there are many similarities with India, so this is like a home race for us as well.

We are hearing talk of a name change for the team for next season. What can you tell us about it? What does it mean for the team and how is it going to be structured?
VM: We are in discussion, nothing has been finalised, we have many options and I'll be able to confirm or otherwise once I have something to say. As I've said, and as was faithfully reported by Autosport, I don't like to count my chickens before they hatch.

Thank you very much. Arai-san, can I ask you first what happened this morning in terms of Jenson's engine and what effect did that have on running this afternoon?
Yasuhisa Arai: Jenson's engine we had planned to change between FP1 and FP2 but we detected, by sensor, a high-voltage failure. Actually we don't know but we need time to learn. We have to change many items to go out the garage.

There is talk of Honda supplying a second team, or maybe not. What is the current situation and if you were given the choice would Honda rather supply more than one team?
YA: Obviously we cannot discuss details at this moment. We have been approached by the team but discussions are ongoing and nothing has been decided. I always say this season: we are always open, so we are on discussions that are ongoing - that's it.

Toto, you were invited onto the panel in Austin to celebrate as Constructors' Champions and we're delighted to see you now as double champions this season. Tell us your thoughts on Lewis as a three-time world champion and also how he's changed over his three years with the team?
Toto Wolff: It's clear that when you win a third drivers' title you move into the ‘Olymp' of drivers. There are not many who have scored three title or more and he's part of that. He's had an extraordinary season, almost without any mistakes. The car didn't let him down and this is then where he ended up. The journey he had in the team… he started the same time I joined the team. I think it's normal that as a person you develop, you grow into the team, you get to know the people, the car suits you more and this is the result of three years with Mercedes.

On the flip side, it's obviously difficult for Nico. Where does he go from here? How does he rebuild for 2016?
TW: For the team it's always biitersweet and just to keep the right balance I think he had a season with so many ups but also many downs. Some very good performances, he was always there. He outqualified Lewis on some of the occasions but then he was also let down with the car in Monza, with the engine failure and this is simply where we need to improve - to provide a car that makes them capable of fighting each other, because it lifts the team. Today you could see he has a very strong pace and the combination of the two of them makes where we are. We won the Constructors' title also because Nico is such a strong contender to Lewis and this is a very beneficial situation to the team.

Thank you. Maurizio, can I ask you how important is it that Sebastian now finishes second in the Drivers' title race for Ferrari?
Maurizio Arrivabene: The championship is not finished. At the moment he is second but I think Nico is hunting him but we will do our best to keep [Sebastian] in that position, even if Toto do not like.

Sebastian drove a great race in Austin. Can you tell us what he's brought to the team and how motivating performances like that are to the team?
MA: I don't want to talk about Sebastian, because every time they are asking me questions - he's a four-time world champion. He's demonstrate that he is a great driver but he also have a good team around him. He has integrated himself very well into the team and also with Kimi, I have to say, and everybody is going in the right direction. He gave us an additional push and I recognise he is a great driver. By the way, congratulations to Mercedes and to Lewis for the title, the really deserve [it].

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