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Canada GP: Friday Press Conference

NEWS STORY
10/06/2016

Today's press conference with Jock Clear, Robert Fernley, Christian Horner, Dave Ryan, Guenther Steiner and Franz Tost.

Jock, let's start with you, welcome. You arrive with this weekend with some updates, how pleased are you with the way that they've performed so far?
Jock Clear: So far, they've performed as expected. Obviously you don't arrive with these things fresh out of the box. It's done a lot of work on the dynos back at home. It's been fully calibrated. We should know what to expect and the good thing about today is that we've had no surprises in that respect. It's doing what it said on the tin.

Now, the last few races have been affected by less than ideal qualifying. Is that just a case of Red Bull moving ahead and that your updates haven't moved you ahead enough?
JC: It's difficult to say. Like all of these things in F1, it's never one specific thing. It's generally a combination of a number of things. Obviously Red Bull have made improvements and have qualified strongly recently. We've underperformed in Quali 3, having felt we had the pace to compete right at the front and then dropped away at the end. Was it a tyre issue? Was it set-up? That's the conundrum we have to try to unravel and I think we are some way to doing that now. I thing that some of things we have looked at in the last couple of weeks, after Barcelona and Monaco, are pointing us in the right direction. But it's all relative and our pace is always going to be judged by the people that are right at the front and until we're right at the front we're not going to be satisfied. So we just keep searching for that performance.

Thank you for that. Robert, coming to you, great result in Monaco. Do you feel that the team is back punching above its weight again after a faltering start to the season? Is that down to the most recent upgrade package?
Robert Fernley: I don't think that we're punching above our right. I think we're working to reality really in terms of where the team is. The resources have been built up. Vijay has invested heavily in the team over the last few years and we're moving forward as a team as a whole. We may be under-resourced in terms of personnel but I think we do a good job in terms of assets. I'd like to think we're punching where we should be. And as far as Monaco is concerned it was a great result but we've got strange races, with Monaco, Montreal and an unknown in Baku and I think until; we get back into the standard circuits it's unfair to make a judgement.

You're currently breathing down the neck of Williams. Do you feel you can potentially finish ahead of them in the championship this year?
RF: Williams are an extremely good team and it will be extremely difficult for us to do so. Of course that's our goal and we're not going to give up on anything and Williams is our target but we've got Toro Rosso breathing down our neck, so I don't think there any room to manouevre anywhere!

Thanks for that. Christian, obviously Daniel was clearly very upset about what happened in Monaco, coming after Barcelona two weeks before. As an experienced manager, how hard ahs it been to get him to keep the faith?
Christian Horner: I think he's been pretty good actually. I think it took a couple of days after the race to get the emotion out of what happened. Obviously the whole team was gutted about being in such a string position in the Monaco Grand Prix, which isn't your standard race, and then to obviously lose what looked like a certain victory, Obviously a huge amount of analysis has gone into what's happened, why it happened, and as with all these things it's never a straightforward scenario. I think the way that Daniel has dealt with has been very good. After taking a couple of days out, he's now focused fully on the positives: the fact that the car is competitive; the fact that we were able to qualify on pole - our first pole since 2013 - and the fact that the upgrades with the engine and chassis are all working in harmony with each other bodes every well for the rest of the year. Of course there is disappointment over Monaco but a lot of optimism for the future and the future races.

You've signed again with Renault. With the development you see there and with the importance of aerodynamics in the 2017 regulations, do you see next year bringing Red Bull potentially back into contention for regular wins and a tilt at the title?
CH: I think we're on a good trajectory. I think all engineers relish changes within the technical regulations and that applies to the chassis guys as much as it does to the engine guys and I think that what we're seeing is that the engines are converging. I think that the guys in Viry have done a great job over the last six months really. Progress is coming on the engine front and with a shake-up on the chassis regulations, inevitably some teams will get it right and some teams won't. Hopefully, we'll be one of the former. It's exciting and it certainly exciting and it feels that we are on a trajectory that is moving more and more towards competitiveness.

Thanks for that. Dave, coming to you. How are you feeling about the battle with Sauber at the moment? How close are you to challenging them do you think?
Dave Ryan: I think we're pretty close. We had a pretty good day today. We're working hard at it and they're our obvious target. We're bringing a lot of parts to the car and I'm pretty hopeful that very soon we'll be with them, if not this race then in a couple of races.

What about your drivers? It's interesting that Haryanto has outqualified Wehrlein three times this year. How do you evaluate their performances?
DR: Both drivers are doing a really good job. We are six races in and as you say qualifying has gone one way or another. But as we all know qualifying does bring different challenges at different times. They're doing a great job and they will get better as time goes on.

Thank you. Guenther, coming to you, first race in North America for the new American Formula One team. How does that feel and has it changed anything about how the team has approached this weekend?
Guenther Steiner: No, it hasn't changed, because the race team is based in England, so it hasn't changed a lot. For us... the good for me is that it's the first time I don't have a jet lag and everybody else has got one, so I'm pretty happy, because I live in the States. Otherwise everybody is happy to be there. North America is the home of the team. We are very happy to be in Canada and we look forward to go to Austin in October.

A third of the way through your debut season - some great results, some difficult moments, generally underwhelming in qualifying - how do you assess your start and what have you lined up for the rest of the season?
GS: I think we know now were we are roughly in the ranking. There will not be big changes if we don't come up with something special. We are still learning. We got a lot more stable. We know now what we can achieve and what we cannot achieve. I think we can always be in a position to score points, if other people... a race is race, things can happen, and if we are there to wait to get into it, we can. So, we are not changing a lot. We try to get better, especially in qualifying; I think our race performance is better than our qualifying performance. Again, it's a learning phase. We are pretty happy with the whole team, how they developed over the past three months, from where we came. It's our seventh race. I keep forgetting myself. It's only our seventh race, while we compete with people who are here for years. All in all, we just keep trying to do a better job and then get prepared for the new car coming next year.

Thank. Franz, back to Renault power next season. Tell us why that's the right move for Toro Rosso?
Franz Tost: The main reason we decided to go back to Renault is to use more synergies with Red Bull Technology and for this we need a common power unit as a basis and I think Toro Rosso can profit out of this change, because we can get nearly the whole rear part from Red Bull Technology - the gearbox, hydraulics, also suspension systems, and this will help us make another step forward.

Daniil Kvyat is back with the team. How is he adapting to being back to the team and do you expect to have either of the current drivers in the team again next season?
FT: I don't know yet. We have only done six races yet and this is a decision that will be made by Red Bull at the end of the season, which driver will be with Toro Rosso in 2017. So far, I must say that Daniil has recovered very fast. He is quite happy to be in the team. He got more and more familiar with the car and the team and I expect a very good second half of the season from him.

Questions From The Floor

(Jerome Bourret - l'Equipe) You are of course used to back-to-back races but these ones are a bit particular, with a long trip to Baku. May I ask you if this makes your life more difficult or is it business as usual in the preparation?
JC: Yeah, the facts are it does make our lives more difficult, because it's a lot more complex. You're going to somewhere you don't know. But again, it's the same for everybody and actually we relish the challenge really. The logistic battle is just the same as the battle there out on the track. Teams are big now and getting there and getting prepared is actually one of the challenges we are going to take on and try and do as well we can and hopefully that will give us an edge. It looks a very exciting circuit. The stuff we've done on simulators and the photographs we've seen, it looks like it's going to be a great place to race. I think both drivers are really up for that kind of street circuit. The environment there sounds really good. People who have been there are really raving about the place, so actually we're excited to get there and see what it's like. Obviously a track that you don't know is always going to throw up some surprises. It's never going to be exactly the same as your simulator so we're all going to learn a lot in the next 10 days and we're looking forward to it.

Guenther, is there less of a disadvantage for a new team when everyone is going to a new track?
GS: I don't think so. The good teams are good for one reason: because they can get well prepared. They spend a lot more time than us. I think as Jock says, we are as well excited. It's a new place. We haven't seen it. There are positives, negatives being reported. We go ourselves to look at it and then come away with an opinion. Again, our preparation is maybe less than the big teams are doing because we have other things to prepare, because for us everything is new! But in the end it should be more of a level playing field for us but the good teams know what they are doing and they will be very well prepared and better than us, but we will do our best.

(Dieter Rencken - Racing Lines) It's no secret that Formula One has an unequal pay structure with, for example, Red Bull and Ferrari in common with three other teams earning premiums from Formula One's revenues, Haas not earning anything, even if they finish in the top ten this year and the three at the back basically receiving payments on a take-it-or-leave-it basis when the contracts are drawn-up. It's inevitable that Formula One is going to have to address this issue going forward, so possibly all of you - Jock you may not be in a position to comment - but the rest, if you could please give me your thoughts on how you see Formula One's optimum pay revenue structure after 2020 please.
CH: Well... of course if it was a world like all the journalists live in where I'm sure you're all paid the same for doing exactly the same job, then it'll be a very easy scenario of distributing the money but as with all these things, the commercial rights holder holds the financial keys. It's down to the rights holder to decide how they're going to distribute the revenue and then it's down to the teams to decide whether they want to compete or not. It's still some way away. 2020 we're talking about, which is the end of this agreement - but I would envisage that talks would start over the next 12 months or so - or 24 months - but impossible really to predict. But of course every team is going to do the best for themselves. You can't blame the teams for the distribution of the revenues. It's the job and responsibility of the management within the teams to do the best that they can for their teams. So, the distribution of it will come down to what the promoter decides to do.

Robert?
RF: Well, I'd probably come at it from a slightly different angle to Christian, as you would probably expect and I'd hope we'd do things differently. The idea of privileged teams going away, negotiating with CVC and deciding how much to skim off the top before distribution to other teams, for me is not acceptable. I would like to think the Commercial Rights Holder this time does it in a more transparent way. The Premier League is a perfect example of where you've got a performance-related programme that's very fair and transparent. There's no need for negotiations: we've got a pot of money needs to be done; split it in a proper manner; make it transparent. Teams take it or leave it.

Guenther?
GS: I disagree with Christian. I think the last one in should get most! Joking aside, I think it should be more equal - but the best ones should get more because you're better, you're winning. It's also in the Premier League or any football. Is it distributed wrong in the moment? People negotiate it and, as Christian said, if the management did a good job to negotiate for their own company, you cannot blame them, there's nothing wrong with that. It's more like the rights holder negotiates on their side and needs to keep the other ones happy. The people in the back, next time, need to make sure that we are happy as well going forward. I think there will be in something between but again once we start to negotiate I think it will get a little bit more transparent, that deals are done altogether. But again, the teams which are good and are winning and are there for a long time... if you were in there position you would ask for more of the revenue. It's something in between. Between being completely equal for everybody and unbalanced. But let's see what the next 12-24 months brings when negotiations start. I think they should start pretty soon because they normally take long, so that we are not getting to a point where people are forced into taking a decision to stay or to leave, or to take what is there or to leave. So, next time we will be involved. This time we knew what we were going into. So we cannot be happy or unhappy: we took the fact it is what it is, because other people negotiated - but next time we will play a part in it and voice our opinion.

Franz?
FT: I hope that the private teams get more money because the manufacturer teams anyway have a lot of money, and that we can close the gap from the performance side. Because it is simply a question of the financial situation.

David?
DR: Yes, for sure it would be nice to think it could be made more equitable. The difference between the front teams and the back teams is too big. I do believe the leading teams should get more money but I think the gap is just massive at the moment and it needs to be looked at in a slightly different manner.

Jock, are you able to speak on this?
JC: No, obviously not a huge amount of experience in that area and it would probably not be right of me to comment.

(Francois David Rouleau - Journal de Montreal) My question is for Ferrari. How important is it for you guys to launch the new turbo here in Montreal?
JC: It's somewhat a strategic decision because obviously the different aspects of the car benefit different circuits in different ways. We try and bring a development to the car as soon as possible and accelerating that development, bringing those things to the track as fast as possible has some risk involved. Were we to try and get that turbo to Monaco, the benefits would not have been huge around Monaco and the risk would have been another two weeks less of development. So it's a balanced risk that we're always working on in all of our developments and Canada were that risk was decided to be worth taking. It's a circuit that will benefit the upgrade that we've bought; it's a circuit where we should be able to clearly see the benefits for ourselves - and that's important to justify and to close the loop on that development from the factory point of view. Had we brought it to Monaco, as I say, it's debateable whether we would have seen much benefit and whether we would have exactly been able to pick the bones out of it. We've brought it here as a strategic decision: this is the kind of circuit where it is going to benefit us and, as I say from the earlier question, we're seeing that today in our data. So we're happy.

Check out our Friday gallery, here.

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