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Hungary GP: Thursday Press Conference

NEWS STORY
21/07/2016

Today's press conference with Marcus Ericsson, Felipe Massa, Sergio Perez, Nico Rosberg, Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen.

Marcus, first of all, how are you? Any lasting effects from your crash at Silverstone?
Marcus Ericsson: I'm good thanks! It was a big hit, I was a bit sore the next couple of days but I went down to Italy, to Formula Medicine got some treatment there. After that I felt really good and this week has been perfect. I'm ready for a good race.

Can you give us any insight into the treatment you received down there?
ME: Everything was fine with my body but obviously after a crash like that you are a bit sore in the neck and back and things like that. Got a bit of treatment on that but now it feels really good.

It's been announced that Sauber is now under new ownership following a takeover by Longbow Finance. Can you tell us about the mood in the team since that announcement was made and how it will impact on your future?
ME: I think it's great news for the team. It's no secret it's been a difficult year for us in Sauber, financially mainly. We haven't been able to update the car the way we wanted and been fighting in the back. I think for the team it's been very, very important that this happened and it's great news. What it means for the future, I don't know, we have to wait and see. But for sure it's very, very good news for everyone in Sauber.

Felipe, if we could come onto you, Silverstone was a disappointing race for Williams. Were the problems there track-specific - and were you expecting more?
Felipe Massa: For sure it was a very disappointing race, Silverstone and also Austria, so we are definitely trying to understand everything that didn't work in a proper way in the car. We really hope we're not suffering these problems any more. I really hope we get back to the points and be as competitive as believe so. This is not really the perfect track where we believe we can be very competitive, but anyway - we're working so hard to make the car in the way we believe it needs to be - and we really hope it can be better from now on.

What conclusions have you reached - because Williams have been very strong at Silverstone and in Austria the last few years?
FM: Yes, for sure we're trying to develop the car. This year we've had many new parts in the last races and we just need to try and understand what is the right configuration to use. We will test a lot of different things tomorrow as well and hopefully we understand already the conclusion, how to use the right parts and make the car as competitive as we believe we can be.

The drivers' silly season is now in full swing. How confident are you about your plans for 2017?
FM: Well, I am confident, definitely. I think everyone knows what I am able to do, what I am able to achieve. Drive, experience inside the team, or other teams. So I'm really looking for things to go in the right direction - but not in a big worry. Just trying to do my job race by race and we'll see what's going to happen.

What is Plan A? Is it to stay at Williams?
FM: Well the Plan A is to stay in a top team, in a good team, like Williams or maybe like another team. So we just need to... I think the time will give the right answer. As I said, I'm not really worried, trying to do my job in the best way every race and that's the only thing I'm looking for.

And just a quick nod to the Rio Olympics. Do you have plans to attend that during the summer break - and if you are, what are you going to watch?
FM: Well, I like so many different things: football, basketball, so many incredible things to watch. I didn't plan anything for the moment but I will be there, I will be in Brazil and I really hope that I can have opportunities to watch something, which will be really nice.

Sergio, Felipe was just giving his thoughts on 2017, can we talk about your contract. Vijay Mallya says you're signed to Force India for next year yet you've said in the press you're going to decide what you're going to do during the summer break. What's the story?
Sergio Perez: Well, obviously as you know, I'm a very lucky driver to have many sponsors behind me. So I'm not alone. I don't decide my future on my own. I need to obviously speak to my group of sponsors to see what's the best for our future and then we will decide. I think we have some time during the summer break - that's why I say that - and then we decide what's the best for my career.

So, just to clarify, you're not yet under contract with Force India for next year?
SP: Well, what Vijay says is correct you know? But as I say, I depend a lot on my sponsors as well to decide together what to do.

It was a double points finish for the team at Silverstone last time out. Do you feel this car is good enough to challenge Williams going forward?
SP: I think obviously Silverstone was a very different race to normal races. It will be very interesting to see how the next races go. This one is a very good test for us, to see how close we are to them. I generally think we're getting closer and closer, certainly if you look at the points difference from five races ago, then we have closed the gap massively. I think it is going to be a very tough challenge but I'm sure we can give them a strong challenge to try and beat them. That will be a fantastic result for our team, to finish fourth in the Constructors'.

Carlos, moving on to you , first time you've been in this press conference since your contract was renewed at Toro Rosso, so congratulations for that. How do you feel you're going to benefit from a third season at Toro Rosso?
Carlos Sainz: Well I think it's a very good achievement for myself and for my group of people. I think to be renewed so early in the season by a team like Toro Rosso that we know is a difficult team with young people, I think it's a good achievement so I must say I'm very pleased for that. I think we have now a second half of the season where we can fully focus on what we're here for, that is pure racing, and go forward as a team. That, I think, we've been doing quite well lately. So, yeah, full focus on that now, and also I can be quite calm that 2017, I'm also in F1, I'm also in a team like Toro Rosso that is always improving, always creating a very good chassis and as soon as we sort out a bit the power unit side with maybe a bit more relationship with Red Bull, I think we can be in a good position next year. I'm looking forward - but first this second half of the season.

As you say, you're going to be in Formula One in 2017 - but do you feel you're now ready for a front-running seat.
CS: Yes. Obviously like every racing driver I feel ready, fully ready for a top seat, especially this year where I have a good run without reliability issues where I could find a bit more myself. With not so many issues I think I have proved myself a lot more compared to last year. And now I'm fully really for a top seat - unfortunately there's not many available.

Max Verstappen finished fourth for Toro Rosso at this race track last year. What do you think you can achieve this weekend?
CS: I think last year was a very strange race in a way, there were many accidents going on, lots of stuff going on, so P4 is probably not a realistic position for our Toro Rosso. Obviously if some rain comes, if there are some battles at the front, something going on with a Mercedes, a Ferrari, with a Red Bull, then we can steal the spot - but it's a tricky thing to achieve.

Max, coming on to you. Great drive at Silverstone. Tell us about that battle you had with Nico Rosberg.
Max Verstappen: Yeah, well I enjoyed it, both the battles on the Intermediates and the medium tyre. I think the car was performing really well in both conditions but yeah, we know the car is always very strong in the wet and I'm enjoying myself in the wet as well. Once I got past, of course, you could see the real pace of the car. It was really strong. Even when we were out on the medium tyres we could hold on pretty well. So I was very pleased with that. I think in the end, to finish third in the end, get second was a great result for the team.

Nico, could I just ask for your thoughts on that battle with Max? How did you enjoy it? And what sort of an adversary is he? I think it was your first wheel-to-wheel battle with him on track?
Nico Rosberg: No, second one actually! Max does a great job out there, for sure. So, it was exciting; good thrill, especially to get second place back there in the end. That was a good feeling, and to try and go for hunting down Lewis.

Max, coming back to you. You complimented your car after the race at Silverstone, saying how good it was. What can you achieve this weekend? Do you think it's going to be Red Bull's best chance of taking the fight to Mercedes this year?
MV: Well I think the best chance was in Monaco for sure - but I think here as well the car can be very strong and I'm definitely looking forward to the weekend, because so far the car has been very strong, even on tracks where we didn't expect it to be that strong. We just have to wait and see. It's all about the setup now, how we can improve during the sessions. Hopefully we can be pretty close.

Nico, coming to you, you got that ten seconds penalty after the race at Silverstone. Can you just give us your view on the events that happened after the race?
NR: Well, just the radio communication was reviewed and it was deemed to be beyond what's allowed, and that's it, so you get a 10 second penalty. I have to accept that. Now things have been clarified once more, that we really need to stick literally to what Charlie... the wording that he gives, that he's allowed us. And that's it. So it's clear. It's a thing of the past now and moving forwards we need to make sure we stick to that.

What is your view on the radio rules in Formula One at the minute?
NR: It's not something I think about, it's not something I have an opinion on - because I just want to make the best of what we have and let the people decide what's best. It's come about because fans have said we're like puppets out there, y'know, just doing what the engineers are saying. So now we're trying this, and I think it's OK. It makes it more challenging for us out on track, which is good. So it's fine.

Did you feel you were a puppet when you were on track before the radio ban?
NR: No! But I can understand a little bit the frustration of the fans because there was a lot going on and the engineers were giving us a lot of advice, so I can understand that, yeah.

Check out our Thursday gallery, here.

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