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Italian GP: Friday Press Conference Part 1

NEWS STORY
01/09/2017

Maurizio, obviously notable that you have had some very strong updates either side of the summer break, in Hungary and in Spa, which have made the car good on all circuits. Tell us how that's been achieved and is there more like that coming in the pipeline later in the season?

Maurizio Arrivabene: I mean it's not really a big achievement. You've got a big achievement when you are winning the race and we are not winning the race. Having said so, Belgium and also even Monza they are not races that are good for the technical point of view for our car, we know that. Knowing that even before we were working a lot but for the type of project related to our car, we are still... these guys, they are stronger than us.

You've committed to next year with Kimi and Sebastian, providing stability. Can you tell us why they work so well as a pair? And also some thoughts on your plans for your young drivers Leclerc and Giovinazzi.
MA: The reason why I think is quite clear. They went through the last three years with great co-operating within them. They feel very good together, being part of the team and translating this spirit to the overall team, I think we don't find any reason why not confirming them together. Talking about the young drivers, they are growing, our objective is to of course to grow up young drivers and maybe to see them in the future with us. This is the final goal. But, before that they need to demonstrate in Formula One that they deserve it.

Thank you. Toto, following up on the first question to Maurizio, after dominating as you did at Silverstone, were you shocked or surprised the Ferrari was on a similar type of circuit, in Spa, and have you had to scale up your response?
Toto Wolff: Ferrari's response in Spa was very strong indeed. I don't think that you should be shocked by anything in Formula but we knew that the DNA of the car and the performance of the car is very good on twisty circuits and they came to Spa and they were competitive. It's the same thing we in Monza today also. Second free practice gave a good indication that Ferrari is to be expected to be fast tomorrow and on Sunday. I think this is the narrative of the season. It's a tough fight between the two teams. It's rare that you can say on Sunday who has had the faster car. You have to just put it all together, and hopefully the drivers put it all together, and then you can win the race. I think this is going to go to the very end.

Only one of the top four seats not confirmed for next year. Can you give us an update on Valtteri's situation? And with him being 41 points off the championship lead, does he need a win here in Monza for Mercedes to maintain a two-driver challenge for the championship?
TW: It is a no-brainer for the team to continue with Valtteri for the very same reason that Maurizio mentioned - within the team the dynamic between the drivers is important in order to extract the best possible result. We're very happy with Valtteri. It's his first year with the team. He had very good moments, like in Sochi, and he had more difficult races, like in Spa. But we are not manic depressive and therefore stability is important and we want to keep him in the team and it's just down to the contractual situation - the nailing it and signing it and hopefully we can do this.

And the second part of the question?
TW: Which was what?

Does he need a win here for Mercedes to feel you are maintaining a two-driver challenge for the championship?
TW: Again, Ferrari has a situation where Sebastian has been scoring lots of points and Kimi, for whatever reasons, not so much. Therefore, for them it's probably a little bit easier. Our boys were pretty close together, until probably Spa. The situation is a little bit different now, but we would like to keep all options open and evaluate the situation in every race and see how it develops.

Thank you for that. Fred, your Ferrari engine deal all signed, can you tell us the benefits of that relationship? Also, Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne has said he would like a Ferrari junior team. Do you see it that way, with a chance to take either Leclerc or Giovinazzi, or both?
Frederic Vasseur: First of all, the deal is based on the powertrain, which means it's the engine and the gearbox and then we will discuss together the fact that we could extend the deal on another parameter for some other parts. On the driver point of view, I think that if it's regarding Charles for example, I think he has to be focused on the Formula 2 Championship, still a couple of races to go and it's a bit too early to discuss about this. I hope we will have the discussion at some stage! But I think, to be honest, even for Charles it's a bit too early to put it on the table.

You've had some time now - not much! - but you have had some time to assess the strengths and weaknesses of Sauber. What are you telling the owners that the team needs to move forwards?
FV: The problem is that we are in a tough situation because we started the project very, very late last year. We are also running of the previous year, but I think our biggest weakness is on the development of the chassis, because we started very late. We decided to switch on the '18 car quite early also. But we knew perfectly the situation before the season for the team, and before I joined. For me it's clear that we won't be able to change the situation before the end of the season. We just have to keep the pressure, to race and to keep the team on their motivation. That's very important in terms of preparation for next year also. But we know that the end of the season will be difficult, it's not a surprise.

Questions From The Floor

Q: (Ysef Harding - Xiro Xone News) A question or Maurizio. Coming here to Monza, if you have never been here and you are walking around this track, this place. I wanted to ask you what does Monza mean to you and to Ferrari?
MA: Monza is the Grand Prix of Italy and we are an Italian team, so of course for us, it's like... it's unbelievable - the atmosphere, the tradition, the history. Even Enzo Ferrari was talking always about the Italian Grand Prix as the grand prix. This is the emotional part. The public is fantastic; we can feel the vibe. I think even yesterday, it was only Thursday but we were feeling, all the team, the drivers etc, they were feeling the vibe of the tifosi and they were pushing us. The expectation is very, very high. Despite that we need to be humble because we know the natural [characteristics] of this year's car and we know that Monza is not really the best track for us. Having said so, our attitude will be humble, but not surrendering. This is what I can promise to our tifosi and I hope they are going to support us big time tomorrow and also on Sunday.

Q: (Peter Farkas - Auto Motor) A question for Toto and Maurizio. Toto, regarding this engine oil-burning situation, there have been some conflicting reports in the press. Some said that you brought forward the engine so that you could adhere to the old 1.2-litre limit and others said you voluntarily adhered to the 1.9. What's the truth and how do you see it going forward. Maurizio, what's Ferrari's stance on the whole situation?
MA: First of all, we have no conflict. I don't want to comment on this kind of thing. Mercedes introduced early one engine that have also disadvantages during the course of the season, because you have no more development and this is the end of my comment.

TW: I think it was completely blown out of proportion. Exactly what Maurizio said, the reasons we have introduced it early was in order to bring some performance to the track, with the risk of having to do many races until the end of the season - more races than our direct competitors, number one. Number two, you lack for further development. The longer you wait for the last introduction of engine, the more you can probably add the upgrade. So these are the reasons we brought it and not in order to extract a performance advantage out of the capability of burning more oil. So, if you ask the FIA you will be quite interested to see what the results are, and they are pretty much all the same. I don't know where that rumour came and it was nothing that was ever a problem or discussion among us.

Q: (Heikki Kulta - Turun Sanomat) Maurizio, Kimi said that his target is a race win in the second part of the season. Do you think he is a capable of getting it?
MA: He demonstrated that he could be capable to do it in Monaco. Also in Hungary he was nearly there. I would be happy if Kimi is going to win a race during the course of this season. For me, it could be a dream, because he was working so hard during the last three years and I think if he is going to win I can be happy.

Q: (Peter Hartig - BMF1) A question for Frederic. I would ask you the main difference between being a team principal at Sauber, compared to Renault. It could be internally, it could be a little close that answer, and also according to the drivers?
FV: There is not big difference to be honest. The two teams are passionate and it's a real racing team, in both cases. Now I am taking the team in approximately the same direction, because when I joined Renault last year, we were in a restructuring situation and it's exactly the same with Sauber. I hope that I will have some other challenge in the future because it's a bit tough. But, on the other hand, it's a good challenge, it's exciting, because we know where we are today and we know that we have a lot of work in front of us. On the driver situation, it's also quite similar: they are young, they are doing a good job, they win a couple of races, a couple of championships in the junior series but we have to still improve - the same for the team, the same for everybody and we have to keep everybody under pressure, including drivers to try to improve and to get the best from them also.

Q: (Dieter Rencken - Racing Lines) The commercial rights holder, Liberty, seems intent on introducing a cost cap of about $150 million from 2021 onwards, with a glide path through until the end of 2020. This of course has massive impact on your head count levels etc, because you would probably have to cut your head counts by 50 per cent in the case of Mercedes and Ferrari. Could you still see yourself still participating in Formula One after that has happened, to Toto and Maurizio?
TW: It's the first time I hear the number. It's good that you tell us, so we are warned!

MA: Thank you!

TW: And the glide path until 2020. I think we are all living in the same financial reality and we have seen teams growing dramatically over the years and we are all very sensible that we want to somehow contain it. It needs to be done in a way that it is good for the sport, that it respects the structures that have been created, so it needs a glide path, and it needs to be fair. That is very important. We have all different set-ups, the way we are organised in different ways. Ferrari is a fully integrated team within the larger road car company. We are a separate entity in the UK. You look at all the teams; it's very different. You need a governance that functions and you need a strict set of rules and then it just needs to cover everybody. The discussions that have been happening, at a very early stage, I think there is no big disagreement.

MA: I agree with Toto. Having said so, we need to take into consideration that this year, thanks to the battle between Mercedes and us, you can see, all the tracks they are full of people and I mean, maybe Liberty have to think about that.

Check out our Friday gallery from Monza, here.

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