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Mexican GP: Friday Press Conference Part 2

NEWS STORY
28/10/2017

Cyril, if we could start with you and a look back to last weekend in Austin and specifically the performance of your new boy Carlos Sainz. Talk us through his weekend and just how impressive was he?

Cyril Abiteboul: Clearly it was a strong weekend. It was a strong weekend with very strong preparation from Carlos himself. Lots of motivation, hard work put by him but also by the rest of the team to make sure it was smooth integration and immediately up to speed. It was impressive but it's just one weekend, and it's just extracting the performance that we expect from the car, that we know the potential of the car has, which is to score points. So, let's stay calm, let's build from that, it was important, I believe, for Carlos to make a strong impression for his first weekend and to get, I guess, the morale of the team up because clearly we are not exactly where we would like to be in terms of championship position. We have both a short-term and a medium-term challenge so it was important for everyone but now we need to finish the season on the same atmosphere. So, more challenges to come starting this weekend.

Is there one thing about him that stood out?
CA: It's his whole approach. He is at the same time extremely calm, professional, mature but at the same time he is capable of being a bit racy and not hesitating to take a couple of risks on occasions - but risks that are calculated, very well executed and controlled. It's great, and a great atmosphere into the team - and with Nico also.

In the coming days we're going to learn more about Formula One's future path. What do you expect from the engine regulations at the meeting in Paris at the FIA's headquarters?
CA: First we expect to continue on the same type of constructive discussion that there has been so far with the FIA and with FOM. We expect to have the conclusion of a number of working groups that have been diving into some of the details of what's been in consideration and publically reported, like removing all of MGU-H and simplification of the power unit. But we also expect to have a better understanding of FOM's vision for the future. It will be interesting to find out and have the opportunity to discuss that in a collective manner with both existing OEMs and maybe OEMs or other manufacturers that could maybe be joining Formula One - because clearly we need a diversity of supplier to make sure we are in a sustainable model.

Maurizio, if we could start by going back to last weekend in Austin. Now you've had a very long career in marketing and I just wanted to start by asking you for your view on the pre-race show in Austin. What did you think of it? Do you like what Liberty were doing?
Maurizio Arrivabene: It was quite OK. We were in the USA so a show like this is expected. I spoke with the drivers afterwards and Sebastian and Kimi said to me actually it was fine for them. They said maybe a bit long because they said that the first one who went to the grid needed to wait for twenty minutes for the last one and also the last one needed to wait twenty minutes to go there. I think fine tuning the timing and adjusting a bit also the driver parade, making sure that it's not clashing with this show is fine. If the public likes it, why not?

And would you like to see more of that kind of thing going forward?
MA: It depends because if doing more are clashing with the commitment that we have with our sponsors or with the commitment that we have to do a race - because don't forget we are here to do a show, we are here for racing, because the real show is the race itself - we have no problem, but it depends on what Liberty want to do in the future. We are always ready to discuss about something that's intelligent and working to enhance Formula One.

Now of course this World Championship is not over until it's over but it is getting harder and harder for Sebastian to win the Drivers' championship but when you consider where Ferrari were last year, there are plenty of positives to take from this season. I wanted to just ask you about those: what are the positives for you from this season?
MA: The positives... we have a lot of positives in all honesty because I saw quite a young team working very very well on the car here and in Maranello; the guys are very united, they are exchanging information, they are very focussed, they are quite young so no one was expecting the performance that we have this year. Mattia, our technical director, is leading the technical properly. He knows, deeper and deeper, the Ferrari and I have to say and together we are exchanging our opinion, information. He's got his engineering point of view, I've got a different point of view but we are always very well aligned. So representing also him here, together with the racing team, I have to say I saw many positives this year. Unfortunately we lost a key opportunity due to a small detail related to a technical issue that we have mainly from a supplier but sometimes it is in the detail, it's a learning for us, it's a learning from them so it's another lesson learned and we are looking forward to the future, to do better and better and better but we are focused.

What do you believes has to happen back in Maranello for you to make the next step, the last step, in 2018?
MA: I said it's a question sometimes of adjustment. It's not a question of revolution, it's a question of adjustment because this year we pay a heavy fee for detail and I said we need to be a bit more focused on the processes, we need to be more focused in other areas but the good positive is that this is a team that is not giving up and it's learning from mistakes and it's a team that is fully committed, not only for next year but even for the next three races because as I've said many many times, we like to fight until the last lap, the last race, the last lap and the last turn.

Questions From The Floor

(Dan Knutson - Auto Action and Speedsport) Cyril, at this press conference in Singapore, after all the engine changes had been announced for next year, Renault was not in a position to confirm if it could or might not be able to supply Red Bull in 2019. Has there been any change on that?
CA: No, no change since what we announced altogether with Red Bull and also ourselves with McLaren in Singapore, which means that there is a clear contractual situation for 2018 and anything beyond 2018 is speculation at this point and will be discussed with Red Bull in the course of 2018.

(Graham Harris - Motorsport Week, Motorsport Monday) Maurizio, and Cyril if you'd like to please comment afterwards: earlier in the first part of the press conference, Christian Horner made a comment that he would like to see the back of the current engines tomorrow, if he could. He was asked the question in relation to the new engines only coming in in 2021 and would he like them coming in earlier. He basically said it was Ferrari and Mercedes who would block that move. Is that something you would like to comment on?
MA: In some way or the other, we are always blocking Red Bull or the other way round, in the mind of Christian. First of all, we do engines so we can talk about engines. It's our job and it's our business. It's not a question of Mercedes or Ferrari blocking here or blocking there. The question... it's very very simple. I've said many many times that our vision of the future on the engines after 2021 is very simple. It's reducing the costs, it's keeping the same engine architecture and keeping the performance, improving the performance. Now, it's very very simple. Normally you have the simple equation: what and how? What we want to do? We want to cut the costs or to reduce the costs. We want to enhance the show. How to do it is something that we are going to discuss in the next few days because everybody, they have their own ideas and for sure it's not Ferrari or Mercedes who is driving the show. But for sure, they are the people who are manufacturing the engines.

CA: Not much to add frankly. I think we have all agreed, including with Red Bull, about the what, the objective of the future engine regulations. Hopefully we can also agree on the how and I don't think that moving backwards would be an acceptable and sustainable thing, no sense to all the people investing in Formula One and not just the manufacturers. If you look at all the sponsors who are current financing Formula One, moving backwards would just be completely inappropriate and quite certainly turn them away from Formula One; including manufacturers like Aston Martin who are big believers in the fact that automotive needs to go in one direction and that direction has to be the electrification route. So there is no doubt. Maybe the ratio between the internal combustion engine and electrification can be revised. We are open for the discussion and clearly Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault, Honda, we are all open to the discussion and that's what we are looking forward to doing next week.

(Dieter Rencken - Racing Lines) Maurizio, based on your how and what that you just mentioned and Cyril, you referred to it, the current regulations for the post-2020 period still fall within the procedure that we have at the moment, i.e. Ferrari's veto is valid. If the how and what doesn't suit Ferrari would Ferrari consider triggering its veto as it did two years ago with the V6 biturbo engine? And Cyril, are you are concerned that Ferrari could in fact veto anything that may be decided?
MA: No, at a certain point we apply our right to do a veto for good reason at that time. Within a severe people and people who have a clear idea, people who understand what they are talking about, I think you don't need any veto. I said it's quite simple, if we are able to find a good equation in between what I said when I described the what, the how is going to be easy but as Cyril stated quite well before, there is no reason to not consider one part or no reason to not consider the other. For us, if I have to talk for Ferrari, for us the performance is part of the DNA of our company so the performance is important because we are representing this brand. Then, if we able - as I've said, many times - to reduce the costs, to keep the performance with the same base in terms of engine architecture, fine. And then it's important to understand how to do it and if it's acceptable the way that it's going to be proposed but we don't need to apply any veto.

(Yesme Cortes - El Economista) Will there be, in the future, more economic and sporting equality in Formula One?
MA: You have to ask Liberty. We have at the moment - Dieter, I thought it was you who asked these questions, I'm surprised, she's taking your place, be careful. At the moment, we have a contract with the commercial owner of Formula One and it's quite clear on how we have the distribution, the financial distribution in the future. It's something that we need to discuss for sure. Distribution also means commitment to Formula One. The first thing is to commit to do this sport and to do it well and not to come in for one or two years and then disappear and close the factory. This is not what we have done because since the beginning we have been here and we would like to continue to be here. It depends... the discussion is going to be long and complicated.

Check out our Friday gallery from Mexico, here.

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