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Hungary GP: Friday Press Conference - Part 1

NEWS STORY
17/07/2020

Today's press conference with Mattia Binotto, Otmar Szafnauer and Marcin Budkowski.

Let's kick this session off, if we might, with a quick summary from each of you please about how FP1 went today. Mattia, could we start with you please?
Mattia Binotto: Obviously after FP1 it's always very difficult to judge: you're focussed on your own programme. We're running here the parts we brought already in Austria last week. We obviously had wet sessions, had a very bad race, very short, so really we didn't have an answer from them, so today the programme for us was really to understand the car, and then try to find the balance for the rest of the weekend. We've got again a lot of data to analyse. I don't think we've got yet an output but the two drivers certainly are focused on the weekend. We know that quali will be important here. Grid position is key in Hungary, so we need to prepare well for the quali tomorrow. Likely that we've got a wet session this afternoon so this morning session was important really to collect data and try to somehow understand the car, the balance in order to be ready tomorrow.

Otmar?
Otmar Szafnauer: Not a perfect session for us. Sergio didn't get his long runs in at the end so we've got a little bit of understanding to do. One lap pace looked OK, the balance was good but it's really hard to know what everyone else is doing. Yeah, single lap pace looked better than in years past for us. And long run pace, I still think we need to work on a little bit.

Marcin?
Marcin Budkowski: It went pretty well. We executed our normal Friday morning programme. We didn't use the Soft this morning, we just did runs on Hards and Mediums. Pace is encouraging. Both drivers felt that they could improve the balance so they could go a little bit quicker. Daniel was a bit happier with his car than Esteban was and so, yeah, a good start to the weekend. Again, it's Friday morning. But it's looking positive at this stage.

Video Conference

(Adam Cooper - motorsport.com) To all three of you. I think on Wednesday you had to tell the FIA how you plan to deploy your freeze tokens. Can you talk a bit about that process? Have you made that call? Is it frustrating that you can basically only really change one thing?
MBin: We submit our tokens. We somehow try to address whatever we can for next season in terms of car development, trying to understand what are the most weaknesses of this season. The token system has been put in place ahead of the entire freezing we've got. I think it was important to have at least two tokens. It's obvious that system is overall, let me say, a compromise of the current entire situation post-Covid. We cannot be fully happy because, if you look where we are as Ferrari, our intention would have been to fully develop but we understand the point and I think that's part of, as we often said, part of the season compromises that have been taken during this period. And I think, as Ferrari, knowing our situation, we have been assessing it as an act of responsibility towards the entire Formula 1 and the other teams. So that's what we've got. We've chosen our tokens. I think that the only point on looking at next years, on which we are still debating, I think we are not fully happy that there are teams that eventually can upgrade their entire package from a 2019 to a 2020 package. That I believe would be unfair, because the season with two tokens is similar for everybody. We've got only two tokens and everybody should be limited to that one.

Otmar, your thoughts.
OS: We too decided a while back to look at how to use our tokens. We've made our selection. I think the token system itself works well and when you have a variety of elements across all the teams, and how do you allow certain developments for some and other developments for others. So I think the token system was a clever way of allowing some freedom but within the confines of what we decided to do to save money going forward because of the virus situation. So, I think it's good, it's fair and we chose already how to use them and that's what we'll do. We'll make those changes for next year and see how we go.

Marcin?
MBud: I think not a lot to add. It was a necessary evil to be able to save... well, to be able to continue in this situation and part of the freeze decision for next year. So, we're happy with the system. We're still looking at where best to spend them. We still have a few days and a few opportunities that we need to choose between but I will also support Mattia's view that the system has some flaws, unfortunately. There's a loophole there that would allow a couple of teams to benefit from the system and this is something we're discussing with the FIA and the other teams and we hope will be addressed.

(Dieter Rencken - Racing Lines) As we know, Ross has said that after everything was planned for closed races, etcetera, the next imperative was to look at the Concord Agreement. Could you please indicate where you stand on this? Whether you're ready to sign? Particularly Ferrari, Mattia please, because obviously you stand to lose the most under the Concord. And then with input from the other two as well please.
MBin: The Concord Agreement and where we are today is the output of long discussions we have between the teams and certainly with the F1. As far as Ferrari, we are ready to sign. We would like to sign it even, I think, quite soon. I think that's important for the future. For clarity. At least we can all know where we are. I think it's important as well for the small teams, somehow because that's part of the entire, let me say, package. So, looking ahead with clarity is important. So somehow ready to sign. I think we are as well somehow happy because we know that F1 has understood the importance of the role of Ferrari within F1. And for us that was key. And somehow satisfied from that.

Marcin?
MBud: Yeah, I think it's a process that's been delayed a little bit by the Covid situation and it's resuming now, understandable. I have no particular comments to make on it. It's a step forward for the sport certainly. The sport, looking forward from '21 and especially from '22, with the introduction of the cost cap, the fairer prize fund distribution. It's going in the right direction. It's certainly things that we are supporting at Renault. A fairer, more sustainable Formula 1. So, really, it's looking at the position from our side as well.

Otmar:
OS: As was previously said, this was a logical incrementalism to get to this point. I think a lot of work has gone into it and I don't think we're that far off to having something that we can all sign but there's still a few talking points which I think will happen in the short terms.

(Mark Hughes - The Race) Just to follow up that point on the Concord with Mattia. We understand the broad agreement has been there for quite some time but it's still not a universal agreement. Can you touch a little bit on what the sticking points still are?
MBin: Honestly Mark I'm not really capable of answering you because, as I said, as Ferrari, we are happy and ready to sign. So I think the question should be asked to the ones which are not fully happy yet.

Otmar, talking about the protest from Renault. Parts of your car have been protested by the team. Were you expecting the protest and what's your reaction?
OS: There were rumours of a potential protest in Australia so our expectations were that something would happen. My reaction is that we now have to put together the evidence to show that we're completely legal and I think we have three weeks to do that and that's exactly what we're working on now.

Perhaps throw that on to Marcin. Why have you protested the RP20?
MBud: I don't want to get dragged too much into the details of the protest because, as you can imagine, there's a stewards' decision pending. There's an FIA investigation ongoing which will be submitted to the stewards and they will make their decision based on this. It might go to the court of appeal if Racing Point or ourselves are not happy with the judgement. So, it's a process that's still ongoing. But I think for us it's important to clarify. To clarify what is permissible and what isn't for this season. For the event we protested but for the rest of the season, for next season - but also what Formula One we want in the future. What is the model we want? Do we want the model where we have ten teams independently fighting each other, especially in the context of a fairer sport, a more equal distribution of funds, a cost-cap, so all teams eventually coming to a similar level of spending. Maybe not straight away but with time. So I think there's a great opportunity, together with the technical regulations, cars being able to follow each other, overtake each other, better racing. We think there's a great opportunity for the sport to have ten teams, maybe more, fighting really on equal terms. And for us it's important to clarify what kind of level of exchanges is permissible. Is it permissible to get parts or get geometries from another team and use them on your car or not - because we don't think that's the right model for F1 in the future. It's really beyond the protest, beyond this race. It's what kind of model we want for the future of F1.

Check out our Friday gallery from Budapest, here.

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1. Posted by Wokingchap, 18/07/2020 10:09

""we know that F1 has understood the importance of the role of Ferrari within F1. And for us that was key." = yet more privileges . Thats why they are so unusually keen to sign."

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