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Austrian GP: FIA Team Principals Press Conference

NEWS STORY
09/07/2022

Today's press conference with Frederic Vasseur, Franz Tost, Mike Krack, Toto Wolff, Mattia Binotto and Guenther Steiner.

Frederic Vasseur, Franz Tost and Mike Krack.

Q: Fred, we'll start with you. Can we start with the F1 Commission? It met yesterday in which various decisions were made. How pleased were you with the outcomes?
Frederic Vasseur: I think that you are speaking just about the cost cap? Not the other decisions. You know, the cost cap, for me was the best decision of the F1 over the last years and we have to consider also that the preoccupation and the view on the cost cap is completely different between the small teams and the big ones. I think that we found yesterday a compromise. It's a good compromise at the end, and nobody was happy and it's probably the best way to manage the deal. But in the other hand, I think that we have to keep in mind also that the big teams did a mega-big effort to come from more than $300million to $150million and I'm pleased with the outcome of the discussion.

Actually, let's go down the line. Mike, please can we get your thoughts on the F1 Commission meeting yesterday?
Mike Krack: Yeah, as Fred said, we managed to have a compromise on the financial regulations, or on the cost cap discussion. There was a couple of other points on sporting, race weekend schedule is one that we'll see soon. And also we discussed about the porpoising technical directive. So, yeah, all in all, it was, I think, was a good discussion. I think, at the end of the day, would have been good if we had a bit more time, if we had not to rush too much through the agenda. And to be honest, I would wish that we do this not on the on the day where we have qualifying, or on track action, and allow more time, basically, because - I know what you think, Fred - but I think we... there was certain points where we had to really rush and where maybe one or two more loops would have been good, but okay, it is what it is. I think at the end of the day, we came away with a couple of decisions that were taken together to move the sport forward. So, all in all, yeah, compromise on financial but no compromise on others. So, all in all, it was okay.

Franz please?
Franz Tost: That was a good Formula 1 commission meeting, I'm pleased with the outcome because we found a good compromise. And as the others said... but sporting regulation, technical regulation, everything was more or less approved, and the rest, I think FIA will announce it and then you will know all the contents, which we decided yesterday.

Q: Fred, we'll come back to you now. Let's throw it back to Silverstone. Horrible accident for Zhou. Have you been impressed by how he's bounced back this week?
FV: Not just this week. I think that he came back to the garage, one hour after the crash when he was released from the medical centre and he had absolutely nothing. First question was about the stock of parts for Spielberg. For sure that if, a couple of days after, when you think about this, that you suggested incredible to have a so huge crash and to come back into the garage to have nothing, to be focused on the next one, it's unbelievable. But I think on this thanks to the FIA, thanks to the safety criteria... you know that I was the biggest fan of the Halo at the beginning, but I was wrong. Last week, between Zhou and the F2 crash, I think it was... thanks to the FIA.

Q: And what kind of a week of your mechanics had? How big a job was it to prepare a new chassis while completing the 1000-mile journey from Silverstone to the Red Bull Ring?
FV: For sure it was not just to repaint the car! No, it was massive. But we are ready to do this kind of exercise, to build up a new car. And sometimes it's even planned to do it between two races to change the chassis. It was for sure a big task but at the end of the day they are prepared to do it and it was not... I think we were much more focused on how Zhou will react and how we will be this weekend than how to rebuild the car.

Q: And was Zhou flat out from the first lap?
FV: You are not in his mind that when he's driving but as I told you, that the after the crash, he was always focused on the next one, that he was not thinking ‘that it was a so big crash'. And I think it's the right attitude now. I'm not in his mind when he's driving, but I'm pleased with the situation.

Q: Mike coming to you now. This is a tough period for your team. Can we talk about car performance? And what have been the issues with it?
MK: Yes, we can talk about it - we have to talk about it. Obviously, we all know we had not a very good start, then, I think the last races before Silverstone, we had tracks that were suiting the characteristic of the car. But now, the last two tracks, they have really shown again, a bit better picture of where we are standing. And we simply are not performing enough. We've seen it in Silverstone. We have seen it yesterday. And we need to find our way out there. We need to work ourselves out.

Q: But Mike, what are the issues with it? What are the drivers saying?
MK: Well, the drivers are mainly always complaining about grip and balance. So obviously, when you push it really hard - which I always think when you have a car that is not quick enough, you over push or you try to over push - so you have balance problems, but also we have had now sessions where to go faster, you need more grip. So, we struggled in high-speed, in all high-speed areas. In Canada, there was less of them, in Baku, there was less of them. Car is quite okay, I think, in the low-speed. And yeah, it's mainly low speed corners. But as soon as it goes high-speed, we are lacking.

Q: And how are the drivers coping with the current difficulties, especially Sebastian, a man who's enjoyed so much success.
MK: I think both drivers, we really have to say hats-off, how they cope with it, how constructive they still are with us. There is no bad word, nothing at all. We try to do this together, try to get out together, they give us very good feedback. And it would be easy for them to get frustrated but this is not what happens. Both Lance and Sebastian, they're very constructive in all the meetings and you could not sense any lack of pushing or motivation from the current situation.

Q: So looking ahead, which tracks do you think will suit your car? Are you looking forward to Hungary? For example, if it's good through the low-speed?
MK: Yeah, well, you know, personally, I'm looking forward to all the tracks because I think it's the reason why we are all here. So there is not one track where I would say I don't want to go there because the car performance is bad. So, it's a challenge. We knew when we went to Silverstone, or when we came here, that is going to be tough but still you try to do the maximum and try to do as best as you can and move the car as far forward as possible. And if it doesn't work, as you expect, and you have to do harder next time.

Q: Franz, let's throw it back to Silverstone. A race that delivered little for AlphaTauri after the crash between your drivers. How did you, as team principal, deal with that situation after the race?
FT: Talk to the drivers. Of course, this was a nightmare for the team. Because drivers were in position seven and eight. And we knew that Silverstone is difficult for us therefore we really were in good positions. And then Yuki got little bit too impatient, tried to out-brake Pierre, lost the rear and crashed into him. And immediately after the race I called Yuki into my office and told him that this is absolutely no-go and that he has to be more disciplined and patient. This was not the first collision between teammates and will not be the last one - hopefully with us - but we saw this in history Formula 1 a couple of times but nevertheless, this in any way must be avoided.

Q: Helmut Marko has described Yuki as a ‘problem child' in reference to his radio manner. How disruptive are comments like that for someone like Yuki?
FT: I like problem childs because these are the real good child who can make something out of it. I don't like the holy childs. Yuki made a mistake; he knows it and he will work on this. He is still in his development process. He is fast. He was also fast this weekend here. And he will do his way. It takes a little bit of time.

Q: Obviously difficult race at Silverstone. You're racing at home this weekend. How important is it for you to get a good result here?
FT: It's everywhere important to get a good result, has nothing to do with a home race, apart from this, all the race tracks are my home race. Anyway, I think that we are competitive here as well. Pierre is now starting from the 10th position. There is a big chance to score points. And Yuki is not far behind. I expect both cars within the first 10.

Questions From The Floor

Q: (Scott Mitchell - The Race) Question to Mike, please. Just on the development of the car. As you've brought the upgrades has that shifted any of the problem areas? Change the balance, that kind of thing? Or has there been a core underlying issue with the car all through the season? And if so, are you surprised that the upgrades haven't helped with that? Thank you.
MK: Well, the upgrades have worked, have brought us a step forward. But a step that is not big enough. The basic problems that the car is having have not been solved.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Spielberg here.

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