Site logo

Monaco GP: FIA Team Representatives Press Conference


Group 1: Christian Horner, James Vowles and Guenther Steiner.

Q: James, given how FP1 ended a little bit earlier, what can you tell us about Alex Albon's car? How much damage?
James Vowles: I think quite a bit of damage. It's both front and rear corner, rear wing, beam wing I think as well, probably, bodywork may be unscathed - I didn't have time to look at it before I came here - but it's a feature of Monaco really, you've got to start pushing and find the limit. Just in this particularly occasion, it really is just a question of kilometres an hour - about 2km/h more than the previous lap in and lost the rear end.

Q: Big job for the mechanics. Do you think he'll make it out in FP2?
JV: I'm pretty confident we'll make it back out again, yeah.

Q: This is a confidence track. We hear drivers say that; we hear engineers say that. How much of a setback is this for Alex?
JV: Where you really suffer is when you miss most of the session as a result of it - or don't fully understand why even that happened - but here on the data I think he'll look at it and understand fairly clearly what happened in that circumstance. And as long as you can contain it and understand what went wrong, I don't think it'll be a setback particularly at all. The biggest item is clearly... no team, I don't think, is flush with spares, especially these rear wings, the first time it's appeared on the car. So you're just going to be short on stock at some stage.

Q: Now, Monaco sometimes throws up the opportunity for one of the smaller teams. Do you still believe that?
JV: I think we have to be realistic. We've got at least four very, very competitive teams in front. And today, if you look at the top four, they were separated by milliseconds. You've got Alonso coming back to the fore, you've got Ferrari right there and Mercedes, pretty much there or thereabouts with Max as always in the mix. So, we have to be honest and be realistic with ourselves, you need a tremendous amount of an odd result, weather perhaps that would come away and that doesn't look to be the case this weekend. But I'm still optimistic that we have a car and we have a team that can fight for a point at the back, against Haas, against all the others. And that's really the main thing out of it. You can get enough attrition here at this race, you can get enough circumstance to fall your way in order to score a point.

Q: James, let's look bigger picture now. You've been at the team for five months. Are you clear on the future direction of Williams now?
JV: I'm hoping it hasn't been that long. I'm trying to think... I think it's been a bit less than that. But on direction, though, either way, clear on where we're going. We're in a good state in terms of getting what we need to in terms of technical structure in place. There's nothing to talk about yet but there will be I hope within the next few months. There's reorganisation going on all the time behind the scenes and pressure points really trying to squeeze the team and understand where we have strengths and where we have weaknesses. And that's an ongoing process that will be the work of years rather than months.

Q: Well, what about personnel? Because every team is recruiting. So, how do you make Williams attractive to the best engineers? What's your proposition?
JV: I think the main thing is this: we're in a position that we can break what we have in existence, and rebuild it from the foundations, ground-up, into a solid mechanism. We have finance, we have investment that's available to us, as do a lot of teams. But irrespective, that is available to us at the moment. And we have the willingness and desire to even compromise this year and next as needed and as required in order to make sure that we make the jump back forward of the field. And that's a tougher decision if you're racing for fifth, or sixth in the Championship. Much easier when you're Williams. And then you have the legacy you have. It doesn't take long to walk around the Experience Centre there and look at all the Championship cars to realise the legacy this team comes with.

Q: Final one for me. Monaco is the fifth street circuit of the season, one of which was a sprint weekend. So it's been very intense for everybody but specifically talking about Logan Sargeant. How difficult an introduction has this been for Logan, given so many street tracks?
JV: I think I probably didn't realise before the start of the season, just how many of these circuits are quite different to the norm - because also you'd argue Australia, never seen it even before, seen it in a sim and that's about it. And that's a tough track to get to grips with very quickly. And as you said, by the time you do Saudi, Baku, Miami, and here, that's a mix of tracks that each of them have their own characteristics, but you can't really learn the limits of the car in those sort of circumstances. Much easier to do so in a Barcelona or Silverstone, somewhere where you can play with the car a little bit more without too much risk. I think he's got the right approach. If you see here, he's just building up, session on session, which is the right way of approaching Monaco. And you see the odd lap from him that really shows the talent and the performance he has. It's bringing that all together now with the experience in the car.

Q: Christian, can we come to you now? As James says it looks very tight at the top but after FP1 what is your assessment of the pecking order?
Christian Horner: Well, you can see that there's quite a few cars in the mix. Ferrari looks strong, as we expected. Fernando again, you can see he's revved up for the weekend. The Mercedes looks competitive. So, I think it's going to be tight. I mean, Monaco is unlike any other circuit. So it's a unique challenge.

Q: It's unlike any other circuit. But what is it about this track, or maybe your car, that means you are perhaps a little bit more vulnerable here?
CH: I think that our car's strengths aren't highlighted here in the slow-speed nature of the circuit. I think it's more medium- to higher-speed corners, where the car's really excelled this year. But it's the same challenge for everybody. And I think that there's things that we can do. Neither driver was particularly happy with the set-up in the car, I think set-up-wise, we'll refine quite a bit for the next session, and then we'll see how the circuit rubbers-in and, and that changes the car balance as well.

Q: You've been favourite for every Grand Prix this year, do you still feel the favourite coming into this one?
CH: It's inevitable when you've had a start to the season, like we've had that, that you've got that mantra. But you know, we'll just approach this race like any other, that we try and get the best out of every session, every Qualifying, every race and just take it one session and one day at a time - but I've got no doubts or illusions that the challenge is going to be much greater this weekend.

Q: And in terms of the intra-team battle at Red Bull between Max and Checo, who do you feel has the momentum at the moment?
CH: Well, look, they're both in great shape. And, you know, the four 1-2 finishes, five victories that we've achieved so far, this year have been phenomenal. And it's three-two on count back with the two drivers. So, they're both at the top of their game. And, yeah, it's a great situation, great dynamic for the team to have.

Q: If you're being impartial for a moment. How important is it for Checo to win this one, and get the momentum back on his side of the garage?
CH: They're all important, aren't they? I mean, he did a great job here last year. And strategically, we were sharp on the pit-wall in changeable conditions. And we might get some of that on Sunday, you just never know. So, I think for both drivers is a confidence circuit. It's a matter of being at one with a car, having the confidence to run close to the barriers and eke every bit of performance out. And the majority of the weekend is dictated by tomorrow afternoon in Quali.

Q: Now, news from Tokyo earlier in the week. What is your reaction to the news that Honda are committing to Formula 1 again, from 2026?
CH: I think it's positive for Honda, it's positive for Formula 1. They're a great brand. And have got a great legacy in the sport. We've enjoyed and continue to enjoy, and will do so for another two and a half years, a great relationship and supply with them. Obviously, they announced their withdrawal in 2020. And that forced us to make a decision, long term-wise as to what strategically was the best route forward for us. And so, we created Red Bull Powertrains, they agreed to become a technical supplier to Red Bull Powertrains, and we've enjoyed a great working relationship. But of course, now we're off on our own journey as an engine manufacturer, with the partnership with Ford. And that's exciting for us for the future. But, you know, Honda, from '26 will become a competitor, but I think it's positive for Formula 1, it's positive for them to remain in the sport.

Q: Given the conversations you had with Honda back in 2020. Are you surprised to see them coming back?
CH: Well, for me, it demonstrates that the combustion engine isn't dead yet. That there's still life in combustion, because obviously when they withdrew, it was because of electrification. And I think perhaps with sustainable fuels and zero emissions and the route that Formula is going for 2026, combustion became relevant to them again, whereas it was something that was very much off their agenda. And so who knows? Maybe we'll get to back to V8 and V10s that are fully sustainable. Wouldn't that be fantastic.

Q: Guenther, thank you for waiting. Let's talk about on-track performance first. Monaco is so particular, so unique. How well has your car adapted to this track so far?
Guenther Steiner: I think we went out, it was pretty OK, but we know what we need to do better. I mean, they came up after FP1 to make some changes, we knew maybe we have to go that direction. So pretty good FP1 but I think it's a little bit too early to say how well we have performed in FP1, and we just have to wait FP2 and FP3 and then Qualifying.

Check out our Friday gallery from Monaco here.


more news >



galleries >

  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images


or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment



No comments posted as yet, would you like to be the first to have your say?

Share this page


Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2024. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms