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Canadian GP: FIA Team Representatives Press Conference


Group 1: Pierre Wache, James Allison and Dan Fallows.

Pierre, why don't we start with you. Now, what a season you guys are enjoying: seven races; seven wins. Did you believe that the car was capable of this before the start of the season?
Pierre Wache: Honestly I think when you make the car, you try to make it as quick as possible. As quick a car as possible. And after, the success is also depending not only on you but also on the others. Then yeah, the difference is bigger than what we expected.

What is RB19's greatest strength?
PW: The efficiency, I would say. On different tracks we are able to produce downforce without massive drag. That I think is the main strength, yeah.

It's clearly an incredible car. How frustrated were you when you saw Checo's car being hoisted into the air and giving all your rivals a chance to look underneath?
PW: It was not the fact that we see the floor: the frustration was more that the car was in the wall - I think the main frustration. But yeah, it's how it is - and it happened to our competitor also. The car was in the air.

But Pierre, how revealing was it for your competitors - what they were able to see?
PW: They see some detail on the floor but I am sure you can ask them what they see and if they were to learn something. But I think they already had some pictures from the garage, and saw some detail of it before.

Now, as you say, the gap to the opposition is big. Have we actually seen what the car is completely capable of - or have you been masking it a bit. In Max's hands in particular, is there still more potential that you haven't had to use yet?
PW: Not really. In Quali for sure, we are pushing. After, during the race, as everybody, we are saving the tyre, or managing the tyre to increase the stint lengths or give more choice in strategy - but like everybody is doing. No, I think we are as everybody.

Christian said after the race in Barcelona that the pack is still 24 seconds behind us at the flag. Do you feel that the chasing pack is getting closer?
PW: You see that in Quali for sure they are every time closer, in terms of pure performance. After, in terms of management of pace during the race, we have some advantage - but I'm sure they can unlock, and you see some update coming from our competitor here and, for sure, it will be closer.

Just a quick word from you on Checo. He's had a tough couple of races and he said yesterday that he struggled to get the car in the right window in Spain. Can you tell us a bit more about the problems he's having?
PW: Well, I think every weekend, on this type of track, you are chasing between driver control and overall performance of the car. Then, with the number of sessions we had with difficult conditions, it was difficult for him at this time. I think during the race he showed that he was able to achieve something interesting. But when you are not comfortable with the car for Quali, it was more difficult because he didn't find something comfortable during FP3. That is something we have to work on with him.

Dan, thank you for joining us. You're running some significant upgrades here. You didn't get many laps in FP1 - but the ones that you did do, what did you learn?
Dan Fallows: As you've alluded to, not a great deal. It was a very curtailed session. We got enough data to go through - that's about all we can say really - but so far we haven't really learned a great deal at all.

In what areas are you hoping to have improved performance?
DF: I think the main focus for us - and obviously we want to put more performance on the car in general - but we've seen over the last couple of events particularly, that our car has... there are some circuits that suit it more and some circuits that don't suit it quite as much. So, we've looked at concentrating on broadening that operating window of the car, and that's particularly what we're focussed on with these updates.

Interesting that you've bought such a big upgrade to one race rather than rolling it out over several races.
DF: Visibly, it's probably the biggest update that we've produced but, in truth, we have been trying to produce updates for the majority of the races. We have this idea of continual improvement and that's what we're aiming at really. So, we have focused on other areas of the car before but yeah, from the visual, I suppose the actual physical size of it, this is physically our biggest update, yes.

Pierre says you've got closer in Qualifying. The stats would prove that - but when you look at in the race conditions and look at the whole seven races we've had so far, do you feel you've closed the gap to Red Bull - and in what areas?
DF: I think that is a little difficult to say, precisely because what I've said in terms of the behaviour of the car. Obviously in Monaco we were very close; in Spain, less so. I think in truth, we clearly see that there is a gap to Red Bull, there has been all season - but I think what's really important for us is how nip and tuck it is with Mercedes and Ferrari. I think that's exciting on the one hand, I suppose, but it's particularly great for the fans to see that kind of battle going on for the second place at the moment. But really, from our point of view, we have to focus on our own performance, making sure the car is as performant as possible at every track that we go to.

Let's talk about the drivers: Lance Stroll said recently that he was only back to full fitness after his unfortunate start to the year, in Monaco. Have you seen an upturn in performance since then from him?
DF: Well the first thing to say is that it's extraordinary that he managed to get into the car in Bahrain and put in the performance that he did. And then, in subsequent races, yes, I mean he's obviously been struggling a little bit with that, and his fitness. But really, incredibly gutsy performances from him, particularly in the start of the season. He has to gain confidence with his driving and the way that he feels that his fitness is and the way he can respond to the car - but I think, frankly, it didn't take him a great deal of time to get comfortable. I think he is much happier with the car now, he obviously feels much fitter in himself and I think the last event particularly, demonstrated that.

You're all in the new factory back at Silverstone. Is the move complete, and are you starting to see the benefits already?
DF: Our new technology campus is mostly complete now. The technical offices are now occupied, we moved in a couple of weeks ago and it's been fantastic. We're in the process of finalising the hand-over, the building, and then there's another load of building work to go on - but it's an incredibly exciting time for the team. We were - as you were probably aware - working out of a combination of an old building and some portacabins and so on. To have everybody, particularly the design office, in the same room, is a massive step forward for us. It's been fantastic.

Final one from me. We're celebrating 50 years of the FIA Safety Car this weekend. It was first used at Mosport back in 1973. Can we just get your thoughts on the Safety Car, what you feel it's brought to Formula 1 and, of course, the Aston Martin Vantage is one of the two safety cars we have now.
DF: I think it's played a big part in Formula 1. We've obviously seen a lot of action with the Safety Car in recent years as well - but I think the most important is it's a real testament to the FIA's commitment to improving safety over the last 50 years, and the Safety Car is a big part of that. Obviously for us, as Aston Martin, it's a very important showcase for Vantage and we get to see that at the race weekends, which is great for us.

James, thank you for waiting, let's go in talking about the Safety Car if I could as well - because of course one of the two Safety Cars we use in Formula 1 is the AMG GT Black Series. Just your thoughts on the Safety Car please.
James Allison: I thought that was a very poised answer! Because I tend to only think about the Safety Car in terms of what it does in a race when it comes out and you have to deal with it. I guess I'm guilty a bit of taking for granted the fact that it plays an important part in keeping everyone safe when there is obstruction on the road and stuff. I don't really have anything particularly wise beyond that to say.

Give us some wise thoughts on where Mercedes is at now? Lewis told us yesterday that there is a new energy at the factory in Brackley, following the double podium in Barcelona. Would you agree with him?
JA: I certainly loved the good result we had in Barcelona. That puts a smile on everyone's face. Probably a little bit too soon to say that summer has arrived with that one swallow - but nevertheless, everybody enjoyed seeing a car that was going at a decent lick, looking after its tyres, scoring two podiums on merit. So, hopefully, we've turned a bit of a corner. I think this track is going to be very different in the challenges it places on a car but I think we're gently on the up.

What feedback did you get from the drivers in Barcelona, just about where the car is better with these upgrades?
JA: I think they felt a bit happier under braking but there's so much more to do to make it competitive with the front of the grid that I think the main thing people were responding to was just the pace. It wasn't... I don't think it felt like a lovely car to be in, it was just going at a decent lick, balance was not too bad and a good return on the effort that everyone had made to bring those upgrades forward.

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