Site logo

Spanish Grand Prix: FIA Drivers Press Conference


Today's press conference with Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz, Fernando Alonso, Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas.

Q: Fernando, this is your 21st Spanish Grand Prix. Explain to us what makes Barcelona different for you?
Fernando Alonso: We had a lot of tests here in the past. Now, we do them in Bahrain, but in the past Barcelona used to be all the winter tests in this place. We have millions of laps in Barcelona, also in the junior categories. Obviously a lot of things happened here in Barcelona as well. It's one of those races that we know all very well. For us, for Carlos, for myself, a lot more support in the grandstands. Family coming, friends are coming. So yeah, a little bit extra motivation this weekend.

Q: For many years, you had this place to yourself. And then, of course, Carlos joined in 2015. How different has it made the experience for you having two Spaniards on the grid?
FA: Well, I think it didn't change much. You know, it's super good to have two Spanish drivers, especially... Well, next year is going to be the 10th anniversary of being two. But, I mean, the support has been always incredible in the good years, in the bad moments as well. And, yeah, now with two, we have two possibilities, even though I think this year we have only one, with Carlos. I don't think that I will be able to fight for many big things but, yeah, I will try to do my best.

Q: Well Fernando, tell us a little bit more about performance. Both Astons back in the points in Montréal for the first time since Melbourne. If it's dry - and it's a bit of an if at the moment because the weather is a little bit indifferent so far this weekend - but if it's a dry race can you be competitive this weekend?
FA: Let's see. I think every race has been a kind of a surprise, sometimes for good, sometimes for bad. So we have to wait and see. Canada was one of the best weekends for us, a little bit unexpected after two bad ones in Imola and Monaco. So I think we have to wait and see the free practice, let's put it that way. I think we prefer wet Sunday at the moment because we are not totally sure about the performance in the dry.

Q: Alright, best of luck. Thank you. There'll be more questions for you later. Carlos, can we come to you now? Do you second everything Fernando's just said about racing at home?
Carlos Sainz: Yeah, definitely. I think it's always been incredible, but maybe it's true the last few years, I think since I've been with Ferrari and Fernando has been back with Aston, and having that chance of podiums, I think the last few years, the attendance and the excitement of the whole country towards Formula 1 has increased again. I don't know if it's to the levels of 2005, 2010 when he was fighting for the championship, but to a level that is really nice to see and gives us a lot of support and a really good mood to come into the track. Probably, the Netflix phenomenon also, you see younger generation fans, you see a lot more women coming to the track, which maybe in the past wasn't the case. And yeah, yesterday when I was in the roadshow in Barcelona, it was almost 50-50 girls and boys, you know, of very young age, all there cheering since 11 am, waiting for us to arrive at 6 pm. And the vibes and the atmosphere was incredible.

Q: What can you deliver for those fans this weekend on track? It was a difficult one for Ferrari in Montréal last time out. Can you bounce back this weekend?
CS: Yeah, we've made obviously our analysis because we expected to be more performing in Canada than we were. And unfortunately, we didn't get things right there with tyres, probably a little bit also with set-up, but we didn't get it right and we had an off weekend. I think in a calendar of 24 races, there are always going to be races where you perform at a really high level and other races where you don't get it right. But I think we've learned from it. And now we come to a much more normal track, one of the first Europeans after Imola. And this is where we all know it very well. We know the set-up. We know how to do the out lap, how to do the push lap, you know, and so hopefully we get it right and we are a lot more competitive.

Q: Alright. Good luck with that. Final one from me. I haven't asked you this question for five weeks, but what's the latest on your contractual situation for next year?
CS: The latest is that a decision will be taken very soon. I don't want to wait any longer. I think it's getting to a point where it's obviously taking space out of my head for quite a few weeks now and months and I think it's obviously time to make a decision. The decision will be taken soon. And yeah, so hopefully soon we will have things to talk about.

Q: Are you clear in your mind where you want to go?
CS: No, that's the thing. I'm still not sure one way or another. It's still something that I'm discussing with my team and brainstorming and obviously I need a couple of days back at home and before the Spanish Grand Prix. I've been at home, but you don't have you head in the future, you have your head in the Spanish Grand Prix. It's been a very hectic couple of weeks after Canada for me. So I haven't had time to really sit down and take a decision. And this is what I will target in the next few weeks.

Q: Alright. Thank you for that. Daniel, let's come to you next. Congratulations on a very strong weekend in Canada last time out. Do you feel that you're now happy with the car again?
Daniel Ricciardo: Yeah, I mean, the result always helps. The feeling hasn't been too far off. I think it's just where I kind of crossed the line... where I crossed the finish line is what I'm trying to say, that always hasn't been where I obviously want to be. But I don't think it's been far off. Obviously, Canada, we started from Friday practice, we were on the front foot and we continued that all through the weekend. We hadn't had one of those weekends in a long time, or I hadn't, so it was nice just to start good and end good. The team's been great with updates, and I think the car has definitely made some steps forward. So I have confidence we can have more of those weekends in the next few and be there more consistently. So it was good for me, good for obviously the people who are pushing and know that I can do it. So yeah, personally as well, just to have a weekend like that, it was necessary, it was needed and it felt good for everyone.

Q: Well, let's bring it on to this weekend. The team is bringing a lot of upgrades here. Are you expecting a big bump in performance?
DR: We're expecting an improvement, yes. But relative to others, that's what we have to wait and see. Typically, Barcelona is a track where everyone comes with updates. I don't know yet if everyone is bringing them but in the past, this is the start of the European season, really, where everyone brings their best effort. So I know we will be a little bit quicker. But it's all relative, right? We've been strong, obviously, and nearly every weekend, the team's been getting some points. So for that to continue, that's obviously where we plan to be. But it's, again, see what everyone brings. But we're looking all right.

Q: Talking about where you plan to be, do you think you can challenge Aston Martin now? Is that the goal?
DR: It's the goal. I mean, obviously in Canada they jumped us in the race and had a little bit more than us on the Sunday, but I think we've definitely been a lot closer than we thought to them this year. And so, yeah, that's the mentality now moving forward. You know, it's not that sixth is locked in and that's it. Obviously you always have to be mindful of your competition, but our eyes are set ahead. Aston is a team that we would love to fight against more often. And we see ourselves being closer to them. So let's see, as I said, the updates. And if that is something realistically, we can be fighting them the next handful of races until the next round of updates.

Q: And Daniel, Fernando is the only one locked in for next season of the five of you. Where are you focusing your efforts in terms of negotiations?
DR: Well, I mean, Canada obviously helps. As I said, I needed a result like that. Obviously I would like to stay. So as I say, now that I'm back in that Red Bull family that's where... I really don't see myself anywhere else. So that's where I'd love to stay and continue. I also said, I think, before the weekend in Canada that, you know, I obviously want to earn it. Like I don't just want it to be like, ' Yeah. Yeah. OK. Stay another year'. I obviously want to be here because I know that I still belong here and can do can do performances like I did last week. So it's also up to me just to make sure that I can keep pulling it out. And in that case, then I'll be very happy to stay.

Q: Alright. Thank you, Daniel. Valtteri, why don't we come to you next? You've been busy since we last saw you, busy winning. Tell us more. Two wheels, not four.
Valtteri Bottas: It felt good because it's been a while. So yeah, I'm actually part of the people organising it. It's an event in Finland called Finland Gravel. It's a gravel cycling thing, like a whole weekend thing and there's a competition as well, and yeah, managed to win my course.

Q: First win since Turkey 2021.
VB: Correct. Like I said, it felt good.

Q: Well, it's definitely going better off track than on track at the minute. It seems Sauber had another difficult weekend in Canada. Both cars knocked out in Q1. Do you think the fast sweeps of Barcelona will suit the car better?
VB: It's hard to predict because the thing is, you know, it is so close, the margins are so small. But everyone is working flat out, you know, to understand what's going on, why we are not hitting the targets. And like I said, it's fine margins. So again, with some new bits specifically for this race, we should be in a better place. Obviously, yeah, there's been quite a few things going on in the team in terms of for a better future. So sometimes you might take a step back to take two steps forward. So that's part of the game, but I hope we're in better shape. That's all I can say.

Q: You mentioned targets. Why aren't you hitting the targets? What is it about the performance of the car that isn't stacking up?
VB: Fundamentally, there's nothing big wrong, it's just we just need to keep adding performance because many teams around us have made jumps. We've made jumps, but not big enough. But like I said, I think it's more for the future that the big goals are.


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