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Spanish Grand Prix: FIA Team Representatives Press Conference


Today's press conference with Toto Wolff, Bruno Famin, Frederic Vasseur and Alessandro Alunni Bravi.

Alessandro, let's start with you. Now, the team is going through a rough patch at the moment. What continue to be the biggest issues with the C44?
Alessandro Alunni Bravi: I think we can say that the performances are not there, so there is nothing to hide. At the beginning of the year we had quite good performance compared to our main competitors, but we didn't translate this into results, for all the reliability issues that have been, I would say, quite evident. And now, the other teams made a bigger step with the latest updates, especially Racing Bulls, also Alpine, and we need to recover the gap. We fixed the reliability issues, especially the pit stop, But on the single laps in qualifying, we are not there where we should be if we want to fight for the points.

Now, one of the topics that came up in the drivers press conference yesterday is how much the current campaign is being affected by the preparations for Audi's entry in 2026. What's your take on that?
AAB: I think it's a mistake to mix both things. I don't think that the preparation for the Audi works team is affecting the current two seasons, and it must not. I think that we have weaknesses that we are trying to address. Andreas Seidl is working from last January on improving the team in this transformation process. But the transformation process starts from the improvement on the current structure and in finding the right people to reinforce our technical teams in every area. I don't think that there are two separate tasks to be done, one for the works team and one for the current team. There are not two separate teams. There is one team. that needs to be the foundation for the works team.

So Valtteri saying yesterday we're taking one step back to take two steps forward is not wholly accurate?
AAB: I don't want to say it's not accurate, but of course we are not where we should be, also in terms of recruitment, in terms of the investment, and this is why Audi has decided in March to go for a full takeover of the Sauber Group in order to push for the investment that are necessary to make the step towards the works team. So I think that we are in a situation where we know exactly where is the light at the end of the tunnel, but we are still in the tunnel.

Alright. Thank you for that. I'm sure there'll be more questions for you later. Bruno, can we come to you next, please? You come to Barcelona on the back of a double points finish in Canada. Just how confident are you of maintaining that run of form here?
Bruno Famin: I think it's very different here. We are back to a normal track, if I may say. In Canada, we have been good in the execution. Very specific conditions with the weather. We have been good in seizing the opportunity, drivers, both - Esteban and Pierre have been very good. Strategy, mechanics for the pit stops, and we have been able to score three points, which is our best result so far. But here, it's very different. The track is a reference track, let's say. And I don't expect yet to be back within the points, to be frank. We will push hard for that, for sure. But we need to work. We are working hard to recover performance. But it's going to be, I think, a bit difficult here.

There's a lot happening off track at your team at the moment. Let's start with today's news. The appointment of Flavio Briatore as an advisor. Why Flavio? What's he going to bring to the team?
BF: Flavio is going to bring his experience for sure. He's a 40 years' experienced guy in Formula 1. He knows how to operate a winning team. He has a very good record and quite a number of world titles. And he will bring this experience, this fighting spirit to the team.

Who is he going to be advising? Is he going to be advising you?
BF: He's going to advise the team. We will work together, of course. He's the advisor to the group CEO, but he will advise the team, and we are going to work and to talk permanently together, for sure.

Alright, final one from me, regarding your 2026 power unit. Is everything on track at Viry-Chatillon?
BF: I'm quite happy with what is being done in Viry. We are working well. We have a quite high level targets, I think and for the time being we are optimistic in our ability to reach that target. And people are very focused now, since a lot of months, on this target. And we are all pushing for reaching it.

Given that optimism that you talk about, what do you make of speculation that the team is shopping around for a power unit in 2026?
BF: First, I am not optimistic. I'm just saying we are on track for getting our... We know we are going to have some problems, which is just normal with this kind of very complex project. And about the rumours, we just don't comment on the rumours. We owe a lot of respect to everybody in Viry working on that project and the worst thing would be to comment the rumours.

Alright. That's enough from me. I'm sure there'll be more for you in a moment. Toto, can we come to you now, please? Pole position and a podium in Canada. Are Mercedes back in business?
Toto Wolff: You know you skipped Fred? He's getting a bit upset about that. I think you need to be careful to praise the day before the evening. We had really good steps since Imola. We've been able to add performance and we've maintained that direction. And I think we all got a bit surprised about the potential on Sunday in Montreal. But having said that, it's a very specific track. So I think hopefully performance is going to continue to improve, so that we can match these guys in the front. But we know it's never linear. You know, it's zig-zagging a bit.

In what areas has the performance upswing come from?
TW: Since Imola, we've brought upgrades to every single race, smaller and bigger ones. So, you know, there's the odd thing that's visible where people talk about and the other things that are not. But it was aero and it was mechanical. And I would say that on the mechanical side, we've seen that the car is very good over bumps and kerbs. The ride is very smooth. And I would say that all of these marginal gains have contributed to better lap times.

Can we talk drivers now? There's been a recent amendment to the FIA sporting regulations with regard to the minimum age of drivers in Formula 1. What does that mean for Kimi Antonelli this year?
TW: That means nothing. I think the FIA has taken a standpoint saying we don't want to have a hard limit on a particular age because it could be the fact that young men could be fast-tracked if their success is outstanding. So in a way, that wasn't lex Antonelli. That was more to change something in the regulations in the World Motorsport Council that anyway was in the discretion of the President before. For us, it doesn't make a big difference. Kimi is doing F2, he's doing the TPC testing, he's learning, he's developing, he's making mistakes, all of that together, and that is the current status. So that wasn't an acute need to put him in a car.

Does this allow you, though, to give him an FP1 session at the very least?
TW: We could give him FP1 sessions after his 18th birthday anyway, which is right after shutdown.

Alright, thank you Toto. I'm sure there'll be more for you in a minute. Fred, can I bring you in on this young driver discussion? You've worked with many teenagers over the years. What's your take on age? Is it if you're fast enough you're old enough?
Frederic Vasseur: No, I think regarding the story about 18, it's more a matter of maturity for me and this is more linked to the guy than to the age. You have drivers very young, very mature, and some others, they are 30 and they are still not mature.

Let's bring it on to Ferrari now. We've seen two very different Ferraris at the last two races. The brilliance of Monaco, the frustrations of Montreal. Can you explain that performance swing to us?
FV: Just that in Canada we did everything wrong from the beginning to the end, with a set-up issue, with a reliability issue, with contact on track. I think we put everything wrong all the weekend.

But do you understand why you did things wrong, now?
FV: I hope so, that we'll see this weekend. But we have a good idea on every single topic and I hope that we will be able to avoid to do it again.

So what are your objectives this weekend?
FV: To avoid mistakes.

Have you got a firm result in your mind or is it understanding the performance?
FV: It's quite impossible today, as Toto said before, it's quite impossible when you are going somewhere today to have a good prediction of the results because we are a group of eight cars who did pole position or first row from the beginning of the season. It means it's quite impossible to predict because it's a matter of one tenth or one tenth and a half. You can do a pole position the weekend after, you have a gust of wind at the end of the straight and you can be P3. It's the reality of the F1 today, the reality of the quali and we have to take every single result with a pinch of salt.

Have you seen enough in FP1 to know that you've started the weekend on the right foot?
FV: Yeah, I think the first feeling is good. We had to test the package of parts that we brought this weekend. It went well. Now everything is going well, but it's more Saturday evening and Sunday evening that we have to draw a conclusion than Friday morning.

Check out our Friday gallery from Barcelona here.


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