Team Representatives - Ross BRAWN (Mercedes), Andy GREEN (Force India), Paul HEMBERY (Pirelli), Christian HORNER (Red Bull), Paddy LOWE (McLaren), Luca MARMORINI (Ferrari).
Q: Andy, interesting comment from the team principal Vijay Mallya saying that the car is now a car for all tracks. Of course, we knew it as a low-downforce car in a way, so what has been required to make it a car for all tracks?
Andy Green: I don't know if I should tell you that. I think when I started there was definitely a focus toward a high-speed, low-drag configuration on the car. Obviously, the car showed its hand on those tracks, especially Monza and Spa. Unfortunately, the season is not made up of Monzas and Spas and we need to be more competitive everywhere. I think we have got a car now that shows good performance in all set-ups, including the low- and medium-downforce tracks. Quite happy with the way the car has gone and the changes we have made over the last few months and looking forward to the remainder of the season.
Q: So, basically, a bit more downforce and lot of wind tunnel work?
AG: Always a lot of wind tunnel work. That never stops, apart from two weeks in the summer. Yes, and a lot of hard work and a basic change in philosophy. That was the big thing. But these things take time to come through. It's steering a big ship and you make adjustments and these things take quite a bit of time to come through to the surface on the track.
Q: So confidence for the rest of the season?
AG: Yeah, reasonably high. We expect the cars to qualify in the top 10, both cars, for the rest of the season. There is no reason why we shouldn't. That's our target and we'll try and stay on the tails of the big boys as much as we can and keep scoring points. Trying to keep converting performance into points, which is the target for the remainder of the season.
Q: We have seen teams run third drivers before but usually on Friday mornings. What was the idea of running Nico Hulkenberg on Friday afternoon?
AG: It was basically looking at long-term weather forecasts. We had anticipated the rain to come in a little bit sooner. We were wrong. It came in a little bit later. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. But I don't think we lost that much by swapping them around.
Q: Paddy, a point made by our press officer here. Every time you come to a press conference your team seems to win.
Paddy Lowe: Yeah, that's happened twice this year. The first time, I was asked the question whether anybody else would win a race this year. At that time Red Bull had won every race. How many other teams would win a race and I said well at least two. We won that Sunday. Well, I hope this is a good omen and we can do the same this weekend.
Q: Well, you have won the last two. Can you keep up the rhythm? What does it take to keep up that record?
PL: Well, as you all know it is very, very competitive at the front and we are competing very closely with Red Bull and Ferrari. It is a question of just finding that edge, both in qualifying and through the race. I think we would be happy if we could get both cars performing at the same time. Get the front row. Get the two guys on the podium. That's our next ambition. But we have won three out of the last five races in fact so we want to keep going in that direction.
Q: How much work have you been able to do over this last month, since the last grand prix? Obviously there were two weeks that you had to take off?
PL: In effect time freezes for the two weeks. It is as though we have just had a normal two-week race cycle, so in that respect it has been pretty much situation as normal. We have several upgrades on the car for this weekend but that's one of the nice things about the summer shutdown. It is exactly like that. Time freezes. You come back and it's as though you never left in a work sense but everybody had had a great rest and come back refreshed ready to go again.
Q: Luca, there is a certain amount you can do to engines and there's a lot you can't do to them. To what extent is your workload at the moment looking at next year? How much can you change for next year? How much are you looking at 2014?
Luca Marmorini: We have a lot of activity. Clearly focus on this year not just next year. We know there are not so many chances to modify the engine in terms of hardware but this year the activity on the engine side, as everyone knows, has been quite intense to support aero development. We are going to go on developing this year and preparing for next year as well. Concerning 2014, already a group of people has started to work to develop this engine. Time seems long but definitely it is such a big change in the regulations that this requires a long time. We have started to work intensively on this. We will see some prototype engine run during next year.
Q: So, just looking at this race. Kimi Raikkonen won here in 2009, you weren't necessarily with the team at that time, but it was obviously a very strong engine and you need presumably a very strong engine at this circuit with full throttle at about 24 seconds. Is this thought to be a good circuit for Ferrari?
LM: I think the rate of development we have shown this year has been good. In the last races we have been competing with McLaren and Red Bull, very close to winning several times, so I would say the job we have done is good so we hope we can compete also for a win here as well.
Q: Paul, interesting story about the hard tire. Can you tell us what the situation is with that, as there often seems to be people that have only used the hard tire once for example?
Paul Hembery: Yes, I think you have to take it in the context of the medium tire. In reality, the medium tire has shown enough durability to even think about using it as a hard tire next season. We have found with the hard tire that a couple of teams or a few teams have been struggling to get it working and if the medium performs as we believe it will it provides us with the margins that we need.
Q: If people do not use the hard tire what happens to it? Does it just get thrown away of have you got loads of them back in Turkey?
PH: Well, we obviously don't make them. We don't make big stocks. One of the issues we do have, rather bizarrely, is that at the end of the races we have actually got quite large numbers of tires unused, the harder tire at least one set per team, so we have been trying to look at ways of using those during a race weekend. It is obviously pointless bringing tires that are mounted, dismounted and then chopped up. That is something that we have been trying to talk to the sporting working group about, to find a way in which that set of tires can have a use. We started thinking about it when some of the teams thought about not running in qualifying, in Q3, to save a new set of tires. That made us think if we swap the volumes of tires between maybe six of the harder tires and five of the softer and put them around the other way, change the tire you give back on Free Practice 1 so that you end up going into qualifying and the race with a split, not three and three as it is, but having four and two, that would take away that small risk, if you like, of people not running in Q3.
In reality, very few teams have done it. They could also change the rules to make sure that people run in Q3. That still leaves us with some tires that I think we still need to go back to the sporting working group and see how we can best use them. At the moment, either we reduce by one set, we have got too many tires, or we find a better way of using them during the race weekend.
Q: It sounds as though the regulations are pretty fluid, particularly if we are looking forward to next year. Is that the case? What suggestions are you getting for next year?
PH: I wouldn't say they are fluid. They are fixed at the moment. They are the same as they are this year. It is quite a complex area as you can imagine. If you make a suggestion clearly different teams have a different perspective depending on where you are in the running order in terms of performance. At the moment every race from the start, we have got sets of tires that are unused and we would like to find a way that would allow the teams to use them during the race weekend. That's the point. That's where we started thinking about maybe a qualifying tire. The fans like it but at the moment the teams aren't convinced by that, which is fine. We are here to come up with ideas and it is up to other people to decide if they want to adopt them.