Q. Norbert, are Mercedes at the moment living up to your expectations? Does the team need a big leap forward? Has the leap forward come here?
NH: We are definitely not where we want to be. That is no secret. We are aware of the situation. I think we had quite a good qualifying result in the last race, otherwise Michael (Schumacher) would have been fourth and Nico (Rosberg) would have been fifth because the cars behind up to 10th place or whatever had a comparable speed. We are working on it and we know that we have to improve. This will take some time and I think we could have done a very good job already in Monaco. The car was competitive there. It didn't look too bad today, so let's wait and see but we are fully motivated. We brought our people down to the right number for next year already. This is certainly not an excuse, it's just an explanation. We are still learning. I think I am positive; we are positive. But we have to realise that we have very tough competitors around us and our Renault friends are catching up. I have to say they are doing an excellent job but probably the team looks like being Renault more than ever before. They are strong, have good drivers. We know how strong McLaren Mercedes is, Red Bull, Ferrari. It is not easy and the time will come. I answered that question very often in the past together with Martin, when will you be competitive again? We never can say an exact date, that's for sure, but we will be competitive and we are working on it.
Q. So does it need a big leap forward? Is that big leap forward planned or is it just going to be little by little?
NH: Well, you know you need to be realistic and have a kind of worst case scenario. I could say we were five-and-half-tenths slower than the Red Bulls in the last race but I think it could have been the case that Sebastian Vettel would have been even quicker in qualifying and it would have been seven or eight tenths. That is the realistic gap. We did not post very good lap times at the beginning of the race. When the fuel came down at the very end I think it looked much better. Of course not everybody was pushing but I think Mark (Webber) for example pushed as much as he could at that stage, so towards the end with more grip and less fuel we did comparable lap times. But we are not where we want to be and if I could organise it for tomorrow I would like to have one-and-half seconds per lap but this takes time.
Q. Eric, is Renault beyond its expectations at the moment?
EB: Very frankly, we are in the expectation, maybe a little bit better. We are very happy to give some tough times to Mercedes. We need to work still a lot to give some tough times to McLaren or Red Bull but it is good to fight with Ferrari and Mercedes and we are happy with what is going on.
Q. You have got two very tough drivers. What do you think of the respective characters of your two drivers?
EB: I think we have two different scenarios. Robert (Kubica) is experienced enough and is pushing hard. He just needs to get a better car maybe to do better qualifying. In the case of Vitaly (Petrov) he still needs to learn, especially like this weekend. He has never raced here, so he has to learn the tracks and still needs to learn Formula 1 but Istanbul was a good example that with a little bit of experience he is getting the pace and he is getting a good race pace as well and he is able to keep the rhythm.
Q. A question to all of you. Felipe Massa and Mark Webber have both signed. Felipe until 2012 and Mark until 2011. What does that do to the driver market looking forward to next year?
EB: Definitely with the recent rumours about the link between Ferrari and Robert it is now closing all the rumours and I think it will not affect very much the driver market and we can now sit down and discuss properly with Robert his future with us.
NH: I think it is a perfect situation. Very rarely have we had such an intense fight. It was always a big fight, but I think the line-up is great and I think the first five teams probably will have the same driver line-up next year and that's a perfect fit. That's good for Formula 1 and I think we will see some very good races. Still this year, probably already on Sunday.
MW: Nothing to add really. Clearly the driver market is more stable than it normally is. The rumours are only starting to gather pace this time of year, so I think we have got other things to concentrate on. As Norbert said, I think we have got four world champions in top teams. We have got really exciting racing. The last six races have been really gripping and hopefully that will carry on for the rest of this year and into next season.
Q. Christian, obviously you have tied up your two.
CH: Yes. There is no effect at all for us as we have retained exactly the same pairing. It was a very straightforward decision to come to extend the agreement with Mark which was mutually extended on an annual basis. Mark is very keen that at this stage of his career he also takes things one year at a time. He has no aspirations to hang around Formula 1 past his sell by date, so we have got two very strong drivers that we are delighted to be working again with in 2011. I think most of the seats are fairly fixed going forwards, so I don't think there is going to be in the front half of the grid too much movement.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q. Question to all of you regarding the decision for tires for next year. Jean Todt has said that it's a decision of the FIA and of Bernie Ecclestone. What's your opinion about that? It seems to be quite urgent, so when could we have a final decision?
MW: I think what Jean's reflecting is that current regulations require the FIA to go out to tender and clearly that is something we all have a vested interest in concluding. I think teams, the FIA, the commercial rights holder have been working hard to reach a conclusion and I'm sure they will be able to shortly.
CH: I think the only thing to add is that the sole supplier situation that we have in Formula 1 has enabled independent teams such as ourselves to be competitive with automotive-owned teams and larger organisations. I think the most fundamental thing going forward is that we have equality of tire supply. In the situation that we have at the moment, we have a good tire supplier who unfortunately won't be with us in 2011. I think the teams are clear where they want to go with the options that are on the table and hopefully the FIA together with Bernie Ecclestone can come to a similar conclusion.
MW: I think it's urgent for whoever comes in. They need to get the tires designed, developed and work out the logistics of manufacturing the number of tires required and servicing Formula 1 next year and for the teams, we need it very urgently, so that we can design next year's car, because clearly the tire characteristics are a fundament starting point for the layout of next year's car. So it's pretty urgent really, for the tire companies and for the teams.
Q. And are you going to want to test those tires before the end of this season?
MW: I think the two companies that have been expressing an interest have got views on how they would test, whether they would test with teams or by other means but again, the quicker and earlier we can test and validate the design characteristics have been met and the things are safe the better. It's going to be difficult. All of the teams, over the last couple of years, have now stood down their test teams, so none of us, frankly, are equipped to go out there testing and tire testing as we did before. There have been a lot of initiatives in Formula 1 to reduce costs and I think we've got to be careful we don't creep back in the wrong direction in dealing with this change, but I'm sure it's something that together we will work through satisfactorily.
Q. Parallel to the tire question there's also the issue of KERS for next year and beyond. Where's that now, is it multiple choice, single supplier?
MW: KERS is permissible under the regulations and of course, during the economic crisis there was an agreement amongst the teams not to run KERS this year. We were a team which benefitted greatly from a great and competitive KERS system last year. Certainly we haven't been at the forefront of campaigning for its re-introduction but I think it would seem that there is sufficient interest from a number of the teams to be running KERS again, so it now seems likely that a proportion - I don't know if all of them - but a good number of teams will run KERS next year.
EB: We are definitely a very strong supporter of KERS. I think we have said already many, many times that we would like KERS back. We have different technology, let's say, to my neighbour Mercedes and this is maybe where we have some discussions to find a compromise but nothing else, just discussions. We hope that KERS will be back.
NH: Yeah, frankly we are very well equipped if KERS is needed. We had the historic first victory, as Martin pointed out, last year, just a little bit less than a year ago, with Lewis Hamilton in the Hungarian Grand Prix. We won two races with KERS last year, KERS helped us in Hungary. Without KERS, I think it would have been very difficult to overtake Mark Webber at that stage. If we need KERS we are prepared. We need to be aware that this will cost money for all the teams. Should only some teams run KERS and have a benefit, then it's probably difficult but I think we all need to sit together and make the right decision, but Mercedes Benz is a pioneer, if you like to express it like that, in hybrid. In principal, we have a similar system in our Mercedes S-class which is a very successful car, interestingly very successful in China, this hybrid car. So it suits us basically; our point was just that we have to be aware that it costs money and we have to be aware that the new engine formula which is planned for 2013 will cost money and we should define limits, because Mercedes needs limits and money spending and I think Renault, whoever, I don't think the other gentlemen here will see it differently. I don't think anybody wants to spend more money than is necessary.