Q. Luis, first of all, brake problems in Canada. Have you got them beat here, do you feel - as this is quite a tough circuit on brakes as well.
Luis PÉREZ-SALA: Yes, we knew from the beginning, from Melbourne, that our brake ducts were not perfect. We knew that Montreal was the biggest, maybe most difficult track for the brakes and here is one as well, one of the tracks were you can have problems with the brakes. But the data that we have this morning suggests we are going to be close to the limit but inside the limit.
Q. Yesterday Pedro [de la Rosa] said how much he was enjoying bringing the team up, advancing the team. How much are you enjoying it?
LPS: Ha-ha! Really, I'm struggling a lot! But what is for me the worst thing of Formula 1 is that you have to travel a lot and be abroad from your house and far from the family. But this is a world that I like and I'm happy to be here and I try to push, to keep pushing, to try to get the team better and better each day. Eric, many times we've been told that Lotus is ready to win. The question is which driver? Who would you put your money on?
Eric BOULLIER: I never put money on anything or anybody. I just wish one of my two drivers is going to be the eighth man, maybe this weekend. But rather than focusing on who will be the eighth man winning, I think it's in our philosophy just to improve ourselves, to work hard, to clearly look at ourselves, to be better, to improve our weaknesses to make sure that we keep this consistency first – and if we can score podiums as well it is very important for the championship. And if we can have a win obviously I will be the most delighted guy.
Q. Are you able to keep on top of development? Are you happy with the rate of development?
EB: Yeah, definitely. In 2010 we had a very strong rate of development, last year we had a strong rate but not as successful as we would have expected. This year is still good development: we have some good parts and good improvement in performance package that we bring not every race but nearly.
Q. As for the economic situation in Europe, do you think it will influence Formula 1? Especially to all tracks in Europe in the future?
LPS: We have economic problems in my house – in my team! I think it is for everybody, economic problems, I think not only in Europe. Europe now is focusing on the situation but it's something that we have and of course it's going to touch us in some way. But this is still... I think this is not from this year: it's come in from the last three or four years.
Q. And is it going to affect Formula 1?
LPS: Of course it's touching us in some way. We are getting less money from sponsors; you have less money to spend on the cars, on the team.
Q. Do you see the effect as well Norbert?
NH: Well, I mean the general issue is that we have to have this - however you call it - resource restrictions, limits, whatever - who does not see that? Who does not see what's going on? We have to have limits, you know the figures of the medium and high class teams as good as I do. There should be limits of how to achieve it: that needs to be discussed but I think there are quite constructive and good ideas but we need to make sure that this comes through. This is an important step coming to the economic situation. I think that is part of the challenge. We have had bigger challenges in the past and I'm sure we will have even bigger ones in the future. You have some ups and downs and I think these times are very good for learning. You will always learn. You will learn how to be more efficient - so there are also positives. We just need to deal with the facts.
FT: For sure it's not good, the economic crisis in Europe and we are also working in Formula 1 to come down with the costs but thanks to Bernie we are not only racing in Europe, we are racing in areas where there is some money and no economic crisis: like India, like Australia, like Canada, like Brazil and like Saudi Arabia, with Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. We go to Russia, we are in China and I think that's very, very important for Formula 1, especially for the sponsors to be present all over the world. And this also prevents a major influence from the economic side on Formula 1. Because all over the world, hopefully there is no crisis.
Q. Riad, perhaps a comment from you?
RA: I think, I mean it's a given, the economic crisis is not just this year, I have to agree, it's been around for the last two years. But the fact is that it affects everyone around the world and business-wise obviously Formula 1. As a team commercially you will be affected because the companies that want to be part of it will have to reduce their marketing budgets, so on and so forth. That being said, I agree with Norbert: we do need to look at what we're doing internally and be more precise and be more resource restricted to a degree. It's a matter of the business that we're running at the end of the day: I have to make it as efficient as possible in the hope that we can sustain our being here. But it's a given, we can't avoid it, it's there. We just have to be smarter - and one of the areas is to manage our own resources, and hopefully with us working together maybe we'll find a solution.
EB: I will do a résumé, I guess, of what has been said. We have to be sensitive to this economic crisis especially in Europe. And we have to monitor also us being based in Europe. We have the chance, as Franz says, that Bernie's business model for Formula 1 is global. Our sport is the only global sport in the world, so thanks to this global platform, we, as a team, for example, have been able to bring some big names and new sponsors, like Microsoft, who were never in the Championship in Formula 1. Obviously we don't have to hide behind this, we have to be very careful about the impact of the economy in Europe but we are lucky that our sport is global.
Q. To all five of you: a lot has been made recently about the cost-cutting, cost-saving measures in Formula 1. Enshrining them in the regulations was discussed after Monaco on the Monday, it was discussed last week on Friday in the WMSC meeting. I believe you people had a follow-up meeting yesterday. Has anybody got any reservations about enshrining the cost-saving measures or cost-cutting measures, budget caps - whatever you want to call it - in the Formula 1 regulations?
EB: Actually it's a good follow-up after the previous question. If you monitor the economical situation in some parts of the world, you obviously have to consider yourself and think not only that you're plus one, you're plus two but also you're plus five. And it's true that there are some very constructive discussions between the FIA, Bernie and teams today, to try to take conscience and to try to clearly understand what is Formula 1 and what will Formula 1 be in the future and what we want to do with Formula 1. Formula 1 has already downsized its costs a lot but we believe there is some more work to be done and this is why there are all these discussions, but the more people around the table, the less easy it is to take radical decisions.
FT: We are discussing the resource restriction agreement. Currently we are mainly only discussing about the resource restriction agreement regarding the chassis. In my opinion, the chassis resource restriction agreement is one point but the costs – especially from 2014 onwards, which will come up and which will increase dramatically - is the powertrain, and therefore the resource restriction agreement for the powertrain would be for me or let me say for Toro Rosso even more important than for the chassis. It must be a complete package. I am really worried that we are discussing on one side the costs decrease, but from 2014 onward, with this new powertrain and the new engine, with the new ERS system, pick-up batteries, the cost will dramatically increase and this is what we also have to discuss, which is quite important, the development and the research costs which will rise to develop this package.
NH: You need to deal with the facts. The engine lease years ago was twice as much as it is right now, that's due to manufacturers bringing that down. I think that was a big help for all the teams. It's very clear that if you develop a new engine that it costs money and I think Formula 1 has never had an engine formula like today, where basically everybody gets a competitive engine, ten teams at least. That needs to be mentioned. Then there was a process in the past deciding that a new engine has to be developed and of course that costs money.
We worked very hard, together with the FIA, and we have the same opinion with the other manufacturers to bring costs down but this is over a period of five years, so the target has to be minus 20, minus 30 percent over five years and I'm sure the engine lease will, over five years, be comparable to what we have right now, but we need to see that we will have a new engine, an engine that you can market in a very good way, if it comes to sustainable levels and so on. We just need to have changes. I hear some voices saying 'delay the engine.' One thing is for sure; if you delay the engine, you run two programs in parallel one year longer and your customers will pay for that.
We cannot have fully subsidized engines, this is not possible. I think the engine manufacturers especially have been very very fair and I would be pleased to hear that at one stage as well, because the engine lease was in excess of 25/30 million years ago and we brought it down, and I think that fact has to be mentioned. We can discuss aerodynamics and so on and so on. There are lots of areas where we can save money, but deciding and building and developing a new engine costs money – much less money than the last one, the V8, but we need to see where we are. I'm the first guy to support restrictions but then we need to do it in a coherent way: chassis, engine, whatever. Mercedes has always been one of the driving forces. I'm sure the Renault guys do not see it differently, the Ferrari guys do not see it differently. If we all work together we will achieve our targets but one thing is for sure: just listening to voices saying the engine is more expensive than it used to be. Let's deal with the facts and then we know where it's coming from.