TEAM PRINCIPALS - John BOOTH (Virgin Racing), Ross BRAWN (Mercedes GP), Paul HEMBERY (Pirelli), Christian HORNER (Red Bull), Martin WHITMARSH (McLaren)
Q. Paul, can you tell us what is the thinking about the tire choice here and in India as well?
Paul HEMBERY: Here we have come with the soft and super soft. From the information that we saw it is a track that needs compound grip. It is an aggressive choice, we don't deny that, but from what we saw with the inters running today, the surface is not very aggressive. The wear rates were quite low. That's the reasoning for that. India, being a new track, we have gone with the soft compound and the hard compound. The soft that we have used throughout the season, in every race in fact, and the hard because it is an unknown and it gives us a back-up. It also helps us to prepare for next year. We do need some more data to ensure that we make our choices correctly for next year. These guys are a moving target. They do improve the cars a lot during the season and what maybe was true at the start is certainly not true now. We are seeing they are lighter on their tires from some points of view and more aggressive in others so it is a pretty good challenge.
Q. If tomorrow is going to be dry and Sunday is going to be dry, first of all we haven't had any running on dry tires, and there were predictions of multiple pit stops in the race on Sunday. So what do we know?
PH: I think some people were mentioning five or six stops, I doubt that is going to be the case. I am willing to do a private bet on that one with Martin. I think three, four stops yes. It's unfortunate, but we cannot control the weather. It would have been ideal for everybody to have run today in some dry conditions. We didn't manage that. We ran another wet race, a wet morning and more or less afternoon. Martin reminded me quite rightly that we did make a change to the rules this year that the teams do get an extra set of intermediate tires for use over the Saturday and Sunday and that has proven this year to be a correct move as we have had a lot of wet running. We have made a change for the better from that point of view. Going forward, what can you do, as you can't control the weather? I know last year as well it was a lot of wet weather here so it has been a tough one for the teams for sure.
Q. Finally, the burning question. The Q3 tires. What's your idea. How can you make sure that everyone runs in Q3.
PH: Well I don't know about idea. We understand why people have maybe not wanted to run, from a sporting point of view, trying to obtain a better result by holding onto a set of tires. From a fans' perspective it is clearly not ideal. From our point of view, if we can do something we are happy to sit down with the teams and try and find a solution that works for everybody.
Q. Have you got any ideas of your own?
PH: Have we?
PH: Well, we have some ideas but those are obviously imperfect when you haven't had a two-way discussion. We need to have a two-way discussion and if we can do something then we will try and do the best we can to find a solution going forward for next season.
Q. When's that discussion likely to happen?
PH: We have had a couple. We are having a chat tonight as well with Oliver (Weingarten) and representatives of the Sporting Working Group so that's a starting point for going forward.
Q. John, I don't know how much is happening in the garages themselves but there is quite a big push going on back in the UK for next year isn't there?
John BOOTH: Yes, absolutely. Pat (Symonds) is back at base building his design team, well finalizing his design team, for development of the 2012 car and, of course, the partnership with McLaren is getting stronger and stronger as we go forward and learn more about each other.
Q. How is that developing? How does that move forward?
JB: Well it is a very, very positive thing for both sides. Both sides are very keen to make it work as well as possible and it will get stronger and stronger. It covers most aspects of racecar, not the design obviously, but the theory behind design and the testing facilities and, of course, the wind tunnel eventually.
Q. Do you have a program of what you ask them or is it ad hoc? What happens?
JB: I am sure Pat is on the telephone every five minutes asking something. There is a program in place and structures are starting to form and it's becoming a very good relationship.
Q. Is it purely chassis? Is is suspension, aerodynamics?
JB: It covers the full spectrum of the car. Not engine, of course.
Q. I was going to ask about driver lineup, but I've been told there is an answer but it will be fairly short, even shorter than the previous ones?
JB: Same as. We will make that decision toward the end of the year. Jerome (D'Ambrosio) is doing a fantastic job and the more races he has like the last two, the better for him.
Q. Is that the end of the year or the end of the season?
JB: End of the season.
Q. Right, so we can expect something before Brazil?
JB: Ask me in Brazil.
Q. Martin, 700 grands prix for the team. It must be something you are very proud of.
Martin WHITMARSH: Obviously we are very proud. I think our friends at Ferrari have been around longer than us, but 700 is still an important milestone. I think it is something we are recognizing within the business. It is nice to look back on the 100th, 200th, 300th, 400th cars. It is just a moment of reflection. Apart from that clearly we have got to look forward. It would be nice to think we'll be here, still alive and competitive in another 700 grands prix time, but it is a great achievement for the team and for the brand.
Q. After last Sunday at Suzuka, is there sort of renewed confidence within the team?
MW: Well I don't think our confidence was lacking, our pace was on a few occasions, be we always thought we could win. We set out, rather belatedly, to try and catch our friends at Red Bull. We felt we could go into the last five races with an opportunity to potentially win some of those. Delighted, of course, to do so particularly on a great circuit like Suzuka. It was a fantastic win from Jenson (Button). He is driving better than ever so that was great. We've only had a few days to celebrate it, that's the trouble with winning the first of a back to back but hopefully we will move on from there and be successful here.
Q. This is a question for both you and Christian, looking back at Suzuka. In the press conference on Saturday afternoon, Jenson said, 'Looking at Red Bull Racing's long runs on the Friday, I think we are in major trouble' and yet it didn't seem to turn out that way.