Q. Sam, a sad moment for you isn't it, leaving Williams?
Sam MICHAEL: It's been a great 11 seasons with them. I think they were such a prestigious name and it has been an honor to work with Frank (Williams) and Patrick (Head). This weekend is the last race and the main thing for me is that we finish everything off properly which we are doing. I leave Williams with a very good relationship with the company. I have nothing but good memories of the place but it is time for a change after so many seasons.
Q. When exactly do you join McLaren?
SM: That's not decided yet. That is something being discussed privately so it's not really appropriate to go into that here.
Q. Tell us about the technical challenges of this circuit?
SM: Well it's a street circuit, so it has very low grip. There is always a lot of oil on the circuit so you always get a lot of progression of lap time during the weekend as the Formula 1 tires pick up a lot of the debris and contaminants on the surface. It is similar to Monte Carlo, which is like that as well. The most important thing is slow-speed corners, getting rid of understeer, making sure traction is good. There are no real high-speed corners compared to a normal closed circuit. It's a maximum downforce track and quite a few curbs as well around this place. You can do a lot of damage there. Normally quite difficult to overtake around a track like this but with DRS and the tire situation there should be plenty of overtaking on Sunday.
Q. Is it a little less bumpy than before?
SM: The track itself is. The actual tarmac, but the curbs are just as big. They are hitting the curbs even harder now.
Q. We have seen quite a lot of bits and pieces coming off most cars.
SM: That's right. A lot of that is because they are trying to take more and more curb as there is lap time in it.
Q. is that something we have seen today or are we going to see that for the rest of the weekend?
SM: Well I think today you will see a lot more of it as the drivers are trying to find out how far they can go and how much damage they can get away with. Then tonight you will repair your car and tell them where you can and can't drive.
Q. Norbert, Michael Schumacher's performances over the past couple of grands prix. Two fifth places.
Norbert HAUG: Well I think he was excellent in the last two races. He was very good in some of the other ones, probably not at the right position. Our current car is not capable of doing a much better job and I think especially in the races, especially after the starts, nobody overtook more cars than Michael did in the first lap. He is an excellent starter, still a fantastic racer and the more we improve our technical package the more he will deliver. I think we know from Nico (Rosberg) what he is capable of doing so we have a very strong driver combination. I think a lot of people got excited in Monza. It was fantastic to watch and the guys like us who like racing enjoyed it very much. I can understand Martin (Whitmarsh). I had a word with him afterward. I can understand Lewis (Hamilton) but if they had been in our position they would not have acted differently and I guess 99 percent of the television viewers enjoyed it. Probably more than that.
Q. Do you expect those sorts of performances to continue for the final six races or was that just the two low-downforce circuits?
NH: Well, it certainly fitted much better to the current package we are having. This race here in Singapore, first of all it is a fantastic event I have to say and hopefully it stays forever on the calendar. It is producing the most spectacular television pictures. It is so unique and we all have to thank the organizers and Bernie (Ecclestone) for making this event happen. But it is a challenging track. It probably looks not such a typical street course but you could see what happened today. The walls are very close. The drivers push to the limits.
We discussed that right now so I think there will be a lot of surprises here. For us, it will be challenging. We made a good step between first practice and second practice. We're heading in the right direction. Hopefully there is a little bit more to come but we honestly cannot expect a Monza- or a Spa-like performance under normal circumstances. But, having said that, this race will have safety cars probably. You need to be there. There is a chance of rain, whatever, so that can be quite a mix up in the field and we need to be prepared. Michael will deliver. There is no doubt he is as committed as ever. I think we have to see that he was outside of Formula 1 for three years. The formula changed a lot. There is no testing and so on and so on. He gets more mileage and he gets better and better and I think not a lot of drivers could have done a better job than he did in the last two races. His race speed, if you compare it to Nico, looks very balanced and Nico is – and I think Sam can describe that as well – certainly one of the most talented, most experienced ones. One of the definitely top five drivers and if you can compare yourself after a comeback, after a break of three years, with one of the young superstars, then you are heading in the right direction.
For me, it is a little strange to say Michael will create surprises because he won everything, he won more than anybody else, but believe me the better our car goes the more he will deliver and he is fully committed. He is an asset to the team, doing a fantastic job, keeping them together, motivating everybody and we are 100 percent pleased to have him with us.
Q. A question to all of you. What do you think of Sebastian Vettel's performances this year. Don't you think that his domination harmed the sport a little bit and would you want him in your team?
RF: Let's take it a step at a time. I think Sebastian has done a fantastic job this year as have Red Bull and it is up to the rest of the teams to challenge them. I don't think Red Bull should be asked to slow down. We need to get our act together and to be competing with them so hat's off to them and well done. There have been many, many years when a driver has dominated or a team has dominated so I think you have got to look at the overall package this year of racing and I think it's been outstanding across the board. I think the show is probably the best it's been for a long, long time. The fact that one team and one driver has dominated I don't think has detracted from that. Would I like Sebastian in our car? I think we have got two or three rather good drivers. I am quite happy with what we have thank you.
JC: I hope that when Sebastian will have the title, if it is this grand prix or the next grand prix, he will push a little bit more as I am sure the race will be more interesting at the end. For Renault, it is difficult to ask the engineer to slow down the engine or blow up the engine. I don't think so.
RA: Well he has done a fantastic job again. I think it is also the team that has done their part. Again, their domination I refer to Bob's point. We have seen domination and it is up to us to push ourselves. We are from behind but we hope to achieve some sort of success in the future. On him being a part of our team, I don't think we can afford it, but we have got a good couple of drivers right now and we are happy with what we have and we will push on from there.
GL: I would concur – not trying to be boring, but I think they have the best car and they have somebody who can use it to the maximum, so he deserves to be where he is. I actually know him quite well for a long time already, so I can pretty much tell you that he deserves to be where he is today. And I will say the same thing as far as the drivers go: we have drivers we like but he's a great guy.
SM: I think he's done a fantastic job for the second year in a row now. It's not the races when Red Bull are dominant, it's the ones when they are not that show that he's really something special. He's won races when perhaps maybe they shouldn't have won and he's managed to drag...although the car's clearly very good, they haven't been dominant at every single circuit and some of the races that I've seen him win this year have been pretty impressive. So definitely hats off, he's deserved it.
NH: Sebastian is certainly a very special guy, very talented guy. I've known him since his early days in Formula BMW ADAC, the supporting races of DTM. Then he was a Formula 3 driver with Paul di Resta. He learned a lot, he's a very focused guy, a very intelligent guy, a very demanding guy and an absolutely nice chap. We absolutely have to take our hats off to him. He's great, he deserves every single point he has gotten, probably more because he was unlucky here and there and he deserves what he has got. I don't think that the World Championship isn't interesting; in fact, I think that this is one of the most thrilling seasons ever and I've been around for quite a while.
The Pirellis have done a good job, the DRS has done a good job, there have been lots of surprises. There was Jenson Button being last in Canada for example, and then winning, doing lap times two seconds quicker than anybody else all of a sudden. There was Michael's performance there, as an example. I could continue for hours. There were lots of surprises in Formula 1 this year, which nobody would have expected, even the specialists. There was always a certain dominance in Formula 1. There were the Williams days, I remember, the McLaren-Mercedes days, the battles with Ferrari and now it's the Red Bull days with Sebastian and also Mark doing a good job. But for sure, no dominance will last forever. We know that from the past. Everybody else will work very hard. We have a good relationship with Sebastian, friendship, I respect him very much and I think it's the same the other way around. We are, as I pointed out, very satisfied with the drivers we have. We want to climb up the ladder with the combination that we have, make another step next year and then we will see where we are.