Q. Question for both Ross and Paul: what is the connection between the Mercedes engine and the degradation of the tires? How does the characteristics of the engine influence that?
RB: I think any engine, whether it's Renault, Ferrari, Mercedes or Cosworth, can have an influence on the tire's behaviour and tire degradation and every team in the pitlane is looking at their setting-up on the engine, the tuning of the engine that we're allowed to do during a weekend to make the best of that. I don't think there's any evidence we're in a more difficult or better position than anyone else. I think undoubtedly the more power you try to deliver, the more stress you put on the tires, so it's a balancing act at always. But I don't think we have any unique issues – but it is a challenge for all the engine engineers – and Mattia can probably comment with more experience than I can – but you're always seeking over the race weekend to find the best setup of the engine as well as the chassis. Hot track, high temperatures is where you can feel perhaps the most sensitivity to the engine characteristics.
Q. Mattia, would you like to comment on that?
MB: It seems that Ross already commented. Mainly it's very difficult to work on the engine in some way to improve the durability of the tires. Setup-wise you can do a lot more [with] mechanical grip of the car itself. We can try to help: we do it by fine-tuning and calibrating the mapping but at the end, the things you can do from the mechanical parts of the car are a lot more important that what you can do with the engine.
Q. Question for Paul. A couple of months ago your test team came here to test the 2013 tires, I believe. Do you plan any other tests this year and what about the future? Because I read somewhere that you consider the Renault you are using is becoming a bit obsolete now.
PH: We have some more testing planned, yes. When we were here we had much better weather than we've got here now, so it was a very useful session. We were meant to have been at Monza at the beginning of August, but unfortunately for some reason we weren't able to test – but we are going to Barcelona in a few days. So we do have a number of sessions still planned before the end of the season. The Renault car that we're using has been extremely good, very reliable. Going forward it depends of course whether we're going to be in the sport beyond the end of our contract – because anything we did next year would be related to cars for 2014, not 2013. And also, probably the Renault is the right level of car going forward, because the cars of last season were quite substantially different. So, at the moment we're happy with what we've been doing with the test plan. Very reliable, good engineering support and we've been able to achieve what we want – so at the moment we're happy.
Q. Ross, 300 GPs for Michael [Schumacher]. You've been alongside for most of them – can we have your comments? And also, has Michael been still able to surprise you over the past two years, compared to the previous times?
RB: I've been very fortunate to be a part of Michael's racing career in Formula 1. It's been... there's so many records that Michael has established that will be extremely difficult for anyone to match. It may happen one day, as with all records. But quite the exceptional performance, quite an iconic performance that, as I say, is going to be extremely difficult to match. I've been privileged to see most of those race wins. And I think Michael's achieved it, not just from his raw ability – which of course is exceptional – but from his attitude and his approach. Being part of a team he's always been very committed, and enjoys being part of a team. So, he understand that part of it. And that's why I think he achieves such consistently good results because he was able to motivate and incentivise the whole team to achieve the results, not just for him but for the other car as well. So I think he's been the most – in my view – the most complete racing driver of my generation. Does he still surprise us? Of course he does. In Monaco he was the fastest driver in qualifying. It's a shame that because of the penalty he wasn't on the front row. So he's still producing exceptional performances and still a privilege to work with.
Q. I have a question for Ross concerning your Ferrari era. It was a time you were very successful and that success was very much based on the testing and the tires. At that time McLaren already focussed very much on simulation and that turned out to be weakness of Ferrari recently – was it on your agenda that Ferrari has to improve in that area at the end of your time at Ferrari – or wasn't it a big topic at Ferrari?
RB: I think Formula 1 does evolve in different directions to suit circumstances. It's possibly correct that we had a very heavy commitment to testing when I was there. We had two test tracks of our own and of course we focussed on the most effective way of improving the performance of the car. Which for us during that period was intensive testing. Also, there were a lot of battles between the tire companies and that needed track testing. If we had... all the stuff Paul's finding out, it's pretty challenging to develop the tires without every car in the pitlane out there testing them. I think if we had a tire war at the moment, that would be very, very difficult without track testing. But I think we also recognize, the period I was at Ferrari, the need for modelling, simulation – and the driver simulator is only a portion of all the simulation that's going on within the team, it's obviously an important part because it does involve the driver – but there's a huge amount of simulation going on in aerodynamics, in the mechanical behavior of the car. And all of those things I believe that my time there, Ferrari were pretty strong. And, the driver in the loop simulator was something we were starting to look at, and I think most teams are in a pretty good position now with that sort of technology.