Q. Christian, I think there was a meeting of the constructors or the team owners the last couple of days. Can you tell us what happened, what was decided or discussed during that time?
CH: A meeting of the constructors?
Q. Well a meeting of the team owners, a FOTA meeting or whatever you like to call it?
CH: I think we got one later this weekend. I wasn't aware of one earlier. Martin is the chairman, ask him.
MW: We will meet at a fairly routine meeting, a number of issues, on Sunday morning.
Q. Christian, tell us about Sebastian's accident today. The damage?
CH: It was a shame. It was just one of those things that we, as a team, were keen to have a look at the inter. As Sebastian went out the rain increased slightly, he got a little bit high on the exit of Turn 8 onto the curb, just put a wheel on that artificial turf that has claimed a few victims today and he was just unlucky. Unfortunately it did quite a lot of damage so rather than rush and cobble together the car for FP2 we decided it was important to rebuild the car carefully in preparation for tomorrow. It was one of those things. It did quite an extensive amount of damage. He must have hit just about every corner on the car so it has given the boys plenty of work to do this evening.
Q. Quite a rare occurrence really?
CH: I cannot think the last time Sebastian went off. It was just one of those things. It just started to rain a little bit heavier at that time. As we saw quite a few other drivers having spins and getting out of shape and unfortunately it just caught him out. It is a quick corner there. There is that bit of fake grass and, unfortunately, there is little to zero grip on there and it just spun him off into the barriers. One of those things. Unfortunately, he missed out on running time this afternoon but he saved a few tires. You never know, he might need them.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q. Martin, we had quite a quiet morning at McLaren. I think you only did a few laps but, this afternoon, were you able to put any of the new upgrades on the car or is it basically the same spec as China?
MW: No we had some upgrades, a few. We took the decision this morning that we were not going to have enough time to do everything we wanted, so that was a shame. I think people know we seem to have an ambitious program normally on a Friday morning. In P1 in particular we knew we could not do any meaningful work so that's slowed us a bit, but that's the same for everyone. You have got a limited amount of testing but we have got a few little bits and pieces, nothing particularly significant. I think here it is a very demanding circuit as we have seen. We were pretty shocking on occasions over the bump going into Turn 12 so I think we have got to do a little bit of work there. I think the drivers weren't, they certainly didn't look comfortable. I wouldn't want to be in their seat when they were going over that bump so I think we have got to do something there.
It is a fairly savage bump on most cars but I think we were as bad as most over it. I think we have learned a fair bit this afternoon. The forecast for the rest of the weekend is that there is a fair chance of rain, certainly on Sunday, and we don't have many intermediate or wet tires available to the teams so we took a view that we weren't going to learn much, we couldn't do our development program. You can easy have an accident and what happened to Sebastian, let's be honest, could have happened to any of us. As it happens we did an install lap and we were going to just do a launch in the end. That's all we intended. In the end we didn't quite manage to do that with Lewis anyway so it was a fairly quiet morning, as you say. This afternoon was pretty busy, but there is a limit to what you can do as you have to do some long runs on heavy fuel, on the tires you think you might start the race with.
Q. A lot of people are talking about the future of Formula 1, the future marketing of Formula 1. You all have a voice in that, what is it that you personally, in your team, want from Formula 1 in the future?
BF: I think that it should be a collective program. It's very nice to say what we want individually but we are a group of teams that put on a show, and I think it's the consensus of the teams and where they want to go as a whole, and I think FOTA will handle that under the guidance of Martin and Eric Boullier. There probably are (individual requirements) but I think they have to be brought together with the needs and the consensus of all the teams.
FT: It's important, you know, that from 2013 onward, the new drivetrain is coming, that the price for the new drivetrain is not too high for the private teams, that we find a consensus like it was with the FOTA teams before, which was quite an important job done by FOTA, that we got a good consensus, and that we are racing in countries who can afford Formula 1, that we can save our structure and our income, and that we increase the show. I think that the last races – especially Shanghai – were quite an interesting race, an exciting race and that we can continue to go on in this direction.
MG: I think that it's important for Formula 1 to develop, to look at issues like green issues but you've got to make sure that it's kept in perspective, that costs don't go up, that we do put on a good show and also that we've got a formula where the independent teams and smaller teams can be competitive, and I think we've gone that route with FOTA. We need to go further down that route, but any changes that we bring in have got to bear in mind that Formula 1 will put on a good show when it has lots of competitive teams and we've got to make sure that we keep that.
NH: I think first of all we need to describe what we have, and if I look back to the last race, all of us have been in Formula 1 quite a while, but this certainly was one of the most thrilling races, full of leaders, with Mark Webber storming through the field from 18th position to third, almost catching his team-mate, who started on pole position. So, I think we need to realize what the sport is delivering, what is happening currently and this is very, very good compared to whatever Formula 1 was capable of presenting in terms of very good and very thrilling races. I think the concept very much influenced by the FOTA teams co-operating with the FIA, the new tires – everything was really good and, you know, today we are in the position to ask for new powertrains, for not too much money. The manufacturers brought Formula 1 and the teams into a position where they pay a third of what was paid five or eight years ago. I think sometimes we need to reflect on these facts as well. There is a very, very good Formula 1. There is, of course, one team at the moment commanding, leading; McLaren catching up; then a handful of teams behind, chasing, but look at teams like Force India. They are doing an excellent job; look at teams like Toro Rosso, they have had their highlights. Look at traditional teams like Williams; OK, they struggle sometimes but never, ever have there been seven really very good teams in Formula 1. Look at us, it's difficult for us to fight for third position and then go from there further on. But again, we are here in Formula 1. Others left and I think it is very good that the Silver Arrows are in Formula 1. That needs stabilization, it needs more work but we are here for a decent amount of money and that's good. I don't want to paint the world in blue colors but we should reflect, sometimes, on what we have, because a lot has been achieved already and together we can further improve it.
CH: I think Formula 1 is a fantastic show, it's a fantastic sport. I think we are all fortunate to be involved in the sport. I think that in the last couple of years the way the sport has continued to evolve, I think the racing on track has been fantastic. The competition has been good and one senses that the buzz about the sport, the interest in the sport has grown, has continued to grow, and you can see that through the television audiences, and in many cases circuit attendance, that we've even seen in the early races. I don't think that we've got there by accident. I think that collectively, the commercial rights holder and the FIA have done a good job to get us to exactly where we are and the teams and the drivers are a key part of that. I think that for Formula 1 to continue to grow and move forwards is crucial. I think stability is also very important. At the end of the day, it's about the show that we put on. It's about entertaining the crowds, entertaining the fans and the spectators, and that it is man and machine at the limit and that's what Formula 1 should certainly continue to be. It's important to have a balance of independent teams and manufacturers and I think at the moment we've got that balance right. I think costs have dramatically come down so an independent team such as Red Bull has been able to run at the front and win. I think that's certainly healthy for the sport and I think we're well set for the future.