TEAM PRINCIPALS: John BOOTH (Virgin), Tony FERNANDES (Lotus), Christian HORNER (Red Bull), Martin WHITMARSH (McLaren)
PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
Q. A question to all. Basically looking back at last weekend and looking forward to this weekend. Tony, if I can start with you.
Tony FERNANDES: Well, for us it was a good step forward. I am very, very happy with the upgrade package. Unfortunately, a slight mistake with Heikki's (Kovalainen) car. Continuing with Monaco today it has been two good practice sessions and looking forward to the race.
Q. What is the big task this weekend?
TF: Well, as we have consistently said every race, to be ahead of Virgin and be best of the new teams and try and finish both cars.
Q. Jarno (Trulli) seemed to have a problem this afternoon?
TF: No, the engine had come to the end of its life and we were running it out to the end but, unfortunately, it ran out slightly earlier than we anticipated.
Q. You are getting closer to those ahead of you. How is that working out? How much are you putting performance on the car? Have you solved reliability?
TF: Well, at the moment, it appears reliability is quite good but we are hoping to add more upgrades between now and Turkey. A little bit more at Silverstone and I think we will close shop for the year. But it was good today. We didn't seem to be that far away from the back end of the established teams and the drivers enjoyed it tremendously today. Heikki especially put in a lot of good lap times and good mileage.
Q. John, looking back last weekend and looking forward to this weekend?
John BOOTH: Barcelona was massive for us. The first time we got two cars to the finish in the fifth race. Not good enough and disappointing the previous four but a big relief for Barcelona. Continue the reliability here and then look for Turkey to start improving performance.
Q. How much of this is a steep learning curve here? Is it a steeper learning curve here than elsewhere?
JB: I don't think so. For me it is not really a street circuit. It is a road course with lots of buildings around it. The atmosphere is fantastic but the challenges are just the same.
Q. The two cars finished in Spain. Was that massively important?
JB: Massively important, but we should have had those from race one. It took us five races to get there, far too long, but very happy we have achieved it.
Q. And again the balance of reliability and performance. How much performance are you putting on or are you still working on reliability?
JB: 99 percent of our effort is on reliability but hopefully from this race forward we can start adding performance to it.
Q. Christian, last weekend you looked very good. Are you looking forward to this weekend?
Christian HORNER: Yes, Barcelona was a fantastic result for the team, particularly Mark Webber, who was in excellent form throughout the weekend. Barcelona being the start of the European season tends to be where the bigger teams bring reasonable size upgrades and we were no different from that. Everything we have added to the car this year had added performance. That was no different in Barcelona. To dominate the qualifying as we did was very satisfying and then Mark had a trouble free race. Sebastian, unfortunately, had a few more issues to deal with which he managed remarkably well. I think considering he had three brakes for the last 10 laps or so, to be doing the pace he was as we were just trying to slow him down enough with the big margin over Michael (Schumacher) behind him and then for once he was a little bit lucky with Lewis' unfortunate incident which put him onto the podium. So despite a busy afternoon for him a first and third place, three points off the maximum score, was a great team result and testimony to the hard work that is going in at the factory at the moment. From a team point of view we don't quite have the resource of the more established teams but the guys are working intelligently and tremendously hard in getting updates to the car in a timely fashion and that's paying dividends.
Q. The car seems to be so good in qualifying but not always as good in the race. Is that something that is a concern?
CH: I think the races you are not pushing flat-out every lap, so you have got an element of tire management. With Mark we did a pit stop and then he had 50 laps to go, the best part of an hour, on that set of tires, so he was looking to manage the tire situation. Sebastian, unfortunately, had an issue at his stop which allowed Lewis to jump past him and thereafter overtaking as we all know, particularly at Barcelona of all places, is very, very difficult. The races tend to be more about tire management especially with the current tire compounds that we have as opposed to a sprint whereas qualifying is all about one-lap ultimate performance.