F1 - 2022 AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX - SATURDAY PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

F1 - 2022 AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX - SATURDAY PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT

09.07.22

PART ONE - TEAM REPRESENTATIVES 

Frédéric VASSEUR (Alfa Romeo), Franz TOST (AlphaTauri), Mike Krack (Aston Martin) 

 

Q: Fred, we'll start with you. Can we start with the F1 Commission? It met yesterday in which various decisions were made. How pleased were you with the outcomes?

Frédéric VASSEUR: I think that you are speaking just about the cost cap? Not the other decisions. You know, the cost cap, for me was the best decision of the F1 over the last years and we have to consider also that the preoccupation and the view on the cost cap is completely different between the small teams and the big ones. I think that we found yesterday a compromise. It's a good compromise at the end, and nobody was happy and it's probably the best way to manage the deal. But in the other hand, I think that we have to keep in mind also that the big teams did a mega-big effort to come from more than $300million to $150million and I'm pleased with the outcome of the discussion.

 

Actually, let's go down the line. Mike, please can we get your thoughts on the F1 Commission meeting yesterday?

Mike KRACK: Yeah, as Fred said, we managed to have a compromise on the financial regulations, or on the cost cap discussion. There was a couple of other points on sporting, race weekend schedule is one that we'll see soon. And also we discussed about the porpoising technical directive. So, yeah, all in all, it was, I think, was a good discussion. I think, at the end of the day, would have been good if we had a bit more time, if we had not to rush too much through the agenda. And to be honest, I would wish that we do this not on the on the day where we have qualifying, or on track action, and allow more time, basically, because – I know what you think, Fred – but I think we… there was certain points where we had to really rush and where maybe one or two more loops would have been good, but okay, it is what it is. I think at the end of the day, we came away with a couple of decisions that were taken together to move the sport forward. So, all in all, yeah, compromise on financial but no compromise on others. So, all in all, it was okay.

 

Franz please?

Franz TOST: That was a good Formula 1 commission meeting, I'm pleased with the outcome because we found a good compromise. And as the others said… but sporting regulation, technical regulation, everything was more or less approved, and the rest, I think FIA will announce it and then you will know all the contents, which we decided yesterday.

 

Q: Fred, we'll come back to you now. Let's throw it back to Silverstone. Horrible accident for Zhou. Have you been impressed by how he's bounced back this week?

FV: Not just this week. I think that he came back to the garage, one hour after the crash when he was released from the medical centre and he had absolutely nothing. First question was about the stock of parts for Spielberg. For sure that if, a couple of days after, when you think about this, that you suggested incredible to have a so huge crash and to come back into the garage to have nothing, to be focused on the next one, it's unbelievable. But I think on this thanks to the FIA, thanks to the safety criteria… you know that I was the biggest fan of the Halo at the beginning, but I was wrong. Last week, between Zhou and the F2 crash, I think it was… thanks to the FIA.

 

Q: And what kind of a week of your mechanics had? How big a job was it to prepare a new chassis while completing the 1000-mile journey from Silverstone to the Red Bull Ring?

FV: For sure it was not just to repaint the car! No, it was massive. But we are ready to do this kind of exercise, to build up a new car. And sometimes it's even planned to do it between two races to change the chassis. It was for sure a big task but at the end of the day they are prepared to do it and it was not… I think we were much more focused on how Zhou will react and how we will be this weekend than how to rebuild the car.

 

Q: And was Zhou flat out from the first lap?

FV: You are not in his mind that when he's driving but as I told you, that the after the crash, he was always focused on the next one, that he was not thinking ‘that it was a so big crash’. And I think it's the right attitude now. I'm not in his mind when he's driving, but I'm pleased with the situation.

 

Q: Mike coming to you now. This is a tough period for your team. Can we talk about car performance? And what have been the issues with it?

MK: Yes, we can talk about it – we have to talk about it. Obviously, we all know we had not a very good start, then, I think the last races before Silverstone, we had tracks that were suiting the characteristic of the car. But now, the last two tracks, they have really shown again, a bit better picture of where we are standing. And we simply are not performing enough. We've seen it in Silverstone. We have seen it yesterday. And we need to find our way out there. We need to work ourselves out.

 

Q: But Mike, what are the issues with it? What are the drivers saying?

MK: Well, the drivers are mainly always complaining about grip and balance. So obviously, when you push it really hard – which I always think when you have a car that is not quick enough, you over push or you try to over push – so you have balance problems, but also we have had now sessions where to go faster, you need more grip. So, we struggled in high-speed, in all high-speed areas. In Canada, there was less of them, in Baku, there was less of them. Car is quite okay, I think, in the low-speed. And yeah, it's mainly low speed corners. But as soon as it goes high-speed, we are lacking.

 

Q: And how are the drivers coping with the current difficulties, especially Sebastian, a man who's enjoyed so much success.

MK: I think both drivers, we really have to say hats-off, how they cope with it, how constructive they still are with us. There is no bad word, nothing at all. We try to do this together, try to get out together, they give us very good feedback. And it would be easy for them to get frustrated but this is not what happens. Both Lance and Sebastian, they’re very constructive in all the meetings and you could not sense any lack of pushing or motivation from the current situation.

 

Q: So looking ahead, which tracks do you think will suit your car? Are you looking forward to Hungary? For example, if it's good through the low-speed?

MK: Yeah, well, you know, personally, I'm looking forward to all the tracks because I think it's the reason why we are all here. So there is not one track where I would say I don't want to go there because the car performance is bad. So, it's a challenge. We knew when we went to Silverstone, or when we came here, that is going to be tough but still you try to do the maximum and try to do as best as you can and move the car as far forward as possible. And if it doesn't work, as you expect, and you have to do harder next time.

 

Q: Franz, let's throw it back to Silverstone. A race that delivered little for AlphaTauri after the crash between your drivers. How did you, as team principal, deal with that situation after the race?

FT: Talk to the drivers. Of course, this was a nightmare for the team. Because drivers were in position seven and eight. And we knew that Silverstone is difficult for us therefore we really were in good positions. And then Yuki got little bit too impatient, tried to out-brake Pierre, lost the rear and crashed into him. And immediately after the race I called Yuki into my office and told him that this is absolutely no-go and that he has to be more disciplined and patient. This was not the first collision between teammates and will not be the last one – hopefully with us – but we saw this in history Formula 1 a couple of times but nevertheless, this in any way must be avoided.

 

Q: Helmut Marko has described Yuki as a ‘problem child’ in reference to his radio manner. How disruptive are comments like that for someone like Yuki?

FT: I like problem childs because these are the real good child who can make something out of it. I don't like the holy childs. Yuki made a mistake; he knows it and he will work on this. He is still in his development process. He is fast. He was also fast this weekend here. And he will do his way. It takes a little bit of time.

 

Q: Obviously difficult race at Silverstone. You're racing at home this weekend. How important is it for you to get a good result here?

FT: It's everywhere important to get a good result, has nothing to do with a home race, apart from this, all the race tracks are my home race. Anyway, I think that we are competitive here as well. Pierre is now starting from the 10th position. There is a big chance to score points. And Yuki is not far behind. I expect both cars within the first 10.

 

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

 

Q: (Scott Mitchell – The Race) Question to Mike, please. Just on the development of the car. As you've brought the upgrades has that shifted any of the problem areas? Change the balance, that kind of thing? Or has there been a core underlying issue with the car all through the season? And if so, are you surprised that the upgrades haven't helped with that? Thank you.

MK: Well, the upgrades have worked, have brought us a step forward. But a step that is not big enough. The basic problems that the car is having have not been solved.

 

Q: (Jon Noble – motorsport.com) To Fred. One of the key aspects of Zhou’s crash last week was the roll hoop failing. What's your investigation said about that, and have you given any consideration to strengthen it or changing the attachment to ensure in a repeat circumstance, it doesn't happen.

FV: It's still under investigation. And we'll share all the information about the crash with the FIA, we are already into the process of this. The first conclusion is that the crash was something like two times more than the load of the crash test. It means that… I don't know if you had a look on the tarmac, but we dig a groove into the tarmac for something like four or five centimetres deep. It means that at one stage, doesn't matter the level of the crash test, you can always find something a bit bigger and for sure, we'll have to take action. On our side and with the FIA, to see how we can improve the safety. But at the end of the day, I want to stay positive and to say that it was a big crash and nothing happened. And you can’t imagine also what could be the outcome if we don't have fuel on the car. You know that at one stage, I think that thanks to the safety decision, and that we had no fuel leak on the car, because this would have been from far the worst-case scenario.

 

Q: (Luke Smith – Autosport) Fred, following up on that with Zhou’s crash. Financially, can you put a figure on how much a crash like that will cost the team, and on the bigger picture, in terms of the budget cap and everything like that? How much of an impact does it have on development? Does it cause any rethink, at all?

FV: I don't want to come back on the discussion of yesterday. The big difference is that in this case, I don't have to deal with the cost cap, I have to deal with my own budget, because we are still below the cost cap. I won't go to the bank to make a loan to pay the parts; it means that I will have to find savings on the development, or on some other topic. But I will have to deal with and I will be able to deal with.

 

Q: (Aaron Deckers - Racing News 365) Question for Mike, you just refer to the meeting of yesterday. Can you tell us more about on which parts you wanted to talk more and why?

MK: I think it's more a general thing. We don't meet so often and then you have a tightly packed agenda in three hours. And a lot of stakeholders with their points and also valid arguments. And sometimes it's really also important to listen to what others are saying because you might also hear things that you did not have on the radar, or understand where a big team is coming from, where medium or small team is coming from. And if you rush through an agenda, then you don't have this time. So, that's my only point. I mean, it's not a drama. Don't get me wrong, but I think there are important decisions, and they should be made carefully.

 

Q: (Jon Noble – motorsport.com) To Mike. We’re now we're almost halfway through the season. You say these upgrades haven't delivered what you'd hoped. Are you at the point yet of thinking that maybe you need to do something totally different for ’23, and focus all efforts for next year, or are you still convinced you can develop this this car and lead it into your path into next year's challenger?

MK: It's a very tough call. Because obviously, you do not want to finish the year in the situation where we are now. But you also do not want to compromise next year. So, we have to really carefully evaluate what can we do at this point to move a little bit out of the situation where we are, without compromising next year's car. And there is a lot of discussions going on there, with our technical people and we need to really find the correct the correct balance.

 

Q: (Scott Mitchell – The Race) Just to follow up on that, please, Mike. When Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has talked about their concepts and what they can do for ’23, he said that they can't consider a completely different direction for ’23 because they haven't quite understood the exact problems on the ’22 car. Where are you in that? Do you understand where the core problems are for the car? Could you go in a different direction? Or do you still need to work out exactly what might be wrong with this year's car first?

MK: Yeah, I think I think our technical office has understood, and knows also what to do for the future. But then it's a matter of time and financial resource what you do now, but I think it is identified, yes.

 

Can we throw this topic of 2023 to the other two? Where are you at in terms of understanding the current car, and switching the programmes back at the factory to 2023. Franz, perhaps we'll start with you.

FT: I think we have a good understanding of the current car. And we have – or the engineers have – some really good ideas for next year's car. And we are going in the right direction.

 

FV: As Valtteri said couple of races ago, thanks to you, we already started the ’23 project. But I think one of the most important points today is to get the stability of the regulation. The cost cap can work and could work only if we have a kind of consistency that if you start to change the regulation each year, and you have to start from scratch, or almost, it makes no sense. And by the way, you can carryover some parts from ’22 to ’23 and perhaps the concept, or the aero concept, big word, but the aero concept of the car, but then I think it's more a matter of pace. If the pace is not there, the drivers, they will always complain about balance and level of grip. You don't have to take it in the opposite way on that.

 

Q: Fred, staying with you, Théo Pourchaire said last weekend that you're finding it difficult to find an FP1 session for him this year. What's the situation?

FV: No, no, we will find an FP1 because it's per regulation that you have to give an FP1 to the rookie but when we discuss about it, that if you consider when you have the F2 races, we have some event with the Sprint races. We will have some event with tyre testing. And you can’t imagine to give the rookie session to Singapore, even Suzuka will be difficult, even if I think that Max did it a couple of years ago. You don't have so many races until the end – but we'll find the solution, don’t worry. By regulation, it’s mandatory.

 

Q: (Adam Cooper - Motorsport.com) A question for all three of you. What are your thoughts on the porpoising TD being postponed from France to Belgium? Do you need that extra time to prepare for it? Because for example, Toto says he'd prefer to stick with the original timing.

FT: For us, it's OK, because so far, our car didn't have the problems with the porpoising we just put the ride height a little bit higher and that's it. You know, it being postponed gives the engineers more time to find a better, more efficient solution, therefore for me, it's OK.

MK: Yeah, I mean, we could live with both, either race 12 or race 14. Certainly, there is a reason why it was postponed. I think some explanations were given yesterday. So we're happy with either.

FV: I think we could postpone from to race 14 or even 16 or 18. I'm not really convinced that it's to the FIA to interfere into the setup of the car.

 

Q: (Matt Kew – Autosport) Franz, over the years, you've obviously built drivers up, sent them to Red Bull and had several of them come back down to Toro Rosso or back to AlphaTauri. Why do you think it's Pérez, a non-Red Bull junior that’s been the one to make it stick alongside Max?

FT: Ask Red Bull Racing, Dr Marko and Christian Horner.

 

Q: (Luke Smith – Autosport) Franz, on Yuki, you talked about his development and everything there. With Pierre you were quite quick to confirm that we'll be staying with the team for next season. Where do things stand for Yuki’s future? Do you need see a bit more from him before you can commit to next year or do you reckon that'll be a formality?

FT: If he continues like he did during the season, apart from crashing, I think that he has a good chance to stay with us. It depends on him. If he shows a good performance he will stay, if he doesn't show a good performance, he is out. Totally easy.

 

Q: (Mike Mulder – Formule 1 Magazine) Franz, obviously being in Austria, you're an Austrian of course, the portraits of Jochen Rindt and Niki Lauda, can you say something about his impressive heritage of Austrian for in Formula 1? How does it come that Austria is so good in Formula 1?

FT: I think Jochen Rindt began nearly everything, because when I was a child he was he was my hero. There were overalls in the room and Jochen Rindt posters and read all his biographies and everything and I knew everything about Jochen Rindt. And the Austrians are generally very interested in sport. And I must also say that all the Formula 1 races were broadcast here in Austria, from the ‘70s onwards and therefore, people like Formula 1, And I think this is also one of the reasons why so many people from Austria work in Formula 1, because they have very close relationship to Formula 1. And they simply like racing and then of course, Niki Lauda, a very successful driver, but also talk Dr Marko or Gerhard Berger, you know, there were many drivers who had big successes in Formula 1. And this history is the basis for the big interest of all the people here in Austria for Formula 1.

 

Q: (John Noble – Motorsport.com) To all three of you, with a 3.1% inflation on the cost gap this year, we've now got a US$145.5 million limit. Will all three of you be below the cost element by the end of the season? Are we set for some more debate towards the end of the season about potential minor breaches?

FV: First, on your side that we were below it means that we will stay below and that they can increase the level of the cost cap or whatever. But I think the most important and most seriously I think that now we have to close this chapter, and it was also one of the conclusion of the discussion yesterday is that over the last two years we spend our time to increase the cost gap to add extra allowance, to find a way to increase the CapEx and now we have to stop. And I think it was also part of the discussion.

MK: Yeah, we will comply with the financial regulations just as we comply with sporting and technical.

FT: We are below the cost cap figures and of course if 3.1% gives us a little bit more room nowadays because we have only half the season, you never know what's going on in the second half of the season – if you have some really heavy crashes, you maybe need this money, but so far, we have everything under control.

 

Q: (Scott Mitchell – The Race) To all three, with the FIA’s porpoising metric, what's gone hand in hand with that has been this new focus in recent weeks on the plank flexibility, non-uniform flexibility under the car. Has it surprised any of you that this has now become a such a big focus? Or do you think it's not an issue and there's no problem with potential interpretations of that rule?

FT: You know, it's becoming a new rule. We will see then how it affects our car. I don't know yet. So far, I don't expect any problems, because as I said before, we haven't had any problems with porpoising. And how good it will be then controlled, and how could we have it under control, I can't say now. We will see then once all the new parts are fitted on the car.

MK: I'm not surprised that there was a big reaction, because it seems that from the big teams not all have exploited this avenue. I don't think that will change anything for us.

FV: It won't be a big change for us. But I'm a bit surprised with the reaction because in the regulation, the plank is supposed to be rigid, that it means that it's not is something new.

PART TWO - TEAM REPRESENTATIVES 

Toto WOLFF (Mercedes), Mattia BINOTTO (Ferrari), Guenther STEINER (Haas)

 

Q: Let's start with a question to all of you. The F1 Commission met yesterday and various decisions were made. How pleased are you with the outcomes?

Guenther STEINER: Pleased that there was an outcome. No, I think that the meeting took a while but in the end we found a compromise, which is always good, you know. So the compromise was that we are all not really happy about it. But we move on. And that is the most important for Formula 1 in general. Obviously, the big teams wanted more, the small teams wanted nothing, and the compromise was in the middle. But I think it shows, again, that in the end we work together. We fight… Normally it’s Toto that is fighting everybody, but he had a few colleagues with him this time that fought with him, normally the people which he fights, but anyway it was a good meeting and we move on. That's the most important thing, because there are bigger issues than that we need to resolve to go forward.

Mattia BINOTTO: Very similar to Guenther. It was positive because we took decisions, because in the last F1 Commission, we discussed a lot without any decision. I think in terms of timing, we were really borderline. Some teams were already in breach of the budget gap this year and to find a compromise was important. So I would say thanks to the smallest team because they have been comprehensive and constructive. Certainly as a big team you are always looking for more but I think that this compromise is good enough to give us a brief and a new target, a new challenge, affording what was the unexpected situation of this season on which we could not have somehow really afforded the budget cap. Yes, it will be tight but positive that we come to a decision yesterday.

Toto WOLFF: Yeah, too little for the big teams, I guess, because energy prices, inflation, and freight are skyrocketing, but too much for the small team, so like Guenther said, nobody's really happy and I guess that's a good outcome.

 

Q: Guenther, Silverstone was a great race for the team, and especially for Mick Schumacher, how important were those first points for him?

GS: I think they're always important for any driver, and there was a lot of pressure put on to him before Silverstone, or not only to him to the whole team. We’ve got a lot of people out there questioning everything what was done. So I think it is a relief. But also, I think more than a relief it’s just happiness from his side. He made his first points, and he earned them on the track. He didn't luck into them. He fought out there, he overtook cars, you know, he fought until the end with Max to try to get him to get a few more points and it was very good. So I think for the whole team it was very important that we score points again with two cars. And for him, just to move on. And we have seen the performance this weekend was very good again. He got into Q3 and qualified eight and starts seventh.

 

Q: Since the disappointment of Mick’s crash in Monaco, have you seen a change in his approach. He seems to have gotten better since then.

GS: Yeah, he didn't crash anymore and he got points, you know! Obviously, there was a change in that one in the right direction. So, you know why it happened I cannot explain. But it's just like I always said, obviously carrying that last name there's a lot of pressure, but people try to divide and we need to stay together and try to get the best out of it. And I think that what happened, and hopefully we can keep it like this ongoing, because now the thing will be: as soon as he doesn't score points or doesn't get in Q3 there will be again be questions. But we will stay calm there as well. He knows that he can do it. The team knows we can do it. So we're in a good place in the moment.

 

Q: Mattia, coming to you now. Can we start by just rolling it back to silver Austin? How do you reflect on the team's performance there?

Mattia BINOTTO: Performance? I think performance was great. Because overall, I think we did, once again, a good weekend. We knew that Red Bull would have brought significant upgrades. We had a few upgrades as well. And if I look at the qualifying, as first, wet conditions, difficult conditions, tricky conditions, but we were on pole. And Charles was certainly, before a small mistake, very fast as well, which if I look back at the previous seasons on the wet, we never been really very fast. And this is showing again that this car is great. It’s a competitive car, whatever the conditions. And then in the race, again, I think the car was fast. Certainly our opponents are very fast, as well. Red Bull we know, Mercedes are back in the fight. And so I can only be pleased on the performance.

 

Q: What about strategy? I'm sure you've had long debriefs since the race, what would you have done differently?

MB: What we would have done differently, I think is not an obvious or straight answer. At the time of the safety car… As first, strategy, I think if you look before the Safety Car, we had the fastest car on track and we asked Carlos to swap positions and let Charles go by, which we believed was the right decision in order to try to maximise the team points because at the time Charles was the fastest car. And I think he did it immediately, showing again that in terms of the team, we've got a common objective and we are we are behaving properly. And then at the Safety Car, I mean when you got a Safety Car and our choice is always to try to prioritise the leader, the lead car, which was Charles at the time. What should be the decision is never obvious. You are leading. If you're stopping, your opponents will stay out, losing then track position, it happened Hamilton at the end of last year in Abu Dhabi. It’s not an obvious. He decided to stay out, because he thought it was the best solution at the time and no one discussed that decision. I think we did very similar, the reason because we believed that was the best choice for Charles, because stopping being on fresher tyres behind Lewis on almost new Hard tyres, would mean that it would have been very difficult to overtake him. So we decided to stay out. Then we split the strategy with Carlos to try to cover all the situation and the probability. so we stopped him for Soft tyres. Now, was that the right or wrong decision? Once again, I think there are a lot of elements that would tell you maybe we should have stopped [Leclerc], because we didn't win the race. But as well, I think it was not an obvious one at the time. And I think if we would have stopped what would have been the outcome? Not obvious as well

 

Q: How frustrated was Charles after the race, and can you just put to bed what was actually going on? We saw some finger wagging between you and him as well.

MB: Yeah, Charles was very, very disappointed and frustrated and unhappy, as we are. I think his disappointment is our disappointment and his frustration is our frustration, because at the time before the safety car once again he was leading the race, as it happened in other races, and not finishing first in the race for various reasons. So I can understand his mood because he is in the battle for the championship and somehow he is unlucky with an external situation which is not down to himself. So when I cross him he was going to the interview and I was going to the podium. I saw him so disappointed and simply told him that he should not, he should have a smile because he's a fantastic driver. He is a champion. He proved once again how strong he is. He did an amazing race, not only at the end, after the Safety Car, protecting the position as much as he could, but as well the way he drove with a damaged car fo the entire race distance. And so somehow he should have a smile, because he has been unlucky once again, but there will be races where he can prove that he is fantastic and can win.

 

Q: Thank you for explaining all that, Mattia. So Toto, coming to you. Silverstone, the one that got away? How do you look back?

TW: Got away? I think we are we are happy that we have a more competitive car now. We start to understand it. The drivers, I think, enjoy driving it more and things happen. We were competitive with the Medium tyre, we were catching up the Ferraris and who knows what would have happened. And then with the Safety Car restart, obviously, that was tricky at the beginning. We have a warm up issue on our tyres and that meant that Carlos was gone, out of reach, and then the little scramble I think everybody enjoyed watching.

 

Q: So what about this weekend? While we're talking what ifs, what might have been possible in qualifying yesterday?

TW: At the end, you don't know. I think we had a we had a competitive car. The lap, the last few corners that Lewis attacked were the fastest overall, I think. Would we have fought for pole position? I'm not sure, but we would have been maybe within a tenth, a tenth-and-a-half of the front runners on a circuit where our car really wasn't happy before. So that's improvement. And I'd rather have two cars in the wall and fighting for pole than a car that is P8 and drive steady Eddie.

 

Q: Two cars in the wall does mean a long night for the mechanics. How much damage was there to each car?

TW: A lot of damage. I think we have two floors, two boxes that we need to check, a rear wing, lots of little bits and pieces. Yesterday in a garage in the in the early evening it looked like really like somebody dropped a Lego car on the floor. And the mechanics are doing great work.

 

Q: What impact is Pete Bonnington’s absence having this weekend?

TW: Well, Bonno has been with us since the beginning. There's only one race he missed in those 10 years that I've been part of Mercedes. And the funny thing is Tom was taking over, that's the tall gentleman. Mark was running the car. But on the intercom Bonno was very much there. He's not there physically, but the voice is there and the comments are there.

 

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

 

Q: (John Noble – Motorsport.com) To Toto and Mattia. You both say you'd like the cost cap thing to have been higher than it was, but is the extra US$4.5 million enough for you to stay below it this season or are we in a situation where towards the end of the year we get into similar debates about penalties and minor breaches?

TW: So energy prices have come back slightly. I think freight is still on a high level and inflation seems to have stabilised at an incredibly high level but at least stabilised. I think why we achieved the compromise yesterday is that it's that we that we said to the small teams, we're not going to come back, and saying we need some kind of negotiation with the cost cap adjudication panel. We still, I think, the three of us are very much above it that means saving costs will be necessary for Mercedes. So yeah, the outcome is helpful. Does it solve our problems? No.

MB: Yeah, obviously it has been a compromise but now we’ve got a new target and we will not be in breach, we cannot afford to be in breach and I think it'll be down to us as a team and our responsibility to make sure that we simply respect it. It will be very tight, it will be very difficult. As Toto said, energy, inflation, freight, is all there, so there will be cost savings which will be required no doubt. We've got only a few months from now to the end. Most of the expenses of this season have been done already and very little remains. But certainly we need to control and make sure that we cope with it. Certainly, when you're crashing two cars it's not helping, because, as well with our drivers we will need somehow to make sure and pay attention to that one, because those are variables that, again, you're not normally counting for.

TW: We spend a third of the additional gain that we have yesterday and one right after it.

 

Q: (Scott Mitchell - The Race) To all three, please. The FIA said yesterday that after the F1 Commission meeting, the TD around porpoising and grounding of the cars has been delayed to Spa. The FIA says this is to give teams time to make changes to the plank and skid assemblies. What changes do you need to make to your cars, and do you have a different interpretation to the FIA on the exact interpretation of the rules around these parts?

GS: The details, I think we still have to figure stuff out or the technical people are figuring out. We don't have to make a lot of changes and postponing it a few races, I think, was a good thing because otherwise, you know, with these costs, if you do it in a rush, it costs more because you have to do it twice and we all know that the big teams have budget cap problems so it helps them as well not to exceed that one.

MB: We are still discussing a lot the TD and the porpoising but as a matter of fact it doesn't seem to be an issue or a subject anymore. It was not a subject in Silverstone, it has not been here a subject in Austria for none of us, pretty sure it will not be in the next two races. So again, are we overshooting with FIA the subject, was there really a true need to try to act and to release these TDs. As first they did in Canada not following the right process because after that, they review it, they start discussing at the TAC, so with the new discussion next week at the TAC once again, to try to fine tune it. On the floor, there will be some changes which will be required because now a new clarification has been issued with new tests which is required on new requirements, new specification. It will take some time to do it so at least I think it's good to relax it to Belgium because not being a subject, there is no need to rush.

TW: Well, it was good, first of all, that the TDs came out. There is clearly some different interpretation on skid assemblies. That means you are low, you can run the car in the front and also stiffness of plank which will be a discussion for next year's regulation. Obviously for us, we don't need to change anything so we would have liked to have it as soon as possible. It can help for porpoising, which Mattia said is not a big issue for the next races that's true but it can be a performance topic. I think, again, a compromise. It's coming for Spa. That allows the teams that need to change, change in doubt enough time and we can live with that.

 

Q: (Matt Kew – Autosport) Toto, the cause of Lewis's and George's incidents looked quite similar yesterday: a sudden snap oversteer. Is there anything we can take from that is? Was there an air stall, was it affected by the wind? Is there a fundamental imbalance? And was that related to also the pace gains you've made over this weekend?

TW: I think that the car is still tricky to drive and now that we can actually fight for front positions, I'm really happy to see that they attack. And both have been carrying… Lewis, the corner, before was carrying 10kph more speed and made turn six and then he's carried 10kph more speed into seven and didn't make the corner. And the same a little bit for George. He saw that he was up on his delta time and that that was a particular strength of his previous runs and it went too far. So whether there was wind or any other conditions, I think the summary is the car is tricky to drive, but it's faster now and for me that's absolutely okay.

 

Q: (Adam Cooper – Motorsport.com) Toto and Mattia, there's a very strong suggestion in the paddock that the current PU manufacturers have tried to delay the 2026 rules in order to make life difficult for Audi and Porsche and it's no secret that Porsche wanted to announce their plans this weekend. What do you say to that suggestion? And can you clarify why it's taking so long and when are we going to see the rules?

MB: As first, I think we need to clarify. I didn't hear that rumours but we are very positive, Audi and Porsche joining the F1, we are very positive because it's great for the F1, it’s great having more manufacturers and it's great to have the Volkswagen group within our business and our Formula 1 racing championship. So I think we've done whatever we could, tried to adapt, to make sure that they were happy. We removed the MGU-H and we did it only to try to help them joining the F1 and believe that for us, removing the H is something which is not maybe the best choice. Again, it's a compromise as we are discussing for the budget cap, it's a compromise because we… It’s a technology that we know pretty well, it's a very high-efficiency technology, which is great for the F1, so I think that overall, again, we are very positive and constructive. So now, why is it taking so long? Because I think it’s time which is required to do the things properly and simply we are not ready right now, not only us, us current manufacturers, FIA, because they are the ones who are leading the discussions. And as well, I think for Audi and Porsche, the current regulations are not ready yet. There are still open points and those open points simply need to be tackled and discussed and agreed.

TW: There's not much to add to what Mattia said. On the contrary, we don't want to delay those regulations but we want to have it in place. We have given the age which was a massive thing to accommodate the newcomers. And in any way. I think we should… it was said to us that by the end of the year, we're going to have the confirmation that they're joining the party. That confirmation hasn't been given until today. I don't know why. This is an environment where regulations will change all the time so you can't make it regulation dependent. It's something that we can expect from them also because we've made big steps towards them. And then let's make those final steps on the regulations. It's more the detail and it doesn't matter. We discussed 50 dyno hours up and down for newcomers but we'd like to have them part of the show. They’ve been sitting on the table negotiating those regulations since a while but not committed yet.

 

Q: (Claire Cottingham – Racefans) Toto, obviously it's quite rare for us ever to see George or Lewis crash out in qualifying and I know you've mentioned that some tracks are quite different and you've not worked out the correlation of why you're struggling at certain places. Is that a concern coming into the race here, obviously with what happened yesterday? And also you mentioned damage; is there any real big changes, have we got a chassis change maybe for Hamilton? What's the sort of damage there?

TW: Yeah, first of all it's very rare that you see both drivers crashing out and especially the circumstances. They looked like - I don't know how you call it an English - synchronised swimmers so that was a good choreography. But the car is still tricky and Austria, these corners are on a knife's edge to carry a lot of speed. So as I said before, I'd rather have a quick car and end up in the wall and more learning. On the damage, yeah, the cars pretty injured. Both cars are pretty injured: floors. We have precautionary checks or changes for the gearboxes, a rear wing for George, plenty of parts that has cost cap implications but the biggest is the mechanics have to work around the clock, so we hope we can we have a good car for the sprint race to put us in a good position for tomorrow.

 

Q: (Bartosz Pokrzywiński– Parcfer.me) Mattia, considering the current championship situation, the win of Carlos at Silverstone, considering that Mercedes are getting faster and faster and Red Bulls are also fast, how will Ferrari team approach two drivers will change after the last situation at Silverstone?

MB: As first what we are trying to do each single race is try to maximise the team points, because obviously there is too close two championships which are the constructors and the drivers so by maximising the team points when I'm pretty sure that we are as well maximising the drivers’ opportunity by taking off points to the opponents and the opponents should not be Charles for Carlos and Carlos for Charles, but certainly Max, Lewis and the others. So that’s the way we see it: the fastest car on track is the one which is prioritized, and we believe by doing so certainly at the moment at this time of the championship, it’s the best things we can do and if later in the championship there will be one of the two drivers that got most of the opportunities, certainly when we will try to give him full priority but it's not the situation right now. So we need to cope with it and but still, I'm pretty happy to see those two drivers fighting. I know that when there are team orders, everybody's blaming us because we should have a free fight and when got the free fight, then you should have team orders so whatever you're doing is always wrong. And I remember 20 years ago here in Austria, I have heard the booing from the grandstands because I was here. So, again, I think it's always delicate and each single person after the race knows how we should deal with the situations. But once again, what we are trying to do is maximise the team points, which I'm pretty sure is the right choice.

TW: Welcome to the club.

 

Q: (Luke Smith – Autosport) Mattia, on Charles you spoke about his frustration. He said that you flew to Monaco between the two races to go and talk with him. How did those talks go? Had he calmed down a bit since what happened at Silverstone? And are there any concerns about wider frustration in the team?

MB: As first, I'm meeting the drivers after each single race and we normally have a discussion, try to review the race situation. Charles was in Monaco, it has been a back-to-back, the best opportunity for me to meet him was simply to go there and we've been there, we had dinner, we're laughing together on what we're reading in the newspapers, because we knew that was completely wrong and simply we were again very happy to meet, to discuss and try to move forward and being constructive on what can be the scenarios and the best chance for us to be strong on the following races.

 

Q: (John Noble – Motorsport.com) Mattia, just following on from that there were some reports in the Italian press that half the garage initially refused to go to the podium and had to be sorted. Was there any truth in that and are you having to manage any kind of internal management of the team when you have these difficult races?

MB: No. Once again that was not true and when I heard or I read it, surprised what I did certainly was to check because you never know, maybe there is something that I missed but I checked and that was not the case at all. So surprising once again and disappointed to read that sometimes there are the things which are written which do not correspond to what was happening. So yes, the team was not fully happy at the time because we lost an opportunity after the Safety Car. But very happy for Carlos: he won his first race ever in Silverstone, he did a fantastic weekend, starting from the pole and then the race itself. So the team was there, an entire team was there, cheering Carlos and so again, no issues there.

 

Q: (Scott Mitchell - The Race) Michael Andretti continues to be quite frustrated by the lack of support he finds in the F1 paddock about his desire to have an F1 team. In a recently published interview, he described the attitude of the teams that are here as snobbish, it's still a European club, and that you see his organisation as a threat. Do you understand his feelings of frustration? Or are these not particularly constructive comments from someone who's trying to gain favour within the F1 paddock?

GS: I don't know what he's trying to achieve with these comments but that's down to Michael. It's not really our decision to give him a licence or not, you know. We have got an opinion but I don't think we can decide that one. So we don't know what he presented or I don't know why - I shouldn't speak for other people - I don't know what he presented to FIA and FOM so I have no idea. Obviously, in my opinion, these comments, they're not constructive, or, you know, taking forward but you live by your choices.

MB: Not much to add. I never met Michael myself so I don't know what it's about so are we supportive or not? I cannot comment because I never had a discussion. So I don't know what they're presenting. I don't know what they're looking for. And as Gunther said I think it's not down to us to decide whether the extra licence…

TW: Very good comments from Guenther. I spoke to Mario twice on the phone and that was very nice.

 

Q: (Matt Kew – Autosport) Toto but I'd like it if the others could pitch in after. Max was widely booed at Silverstone but I suppose that's perhaps a bit different to your driver getting cheered when he crashed so what's your comment on the fans’ reaction to that and again the wider sentiment of fans cheering pretty sizable shunts? If Mattia and Guenther would like to comment on that as well.

TW: Well, both is not very sportsmanlike. I think a driver that crashes out and ends up in the barrier, if that is being applauded a lot you should criticise or should question the attitude and understanding of any sport. The booing is not good either. I think we, as teams, we fight. We are not happy when we lose but the booing is a personal attack on the driver and fans should just put themselves in the position and that they are standing up there and there are being booed and I think that's not right for the driver, that Christian was being booed in Silverstone. I don't think that's right, either. So hopefully we can talk sense. We love the fans, we want them to be there, we want them to be emotional and passionate, but maybe when it gets personal that shouldn't happen

 

Q: Toto: This is your home race. How did the fans react to you personally?

TW: Well, I haven't been out yet there. Let's see what happens to me here.

MB: F1 is a sport, we should never forget it. It's a sport and when you are discussing about sport, there is a lot of passion around it and the fans are certainly passionate. But we should not forget that a sport should be an enjoyable moment. It's about enjoyment. It's about entertainment. And so booing is never great, never good, never right.

GS: We always get cheered, you know, whatever we do!

 

Q: (Aaron Decker - Racing News 365) Mattia and Toto: Haas is performing very well, we are doing mid-season now, they haven't brought any updates and they performing still very well. How positively surprised are you with that?

TW: I think they brought updates but they're not saying it, right?

GS: No, we have no money, Toto, I told you.

MB: I was asking if they brought… honestly updates I don't know, but I think showing that… As first, I think that some teams, top teams brought some upgrades but sometimes what you're doing is really small details because there is not much you can do and those cars are quite prescriptive and there is not much you can do after the first… You've decided the layout of the car and you decided the first project so it's great for them that it’s still doing well. I see it's about maximise always the potential of the car at each single race. Maybe those last two races are adapting better to their car, I don't know, but on our side as well we didn't brought much development the season so far and we are trying to keep up the pace and we are still fighting for the pole which is great so showing that if we can do it they can do it as well.

TW: Yeah, it's great that Guenther’s gang can be competitive out there. We've seen it in the last few races they were right up there and we certainly had them on the radar to compete with us and that's fun. Not bringing any update, it shows that if you put the car in a happy spot setup-wise, this is where you can unlock a lot of potential rather than adding a tenth or two in aerodynamic downforce. That doesn't translate always in lap time. So they have done a great job yesterday.

 

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