Team Representatives: Bruno FAMIN (Alpine), Mike KRACK (Aston Martin), James VOWLES (Williams), Christian HORNER (Red Bull Racing)

Q: Bruno, perhaps we could start with you, please. Now, you and the team were managing expectations during the test, but how much of a shock was the performance in Bahrain?
Bruno FAMIN: Yeah, that's right that it was a shock because we were really expecting a difficult start of the season, we knew this, and this is what we said during the launch of our car. But to be on the last row in the quali was a shock, to be honest. And it just confirmed the need of changing in our team, and we made the change.
Q: On a performance point of view, do you understand the issues with this car and have you got a route forward?
BF: We understand the issues. The main issues are quite clear. I think we have to remember also that we were at the first race of the season, which is very long. The car is totally new. We have developments coming. We will work hard in developing that car. But of course, understanding what are the problems is key to solve it. And we have a quite clear idea of what are the problems and we are really working hard.
Q: Bruno, what is the biggest problem?
BF: One of the biggest complaints of the driver, it's not a secret, because we can hear it on the radio, it's the lack of traction. That's why in Bahrain, where we really need very good traction with the slow corners, it was especially difficult.
Q: Just tell us a little bit more about having three technical directors. Why have you gone down that route?
BF: We really want to bring to the factories what we have done on the track side by the end of the last season. I mean changing the mindset, unleashing the creativity, and having three technical directors makes the organisation much more horizontal, much less vertical. More activity, more agility, and really the motto is really to develop our people. We have very talented people and we want them to bring as much as they can to the project, to the team, to the company.
Q: When will we see the fruits of their labours? Is it going to be soon or are we looking to 2026?
BF: Both, because we have a new car with A524. There is potential in this car. We have something coming for sure, but we also need to change our way of developing the car, maybe racing the car as well. We need to change really our approach, our general approach on everything we will learn on A524 will be very helpful for developing the A526 for sure.
Q: Okay, Bruno, thank you for that. Mike, if we could come to you now. You had the fifth fastest car last time out in Bahrain. On the strength of what we've seen already here in Saudi Arabia, do you expect to be more competitive here?
Mike KRACK: I certainly hope so. Yes, I agree that we were the fifth fastest team in Bahrain, but we need to obviously… I said it last year as well, we need to wait a couple of races to really see where we are. I think we were quite surprised in qualifying about our performance, but we were also a little bit surprised in the race. But the ranking itself, we were not really surprised. This is what we were expecting.
Q: We've just heard from Bruno what the biggest issue is with the Alpine. What is the biggest strength of the Aston Martin this year?
MK: We have done one event, so I think we should wait a little bit before we speak too much about the strengths and the weaknesses, because we had one track where Bruno said it is a very special track. Here it's a bit the opposite, so I think we should wait a little bit before we identify strengths and weaknesses.
Q: OK, well, we've also been talking to Bruno about technical restructuring. That's not the case so much at Aston Martin, but you have announced Bob Bell as the executive director technical. Can you explain the thinking behind employing him?
MK: Well, with Bob, we're fortunate to have recruited someone with a huge amount of experience, with a huge amount of technical knowledge. And I think when you look at what we have on our plate in the years to come, we felt that it is important to strengthen our technical department further. And when someone like that with this calibre is available, then I think it's very important that you try to have that. And yeah, I mean, Bob has started. It was a very good start already. We're quite happy that we managed to have him and let's see what this brings.
Q: Are you surprised that Bruno let him go?
MK: Yes.
Q: Fernando Alonso said he was going to wait a couple of races before making a decision about his future. Are you getting a feel for which way the wind is blowing?
MK: Sorry, can you repeat?
Q: How confident are you that Fernando will commit to Aston Martin?
MK: Well, I think Fernando highlighted many times now that first he needs to be sure about himself, what he wants to do, because he's a driver that is not participating in Formula One. When he runs, he wants to be at the front. And the commitment that you need for that, I think he's very aware of it. So he needs to make up his mind first if he wants to stay. And then if that's the case, we will push or we give everything that he stays with us.
Q: Alright, Mike, thanks for that. James, coming to you. Now, you've said it wasn't the cleanest weekend for Williams in Bahrain. Have you been able to make progress in the right areas since then?
James VOWLES: Very much so. So, I mean, [not] the cleanest weekend was obviously that we had an issue with Logan's steering wheel that meant he was just out of contention. And with Alex and Logan, we were overheating the PU very significantly, which just meant we had to drop back from competitors, couldn't race competitors, couldn't overtake [and there was] a large hindrance in that. But I think even more than that, we just didn't get everything right. We were on the back foot when we started testing there, very late coming into things, and the impact on the race is a consequence of that, in my opinion. The main item now is coming here to Saudi and making sure that we recover what we can from that and start moving forward.
Q: How complicated is it to introduce a new steering wheel?
JV: In terms of putting it in place, quite easy, you just click it in, but in terms of the electronics underneath, fairly complicated. As with everything on the car, when you're completely going from ground zero back up, which is what was happening with that steering wheel, it's an all new design, it is very easy to introduce slight issues as a result of it. With the car now, we can put it onto a site called a VTT, a Virtual Track Test, test systems, cooling, radiators. With steering wheels, you can run it on the DIL, the Driver in the Loop simulator, but there's no vibration or otherwise and it's only really when you're running an angle on the track that you can start to explore some of those features.
Q: Quick word on Logan. How important is it for him to get some good results early on this year and get some momentum?
JV: It's important to him to get good results. The only thing I would say is it's not the early on bit. What we have to see from him is progress as we continue on. Early on implies that there's a risk if he's not performing after three races that something will happen, and that's simply not the case. In the case of Logan, he knows that he finished last year starting to build on what he had as an experience base, and he's coming back here not as a rookie now, but someone that has years of experience behind him. He's got to build on that without mistakes, without error, and continually move forward. And I would say today in FP1, happy with that when you look at the gap to Alex, but the field is so tight now that just a tenth is pushing you back four or five places where we are.
Q: James, thank you for that. Christian, coming to you. In terms of performance, the team has clearly done a fabulous job with RB20. Is there one aspect of the car's performance that stands out?
Christian HORNER: I don't think there's any single attribute that stands out. I think, as you say, it's been an outstanding team performance. I think the technical team, as you could see, it's an aggressive evolution of RB19. We took a concept that was hugely successful in RB19, the most successful car of all time. But I think that you can see that the whole design team and the production side of the business, the supply chain, all aspects of the business have pushed the boundaries with this car to keep evolving it, to keep pushing it. And I think that there's some great ingenuity on the car. But it's only one sample of 24 races, at a specific track. All the tracks vary quite a lot that are on the tour and in the championship. So, you know, let's see how the car performs at a completely different venue at a street circuit like this.
Q: Checo wasn't as happy in the car last weekend as Max. Is he in a better place here?
CH: Well, he's always run very well at street circuits and he's always revelled at this kind of circuits with barriers and concrete in close proximity. So he had his first ever pole position here. He won the race, the Grand Prix, here last year. So his confidence is high at this type of venue. And as we all know, confidence is something crucial with drivers.
Q: (Ian Parkes – New York Times) Christian, you'll obviously be aware of Jos’ comments on race day in Bahrain, describing the tensions in the team. It's on the brink of exploding if you remain in charge. Where's the end game here? He inferenced that it's either you have to go or he'll pull Max out of the team.
CH: Look, I'm obviously aware of the comments that were made. There was a discussion subsequent to the race, and I think everybody's focus is very much on the future. The team's focus is very much on defending both of these world titles that we've fought so hard to achieve. Max has three successive world titles to build on that. the 55 victories that he's achieved, the 114 victories that as a team we've achieved and now sit tied with Williams on the amount of Grand Prix victories. So our focus is very much on the future. And as I say, discussions took place following the race in Bahrain and we're all looking forward.
Q: (Luke Smith – The Athletic) Christian. Another one for you. Could you talk a bit more about those discussions? Like, do you feel the air has been cleared between the two sides in this?
CH: No, I think, you know, I'm not going to air all the discussions, you know, the private between the parties, but you know, discussions have been inevitably had and the team is focused on the challenges that are ahead of us and the team is very focused on the season ahead and whilst we've had a very dominant race in Bahrain, we don't expect that to be the case in future races. So we're acutely aware of our competitors and you don't achieve the kind of results that we've had by not being a united team to win the race by the margin that we did to achieve a one-two finish, the fastest lap, the pole position. You know, you need to be working in total harmony to achieve those kind of races.
Q: (Niharika Ghorpade – Sportskeeda) You've confirmed that you would absolutely be here as team principal in Bahrain, but can you confirm the same about Max, that he will see out his Red Bull contract? 
CH: I'm certain that he will. I mean, he's got a great team around him. He's got great faith in that team. And, you know, we've achieved an awful lot together. So, you know, he's committed to an agreement until 2028. And, yeah, you know, from a team side, from Max's side, we're determined to build on the success that we've achieved already and those 55 victories have all come in Red Bull cars. All of the podiums have come in Red Bull Racing cars and we're determined to build on that and add hopefully many more in the future.
Q: (Eril Van Haren – De Telegraaf) Sorry, again for Christian. About Max's father, Lewis made some comments yesterday about it as well. Do you think [Jos Verrstappen] is too involved in all this and it's maybe a distraction for everyone?
CH: Obviously, Max's father has played a key role in his career and getting him to Formula 1. But obviously, Jos is his own man. Max is his own man as well. And we've seen him go from being a teenager when he joined us to now, very much a young man. that's achieved what he has. So it's not for me to comment on relationships between fathers and drivers. They're all unique between the different individuals.
Q: (Sam Johnston – Sky Sports) Another one for Christian. Do you have any regrets about the potential reputational damage that has emerged from this episode for the team, for yourself and sponsors? 
CH: Well, obviously, there's been an awful lot of coverage surrounding this, but one has to go back to the basis of this. A grievance was raised, it was fully investigated, and it was dismissed. And from there, we move onwards. And I think an awful lot has been made out of this. Obviously, it has been obviously of great interest in different elements of the media for different reasons. And I think the time now is to look forward and to draw a line under it. We're here to go racing. We're here as a Formula 1 team. And the time now is to focus on what is going on on track and the performance of the cars and the drivers and where the spotlight should be during the course of a Grand Prix weekend.
Q: (Luke Smith – The Athletic Christian) Another one for you. The reports today that the complainant has been suspended by Red Bull Racing. Are you able to explain the decision or comment any further on that matter?
CH: Look, I'm afraid that I can't comment on anything that's confidential between an employee in the company, so I can't offer you anything on that, I'm afraid.
Q: I'm going to bring in one of the other three. Mike, why don't we bring you in just as quickly. Can you tell us about the Saudi Motor Show in Riyadh in which Jess Hawkins drove the AMR22 and just what sort of impact that event had?
MK: Yeah, that was a great thing. Just driving an AMR22, so current generation car, on Riyadh boulevard, plus Fernando being around, plus Tina from the F1 Academy. So it was a good event to really showcase what we're doing, to inspire young generations to join motor sports or to follow a career in motor sports. I think together with the Aramco, I think it was a really great event and I hope we can do many more like that.
Q: (Edd Straw – The Race) Another one for Christian. Obviously, you can't comment on the situation about the employee suspension. Is there a plan to bring some transparency to this in the future? And do you kind of recognize why it's necessary to do something? Because obviously, to the watching world, particularly the female population watching, it doesn't really fit in with the attempts that F1 and Red Bull have made to show that it's a positive place for women to be. You can understand why it hits a nerve there. So is there anything that you can commit to down the line that will actually make what's happened clearer and regain that confidence?
CH: I think it's a complicated issue because each company – and these companies will be exactly the same as with any other major company. There is a grievance process that takes place in any company and that process is confidential between the individuals and the company itself. I'm not at liberty, unfortunately, due to those confidentiality [concerns] and out of respect to the company and, of course, the other party, that we're all bound by the same restrictions. And so even if I would like to talk about it, I can't because of those confidentiality restrictions. There's a reason for that. Now, the only reason that this has gained so much attention, obviously, is because of the leakage and the tension that there's been drawn in the media, which has been very trying in many respects, and particularly for my family, because it's all been focused very much in one direction. And of course, what has happened then after that, others have looked to take advantage of it. And whether that be for… Unfortunately, Formula 1 is a competitive business, and there's been, obviously, elements have looked to benefit from it, and that's perhaps the not-so-pretty side of our industry. So, of course, there are always lessons, but there's a process that is governed within the company that it's not an FIA issue, it's not a Formula 1 issue, it's a company employee issue, and that would be the same in any major organisation.
Q: (Ben Hunt – The Sun) More investigations, this time the FIA. The President has been accused of meddling in the result here last year. I just wanted to get your opinions on that and obviously you will be, I presume, seeking full clarity on that report.
BF: What we think is that we should really be able to focus on what happened on the track with our sport. And this is our responsibility to all of us, I think, promoter, regulator, teams, to be examples for all. And there is an investigation at the FIA that I understand. They have their own process and they will follow the process. But it's up to all of us, I think, to show the exemplarity [sic]to all. And we really need that.
MK: I think 12 months ago here, we were one of the involved parties. I think it can be re-read in the Stewards' documents how the whole process was. We executed the right of review, we brought new evidence and the penalty was taken out. So I think from that point of view, for us, the whole matter is clear and closed.
JV: It was something I found out when I read it, probably the same as everyone in this room. But what I'm pleased to see is there is a process in place to review it. And I think we should be judged not by the moment we're in now, but in the future, once we look back at that. I think for the now, as far as I understand, it's in review, which is the right thing.
CH: I think the one thing that I've seen and learned certainly from any investigation is that don't pre-empt the facts. There needs to be an investigation and I'm sure the relevant parties, and again the process that they have within the statutes of the FIA will be followed, and all I would urge is don't prejudge. Wait for the facts. Wait to see what is the reality before coming to a judgment.
Q: (Christian Menath – Motosport-magazin.com) Another question for you, Christian. You touched on this a bit earlier. Do you think there is a campaign against you? And if so, who do you think is behind?
CH: Look, we've been tremendously successful. We've done a lot of winning and we're very united as a team and that's what we're focused on for the future. There's been obviously an awful lot of coverage around this situation, but I think the time really is now to move on, to focus on what's going on on the track. And, you know, we've got a busy and competitive season ahead of us. And that's what we're certainly focused on.
Q: (Phil Duncan – PA) Christian, just going back to Jos, have you spoken directly to him since he made those comments? And do you think that that relationship between the two of you can be can be repaired?
CH: I spoke to Jos following the Grand Prix and obviously congratulated him on his son's performance. And I think it's in everybody's interests collectively that we've agreed to move on, to focus on the future. And we both have a vested interest in his son to get the best and to provide the best cars for him and to get the best out of him. And he's started the season in the best possible way. He's an outstanding talent and hopefully we can continue to provide him a very competitive car.
Q: (Ian Parkes – New York Times) Apologies to the other three gentlemen that are here. Sorry, Christian. Christian, you were asked earlier about the reputational damage to Red Bull. On a personal level, are you concerned about the damage that might have been done to your reputation over these past three weeks, regardless of the independent investigator's adjudication? And conversely, do you have any sympathy for the woman involved and what this whole saga might have done to her reputation as well?
CH: Well, look, it's obviously been a very trying period. I'm married and have three children. And when that intrusion includes your children and the scrutiny is placed on my marriage… I'm very fortunate that I have a beautiful family and a very supportive wife. And, you know, I'm the only one that has been named in this. So, of course, it's very trying. It's very challenging, because when there's children involved, when there's families, parents, etcetera, involved, it's not pretty. And the reality is that there was a grievance that was raised. It was dealt with in the most professional manner by the group, not by Red Bull Racing, but by the owners of Red Bull Racing, Red Bull GmbH, that appointed an independent KC that is one of the most reputable KCs in the land. He took time to investigate fully, all of the facts. He interviewed all of the people involved, together with others of interest. He looked at everything. He had all of the facts. And he came to a conclusion where he dismissed the grievance. As far as I'm concerned, as far as Red Bull is concerned, we move on and we look to the future. And you know, my wife has been phenomenally supportive throughout this, as have my family. But the intrusion on my family is now enough and we need to move forward and to focus on what we're here for. And I'm sorry for these three gentlemen that they're not here talking about their cars and drivers today. But it is time now to focus on why we're here which is to go Formula 1 racing.
Q: (Samarth Kanal – The Race) Christian, you said it's time to move on, but why do you think it has taken people so long to move on from this, including the media, including the public?
CH: There's been a constant source of… You know, there's been one thing after another. And I think that, you know, as I say, there's been an awful lot of leakage around this, what is a private and confidential matter between the employees and the company. It’s unfortunately through that, through that leakage it has garnered an awful lot of coverage. And as I say, it's now time to focus on the track and what we're here to do which is to go racing. And you know we're a race team. We've got some phenomenal partners that have been hugely supportive through this. The team, the company, the 1,600 people that work within the group, I have to thank them as well for their support. And, yeah, you know, it's time to move on. We see today Formula 1 Academy coming alive with the support of the teams. We have three drivers, three cars across the Red Bull Group in that. We've announced new partners that we welcome to the sport. And I think that now is the point of focus that we're here for a Grand Prix and we should be talking about the cars and the drivers.
Q: (Adam Cooper – Motorsport.com) I'll change the subject for all four of you. All your team spent an awful lot of money building cars for the 2022 regulations. Obviously, things have been developed the last couple of years. The drivers are now talking a lot about dirty air. It's as hard as ever to follow. Have these regulations failed? Can there be any tweaks for ‘25, or do we have to wait for ‘26 and a whole new package?
JV: I don't think the regulations have failed. I think that would be wholeheartedly unfair. I think the competition is pretty tight in the midfield. There is overtaking that takes place. I think even on the data that we can see now, it's still better than the ‘21, ‘20 generations of cars. But undoubtedly, and especially the leading pack have developed the car in an extraordinary way that as you develop downforce, is making it harder to follow. But I still think on all the metrics and all the data we can see, you're now getting closer than you were before as a result of things, which was an intention behind it. Whether they will improve in ‘25, no, I don't think so. There's no reason to think it will improve next year. And in ‘26, again, the rules are still being ratified as we speak, so it's hard to evaluate that.
MK: Yeah, I agree with James. I think the regulations are not a fail, at all. I think it has allowed various designs from the beginning, then obviously a dominance that none of us want, but that's a fact. But all in all, I think we have one more year to go, and then we welcome the new ones. As James said, they're not 100% fixed yet, and we look forward to them. But honestly, I think the current regulations are well done and well made, and we have had great racing behind one team.
BF: Nothing much to add, to be honest. I think I'm fully in line with James and Mike.
CH: I totally agree with these three gentlemen.