TEAM REPRESENTATIVES Ė Toyoharu TANABE
(Honda), Christian HORNER (Red Bull Racing), Claire WILLIAMS (Williams), Zak
BROWN (McLaren), Marcin BUDKOWSKI (Renault)
Q: Question for all of you to start with. It was
announced on Wednesday that Silverstone has secured a long-term deal to host
Formula One. Can each of you give us your best memories of this track?
Marcin BUDKOWSKI: Itís always a track where we enjoy coming because of the
public here. I think itís always a sell-out and itís a very Ďexpertí crowd,
if you like, one which enjoys the racing but also understands the racing.
Always claps and supports all the teams and drivers, very little booing,
very, very positive crowd, so I think itís always enjoyable Ė but I donít
have a stand-out memory personally here. Itís just the quality of the track
and of the crowd really that stands out for me.
Zak BROWN: Yeah, I think this is a great grand prix, very pleased weíll be
coming back for at least another five years, and I think if I had to pick my
favourite British Grand Prix it would be Nigel Mansell in the Williams in
1987 coming back and passing Piquet. That was pretty awesome.
Claire WILLIAMS: As Zak said, Iím thrilled that Silverstone has got its
place on the calendar long into the future. Itís absolutely whatís right, we
all love coming here. As Marcin said, the crowds, the fans here are just
wonderful. Iíve been coming here for 43 years, something like that. It was
the race we were taken to as children, our special treat, the only race that
Dad would let his kids come to. I remember being there in those glory days
of Williams. Weíve had so many great races here. I think probably Nigelís
time in 1992 with the crowd invasion and all that stuff. For me, it holds
such a special place in my heart. During my tenure at DTP, probably seeing
our two cars overtake the Mercedes a few years, when Valtteri and Felipe led
the race for a few laps. Fine, we didnít go on to do what we would have
liked to have done but still, those few laps, I suppose, spur me on, because
thatís where I want to see Williamses in the future.
Christian HORNER: Itís great news that the British Grand Prix is secured
here at the home of motorsport at Silverstone. I think itís the right venue,
itís a great track. I have so many great memories from here, been fortunate
enough to win this race a few times, also in support formulas. One of my
earliest memories coming here was back in 1992, shortly after I passed my
driving test in my pimped-up Volkswagen Beetle, and they used to have a
Goodyear tyre test here in June, the month before the grand prix. As an
aspiring young karting driver I managed to find a hole in a fence Ė I donít
know whether itís still there, around the corner from Copse, go through the
tunnel, thereís a hole in the fence there, crawled through that, I managed
to get into the pitlane, tried to pretend like I looked like I should be
there. I had a karting jacket on at the time and came face to face with
Ayrton Senna. It was a huge moment for me, he was one of my heroes. Heíd had
an accident on a jetski and so he wasnít doing a lot of driving but he
noticed the kart logo I had on my jacket and started asking me about karting.
I thought, ĎI canít top that! This day cannot get any betterí and then I
managed to sneak through a garage and get to the front of the pitlane and
Nigel was testing his Williams. I managed to get into your [Claire] garage,
God knows how, and overhear Nigel. They were asking him what was preventing
him going faster through Becketts? I remember him saying ĎIím struggling to
line my eyes up with my eye-sockets, because weíre so fast through there!í
So that was a huge memory for me, just topped the day off. Meeting Senna,
then Mansell, and then driving home in my very flash Volkswagen Beetle.
Toyoharu TANABE: Silverstone is the track I have seen, for the first time, a
Formula One car. And then Iím very happy to hear the news. Our factory is
located in Milton Keynes, also very close, and Iím very happy to hear that
Q: Marcin, tough weekend for the team in Austria last time out. How was FP1
this morning? Are you confident there wonít be a repeat here at Silverstone
MB: Yes, we had a very difficult weekend in Austria. I think throughout the
weekend really, and we didnít qualify the cars in Q3, we had a difficult
race as a result Ė but also because we didn'tí really have the pace at that
circuit. Weíre coming to a different circuit, itís a different challenge
here. I think Austria was a particular poor circuit for our carís weaknesses
at the moment and Silverstone is a combination really in terms of track,
corners, so we expect to be better here, although weíre not happy with our
general level of competitiveness at the moment. FP1 was a good session. Itís
a working session. Itís one where we experiment on set-up and on different
development directions. I think the track this morning was very green: new
surface, very variable grip, so I think there was a lot of evolution and we
benefitted from this, as I think, did Pierre in the Red Bull as well Ė but
it was a good working session, we learned some things, we fine-tuned the
set-up so weíre looking forward to the weekend really.
Q: So more confidence ahead of this weekend?
Q: Marcin, youíve been at the team for pretty much a year now. From a
structural point of view, are you happy with how things are working now at
MB: yeah, Iíve been there a little bit more than a year now. Obviously
joined a team that is still in the process of reconstruction. Iíve found a
team that under the previous management and the previous ownership was
heavily under-invested. A lot of people left. A little bit, itís a team left
behind by the evolution of F1 Ė because there was no investment in
infrastructure, in tools, in people, and obviously when Renault came back
there was a lot of investment made, a lot of recruitment. We increased the
workforce by more than 50 per cent now. It takes time to integrate all these
people, to get all these new tools online, to get the understanding of the
physics involved in designing and racing a Formula One car again. So weíre
in that phase of rebuilding still. Itís in a much better place than it was Ė
but thereís still some work to do, and certainly since I arrived Iíve
focussed on the organisation structure: putting the right people in the
right positions; getting the team to work better; getting the team to be
more efficient; to be more creative. Itís getting better but thereís still
some amount of work in front of us.
Q: Zak, coming on to you. Youíve re-signed Lando Norris for 2020. Whatís
impressed you about him this year?
ZB: Iíve been impressed with both our drivers. Really pleased with our
driver line-up, which is why we wanted to confirm it ahead of the silly
season, which seems to be ramping up. Carlos has been extremely quick every
weekend and then Lando specifically, he also is extremely quick, a quick
learner. Heís not making some of the mistakes Ė knock on wood Ė that you
maybe anticipate from a rookie driver. He drives quite mature, his
feedbackís good, he gets along with Carlos very well, and both our drivers
are driving for the team, so weíre just very pleased with their progress, so
we thought weíd get that out of the way so we can continue with our
programme, head-down and just keep racing.
Q: It is still relatively early in the season to be committing to next
yearís driver line-up. Why have you committed now?
ZB: We like what we see. Both drivers are doing an excelling job.
Specifically in Landoís case, he now has enough races under his belt that
weíve seen him under pressure, weíve seen him having to race his team-mate,
weíve seen him at the front of the field. Weíve seen enough rounded elements
to his driving to know that heís one of the future stars of the sport. Again
with the silly season ramping up, we want to not be part of that, keep our
head down and just be focussed on what weíre doing.
Q: Tanabe-san, congratulations on the win in Austria last time out, great
for Honda. How was the victory received back in Sakura?
TT: Thank you very much. It was a great result and the win came as a result
of all of our Sakura members and the people who have worked for this project
and they are very much satisfied and pleased. On the other hand, everyone is
motivated now more than before, I believe, and we will keep working very
hard to improve our performance.
Q: Does this win influence Hondaís decision to stay in Formula One beyond
TT: In my position, as the technical director of Honda F1, Iím not very
involved with the contract matters Ė but I feel, after the win, a very good
reaction from inside Honda. So, we will see.
Q: And how confident are you being competitive on all circuits going
TT: We had a great race in Austria Ė but we know our current position
compared to the top runners. There is still a gap there. We keep pushing to
get more performance, with our members and also the Red Bull team.
Q: Christian, weíre talking about that win in Austria. From your point of
view, how unexpected was it?
Christian HORNER: It was totally unexpected. We thought if we could sneak a
podium there it would be a great result, going into the grand prix. And
then, about three metres after the start, even a top-four or top-five finish
looked to be optimistic after Max got an anti-stall at the start and dropped
down to P8 during the first lap Ė and in the meantime flat-spotted his front
left as well. But we could see early on in the race that he had got good
pace. He came back through the field quite quickly. We went long on the
first stint and we had a great turnaround by the pit crew. And Maxís pace in
the second half of the race was phenomenal. He was able to catch and pass
obviously Sebastian and Valtteri and then close in, and with a few laps to
go you think, Ďcrikey, this could actually happení, here at our home race in
Austria. There arenít many races that Dietrich Mateschitz comes to, we had
some of the top board members from Honda also in attendance, so to win that
race in the manner that Max did was phenomenal. And having come off the back
of one of the most boring races in history in France, to have such an
exciting race and to come out on top was a phenomenal feeling. And for Honda
to win their first race in the V6 hybrid era after the difficult comeback
into the sport that they had initially is testimony to the hard work and
dedication of all the stuff. It was great to see the emotion and Tanabe-san
picking up the trophy on behalf of the team, so it was a great day for the
team and Honda all round.
Q: And did Maxís performance surprise you?
CH: Yes and no. I think Max has been delivering at such a high level pretty
much since Montreal last year that nothing tends to surprise you with him.
But the calmness with which he came back from the anti-stall at the startÖ
He was probably one of the calmest guys out there. He fought hard but fair
and was able to control the race and control his situation very well. It was
certainly one of his very best victories.
Q: Tanabe-san has spoken about the knock-on effect of the victory within
Honda, but what about within Red Bull and how important was the win in
ensuring that Max stays with the team?
CH: I think within the whole team, the Monday morning after you win a grand
prix, you walk into the factory you just feel that level of increased
optimism, that energy. It energises the whole factory. People are working
flat out all the time, but when they start to see rewards for what they are
working for, it just makes it all worthwhile. I think for sure a huge effort
has gone into this season so far, there is a long way still to go, it is
still very much a transition year for us, but to see the delight in all the
team members faced and to see what it meant to Honda as well was evry
Q: Claire, Paddy Lowe has officially left the team. Can you explain the
technical structure at Williams now?
Claire WILLIAMS: Did we not announce that a while ago? He has decided to
leave the team and we wish him well. Weíve talked about our technical
structure over the past few weeks in that we have now a technical management
team in effect, that are effectively running the engineering side of the
business and that consists of our Chief Aerodynamicist, Doug McKiernan, Dave
Robson who is Head of Engineering Operations and then Adam Carter who is our
Head of Design, and they are running it very collegiately, in a fantastic
way and they are making real progress, which h is great to see. But
obviously they have 650 people below them who are all working incredibly
hard to make sure we deliver what we need to deliver over the next few
Q: Something we touched on a little bit earlier, the history of Williams and
Silverstone. Itís 40 years since the team won its first grand prix, here at
this track. Of all the teamís achievements where does that one stack up and
does your dad still talk about it?
CW: He doesnít talk about it regularly, but he doesnít talk about a lot of
past memories in Formula One. For Frank, itís all about the future, but that
was the start of what has been a phenomenal career for Frank in this sport.
Heíd fought long and hard, really, truly long and hard to achieve that. He
started his own career racing himself, realised quite quickly he wasnít any
good at it Ė didnít quite understand where the brakes were Ė and decided to
be a constructor. It took him a decade to get that first grand prix win
here. He fought incredibly hard. He had no money; he came from nothing. He
had to sell the team at one point and then he had to again start from
nothing. But he never gave up and we talked a lot about that yesterday with
the team, Frankís resilience, his tenacity, and he really deserved that
victory in 1979. I think a lot of people around him at the time thought it
would never come but as we all know Frank loves this sport. Victories are
great for Frank but really, truly, itís about being in this sport and
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Dan Knutson Ė Auto Action and Speedsport) Zak, you have a new wind
tunnel coming but as far as revamping the team, are you looking for more
people or is there anything else that needs to be done to the facilities?
ZB: Well, Iíve got Andreas Seidl now running the racing team. He and James
Key are settled in and leading the charge. I think we are happy with the
structure that we have and the senior leadership we have, but grand prix
teams, especially with the new rules coming up in 2021 are going to have a
certain element of reinventing how we go motor racing so I donít think you
are ever sitting still but from my standpoint I have the leadership I want
to have in place and now itís over to Andreas to fine-tune the racing team
as he sees fit.
Q: And facilities?
A: Facilities, weíll continue to invest again. We need to see what the final
2021 outcomes are to make sure we are investing in the right areas. The wind
tunnel was certainly something we had been behind on for some time, so that
was an investment we knew we needed to make. So Iím very happy that we are
moving forward with it. Weíll make other cap-ex as we see fit as we get more
visibility on what the future of the sport looks like.
Q: (Graham Harris Ė Motorsport Monday) Claire, much speculation in the media
about Robertís future with the team, which in all fairness the team has said
is a non-starter, he is committed with the team. But a lot of rumours have
him working very closely with your engineering department, his feedback has
apparently been crucial in developing the car. Could you perhaps explain the
other side of Robert that we donít get to see on the TV screens?
CW: Sure. Just to clarify the point about Robertís situation with the team:
Robert is racing with us this year and will continue to do so. I donít know
where this speculation has come from but in the past couple of weeks there
seems to be a lot of speculation around about Williams. But one of the
reasons that I wanted to bring Robert into the team was, talking to him last
year he did a great job for us as a reserve driver, and throughout last year
we really saw his strength and his technical ability and his feedback. If
you spend any time talking to Robert you know and understand how intelligent
he is, how much knowledge he has around the car and its performance and how
to get the most out of it. Obviously coming into this year, we knew where we
were ahead of time and we knew therefore that we would need somebody, a
driver, with that level of engineering intelligence that could really help
translate what was going on in the car back to the engineers and back into
the factory and that was a key reason why we brought him on board. And he
has continued that process with the engineers. He has been invaluable in
helping to drive the performance that you are seeing weíre bringing to the
car over the course of this season. Robert, as a person, heís incredibly
hard working and heís very focused on what heís here to do and we all know
where he has come from and the accident that he has had and for anyone to
come back into our sport having experienced such an accident is quite
remarkable. It shows his resilience. The only other person Iíve seen that in
myself, in my lifetime, is Frank. To come back from such serious injuries,
to have that level of determination is really quite extraordinary and I
think that probably sums Robert up in a nutshell.
Q: (Scott Mitchell Ė Autosport) To Zak and Christian. Zak you talked about
wanting to avoid getting involved in the Ďsilly seasoní by confirming your
drivers early. By retaining Carlos and Lando whatever slim chance there was
of Fernando coming back to the grid after taking some time away, with
McLaren at least, is not on the cars now., With his ambassadorial role,
would you be happy to release him to speak to other teams if an opportunity
arose for next year? And for Christian, youíve been talking about supporting
Pierre, there has been a lot of speculation about what will happen with him,
even some links with Sebastian returning to the3 team. Whatís the Red Bull
position with regard to the 2020 driver market?
ZB: Yeah, with Fernando he remains an ambassador with McLaren, weíve got a
great relationship with him and we are speaking with him about some racing
programmes in the future that are nor Formula One-related. But we are happy
for him, if he wants to get back into Formula One, because we donít have a
seat available to go race for another team, and we will very much support
with that if thatís what he wants to do.
CH: Our philosophy at Red Bull has always been to invest in young talent.
Thatís the purpose of Toro Rosso Ė it is to nurture and develop young
talent. Pierre has had a tough first half of the year. We know ultimately
what heís capable of, which he hasnít show his full hand yet. We saw a
glimpse of it in P1 just now. With time and patience it will come right for
him. Formula One is an impatient sport, but our philosophy is very much to
invest in youth and to give young talent an opportunity and chance and
therefore we obviously keep a very close eye on the nurturing talents at
Q: (Dieter Rencken Ė Racing Lines / Racefans.net) There has been a lot of
speculation about an eventual successor for Chase Carey and quite a few
names are in the frame. Christian yours is one of the names that has been
speculated about. Would you be interested in accepting the position were it
to be offered?
CH: I enjoy racing. My commitment is with Red Bull. There is a lot more I
want to achieve from a competitive position and my objective is to get Red
Bull back into a consistent winning position, challenging for championships.
I am not aware that Chase is about to step down imminently, I think there is
a lot of speculation but I think it is exactly that, so as far as I am
concerned I am very happy doing what I am doing and my focus and commitment
is very much on getting Red Bull back into a competitive, consistently
Q: (Owari Masahiro Ė Formula Owari Masahiro) Christian, Doctor Marko says
you can win five races this season. What is your opinion? How many races can
you win? And which race is your next biggest chance?
CH: Well, thereís no crystal ball so weíre approaching the half point of the
season. To have got that first victory is an enormous achievement and a huge
milestone for the team and for Honda. We approach things race-by-race. As a
team, with try and optimise. We didnít go into Austria expecting to win that
Grand Prix and came out with the first place trophy. Thatís how we will
approach every single Grand Prix between now and the end of the year. What
that leads to in results weíll know by the end of the year. Helmut obviously
has an optimism which heís already pushing and always going for which is
great. I think from the teamís side, itís a little bit more on a
race-by-race basis but of course the target is to try and win as many races
as we can between now and the end of the year.
Q: (Kevin Eason Ė Sunday Times) Much as itís lovely for Lewis, are you
worried that Lewis and Mercedes are killing this sport with their domination
which is unprecedented now and how are you going to stop it? When can fans
expect to see a level playing field and people like Frank Williams emerging
to win Grands Prix against the big boys?
MB: Well, I donít think you can say something like they are killing the
sport, they are doing a really good job and they are deserving their wins
and their championships and all of us are sat here and thinking we should
look up to them and do the same job and then we will compete with them. I
think there are changes coming for 2021 under Libertyís and the FIAís
guidance to make the sport more competitive, certainly to make it fairer and
more sustainable as well. Whether they will be successfulÖ we think they are
on the right path. I certainly think the budget cap is probably the biggest
impact on the relative competitiveness of the sport so weíre very
supportive, weíre very pro-active in helping them writing the regulations
and planning what the sport will be from there. Whether they will be
sufficiently impactful for all the teams to compete for victories Iím not
sure. However, is that what we really want? We want the best working teams
to compete for victories. Hopefully thereís more than just one or two.
ZB: Not a lot to build on. First youíve got to give credit to Mercedes and
Lewis for doing an outstanding job. I think we all recognise the sport is
not where it needs to be, to have a more level playing and therefore better
competition. I think 2021 will be a big step forward so I think we can
expect a lot more Lewis and Mercedes victories this year, most likely again
next year and then hopefully in 2021 with enough rule change that we will
start to see the grid get a little bit more mixed up because certainly we
need to be putting on a better show for the fans and when they show up to
the British Grand Prix, thinking that there may be seven/eight/ten drivers
who can win the race when in reality right now itís just the few.
CW: Probably just going to repeat everything that everybody else has already
said but I donít think you can take away from Mercedes the extraordinary job
that they have done and itís down to the remaining nine teams to do a better
job to take the fight to them. Someoneís got to win, thatís the whole point
of this sport, that you employ the best people, you get the best resources
you can around you in order to create the most competitive car and they have
done the best job of that. Someone has to win in this sport. We donít
obviously want the same team Ė itís not great for the health of our sport Ė
for the same team to win in each and every race. I think thatís why huge
congratulations have to go to Red Bull because itís tough to beat Mercedes
at the moment and to see another team taking a victory at an event was
fantastic, fantastic for the sport. But itís about creating great racing,
isnít it and making sure that all the regulations collude in order to
achieve that and Iím very much hoping obviously that the regulations that
are coming on board in 2021, whether that be the technical regulation, the
financial regulations all contribute to helping improve the competition that
we have, that ensure the sustainability of our sport moving forward into the
CH: Everybody has the same set of rules presented to them at the beginning
of each year and youíve got to take your hat off to Mercedes and Lewis for
doing such a great and dominant job. I think, for me, the lessons that you
learn, particularly over time, is that the more you change things, the more
spread you create in the field and the regulations change that we had over
the winter didnít help anything. In fact it made a dominant team even more
dominant so I think the aerodynamic changes, the tyre changes that were made
actually didnít do anything to help the sport or the spectacle and I think
thatís where we need to be very very careful for 2021 because each team will
believe they can get an advantage and ultimately somebody will get it right,
somebody will get it wrong but there could be a much bigger spread than
there is currently and for me I think the most important thing is once a set
of regulations is achieved and found for the future, is consistency. The
most important thing is leave it alone for a long period of time and then
you will get the grid coming together with stability. The worst thing is
dicking and changing something every year which isnít fully understood that
then changes the dynamics of the car. So for me I think you will get
absolute convergence with stability and I think that whatever is done for
2021 should be fixed pretty much for a five year period unless thereís some
fundamental flaw in it.
TT: Mercedes and Lewis are doing a very good job. They are talking about the
2021 regulations and then the PU manufacturers working on 2021 regulations
to have a more competitiveness for each person. Not fixed yet but we will
see the result soon, I think.
Q: (Chris Medland Ė Racer.com) Christian, I wanted to follow up on Dieterís
question actually: your name as a team boss has been linked with running F1
in the future but so has Totoís as another team boss. What would be your
feelings if Toto was to take on that role in the future and perhaps the
other three team members to your left, what would be your thoughts if either
Christian or Toto were to take on the role of running F1?
CH: Well, Toto already is, by all accounts I think! So look, to be honest
with you, itís an irrelevant question. As far as myself is concerned, I
think Iíve made my position clear: I love racing, I love competing, I love
the team that Iíve been involved with since the beginning and my goals and
ambitions for the future are to very much bring it back into a competitive
situation. Itís Libertyís business at the end of the day. Whoever they chose
to run it for them is their choice, itís not down to the teams, itís their
business, itís their investment. I think that Chase is doing a great job. I
think heís learned quickly about Formula One. I think if you look at the
actual show now, the crowd sizes, the attendance, everything thatís going on
around the sport, thereís a lot of great things happening. We just need a
better product and I think if the product can be addressed through the
regulation changes for 2021 and we get that right then the potential for
this sport is phenomenal because even when weíre seeing serial winning,
thereís still 140,000 people coming through the gate here. Austria was a
sell-out, Canada was a sell-out. Attendance is up everywhere we go and you
think crikey, if we can actually put on a great show like Austria was and it
doesnít necessarily mean that that means Red Bull need to be doing the
winning, it would be great to see some of these guys doing the winning as
well, then I think the potential of Formula One is huge.
CW: Well firstly, Iím quite annoyed that my name hasnít been put in the mix.
Seriously. No, it is pure speculation. I believe itís never come up about
Chase so I donít know whatís going on there. If youíre genuinely asking me
my thoughts around Christian or Toto running Formula One, clearly I think
they would both be excellent at it.
ZB: Not a lot to say. Iíve seen a variety of names linked to it. I donít
know how real it is but Toto would certainly be a credible candidate.
CW: What about Christian? You donít say Christian.
ZB: I was asked about Toto.
MB: Iím not in the running, I can reassure Toto and Christian theyíre safe.
Q: (Rob Harris Ė Associated Press) Just picking up on that theme of
leadership: amongst the main headlines earlier this week was a name from the
past, Bernie Ecclestone talking about Vladimir Putin which seemed to get
lots of headlines, a reminder of how controversy can create headlines. Is
the problem with Chase and the Liberty leadership, itís all a bit dull and
between racesÖ do you need someone to whip up a bit of drama and frenzy to
actually help the sport overall be top of the agenda all around the world
when thereís so many other competing sports?
CH: Bernieís ability to generate a headline, as heís demonstrated this past
week, is still absolutely right up there with the best. But as I said in my
previous answer, I think that Formula Oneís doing a lot of good things at
the moment. If you look at the fan engagement, if you look at the amount of
fans that are getting into the circuit now, things like the hot laps, things
like Netflix that were done over the last winter, in terms of digital
engagement, the whole digital media strategy. All of that is being embraced
and I think the fundamental thing isnít the promotion of the sport, I think
it is the product itself. I think when you look at a race like weíve had at
the majority of races this year theyíre too static, theyíre too predictable,
thereís not enough action. One pit stop races are the most boring races you
can have and I think thatís what we need to focus on as a collective group
because thatís where ultimately we all benefit out of: If the product is
better, the racing is better. Partners, manufacturers, sponsors will want to
be there. The fan engagement then goes through the roof. So I think we need
Ross Brawn and his team working in conjunction with the FIA to give Chase
and Jean Todt a blueprint of this is what Formula One needs to be.