TEAM REPRESENTATIVES Ė Franz TOST (Toro
Rosso), Zak BROWN (McLaren), Mattia BINOTTO (Ferrari), Cyril ABITEBOUL
(Renault), Claire Williams (Williams)
Q: The 2021 regulations are now locked-in,
having been unanimously ratified by the World Council, so can we start
please by getting your thoughts on them. Perhaps Mattia, you could start?
Mattia BINOTTO: Obviously, as you said, it has been voted. As Ferrari we are
part of the World Council, we voted as well in favour. We believe it is the
right moment to look for a discontinuity, for our sport, it has to be
sustainable, we are all aware of that. We need to work hard as well in the
future on a more sustainable, green, as well, sport. There is a still much
to work on, so if there is anything, I would avoid to say that it is locked
down. I think this is still at a starting point where altogether now we need
to collaborate, improve furthermore what is certainly a good set of
regulations, but still much to develop, improve and certainly as well,
looking at a more sustainable sport in the future, on the power unit, on the
fuel, whatever can be done. I think thatís a responsibility weíve all got
together. So far, we collaborate well with FIA and F1 but still much to do.
Cyril ABITEBOUL: Yes, I think itís good that itís done. Itís an important
milestone but, as mentioned by Mattia, there is so much more to be one. I
would still acknowledge a number of innovations in this set of regulations,
because there will be a new set of regulations with the financial
regulations that will complement technical and sporting. Otherwise itís a
compromise. Some people would have liked it to be a bit different, maybe a
bit more open or a budget cap a bit lower, things like that Ė but it's a
first step, in my opinion a good step, itís in Renaultís opinion a step
thatís going in the right direction for a sustainable sport, so letís see
whatís coming next but itís good now that we have clarity on whatís coming
up for 2021. We can all now start building up this beautiful car that we
have ahead of us, and start spending towards this new regulation.
Q: Claire, your thoughts?
Claire WILLIAMS: I think from a Williams perspective weíre delighted that
that new regulations were approved by the World Motor Sport Council. Theyíre
everything that weíve wanted to see from the various perspectives, whether
they be technical and most clearly the financial regulations that are coming
on board for 2021 are exactly where we wanted to be. We understand that
theyíre a first step, moving forward but theyíre certainly a right step in
the direction that we wanted to ensure that the sport Ė but also teams like
ours Ė remain sustainable for the future. I think weíre all very aware of
how unsustainable at the moment Formula 1 is from a cost perspective. So, to
have a level of cost-capping at this first juncture is really important to
teams like ours. I donít think that can be underestimated. The technical
regulations as well are a step in the right direction. I think thereís
probably some tweaking to do Ė but I think certainly as a first step theyíre
exactly what we wanted to see.
Zak BROWN: I agree with everything thatís been said before me. I think itís
a good day for Formula 1. I think itís going to be exciting, 2021, because
thereíll be much change. I think through this process, the Formula 1 teams
got closer relationships with each other, which is something that, while we
certainly still donít all agree on everything, I think relationships have
been built for the better of the sport. I also think working with Chase and
Ross and the FIA, thatís been a good process. Iím sure we all would like to
see some things modified but thatís always going to be the case. In our
case, I think the budget cap, there was one area we would like to have seen
something more aggressive, quicker, it would have been that, but it is what
it is and I think most importantly we have clear direction moving forward.
Q: And Franz?
Franz TOST: All the parties have done a good job. That means Liberty Media,
the FIA and the teams to come up with these new regulations Ė because all
the main topics are covered. What are the main topics? The cost cap Ė
because we need to come down with the costs in Formula 1; b) the money
distribution: itís more fair than it was before. Then the new technical
regulations; the new sporting regulations and as well the governance. I
think thatís an important time frame to bring everything within next year
and then 2021 in the right direction. Itís a new start for Formula 1 and I
hope it will be a successful start.
Q: Zak, youíve worked hard at restructuring McLaren over the last 18 months,
so how much personal satisfaction does the prospect of P4 in the
Constructorsí Championship give you?
ZB: Iím very pleased with the season so far. There are still three races to
go. We had a poor Mexico which I think was a good reminder that, while weíve
had a good year, with three races to go thereís plenty of points still up
for grabs but certainly the off-season progress, the people that weíve
brought on board, Andreas leading the team, James Key, Andrea Stella getting
promoted, and really all the men and women at McLaren. Our relationship with
Renault, theyíve been an excellent partner. Iíd like to give them a lot of
credit for our success this year and our improvements. And yeah, itís
certainly a lot more enjoyable being at this Austin US Grand Prix than it
was this time last year.
Q: Cyril, while weíre talking about restructurings, you announced a
reorganisation of your aero department this morning. Just tell us a little
bit more about that. Why have you done that?
CA: I think itís fairly straightforward what weíre trying to achieve. This
year has been marked be an amount of satisfaction but also some struggles.
Itís clear that this position of P4 that we had last year is going to be
challenging to retain this year, to say the least, against Zak. But Iím
happy that itís a Renault powertrain thatís going to maintain that spot in
the future. Weíre also in a close fight against Franz and Toro Rosso, and
Racing Point, so a number of challenges. Weíve been focussed on growing, in
terms of quantity, making up the numbers, it had to be done, but in parallel
we need also to look for a bit stronger technical leadership and making the
team stronger in that area where we were a bit lean at that level, so thatís
exactly what weíve gone by restructuring our aero department with a mix of
external recruitment and internal promotion. So, Iím not going to go into
the specifics but we all hope itís going to support our best, all that there
is to offer because aero department is a big department with very nice
facilities, state-of-the-art equipment, so they need to know to deliver
Q: Claire, Nico HŁlkenberg has ruled out a move to Williams in 2020 and
Nicholas Latifi is doing FP1 for the remainder of the season except for Abu
Dhabi. Is that an indication of your plans for next year?
CW: No, the plan was always to have Nicholas Latifi in the car for these
practice session that youíre seeing him in, in the next couple of races and
in Mexico as well. Itís no clear indication. Weíve made it very clear in the
media that we wonít be making our driver announcement for that second seat
for 2020 until after Abu Dhabi this year.
Q: Franz, Pierre Gasly said yesterday that your car hasnít changed much
since heís been back with the team Ė yet the results have been strong in the
last few races. If what he says is the case, how do you explain the upturn
in performance in recent races?
FT: Maybe he slept not so good here. The car made some progress because we
came up with a lot of aero updates, and donít forget that also Honda also
came with a new fuel, in Suzuka, which brought us a good performance
advantage. Nevertheless, Pierre gets also more and more familiar with the
car and with the team, and therefore he is showing a good performance and we
are happy about this.
Q: And youíve finished in the points here for the last five years. Do you
think you can do it again this weekend?
FT: I hope so. This is the target. Itís not only to finish in the points. We
should be really good in the points, to score a lot of points, not only one
or two points. But we will see. Our competitors are very strong and it will
become an interesting race.
Q: Mattia, whatís your analysis of last weekendís race in Mexico? Have you
had a chance to look through what happened and how you can help yourself
MB: Well, what happened? Certainly when starting on the first row itís
always difficult somehow not to get the best result in the race but I think
what happened is that first maybe we were not fast enough in the race,
because if being faster they could not have undercut us. Thatís the first
analysis. Generally speaking, sometimes to win you need to take some more
risks. And risk to me means somehow brave and brave enough means that maybe
when Albon stopped we should not have stopped with Charles, staying out. But
in doing that means that we were pretty sure the tyres would not have lasted
to the end by stopping at that time, which was wrong, wrong assumption. So
it means that in terms of tyre modelling, tyres understanding, there was
still some tuning that was required. So now, theyíre looking back at all the
data. We are furthermore trying to improve our tyre model for a better
understanding and that will give us in the future probably a better
opportunity for a better choice.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Frederic Ferret Ė LíEquipe) Question to Mattia. Your two drivers are
fighting for the third place in the Championship. Is it an important thing
for you? And the one who will finish ahead of the other, will be the team
leader for next year?
MB: OK. What is important for us, at first is to confirm the second place in
the Constructorsí, and hopefully we can do it here this weekend. What is
still important for us is to add some victories for Ferrari team in the last
few races. And I think very last is third place in the Driversí. And then
whoever will beÖ not important. With that said, the start of next year, not
Q: (Dieter Rencken Ė Racing Line / Racefans.net) A question to Mattia.
Obviously, you are on the WMSC and you voted in favour of the regulations.
You also have a veto. Had you any stage considered triggering the veto about
any aspect of the regulations or at the very least voting against the set of
MB: As first, as we said, we voted in favour, so we are happy with the new
set of regulations or if not happy then we are at least convinced it is the
right way to go. Did we consider it in the past? I think as many times we
answered to the same question, for us it was more important to collaborate
with F1 and the FIA to makes sure that by the end of October we got the best
package to be voted and I think thatís where we put our focus and put our
effort. Thatís all.
Q: (Abhishek Aggarwal - INDIAinF1.com) Mattia, last week in the post-race
press conference Vettel mentioned that Ferrari cars are quickest in a
straight line and the fact that the power unit is great, itís just that
thereís less downforce and that when the tyres get a bit older thereís some
pressure. Now, given the fact that this track is more favourable with regard
to downforce do you think Ferrari will have an edge this weekend?
MB: No. I think of this as two different points. First, we are still lacking
downforce compared to our competitors and thatís an area of weakness,
something that we improved all through the season. I think that today weíve
got a good package but not good enough and we are very aware that having
downforce is important, certainly on some circuits, like Budapest and
Mexico. But if you look from Budapest to Mexico we did a great step forward
in the right direction. So we will need to add further downforce, we will
need to add further downforce for next season and that is important for the
race pace, tyre degradation and so on. Adding downforce will mean adding
drag and we will be slower then on the straight. But still today we believe
weíve got a good engine and thatís in our favour and we hope to keep the
same advantage in the future.
Q: (Scott Mitchell Ė Autosport) To all five please. The final regulations
came out yesterday. Theyíve been described as immature and underdeveloped in
recent weeks. Now youíve got the initial tranche of provisional regulations,
I guess, are there any early red flags or concerns about areas that needs
further development or are particularly green?
FT: No. So far we have now a good basis on the technical regulations as well
as the sporting regulations. Of course there will be further discussions and
some fine tuning but the most important pillars are fixed and the rest then
we will see.
ZB: I agree with Franz. There are no red flags. Fine tuning the regulationsÖ
theyíre quite complex and long and new, so Iím sure there will be questions,
comments and modifications but nothing that appears to be alarming and no
big, gaping holes at the moment.
MB: No big issues. Certainly all the teams will start developing the cars
for 2021 and put more effort and Iím pretty sure by putting more effort into
it we will find out eventually some areas that will need to be further
improved. But again, I think what will be important is the process of
discussions, the process of regs modifications, which means as well a
governance we need to put in place and that will be key from now to the
start of 2021 and the earlier we do that the better it will be.
CA: To pick up from where Mattia left it: to confirm all details of the
governance, because in order to make changes as we develop the cars and as
we face some unknowns or some loopholes, we need to see how we can fix what
is missing from the regulations. The other aspect, the other chapter that is
maybe not developed enough is maybe the roadmap on the engine side. We
exactly know where we are on 2021, but fuel, bio-fuel, freeze, partial
freeze, progressive freeze, complete freeze? In our opinion those aspects
need to be addressed so that the economic side of the engine activity is
also sustainable Ė just as sustainable as the chassis side.
CW: I would agree with what everyone has said so far. I donít think there
are any red flags in there. I would also probably say use of the word
Ďimmatureí would be slightly unfair to the countless people that have put a
huge amount of effort into these regulations on the side of the FIA and F1.
A lot of people have been involved and a lot of people have spent many, many
hours making sure that these regulations are in the best possible place that
they can be up until this point. And I agree with everyone else that there
is just some tweaking that needs to be done to them.
Q: (Bernardo Becht Ė Correio do Povo) With the cost cap coming and these new
regulations Ė for Zak and Claire, the teams most concerned Ė wonít there be
two development teams for two cars until the cost cap coming in, stars to
take place. Wonít it be harder to catch up? Ferrari and Mercedes will have
two teams working to develop a 2020 and 2021 car. Wonít it be harder to
catch up later, with less money, when there is a cost cap working?
ZB: Itís hard to catch them right now. Ferrari and Mercedes are fantastic
racing teams and they have tremendous resources. Yeah, this is going to be a
journey, the cost cap. There will be a lot of spending in í20 that will have
implications for í21. And of course once you get a head start when you see
regulations, whether itís on the power unit front, stability over time tends
to bring things together. So, I think Ferrari and Mercedes are in a great
position and weíre all trying to catch up and it will take some time.
CW: Yeah, obviously, I think weíre in a slightly different position to
McLaren. Our budget is much smaller than theirs. For teams like ours, for
Alfa, for Haas, theyíre operating on considerably less budget than the rest
of the grid. Itís a really difficult piece of work at the moment to try to
marry up the programmes we are running for not just this year but for next
year and í21. But I would say it is probably the lesser of two evils. We did
try, in the Strategy Group, to see if we could bring the cost cap in
earlier, so the bigger teams wouldnít have to spend all this money theyíre
worried about spending for next year. That would be clearly a bonus. Thereís
clearly going to need to be some convergence, which Iím sure we will see Ė
weíve got stability on these regulations for five years from í21 and beyond.
It is difficult. It is incredibly difficult. But these regulations,
particularly as I said earlier, the financial regulations that we are
seeing, are the right things for teams like ours that are truly independent
and rely solely on sponsorship.
FT: Yeah, I mean itís clear that the top teams have an advantage. They will
use the next year, even this year already for developing the í21 car. They
will have this performance advantage for í21. The cost cap, real, will count
from 2022 and í23 onwards Ė 2021 will be a difficult one. But this was
Q: (Joe Saward Ė Autoweek) Weíre talking about saving money and weíre
increasing the number of races. Now, there is a cost to that, financial and
human. Iíd like to hear your views on whether 25 races is too much? To
CW: Twenty-five is a lot of races, you quite right. Looking at 22 for next
year is an awful lot and all the teams are having to look at the impact of
that on personnel, just purely from a lifestyle perspective and having that
work-life balance, itís incredibly difficult. Weíve all got support
personnel that we can rotate in and out. I think obviously for the bigger
teams it might be an easier challenge from that perspective: they have a
bigger budget in order to bring in more people in order to support that
rotation. It is difficult. From a financial perspective though there is an
offset, so obviously we go to more races, there is more money in the pot
that then gets distributed. So really from an offset financial piece, itís
not the end of the world. Itís more managing people, the people we have
working for us and not putting too much pressure on them for 25 weekends a
CA: I think itís a good summary. Iím pretty sure that the figures can work,
so it can still be economically positive to expand the calendar, to increase
the number of races, but as Claire mentioned itís really a stretch for
everyone and I think the main questions is a question of quantity versus
quality. But having said that we live in a world where we need to have as
much and as frequent touch points as possible with the fans, with the media,
with digital, creating content. We are in a world of content, where you need
market share, you need to visible, you need the exposure. Itís a difficult
one, probably not one for us to answer, probably one for the promoter
mainly. Itís a stretch for all of us. In my opinion the measure made on the
sporting side to sort of reduce the weekend are going in the right
direction, it doesnít really balance enough of what an expansion of the
calendar will mean in the future.
MB: I think there is not a clear answer, and by not having a clear answer it
means itís a good question. I think we are not all convinced at the moment.
I think itís part of the discussions we may need to have with F1. It is a
compromise at the end. It is an extra effort financially and Iím even not
too sure it will be to our benefit. It depends on where we are going racing
in the extra races. How much are the revenues for those ones. There are a
lot of points that will need to be addressed on the number of races. But
still, again, itís a matter of being positive, collaborative and finding all
together the right answer.
ZB: I think my only build is Iíd like to maybe see alternating races as a
potential solution. I think when you have new countries that want to embrace
Formula 1, that is a good things and it exposes us to new parts of the
world, but maybe instead of having 25 races, which I think is achievable,
though it would require doing things differently than we do today, then I
think maybe alternating some races on the calendar would be a good
compromise to grow the sport without straining the system as much as I think
25 races would.
FT: There is nothing to add, everything has been mentioned.
Q: (Jean-Louis Doublet Ė Agence France Presse) The track looks much bumpier
this year than it was last year; do you think it could create problems with
the integrity of the cars during the race?
FT: So far I donít expect any problems. The engineers have time to analyse
all the data and then Iím convinced they will find a correct set-up, even
for a bumpy track. I donít expect any problems in this case.
ZB: It certainly looked bumpy from what I saw on the screens from the first
session. Iíve not had a chance to speak with the drivers to get their
feedback. Iím not worried about the integrity of the car. Could catch a
driver or two out in the race, there were definitely a few drivers going off
the track so it could create some excitement.
MB: Yeah, certainly bumpy. I think that to say right now that it will not
affect the reliability would be very brave because later on in the race
weekend we may find the opposite. As a matter of fact this morning, with
Charles, we had a small inconvenience due to, we believe, on a bump, a small
issue happened just as an example so yes, it needs to be managed, we all
need to be aware of it and making sure that it doesnít affect the result.
CA: Not much to add. I think itís in addition to the reliability, it can
also affect the set-ups and finding the proper balance between sector one
with the understeer that you can create on those bumps, that you can fight
but to the expense of what you get in sector and stability and oversteer. So
it will be a compromise, might be an interesting chance for all of us.
CW: Our engineers were talking about it this morning, how bumpy it is and
Nicolas was reporting particularly turn one and two were particularly
difficult to get round, I think. Just from our perspective, weíve had a lot
of race attrition over the past three or four races and we just would like a
very clean weekend so that our poor manufacturing guys donít have to do a
whole lot of work after this race going into Brazil.
Q: (John Massengale Ė Speed City Radio) Zak, do technology fans need to
worry about the 2021 rules with cost caps? Cars look great but technology
fans donít want F1 not to be at the pinnacle.
ZB: No, I donít think they have anything to worry about. Formula Oneís
always been the pinnacle of motor sport, unbelievable technologies and I
think where things are going with the broadcasts and social media I think
the way that we communicate with fans via technology is actually just going
to increase so I think fans have plenty to be excited about for the future
of Formula One.
Q: (Graham Harris Ė Motorsport Monday, MotorsportWeek.com) For Franz, Zak
and Cyril with perhaps some comments from Mattia and Claire: that dreaded
word Brexit looks like itís headed sometime before January 31. With Zak and
Franz and Cyril having facilities in and out of the European Union, what
measures have you taken that your daily workload isnít increased and there
are no problems going forward. And perhaps Claire and Mattia, have you made
any preparations for Brexit, has it wasted a lot of money so far? Any other
CA: I have to say that I have lost this plot a bit recently but yeah, weíre
working, we have some measures in place. I think we know how things are
going to take place and shape up for anything related to races. We are not
totally clear on the logistics between our two factories, one being in
France, the other one being in the UK, that could cause some delay and
thatís still unclear. We are working with the Renault-Nissan Group on the
logistics side to make sure that we understand exactlyÖ we have access to
the authorities and then they will be able to help us in that respect so we
are lucky to be part of a group in that respect. On the personnel side Ė
because weíve recruited a lot, 24 nationalities working in our factory in
the UK, obviously we donít want to lose these people, so we understand that
there will be some sort of grandfathering, some measures to protect them, at
least for initial years, until we know a bit more about the exact measures
but again, I think we first need clarity about Brexit itself.
FT: I was at the wind tunnel in Bicester on Tuesday when we discussed this
topic for quite a long time. You know the major issues are logistics and of
course the people, the employees who are working there, not coming from
England and currently itís difficult to make a plan and a programme because
we donít know allÖ at least the final process. Once this is out, once first
of all if they decide the Brexit, that they know what they do, or what they
want to do and then we have to sit once more together and find the best
ZB: We have a team back at the factory, a little Brexit working group so
weíre prepared for it. I think it will impact everyoneís business to a
certain degree but fortunately itís been going on long enough that I donít
think there will be any surprises and weíll be working around it
Q: Mattia, any Brexit thoughts?
MB: No, not really. We do not have a working group, at least in Maranello on
that one. Obviously we will need to take care for our people weíve got, for
UK people in Italy but itís not worrying us, certainly.
CW: Like Zak says, weíve had a steering committee on this for the past year
now because there are clearly a lot of touch points that are going to have
an impact when it eventually does happen around personnel in particular. I
think Cyril said he has 24 nationalities, we have 28. There are a lot of
considerations on obviously not just the people who are working for us but
their families as well, whether they are based with those people in the UK
or whether they are in Europe. There are issues around foreign exchange,
around freight, crossing through borders, people crossing through borders,
so thereís a lot of working thatís going on and obviously with the continued
uncertainty that makes life a bit difficult so weíre looking forward to the
whole thing being resolved sooner rather than later and we can all move on
Q: (Dieter Rencken Ė Racing Lines / Racefans.net) I believe youíve very
recently received your draft commercial offers, letís call it the Concorde
Agreement. Is this is a good document, acceptable document for your business
models or is it just a good starting point for negotiations?
MB: So through that, we just voted the new set of regulations but the entire
Concorde Agreement needs to be discussed and agreed and signed, thatís on
the commercial button, the governance as well. Working group have been set,
to start discussing the details of the documents. I think itís only after
having seen the details that we may assess where we are and whatís required.
ZB: Same as Mattia. Weíre going through it, itís a long complicated
document, no major red flags and weíve got the necessary people within our
group going through it to all contribute to questions, comments that we have
so I think like any legal document, thereíll be lots of commentary but weíre
pretty comfortable with whatís been presented.
FT: The basis is OK, we are working on it, our people and so far I havenít
seen any big dramas or red flags. I think the document itself is so far
acceptable. Once more, we are still studying it.
CA: Well, I hope and believe that the principles of Concorde are more or
less in a good place. Maybe not everyone will agree with that but Iím
talking really about the key principles but clearly we are not dealing with
the detailsÖ You are both looking at me. Am I going too far? No, frankly I
donít expect any major renegotiations of Concorde terms, whatís been
proposed, because thatís something also thatís part of the discussion of the
whole package, even though itís not been signed up so anyone is free to sign
or not to sign but clearly I expect that the details of the drafting of the
document to take much longer - we all know that when one lawyer gets
involved so at least we have twelve lawyers. So thatís going to take a bit
of time probably to get a grid.
CW: I donít have much to add. Everyone has said what I would say. Weíre
looking through it and we havenít seen any red flags to date.