Tag Archives: Italian Gp

Monza agrees new F1 deal

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It was announced this morning that Monza will continue to host the Italian Grand Prix until at least 2019, following the signing of a new contract with Formula 1 bosses.

The negotiations for a new deal have lasted for more than a year as organisers struggled to raise the necessary funds, whilst the threat of losing the race to Imola – which had a contract to takeover hosting the race should Monza’s deal fall through – added pressure to conclude a new contract as quickly as possible.

A provisional ‘handshake’ deal was agreed back in August, but only now has it been signed off by both parties, with an announcement on the circuit’s Twitter confirming the news as follows:-

‘The renewal of the contract for the [Italian Grand Prix] at Monza has been signed.’

In a statement to the media, Italian motorsport federation (ACI) president Angelo Sticchi Damiani added the following:-

‘We have avoided the possibility that, after 70 years, Italy could lose one of the most prestigious, historic and fascinating automobile races in the world.

‘Now we move forward together, with the goal of making the Grand Prix in Monza, in the coming years, an even more important event, able to fascinate and attract more and more fans across the world.’

2016 Italian Grand Prix Post-Race Press Conference Transcript

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Here’s the official transcript of the 2016 Italian GP Post-Qualifying Press Conference as provided by the FIA as follows:-

DRIVERS

1 – Nico ROSBERG (Mercedes)

2 – Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)

3 – Sebastian VETTEL (Ferrari)

PODIUM INTERVIEWS

(Conducted by Eddie Jordan)

Nico, I don’t need to tell you, your 50th podium, your 21st race win and more importantly, his first win in Monza!

Nico Rosberg (referred here after as NR):- Thank you very much everyone, it’s absolutely amazing. It’s a very special day for me. I’m very happy to finally win here in Italy. You guys are unbelievable and it just makes it phenomenal to be up here so thank you very, very much and I’m going to enjoy this day.

Come on, tell us a little bit about the race. It was pretty much trouble-free, could your sort of control it from the front all the time apart from the pit stop?

NR: It was all down to the start. I had an awesome start and that made the win, so it was all there.

We’ll be back to you in a second. Ladies and gentleman, we know this man. Come on, how good is it to be here in front of all your adoring fans. Lewis, was it all down to the start?

Lewis Hamilton (referred here after as LH):- Firstly, look at this crowd. A big thank you to everyone for coming out. This is the best crowd we get all year; this is incredible. Obviously the start, but it’s still a great day for Mercedes Benz and I’m proud to be a part of it.

I’ve got to say, 14 race gone, two points between you two guys, I mean it’s all to play for isn’t it? it’s fantastic for us, the fans.

LH: Yeah, it’s good for you guys. I don’t know it it’s fantastic for the fans in the sense that there should have been more of us racing, there should have been a bigger race between Ferrari and us this weekend but hopefully in the future there will be.

Lewis, fantastic, well done and well done yesterday, great qualifying. Sebastian, first of all… it’s hard to believe this, isn’t it? It’s unbelievable.

Sebastian Vettel (referred here after as SV):- Unbelievable. This is the best podium in the world. Noi, Ferrari abbiamo i migliori tifosi del mondo. Grazie a tutti, grazie per essere venuti, grazie!!

This is dreamtime but nevertheless I’ve got to ask you the question: when do you think, how soon can you take these boys from Mercedes on? How soon can you be on the top of the podium?

SV: Well, we’ll try. We’re working very hard. They are doing a very good job, so you have to say “well done” and show them the respect for what the achieved in the last couple of years, but we’re fighting. I’m sure Ferrari will come back. I can’t make any promises about when, but I know we will, so keep believing, keep it up, I know that we believe in it and I’m sure we will succeed.

Why don’t you just say a few words to them in their Italian tongues?

SV: Un’altra volta – grazie, grazie mille. Noi siamo Ferrari.

Nico, a wonderful day for you, can you describe it?

NR: Oh yeah, it’s unbelievable. This makes it unbelievable. A part of me is Italian in a way, because I have a lot of friends and grew up with the culture, so all the more special. Siete i migliori del mondo, veramente. Incredibile. Grazie mille. Troppo bello. Proviamolo!! (then he sings).

We knew you were a driver but we didn’t know you were a member of The White Stripes! Anyway, please tell us, you’ve come back from the summer break and you’ve won those two races, you’re like a new man aren’t you, what’s happened to you?

NR: I’m feeling great. The race is on with Lewis of course, it’s always going to be a great battle and I look forward to what’s to come.

PRESS CONFERENCE

Nico, congratulations, your first Monza victory, second win in a week. Obviously you won it at the start. We talked about the start as an opportunity here yesterday, so tell us about that? Two points in it now in the championship and it looks like you’ve got a future in singalong as well?

NR: As we discussed, the start was the big opportunity and that worked out fantastically. I got a great start, because of course we had the soft and Ferrari had the supersoft and that worked out great and that gave me the race win in the end, because from then on I was able to control the pace and we had good speed. The singalong was awesome. The Italian crowd is just the best in the world and it’s really good fun.

Is that become a new signature when you win now?

NR: It just works here with them.

OK. Lewis, conversely, you lost it at the start. I understand you told the team by radio that it was your mistake and you obviously did everything you did to recover but were the 10 laps behind the Williams of Bottas… did that leave you too much to do in the end?

LH: Well, obviously yeah it was lost at the start. To be honest, I knew my engineers would be worried and nervous of how the start went, so that’s why I tried to put their minds at ease. I don’t really know what happened at the start, though obviously I will try to understand it later. I did everything normal.

But, yeah, it’s hard to overtake here. Live to fight another day and you know a great audience here, as every year just an incredible crowd. A lot of Ferrari fans but also a lot of British flags were here today so I appreciate them coming out.

Q: Sebastian, obviously a slightly different strategy, supersoft, supersoft, soft. Was there nothing more you could do to protect the track position that you got after Lewis’ poor start in the first stint, with the tyre choices you had. And what positives do you take from this weekend in general?

SV: Well, he did one stop less, so obviously it was clear after our second stop he would be ahead of us – and I think the problem was that he was too far ahead of us. Simple as that. I think we were slightly quicker, we were on a fresher set of tyres but not quick enough to really catch up. I think in the end the gap was still fairly big. Nevertheless I think it’s been a great day.

We’ve had a really good start, got a bit stuck. Maybe I should have gone to the left, I wasn’t sure what Lewis was going to do. Then I decided to go in the middle of them and was side-by-side with Nico but he did a good job braking for Turn One. I was hoping that he’ll go on the brakes a bit sooner but he didn’t. And then I had another crack, another look into Turn Four but I wasn’t close enough to be honest.

After that I think we had good pace but it was sort of expected that they are obviously a bit quicker than us, in race pace as well. And I think you could see at the end the result was fairly clear. Still, I think it’s been a mega day for Ferrari. To get so much support. I think it felt even more than last year, which is great and hopefully it all peaks next year. Still, I can’t complain: two podiums in Monza two times at the start with Ferrari.

I think it’s a great achievement, really happy and proud of that. But for sure, you’re always aiming for the top step, also to give the maximum support back. It’s been incredible. Coming into the track, leaving the track, even leaving late at night, they’re just happy to wave, with all the Ferrari kit, with all the flags equipped, it’s great to see the passion in this country for Ferrari and to be part of that is great. Obviously our mission doesn’t stop here. It’s only the beginning. We want to win. That’s what we really want. That’s what the people deserve as well.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Nico, I would like to congratulate you to become the first ever Finnish national who has won a grand prix on Italian soil. Winning at Spa and then Monza first time, legendary places, how does that feel in your career.

NR: It feels great.

SV: Being a Finn, you should answer in Finnish…

NR: Just talking about today it’s special because I really feel close to the Italian culture in many ways. All my best friends are Italian, I speak Italian and have a lot of connections with Italy and a lot of support here also, so it’s amazing to see. On this historic track it’s been a special place to win.

I didn’t… Imola, Monza, no Finn has ever won? Wow. Cool.

Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action / Speed Sport) Lewis, you said you don’t know exactly what happened in the car at the start but can you tell us what was going on in there and how you felt to see all those cars go screaming by.

LH: To be honest I don’t really remember. I do remember a bunch of cars coming by but, as I said, I did the sequence, everything exactly the same and yeah, I think I just got lots of wheelspin. A bit like Nico’s start perhaps in Hockenheim. Yeah.

Q: (Peter Farkas – Auto Motor) Sebastian, yesterday in qualifying, bigger difference to Mercedes than last year, today in the race, maybe a smaller difference, you were even closing on the Mercedes with the soft tyres at the end. What was the reason for that? That you were so much quicker today. And how encouraging is it for the next two races especially?

SV: Well, we had a different strategy so obviously we had fresher tyres, different compound at the end, it was clear and expected that we were quicker and catching up – but probably not enough really to put them seriously under any pressure. I think we extracted our best race which obviously, y’know… it’s been a while since it’s been the case. It speaks for the team.

I think we’ve done a very good job this weekend, everyone has been really focused and, y’know many times I hear that coming to Monza, yeah, it’s a sort of extra burden and pressure and all this. I think it’s much the opposite for everyone in the team. You come here, people are able on Thursday, Friday to bring some of their family to the track, Ferrari is very helpful and open to give the chance to some of the mechanics and engineers, a lot of their families come here to see them and support them.

And equally we has so much support from all the fans around the track, so of course you want to do well, it’s family in the end. We have probably the largest family we bring to a race track in that regard but I think everyone knows when I’m saying you want to do well in front of your family. So, of course, there is a bit of tension but if anything I think it lifted us up this weekend. It was great to see also the majority of the board of Ferrari coming, turning up, our president, giving the support and it’s been exactly the opposite of what people thought – or wrote probably – about. Really no pressure.

We knew it would be tough against Mercedes, it has been tough and we didn’t beat them. Nevertheless, I think we did a great job, we pulled out our best, we had a great race. We finished third and fourth is the optimum we could get. That’s a lot to be proud about. Obviously the fans deserve nothing else but the top step and hopefully we can give it to them the next couple of years.

Q: (Ralf Bach – AutoBild Motorsport) Two questions for Nico: firstly, are you the new Pirelli ambassador or why do you wear this cap here? And secondly, for what reasons didn’t you and Lewis use the supersoft tyres here

NR: I apologise for that mistake to Mercedes, sorry for that. I didn’t realise. I’m sure I’ll hear about that later on.

And what was the second part? Why didn’t we use them? Because the best race for us was soft-medium, that was the fastest way to get to the end of the race, as you could see. It was good speed.

Q: (Livio Orrichio – GloboEsporte.com) Lewis, curiosity, when you face a situation like today and you see your opponents overtaking you at the start, knowing that you have a very fast car, do you have time at that moment to think ‘oh my God, maybe I lost the race’ or do you only concentrate yourself to try to get some positions back?

LH: I think at that moment you only think about getting back to where you started. So I’d fallen back and my goal was to try and get back up to where I was. But of course, I could see Nico pulling away, and I know from my experience of being here in Formula One that whilst anything can happen, the chances of the win decrease lap by lap, second by second so of course I knew that at quite an early stage that winning the race was not going to be possible but I would try but I got up to second and that’s the best I could do with such a loss at the start.

Q: (Peter Windsor – F1 Racing) Sebastian, it was quite unusual to see you leaving the pit lane after your second stop with the DRS open on the run down to the first corner. I presume that’s because you were in the activation zone behind Kvyat coming into the pits. Can you talk about that? It’s quite interesting. And b) you had a big lock-up coming in and I wondered if that was due to the DRS being half-closed or not?

SV: No, I had lock-up because to be honest the mindset when you come in is that you don’t really care about those tyres any more and you just to try to hit the brakes as hard as you can and stop for the line, so I had a bit of a lock-up but at that point you’re not really bothered, you just stamp on the brakes so that’s what triggered it. And then on the way out, I did have the advantage of the DRS so even if it’s 0.0 or something, you still go for it.

Q: (Barna Zsoldos – Nemzeti Sport) To the Mercedes drivers; it was the seventh time this year that either of you lost the leading position, just after starting from pole. Usually you very quickly adapt to every technical rule change so can you explain why it’s so difficult to get it right with this simple clutch?

Q: I think he means single clutch.

NR: It’s the rule change, it makes it more challenging. Because now it’s down to the driver to do it. It’s more difficult.

LH: Don’t agree that it’s more down to the driver. I think the driver thing is the same as it was before, it’s just that we have a relatively inconsistent clutch and it’s hard to… In the past we were able to be told our clutch temperature and it was easier to hit our target as well but now it’s a lot less easy to know what your clutch is going to be delivering and what it’s not.

Q: (Peter Windsor – F1 Racing) Nico, just following up from what you were saying earlier about starting on the harder tyre than Ferrari, are you able to simulate that, practise that, given the allocation situation with tyres? Are you able to be that precise in practice starts?

NR: Well, that’s the thing. No, because we’re not even practising on the grid, we’re practising at the end of the pit lane which is a whole different world. Everybody’s practising, their rubber’s going down so it’s a little bit trying to make the best guess and that’s what makes it so variable

Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Sebastian, after Spa with Kimi, were you more cautious at the first corner than usual?

SV: Er, well, I was side-by-side with Nico so yeah, but as I said, they did a good job on the brakes and obviously I didn’t see the car behind. To be honest, at no point did Spa cross my mind. I think after plenty of starts, I think Monza at turn one, we all know it’s tight so I did what I felt was right and it seemed to be right.

I think I left enough room for Nico, obviously I wasn’t really a challenge for him into turn one and for the cars behind, obviously I saw down to turn one that Nico and myself were putting up a shield and giving a lot of tow for the cars behind so it was natural  that they closed up. Equally I think they behaved well, doing their job right under braking, not overshooting so it all seemed fine coming out of turn two at least.

Q: (Peter Farkas – Auto Motor) Nico, it’s often said that it tends to go, for some reason, in waves, between Lewis and yourself. Both of you have waves when you are winning more races one after another and then it tends to change. So after now, winning two races in a row in one week, do you feel that the tide is in, it’s with you now?

NR: No, not at all. I don’t see waves, I just see it race by race and today I’m very very happy to have won here and next is Singapore and I will try to win there and that’s it.

2016 Italian Grand Prix Race Review

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On Saturday, we saw Lewis Hamilton taking Pole Position for the Italian Grand Prix ahead of Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel.

The start of the Italian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

The start of the Italian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

The Italian Grand Prix is underway! Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel gets a great start. Lewis Hamilton gets an bad start. So Rosberg leads Vettel into the first corner. Max Verstappen gets an appalling start and is now in twelfth place as does Esteban Gutierrez who was tenth and is now is twentieth.

Nico Rosberg leads the early stages of the Italian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg leads the early stages of the Italian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lap 2 sees Rosberg leads Vettel by a second. Going into the first corner, Hamilton tries to pass Ricciardo but cannot do so. But Hamilton a few corners later is able to pass Ricciardo for position. Jolyon Palmer and Felipe Nasr make contact with each other going into Turn 1. This then makes Felipe Nasr retire from the race as Palmer goes slowly around the circuit without a front wing.

The next few laps sees Hamilton catching Bottas for fourth place, Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen battling for ninth place and Nico Hulkenberg and Romain Grosjean battling for twelfth place. By Lap 8, Verstappen has passed Alonso for track position with a good move into Turn 1.

Valtteri Bottas being caught by Lewis Hamilton on Lap 10 of the race. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Valtteri Bottas being caught by Lewis Hamilton on Lap 10 of the race. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

By Lap 10, Hamilton passed Bottas on the circuit as Rosberg still leads the field by 10.3 seconds. With everyone starting to make their pit stops between Laps 12-20, things all changed in the grid even though Rosberg still lead the race but it was now ahead of his team mate Hamilton.

Sergio Perez running in seventh place on Lap 22. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Sergio Perez running in seventh place on Lap 22. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lap 22 sees Perez passing Grosjean with a great move into Turn 1. Three laps later sees Rosberg pitting for tyres and hands the lead of the race to Hamilton. Two laps later, Rosberg regains the lead of the race ahead of Vettel as Hamilton makes his pit stop for tyres and is now in fourth place.

Manor Racing driver Pascal Wehrlein has been told by his team via the radio to stop the car in a safe place as smoke appears out of his car. This then means that Wehrlein officially retires from the race. By Lap 30, Hamilton is catching Raikkonen for third place as Alonso is under pressure from Perez for tenth and on Lap 32, Perez is able to pass Alonso for the position.

Valtteri Bottas being caught by Daniel Ricciardo in the final stages of the race. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Valtteri Bottas being caught by Daniel Ricciardo in the final stages of the race. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

By Lap 33, Hulkenberg is under pressure from Bottas for eighth place. Daniil Kvyat officially retires from the race on Lap 38 even after gaining a time penalty. Lap 39 sees Rosberg leading Hamilton by 10.7 seconds. But the main action on the track is between Bottas and Ricciardo for fifth place; with the Red Bull driver edging ever more closely to the Williams driver.

In a fantastic move that was well executed and well planned, Ricciardo manages to get past the Williams of Bottas into Turn 1 after being so far behind him as well. But Bottas saw it coming and must have been surprised to see Ricciardo making his move, but both drivers respected each other and did not collide into each other.

Nico Rosberg wins the Italian GP ahead of Lewis Hamilton in second place and Sebastian Vettel in third place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg wins the Italian GP ahead of Lewis Hamilton in second place and Sebastian Vettel in third place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

But Rosberg leads Hamilton on the final lap of the race by 15 seconds and wins the Belgian GP which is his first win at the circuit and has reduced Hamilton’s lead in the championship to two points.

Hamilton is a credible second 15 seconds behind Rosberg, Vettel finished in a brilliant third place 20.9 seconds behind Rosberg, Raikkonen was a credible fourth 27.5 seconds behind Rosberg and Ricciardo finished fifth 42.2 seconds behind Rosberg

Bottas was sixth 51 seconds behind Rosberg, Verstappen was a brilliant seventh 54.2 seconds behind Rosberg, Perez was eighth 1.04.9 seconds behind Rosberg, Massa was ninth 1.05.6 seconds lap behind Rosberg and Hulkenberg was tenth 1.18.6 seconds behind Rosberg.

Lewis Hamilton still leads the Driver’s Championship with 250 points, Nico Rosberg is in second place with 248 points, Daniel Ricciardo is in third place with 161 points, Sebastian Vettel is in fourth place with 143 points, Kimi Raikkonen is in fifth place with 136 points, Max Verstappen is in sixth place with 121 points, Valtteri Bottas is in seventh place with 70 points, Sergio Perez is in eighth place with 62 points, Nico Hulkenberg is in ninth place with 46 points and Felipe Massa is in tenth place with 41 points.

Mercedes still lead the Constructors Championship with 498 points, Red Bull is in second place with 290 points, Ferrari is in third place with 279 points, Williams is in fourth place with 111 points, Force India is in fifth place with 108 points, McLaren is in sixth place with 48 points, Toro Rosso is in seventh place with 45 points, Haas is in eighth place with 28 points, Renault is in ninth place with 6 points and Manor are tenth with 1 point.

Conclusion

I feel that McLaren have had an average weekend and have shown that despite their best efforts that the McLaren team have a lot of work to do in order to try and extract performance from their car but they are making small gains that are paying off for them in the last few races and they need to use this as inspiration for Singapore next week.

Hulkenberg had a battle to finish in tenth place. He battled with Massa and Alonso for most of the race and he deserved to get a point for his efforts on Sunday and it will help his confidence for the next few races as a result.

Massa did an okay job to get ninth place and had a great battle to get there after battling with Hulkenberg for most of the race. This point for himself and Williams are vital and only shows just much of a driver Massa is despite not having the car underneath him to challenge for a better result this weekend.

Perez had another solid drive to eighth place on Sunday and bringing home much needed points. He has a solid run of form recently despite all the rumours surrounding where he will be driving next season but he is showing that he can deliver on the track.

Verstappen did a reasonable job to finish in seventh place. He may have had to battle through the grid after his poor start but he brought some points for himself and his team and increasing the pressure on Ferrari even though they had a better weekend than themselves.

Bottas had a bit of an action packed yet defensive race to finish sixth, but he scored more points for the Williams team who seem to be extracting a little bit more pace and performance out of their package. But there is still a lot of work to be done but the fact that Bottas scored points again shows that he can deliver on the track.

Ricciardo did a good job to get fifth place and deserves a mention as my driver of the day. He drove a solid race  despite winning the battle with Bottas and he did a great job to secure some much needed points for his team after a good performance this weekend and it is clear that the car was working well for them as a result. This will only help him prepare for the rest of the 2016 season.

Raikkonen had a credible race to finish in fourth and has to be my driver of the day. It is a result that Raikkonen needed after a tough few races and he should be happy; especially gaining the position during the race. He drove superbly but in a race where many expected him to finish and to maintain the momentum he has so far, he has managed to gain some points for the team and put himself in good stead for the rest of the 2016 season.

Vettel deserves a mention. He drove a solid race to third place and battled his way through to get these points. Just a fantastic weekend for him and the Ferrari team and showing that he cannot be discounted on putting in the best performance on the track, even when the odds are against him.

Hamilton drove a solid race to finish second today and has to be my driver of the race. He may not have had the race he wanted; and didn’t have a chance to try and get past but he did a great job to secure a podium yesterday. And once again, luck helped him achieve this but he was in the position to make hey. But what a fantastic job from him all weekend and this will only give him a slight satisfaction heading into the next race in Singapore.

All that is left to say about this race is that Rosberg deserved to win at Monza and he needed to in order to show that he cannot be discounted as a driver.  His driving was brilliant and controlled throughout the race. Mercedes has built on the results that they have gained so far since pre-season testing and have shown that they are still the best team on the grid at the moment. All credit to Nico for doing a superb job this weekend and winning his fifth race of the season and decreasing the championship lead as well.

With the Singapore GP in a weeks time, if this season will be Rosberg’s at last or can Hamilton, Ricciardo or Vettel challenge him for wins along the way. But what is for certain is that Formula One is building up rather nicely.

2016 Italian Grand Prix Post-Qualifying Press Conference Transcript

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Here’s the official transcript of the 2016 Italian GP Post-Qualifying Press Conference as provided by the FIA as follows:-

DRIVERS

1 – Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)

2 – Nico ROSBERG (Mercedes)

3 – Sebastian VETTEL (Ferrari)

TV UNILATERAL

Lewis that fifth Italian Grand Prix pole is equaled only by Senna and Fangio in history but the margin is perhaps what’s most impressive, describe your emotions?

Lewis Hamilton (referred here after as LH):- Obviously very happy today. I was only made aware of that record as I came into this weekend, so of course that was in the back of my mind, but hoping that it wouldn’t steer me off course. Yeah, I feel incredibly proud and honoured to up amongst Senna and Juan Manuel, incredible drivers. I never in a million years thought my name would be mentioned in the same sentence as their, so very proud of that.

But today, this weekend, a very strong feeling and obviously came with my A-game today and particularly that last lap felt incredible. It’s such a great track; it’s got such a great crowd. Big thank you to all the people that came out. But what this team has achieved, as race by race I continue to say, is just phenomenal. I’m so fortunate to be driving for this team, to be representing them and to drive a car as it was today, I got it right in the sweet spot and I was able to do an exceptional time with it.

Very well done. Nico, coming to you, by the standards of your battles with Lewis in the last couple of years, which are normally very tight, that was a large margin. How do you explain it?

Nico Rosberg (referred here after as NR):- I think the best explanation is that he did some good laps and that’s it, because I’ve had a decent weekend until now and got some good laps in today but just not quick enough.

OK, thank you. Sebastian, Kimi was ahead after the first runs in Q3 but you managed to pull out a lap at the end, running a little bit wide though on the exit of Parabolica, tell us about that?

Sebastian Vettel (referred here after as SV):- First of all, I wasn’t that happy with the first shot in Q3, I sort of lost the rhythm a little bit. And then I was obviously able to get it back and I had a good lap. I went just on the limit in the last corner. I actually lost and was a bit late going on throttle but I think the lap itself after let’s say not a great start, not a great first sector, where I was still losing out a little bit compared to Q2, I brought it back in Sector 2 and Sector 3 and obviously very happy for us to look our the second row as a team.

I’m not entirely happy because the gap is quite big to those guys ahead. Looks like they have been in a world of their own today, but who knows what happens tomorrow. For sure it’s great to see that we’ve got so much support. Last year was already phenomenal and this year seems even better. Every out lap you do people stand up and wave. It’s great to see all the flags; I think the support we get around here is massive. Bit thanks to everyone around the track, to all the tifosi and hopefully we’ll give something back tomorrow.

Thank you for that. Coming back to our polesitter then, Mercedes’ strategy seems clear, you and Nico will both start on the soft tyres tomorrow, one stop therefore is possible for you, but is there any concern about that flat spot? We heard that radio message; you wanted to do another run in Q2 because you felt you had damaged your tyres. Does that compromise you at all for the opening stint tomorrow?

LH: I didn’t really damage the tyres, I just had a small lock-up into Turn One and ultimately for the race tomorrow you want everything to be perfect. I had the pace so I went back out but I was actually up but I just lost it in the last corner. The flat spot is minimal; you can’t really feel it, so I don’t think it will be a problem,

PRESS CONFERENCE

Lewis, I’m going to hit you with another stat you might quite like: surprisingly, pole position is more important than Monaco, since 2000 13 times out of 17 the polesitter has won, whereas in Monaco it’s only 10 out of 17. Why is that?

LH: I probably don’t have all the facts, but it is a low-downforce circuit. It is a track you can overtake on but for some reason you need to have a delta of nearly a second advantage to the car in front to be able to really put the overtaking move into action.

When you’re doing a qualifying lap you have to get a gap from the car in front of at least six seconds because you’re still towing someone six seconds up ahead. With these long straights, the turbulence lasts a long time and I guess the closer you get the less downforce you have and we already have low downforce here, so I would imagine that’s it.

Coming to you Nico, obviously the start tomorrow represents an opportunity, it’s always a ‘particular’ start here at Monza isn’t it, but I guess, as well, in your mind you want to make up for last year, your DNF, you want to get a strong result here in Monza?

NR: No, that’s not in my mind. What’s in my mind is just tomorrow’s race. Starting from second is a great opportunity. It would be awesome for me to have a great result here in Italy, because it’s a special place for and I feel a little bit Italian myself in many ways, so it’s great to race here and I would love to have a great result.

Alright, coming to you Sebastian, obviously still no front row start in 2016, but how would you assess the improvement on the power unit you’ve brought into this weekend, how it’s performed for you today, particularly with an eye to where your rivals like Red Bull and Williams are?

SV: Well, I think it was working as expected. I think the guys are pushing on hard at the factory, both chassis and engine side. Obviously for it’s low-downforce, so we have a low-downforce package on the car. For the engine we did a step forward. But it looks like other people are improving as well. It’s not just you who is bringing stuff to the car, it’s others as well, so we need to make sure we bring more and better bits. But the season is not over yet.

I think the last two races the car felt a lot better than the races before that. I think we lost a little bit… circuits maybe didn’t come our way and I think the weekends weren’t entirely clean, we had lots of issues that we probably caused ourselves, so it just wasn’t clean and now I think the last two weekends were more in the groove.

I think for tomorrow we can be reasonably confident and I’m sure that when we move on from here it’s not going to change much. I think at the tracks that are coming we should be fairly competitive and it should be a fairly exciting second part of the season.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Peter Farkas – Auto Motor) Sebastian, on a track with only a couple of corners, eight-tenths is a big difference. Mattia Binotto told us yesterday that actually between the engines only about three tenths covers all of then at Monza. So where do you think is the deficit – which is way bigger than last year.

SV: Well, we’re not happy that we are further behind than last year. I think there’s a lot of stuff leading into the actual lap time that you are able to do, like Lewis said, he was completely happy with his car. I think we were happy all weekend but in quali, here and there, it didn’t… yeah, I think it could have been a bit better.

So there’s a little bit in that. I think if you look at the compares, it’s not a big surprise in qualifying, Mercedes seems able to turn it up probably a little bit more.  So for the race that does come down because they can’t run – I hope they can’t run – those engine modes for the whole race. I think it’s partly explained by that.

Then obviously the fact that we’re just not quick enough yet. It’s nothing to… y’know, try to make it super-complicated, we know that the combination of car and engine, we’re a little bit behind on both sides, so it’s up to us to catch up. As you can imagine, it’s not that easy – unless you know how, then sign the contact and join us.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) Lewis and Nico, Lewis is was very simple, your explanation about your fantastic lap, and Nico, did you have any difficulty in the car that you can understand this almost half a second of difference.

LH: I don’t know what I said before. What did I say before? It felt great. Through qualifying the laps were just getting better and better. I think Q2, first lap was so-so. I went again and was up but didn’t finish it off. Then the last two laps were just fantastic. The first one was a great banker, was up on my delta – but I felt that there was just a little bit more in it. Honestly, the last lap was super-clean. Didn’t have any lock-ups, aced… I came out of Turn One already a tenth up and just maintained that generally through the lap.

I think I pulled a little bit more out of Turns Eight, Nine and 10 and the last corner, I did that definitely the best I’ve done it all weekend. Parabolica was… I mean it’s such an amazing corner. The speed we hit that corner and the grip that’s there that allows us to carry speed through is phenomenal. Because you’ve got a big straight going in, a big straight coming out, trying to find the right balance and not braking too much, not carrying too much in, not losing too much on the mid-part to make sure you get the exit… it’s probably one of the most difficult balances to get.

And the second part of the question was ‘Nico, did you have any particular problem?’

NR: No problem, no. The problem was that I think he had his best qualifying in a long time and that’s it.

Q: (Flavio Vanetti – Corriere della Sera) To Sebastian, in your final attempt we saw that you were maybe off track at the Parabolica. Did you have that feeling or is  everything OK?

SV: I had two wheels out, I think but I think I was just fine. I lost a little bit, if anything. I was already up quite a long way compared to the lap of Q2. The last corner was a match. Was not really an improvement.

Q: (Barna Zsoldos – Nemzeti Sport) Sebastian, Kimi starts right behind you and there’s a chance you will be side-by-side in the first corner. How will be your approach? Will you be a bit more careful?

SV: I think normally you’re a bit extra careful when you’re racing a team mate – so nothing changes obviously. I think we’ve elaborated enough on what happened last week so I don’t think… first of all he’s not starting behind me, he’s starting next to me but I think both of us, our target is to have a good start and then it’s a long way down to Turn One. We are on a different tyre which should give us a bit of an advantage given our start is good. Then we’ll see.

Q: (Agris Lauzinieks –  Kapitals)Lewis, often you have referred to your faith. How important is religion in your life and what is your prayer routine, and when was the last time when your prayer was answered?

LH: That’s really private stuff. Obviously it’s something that’s really important to me in my life and I think every day my prayers are answered. I feel very fortunate to be doing what I do, what I love. I’ve got a wonderful family, great friends, get to visit all these beautiful… there are so many blessings all the time. I never actually ask for anything in prayers, for everyone to be safe, so most of the time that happens.

Q: (Peter Hartig – Danish F1 Magazine) Sebastian, I would like to ask you how you cope with the fact that all the tifosi want nothing less than victory on their home ground?

SV: Well, I think it’s normal that they always want the best and I think I said it going into this weekend, I think Monza’s coming at the right time. It’s the race when we get the most support and I think now is the time we need that, so it feels great and it gives extra boost. I’m sure the people would be happiest with a victory like you said but equally I think the people understand as well if we are nine or eight tenths behind in qualifying that there is a chance of miracles, but if you just go and be realistic, you have to also say that we are not the favourites going into the race.

I’m sure we’ll try to create whatever is possible and I think in that regard they are actually clever and fair and appreciate the fact that if we do a good job tomorrow, I’m sure they give us credit for that. Of course our target is to win, always something you aim for, your target in your home Grand Prix and no doubt Monza is the best podium in the whole championship and being dressed in red, it’s probably the best combination you can have tomorrow.

So all eyes first of all on the start, the first corner, lap one and then we go from there. It’s nice to know what people expect, what ideally you want to achieve but you mustn’t forget what it needs and it needs a lot of small steps starting from now, where we know which position we start from, what we need to do.

Q: (Lionel Froissart – Sport Auto) Technical question for Seb: what’s happened with your nose?

SV: No, I jumped the fence after qualifying to give a wave to the crowd and there was another rope that I didn’t see and hit my face. In the face!

Q: (Ralf Bach – Auto Bild Motorsport) Mr Vettel, do you think Marchionne is here and he’s really satisfied with the nearly one second you are behind the Mercedes?

SV: I tell you what, I think above all, knowing what’s going on, he’s realistic. I think he knew, going into qualifying, that we’re not the favourites but it’s something everyone in the team is up for and willing to change. Now, the way you need to look at it is not that we get smashed by Mercedes. I think  the way we need to look at it first of all, and it is a question of respect, is to say that they do a very very good job, they’ve strung a very strong team together.

Both drivers are hardly making any mistakes, they are really clean every weekend and if we can be behind that, that’s a positive because the level is very high. Obviously it’s not satisfying for us, for anyone going from our president to us at the track, to all the people in the factory but as I said, I think what we need to do and what we know is our biggest strength is to do what we can do and rely on what we have.

I think we know we need to improve for the future and that’s what we target, every single one and for tomorrow, as I said the target is clear and of course you always aim for the highest, otherwise what’s the point of going on the grid if you think that you can’t win. But you have to be realistic as well, saying that they are the favourites but we’ll try to give them a very very hard time.

Q: (Peter Farkas – Auto Motor) Lewis, just to elaborate a bit more on that: the difference between you and Nico tends to be a bit bigger here than at most tracks. Even last year it was three tenths, now it is almost five tenths so what’s the secret, what makes you so confident and supreme on this low downforce track?

LH: I don’t really have a great answer for that. It is obviously a heavy braking circuit, it’s a bit more like a go-kart circuit where you have to throw the car around, in the lower speed, I would say.  I don’t know. It’s probably more a question for Nico, I would say. I just try to turn up and perform my best wherever I am. I love being here in Italy and for some reason Italy’s been good to me.

2016 Italian Grand Prix Qualifying Review

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But heading into Qualifying, it would seem that Mercedes are looking like the teams to beat heading into the session that look set to gain Pole Position ahead of the race on Sunday. But Ferrari, McLaren, Ferrari, Toro Rosso or Force India may spring a surprise and throw a spanner into the works based on their early pace and promise within the Practice sessions.

Let the battle for Pole Position begin…

Lewis Hamilton leads the way in Q1. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lewis Hamilton leads the way in Q1 and Q2. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

In Q1, we saw Lewis Hamilton topping the timesheets with a lap time of 1.21.851, Nico Rosberg was second, Sebastian Vettel was third, Daniel Ricciardo was fourth, Kimi Raikkonen was fifth, Max Verstappen was sixth, Valtteri Bottas was seventh, Esteban Gutierrez was eighth, Romain Grosjean was ninth and Sergio Perez rounded off the top ten finshers.

At the end of Q1 we lose Felipe Nasr, Daniil Kvyat, Marcus Ericsson, Jolyon Palmer, Kevin Magnussen and Esteban Ocon.

During Q1, we saw Esteban Ocon going off at the run off before Turn 1 with suspected electronic failure on his Manor. This then brought out the yellow flags while the car and driver were recovered off the circuit safely.

In Q2, we saw  Hamilton topping the timesheets with a lap time of 1.21.498, Rosberg was second, Vettel was third, Bottas was fourth, Raikkonen was fifth, Ricciardo was sixth,  Gutierrez was seventh, Verstappen was eighth, Perez was ninth and Hulkenberg rounded off the top ten finishers.

At the end of Q2 we lose Felipe Massa, Romain Grosjean, Fernando Alonso, Pascal Wehrlein, Jenson Button and Carlos Sainz Jr.

Let the battle for Pole Position begin…

Lewis Hamilton claims Pole Position for the Italian GP ahead of Nico Rosberg in second place and Sebastian Vettel in third place.

Lewis Hamilton claims Pole Position for the Italian GP ahead of Nico Rosberg in second place and Sebastian Vettel in third place.

At the end of Q3, Hamilton took Pole Position for the Italian GP, with a lap time of 1.21.135. Rosberg finished in second place 0.149 seconds behind Hamilton, Vettel finished in third place 0.837 seconds behind Hamilton, Raikkonen finished in fourth place 0.930 seconds behind Hamilton and Bottas was fifth place 1.253 seconds behind Hamilton.

Ricciardo ended the session in sixth place 1.254 seconds behind Hamilton, Verstappen finished in seventh place 1.276 seconds behind Rosberg, Perez finished in eight place 1.679 seconds behind Rosberg, Hulkenberg finished in ninth place 1.701 seconds behind Rosberg and Hulkenberg finished in tenth place.

It would seem that Mercedes genuinely has the pace to challenge for the race win again this weekend despite their form in Qualifying. Both of the Mercedes drivers seem to have the cars underneath them to do this and have been consistent and fast throughout every session so far this weekend; even if Hamilton has a challenge on his hands to get a result this weekend.

You cannot discount Ricciardo, Verstappen or Vettel even to be challenging also for the race win and could also be the dark horses to take the win away from Mercedes (and also Ferrari in Mercedes’ case) that could see gaining some points on their rivals to kick start their Constructors Championship.

Hulkenberg, Perez and Raikkonen could also have a decent race and pick up some much needed points for their respective teams. Will it rain? I do not know. Who will win the Grand Prix on Sunday? I really don’t know.

But let’s see what happens tomorrow on the Monza circuit on race day on Sunday…

2016 Italian Grand Prix Practice Review

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Nico Rosberg wins the Belgian GP ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Lewis Hamilton. Force India, Ferrari, McLaren and Williams all managed to score points in the last race.

Heading into the weekend, it was announced that Kevin Magnussen was cleared to race at the Italian GP following his accident at Spa last week. If you want to read more about this, then please read my article here:- https://jonesonf1.wordpress.com/2016/09/01/magnussen-cleared-to-race-in-monza/.

Also it was announced on Thursday morning that Felipe Massa will be retiring from Formula One at the end of the season. If you wish to read more about this, then please read my article here:-https://jonesonf1.wordpress.com/2016/09/01/massa-to-retire-from-f1-at-the-end-of-the-2016-season/.

The Autodromo di Monza circuit is one of the most historic motor racing circuits in the world. It is located near the town of Monza, not far from the Italian city Milano. With special trains, buses and shuttles allow visitors to reach the area easily and quickly.

The track is full of history and the atmosphere here is very nice and with the grandstands are always packed; the fans create a wonderful atmosphere over the Grand Prix weekend. The Ferrari fans, the Tifosi, call the track La Pista Magica – The magic race track.

Monza is a high-speed circuit with a top speed of 340 km/h and an average speed of around 250 km/h. It consists of very long straights and tight chicanes, therefore it is hard on the engine and brakes. Engines are run flat out for nearly 75 percent of the lap, in usually very hot conditions. The circuit is one of the toughest on the cars, as the drivers run the lowest downforce of the season and reach the highest speeds. A car using Monza wings will generate about 25 percent less downforce than the same car with Monaco wings on.

The circuit was officially opened in September 1922 with a road course and a paved oval, Monza was only the third purpose-built motor racing circuit to be constructed after Brooklands and Indianapolis. It was financed by the Milan Automobile Club and was built in only three months by 3,500 workers.

The length of the original Grand Prix track was 10 kilometers, its current configuration is 5.79 kilometers. The Italian Grand Prix will remain at Monza at least until 2016 after a deal between Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and the track’s managers was struck last season.

Practices 1, 2 and 3

The main headline from the Practice sessions is that Mercedes and Ferrari look to have the driver-car package to beat this weekend as weather conditions and tyre management which will test the drivers, teams and the cars throughout Friday and Saturday practice sessions.

Nico Rosberg tops the timesheets in FP1.

Nico Rosberg tops the timesheets in FP1.

Practice 1 saw Nico Rosberg tops the timesheet with a time of 1.22.959 followed closely by Lewis Hamilton with a gap of 0.203 seconds behind, Kimi Raikkonen was in third with a gap of 1.088 seconds behind, Sebastian Vettel in fourth with a gap of 1.348 seconds behind and Sergio Perez in fifth with a gap of 1.691 seconds behind Rosberg.

Romain Grosjean is sixth with a gap of 1.804 seconds behind, Valtteri Bottas is seventh with a gap of 1.826 seconds behind, Max Verstappen is eighth with a gap of 2.023 seconds behind, Esteban Gutierrez is ninth with a gap of 2.154 seconds behind and Daniel Ricciardo is tenth with a gap of 2.161 seconds behind Rosberg.

Lewis Hamilton tops the timesheets in FP2.

Lewis Hamilton tops the timesheets in FP2 and FP3.

Practice 2 saw Hamilton tops the timesheet with a time of 1.22.801 followed closely by Rosberg  with a gap of 0.193 seconds behind, Vettel was in third with a gap of 0.453 seconds behind, Raikkonen in fourth with a gap of 0.626 seconds behind and Verstappen in fifth with a gap of 0.931 seconds behind Hamilton.

Ricciardo is sixth with a gap of 1.202 seconds behind, Alonso is seventh with a gap of 1.458 seconds behind, Bottas is eighth with a gap of 1.498 seconds behind, Grosjean is ninth with a gap of 1.715 seconds behind and Button is tenth with a gap of 1.755 seconds behind Hamilton.

Fifty minutes into FP2, Manor Racing driver Esteban Ocon stopped by the first Lesmo corner with suspected problems with his Mercedes power unit or his electrics. This then brought out the Virtual Safety Car in order for the marshals to recover the car as safely as possible.

Practice 3 saw Hamilton tops the timesheet with a time of 1.22.008 followed closely by Rosberg  with a gap of 0.393 seconds behind, Vettel was in third with a gap of 0.938 seconds behind, Raikkonen in fourth with a gap of 1.141 seconds behind and Bottas in fifth with a gap of 1.492 seconds behind Hamilton.

Massa is sixth with a gap of 1.639 seconds behind, Ricciardo is seventh with a gap of 1.701 seconds behind, Verstappen is eighth with a gap of 1.732 seconds behind, Perez is ninth with a gap of 2.154 seconds behind and Gutierrez is tenth with a gap of 2.026 seconds behind Hamilton.

Within FP3, Romain Grosjean went off the circuit at the Ascari chicane after spinning and his car was in the gravel beeched. This then brought out the Virtual Safety car in order to recover the Haas from the track.

At the end of the session, Jolyon Palmer went off the circuit at the Parabolica corner but was lucky not to hit the barriers.

You would be stupid not to bet against the Mercedes drivers of Hamilton and Rosberg to gain pole position again this weekend. As the Mercedes drivers seem to be performing brilliantly at the moment and the momentum is with them from all the track mileage and their strong form from the last race. Vettel, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Perez, or Hulkenberg also cannot be discounted for the pole also as they are consistently within the top ten places at the moment.

However, I think that Williams, McLaren and Force India have shown that they could throw themselves into the mix and could qualify well here to be in the hunt for some decent points this weekend. We all look forward to the qualifying session of the Grand Prix with excitement…

2016 Italian Grand Prix Team Principals Press Conference Transcript

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Here’s the official transcript from the 2016 Italian Grand Prix Team Principals Press Conference Transcript as provided by the FIA as follows:-

TEAM REPRESENTATIVES – Mattia BINOTTO (Ferrari), Luca FURBATTO (Manor), Aldo COSTA (Mercedes), Franz TOST (Toro Rosso), Paul HEMBERY (Pirelli), Guenther Steiner (Haas)

PRESS CONFERENCE

Mattia, if we could start with you: Ferrari are using the final development tokens on the engine this weekend, what are you hoping it’s going to bring?

Mattia Binotto (referred here after as MB):- It will be difficult to judge and I think we will discover it tomorrow in qualifying. No doubt that we are continuously developing and by developing the power unit for the regulations we are spending tokens. The fact we are spending our last means that somehow we spent whatever was possible this season, which means a continuous development, higher rate possibly.

I think it’s really too early to see what will be the benefit. We know what’s the value; let’s see what the others have done. I know Mercedes spent five tokens in Belgium so no doubt they will have an advantage tomorrow as well.

How have you settled into your new role, where you do you think the team has fallen behind and how are you addressing it?

MB: I know Ferrari since many years – more than 20 years in Ferrari. Ferrari is a great team, huge resources, a number of very highly talented people and I’m sure we’ve got all the resources to do well. No doubt that in order to win we need to improve furthermore. We need to push, to work hard, but we can make it.

OK, thank you. Coming to you Aldo: obviously Lewis has his stock of engines for the remainder of the season, but there are six tokens left to spend for Mercedes, so will Nico Rosberg get a revised engine at some point that is perhaps more advanced than Hamilton’s in his race pool, and how will you manage that if it happens?

Also Costa (referred here after as AC):- Yeah, we are evaluating further development. We are not yet finally decided on what to do, but we are working hard to find new items to develop for this year, an engine that is anyway a very good base for also next year’s championship.

You’ve been very successful to say the least in these last three seasons. We now have new technical regulations for next year. Historically, that tends to lead to a change at the front – it did for you in 2014. So, for 2017, is it harder or easier for Mercedes to remain the team to beat?

AC: Of course, as you said, the regulation change will be pretty vast, on a lot of car aspects. We know we have in front of us this big, big challenge. We would love to be the team that breaking exactly the rule you said, that with the new rule there are new leaders. We would like really to break this rule, but it is tough, yeah.

Thank you. Luca, coming to you. Obviously Manor has surprised a few people this season with good performances, in Austria and in qualifying in Spa in particular. How much further can you go with the resources you’ve got?

Luca Furbatto (referred here after as LF):- Obviously we’ve got a development here, just to suit the characteristics of the circuit – low drag – but we are still pushing with the development of the 2016 car. We’re going to have new parts in Singapore, a small package, little bits and pieces, mainly a) to try new part for 2017 and also to continue to push performance into the car and we are committed to obviously maintain our position in the championship and perhaps to even give a bit of a crack to Renault which is not far away.

How is Esteban Ocon settling into the team and is the objective to retain both of these two young drivers for next season if you can?

LF: Esteban did an incredibly good job in Spa, he jumped in the car and within two or three runs he was actually very, very competitive on the pace. His qualifying pace perhaps was a little bit compromised by the lack of running on supersoft on that car, which he obviously didn’t know. About the future I think it’s a bit too early to say. We certainly have got to two high-charging drivers, which is good for the team and good for the sport.

Paul, you’ve been running development tyres recently. What are you working on there and are there upcoming races in this championship that are specifically the focus of that work ?

Paul Hembrey (referred here after as PH):- It was really in view of next season, in reality. The main work of course is the work we’re doing next week in Barcelona and Paul Ricard, with Ferrari and Mercedes. That’s our next outing on the slick tyres. So the focus is very much there. A lot of work for us to do of course and a very challenging time scale to deliver what we need to deliver.

The tyre pressures are quite elevated by historic standards, it’s an open secret. Most of the drivers have commented negatively on this. So what does the future look like? Is it an objective for you to be able to lower the pressures again and what will it take?  

PH: It’s all related to load. The tyre we have today we’ve had one test day in three years, so we’re only really limited to what we have to play with and that’s pressures. We’ve got 100kg load on each front wheel here compared to last year, 80 I think on the rear. With this year’s tyres not much choice.

Going forward of course, we have a much larger tyres, so that gives you much more to work with and changes we can make structurally to bring the pressures down. But again, it will all depend on the loads. If the loads we’ve seen in simulation are exceeded or under then that will also play a part in either reducing pressures or increasing them. But at the moment, from initial testing, we will be seeing pressures more in line with what we’ve had in the past. It’s all about the footprint ultimately and that’s a function of vertical load.

Guenther, turning to you, Esteban said here in the press conference yesterday that he has found consistency. He still hasn’t scored a point yet, but how do you assess his season?

Guenther Steiner (referred here after as GS):- I think it was a little bit of a rocky start for him and not only down to him. When we had an issue with the car it normally was with his car. He had the accident in Australia with Alonso running into him. There seems very few times he had an ‘eventless’, if you can say, race weekend. I think he has developed and matured. Having been in F1 and then out of it for a year, I would say that makes it more difficult than coming in new, because he had been with Ferrari as their reserve or development driver, so he has seen a lot of stuff and then he comes in and has to race again.

Also, the competition against Romain, which is not a bad driver, he’s good, and trying to do better than him is quite difficult, so maybe he put himself under a little bit too much pressure in the beginning, but all in all I think he’s doing a good job in the moment.

Historically the second season for a new team is always a challenge because you have to progress the package for next year at the same time as learning how to operate in a new sport. How are you managing to avoid making the mistakes that this situation throws at you?

GS: I’ve done it in my career, in rallying, the second season was a very difficult one and knowing or I hope I know what went wrong. We tried to avoid that in that we didn’t bring a lot of development this year. We don’t panic to every issue or want to go better this year but we started focusing pretty early on 2017 and trying to recruit people early on for next year to build up our team and I think with this we can hopefully avoid going down the second year, because everybody had that. It will be difficult to avoid that completely but we try to make it as little as possible, the dip. So, let’s see. Only next year will tell.

Q: Coming to you Franz, you got Daniil Kvyat back in May and by his own admission he’s struggled since then. What plans do you have for him for the rest of this season and beyond?

Franz Tost (referred here after as FT):- First of all, as you can imagine, it was quite difficult for him because in China he was on the third place and then two weeks later he was out of the car and it was really a difficult time but he recovers and, unfortunately, he has also some problems with the car in Monaco, for example, when we had the software issue, or later in Baku when we had this damper problem.

I would say if we provide him with a good, competitive car he will come back to his original performance, and I hope that this will be the case from Singapore onwards as, in Spa and in Monza, we knew from the beginning onwards we will struggle because of the track layout but I expect some good races and a good performance from Daniil’s side in the second half of the season.

Q: The problems with running a year-old engine are now obvious. For next year you can start a fresh programme around the Renault. What kind of performance boost do your simulations suggest that’s going to give you?

FT: It’s a big performance boost but Renault is testing the engine on the dyno, it’s a complete new power unit and we must wait when the power unit is then in the car and to compare it also with the others. I expect that we’ll make a big step forwards.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Flavio Vanetti – Corriere della Sera) A couple of questions for Mattia Binotto. First one, you see the situation of a team under a different perspective now. Is Ferrari missing anything in particular by your opinion or not? Second question: what about the 2017 car? Are you in charge to do something, to change something of the project that is already started?

MB: Starting from the first question, as I said before, there is a lot of quality in Ferrari and talented people. I’m sure that we’ve got all what we need to do a good job and really to battle for the championship, so no, I do not foresee any real necessity at the moment to do something different compared to what we’ve got.

On the project of 2017, clearly it is well-advanced. I think that finally, there are again here… it is a continuous development and we need to especially make sure that we are progressing well on the development and there is nothing different that we need to do, rather than doing better compared to what we’ve done so far. It’s really a matter of progressing, progressing fast and make it right.

Q: (Peter Farkas – Auto Motor) This is for Mattia and Aldo but also for the team representatives. Is it fair to say that the difference between the different engine manufacturers’ performance has really come down now? And how big a factor are the engines now, at a track like Monza.

AC: We have seen the situation was converging in this last three years and yeah, we see a lot of activity also from the competitors and we think they are closer and closer and yeah, we are in a situation where the difference between powertrains is effectively less and less. We think it will still carry on because the formula is a fixed formula and it is inevitable it will have this situation, so yeah, we are going in the correct direction.

Mattia?

MB: I think Aldo is right. Performance-wise, manufacturers are converging. I think that when you’re at a certain stage of convergence it becomes even difficult to split the affect from powertrain to chassis and aero. I think that it means so far, at the moment, we are really close and the difference is not any more as it was in the past. In Monza how much it may do, to answer your question, in Monza the horsepower difference is the equivalent of three-tenths per lap. Maybe that can still the difference between various manufacturers.

Luca?

LF: Well, we have got a long-term association with Mercedes, our problem is not the power unit so I can’t really answer on that.

Guenther?

GS: I think the engines are converging to be very similar. We are pretty happy. We have the new engine for here and we see tomorrow what is happening with it, if our car can do what we want it to do.

And Franz finally.

FT: I think Mercedes are still far ahead. I think that they don’t show all the time their potential. Their real potential.

Q: (Ottavio Daviddi – Tuttosport)  A question to Aldo. I think you know very well Ferrari planet. I like to know if you have any suggestion to give to Mattia?

AC: I think I knew very well Ferrari planet when I was there. I was trying to do my best like Mattia is trying to do his best now. Joking apart, five years already has gone since I am in England. So no, I don’t know very well the environment any more. There are young people, as Mattia was saying, very, very talented, very good people that are progressing in the company, people that I know, I trust and yeah, I like to see their development.

But it’s virtually impossible to give any recommendation to anyone because you know how the situation is. We are talking about not huge disadvantages everywhere. It is not only one single thing you have to look after. You have to look after, yeah, we mentioned about engine but as well aero, suspension… there are many, many factors that count in the final performance. So it’s virtually impossible to say anything.

Q: (Fulvio Solms – Corriere dello Sport) To Binotto and Steiner: for the medium and long term future, is it possible to imagine a synergy of the drivers between Ferrari and Haas, like Red Bull and Toro Rosso used to do for many years with such good results?

GS: I think Ferrari helped us out this year to find a driver, because last year we were looking for good drivers and they had one with Esteban so we took him. In the future, we haven’t spoken about that a lot so if Ferrari has got a good development driver in their stable which they want to bring along and it’s maybe too early to take him into their team, because Ferrari is Ferrari, they don’t want to test a driver, they need to have a finished product there. So if they ask us to have him for a year or two, to develop him, why not but at the moment these discussions are not taking place.

But if there is a good driver in the future, we always talk with Ferrari and we are pretty close to them as everybody knows, for sure. It’s similar like Mercedes does maybe with Manor, they’ve got two drivers there at Manor who they developed because they’ve got Mercedes engines, but there is nothing in the pipeline at the moment.

MB: Honestly, I’m not dealing with the drivers, I am not in the position to answer. I think that Guenther’s answer is good enough.

Q: (Sandor Meszaros – Autosport Es Formula) Mr Steiner, you have analysed Esteban’s season but can you please tell us a few things about Romain’s season? Did you get what you expected from him as a lead driver and what are your plans for the team?

GS: Yes, I mean we got everything that we expected, what we hoped to get. He took us along very good. He’s got quite a lot of points for a new team, he got them for us, so I think he delivered what he had to deliver and our plans are to continue with him for next year, so I think we are pretty happy and we want to continue.

Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines) Paul, there’s a speculative 2017 calendar doing the rounds which suggests that Australia could open the season at the last weekend of March which would or possibly could leave an opening for a hot weather test on the way down to Australia. Is it something you’ll push for or is it too late at that stage to influence your 2017 tyre development?

PH: It’s going to be too late from many points of view. The understanding is that we’re likely to be in Europe as we have done this year so from our point of view, it doesn’t really help from that point of view. We’ll go to Australia and we’ll have the results of the race.

Q: (Silvia Arias – Parabrisas) I would love to know, for everyone but Mr Hembery, how difficult it is right now to find in the market people who are able to understand about everything: about aero, about the power units etc and do you see that there will be students who are going to be able to do this job in a few years?

AC: Yes, I think it’s a very nice question. It’s a big problem that all Formula One organisations have got at the moment. People like me, I changed in a team many different types of job to try to understand as much as I could everywhere. Now, these days, the young guys get employed and they become specialists and they don’t go around and they don’t grow up with a  general knowledge of the car.

So yeah, we’ve got this problem, we are looking for the next technical director at Mercedes and we are trying to do a programme for development of these students who are slightly different, trying to let them understand a bit more widely around the car, to hopefully become the next generation of technical directors.

FT: It’s the normal process. Students are coming from the university and most often – at least at Toro Rosso – they are already linked to us before they finish their studies, to get some experience and then they go from department to department just to get more knowledge of what’s going on, to get more experience and then they get specialised and it depends, then, what they want to do in the future.

There are some engineers who don’t want to be a leader, they just want to be involved in a special technical project. Others want to become more of a manager and we at Toro Rosso support both lines; it depends what the employee wants to do but we support him and it’s different from individual to individual.

MB: At Ferrari we have many young engineers and we can see that these young engineers are very skilled, quite surprising.  The complexity of our technology has risen but the people are very fast and very quick and I am quite surprised at the speed they develop their skill and professionalism.

LF: Manor is a very small team and we have approximately 200 people. I think the biggest difference with a top team is the size of our design office which is much smaller, about a third or a quarter of what Aldo’s got and as a result, engineers are actually not that specialised but they need to deal with different parts of the car which they find very motivating, very rewarding. Although we are small, we’ve got a graduate scheme and an association with some universities in the UK. F1 is still incredibly attractive to young engineers so I think there are plenty of opportunities and possibilities to enter the F1 market if you’re a talented engineer.

GS: I think everything was said here. I cannot add much more but I think it’s difficult to find, like in the old days, one leader who knows it all which itself is getting more and more difficult because the cars are getting more and more complex. I think we are living at a different level to the big teams. We let the big teams find the big talents.

Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines) Luca, I believe that Manor has recently changed wind tunnel from the McLaren to the Mercedes one. Was that a relatively seamless operation and did it happen in time to influence your 2017 car or is that still influenced by the previous arrangement?

LF: No, it was timed to coincide with the 2017 shift in regulations, so that was the main reason. Also the Mercedes wind tunnel is much closer to Banbury compared to Woking. We had very good service from McLaren but from a logistical point of view and the size of the 2017 car, we thought it was a better tunnel.

Q: (Peter Farkas – Auto Motor) Again for Mattia and Aldo: there seems to be a pattern at most tracks that Mercedes have a head start on Friday with a big advantage, and that advantage diminishes as the weekend progresses. Why do you think that is?

MB: I think it’s difficult to answer because we are looking at ourselves, we know what we’re doing, how to improve the car and we are working during the weekend. It’s true that it happens at some races, the last example has been Belgium where the gap on Friday was certainly higher than the one on Saturday in qualifying.

I think that on our side, we are trying obviously to work hard to optimise from Friday to Saturday and give the right benefits. That’s sufficient to explain? I don’t know what they are doing on the other side.

AC: I’m not sure… you can see the lap times and you can say that but I think it mostly depends on the programme, on the programme that different teams adopt. In Spa, we didn’t feel to be as strong to be honest. We were mostly the opposite at the beginning.

Again, we are doing – as Matteo says – our job and we are focused on that and that’s all really. There are a few engine mode testings that you want to do also for next year, I don’t know, so there are different programmes, different results in the end, on the first day.