19 August: Turkish Grand Prix - FIA Friday Press Conference
REPRESENTATIVES: Patrick FAURE (Renault) Christian HORNER (Red Bull) Timothy ROUTSIS (Cosworth) Yasuhiro WADA (Honda) Frank
Q: Wada-san, Rubens Barrichello has been signed by the team, what sort of effect will that have on the
team and company, do you think? Yasuhiro WADA: As you know, Rubens is a very experienced and talented driver and has won a
lot in his history. To challenge for the championship, we have to have a strong and experienced driver so Rubens is the perfect
driver for us, and it was good timing to grab him.
Q: What about this year? I suspect itís been a frustrating year hasnít
it? What have been the feelings of Honda? YW: Actually I joined Formula One in April so I was not expecting to see this
situation and thinking about what happened last year, I personally wanted to be a bit nearer the front but unfortunately the races
have been up and down, up and down. But we havenít given up or anything. We are still trying to challenge, to win the race. Thatís
Q: Can you give us an update on the V8 engine, how the progress is being made with that? YW: Yes. Our
first prototype tested in the car in the very early stage. The purpose was to get to know the character of the V8 and that was a
good test, so we accumulated all the necessary information so far and new prototypes are running on the dyno day and night. I think
Q: Timothy, obviously you have the liaison with Williams for next year, whatís the effect on the
company having a team such as Williams? Timothy ROUTSIS: Itís tremendously motivational. Iíve been very pleased and I
have to say a little bit surprised with the speed with which the whole organisation has really engaged. I donít think weíre
under any illusions about the nature of the challenge next year but thereís no doubt at all that everybody is really looking
forward to this.
Q: Can you explain how you are going to look after Minardi as well? Is it going to be two teams with V8s?
Could you have done two teams with V8s? Or is it one with V8s, one with V10s? TR: The contracts weíve ended up with is that
Minardi will run the restricted V10 next year and Williams will have the exclusive use of the V8. Could we have done two teams? I
really wouldnít have wanted to do that. The challenge in developing the V8 is one which will really be best achieved if we can do
it in close collaboration with one particular team and that will be Williams.
Q: Can you give us some indication of the
progress with the V8? At one time people were saying that you hadnít actually started it. TR: No. Weíve actually done
considerably more than that. When we started the whole V8 development programme we had a long hard think as to the rationale of
doing it and what was very clear to us was that there was no purpose at all in embarking on the whole venture unless we could be
very confident that the engine which came out at the end was going to be really quite a serious, competitive piece of equipment and
we set out a plan of what we needed to achieve, both technically and the resources we would need to do that. We put those in place
and Iím very pleased to say that to date the milestones that weíre hitting are exactly the ones that we need to see happen if weíre
going to achieve the sort of engine that we want for next year.
Q: When will it run in a car? TR: Our current plan
for the first car running will be mid-October.
Q: Frank, first of all, some of my more cynical colleagues might suggest
that this (Cosworth) was really a last ditch solution; is that the case? Frank WILLIAMS: Well, Iíve a lot of respect for
the fact that some journalists, unsurprisingly, are very cynical but being cynical doesnít mean good judgement, having good
judgement. There were a few choices; we were offered an engine by BMW but we felt we needed a fresh start and that Cosworth would be
a good home. The culture is truly the same. They have something to prove, we have a lot to prove too, and the geography makes things
very very convenient and thatís very useful, I must say.
Q: What about the fact that youíre obviously paying for this
engine; would you prefer to have a paying engine? What is the priority? FW: A winningÖ all about performance. From what we
have seen at Cosworth, and the numbers involved, it should be good value for money, and it will be exclusive.
mentioned that Jenson Button very much figured in your plans for next year Ė thatís why you need to keep him; did Cosworth
figure in your plans or was it BMW? FW: The contract with Jenson, which I would not want to discuss openly, does not have an
engine escape clause, if that is the significance of your question.
Q: No, what I was asking was: Jenson has figured in
your plans for next year and you have given a commitment to sponsors that he will be with the team. Did you also give a similar
commitment to those sponsors, saying that you will have BMW or Cosworth? FW: Theyíve always respected our ability to see
our own way technically. That doesnít count or itís not written in any contract except one.
Q: Patrick Faure, it wonít
have escaped anyone that Renault has a great presence here in Turkey, it seems to be everywhere. Indeed we have been driving a
Renault hire car and I would suggest you might improve the clutches because there is a lot of stop starting here! But how important
is this Grand Prix to Renault? Patrick FAURE: In fact we have been here for a very long time, we have been established in
Turkey for 40 years or something with a very strong market share. I am happy to hear we still have a lot to improve, we will try to
do it, but for us it is very important to have a Grand Prix, especially a very nice one like this one, the circuit is beautiful
really, and I think the drivers like it very much, it is important for us to have a Grand Prix in this country where we really have
an important business and in a country which is very important, I think, really, in being the link between Asia and Europe. So we
welcome this Grand Prix very much and hope to have some new ones in different countries also in the future.
obviously you have had a very successful year. What effect has that had on the company as a whole? PF: In fact, even if it
sounds a little bit arrogant, it wasnít such a surprise for us because we knew during wintertime that we had worked pretty well
and that we would be amongst the two or three teams really fighting for the championship, so when we started the season we had set
ourselves quite a high target to be amongst the ones fighting for the championship and I told that to the people at Renault and said
Ďthat is our challenge and we have got to do ití, and finally there is quite an enthusiasm inside the company for the results we
have at the moment. But also the better the results are, the more pressure comes and everyone is asking us now what are you going to
do for the rest of the season and so, even if it is your question, I say wait and see.
Q: What about progress with the V8
for next year? PF: We made a survey with the people of Viry-Chatillon and Rob White at the beginning of this week and to be
fairly precise we are two days late on our schedule, so it is not dramatic!
Q: When will you run it in the car? PF:
Not decided yet completely.
Q: Christian, just coming to your second driver, you seem to be pushing Christian Klien more
than Tonio Liuzzi at the moment, is that the case? Christian HORNER: I donít think the case is pushing one harder than the
other. I think that since Christian got back in the car there was an unfortunate sequence of events. He was prevented from racing in
Indianapolis, obviously, on the first lap of the French Grand Prix an electrical problem forced his race to a premature end and then
an altercation with Mr Villleneuve in Budapest, which was no fault of his own either, so we thought it right and proper that we give
him another couple of races and see how he performs. This year is very much a learning year for the Red Bull team, we have two good
young talented drivers and we want to have a good look at them.
Q: Looking forward to next year, we hear you have applied
for a 24-hour planning permission to run your wind tunnel, things like that, what other improvements are scheduled, are you going
for more people, more facilities? CH: The team is evolving, it is growing, it will have grown by approximately 25 percent by
the end of this year and a lot of investment has been made in the company and technologies such as the Bedford wind tunnel, which
will run simultaneously with Biscester, so yes, we are investing in the future and looking to build on the positive performances
that we have made this year.
Q: And when do you get your first Ferrari V8? CH: Well we are obviously working closely
with Ferrari. We have the availability of the engine for winter testing if we choose to run an interim car. We still have to make
those decisions whether to proceed along those lines or not, but things are progressing well.
Q: When would that be for
November/December? CH: Yes.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Dan Knutson Ė National Speed Sport News)
Frank, Jenson Button has stated categorically that he does not want to drive for you. I realise you say he is a professional so he
will do a good job, but even the tiniest inkling between a driver and a team is going to affect a relationship. Are you worried that
the relationship will not go well and he will not perform well? FW: I think there is a lot of noise currently, but we
optimistically believe that he will be fine. When he is in the car he will have too much to do.