Friday's press conference: Germany
Q. A question to you all. Obviously the pace of development is very important in Formula 1 at the moment. Can you give us an indication of the pace of development and the new parts that you have brought to this particular race?
Pat SYMONDS: Well, as always the emphasis is on an aerodynamic development. The pace is high but it needs to be high for us as we try and catch the guys at the front. We have got a lot of new parts here. We have got a new front wing, a new engine cover. We have got modifications to the floor. The pace is relentless and it needs to be because when people like Red Bull put sort of 0.6 of a second on the car at Silverstone, it just makes it that much harder for us all to catch up.
Paddy LOWE: Actually we have pretty much the same package that Pat has just described although we have got a completely new floor and new front wing and top body. Yes, the same and it has been for some years now absolutely relentless. To give an example, the package we brought here, we accelerated that by more than a fortnight to get it here in time. I know of a guy that worked a machine 36 hours non-stop, without sleep, early this week on our floor. But that is the spirit of Formula 1 and the great competition that we have.
Sam MICHAEL: Actually, listening to what the other guys have been saying it sounds like we are all doing the same thing. We have got a new engine cover, front wing and diffuser modifications as well. I think it is relentless but it is good for Formula 1. The racing has been unbelievably close in terms of lap times, probably a lot more so than what I expected it to be with such a big rule change because all the cars are still in an early stage of development relative to the cars we finished with last year. We know how much pace we are putting on our car at every race. I would say on average you are having to put on 2 to 2.5 tenths every race just to stay where you are. That tells you everyone is developing very hard. I think that will continue all year. I don't think it will be the same as last year as some teams gave up early to concentrate on their new cars. This year really I think everyone will be developing to the last grand prix as 95 per cent of it should carry over to next year's car, so I think that development race is going to go all the way through.
Adrian NEWEY: Yeah, I feel a bit left out having put a fairly major update on the car for Silverstone. We have actually got very little here apart from a new, what we call, pod vane which is the vertical vane at the front of the side pod but other than that the car is the same as at Silverstone. On average the pace is very high as everyone has said. A big regulation change as we have had then there is a much steeper learning curve than there would be perhaps at the end of the old regulations where we had had a stable set of regulations for between five and 10 years depending when you look at the previous big change.
Q. Another question to all of you. The overtaking situation. People have talked about what more work needs to be done on overtaking from the Overtaking Working Group. What are your thoughts on that? What can be done? Can it be closed up?
PS: I think that the work that the Overtaking Working Group did was good. The evidence to support that is sparse, unfortunately. We have had some wet races and we have not had much in the way of cars that are out of position on the grid and things like that. But actually I was having a look at this very subject the week before last, well, straight after Silverstone. I think that, as I put things together, I could see that give or take a little bit we had achieved a fair bit of what we set out to do. I think that there is no doubt that the cars can follow a little bit closer. Statistically, if you analyse the races that are worth analysing this year there has been a little bit more overtaking. I think we probably didn't go as far as we wished or wanted to. We were setting out to try and halve the time difference needed to produce a successful overtake and maybe we haven't quite got that far. But equally I think - and I don't know whether Paddy would agree with me - I think we set a very low target for the downforce knowing that once the teams got working on it 24/7 they would rapidly bring that downforce up but I have to say it went up a little bit further than I expected it to which is not condusive to overtaking amongst other things.
PL: Yeah, I agree with Pat. We always need the level of downforce. It was important as obviously that affects the weight more significantly than anything else and the fact that the downforce that has been achieved by the cars this year is significantly higher than anticipated means inevitably that some of the work we did has been eroded in effect. I think the other factor that is worth bearing in mind, which is quite fundamental, is that as Formula 1 has become, I would say, more thoroughly professional from end to end and better resourced from end to end on the grid the performances have closed up, so in actual fact the spread of lap time performance from end to end of the grid is about half what it was five years ago. Now if all the cars are that much closer it just means they will always find it more difficult to overtake, so it is quite a difficult problem to crack.
SM: I think the cars are definitely better than what we had last year. It is very difficult as Pat said to quantify that and put a number on it. I think some of the improvements have come through from tidying the cars up, so you don't get as dirtier a wake behind the car if you look at the cleanliness of the side pods and everything now. It has definitely made a difference. When we went through all of the preparation for the court appeal on the diffuser a couple of months ago we looked a lot in CFD at different devices on the car that either made the weight better or worse and there were two or three things on there which made it significantly worse, not just because of the total level of downforce but because they were quite bad for the wake. I think it has been a step in the right direction but it is one of the things you have got to keep working on. You are not going to get to some magic solution in one step I don't think unless you make something false and I don't think anyone wants to do that. One of the things that have been discussed for next year is to remove wheel fairings and not have static or rotating wheel fairings and that, coincidentally, was one of things that, when we did CFD studies two or three months ago, showed quite an adverse effect on the following car. It won't be a night and day. It is the sort of thing where you need to find three or four little things like that and that will add up to a difference, so I think it is going in the right direction but it just needs more.
AN: I think fundamentally the circuits are probably the biggest influence. Everybody keeps to conveniently forget about that as it is deemed to be easier to change the cars than change the circuits. That's the first point. I think the second point is that people have this rose-tinted idea that overtaking used to be fantastic and now it isn't. I think that is selective memory myself. You still occasionally get some great overtaking manoeuvres, just as we always used to. I don't see the need to make it a lot easier to overtake really otherwise if overtaking becomes too easy the car that is quicker behind simply goes past and disappears again and you don't even get the excitement of two cars battling each other for quite a number of laps. Personally I don't think it is as much of a problem as people are making out.
Q. Pat, Nelson Piquet has said that there is going to be no late surge as there was last year from the team. However, technically speaking, are you going to be able to keep Fernando Alonso happy?
PS: To keep Fernando happy we have got to be winning races and that is difficult. I would not accept that there is not going to be a late surge. We are working extremely hard. There are a lot of new parts here as we said earlier. As Sam said it is very different to last year. Last year we did hang on and we did have a good end to the season. We took a few risks in doing that as a lot of what we were developing aerodynamically had no relevance to 2009. This year it is a much more normal year. We switch over to our 2010 car but every now and then we see a bit as we develop it we say that that actually is still applicable to 2009, so as that process occurs we will still be trying to push things onto the 2009 car. We are working as hard as we can. We don't find it acceptable to be in the position that we are. The grid is extremely close this year, so it makes it both more difficult to move on but at the same time it means that small changes are worth doing. It is a bit of a double edged sword. I can assure Fernando, Nelson and every employee at Renault that we are pushing hard.
Q. Paddy, I don't know how many times since the end of the session I have been asked is this the return of Lewis Hamilton and McLaren Mercedes? Perhaps from a technical point of view you can give some indication of this afternoon's performance?
PL: Well, it is always great to find yourself at the top of the time sheets especially at the Mercedes home grand prix. I think we all realise that, as Pat said, the performances are very close and the noise that you get within the data Friday is often higher than the differences between the cars in terms of unknown weights etc. But absolutely delighted to be back there at the top of the sheet. I think the job now is to translate that into some points on Sunday. But definitely we have made a step with the car. Lewis is very happy with it. The pieces that we brought all work. We hope to see that that will translate to a real difference. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough pieces for Heikki (Kovalainen) to have the same package, so that is why the difference is reflected between the two drivers.
Q. Will he get the same bits tomorrow?
PL: He will get some of them but not all of them unfortunately which is something we always try not to do but in exceptional circumstances which these are then we have had to do that.
Q. Sam, we were talking about the pace of development. Is it an expensive operation especially for an independent team such as yourselves?
SM: It is part of your normal budget, I wouldn't say it was expensive. You just do what you can afford to do. We pretty much predicted that there would be an update every race. That is budgeted for and accounted for. It is part of doing F1.
Q. There aren't financial constraints then?
SM: No, we make sure that we manage it, especially for things like updates and bodywork, that we are not restrained at all in that area because we make sure that is where we have got our most budget freedom as that is the first impact on car performance.
Q. Adrian, extraordinary performance from Mark (Webber) this morning. Mark has always out-qualified his team-mate but he has come up against Sebastian (Vettel). What is the state of Mark from a technical point of view and how buoyant is he and how obviously very determined?
AN: I think determined is the right word. Mark is a very determined person. He has been around for a while. He had a rough winter which didn't help his preparations with his broken leg which I think, although he would never admit it publicly, probably compromised his pre-season preparation and I think it probably compromised him a little bit in the early races. But he is very determined. I think he was unlucky at Silverstone in Q3 as I think he had a real chance of putting it on pole there. He keeps trying and actually although the statistics are that Sebastian has out-qualified him every single time it is not actually quite as simple as that. He is a good guy.
Q. And this morning's performance?
AN: It is the first session on the first day, so it is difficult to know how it will carry through. But Mark is very much on it every time he gets in the car and that was clearly demonstrated this morning.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q. (Alberto Antonini - Autosprint) Concerning the meeting last Wednesday. With the exception of Sam, gentlemen, were you aware of the reasons why you were denied the right to vote?
PL: I think that the simple answer is no. I think the FOTA teams all felt that they had an unconditional entry to Formula 1 since on the press release from the World Motor Sport Council on the 24th of June the asterix had been removed from our names, so in actual fact we had prepared an awful lot for the meeting on Wednesday. The FOTA teams have been working for almost a year on changes to the technical and sporting regulations which would save costs and we have been working independent of the FIA on those measures in a group we call the TRWG which is a FOTA body. We reached a point where all those measures had been unanimously agreed by the FOTA teams and we had even taken them to a high level of details in terms of texts for the regulations next year and the meeting on Wednesday, which was confirmed once we felt our entries were confirmed, was the point at which we would bring all of these proposals to the table and vote them through for next year which in theory should have been a very easy process because we had all agreed them in advance. It was a bit of a shock to come to the meeting having got up at 4.30 in the morning or so and find that we didn't have a vote because it really made it quite difficult to see how we would really make good use of that time, so we don't fully understand the reason for that. That being the case we decided... firstly Ross (Brawn) sought to defer the meeting to a later date which would have really managed the matter in a softer way but that idea was rejected, so we were really obliged to just not take part in the meeting.
Q. Pat, Adrian, do you have anything further to add?
AN: I was wise enough not to come in the first place.
PS: Not really. As Paddy said, we had put an awful lot into these new rules over the past many months. We had a very long telephone conference I think on Tuesday of last week when we were trying to dot the i's and cross the t's. A great deal of work had gone into it and I think I was fully aware that we were a little bit in no-man's land but I hoped that goodwill would prevail. We all understood that we had unconditional entries and while we are not naive enough to believe that press releases have any value in terms of regulation we understood that the process was well underway. We understood that a new Concorde Agreement was in preparation. I certainly hoped that we would perhaps pre-empt that and behave in a responsible manner but it wasn't to be. I think we really had no option but to move away from the meeting. It has been said that we knew about this beforehand but I think that that is not exactly true. I had received a copy of a letter about 8 o'clock the previous evening which wasn't explicit that we would not have a vote. It may have indicated that but it was a little bit late for us to make decisions.
Q. Any comment, Sam?
SM: I think from Williams' point of view obviously it did seem like quite a bit step backwards on Wednesday for the eight FOTA teams not to take part in the meeting. I can understand their reasons why. I think you have got to separate into two different areas. The first one is the 2010 Sporting and Technical Regulations that were published that five teams, us being one of them, signed up for unconditionally. The first thing that had to happen was the five of us had to go through the differences between 2009 and 2010 and decide what we would be happy to change in exchange for another document that is being prepared called a cost regulation document. In exchange for that all of the references to cost regulated teams will be removed from the Sporting and Technical regulations. That is what was agreed with the eight FOTA teams in Paris in the letter Paddy referred to two weeks before. From our point of view technically and sporting wise it wasn't going to be a big problem to do that, to go through that process. The problem was that that process hadn't happened at that stage until the Wednesday, so that was the first opportunity for us to do that. In some ways that should have happened before. Once the FOTA teams left the meeting that is exactly what we did and we went through all of the differences and I think we pretty much agreed 100 per cent on almost everything. In fact, sorry I said I would split it into two. There is that section first. We did agree 100 per cent on that, on all the changes going back to what the regulations were before the 29th of April with the exception of the 620kg weight limit. The second part to it was all of these FOTA proposals which Pat and Paddy referred to. Now what we decided to do in order to keep the meeting productive was try and show that we are trying to come to a solution for Formula 1. We knew that everything in the TWG agenda that had FOTA written on it was unanimously agreed by FOTA, so the only thing that then required that to go through was the unanimous agreement of the five other teams. We didn't cover any of the other items on the agenda that were not FOTA. We didn't discuss those, we left them off, because obviously the agenda probably had about 50 per cent of FOTA proposals and 50 per cent of things that were historic like a normal TWG agenda does. We decided there was no point in covering that stuff as the other eight teams needed to be there, so we would have to do it again. We went through all of the FOTA proposals and I would say there was quite a lot of agreement on almost all of it which was quite another thing which is what I thought would happen anyway because ultimately we are all racing teams, so most of the things we want to do are the same. I don't want to go into the details of most of those proposals because that is Charlie's (Whiting) job to communicate that to FOTA and it is not for here. But there was a high percentage of things that were agreed completely with exactly what FOTA worded. There was a low percentage of things that needed more discussion and there was an even lower percentage of things that we thought that is probably not the best cost saving overall. But what I hope happens now is that all of the things that we agreed on will get communicated to FOTA. The things that we think need further discussion - some of them were things that if there was someone from FOTA in there he may have been able to explain to the five non FOTA teams very quickly why certain things were the way they were. But we couldn't go into that detail as we did not understand the background of some of them, so it wouldn't mean that necessarily those things would not have been accepted with further discussion. It was just the fact that we stopped on them. So after that I thought it was quite a productive use of the afternoon, not for the eight guys that left obviously. But we did it in an attempt to get things on track. Charlie was obviously a driving force behind doing that and I think as far as I understand it, there are three things that need to be settled out of Paris: the Concorde Agreement, the cost regulation document and the regulations. I think the regulations are very close and I understand the Concorde Agreement is very close as is the cost regulation document, so from Williams' point of view we want it to be solved and we are hopeful that barring any further hiccups it will just be a matter of days before things are tied up.
Q. (Marc Surer - Premiere) One question about the regulations: in Paris they said we go back to this year's regulations but there was no refuelling for next year. What cars are you going to build now, with a big tank or will refuelling come back?
SM: It's not quite clear because when it says 2009 regulations in Paris, they mean 2009 with changes that were agreed up until April 29.
Q. (Marc Surer - Premiere) But you know which cars you're going to build?
SM: Yes. For next year it will be a no-refuelling car. There's a lot of minor things in there that we had already agreed at TWG such as changes to front wing endplates, changes to the fuel specification. There were probably seven or eight things which are just general things that were already in there.
Q. (Anthony Rowlinson - Red Bulletin) Question for all of you: the FIA has positioned itself very strongly as the main driving force for cost cuts in Formula 1 as we go forward. Would you all accept that position?
PS: Well, I think that FOTA has delivered cost cuts. We've had some big cost-cutting exercises in terms of restrictions on aerodynamic testing, restrictions on circuit testing, extending the initiative, started by the FIA, on longer life engines. FOTA is very committed to making the business a more viable business, to both look at reduction of costs but also increase of income, and above all, putting on a good show. I think it's wrong to say that the FIA is leading. I think it's a co-operative process in which FOTA has played a very large, active and demonstrable part.
AN: I would completely agree with Pat. I think FOTA has delivered, through its association between the teams, huge cost savings. The ban on in-season testing has meant that we've been able to disband our test team and build less monocoques, less parts. That in itself has been a big cost-saving. As we all know, a lot of the costs of development of the car are driven by aerodynamics, be it principally wind tunnel testing but also CFD testing and the limits that the teams have come up with for wind tunnel and CFD has limited the bigger teams already and with further limitations coming in, limits all of us, so that will be a big cost cut. And not only does that mean cost cutting in terms of the number of aerodynamic model-makers and so forth that you employ but if you're doing less research then the chances are that you will be pushing less parts on the car, so that you will have a manufacturing saving. And equally for new teams coming in it means that they can now go off and buy a single wind tunnel or indeed perhaps rent one of the ones that becomes available from one of the bigger teams that have more than one. I think that's been a big cost saving. As a privateer team ourselves, where we have to buy our engines from a manufacturer, the engine costs have come down tremendously over the last two or three years to probably about a quarter of what they were about three years ago. So I think the FOTA teams can demonstrate that they've delivered a lot already in a very well thought-out and deliverable manner that has worked in a fair way. There's no accusation amongst the teams that somebody is getting an unfair advantage as there might be with some of the other proposals.
SM: To be honest, I think a lot of the FOTA changes have come in recently because it didn't exist twelve months ago. I think the FIA obviously started a lot of that process with long-life gearboxes, long-life engines. Four or five years ago we were using six engines a race weekend, so it went from twelve over two race weekends down to two, so the change to engines was triggered a long time ago. But I also think that what FOTA's done, more so for us on the engine supply - the engine costs for Williams as a private team have come down massively - and that's a direct initiative from FOTA. I think, to be honest, both FOTA and FIA are pushing for cost reduction.
PL: I think the others have mentioned all the key points. We're all technical people and we love the product, the cars and the show that's put on, and above all else, that's what we always seek to preserve. I'm much more in favour of measures such as reducing the number of wind tunnels that you can use because that represents a real cost saving throughout the business, and yet, as long as you've got one wind tunnel, at the sharp end at the circuit, we will still see the sort of rapid development of the cars that makes a part of the spectacle. So that's a good example. The others have been mentioned. We've taken out track testing. That's actually put an onus on more testing on a Friday. We've all been busy today with that. In a way that's improved the show at the race and yet the cost of the test is no longer borne by the teams. So a good number of measures have been promoted by FOTA and managed alone by them, have delivered real cost-saving without eroding the product.
Q. (Ian Parkes - The Press Association) In speaking with John Howett yesterday - and his views were endorsed by Christian Horner and Mario Theissen - he said that a breakaway series was still on the backburner. I was just wondering what you all thought he meant by that? Would any one of the three FOTA teams members like to answer that, and also Sam as well?
AN: I think he probably means exactly what he says, that none of us wants a breakaway series in many ways. I think everybody's conscious of the fact that if you have two premier series then they could end up robbing viewership and splitting viewership and the whole show is weakened as a result of that and that certainly happened in the States when USAC (CART) split from IRL. So none of us want a breakaway series and that's why FOTA, as an organisation, is working so hard to try and come to an agreement with the other parties: the FIA, FOM, CVC. But ultimately, if that agreement can't be reached, then the breakaway series has to be the alternative.
PS: I have a slightly different view. To say it's on the backburner doesn't mean that it's not still cooking. It doesn't mean that it's dead, it means that work is going on. Adrian mentioned what's happened in America and of course there's been a lot of talk about that. Earlier on, Adrian was talking about selective memory. I think that some of the parallels in America I would call selective history because yes, it's true, when - it was actually CART and IRL that separated - it wasn't good for the sport. But if you go back to the late seventies which was actually when CART split away from USAC who ran the ChampCars in those days, there are a lot more parallels to what happened then to the current situation. I think the CART/IRL split had a lot to do with personalities, egos etc. The formation of CART out of USAC was more to do with issues of governance, issues of finance. I think there are a lot more parallels to what we have in Formula 1 and in fact, the breakaway series was CART, it was extremely successful. Everyone apart from AJ Foyt piled out of the USAC series into the CART series and for many, many years it was extremely successful. Personally, I have no worries about a breakaway series, it can be done. If the necessity is there, I don't think anyone in FOTA is scared of the prospect.
PL: I don't think I can really add too much to that. It is a real option that's still being looked at. If that's how it has to be then we will get on and do it but obviously we hope that the right agreements can be reached.
SM: I think we've made our position pretty clear. Publically we hope that our resolutions are achieved and hopefully shortly, so there is only one series.
Q. (Alan Baldwin - Reuters) Adrian, I was wondering if you could just let us know how your role has changed or is going to change with the departure of Geoff Willis because clearly he's not going to be replaced. Does that mean you're taking on more responsibility?
AN: I think it's simply that my role and my daily way of operating will stay exactly the same as it is. What does change perhaps, is that we have five very senior people in the next level down and I will be expecting them to take on more responsibility for their individual engineering departments and really run that in a way which means that we don't actually need a single technical director.
Q. (Mario Bauer - Berliner Zeitung) I struggled to understand why the working group decided to go for less wake, trying to make overtaking more feasible in that way. If you remember, back in the late seventies and eighties, cars had huge side pods and punched a real hole in the air which allowed the car following behind to catch up quickly and to attempt to overtake. Is that something that has been considered? What was the reason to go for lower rear ends and a smaller wake?
PS: I'm not sure I fully understood it (the question). I think you're saying that in the old days the cars had a more benign wake? Is that what you're suggesting?
AN: I think it's a slipstreaming argument, isn't it? A slipstreaming argument is what you're referring to, from Monza in 1970 or whatever. It was a very different technology at the time. Cars, at that time, almost all of them, were powered by a single engine, a DFV, giving out exactly the same horsepower. The circuits have changed for a start. We don't have a Monza-type circuit, we don't have a slipstreaming circuit as that used to be and that only happened at that particular circuit, if my history of motorsport is correct. So I think that yes, if we raced at ovals then perhaps that would be a way of going about things. Indeed, you've almost had the opposite problem. I think at some of the IRL-type races everybody is changing places all the time and I'm certainly of the opinion that if overtaking is too easy then it's actually quite dull because it just becomes commonplace. I personally don't find NASCAR races very interesting because the whole art seems to be in about fourth place with three laps to go. So it's personal opinion but I certainly don't consider that's modern Formula 1 and I think it would be a very artificial set of rules that came up with that.
PS: I think there's also common misconception that the overtaking working group was just about producing a car with a constrained wake. It was really very much about trying to design rules to make a car that would operate within a wake and I think that's something that has been misunderstood quite a lot.
Q. (Mario Bauer - Berliner Zeitung) Is it a good statement just to walk out of a meeting and not listen to what changes were being proposed instead of saying 'we're not having this?'
PS: I don't think it's very fair to say that we didn't know what was going on. There was an engineer actually by the name of Hoover who once said that 'words without actions are the assassins of idealism.' I don't really think there's a lot of point in talking about things unless you can take action.
PL: I didn't fully understand the question but if it was to suggest that we didn't.... we all knew what had to be discussed, I don't think there was anything in the agenda that hadn't been revealed to us. Most of it had been generated by us, so I don't think we were walking away from a useful discussion. The point of the meeting was to endorse the proposals that were on the table and if you haven't got a vote then you can't do that. So I think it was the right and only thing to do in the circumstances.
Q. (Tony Dodgins - Autosport) Fifteen years or so ago when refuelling was introduced, the main concern was safety in the pits. Do you actually believe that going back to before that is the right way to go back because the show's been quite good with strategy? And could somebody put a figure on what it's actually going to save, not to have to carry the kit all over the world?
AN: The figure I've heard is about €400,000 per team, which is a significant figure, but if the show was reduced as a result of that, then it would be a figure which would be the wrong way of saving money. I must admit that whether it will work or not I think we will have to see. The very obvious difference is that at the moment, because tyre degradation very roughly balances weight reduction as the fuel is burnt, then the difference in lap time before and after a stop is usually in favour of being quicker before the stop as the weight effect is more a force than tyre degradation. That can vary on some circuits where it's not the case but it's generally the case whereas clearly now there will be a position where the car will always be quicker after the stop because they've fitted new tyres for the same fuel weight and that will change strategy. Whether that will provide a better or worse show I think is a little bit difficult to answer at the moment.
PL: I think it's a difficult one to predict. I think everybody will have their personal view on whether they prefer refuelling or no refuelling and equally, as we go back to no refuelling, I don't believe it will be the same as it was in 1993 because the cars are different. But certainly it's a different way of going racing and I think it has got many advantages but we'll have to see how it turns out.
PS: I think that strategy has been very exciting. I've certainly enjoyed working in that area but I think it's had its day. As we've developed our techniques, as always, they've become quite similar. I think that the excitement of strategy has gone. I think it's a difficult thing to get across to the casual public who are very important to us, rather than the true enthusiasts. We were talking about overtaking earlier and I think there's a little bit too much reliance now on strategy to be used for overtaking. I think this was one of things that I saw at Silverstone where people, yes, they had similar performance, but they were thinking 'oh well, I am a couple of laps longer than this guy, so I've just got to push for two laps and I'll get in front of him at the pit stops.' But without refuelling maybe we'll see a bit more racing. I think we've got to keep an open mind. Let's try it for a few years. The important thing is to put on a good show. The savings are considerable. Our figures show even more than Adrian's and you've got to bear in mind that that refuelling equipment is getting quite old now and it's going to need replacing soon and it's very expensive to replace. So I'm very happy to give it a try and like with most things, I want to be open-minded about it.
SM: I have pretty similar views to the other guys. I agree with what Pat said about current strategy having its day. It's very difficult to move out of position now because everybody knows what to do. It wasn't like that ten years ago but now it's simulated to the nth degree and people know from experience, really, what everyone else is going to do. So it will definitely change, I'm not sure it will change completely in terms of people waiting for their stop to overtake. It will just reverse, as Adrian said. You will be faster as you come out but that will create a different game. We will see what happens.
Force India stands firm over motorhome
Ecclestone: Mosley will not stand again
OPINION: Saudi Arabia's new F1 circuit delivered a memorable first event, although not necessarily for all the right reasons. In the wake of the chaotic race, drivers voiced their concerns about the track but small changes could make significant improvements ahead of a return in four months
From ranking as one of the most impressive new teams to join the Formula 1 grid, Haas’s stock has plummeted along with its on-track performances over the past two seasons. Everything now hangs on whether its reforged alliance with Ferrari can deliver a better car – and whether its rookie drivers can set aside their quarrels. OLEG KARPOV asks if any of these goals are achievable…
OPINION: Max Verstappen has made the 2021 Formula 1 championship. He’s taken the fight to the all-conquering Mercedes squad and its dominant champion, produced driving displays few can match. But he’s been on a controversial course too, and finally crossed a particular line in Jeddah
The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a race packed full of incident as Formula 1 2021's title contenders repeatedly clashed on track. Lewis Hamilton won out over Max Verstappen to level the scores heading into next weekend's Abu Dhabi finale, as Jeddah turned F1 into a drama series
Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell
Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton
Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary