Friday's Press Conference - Turkey
Participating: Timothy Routsis (Cosworth), Yasuhiro Wada (Honda), Frank Williams (Williams), Christian Horner (Red Bull Racing), Patrick Faure (Renault)
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 it's been a frustrating year hasn't 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 haven't given up or anything. We are still trying to challenge, to win the race. That's our goal.
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 it's promising.
Q. Timothy, obviously you have the liaison with Williams for next year, what's the effect on the company having a team such as Williams?
Timothy Routsis: It's tremendously motivational. I've been very pleased and I have to say a little bit surprised with the speed with which the whole organisation has really engaged. I don't think we're under any illusions about the nature of the challenge next year but there's 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 we've 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 wouldn't 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 hadn't actually started it.
TR: No. We've 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 I'm very pleased to say that to date the milestones that we're hitting are exactly the ones that we need to see happen if we're 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, I've a lot of respect for the fact that some journalists, unsurprisingly, are very cynical but being cynical doesn't 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 that's very useful, I must say.
Q. What about the fact that you're obviously paying for this engine; would you prefer to have a paying engine? What is the priority?
FW: A winning... 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.
Q. You've mentioned that Jenson Button very much figured in your plans for next year that's 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: They've always respected our ability to see our own way technically. That doesn't count or it's not written in any contract except one.
Q. Patrick Faure, it won't 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.
Q. Now, 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 wasn't 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 'that is our challenge and we have got to do it', 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 don't think the case of 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 Villeneuve 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 over 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?
Questions From The Floor
Q. (Dan Knutson National Speedsport 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.
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