Q & A with Nick Fry
Q. How important was it for Rubens Barrichello to have got the victory in Valencia and taken that monkey off his back?
Nick Fry: I am more than pleased. In many ways I felt very sorry for Rubens because he came to us from Ferrari, and for a long time we were not able to give him the car that he deserved. But he has kept working hard, and his side of the garage have worked incredibly hard. For Rubens and Jock [Clear, race engineer] it is a tremendous thrill. I think everyone was probably more pleased with Rubens winning than they would have been with another Jenson win, just because he deserves it so much.
Q.There were frustrations from Rubens earlier this year when he thought wins had slipped through his fingers. Do you think that was just part of his desperation to get a victory now he had a quick car underneath him?
NF: I don't think there is any desperation. I think the frustrations earlier in the year were fully understandable, and to know that the car was good and for things to not quite go his way a couple of times is completely understandable, and he should be frustrated by that. If he kept driving as he has been driving, then it was inevitable, providing there is fairness in the world, that he would come out with the win. In Valencia he was on it all weekend.
Friday in Valencia last year was appalling and he had a very bad time, and I said to Rubens on Friday this time, just looking at the car and the way he was driving, it was clear how much he was enjoying himself. He was well into it and was the quicker of our two drivers over the weekend. It was just a superb result and a fair reward for his labour.
Q. But do you think it was a missed opportunity with Jenson since the Red Bulls did not score?
NF: Unfortunately he did not score more points, but you have got to look at the whole season in the round. We have had a lot of things go our way this year and been very successful, and you have to be sensible about it and realise it is not going to be like that all the time. You have to look at the championship over the full number of races and the bottom line is that Jenson yet again has increased his lead [over the Red Bull drivers]. We need to be thankful for that. We have a healthier lead in the Constructors' Championship as well. You can always say it would have been better if, and it would have been, but let's look at the bright side.
Q. Looking at the last few races, Jenson's points advantage has not been eroded too much by whoever is second in the points' standings - even though it appears to be a bad spell. That must be a little encouraging going forward from here?
NF: Yeah, you have got to look at it. It is a bit like the Premiership, where you have to win over 38 games and the best person wins over that spell. In F1, the best person wins over the course of the championship. I think the strength of Jenson is that despite not the best results over the last few races, he is still in the lead albeit to a different person.
Q. How crucial do you think the next two races will be for the title, since they take part on high-speed tracks?
NF: There is no sense inside the team of any race being particularly crucial. I know some people before this weekend were slating this one as the critical race. We are taking it one step at a time and I have only been lucky enough to win a couple of rally championships in my career, compared to Ross's great success in F1, but we did not do anything in those years that was different to any other year.
It is just addressing every race individually in the best way that you can, and we will continue to do the same. I think Spa is going to be a different challenge for us. The heat is going to be much lower than Valencia, which is not in our favour but on the other hand we have taken a couple of steps backwards in terms of specification and that may have helped.
We have some further aero changes for the weekend, which will improve the situation, and Spa is a track where the asphalt does seem to help the heat in the tyres, so I think we will see. We will do the best we can and we have the two best drivers, like Red Bull, that not only can win races but have tremendous experience and can consistently win them. I think it is that reliability in both of them that will count at the end of the day.
Q. You've won seven races out of the 11 held so far this year, but there is still a lot of white space on the car. Is there any concern about funding for this year or next year?
NF: We have zero worries on funding for this year, next year, the year after, and the year after that. I smile when people talk about money, because we've always had the finances for this year, and neither Ross nor I would not have taken on the team if we did not have the money for this year. We've signed some nice contracts, and those will come out into the open when we launch the car next year, but we will see what happens. There is zero worry on our side.
Q. Were those new sponsors signed over the summer break?
NF: When you are asking people for large amounts of money, it doesn't generally happen in five minutes. We've been talking to people from the beginning of this year when our situation changed, and it is fair to say that things have crystallized in the last month or so. I said at the beginning of the year that we were in the enviable position that we didn't have to hurry.
We were well covered for this year, and were covered well into next year, so it wasn't a situation where we had to jump at things that we were not quite sure about. I am pleased about the work we've done, and I think there is more to come as well. So, we've got an assured future from a financial and commercial point of view.
Q. Will Virgin be on the car next year?
Q. Definitely not?
NF: We've had a great relationship with Virgin. You have noticed different stickers from Virgin on the car over the year, and that is the result of additional requests from their side, which has increased our income as well which is nice. I think they have had a great initiation into F1, and we are helping where we can in advice about what they can do with Manor. I really do hope they are successful not only next year but beyond, because they are a good company and it is a good company for F1 to have.
Q. Will you be sticking with Mercedes-Benz power next year?
NF: Yes, that is the assumption. There is not much need for negotiation as it has been the assumption since the beginning of the year, and I am 99.9 percent certain it will happen.
Q. Both your drivers have won races this year, and they are 1-2 in the championship. Is there any reason to change?
NF: I think that both of them have done a wonderful job. You always need to look towards the future, but both have made any decisions we may or may not have to make very difficult. If we were to run with Jenson and Rubens next year I am sure we will be very successful.
It is not really top of our mind at the moment. They are both winning races, they are both doing a great job and, like the commercial side, we are not short of offers. But we are not with the need to rush into things either.
We've got a good team, a great car, a superb team principal who has won lots of championships and I think we will be a good place to be. We are not waiting for an Alonso outcome this year, whereas we were last season. We will make a decision in the fullness of time, but it is not a priority at the moment.
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