Q & A with Ross Brawn

Q. What is your reaction to the news about the diffusers?

Q & A with Ross Brawn

Ross Brawn: Well, obviously when we came here we felt our diffuser was within the regulations, and the stewards have obviously agreed with our viewpoint. So we respect the right of our competitors to challenge the opinion of the FIA technical department, and our opinion, but obviously the stewards have understood our reasoning and confirmed that our diffuser is fully compliant with the technical regulations.

I would like to think the matter is closed, but that is not my decision. Hopefully it will not spoil what is going to be a great season.

Q. Were you surprised by the events of that meeting, or were you expecting a protest?

RB: In fairness, the other teams had informed us of their concerns and we respect those concerns. It is a highly competitive sport, especially with a completely new set of regulations - and there may well be arguments about various aspects of them. It tends to happen when there are completely new regulations, and then it settles down after a while. But I think they behaved fair and proper, they informed us of their intent and, as I said, we respect their right to challenge what anybody is doing.

Q. What do you believe the underlying reason for the protest was? Was it because they genuinely believe you have done something illegal, or do they feel they cannot come up with a similar solution to get that far up the grid?

RB: I haven't gone into it that deeply. They challenged our design and whether it complied to certain articles in the regulations, and we felt it did. We gave an explanation to the stewards and obviously they feel it does, so that is as much as I know.

Q. Does the result tonight mean that you can switch off your focus on the diffuser and instead concentrate on going out to win this grand prix?

RB: Well, we will do our best! I don't know where we will be. It is nice to get it out of the way because it has been a fairly big distraction over the last 24 hours since we arrived in Melbourne and the teams confirmed they intended to protest the design - which they could not do of course until after scrutineering had finished. So there has been a little bit of an awkward period, and hopefully we can now focus on getting the best out of the car over the next few days.

Q. If it goes to appeal, as we know from Ferrari bargeboard days in Malaysia, you cannot predict what the Court of Appeal will come up with with its decision, can you?

RB: That's true. Being deeply involved in the Ferrari bargeboard case and knowing the background to it, I think this is a little bit different. But the teams concerned are having to appeal against a stewards' decision to reject a protest, which is perhaps a little bit different to the case you mentioned. But we don't feel there is an issue of interpretation - we think the interpretation is fairly straightforward. But, of course, we are not about to explain to our competitors what interpretation we have taken. They have to work it out for themselves.

Q. How much clarification had you had from the FIA prior to this weekend that your design was okay?

RB: Enough that we were comfortable with. And indeed, the other two teams had as well.

Q. Were you always confident of the outcome?

RB: No, because the process that is used, someone might have a different viewpoint that is completely valid that we hadn't considered or thought of. If that had been the case, if they'd come up with a different interpretation or an interpretation we hadn't considered then it could have caused a problem and we'd have to recognise that and change our design. But we heard nothing that was any different to what we thought. But it isn't a black and white process, it never has been and never will be. This is part of the process.

Q. Will you now seek any assurances from the FIA that the results of the races until the court of appeal will stand.

RB: It's impossible to predict but it would seem a shame if we'd been told by the stewards that are car is legal and then it goes to appeal and that gets overturned and affects the races that we were racing with good intent and goodwill.

Q. How much hung on this decision. You're a team that has risen from the ashes, money is tight, if this had gone against you would it be curtains?

RB: No. It would be another challenge and we've had so many of those over the last few months. It wouldn't have been curtains. Today we announced the first sponsor and over the next few weeks and months that will be added to. The team has got a great future, but we've got a lot of things to do.

Q. Would you have been able to race this weekend if the decision had gone against you?

RB: Yes. We would have found some way. The guys would have been out there with the fibreglass! It wouldn't have been pretty, but we would have found a way to race.

Q. Do you see yourselves as the team to beat?

RB: I've genuinely got no idea. We were very pleased with the pace in testing. The drivers are very enthusiastic about the car, it seems to work well. But you never know until you get to a race.

You probably won't know tomorrow either because teams run different fuel loads on the Friday, everyone is getting used to the eight engines per season, how you are going to run your engines on a Friday - there are all sorts of variables. Until we get to Saturday afternoon, none of us are going to really know where we are - that's the first reality check - and then of course the race on Sunday. But I'm very pleased with the car. The guys have done a great job, particularly considering the circumstances.

Q. We've known a protest was likely for a week. Does the current process need to change?

RB: I'm not sure. It's a fairly thorough process and it gives everyone the opportunity to state their case. Everything in life comes down to judgement calls and the stewards have made one today. If it does go to the court of appeal it will be their call. That's the nature of what we do. So I don't think the process is bad. I can't think of a better one.

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