Q & A with Stefano Domenicali

Q. Max Mosley said there were very few things separating FOTA and the FIA now, and a deal is very close. Other people like Ross Brawn say it is far away. What is your reaction to that?

Q & A with Stefano Domenicali

Stefano Domenicali: I said to your Italian colleagues that Ross spoke not only for Ross, but also for the teams. That is the line of all the teams.

Q. On Saturday, Ferrari struggled to reach its potential, and in the race today Felipe Massa came close to the podium. Can you explain the reasons for this?

SD: I think that the race today, and also the Turkish Grand Prix, showed that we need to really understand what the situation is technically speaking. We saw cars that on one side are slow in certain conditions then getting very competitive in different conditions, without touching anything.

So for sure the role of the tyres is very, very important. It is important to understand exactly, and to learn from the fact that this year we cannot test on the track and we have to use the data that we have learned on the Friday and during the race weekends. So we have a learning curve, and it is important to understand exactly what is going on in order not to make mistakes in the future. For the development of this year's car and for the development of the next project.

Q. Have you had any contact with Max Mosley this weekend?

SD: No.

Q. So he hasn't spoken to you at all?

SD: No.

Q. Would the change of an FIA president diffuse the situation as it stands at the moment, and is it what Ferrari would like?

SD: I think that what we said is that on our side, we want to go ahead with the project. We want to show that we are ready, and with regard to the FIA, it is not something that I can say. He is the president of the FIA, and he will take the decision if he wants to take it. I don't have any other answer on that.

Q. Last winter BMW Sauber refused to join a veto on KERS in Formula 1, forcing everyone to keep developing it. It has now scrapped its system and you are the only team running KERS this weekend. Has KERS been a flop for F1?

SD: Yes! It is too simple to say yes, but that is a fact. I think we have to learn from it. One thing is the new technology and the fact that for sure KERS on the one side is the future of the road car side. But we are dealing in an environment that is totally different.

We are in a racing environment where they are a lot of things, a lot of compromises, that we have to take in order to ensure that this new technology could be beneficial to the performance of the car. At the end of the day, this is what it is all about.

The reality is that the facts show that KERS in the way that it is now is not ready to be performing in this set of regulations. That is a fact. And, this is something that we need to learn from in the future.

As we always said, F1 is vital to ensure the technological transfer from the racing division to the road car side, but we need to make sure that this is line with what we have to do to ensure we are winning on the sporting side. So, for the future, before doing certain choices, we have to think carefully because we must not make another mistake.

Q. As a rival of Brawn GP and Red Bull Racing, do you believe Red Bull is now the quickest team?

SD: Well, I think that we need to be very careful. For sure this weekend Red Bull did a big, big step - no doubt. They were the fastest since Friday, they did qualify with hard tyres, they did a few laps and they were fast and consistent. Before saying that, after what we have seen in the first few grands prix, we need to look at the right pace without saying that tomorrow they will win the championship or that Red Bull will do it. Up to Thursday evening we were saying the opposite - as always in life it is better to stay cool and do it step-by-step. Let's see more before we judge what the situation is.

Q. You've said it is full steam ahead for FOTA. Does that mean you are not open and will not have any further conversations with the FIA?

SD: Our position is pretty clear. We have put some conditions on it, and that is it. I think just to go back to this point - I think all of the FOTA teams have shown a great respect for the FIA, and a lot of, how can I say, will to find a solution and compromise. But there is a limit where you have to act differently, or act accordingly. I think that we have shown really a very rational and professional approach. Someone said that we had been called 'loonies' - but I don't think we have this approach.

Q. But will there be more talks?

SD: I don't know.

Q. Can you quantify the cost of this mistake called KERS?

SD: I cannot because it is too heavy for me to say that, to be honest. I know that if you put that amount of money into the development of the car, then you would have been fast like Red Bull today! It was millions of Euros.

Q. Brawn says it hopes in the new FOTA series that smaller teams like yourselves will be supported financially by the bigger teams. Are you willing to help hand out cash to the smaller teams to help Brawn and the others?

SD: I think that for sure we will be able to make sure that teams from outside that want to come in are very, very welcome. This is something that has to be very clear. No one is putting any kind of barrier to new teams - we are very welcoming with new teams. But the value of F1 has not to be devalued by the level of the new teams that want to come in.

Q. Was it just Max Mosley's idea to introduce KERS?

SD: I think the decision was done, if you remember, two years ago. It was clear that the FIA wanted to introduce that because the potential for marketing reasons was very important and, as I said before, it is important for the future of the road car side. And on one side, at the beginning, we thought it was a good idea - and we don't have to hide behind that.

But the more we were going ahead, the more we were able to understand that it was not really the right choice. If at the beginning there were a lot of us thinking like that, then day by day we would be decreasing. Now we are the only one that is doing that. We will, as always, be correct with our choice and take it up to Abu Dhabi, and then we will organise something special.

Q. Are you able to exclude the possibility of any FOTA members talking to the FIA to try and find a solution different to what the majority of the teams want?

SD: I think the FOTA position is pretty clear. I don't exclude anything because above all we know in politics how the things are working. The position of FOTA is pretty clear and I was very happy to see that position that we have.

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Domenicali: KERS a costly flop for F1
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