DRIVERS - Bruno SENNA (Williams), Vitaly PETROV (Caterham), Paul DI RESTA (Force India), Sergio Pérez (Sauber), Fernando ALONSO (Ferrari), Narain KARTHIKEYAN (HRT)
Q. Bruno, great result in Malaysia. Do you think that was your best ever
Bruno SENNA: I think it was a great race. We had strong pace and a pretty
good strategy as well, even though we had an accident on the first lap, which
could in theory have influenced our race result badly. Anyway, we had a strong
race. I didn't make any mistakes during the race, apart from the first lap, and
that's very encouraging. It shows the car has good performance in the dry and in
the wet and we had both conditions in the race. I think it was a pretty good
effort, not only from me but from the team as well. I'm not racing on my
Q. Do you feel that those are the perfect conditions for you to perform
best in the car this year?
BS: I don't think it's a case of this year but for sure in the early part
of the season it's best when you have more mixed conditions. I'm still learning
the team, learning the car, learning the tyres. I only came into the season
quite late last year and quite a few things have changed as well. All this
settling period takes a few races, so I hope I can get them out of the way as
quickly as possible but for sure a few races like this would increase the chance
of a good result for us but later in the season the drier the race the
Q. The potential looks a lot better than it did last year for Williams.
Are you confident of that and of the development necessary to keep them
BS: Yeah, the team has done a great leap forward in terms of performance.
The changes that happened definitely made the team focus on the right areas and
now it's up to us, to me and Pastor, and also the engineers to keep the
development rate as high, or higher than the guys we're competing against to try
and continue in the position we are. It's tough. If it was easy everyone would
do it but it's the situation we're in. We're pushing very, very hard and for
sure scoring points, especially big points as we did last race keeps everyone
Q. Vitaly, you've been in the points here in the last couple of races,
what are you feelings coming into this race? You've had a couple of races with
Caterham, so what are your feelings about the team after a couple of races?
Vitaly PETROV: I think first of all, everyone has a good feeling to come
back to a track when you have the first points in F1, so it's a good memory. I
have a god memory to come back here because in 2010 I had a good race here, in
the wet. I was quite quick and managed to finish in the points. What's going
inside the team? I feel quite happy. I feel more free to work. I felt much less
pressure on my shoulders. Definitely I still have pressure because I have a very
strong team-mate, so I need to work quite hard. But in general I'm a little bit
more relaxed than last year.
Q. I think we will be watching that battle with your team-mate with
interest. It's been a focal point of watching your team so far this year?
VP: Last two races we did a good job during the race. I know I need to
little bit improve my qualifying performance but we bring some good maps and
some good set-up to this race, and we have some good updates coming, so I'll
cross they fingers they work again, as good as we expect. Yeah, but as for the
performance during the race we were not too bad. I think I need to work a little
bit harder in qualifying and then we will see.
Q. And are you comfortable now inside the car?
VP: Yeah, actually. It's quite comfortable and we still need to adjust
the seat a little but at the moment it's OK.
Q. Paul, were talking there about the battle between team-mates,
which is always of interest. There's quite an interesting battle between
yourself and Nico, you seem to be very closely matched.
Paul DI RESTA: Yeah, I think it was pretty similar last
year with Adrian. Obviously with Nico, I have to have a lot of respect for him.
At the moment we seem to be the closest drivers, against their team-mates, but
it's always good to have that competitive nature in the team, you push each
other along and drag the best out of each other. At the moment it's work in
progress because were trying to develop the car. And to do that fast we have to
work together to build our team to try to challenge the likes of Williams and
Sauber, who are a bit in front of us at the moment. But, having scored the
points that we have in the first two grands prix, we're certainly looking
forward, hopefully until we get some updates on the car, and we can put some
more performance on, which we're quite confident we can achieve.
Q. This is your second Formula One season. Do you think the first one was
learning and that this one is about confirming the form you showed last
PDR: I think there's more pressure for you to perform, in terms of being
a second-year driver, but I've always had the task of just trying to pick the
positive and certainly just trying to do the best I can in the sport I love
doing. So far our race performance has showed to be stronger than our qualifying
and the experience I got last year I think paid a lot to the result I got in
Malaysia in tricky conditions and we managed to finish seventh. Everyone
achieved the maximum we could from the package we had. We just need to make sure
we're at the top of our game all this season, because to maintain the position,
as a driver and as a constructor, that we achieved last year is a mighty
challenger. But the vibe in the team is quite high and strong at the moment.
Q. You talked earlier about how Sauber and Williams are perhaps a little
bit ahead of you, whereas they weren't at the end of last season. There's a
little bit of ground to be gained there. Are you confident of getting that
PDR: Yeah, I think we started this year very strong. They've obviously
come up with updates and stuff. We've been relatively neutral. The tunnel and
the factory are working very hard. We are looking forward to the next couple of
races when we get back to Europe. We have a good package coming for Mugello.
We've obviously been working very hard on that. We've taken the decision to
leave it there to maximise that. Really, at the moment, we're trying to do the
best job we can with the car we have. Certainly in Malaysia we achieved a lot so
there's no reason why we can't do that again. Last year here our car showed more
potential than we thought, so I hope that the philosophies that carried on from
that, certainly lead into this year. We got into Q3 here with a car that nearly
never got into Q2 in Melbourne.
Q. Sergio, tell us about the reaction in Mexico to your second place in
the last grand prix?
Sergio PEREZ: Well, it's been really great. I had some time there with
the family, with friends, to enjoy the result we had. The people there were
going crazy. It was a great result for my country. It was 40 years since the
last podium we had in Formula One, so it was really nice to feel all the support
I'm getting from the fans, from the country.
Q. Do you think there is more pressure on your now? And also, will there
be more money for development with, perhaps, more money from Mexico?
SP: That would be a good sign, no? Already, the interest has come up, not
only from Mexico, but from other companies around the world that can help us to
develop our car, which is important for us. In terms of pressure, I think the
pressure remains the same, giving my 100 per cent every race weekend, trying to
have success, and just try to the best, that will be the target for the next 18
Q. I think a year ago we were thinking 'that Sergio Pérez is pretty good
with the tyres' and a year later we're still thinking the same thing - after the
first two grands prix. Have the specifications come to you? Have this year's
specifications helped you?
SP: I don't think it has helped in terms of last year for me on the
roadside. I can play the tyres, but sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't
work. I always try to adapt myself to different conditions that you have in
Formula One most of the time, which is even more difficult, to be adapting to
every single condition. You have different conditions in free practice than in
qualifying and it's very important to be able to adapt yourself to any
Q. But that's something that you're going to continue to exploit?
SP: Of course, there is a big potential there and with experience it will
get better because when I came to Formula One it was (sound drops out) to keep
changing your style. People always ask me 'what's your style?' but I think in
Formula One you don't have one – you are always changing your style and trying
to adapt yourself to any condition.
Q. Fernando, what we expecting from you and what are you expecting from
yourself and Ferrari this weekend? What's changed since the last race?
Fernando ALONSO: Nothing changed. I think it's going to be a tough
weekend for us again. I don't expect any big surprises as we've been saying, the
team and myself, all week, the car has some small improvements, nothing big for
this race and I think it's the same, more or less, for all the other teams
around us in the paddock. So I expect more or less the positions to maintain, or
to keep the same as the first two races, which means a difficult to weekend for
us. Struggling to be in Q3, I guess, in qualifying and then in the race to score
as many points as possible as we did in the first races – trying to do a good
strategy, a good management of the tyres and a little bit of luck. It's always a
factor that we always seem to forget is there. I remember in Australia we had a
great team effort from everybody there, a good strategy, pit stops etc, but we
also had some luck to get the fifth result and in Malaysia we had the same.
Starting from the first corner, we avoided any accident. It seems normal but
every first corner is always a risk. We had Grosjean and Schumacher crashing in
turn four in Malaysia, which we were very close to being in that accident as
well. So, it's always... a race or a grand prix is not only pace, a good
strategy or good driving skills. It's a big package and luck is a big factor.
Hopefully the luck is still with us this weekend.
Q. Will a wet track be part of that luck?
FA: I guess so.
Q. So you're praying for rain?
FA: It can be a very good weekend for you or very bad because it's a
little bit of gamble in the rain. Anything can happen. You can be with the right
tyre in the right moment or completely the wrong tyre in the wrong moment, so
this is what happens in wet races. As I said, with a normal race we know our
possibilities, we know our limitations at the moment, which is not quick enough.
So in a wet race, we can lose a couple of points or we can win a lot more. Maybe
this risk of a wet race can be good for us at the moment because in normal
conditions we are not as fast as we expected.
Q. Fernando, you've passed Jackie Stewart's number of wins with your
victory in Malaysia. Only Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna and
Nigel Mansell have won more races than you. That last win of yours was also
compared with Gilles Villeneuve in that it was a win against the odds. What does
it mean to you to be talked about in the company of those drivers?
FA: I'm privileged to be in that group of great drivers that I watched on
TV as a kid and now I'm having a good career in Formula One and I've been
extremely privileged to drive for fantastic teams in my career. So, the number
of victories will hopefully increase even more and I will be up in this table.
Records are not something that you pay a big importance to now, as you
concentrated on your next grand prix or you are so focused on your daily
preparation that you don't pay too much attention but I'm sure that in 10 or 15
years time I will appreciate it much more than now. But I'm not paying too much
Q. Narain, it's been a difficult start to the season. Just give us some
indication as to how difficult it has been for the team, for the drivers and the
sort of mountain that there is to climb for the HRT team.
Narain KARTHIKEYAN: Yeah. The start of the year wasn't very good because
we missed all the testing and then we came to Australia with a new car and like
all new cars, it had a lot of problems with cooling and hydraulics and few laps.
Clearly our car is still lacking a lot of downforce, which is the biggest
problem. Pedro de la Rosa is quite good to help the team to go in the right
direction, he has a lot of experience with big teams, so we're trying to
improve. It's still a very small team and we have limited resources but I can
see that the structure is a lot stronger than last year. There are some good
people in the team and so we will improve quite a lot at the Mugello test
Q. It's obviously left you as a backmarker in the last race which got you
involved in a public argument which we won't go into, but what is life like as a
backmarker in Formula One, especially when there are a lot of cars on the
circuit due to the reliability of the cars? Are your eyes on the mirrors all
NK: Yes, practically after the first 15 laps or so after that it's very
difficult because a lot of blue flags. I think at the last race there were
something like 36 blue flags so it's quite difficult. The car is obviously five
or six seconds off the pace and in tricky conditions like when we switched to
dry tyres, with less downforce and it's so hard to drive and the car is a
handful to drive in completely dry conditions, so in mixed conditions it's
really difficult. But it is what it is, this is what I have and I will try to do
the best with what I have.
Q. Is the driver ever going to say that the car is too slow in those
conditions, at one circuit or another?
NK: No, I think qualifying within the 107 percent is no longer a problem,
but we need to improve for sure. We need to reduce the gap. If you take our lap
times from last year, we have not improved so much. From the numbers we had, we
were hoping that the car would take a significant step forward but that is not
the case right now. We know the reasons, there is a wind tunnel programme and
we're trying to improve it.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q. (Flavio Vanetti – Il Corriere della Sera ) Fernando, are you surprised
that the Red Bulls haven't been as competitive as they were last year and that
they will come back very soon?
FA: Not surprised because I know the complex world of Formula One and
developing a car in Formula One is not the easiest thing in the world but for us
and for the team, we were surprised that when we put the car on the track in
winter testing that we didn't have the results we were hoping for and that was
the biggest surprise. From that point, you start working on the car, you start
working on the improvements and you know that there's not a magic button that
you touch, or a magic part of the track that you can change and the car
immediately becomes competitive. You start work that has to be done properly,
step-by-step and hopefully new parts will come very soon that will make the car
quicker but this is something that we need to be calm about, let the people in
Italy work and here when we are on trackside and at the Grand Prix try to
maximise the potential we have in our hands; it's what we did in the first two
races and what we will try to do in the next two.
Q. (Steve Dawson - ESPN Star Sports) Does any member of the panel
acknowledge that they might have a moral difficulty in going to Bahrain next
There is no reply.
Q. (Carlos Miguel – La Gaceta) Fernando, in this race are you waiting
for big improvements or is everything going according to plan? Or are you
waiting until Barcelona for a big improvement?
FA: As I said, no big improvements for this race and I don't
think… No big improvements for this race and as I said, we're working, we're
working on the car and I think we cannot say that for Barcelona there will be a
big improvement because we don't know. We are working day and night to do the
work and to improve the car and I think we have some new parts for the car which
we need to test tomorrow – maybe they are working fine, maybe they are not
working and we need to come back with those parts. In Barcelona there will be
more new parts which I'm hoping for. We need to test to see if they are working
fine. For Canada there will do more, Monaco, so it's nothing… as I said, Formula
One these days doesn't have a magic button where we change something, we arrive
in China, we arrive in Barcelona, in Canada and you change one part on the car
and you improve by one second. This will be constant work from the team,
improving one tenth, two tenths, three tenths every step that we do and we need
to do it quicker than the others because all the other teams will bring a couple
tenths (advantage) to every race so we need to bring some more.
Q. (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo) Sergio, how is your
approach to this Grand Prix, considering that everybody is maybe expecting
something similar from you in comparison to the last two races? It looks very
hard not to be affected by the interest everybody has in you.
SP: I think we are really realistic as a team. We know that
the Malaysian race was not a normal race, the conditions were extremely
difficult for everybody. We got them right, we stopped at the right time more or
less and we were able to fight for victory, but I think in normal conditions
this is not where we belong, we have to be very realistic and our target is
still to score as many points as possible. If we can score another podium during
the year it will be great, but we are very realistic that it can really only
happen in different conditions.
Q. (Carlos Miquel – La Gaceta) Narain, tomorrow in the drivers'
briefing what's your position with Vettel?
NK: For me it was a racing incident and we've spoken to each
other so it should be OK.