Transcript of the Thursday Press Conference organised by the FIA for the 2016 Canadian Grand Prix.
DRIVERS – Marcus ERICSSON (Sauber), Sergio PEREZ (Force India), Felipe MASSA (Williams), Daniel RICCIARDO (Red Bull Racing), Jenson BUTTON (McLaren), Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN (Ferrari)
Daniel, let’s start with you, our 2014 Canadian Grand Prix winner of course. You didn’t want to hear what the team had to say after the last race in Monaco, so how have the conversations gone since, around strategy decisions, the pit stop issue and how have you personally got over the disappointment?
Daniel RICCIARDO: Yeah, I gave it a few days to cool off. I definitely felt after the race that I wasn’t in a place, probably no one was in a place to try to resolve what happened. For me it just get away for a few days and then address what happened once we’d cooled and settled. So I spoke to various people in the team and they basically explained what happened at the time and the situation. It was obviously important to hear the explanation but I think more important how to move on from it and how to make sure it doesn’t happen again. They’d done a lot of things since then back at the factory and they have set up some new parameters and things that will happen during pit stops and before pit stops to make sure that these things don’t happen again and to make sure that tyres are ready and that various compounds are ready at once. So, yeah, obviously from my said now I’ve moved on. It’s obviously good that they’ve… I knew they were going to take it seriously because it was obviously a big disappointment for all of us, but I’ve been assured that if we’re in that position again then it won’t happen, so that was obviously what I needed and what I wanted to hear.
With the Renault engine upgrade, which seems to be pretty valid there, as well as the nature of the Red Bull chassis and of this circuit layout here in Montreal, is there a realistic expectation that you can bounce back with this weekend with a win?
DR: In my mind there is. That would obviously be a lovely way to bounce back. Let’s see, I think realistically Mercedes are still going to be, as expected, the ones to beat. I expect that we can be the next best, or I hope we can be the next best. But it’s hard, you know, Ferrari have been there and surprised us sometime and then been less surprising on other occasions. You never know, but I do believe we’ll be the next ones in line behind Mercedes and how far we’re behind Mercedes I’m not sure but hopefully close enough to again put some pressure on them and grab a win.
Marcus, coming to you, a little bit of ice hockey this week with Valtteri Bottas. Who’s the more aggressive on the ice, you or him?
Marcus ERICSSON: Most aggressive? I don’t know, but obviously Sweden and Finland have a big rivalry in ice hockey and it was a fun event and he was very good on the ice I have to say.
Speaking of aggression, there was a self-destructive situation between you two Sauber drivers in Monaco. Do you and the team just have to accept that as Sauber isn’t really racing any other team you’re going to be racing each other like this week in week out?
ME: No, it shouldn’t be like that of course. Now it happened in Monaco and we all spoke about it and discussed it and we cleared the air about it. We had different opinions but it’s all done and settled now and we are looking forward to Montreal together as a team.
Thanks. Felipe coming to you, you’re scored points in four of the last five Canadian Grands Prix, you’re the only driver this season to have scored points in every round and you’ve been ahead of your team-mate 60% of the time. How satisfied can you be with that?
Felipe MASSA: Well, satisfied, when you score one point, is not really the right answer. I really hope we can score more than what we’re doing. You always want more. It’s on the consistent side in terms of scoring points but we need to work to get a little bit more than one point like we did in Monaco and getting closer to the top five at every race, that’s what we want to do, that’s what we’re working for and I really hope that we can carry on scoring a good amount of points at every race.
Williams has owned third place for the past few seasons but that looks to have slipped to fourth this season, and Force India in the last month or so have been coming for you as well. What’s holding you back?
FM: Well, I think that Red Bull is definitely the team that has grown most and as everybody could see, they even won races this year and they were fighting to win even the last race, so I think with the other teams we are fighting a good way. Definitely Monaco was not the best track for us but I’m really looking forward to being competitive back here and even in the next races and be back on this important fight to maybe even fight for the third, which would be not so easy, but to keep our fourth position also I think we can do and we’re fighting for that.
Thank you for that. Kimi, coming to you, three podiums from the opening six rounds is your best start to the season since 2013, but do you and the team feel that you have fallen behind Red Bull rather than closed on Mercedes?
Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN: I wouldn’t say it like that. We know what we’ve done, we’re definitely more strong in the car and other areas than we were last year. Maybe the results haven’t showed it exactly, but it’s not been the easiest start for us as a team, but we know that as long as we do our stuff and keep working it will pay off. As I say, it’s not been what we’re looking for exactly, but the package has improved and we’re working on that all the time. We know our weaknesses and where we have to improve. Obviously you always look for better results and wins, putting the two cars up there, but so far it’s been a bit tricky this start of the year, but we are more or less there, so we keep doing the same things.
A significant update to the car is a pretty traditional thing for Ferrari in Montreal, so the turbo update you have this weekend has been long awaited. Will this now allow you to fully exploit the power unit?
KR: We fully exploit it all the time. This is a step forward. How much, time will tell. It’s a new part and we would never put any new parts on the car if we didn’t think it improves, but is it going to be what kind of step? I don’t expect any miracles suddenly but it’s the right direction and it’s something that’s been for a while that we’ve been waiting to have it. It’s more like any other new parts we bring, it’s not suddenly something magic, so it’s a very normal work in progress for us as a team, as Ferrari, and it’s going in the right direction all the time.
Thank you for that. Jenson, coming to you, a former winner of this race, the epic wet race of 2011, two other podiums here in Montreal in 15 appearances at this track. Tell us what makes this place special for you, and what’s the best way to drive it?
Jenson BUTTON: Wow, what makes it special? I think it’s always your history that makes a place special, isn’t it. First time to every circuit, it’s nice, but it’s the history and your experiences there that makes a place special. 2011 was very special. You know me, I’m a trouper, and it’s about fighting through and never giving up. So, it’s always those special experiences that make an event for me.
And the best way to drive it? The best way to be quick here?
JB: To be fair, you need a car that is efficient. You need a car that’s good on braking. I suppose every circuit is the same, but those are specifically important areas/. It’s having confidence to use the kerbs here, carry speed and when the weather is like this, making the right calls.
A bit like Felipe, it’s not been big points, but you have scored in the last three races, from a fairly consistent P12, P13 on the grid. Where is the step coming from to get into Q3 and challenge for he bigger points?
JB: For big points, I think it’s going to be a while before we’re actually going competitive enough to fight for big points, but we are making good progress. People would think that this isn’t a circuit that would suit our car, but it’s going to be alright. We’ve come here with some upgrades, which should help us. It’s not big but it should help us. We are very efficient in terms of our car. I know that Exxon Mobil had been working very hard with Honda with fuel. We have an upgrade here, which should help in that areas, so, yeah, we’re positive.
Q: Sergio, coming to you, fantastic podium last time out in Monaco. Your sixth in Formula One. You scored one here back in 2012. Is there a sense of optimism that you can continue this strong run?
Sergio PÉREZ: Well, Monaco was a very special race under certain conditions and to get into the points , everything worked perfectly for us: with the strategy; with all the calls that we did in Monaco. So it was a race under very special conditions. We are expecting something similar here for Sunday but you never know. I really hope we can carry the form, y’know? Probably podiums is not the realistic word for us at the moment but certainly continue the progress and keep scoring points and aim to beat Williams, which is the team ahead of us, which is going to be difficult but I think we are making good progress and we are getting better and better every race.
Q: With 100 grands prix on the board in what’s been essentially a career of two parts, where do you go from here? Do you sense that there is a chance to move back to a top team?
SP: You never know. To be honest I’m not really obsessed with that. If that happened that would be a great opportunity to me and I really hope in the near future I can have the opportunity to be in a car that can give me the opportunity to win. But right now all I can do is to focus on this weekend, do my best for this one and then after this one think about Baku and whatever. The most important thing for me is to focus on the present and try to keep doing the job that I’ve been doing so far.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Peter Windsor – F1 Racing) Daniel, I’m interested to know in the debrief whether or not, in the context of other dramas we’ve had at Monaco over the years, drivers missing the red light for scrutineering, Lewis’ obvious problem last year with the call, whether or not Monaco itself is a function of the issue that happened, because of the tightness of the garage, the general confusion of Monte Carlo, or if it was something that could have happened anywhere?
DR: I think… yeah, the nature of the pits and everything in Monaco, it does make it harder to move around. The garage is small. Whether it would have been a different story at another track, I’m not sure. I think it came down to a late call, a late change of heart. Basically after the team saw what tyres Lewis had put on, they decided to change their decision. Let’s say we were always intending on using one compound and once they saw Lewis change, or go to the UltraSoft – I think the team probably expected him to use a SuperSoft – then it got them thinking and then it was all a bit last-minute. So, whether a last-minute call, say at Barcelona, would have allowed that to happen a bit more fluently, I’m not sure. Yeah, I think the call was just a bit rushed and with Monaco being what it is, it was probably just a bit chaotic for the circumstances. I think it all probably added up: small garage; the intensity of the whole weekend and that track and what it does probably didn’t help. Yeah.
Q: (Andrea Cremonese – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Question for Daniel and one for Kimi. For Daniel, is about the ambition of this season. After the win of your team-mate in Barcelona, the pole position and nearly victory in Monaco, if you wish that the car is going well here, you can think even to fight for the Championship this year? And for Kimi, we would like to know about your future, if you have a deadline with Ferrari to decide what happens next year?
DR: Yeah, coming into the season, didn’t expect to be… probably didn’t expect to be third in the Championship but after so many races in, and yeah, we’ve seen no points in Russia and could have got more in China without the puncture, and the last two races, we could be very close to probably… yeah… we’d be very close to the front of the Championship right now. So, you know, I’m still not looking at that yet. I would love to be in a position in a few races time and say yeah, we can fight for a title this year. I think that would be a pretty nice, unexpected fight and story for F1. I think this race will be pretty telling. If we can be competitive here, you never know. It’s still a long-shot, for sure, but if we can be competitive then sure I believe in myself that I can fight and do what I’ve got to do to put myself in a position come the end of the year. So, fingers crossed we can… Barcelona and Monaco isn’t… wasn’t a one-off. I hope we can fight again for the rest of the season. And I believe we can: whether it’s a win or a podium… to be continued.
Kimi, second question was to you, is there is a deadline in terms of your future with Ferrari?
KR: I don’t know anything more. You guys seem to be knowing a lot every week, this and that. It’s not in my decision in the end. I always said I’m happy to be here, I hope I will be here for helping Ferrari get where we want to get as a team. What happens in the future, we will see.
Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines) Daniel, first Spain then Monaco. How much have these two events damaged your relationship with the team – have you forgiven the team absolutely and totally for these two incidents?
DR: Yeah, obviously, as I said after Monaco I was happy to keep some distance for a few days. For myself as well, it probably wasn’t healthy to just address it straight away. But yeah, for sure, for a few days I was upset I guess, and obviously ruing some missed opportunities – but it’s one of those things: it happens; it’s unfortunate it happened back-to-back. That, how do I say, expanded the feelings and the emotion a lot more. But yeah, I’ve moved on. I’ve still obviously got a lot of faith in the team and I don’t doubt things with them moving forwards. For me it’s obviously really important this weekend to execute a perfect weekend from my side and from the team’s side and get back on track. Because obviously we’ve shown we have a good car, we’ve got good material. It’s just trying really to maximize it. The last four weekends I’ve left Sunday feeling I should have got more. So yeah, this weekend it’s just to try leaving on Sunday knowing that we’ve maximized everything from both sides.
Q: (Jérôme Bourret – L’Equipe) Braking is of course something crucial here. Could you please tell us something about how difficult it is to find the right braking lap after lap during the race – and how demanding it is from a physical point of view?
JB: I think the race is fine in terms of braking. I think with the way that the cars are these days it does make it a little bit trickier with the deployment that we have that is obviously different to qualifying – well it is for us, I don’t know if it is for everybody else – and also there will be fuel saving here so – and again I don’t know if it is for everyone else – but that does change your braking. It changes the brake temperatures, obviously. So you have to be very careful of that and it’s studied throughout the race. But for me the more difficult time to get your braking right is qualifying. Because you’re right on the edge: it’s bumpy; easy to lock wheels – but you’ve got to have that confidence in the car to brake as late as you can because there’s a lot of lap-time there.
Felipe, what’s your perspective on this? You’re obviously running a Mercedes engine, will you be fuel-saving on Sunday? And your thoughts on the braking.
FM: For sure it’s a track that you need to have a good… brakes need to work well so it’s easy to get… we saw in the past many teams struggling with overheating problems in the braking. We need to be careful, try to use everything in the proper way to have no problems. Actually in all these two and a half years that I’m here with Williams, we never had a problem on the brakes so I don’t really see we can have any problem during the race. I think the fuel consumption can be an issue for everybody here, so we need to wait and see how it’s going to be tomorrow and the numbers and prepare the race in the proper way.
Sergio, anything to add?
SP: Yeah, I think Montréal is very hard on braking, especially in the race if you are in the traffic and it’s hot on Sunday – which doesn’t look like. It can be really demanding on the brakes with the brakes overheating. And, as Jenson said, we’re going to be fuel-saving, all of us, on Sunday if it’s a straightforward race. That makes it a bit easier in a way, on the brakes, but it can always be quite tricky. I think the most challenging day for the brakes is Saturday. Saturday in qualifying you really have to be on the edge and there’s a lot of time to be gained under braking. So you have to have the confidence to approach it well.
Q: (Alexander Govorov – Championnat.com) Felipe, the last couple of years in Montreal Williams was very strong, but you’re struggling on slow tracks. Do you see the race in Montreal as an opportunity to be back in the top six and maybe fight for the podium?
FM: Yeah, definitely. I really hope we can be competitive on this track, not just this track but maybe Baku can be a positive track for us, Austria, so I’m really looking forward that this next race can be a circuit that we can be strong on, maybe fighting for the top five, maybe a podium because that’s what we want and we will try.
Q: (Leigh Diffey – NBC Sports) Jenson, there’s an abundance of information for us all to look at to see how things have improved, whether that’s lap time or your qualifying spots or race results, but what are the immeasurable things that have changed within the team? Has there been a shift in morale or a change of tone in conversation? Just take us inside the team.
JB: Yeah, from the outside, you always ask the questions: where is it, when are you going to be competitive? And then you get… every time I speak to the press it’s how about now? How about now? How about now? How about now? It’s unbelievable, the pressure from the outside but from the inside we know where we are, we know we’re improving and I think the atmosphere in the team is very good. Fernando and myself are both very experienced, I think we bring a lot to the team in terms of our experience and direction and there is a lot in the pipeline. It’s always very difficult because we’re in a season where we want to get the result we can, as everyone does, and I think it’s the same for everyone. With a regulation change next year, it changes everything, in terms of how much effort is put into that single season. But I’m happy with the progress that’s being made there is a good feeling. We feel that a lot of the time we are getting the maximum out of the car which is the main thing right now and yeah, we’re still quite a way off the pace but it will come, it is just a matter of time but it always takes a lot longer than you want.
Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines) Daniel, sorry to harp on about this but how did the reconciliation come about? Did you make the ‘phone call, did they call you, did you just arrive at the factory or how did that happen?
DR: It was all over the ‘phone. I let it cool a couple of days and then I spoke to Christian, I spoke to my engineer and obviously Christian just explained… obviously apologised on everyone’s behalf and just explained what went down and the reasons why there was confusion and why obviously the tyres weren’t ready and this and that. So that was really the ‘phone call with Christian and then I spoke to Simon, my engineer, that was later in the week, after they’d got a chance to spend some days in the factory and basically just to hear what they’d put in place. And also I questioned… because everyone highlighted the second pit stop which was where effectively we lost the race but I questioned the first pit stop as well because that was the one… already when I came out behind Lewis, I was like ‘well, we’ve put ourselves in a race now with Lewis which we didn’t have to be in so…’ I just wanted to make sure that the first pit stop was being addressed as heavily as the second one and then Simon obviously explained that they were not looking into that but acknowledging that that was also, I would say, a mistake. So yeah, it was just to get some clarity on everything. Yes, there’s going to be some new software they’ve now put in for strategy and some live stuff during the race that can obviously make us more prepared, and if there are some late calls again, to make sure that everything’s put in place. Yes, obviously I had plenty of questions to ask but they answered them with confidence and that’s all I needed to hear.
Q: (Peter Windsor – F1 Racing) Sergio, it wasn’t that long ago that you were certainly heading for a podium if not a win here. Big shunt with Felipe but I noticed you and Felipe are now big mates at the back there, chatting away, having a laugh. I wonder when you come back here whether you think about that and how that incident in your mind has been resolved, whether you think it was 50-50 now?
SP: I still think it was his fault. But I got the penalty though. Well, it was a long story after that.
FM: Very long.
SP: But yeah, that day I was so close to win the race, actually. I remember Rosberg had an issue in the last laps and I was getting really close to him but then I had an issue as well with the brakes actually, my brakes were quite overheated, I had a problem with the BBW(brake by wire) so that was hurting my brake balance a lot, I was losing a lot of lap time with the brakes and I lost the place to Daniel and he went on and won the race. But in general that day was an extremely good race for me and we found ourselves in a position that we were not expecting to. Unfortunately, on the last lap, it all went to bad with a crash but it was a really good race and we were close to win that day.
FM: My thoughts? So we crashed, it was really bad for both of us and I hope this thing doesn’t happen any more. But I was not penalised!
Q: (Robby Pacicco – Popular Hispanics) Felipe, last year you had a little intruder on the track while you were racing. Did you adjust your race strategy for another groundhog this year?
FM: Here is a place that you can maybe see that. I hope they stay safe in their place. It can maybe happen but it must be really dangerous what happens to us or to the race. It was fun actually.
Q: (Leigh Diffey – NBC Sports) Kimi, there’s been a lot of discussion about braking today. For the last two years in a row, going up into the hairpin, exiting the hairpin, you’ve spun in exactly the same manner and you even said on the radio to the team last year ‘that was the same as last year.’ Have you guys got to the bottom of what that was and how that happened two years in a row at the same corner?
KR: I’m pretty sure we have but hopefully I’m not wrong on Sunday but it’s quite frustrating in a way the last couple of years but we knew the issues and we took care of it in our mind but actually it never happened in any other thing. The first year it happened in practice but last year, because we knew what the problems( were) then kind of tried to even force it in practice and nothing happened but then in the race (it happened) again. I will make sure this year it’s not going to happen hopefully. I think we’ve learned now since that.