Sergio, if we can start with you, you’re the home town hero this weekend, just tell us how it feels to be racing in Mexico again?
Sergio PEREZ: It feels great. It’s a race that I’m waiting the whole season for. It comes really late in the calendar, but it comes at the right time. Just the atmosphere, the energy I get from the fans is something that is extremely amazing. So much support; from the moment I arrive to the moment I leave it’s flat out and yeah, so much looking forward to give the very best to all my fans in the track and off the track, to give the very best to them.
Looking back to Austin last weekend, it was another strong race from Force India. You weren’t allowed to overtake your team-mate there but we hear that you will be free to race here in Mexico. Is that true and what can we expect from you guys this weekend?
SP: Yeah, well in Austin and in Japan, for example, we knew that the priority was to secure fourth place in the Constructors’, which we are very close to doing so. So that’s the main priority. Then I think we have to gain the trust back; to show the bosses that we can race without any trouble. That’s the main priority. I think here we should be quite strong actually. We have a couple of upgrades on the car and I think the track should suit the car quite well, so definitely looking forward and to finish our season, which has been good, on a high.
And free to race?
SP: That I haven’t heard. You’ve heard it first. But probably yes, we should be able to race here.
Pascal, there’s a lot of talk about 2018 in the F1 paddock at the moment. You’ve become one of the key players in that game of musical chairs. How close are you to signing a deal?
Pascal WEHRLEIN: No news yet on this side but I hope… there are some discussions going on for next year and I hope we can fix something soon.
Do you have a headline when you expect to hear something?
PW: I have no deadline, no. The last two years it was always quite late. I just hope we can find something and sign a contract for next year and I would be happy.
Your name has been linked to Williams, but are you hedging your bets, are you looking outside Formula One as well as inside?
PW: I’m not looking outside yet.
Well, good luck in that. Max, obviously you are here to discuss events in Austin last weekend. Having had a few days to reflect on what happened, what are your thoughts now?
Max VERSTAPPEN: The thoughts are pretty similar, but I think in general it was a great race. I really enjoyed that. The pace of the car was great again. That’s now three times in a row we were really competitive and I just hope to continue that way here in Mexico.
It got pretty heated after the race. Do you regret any of the comments that you made or any of the language you used?
MV: Well, I think after a race the emotions run high, especially you have been taken off a podium, which I think I deserved, because I think the punishment was not correct, because everybody was running off the track in Turn 19, 8 and 9. Even in Turn 6 when you were behind someone you were cutting the inside, a lot of cars were doing it. And then also the fans, I think they loved it. It was a great move and then they tell you that you are gaining an advantage while overtaking someone. Well, if I was really gaining an advantage I would do it every single lap, which you are not, so I don’t think it’s gaining an advantage. Like I said, a lot of other people did it as well, they were cutting the inside of the corners, and then I’m the only getting penalised, is of course, I think, not correct. And then I think it’s quite normal that I get angry. Of course I could have used a few different words but at the end of the day I still think the decision is not correct.
So the sentiment four days on is still the same?
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) Max, you said there is the same marshal that penalised you, I think it was here in marshal. Who is this marshal please… Sorry he’s a steward?
MV: I don’t want to name any names.
Q: (Helmut Uhl – Bild) Max, how did you digest the disappointment? What did you do the last days?
MV: I had an event on Monday and then I just stayed around Houston, because that’s where I had to be and played FIFA. I mean, at the end of the day I still had a great day. Of course I was not happy that they take away my podium, but you also have to look at the positives and that was that it was a great race, for sure. I’m still a happy person, because the speed was good.
Q: (Rik Spekenbrink – Algemeen Dagblad) Max, besides you drove a perfect race, there was also some criticism in the Netherlands, maybe for the first time. What do you make of that? What do you think of that?
MV: As I said, I could have different words, for sure. But, like I also said, I was angry at the time, because I think it was not correct and I already said all the reasons why I think it was not correct. So you also have to understand a bit my point of it, but of course the words were not correct. But I can’t change that right now. It was not meant for anyone. I was not trying to offend anyone. Otherwise I would have named them by name if I was trying to offend someone.
Q: (Manuel Franco – Diario As) My question is about Fernando Alonso. He will be competing in the 24 Hours of Daytona next year. What’s your opinion about that and would you compete in a similar race outside Formula One?
SP: I think it’s good experience. Obviously, Fernando is wanting to experience that route a lot, with Indy, the 24 Hours and probably he might think of Le Mans. I think it’s a great, you know. I think it’s a great experience. It’s one of those races that you would like to do at some point. I went there actually last year to see my brother. He did the race the 24 Hours in Daytona, and it’s an amazing race and an amazing venue. It’s one race that I definitely want to do at some point in my career.
PW: I’ve never followed it so far, but I have only heard positive things about it so probably I will follow it next year.
MV: Of course the first priority is to stay as long as possible in F1, but if I like it then maybe I will do it, but I only want to do it with my dad. I think after F1 to get the same sensation is really hard, so I try to do that as long as possible.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com ) Max, sorry to come back to the subject but looking at the video your first reaction, looks like to avoid an impact with Kimi, then you look for the run-off area. Is that correct?
MV: Yeah, of course. I think at one point he realised that I was trying to overtake him, so he tried to close the door, so you have avoid it. Then, of course, the Austin track gives a lot of possibility to run on the inside, like you could see the whole weekend. So, yeah, first was to try to avoid an accident and then to try and overtake him.
Q: (Ysef Harding – Xiro Xone News) Sergio, it’s great to be home obviously. We know that you’ve helped put together a lot of money to help repair what’s been going on here in Mexico City following the tragedy of the earthquakes. I was wondering what you would have to say to some of your fans and your people who are watching this weekend who are looking to come to race and out behind what has happened recently?
SP: Yeah, it has been a very tough couple of months for my country in general, not just Mexico City, but other cities. What happened was horrible. But it was amazing to see, so united Mexico, but not only Mexico, the whole world, how everyone supported Mexico was pretty special. I think that’s one of the reasons that this race is going to very special for the fans. I really hope that the fans that come here will have an amazing time and the ones watching at home, hopefully I give them an amazing race and a lot of happiness that they really deserve to have.
Q: (Carlos Jalife – Fast Mag) Max, I was wondering, the pass was deemed illegal, although everybody liked it in Austin, but what can be done, what deterrent can be used so that this doesn’t happen again – for all the drivers. Obviously, there should be some self-discipline, but as this was lacking from everyone, should they use bananas, like they do in the first chicane in Monza? What would be your ideas about using a deterrent to avoid drivers using the extra metres?
MV: It’s not self-discipline, I think we know quite well what to do and what not to do. But they never told us anything. Already from lap one in practice one, everyone was running wide. It was all fine. Then, of course, if it’s not mentioned, they never tell us anything, then of course we try to go as quick as we can. I think there is a very simple solution. Let’s put grass on the inside, or gravel or whatever, that you cannot cut over the kerbs. For example, in Suzuka I don’t think we have those issues, do we? So it’s quite clear.
SP: I totally agree with Max. Nothing was being said before we didn’t have any guidance on that. That incident was very particular. Yeah, it’s definitely something that we need to definitely have a guidance on what is allowed and not allowed.
Would you like to see grass on the inside as well, as Max has just suggested?
SP: Yeah, in general I think the tracks have become very boring. If you go off you have 100 metres to go wide. I’m not saying you should put a wall, but I think definitely there should be a lot more gravel and if the driver makes a mistake he should pay more for it.
PW: Yeah, I’m not a big fan of bug runaways or sausage kerbs. Me, I would also prefer gravel or grass, it makes it much easier.
Q: (Simon Lazenby – Sky Sports) Max, I think a few people in the paddock were quite surprised that you decided to take yourself out of the conversation, if you like, with Mercedes and Ferrari, and extend your future with Red Bull until the end of 2020? Can you tell me whether there was interest from both of those parties and why you decided to commit so early?
MV: Well, I don’t speak about those things normally, but I feel good at the team and the improvements we made this year I think they have been the most of the whole grid, especially in the last few races, we have been really competitive. And also I think how we are going to start this next year will be better than how we started this year. I believe in the team and what is also very important is that you have people around you who really support you. They are good friends to you as well, and there is just a really good atmosphere in the team, so why would I give that up? At the end of the day, if we can sort out the horsepower deficit then I’m sure we can win races.
Max, you talk about the atmosphere in the team, would you like to see Daniel Ricciardo stay in the team?
MV: That would be good, yes, because the relationship is really good. And also in the team there is not like two sides, it’s like one big side. Everybody can be happy for each other if somebody has a good result, so I think that’s also very important.
Q: (Jim Vertuno – Associated Press) Sergio, how would you describe your relationship with your team-mate at this point in the season? And do you suspect that given your popularity here that Mexican fans will be cheering for you and against him this weekend?
SP: I think we obviously had a bad relationship since Baku and especially we hit a very low point in Belgium. But afterwards we had a good conversation between us only, no one was involved there in the team. I think since that point everything has changed you know, the atmosphere, not only between us, also the engineers and everyone, is really good. Having both sides working together has made a big difference. And especially going into next year it’s really important. It’s a massive challenge. We have to work together for the benefit of the team. It’s very important that in a team that both drivers are united. Obviously, you want to beat each other but it’s important to have that respect. I think that respect is in place now. It’s something that makes me happy and the atmosphere is good. I don’t think the fans will be bad to Esteban. Obviously they will support me a lot here but I see no reason why they should be bad to him. If anything, every event we have done so far they have been very good to him, not only to him but to everybody else. They really like the sport and at the end of the day it’s just a sport and it’s how it should be.
Q: (Luigi Perna – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Question for Max. Max, how much is it important for you to have the freedom to express your opinion, to be yourself, to have your own personality in Formula One?
MV: I think it’s very important but that’s the way I am. I’m not going to hold back or lie. I’m just straightforward.
Q: (Rik Spekenbrink – Ad Sportwereld) Again for Max, you said you were hoping teams would gather around and talk about this issue, so maybe things could change by being discussed. Did that happen, as far as you know?
MV: I think not for the moment, but it will happen, yeah.
Q: (Rachel Brookes – Sky Sports) Checo, how happy were you to hear that Max was staying with Red Bull until 2020, with the possibility of a Mercedes or Ferrari seat opening up in 2019. And have you spoken to either team? Does that interest you?
SP: Well, going that far forward doesn’t really change anything.
MV: I did it for Checo!
SP: As a special favour for me? I hope that works in my advantage. No, seriously, it doesn’t change anything, it’s too far away. Let’s see how the season starts next year and we’ll see what opportunity comes up in the future. I expect there will be some changes next year. A lot of movement, so it’s good Max is staying there. I hope he stays a lot longer!
Q: Pascal, we should probably throw that to you as well, you’re a Mercedes junior driver. The ramifications of Max staying at Red Bull. Do you think they could play to your advantage as well?
PW: In my case we need to fix next year first and then think about 2019.
Q: (Rafael Bolaños – Televisa) Checo, based on what you have done for the team in the past years, do you think you deserve to be the number one driver in the team?
SP: No, I think it’s fair that there is no number one driver in the team. I think both drivers in any team should be treated equally, with the updates you get etc. At the end of the day the number one driver is always the one that scores the most points or can deliver the most for the team. And that’s my priority, to try to deliver the most for the team but, at the same time, help with the development, work together with Esteban to help the team, and move forwards – because considering the tight budget we have, and we’re fighting forces like Red Bull or Ferrari, it’s really difficult for us. We really have to work, all of us together, to try to move the team forwards, and I’m trying to improve that.
Q: (Ysef Harding – Xiro Xone News) To all three drivers. Last week there was a lot of talk on social media about the intro of last week’s race and how spectacular it was. It was very American. There were a lot of mixed view on that intro. I would like to get your take on what you guys thought of that intro. And for Sergio, do you think something like that could work here in Mexico?
SP: I think if there’s a race that doesn’t need anything like that it’s especially Mexico. Mexico has been the greatest grand prix for the last two years and I believe that it will be the same. Personally, I like it for the sport. Having all the time the same… I think probably every race should have their own signature – because when you go to China or Brazil it’s the same: you have the same Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Everything is very similar. I think those things definitely help the sport. Personally, sitting there and waiting so long is not the best thing, especially before the race – but I think it was good for the sport and is good that some races think on something like this.
Pascal, your thoughts?
PW: I really liked it. Probably not for every race – it would be a bit too much – but, for example, some special races, I think, like Monaco, Singapore, something like this. I think it would be very nice.
MV: Yeah, I think it was a good thing to do, but of course it was very American, so it will not work on every single track. We just need to see where it’s going to work – or not. Some fine tuning is always good but I think for the first time it was actually pretty well done.
Q: (Septime Meunier – AFP) How would you rate Exxon Mobil’s work this season for Red Bull?
MV: It’s been great, I think they have given us the biggest engine upgrade, so that’s always very, very positive. There are a lot of things still coming so I am looking forward to that.
PART TWO: DRIVERS: Sebastian VETTEL (Ferrari), Valtteri BOTTAS (Mercedes), Pierre GASLY (Toro Rosso)
Q: Pierre, welcome back to Formula One, Before we talk about this weekend in Mexico, tell us about last weekend and how frustrating it must have been to go all the way to Japan, where you were hoping to wrap-up the Super Formula title but didn’t get to race.
Pierre GASLY: Yeah, really strange last weekend in Japan. I went there really excited, really motivated to fight for the title and, in the end with the Typhoon coming in, in the country they cancelled both races, so really weird to finish the weekend on the Saturday night but in the end I keep really good memories from my season in Super Formula. I really enjoyed it out there. It was great finishing second in my rookie year but of course I would have liked to really fight for the title until the end.
Q: Let’s talk about Toro Rosso now. You’ve completed two races for the team in Malaysia and Japan. Can you tell us about those experiences? How did you find the car? How did you find Formula One?
PG: It was amazing. Of course starting in Formula One is always a special moment and for me, Malaysia was crazy. I really enjoyed it, and a lot of things to learn with the team, to come at the end of the year like this is never easy but I really tried to make the best out of it. Yeah, I just feel more comfortable in the car, lap after lap. So, I guess it’s going to get better race after race, but yeah, you know, I’m trying my best to make sure we have good races and I’m really looking forward to the next couple of race weekends.
Q: New team-mate this week. I think that makes you the senior driver in the team.
PG: yeah, exactly. A bit weird after only two race weekend. We’re both new, it’s exciting to be in this position. For me it’s a great opportunity and I’m really looking forward to it.
Q: Valtteri, coming to you, Mercedes sealed the Constructors’ Championship in Austin. Just how proud of that achievement are you and of the contribution you made.
Valtteri BOTTAS: Definitely really proud. It’s amazing feeling, being part of a championship winning team, and also the feeling you get that you’ve been part of it, you’ve done something right. We’ve done this as a team. No other team has done it with such a big regulation change, again winning the title. It’s such a strong team and I’m a really proud member of it.
Q: Hard car to drive, hard team-mate. Have you been able to pinpoint where you’ve been losing out to Lewis Hamilton since the summer break?
VB: Yes, I’ve been able to pinpoint quite well and there’s been some races where I’ve definitely struggled more than the others. Some have been quite positive. I think there was a lot of positive things, even to take from the last race, even though the end result was far away optimal – but yeah, it’s all about details, as always in this sport. Some things with the driving style, some things with setting up the car, which I’m getting, learning all the time. That’s why I really believe that I can get to a good level again before the end of the year.
Q: Do you feel that Lewis has raised his game since the summer break?
VB: I think so. I think he’s been really on it all year but especially after the summer break. He’s been consistently getting everything out of the car and being able to set it up right for each track, for each condition. That comes from experience but also hard work and he definitely deserves all the credit for his results this year.
Q: Sebastian, you’ve won four titles, you’ve come close on other occasions. Now, of course it’s not over until it’s over this year but how do you reflect on 2017. Is there a little bit of you that feels this is the one that got away?
Sebastian VETTEL: Well, first of all it’s not over, though obviously it’s not in our hands as much as we’d like it to be but overall I think it’s been a very good year. Obviously, nobody expected us to be that strong to start with, nobody expected us to be that strong midway through the season, towards the end of the season, so I think there’s a lot of positives. The pity really is that, y’know, there were a couple of races where we just weren’t there to fight. We didn’t have a chance to fight. I would have loved to have been on three wheels, even in the race but with a chance to fight. They obviously got away from us and we were just sitting on the sidelines. That was bitter but in the end, made a big difference. Nevertheless, we are now where we are and, as I said, we still have a chance. We want to win the last three races and I think we can. So that’s our goal. And then we see what happens. Overall, I think the team has done incredible to be where we are now. Which, again, nobody expected. We’ve proven probably everybody wrong. There was a lot of talk in the winter, I remember, for sure about Mercedes, who were the favourites going in, but a lot of talk about Red Bull, other people, but no so much about Ferrari. It was good, obviously, to start off strong and keep going that way.
Q: So what’s the team got to do to go one place better? You’re a man of huge experience. Do you think it’s more of the same and just hone a little bit or do you think there needs to be some changes back in Maranello?
SV: No, I think, y’know, we had things breaking and so on but that’s part of racing. I think overall I know and I feel there’s still a lot we can do, and we have to do better. But we know where to tackle, I think we know our weaknesses. Some things may happen quick, some things will take some time but if we get those things sorted I think we will end up being a much stronger team, able to build a much stronger car and a stronger package, stronger engine, so that’s the things that we need to keep working on. We keep growing as a team, growing the culture, that allows us to build a strong package, a strong car, a strong engine. That’s where we’ve made massive steps in the last three years and where we have to continue to make those steps.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Rafael Bolaños – Televisa) Seb, do you think in the future you will be willing to get as a team-mate another top driver for example, like Daniel Ricciardo, that you raced against in Red Bull?
SV: Yeah, I don’t mind. I like Daniel. Obviously for next year things are sorted, and then, y’know, things can change quick. Things cannot change that quick, it depends always on what’s going on but yeah, in the end it’s not my choice, it’s the team’s choice and in the end if you’re not prepared to race whoever it is, then what’s the point of racing? That’s the way I think. I don’t know what happens but to be honest it’s not what I’m thinking about now because it’s still quite far away.
Q: (Manuel Franco – Diario As) For all three: Fernando Alonso will be in the Daytona 24 hours next year. What is your opinion about that and would you like to compete in a similar race in the future, out of Formula One, like Daytona, Le Mans?
VB: I never really thought about much elsewhere. I’m loving driving Formula One, competing with all the best drivers around and with such cool cars, so at the moment I’m just focusing on this, so no thoughts on the other categories at the moment. Of course it’s good for Fernando if he can do it and if he wants to do it, why not?
PG: Exactly, for me at the moment my only target is on F1 and that’s the only thing I’m excited about at the moment but yeah, I’m still 21, I still have many years ahead of me. I think Fernando looks to like America at the moment so if he’s happy about it then it’s going to be a great experience for him. That’s about it.
SV: Well, all the best. I don’t even know which cars they really race there; I think it’s GT3 mostly in Daytona. LMP2. The way I look at it, in the past, if you look back a long way, not the last twenty years probably, but a long way, drivers used to race a lot more in different cars which I generally find pretty cool. The fact that they had to adapt to different cars, work with different people, with different mechanics, setting up the cars differently but mostly drive and adapt. Obviously where the sport has gone has been very very professional, there’s not that much time to do many other things, if you commit properly to Formula One but overall we are racing drivers and I quite like the idea to drive more in different cars. I don’t know if that will ever change in the future but if they had different categories in the same weekend where Formula One drivers were… I don’t know, with the Procar series many years ago, for example, with the BMW M1s, where they did a race before the Grand Prix. Stuff like that I think would be cool but for sure you can see the difficulties these days in terms of the paperwork and all that. But for raw racing, it’s very nice to race different cars, why not, every weekend.
Q: Max Verstappen told us in the first session that he’d like to do Daytona with his father, Jos. Is there anyone you’d like to race with, Sebastian?
SV: Well if I raced with my father I’d probably compete in a hillclimb race and he would probably show me my limits, still, but yeah, I think there’s a lot of different categories. Even if you go back, down in a way, the level of competition is very high in karting. That would be really cool to do more of that and then there are so many cars to explore. The question is obviously who pays for it but yeah, I think overall it would be nice to explore a lot more and drive different cars.
Q: (Carlo Felipe – Fast Mag) Last year, Valtteri, you almost broke the record for straightline speed in Formula One. You came within a tenth of a kilometre short of Montoya’s record at Monza. Do you think this year, with the faster cars, you can break that record? Well, you or any of the twenty drivers?
VB: Honestly, I doubt it a little bit because the cars are definitely faster around the lap but they are not quicker on a straightline, they are quite a bit slower on a straightline than years before, so I doubt it.
Q: (Jack Lopez – Moment GP) Valtteri you seem to have had some problems in the last races against the rhythm of Lewis. Can you say why? Obviously, he’s so fast but you know, in the first part of the season, you always were there, but in the second part, it seems like some lack of pace or something. Can you tell us what?
VB: I think… when we started this press conference, I already listed quite a few things that I think Lewis has been really on it in the second half. I’ve been struggling to find the optimal set-up many times, sometimes going in the wrong direction, myself. Some tracks, with this car we have, the way it needs to be driven has been arguing with my natural driving style so I’ve had to change some things with my driving style and that doesn’t happen overnight. If you think about it, if you need to change your golf swing, you just can’t do it like that and be natural about it and not to think about it too much. So yeah, there are multiple things: how to manage the tyres, preparing for qualifying laps and especially during the race I’ve been struggling a little bit more with overheating the tyres. But we have been working on every single issue we’ve spotted, always managed to improve those, step by step, been getting stronger. I think my pace in the last race was actually very similar to Lewis before I struggled in the second stint with… various reasons for that so that was positive. So like I said, aim to continue the hard work and to continue to get better and better and quicker and hopefully can finish the season strongly.
Q: Has the momentum swing within the garage affected your relationship with Lewis?
VB: No. Not at all.
Q: (Marius Salvini – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Sebastian, the last two times here have been difficult races for you. Do you think there is a particular reason for that, maybe about the track or something else?
SV: Not really. I think two years ago I crashed. Last year, obviously we had that fight for the podium and then podium, no podium so… Generally I think we’ve been quick. I like the track, it’s obviously not easy to get everything right. The cars, despite maximum downforce, are quite difficult to drive and a bit – in a way – similar to Monza but you’ve got more corners, different nature of corners. But we will see. But I hope for a smooth race this time without any issues and hopefully at the end a deserved podium.
Q: (Simon Lazenby – Sky Sports) Sebastian, in the past, when championships have got away from Ferrari, the poor old team principal seems to be the one that gets it in the neck. If this one gets away from you guys, would you like to see Mr Arrivabene stay in that position? Is continuity in that position really important to you guys? And what are his strengths, as a team principal, that you’ve enjoyed this year?
SV: Absolutely. What are his strengths? Look at the results. Look at where Ferrari was after 2014, how competitive Ferrari was in 2014 and how – sorry to say – what miserable shape it was. The spirit was down so I think he’s the key person responsible for bringing most of that back and to make the team grow, to open things up, to change things that have been set like that for 20 years before that, just because they used to be like that. So I think he has a very innovative and creative way of thinking. So I think he’s the right man, he’s a very strong leader, I think he’s well respected – I know he’s well respected by all the people, no matter… I don’t know… if you look at a hierarchical way, no matter which level of the company, so absolutely I’m a fan. As I said, the most important thing is that if you look at the result, it’s coming. Obviously this year we would like it to be a bit different, especially towards the end but these things happen, we’re still growing and we set ourselves the target at the very beginning to grow and to do something new, something different and we’re still on that journey. Obviously the expectations are always high, you finish second in the championship, the year after you want to win, you don’t manage to do that but I think where we’ve gone, ’15 to ’16, especially through ’16 and then for ’17, things are going and heading the right way and he’s a key person in that.
Q: (Christoph Becker – Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung) Valtteri, just to stick to the point of the relationship with Lewis; Toto and Lewis have both markedly talked about the atmosphere in the team and how much it has improved since last year, so my question to you is have you been too nice and if your answer is No, then can you elaborate a little bit why it is important to have such a good relationship with your teammate?
VB: I think, personally, maybe it’s important to have a good relationship with your teammate, such that you can work well as a team, that you don’t need to hide anything within the team, that you have two cars, two drivers producing data and producing points that can be improved. Obviously always it’s better the closer the teammates are, you can always pick up things better and better. And also everyone is having more fun when the spirit is good. Obviously I have no idea how it’s been before with the team. I only joined in January but since January everything has been very good and to work as two teammates together I think just pushing the team forward together for a long term that will bring results.
Q: (Ysef Harding – Xiro Xone News) To go back last week to what the new owners have been doing, especially all season with some of the changes that have been made, we saw that at the US Grand Prix with the intros for the drivers. Generally some sports have an end-of-season event like an all-star game. Would you guys be up for something like that, like an all-star kart race, get all of you together in the same karts, everyone get a chance to really show and shine and just have fun at the end of the season?
SV: It’s called Race of Champions, so I think we have something in place. I like it, I join it every year that I can and we race in different cars. Obviously it’s mostly fun and the track is a different track, it’s in a stadium and there’s a lot of show as well but overall I think it’s a great idea as well. I don’t know why other people are not joining, I think mostly because they prefer to spend their holidays somewhere else. I think it would be great to meet up for a race in the same car and just race for fun.
On the Austin thing, it’s not my cup of tea to be honest but I think for the people if they enjoyed it then that was obviously nice.
VB: I think it was a good idea. I think if they’re planning when it’s going to be important so everyone can make it but yeah, good idea. I kind of like the direction things have been taken within Formula One now, a bit more relaxed, like the thing in Austin before the race. Of course for us it was a bit more extra things to do before the race and a bit more busy than normal, less time to focus on our performance with the engineers and so on but if people like it then it’s good.
Q: Pierre, you weren’t in Austin but what was your take on what we saw there before the start and would you like to see an all-stars race?
PG: Yeah, I think in Austin it was pretty cool. I wasn’t there but from what I heard from close people they seem to have liked it so it’s different than what it was before but if the people liked it then that was the main thing. It’s a pretty cool show and I will be happy if I can discover it properly. Yeah, on the kind of Race of Champions or stuff like this I think it’s a really cool idea, at least to give me the proper chance to race with Seb and Valtteri because of the same equipment and yeah, I think it’s cool, as a driver you want to be able to fight with the same cars, same karts, stuff like this, so I think it would be really cool. I have never been to the Race of Champions but always watched it and it’s a really great event with drivers coming from different series, more or less the best drivers of all these series and yeah, it’s really exciting and really cool, so if we can make something like this in Formula One I will be more than happy.