France: Friday’s FIA team principal press conference

Date published: June 21 2019

Representatives from Ferrari, Renault, Alfa Romeo, McLaren and Williams take questions from the press at the French Grand Prix.

Q: I’d like to start with the three Frenchmen on the panel, and ask you about your home grand prix. What does it mean to be racing at home this weekend and what are your first memories of Paul Ricard?

Frédéric Vasseur: The first memory of Paul Ricard is ’90 or something like this, in Formula Renault. It was during the French Grand Prix and we were at the back of the grid. But it was a good first one, for the first memory at Paul Ricard. For the French Grand Prix, for sure the approach is a bit different. We have more solicitation but we have to stay focused on the race and to consider the race as another one.

Q: And Cyril, home race for you and the team?

Cyril Abiteboul: Déja on avait decidé de la faire en Francais cette conference de presse. On en a marre de parler en Anglais un permanence. On est majoritairement Francais, donc on la fait en Francais. Sorry, switching back to English… The French Grand Prix: well, it’s obviously nice to be back here. As far as I’m concerned I don’t have direct memories of racing, because when I started it was Magny Cours. My first memory and first attendance in Paul Ricard was for some testing and for the launch of the Renault F1 car, the Mild Seven blue car, whenever it was, 2004 maybe, we’ll have to check, It was crazy the amount of testing we were doing here. As for this weekend, it’s good to be here. As far as I’m concerned I don’t see it as extra pressure, but more emotion, more opportunity to see some faces that are just smiling and cheering for a result. I know there has been a lot of negativity about the last edition and they are taking that extremely seriously, I’m talking about the traffic situation. We know that there is a limitation with the geography, which is a fantastic place, but it has its own limitation. But unfortunately I think it’s putting under silence some great activities that they are doing, I’m thinking in particular about the 10,000 kids that were running into the paddock yesterday and it’s fantastic and so energetic for everyone to see at first so much activity you have in Formula One. We are talking a lot about not doing enough for young people, the young generation in Formula One and for once there is a promoter doing something about it and I think we need to give a match to that.

Q: Thank you Cyril, and Laurent?

Laurent Mekies: For me, the first memory here is when my parents took me here back in ’88. Cyril was talking about the kids earlier so we went there yesterday to speak to some of the schools the organisers have brought here and it’s great to be able to pass that on. It actually started here, with my parents, in the grandstand. Then, apart from that, for us it’s technically a more complicated track compared to Canada, but nevertheless we will try to step up at this kind of track where it has been a bit more difficult for us so far.

Q: Thank you. Fréd, if I can come back to you. It’s been a tough few races for Alfa Romeo. What have been the issues with the car and how confident are you of finding a solution?

FV: For sure the last two or three events were a bit more difficult but sometimes it’s so tight that it’s related to the small details. I think in Monaco we were always in the top 10 in the free practice. We made some mistakes in quali, and then we disappeared and we had to start from the back. We have to be probably more efficient on the weekend in terms of exploitation because for sure we did a step back during the last two or three races but the expectation is still to score points and to score points with two cars and to be back in the fight in the midfield.

Q: And a quick progress report on Antonio Giovinazzi. He picked up the Trofeo Bandini last weekend in Italy. How do you sum up his progress so far.

FV: If you have look at the last race in Montréal and Monaco before he is matching Kimi in quali and in the free practice that he is stepping up. For sure in Montréal, Monaco and then at Paul Ricard that he has also to discover the track and it’s not an easy one. But now that we are back in Europe that he knows the next tracks and he has the experience of the first races and he will be into the pace.

Q: Cyril, really solid result for the team in Canada, with both cars in the points. Nico Hulkenberg was in here yesterday and he said that level of performance has always been in the car but that it has been masked by ‘human errors’. Would you agree with that?

CA: Oh yeah, 100 per cent. At the same time it’s good to be able to put Montréal, but for me what was more exceptional and needed to stop is what we were doing before. There was nothing exceptional with Montréal, it’s what is expected, it’s what is planned; it’s what we are capable of doing. It’s more bad races that stopped in Montréal. It’s not that it was a good race. There have been human errors everywhere. There’s not one single area of the team or one single department that was to blame, and therefore why no sanction? I know that we are in a world where people are expecting quick sanctions. I don’t buy into that. I don’t believe that. In particular when mistakes and problems were coming from different area we’ve managed to stay together, to stay focused, to keep our head down, and obviously to get that performance in Montréal. But obviously it has to repeat. It can’t be an isolated one that event.

Q: You’ve brought some upgrades here. How were they performing in FP1?

CA: It’s a bit early to say, in particular because FP1 is always masked by a lot of track evolution. We know that some of the tarmac has been re-surfaced, so it will be interesting to see, and very important also for the decisions we make in terms of set-up, in which direction the track is actually evolving. There is nothing very alarming. There is nothing particularly exciting either but more work to be done and analysis is going on.

Q: You’re now only two points behind McLaren in the Constructors’ Championship. What are your goals for the rest of the season?

CA: The goals for the rest of the season are not changing. It’s a clear P4 that we said we would want to deliver. So that’s that same as last year but a bit further away from the midfield but a bit closer to the top teams. We know it’s going to take a couple of seasons to reduce and hopefully bridge the gap to the top teams. You can’t pretend it’s going to happen in one season or in one winter. To answer your question: trying to beat McLaren. Clearly they have done a step this winter, they have a good car. They also have a good engine. I expect more fights with them, but that’s interesting. We are super happy to be fighting with McLaren. McLaren is a very aspirational brand, they are a carmaker, so very excited to be racing against them.

Q: Thank you Cyril. Zak, perhaps we should come to you. A clear P4 is the goal fro Renault. How confident are you of holding onto it?

Zak Brown: Well, we’re going to give it everything we’ve got. It’s a very tough midfield. Renault is very strong, but so are three, four other teams and it’s very close. You can see by one good race weekend, this early in the year, I think Renault went from, I think, they were eighth to fifth, two points behind. So, we know that some others can have some good weekends like that and we can have some bad weekends and the order will get mixed up pretty quickly. So we are going to keep giving it all we got. We do have a pretty good car; we do have a good engine. We’ve got two very good drivers. The team is executing very well very pleased with that. And yeah, I think it’s going to be an exciting race in the midfield.

Q: It’s going to be a development race until the end of the season. What are the strengths and weaknesses of your car and how easy is it going to be to develop it?

ZB: It’s faster in some corners and slower in some other corners. Everyone obviously kind of understands their car and the areas in which they need to develop. I think we have a good understanding of where we need to improve our car and that’s exactly the areas that we’re looking to develop. And as you say, it’s going to be a development race. There are just a few tenths between that P4 and P9, so I think development is going to critical to success this year, and execution.

Q: Lando said recently that it has been an up and down season for him. How would you assess his first seven races in Formula One?

ZB: I think he’s done a very good job. He’s been very fast. He’s not made the rookie mistakes. He’s learned each weekend. Carlos is a very good benchmark for him. He has very high expectations, as you would expect. So I think in his eyes, he’s had some ups and downs, but from our point of view, he’s doing everything that we hoped he would do and he’s been very impressive.

Q: Claire, for the second consecutive race Nicholas Latifi has been in the car in FP1. I just wanted to ask you how he is developing?

Claire Williams: Yeah, he’s doing a great job for us. Anyone that knows Nicholas, he has a really lovely way about him. First and foremost it’s great to have him as part of our team. He’s taking part in several FP1 sessions for us. He took Robert’s car in Canada and it was George’s turn to step out today for him to take over. He’s doing a great job. He’s great at integrating himself into the team and knowing and understanding what’s required of him when he gets into the car. Friday’s are obviously for understanding the new parts that we’re bringing to every race, and he’s just going through the work that needs to be done with the engineers.

Q: I wanted to ask you about how you are developing the car, because it was great to see George Russell raving Magnussen and Albon in Canada. What have you got in the pipeline to help maintain this progress?

CW: Yeah, it’s great, we’re racing for P15! Obviously no one is happy about that at Williams, but I think we have to take the positives out of that, you know, the fact that we started this season qualifying 19th and 20th and invariably finishing in 19th and 20th as well. We’ve had great reliability, so invariably those numbers have been a bit higher, when other cars have dropped out. But George has finished ahead of several cars over the past few races and that’s been really great to see. Obviously so much work has been put in behind the scenes at the factory to bring new test items to every race. We’ve brought some considerable new items over the past few races to address the weaknesses we have. Clearly that’s a work in progress and we’ve got to make greater strides forward and hopefully prior to shutdown we’re going to have a more substantial package to bring to the car, once we’ve got that through manufacturing etc. So it will be good to see where that takes us. We’re only early days in this season so far, but it’s nice to see the incremental gains coming at each and every race and we’ve just got to keep on that pathway.

Q: Thanks. Laurent, there’s a hearing this afternoon about Vettel’s penalty in Canada, so I was wondering if there is anything you can tell us about the new evidence you’ll be presenting?

Laurent Mekies: I think the first thing that we would like to underline is that we very much respect the work of the stewards. We know it’s a very, very difficult job to take. It’s a complex world, complex races, and therefore we are fully supportive of what they are trying to achieve. Now, in the aftermath of the Grand Prix of Canada, we had access to a number of new evidence, we looked at them and for these reasons we have requested of the FIA this right of review because we believe that this evidence is quite overwhelming when it comes to establishing that Sebastian did not breach any regulations. Now, I think going further would be inappropriate because the hearing is this afternoon so we’ll leave it to the stewards and again we are fully supportive of that process.

Q: It hasn’t been the easiest start to the season for Ferrari. How do you assess the peaks and troughs of the opening seven races, from your position as sporting director?

LM: I think there were tracks where we were competitive, just generally very competitive – think back to Bahrain, to Baku, and obviously Canada, we were able to be a match to Mercedes. And I think it’s also fair to say that on some of the tracks we were simply lacking core performance. Here will be a good benchmark for us, because as I say, it’s a track where normally from a characteristic point of view we have been suffering a bit more this season, so I would be hopeful that we would step up a bit.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Rodrigo Franca – VIP Magazine) Question to all please. Of course, about the new regulations for one year and a half. Every time there is a new regulation, sometimes a new team gains a lot, as we saw with Mercedes against Red Bull the last time the rules changes. As five teams not in position number one, do you think that might occur in 2021?

ZB: yeah, I think any time you have a substantial regulation change it can throw up some surprises. That can be someone figuring it out that maybe hadn’t the year before, and that can also be someone who’s, y’know, been at the front gets it a little bit wrong. I think that’s probably more unlikely because they have the ability to recover quickly if they don’t come out of the gate strong – but I think it’s going to be exciting: the new rules; the cars are going to look different; the racing should be better – so I hope it doesn’t just throw up one surprise. I hope it brings the whole field much closer together and have less predictability in the racing that we see.

Laurent. New rules?

LM: I think you’re absolutely right. Every time there is a regulation change, there will be an order change, whether it goes in the right direction or not, will be to be established. As Zak says, there is a lot of good concept in there, we just have collectively a lot of work to do to make sure all the changes that we introduce are positive and they don’t fight back against us.

CA: On the change of regulation, because as you know it’s quite an extensive set of measures, we think that by far the most impactful measures will be ones on the commercial and financial side. So, I think that technical and sporting can have an impact on the show but frankly not really on the pecking order, on the competitiveness because Mercedes, Ferrari can always take advantage of any sort of regulation, given the advantage that they have right now from a financial perspective. That’s why we are so keen and loud about securing things like more equitable prize fund distribution and a budget cap. Those two things, we believe, in the medium to long term are what is going to improve Formula One in terms of overall competitiveness of the grid. 2021 change of technical regulations: for me, it’s a different story. That why the focus, as far as we’re concerned, is more on the financial side.

FV: Yeah, honestly I think that the target of the regulation is more to close the gap between the teams than something else. That the big teams will keep an advantage on the small ones. As a small team, I think the most important is to have the consistency in the new regulations and to keep the regulations for a certain period. If we are changing the regulations each two years, it will be more and more difficult for us to catch up. I’m fully supportive of the new concept and the new regulations but I think that we have to keep it for at least five years.

Claire?

CW: Clearly for a team like us in the position in which we’re in at the moment, having a regulation change is useful. It means that we can hopefully capitalise on it. We’re doing everything at the moment that we can to make sure that we interpret those regulations when they come out to their fullest, so that we can hopefully take advantage of them. It’s our greatest opportunity. I think if we had stable regulations for the next five to ten years it would be much harder work for us. But, as everybody else on the panel has said before me, we need to get to that point of signing them off. They’ve got to be the most positive regulations that they can be, particularly from the technical side – but equally, we need to make sure that, prior to October, the financial regulations that are on the table at the moment remain as they are. They’re still not quite, exactly where we’d like them to be, with the cost cap where it is, including the exclusions, it still takes the cost cap to a higher level than we’d probably like it to be and enables the bigger teams to spend more than we’re able to do against those new technical regulations that are going to come in, and therefore maybe do a better job.

Q: (Alan Baldwin – Reuters) If I could ask two questions, one to Laurent to follow up your earlier comments about the stewards’ meeting, and then a question to the other four about the regulations. Laurent, you said it’s quite overwhelming, the evidence you’re presenting. Does that mean overwhelming enough to overturn the result of Canada?

LM: I think that’s very much the part where I don’t think it would be appropriate to go through now. I think, again, we are very respectful of the FIA processes and we’ll be meeting with the stewards’ in an hour’s time. So, I think we can probably have the discussions next weekend.

Q: (Alan Baldwin – Reuters) If I could ask the other four about the regulations. We’re talking a lot about 2021 and technical and sporting regulations – but the other issue, perhaps, is who is running the sport at that point. I think Chase’s contract probably expires at the end of 2020. You may be dealing with somebody who may not be around. How much concern is there about transparency and the actual Formula One side of things? Who’s actually running the show? Some of the names that have been bandied around in speculation – some thoughts on that really.

CW: Clearly we all hear the rumours but it’s not something that’s been discussed in an open forum. We’re just working to the current situation that we have at the moment. I’m too busy with other stuff at Williams to focus on a whole load of speculation in the wider paddock.

FV: Yeah, we have to stay away from the rumours, and we have enough to do and enough topic on the table to deal with. I think it’s enough for the team and for the promoter.

LM: Not much more to add, sorry – apart maybe from the fact it’s a reason why we want to secure what needs to be secured as quickly as possible. There were some discussion about pushing back – it was not just a discussion, it was actually decided – but that’s why. We know the world is changing. People can be changing – but it’s not for that reason that we want security. It’s important for everyone to have some security and stability and visibility on what’s going to happen in 2021, irrespective of individual situations.

ZB: I don’t think I have much to add. Obviously it’s a very important role, whoever does it, whenever they do it, and I think if it can just be done in a transparent manner when that time comes. Obviously leadership of any sport is particularly important, and as Cyril said, we’ve got to get nailed down now what the future looks like because whenever that transition happens, it’ll be coming in to new rules set in place and just need to make sure they execute against it.

Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines / racefans.net) The way that I understand it all teams last week signed the implementation agreement to delay the 2021 regulatory process and, above all, to waive their right to challenge the financial regulations. Which means that, well Claire, you did make a comment, but for the rest of you, are you then comfortable that the financial regulations address everything that your teams need for the future?

ZB: I think we made a big step forwards, signing-off on the headline number. Like Claire, I think the exclusions are probably a bit too much but I think, as we all know, with ten teams you’ll have ten different views, or probably five or six different views on what the magic number should be. I’m glad we’ve laid out the spirit of what it should look like. I think that’s an important part, again, as Cyril said, y’know when you look at what 2021 looks like, it’s not just the technical and the sporting rules but it’s the economics around it, so I think we made a step forward in ticking one of the boxes.

LM: Mattia was the one driving that for us at Ferrari but I think in principle we have been supportive of the idea of a budget cap. As Zak said, it’s been a long discussion to try to find the headline numbers but now we are moving on, we have definitions. It will never be a 100 per cent system, as you say, it will never tick all the boxes but, as you say, it’s a starting point.

CA: As you know, Renault had some reservations about pushing back that deadline and that vote on the new regulations but on the basis that it looked like an important thing for the governing bodies and some of the teams we accepted to make that happen because obviously it required unanimity of all teams for this to happen, and also on the basis of the guarantees that indeed we have obtained that Zak was mentioning. A budget cap would always be a compromise. It’s a novelty for the sport, it’s a new framework. It exists. I think we all need to be positive about its existence.

FV: As you know, we are ten around the table. Ten teams, with ten different views, ten different structures and you will never find something fitting for everybody. But at the end I think you have five or six teams that will stay more than far away of the cost cap. For some others it’s a bit harsh to manage but at some stage you need to have someone able to take a decision and the decision is done and we’ll have to stick with this.

Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Cyril just touched on the reservations that Renault had about delaying some elements of the rules. So, for the other four, would you just be able to tell us how easy was it for you to agree to delaying implementing or finalising other elements of the 2021 regulations?

CW: Certainly for us, we were very happy that the technical regulations were going to be or could be delayed. There was clearly quite a lot of work that still needed to be done on those so delaying them to October, we were fine with. I think the concerns for us were around delaying the financial or sporting but it was presented as a package and we had very little choice. So, knowing everyone else had signed it around the table, we conformed, and, in as much as we have been assured those financial and sporting regulations won’t change hugely, we were comfortable with it.

FV: We spent a lot of time over the last months – or more than months probably – on the financial discussion and probably less on the technical and sporting and I think it was a bit in a rush that we have to fix everything for last week. It makes sense to postpone. We had the discussion about financial regulation because we don’t want to open again the discussion to change completely the situation.

LM: It made complete sense for us, given the amount of work that still needs to be done on the technical regulations. It made complete sense to delay them to October. I think we all want to avoid situations where we are locked into something that is not as good as is could be. I think collectively there is a lot of work in the coming months to try to get that to the right level from the concept point of view. We will get there but we need to get all the right details right, so we think it was the right decision.

ZB: I think it was the right decision. We were aware of this date for over a year and so we all agreed a hold about 12 hours before the deadline, so that’s about how smooth the process was. I just hope we can genuinely work together so we’re not agreeing six hours before the October deadline. We know what’s coming. We’ve had a year, year-and-a-half to work on this and I really hope we take advantage of the extra time that we have. There are a handful of meetings set up and that we can genuinely move forward with better rules than we had in June.

Q: (Julien Billiotte – AutoHebdo) To everyone except maybe Laurent: if the decision on Vettel were to be overturned today, are you not afraid that this could open a can of worms and set a precedent whereby decisions could be reviewed more frequently, or perhaps do you see it as an opportunity for you to challenge the FIA stewards more often?

ZB: Well, not knowing what evidence Ferrari has, it’s hard to have a view on if the decision’s changed, was that a good or bad decision? I don’t know, because ultimately we don’t know what case Ferrari’s putting forward. I think in general I’d like to get to a point where… you know, we’ve got so many penalties in Formula One now for a variety of whether driving or mechanical or technical, and I think we need the fans to know that when the race is over, that’s who won, and it doesn’t get changed at a later date. So I don’t really have a view again on the specific Vettel-Hamilton incident but I think as a sport we need to be a little less complicated in the technicalities of all of our rules so it’s a bit easier to follow.

CA: I think Zak’s answer is great. If this is really a problem for the sport, we’ve had some things that we need to look at, irrespective of the decision that’s to come, whether it’s positive or negative and irrespective of the evidence, if we think that there is really a problem with this type of decision, with the intervention of stewards, maybe that’s something that we need to consider. Maybe we need to set up some form of panels of experts, or wise men who have had a look at a number of situations, of other lives, who have had a look at what’s going on in other forms of racing, including in MotoGP, to see what’s done, what’s possible in modern racing without encouraging silly behaviour, because it’s true that we also want to see action, we don’t want to see lawyers, like Seb was saying, driving their car but it’s very difficult, very difficult, and in my opinion we maybe need to disassociate that special case of Seb in Montreal but that of all situations which happen on a very regular basis that is quite negative for Formula One because I don’t see that happening in other racing formulae – or maybe I’m less exposed to that – and we need to sort it out. I’m sure that there is enough brain power to find a solution if there is a problem.

FV: Yeah, nothing to do with the Seb case, but I think we have to avoid to have too many hearings after the races and to fix the results of the Barcelona race in July and so on because it will be a mess for you and for us. And the second thing that I think that we have to keep in mind is that the position of the stewards is not easy. I heard plenty of comments and from tons of drivers, team principals and journalists but we all had 10 looks at the image and we had time to react, we had comments from everybody but they have to take a decision in live, and I think for the sport it makes sense that when you have a drive-through you have a drive-through and end of story, you can’t ask for minus 25 seconds on your race time. At one stage, that makes sense because we need to be fixed on Monday and apart from that, we have too many rules and at the end that, for the stewards also, it’s not easy to stick to the rules during the race.

CW: I’m trying to think of something else that someone hasn’t already said and I’m struggling, so I will just say ditto to my colleagues – except maybe some wise women as well, on the panel, as well as wise men.

Q: (Joe van Burik – Racingnews365.nl) Cyril, obviously you want to keep your momentum going for the rest of this season, moving into 2020. What does this mean for your driver situation in the future and to follow up on that, is there any chance you want to have another look at having Esteban Ocon in the team?

CA: The answer to the first question is in the second part of the question. Frankly, the situation is clear. We have a two-year contract with Daniel. Nico’s contract, the initial term is coming to an end at the end of this year but there is some mechanism of options as has been commented on press which I’m not going to disclose in the details that can kick in, so it’s maybe that we continue our journey with Nico. Frankly, Nico has delivered for the team, clearly, and if you look at where we were when, frankly, Fred actually was leading that process for us… Nico joined us and where we are today, it’s crazy and the change to the team, to the buzz, and clearly the drivers are no stranger to that, it’s not just engineers. So I think we need to give credit to that but also we need to look at the options, like everyone is doing, like I’m sure Nico is doing. So, it’s a long answer to tell you that things are open for him and for us but there is also an option in place so that we can possibly continue our journey together. We will see, we’ll see probably after the summer break will be the right time to sit down, discuss it on the basis of fact and desire also.

Q: (Ben Edwards – Channel 4) Claire, can you update us on Patrick Head’s involvement in terms of how involved he is back at the factory and what kind of areas he’s really been looking into?

CW: Yeah, it hasn’t really changed from when he first started. As everybody knows, we asked him to come on board after Paddy’s leave of absence. He is literally a consultant for the team. He comes in one or two days a week. If he can’t do that, he dials in and he joins the technical management team in their meetings and is literally just acting as a guide, as a sounding board and really helping everybody out. So it’s really nice to have him back around the place.

Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines, Racefans.net) The pending financial regulations are obviously going to have an impact on your operations including manpower levels etc, possibly not for all teams but certainly some of the teams. How concerned are you about the impact on your employees and their families etc, particularly in view of some comments made at the last Grand Prix in the same conference?

ZB: Well, very concerned. I know one team principal said he didn’t care about his families or something of that nature; that’s certainly not the case at McLaren. It’s a family business, so putting in the wellbeing of our people is first and foremost important. I think if we go to more races we’re going to have to understand how we do that, because I think a 21 race schedule is pretty taxing on everyone at the circuit and back at the factory, because they’re working equally as hard and as many hours. Getting the right number of races, commercially, is important. I’m not sure what that magic number is and I think we’re going to have to evaluate when these technical and sporting rules come out, along with how many races we’re doing, how do you re-address that, with your workforce, to make sure that you take into consideration their wellbeing.

LM: I think you’re right Dieter, certainly on our point of view the concern about the people and their family and also the employment law in Italy was central to our discussions around the budget cap and then trying to find a figure that we could agree on precisely for that to first protect the people and then protect the structure. So this is also why it took so long to find an agreement around the headline number. Before knowing the next step, I’m trying to understand how much the product will actually cost, the cars based on the technical regulations we will eventually agree on and how much work first you need to go racing and for how many races is what will need to be assessed next. But the priority will always go to the people, that’s for sure.

CA: We fully appreciate the sensitivity of the situation for a large team, a large organisation, but as far as we are concerned we are far below the budget cap figure, given the exclusion. As I mentioned previously, we actually built our team in accordance with figures that were previously floated of 150. It’s now 175, so you see the sort of margin and gap that we have, which means that we have a few options in order to stay put and accept the gap to the top teams or decide if we can finance it to… and if it makes sense also to finance it, it’s also a question of value…. to increase our headcount so that we can be a match against the top teams. That sort of decision we need to make now, that we have some certainty about that figure.

FV: Yeah, there are some aspects into the decision. The first one is the cost cap and honestly it won’t affect the majority of the teams and the second point of discussion is the number of races. On this one, it’s a critical situation for the team members because to do 21 races it’s not easy but to do more it will be more and more difficult and we have to investigate different solutions, perhaps to reduce the time on track or to rotate the guys in the team but it won’t be easy for everybody but for sure the team members will remain the first priority of my approach.

CW: Same as Fred; we won’t be impacted by the cost cap from an employee perspective, fortunately. Clearly we sympathise with the bigger teams and those members of the workforce that are clearly going to be worried about the situation. We’re recruiting at Williams. There will still be jobs. I think other teams are looking at those people who may be released from their existing teams, but then talking about the calendar – from our perspective we’re incredibly worried about having or the prospect of having 25, 24 races on the calendar, the cost implications of that but most importantly the implications on the people who work for us and asking them to travel as much as that. That’s a huge undertaking. It already is; doing 21 race is a considerable amount of time that we’re all spending away from home. It puts pressure on the factory as well, the people that are working there. Bringing new parts to 21 races is hard work, bringing new parts to 25 is going to bring even more pressure on our businesses, so that for me is a huge concern at the moment, how we tackle that and make sure we get the balance right.