Archive for April 2, 2009

Thursday at Malaysia: Press Conference


DRIVERS: Sebastien BOURDAIS (Toro Rosso), Jenson BUTTON (Brawn
GP), Lewis HAMILTON (McLaren Mercedes), Kimi RAIKKONEN (Ferrari), Nico
ROSBERG (Williams), Sebastian VETTEL (Red Bull). Kimi, can I ask you about your experiences with KERS last weekend? Was it of use to you and how much did you use it?

Kimi RAIKKONEN: I used it all the time if nothing is wrong
with it. For us it has been better in testing, it was good there, so I
don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t use it.

Q. And a two time winner here. This is obviously a good circuit for you?

KR: I like the circuit. Sometimes it can be a bit tricky. It
is a nice place, quite a bit different from others. It is very humid
here. When it rains, it rains heavily, so we will see how it is this

Q. Would you say you are more optimistic than you were in Australia?

KR: I mean the end result could have been pretty okay without
my accident. Probably the speed is not where we want to be right now
but this is a completely different place. It is more like a normal
circuit compared to Australia, so we will see how we can do here but I
still think that our car is not too bad, so we should be able to get
good results once we get everything going well.

Q. (Will Buxton – Australasian Motor Sport News) A question to
everyone on the subject of KERS. Do you see it more as an offensive or
defensive button at the moment? Are you using it more to overtake
people than stop people overtaking you? To the guys that don’t have
KERS, are you finding it is being used to overtake you or stop you
overtaking somebody?

NR: I had an eventful race racing against a lot of people who
had KERS and I found it quite challenging for myself actually because
especially to overtake was difficult but then to defend was very
difficult against people that did have KERS just because they come at
you very quickly. That made it quite challenging but I guess that is
what the sport needs, so from that point of view it was quite good.

LH: I think it was perhaps better for defending. If
you have a bad exit of some sort and there is a quick car behind you,
for example, the Toyota couldn’t get close enough to out-brake me into
some of the corners. Obviously at the end of the slipstream it is right
at the end, into the corner, that you are overtaking someone and you
know you can get close enough to do that. It was an advantage in terms
of defending.

KR: We use it for lap time. Of course it can help
you overtake or defending your position at some places but it really
depends what happens during the race where you are going to use it.

SV: I think mainly the people use it to get an
advantage on the lap time and then of course it can help you in the
races maybe sometimes to pass or defend. Mainly we are using it to gain
performance otherwise it would not make sense to run it.

Q. (Juha Päätalo – Financial Times Germany) This one is for Kimi
and Lewis: theoretically, the KERS should be an advantage at restarts
but in Melbourne it didn’t seem to help at all. Do you think that was
because of cool tyres and are you expecting a different picture at
other races? As I said, it depends on many different things, it’s not
just that you get 80 horsepower and you are going to get around
somebody or you can pass easily. It’s always if your car is good or
it’s not good and if you get a good run on him, or he gets the jump on
you at the restart. It’s just not pretty straightforward thinking. At
the start, it definitely helps but at a restart it’s not so easy.

LH: The tyres are just the issue, I think, getting heat back into the tyres is what stops everyone from overtaking.

Q. (Will Buxton – Australasian Motor Sport News) One for
everybody on tyres: how much is the wider gap affecting you guys in the
race, how much is it going to change strategy over the coming races?

JB: I think they’ve done it to make it more exciting between
the tyres choices and a few more different strategies. Obviously it
made a big difference with the safety cars in Melbourne because the
softer tyre was graining for most people, so it threw it up in the air
a little bit which was good. Here we have a soft tyre and a hard tyre.
The hard tyre we haven’t run yet in testing, so that’s going to be
interesting to see if we can get it to work here. I think it’s going to
take a couple of laps to get heat into it. It’s going to be difficult
to work out which is the better tyre and which is the tyre for the race
but that’s obviously what we’ll be doing tomorrow.

KR: For sure it makes the race much more exciting
when somebody has the harder and somebody the softer tyres, so it makes
the lap time difference much bigger between the cars, so you can see
some overtaking. It’s also a little bit tricky to get them working in
the way you want sometimes. For us the soft tyre didn’t last very long,
so we just came in and changed the tyres, it was a good move. Everybody
needs to suffer on the worse tyre at some point in the race. For us, we
decided to start with them.

SV: I think it has an effect on your strategy. You
could see everyone was struggling the whole weekend to make the soft
tyre last and therefore the majority of the people pitted very late for
the last stop and had a very, very short last stint. It’s always
tricky, in a way. We asked for a wider separation between soft and
hard. In Australia there was quite an extreme wide separation as the
hard ones were difficult to warm up and the soft ones were difficult to
keep alive. We will see how the tyres work here. I’m looking forward to
the hard compound, because I think it’s a totally new compound and no
one has had any experience on it yet, so we will see how it works here.

SB: Obviously it’s a bit of a tricky situation when
you have to pick your strategy and you don’t know when the safety car
is going to happen. That’s really what makes your strategy work or not.
If it’s a straightforward race and you know what’s going to happen then
you make your choice, knowing what’s going to happen. You can be wrong,
but there are less chances if it’s the other way round and safety cars
start messing up everything, then it’s a big problem. Personally, I
understand the reasons and obviously it makes racing very exciting.
Personally I’m not a big fan of it because I just think it takes a lot
of things away from the driver because you can’t control everything and
it’s a bit artificial, but definitely for the show it’s a good thing.

LH: There’s not really much more to say, they’ve
all said it. There’s quite a big difference between both compounds but
it makes racing more exciting.

NR: I think it’s a very good thing for the sport,
it makes it very challenging for the teams to get it right. It’s a big
challenge to sort out strategy, what you’re going to do, how you’re
going to do it, because there’s such a variable in it with these tyres.
And for the racing it’s great, as we saw in Melbourne. I was a special
victim of that, for example, just went backwards. I was just so slow on
the softs because they just went away completely, but I’m happy with
it, I think it’s good. (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) And I would just
like to know from all of you if only the weather can change the first
two steps on the podium for Sunday?

JB: I hope not. Apart from that, what can I say?

SB: I think if it rains like this we will need to organise a boat race.

KR: It can change anything or everything if it rains like it was raining just now. We will see what happens.

JB: If it’s raining like that it’s about keeping on
the circuit, and I’ve struggled with that in the past couple of years
in the wet.

SV: I think it can, yes, you’ve already seen in the
past – obviously I’m not that old, so I haven’t got that much
experience – but I think there have been a lot of races where, in the
wet conditions it mixes up the field and also sometimes it happens that
the podium looks different. Nice to see a proper full conference! And with Kimi right in the centre, I’m sure he enjoyed that very much. At least he was placed next to his buddy Sebastien! You might already know that Hamilton and McLaren have been disqualified from the Australian GP, as judging from the teams’ radio transmissions and what they were being told, the FIA felt they were misled or in other words, deceived. Even though Whitmarsh insists otherwise. Oh dear, that is very serious. And just when I was beginning to admire Hamilton. A bunch of lying and manipulative jokers – not exactly very good for the sport. If it was April Fools today, then maybe, but that was yesterday. I think the FIA have, for once, done the right thing and carried out justice for Trulli and Toyota. I do wonder why the FIA couldn’t have checked all the radio transmission on the day and decided the result as soon as possible. These lingering investigations and championship standings meddling isn’t very professional or respectful to the sport and the (honest ) competitors.

Anyway, roll on Malaysia! The humidity should be good for Ferrari and as for our support, nothing can dampen our spirits. Those rain clouds might though. Let’s try and fight for the win again and keep flying! ~