Q & A

31 | 10 | 2019 GP USA WINTER TEST. I REMEMBER QUITE OPTIMISTIC ATMOSPHERE IN THE TEAM

Yeah, it was great.

WHEN AND WHERE YOU UNDERSTOOD THAT PROBABLY THE TARGET TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP WAS NOT REACHABLE?
Well, I think looking back we had an amazing first day, and the car was really good, and also comparing to the others the first week was incredible. So you know we were staying quite... it was more outside that everybody got sort of enthusiastic, we were staying quite calm. I think the second week was already more realistic, where we were match. So I think others cleaned up their cars a lot between those two weeks, especially you looking at Mercedes and Red Bull. And then to be honest it was a surprise coming to Australia and see that we were behind. Then I think the first couple of races it was not so clear, because we came to Bahrain and we were quite strong. Then we went to... I don't know, China? And again we were quite weak, so it was surprising to have this up and down. But I think after three-four five races it was more and more apparent, especially then going back to Barcelona I think it was quite clear, that we were just not quick enough. So at that point you're not giving up, but you realise that, you know, you're not in a position you want to be. And you fight yourself first. Because you're too far away to fight the others. Or fight Mercedes, which, you know... they just got stronger and stronger race by race, where we were trying to find our firm form first, and once we found [it] we realised it's behind, so yeah, I think then with the European races and just the fact that we were not able overnight sort of to turn things around it was quite clear, that it is going to be very difficult.

 

HOW BAD IS THE SEASON WHEN YOU UNDERSTAND THAT THE TARGET IS NOT REACHABLE? BECAUSE I THINK THERE WAS SOMEONE AFTER ONE RACE WEEKEND YOU SAY OK WE CANNOT DO THIS YEAR
Yeah... In a way you're quite realistic very soon, because you see what is going on. But then you try to push that away, because you want to prove the opposite, but then you fail again, you fail again, you fail again to prove the opposite and... yeah, it is sort of seeing the truth, but not trying to see it. If you see what I mean. It is not a nice feeling. But eventually you have to. But I think the fact that you push it away for three, four, five races before then you have to say 'OK, it is like this'. It helps you as well [laughs]. If it was one moment, where you say 'OK, now this is the fact' and you realise, and then it would be quite harsh. But like that you sort of still try, try, try, try and at some point you do realise... it is a little bit less harsh, but it still sucks.

YOU DROVE FIVE FERRARI SINGLE SEATERS. FOR THE PEOPLE FROM OUTSIDE THE RED CAR IS ALWAYS A FERRARI, BUT EVERY CAR IS DIFFERENT. HOW IMPORTANT IS TO FIND THE FEELING WITH THE CAR?
No, very important. Because, you know, people say 'ah, the driver nowadays makes no difference', but I disagree. I think if you feel comfortable in a car, if you feel that you're on top of everything, then you can make a big difference still. So for sure you need the right car, you need the right tools, you need the team, you need the team to perform well, you need the development rate, you need... whatever... but you still need to find your home in the car. And in this regard obviously the very first day was very good. Then we lost that feeling, and we struggled to get it back for a long time, so... it didn't help. It didn't help me to extract, I think, what was in the car. Because I think, knowing from recent years, I knew what was missing, so yeah, I think we got... it was quite clear quickly what is missing, but not so clear how to fix it. And then once in was clear [how] to fix it, it takes time to fix it, because you cannot just hit 'print'.

IT IS NOT ONE NIGHT
No. So. Yeah, that's the reason why these things take time, but I think the part of the reason why we gain performance is one: because actually getting performance, and second: I think we feel more comfortable in the car, which allows us to play a bit more.

IS IT CORRECT TO SAY THAT AFTER UPGRADE IN SINGAPORE YOUR FEELING IS BETTER?
Yeah, it is correct.

WAS JUST QUESTION OF FRONT?
No, I think it's a question of trust. You know, trust in a car, predicting where it's going to go, and knowing what is going to happen. So then I think you're able to anticipate, you're able to predict, even though you could argue, you could say that control is just an illusion, but I think you're able to predict what is going to happen, and you trust... and then you're able to extract more from yourself, and ultimately from the car.

I REMEMBER SINGAPORE THURSDAY PC, JOURNALIST WAS ASKING YOU IF YOU'RE STOPPING TO RACE, IF YOU'RE RETIRING. AND THREE DAYS LATER YOU WON THE GRAND PRIX. IS THIS DIFFICULT TO MANAGE THESE SITUATIONS?
No, it is not so difficult. It is just difficult not to... sometimes not to listen. But, you know, I think, the world is moving so fast these days, and the way the people... I think people judge too quickly. That is my opinion. But thats what it is, you know, and thats not just in Formula 1. It is not that Formula 1... Formula 1 is no special, it doesn't get any different treatment to other things. If you look at other sports, you look away from sports, you're looking to politics...

IT IS THE SAME
It is a nightmare. You know, you judge after... every day you judge, you change your opinion. But that I find it's not credible, because if you stand for something... values, or you're having opinion – how can you change it overnight? Unless you have a reason. But then you change it again the next night. So... it is actually not so difficult, because you know that opinions change very fast. But yeah, it is not easy sometimes, because obviously it has quite an impact on everything, the whole team. We have a lot of people in the team and obviously we're all fans of the sport. We're passionate, and people follow what is being said and being written. And that doesn't help. Because sometimes, if there is something negative it takes a little bit longer to get it out of people's head. But... yeah, it is quite funny, because three days before they say that everything is bad, and then one race after they say everything is great. So... but thats... I think for myself it is not so bad, because I've been around for a long time, and you seen ups and downs.

I FOUND IN F1 HISTORY HOW MANY DRIVERS SAY NO TO THE TEAM WHEN THE TEAM ASKS TO GIVE POSITION BACK. JUST FEW PEOPLE. REUTEMANN, ARNOUX, SCHUMACHER, MAX ONCE... AND YOU ONE TIME AND MANSELL
I didn't say no.

MULTI 21. WAS NOT NO?
Ah, yes. Yeah. [smiles]

BUT... I HAVE A BIG RESPECT OF THE STORY OF THE DRIVERS, BECAUSE I LIKE TO KNOW THE STORY FROM THE BASE. BUT THERE IS A DAY WHEN YOU MUST SAY NO, FOR YOURSELF. I RESPECT THIS THERE IS A DAY WHEN YOU SAY NO, IT IS MY LIFE, IT IS MY CAREER
Yeah, I think it is a difficult one, especially nowadays. I think you look at it... It's... I think Formula 1 in the last 20 years has become more of a team sport. So if you compare to the 70s, 80s, early 90s, then it was still like the driver was the main figure, and for sure that you need a team around you, but I think nowadays I think you carry much more responsibility for the people around you, the people behind you, supporting you, supporting the team. And especially with Ferrari, I think, it is fair to say, that the team is bigger than anything else. Bigger than the driver. But yeah, for sure, you know, inside the car also its sometimes difficult to know everything, because you cannot see everything. So it depends really the situation. And I don't think you can stereotype, say 'he was right, he was wrong'. Obviously if you look back with Mark it was a different situation, because we were working as a team together for many years, I don't think we worked really well together [smiles] and then the day came where I was asked to do something, and I never got any favour before, so why should I give a favour now? So... So it was a bit of different situation, but yeah, in the end it is like you said, you look after yourself. You have to also stand up for yourself and [for] what you believe is right. Whether then afterwards you were still right or wrong... it is a different story.

NEW GENERATION COMING UP, GUYS BORN IN 1997, 10 YEARS YOUNGER THAN YOU. THESE PEOPLE HAVE DIFFERENT APPROACH, YOU THINK, ON THE RACE TRACK? MORE AGGRESSIVE? OR YOU THINK ITS JUST BECAUSE THEY'RE YOUNG?
They're a lot more busy looking at themselves in a phone. Thats a big difference. But thats for the generaton I think as well. So yeah... other than that I don't think the ingredients have changed. I don't think so. I think you need to be quick. So I think if you look at... I don't know, Max, Charles, George, I think, now in a poor car he is not able to show, but I think these guys, they are quick. And you look back in other categories, or you look back even in karting, it was... I don't say it was clear, but you know the guys were always there, it was consistent, that it was clear that they were strong. So that was clear, that it was something coming. You speak to the people also back then, and they told you already 10 years ago that something is coming, so... And it is nice to see that it is still ends up in the highest category of motorsport. Because, you know, motorsport now is very complex, is very expensive, is very difficult to separate talent sometimes from opportunities, so... I think in this regard its positive to see that if you have the speed, you'll get there. I am sure there is also examples where the speed was there, wrong time wrong place and maybe they didn't make it, but overall, I think, its still positive to see that the right people come through.

LEWIS GOING FOR 6TH WDC. CAN WE CONSIDER HIM AS ONE OF THE BEST IN HISTORY?
I have to. How can you not? You have to! For me it is very clear. He's been around for a long time, but he is one of the most successful drivers. I think after Michael if is probably fair to mention him. Then you can always choose which way to rate, because the sport has changed, we have more races now, you have a higher chance of winning more races now than ever. So if you look back then, its probably not fair to compare the statistics, raw statistics to... going really back to Ascari, Fangio, these guys, but in a way you always look at different eras and different drivers and he is one of the drivers of this era for the last ten years, more then ten years, that stands out as one of the bests. So...

YOU DREAMT TO BE A FERRARI DRIVER. HOW DIFFERENT IS THE FEELING FROM THE DREAM TO REALITY
I woke up! [laughs] Ahm... Well, in the dream always everything works out, you know. Depends how you tend to dream [laughs], but thats the way I dream. But yeah, I still believe in my dream, I still believe that it will work out. Of course, it's not like a dream. Not everything works and not everything clicks. Obviously we had good years, we had very good races, but overall not enough. We were not close enough, we didn't score enough points and so on. So you know the reality is what it is. But its OK. I am happy with reality. I think as a team we are progressing still and things are leading in the right direction. Its up to us to make that final step, that we've been trying to make for the last two-three years, but I don't regret anything, and you know, I am still in that dream, because I think driving the most relevant car on the grid is still a big honour. And its up to us to make sure that the most relevant car also becomes the fastest car.

2020 CAR: GIVEN THE PROGRESS THE TEAM HAS DONE THIS YEAR, ARE YOU MORE CONFIDENT ABOUT NEXT SEASON? IT WILL BE NEW CAR OF COURSE, BUT...
I think in general the next year's car will be an evolution of this year's car, because its the same regulations, but everything that, you know, every sort of weakness we discovered and the area of weakness we obviously have the chance next year to make it better from the start, you know, whereas now maybe you may be limited with how you can fit certain things and so on. So there will be some reshuffling, optimisation, as we want to try and find more space and ultimately more performance.

2021 A LOT OF PEOPLE DISCUSSING TO KEEP THE RULES
Well, pff... You know, obviously we've seen that the longer the rules are in place then the closer the field tends to be, but obviously you can argue that... that's truth for the first top three teams, but then there is still quite a big gap to the teams behind and I think overall it would be a lot nicer if the field was closer together, so that... I still think you have the best teams in the front and the best drivers in the front, no matter which rules you're running, but for sure it will be nicer if you bring everybody closer together, so that you have make it more exciting in a way, so that maybe on a good day somebody from the midfield can also, you know, position himself in the front row, on the podium and so on, so... to do that I think there are some ideas in place, but obviously 2021 there is nothing decided, so we will see what happens in the next couple of months. But I just hope...

ARE YOU OPTIMISTIC?
Yeah, I don't know. I hope that for the sport whatever comes out is good for the sport, because something needs to happen, you know. I think apart from what colour you're wearing I think the formula as it is now is too expensive for what it is, so you know everybody is spending a lot of money to try and find a little bit of performance. I think in a way it has to be simplified. Obviously there is always a fine line between keeping the DNA of Formula 1 and trying to string everybody together. Because you don't want the same cars for everybody with the same engines, because that would not be Formula 1, but like I said something must happen, because otherwise I think its very difficult to master the future and the future challenges of motor racing.

ABOUT POSSIBILITY... IS FERRARI THE PLACE WHERE YOU WANT TO FINISH YOUR CAREER. YOU HAD THOUGHT ABOUT IT? OR OPTIONS ARE THERE
I don't know. I mean, I don't like... No, I am not... I guess I am not looking too far ahead, but I don't know. I think it depends a lot on what is happening with the rules. I think it depends on next year. So... and then we go from there.

TODAY DURING PC PEOPLE WERE ASKING YOU ABOUT DIFFERENT TOPICS LIKE ENVIRONMENT. AND THERE AR E DIFFERENT REACTIONS. SOMEONE WANTS TO TALK ABOUT MOTORSPORT, SOMEONE SAID IT IS A GOOD CHANCE... I WAS DISCUSSING NOW WITH MY COLLEAGUES. WHAT IS YOUR OPINION. IS IT IMPORTANT PLATFORM TO TALK ABOUT DIFFERENT THINGS?
Well, Formula 1 is a worldwide sport. And a worldwide operating platform. So I think you cannot... with all the facts that are available to us today, you cannot neglect what is happening in the world and ignore what is happening in the world. That would be just stupid. So it is fair to ask opinions and so on, and obviously a lot of people are following Formula 1 and are inspired by Formula 1, and I think Formula 1 should do a lot more when what we're currently doing to, you know, set a course for the future. Obviously, you know, if you're black and white an you say that is bad what we do for the environment because we drive around in cars and we burn fuel. Obviously Formula 1 has the opportunity to develop engine formulas, technologies and so on, that will help us, that will help mobility and transport in the future to make it more efficient etcetera. At the moment we have a very efficient engine, but its questionable how much of that efficiency will find its way onto the road, so I think overall Formula 1 does have a responsibility and I think each one of us has a responsibility to lead, to lead by example and that is why I feel we should do a lot more. We should be the first ones and not just have the highest standards in terms of performance, in terms of cars, in terms of competition, racing, entertainment, but also set the highest standards in terms of thinking ahead and looking after our future, the planet's future, the future of the sport and all this. I think it is all linked. So... Giving you some examples, I think, you know, introducing synthetic fuels today rather than tomorrow, why not? It is possible. Our engines can run with it. Why not? If we will be the first ones. But why not? We can do it. We have the engineering power, the men power. Surely it is not easy, it is a challenge. But its not easy to find another 50 horsepower as well, and people are ready to invest a lot of money, so it shouldn't be the limitation. I think outside, if you look at the cars, I think we can make them more relevant, road relevant in terms of the technologies, that we have. Outside of the cars, I think, we attract a lot of people at the race track, that come and see the race, support the race, support the drivers, the teams, whatever, a lot of TV fans, but it is a big event, every time when there is a big event and with a lot of people you have a lot of wastes. People like to have a beer, people like to have a drink, of water, maybe something else. And usually all of these is distributed in plastic cups, plastic bottles, so we should stop that. We should find an alternative to give drinks to the people, but without plastics. Have a plastic free paddock. I mean just a lot of ideas, and I think we would be able to find solutions, and again, we should be the first ones and not the last ones. It is my opinion.""

Imagegallery

Author: Roberto Chinchero, Photos: © Ferrari.

>> Image Gallery

2019 11 17 GP Brasilien

>> Video Gallery

2019 10 23 GP Mexiko Preview

>> Helmet Gallery

2019 10 10 Helm GP Japan

GP VAE / Abu Dhabi
12 | 01 | 2019

Next Event

  • Fri., 29. November 2019, 10:00 - 11:30
    GP ABU DHABI, 1. Freies Training
  • Fri., 29. November 2019, 14:00 - 15:30
    GP ABU DHABI, 2. Freies Training
  • Sat., 30. November 2019, 11:00 - 12:00
    GP ABU DHABI, 3. Freies Training

This site uses cookies to personalize content and ads, to optimize the presentation and to analyze traffic to the website. By continuing to use the website, you agree to the use of cookies.
Further information on cookies can be found in our privacy policy.