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22 October: The Friday press conference for the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix was dominated by the announcement of the FIA regarding the 2005/2006 Formula 1 Regulations. Technical directors from Ferrari (Ross Brawn), Toyota (Mike Gascoyne), BMW Williams (Sam Michael) and Renault (Pat Symonds) spoke to the media about these new regulations as well as the prospect of a third team car. 

Guest questioner: James Allen (ITV)

Q: Obviously today has been dominated by the rule package for Ď05/í06 - package two confirmed, no great surprise, but confirmation of two race engines for next year, and 2.4 litre V8s from 2006. Just a reaction from each of you to that please, starting with Mike. 
MIKE GASCOYNE: Well, I think first and foremost relief that weíve actually got some regulations and from the chassis side, pretty much what we expected obviously, and what weíve been working to. So relief on that side. Toyota have always supported the 2.4 litre V8 and the two race engine for next year, so thatís not a problem for us. The only thing where our stance is at odds to whatís happened is that Toyota wanted freedom in the engine regulations and freedom to put technology in the engines, which is one of the reasons that Toyota came into Formula One. So weíre disappointed, but overall itís pretty much what we expected and, as I say, just a feeling of relief that we can get on with it and design and finalise the design of the cars. 
PAT SYMONDS: Very similar comments to Mike. The rules are really exactly as we expected, there are no surprises in that. We also have supported, in general, these changes, certainly accept that something needed to be done on the engine side to reduce performance. I think it was a good thing, at the same time, to maybe look at a few costĖsaving options and those have been incorporated so all in all, a package that weíre quite happy with. 
SAM MICHAEL: Same for us, nothing was really a surprise in there because it was all basically formulated in the last three or four TWG (Technical Working Group) meetings anyway. I think everyoneís been working to the new bodywork and aero regulations for next year, but as the guys have said, itís very important to make sure itís on a bit paper that says thatís whatís happening for next year. Same thing with the tyres, thereís no surprises there and also the engine, all of that was nothing new to us so itís good for next year. 
ROSS BRAWN: I think in common with the other guys we recognise that periodically you need to slow the cars down. We all work very hard to make them as quick as we can but then you start run out of space on the circuits, so itís necessary, periodically, to slow the cars and I think they are a sensible set of regulations to begin that process. I think weíve got 2008 coming up which will be a blank sheet of paper for Formula One. I think we need to really think about what we want in Formula One from 2008 onwards. Thereís no constraint of a Concorde Agreement at that stage, at least not to the present understanding. I think vis-ŗ-vis the technology of the engine. We were totally supportive, we believe it will reduce costs, and I believe there has been an imbalance in the regulations, the technical regulations consists of 40 pages of which one page was about the engines. The other 39 were about the car. That doesnít seem sensible. The constraints we place on the car, I think we are now starting to place some constraints on the engine, but there will still be plenty of potential for people to create discriminating technology between the cars and engines.

Q: One set of tyres for the weekend, does that mean more testing, because presumably to evaluate a set of tyres thatís going to do three or four hundred kilometres youíve actually got to do three or four hundred kilometres to understand what theyíll do. So does that mean youíre going to be out running a lot more often? 
RB: I think there will be a lot more predictive techniques developed to avoid that because I donít think itís practical to be out testing every set of tyres for three or four hundred kilometres. I think the teams and tyre suppliers will develop techniques whereby after a short period you can make an initial assessment and then when youíre down to the Ė letís say Ė a short list of candidates you may well do long runs on them, but I donít think it is necessary for us to do that sort of mileage on every set of test tyres.

Q: So much for Bridgestone, what about the Michelin contingent? Do you share that view?
SM: I think itís the same. Itís pretty difficult to do much more testing than we do at the moment. It will have to involve either testing those compounds, or doing less long runs on those compounds or using predictive techniques which has just been mentioned.

Q: This morning in the team principals meeting three car teams were mentioned again, running a third car was mentioned again. Is this becoming closer to becoming a reality and if so how will you approach that? 
I believe it is becoming closer to reality but like all things, itís is a binary decision, it either happens or it doesnít and you donít know until the last minute. It shouldnít be underestimated, the difficulty of running a third car. Of course, we have some experience of it from operating under the Heathrow agreement last year. Itís surprising how it ramps things up. It is pretty difficult to co-ordinate and control two cars at times, and three cars is that much more difficult. It involves quite a lot of expense for us, the obvious ones of building the extra parts and things but even the number of personnel you need at the circuit, the number of people you need backing up at the factory. Just simple things like modifications to trucks and what have you, itís an expensive exercise and whatís perhaps a little bit unfortunate is that the way things look at the moment thereís a high possibility of running three cars in 2005 and perhaps a low possibility in 2006, so thereís an awful lot of work there for one year. 
We obviously ran three cars today. When it is just one day and you are not racing that car you can plan for it. It still involves extra effort and extra expense. We have extra people here to be able to do that and we would have to increase that were we to do it so that we were racing that car. So I donít think it should be underestimated. Like most things in this business, itís do-able, we could do it, but that doesnít necessarily mean to say that we would want to do it under ideal circumstances.

Q: Sam, the CRB (Contract Recognition Board) obviously went in BARís favour so youíre looking for a driver in 2005. Is it a risk, do you think, to put Antonio Pizzonia alongside Webber given their history and antipathy between them? 
I donít think thereís an issue at all, to be honest. The main thing is, the first thing we consider when we look at a race driver is, is he quick enough and Antonioís definitely in that category. Heís obviously one of the candidates on the list and someone who we will make a decision on in due course.

Q: Going back to the engines rules, you were saying that you were in favour of two race engines and none of this is a surprise but BMWÖ 
SM: I didnít say I was in favour of them, I just said it wasnít a surprise. 
Q: But you did vote for two race engines in one of the TWG meetings, didnít you? 
SM: No. 
Q: But BMW are saying that they are going to take some time to consider this. Whatís your view on how angry they are about it? 
SM: It is something that is playing on and something that Iím sure will be going on in the background and in due course we will see what happens with it. Itís not something that Iím really in a position to comment strongly on at the moment.

Q: Can you give us a summing up of your 2004 season? Obviously, given where you were last year, you were expected to win the championship or at least challenge for the championship this season. Why were you not able to and where do you go from here? 
SM: Well obviously, yeah, youíre right. We came off the end of last year and we made a lot of poor decisions on the car, particularly aero and mechanical decisions early on in the design stage, and it took us all year to correct half of those and thereís probably two or three things on the car that we canít change until next year, but obviously itís been a disappointing year, but at the end of the day it doesnít mean you give up on this year or at least try and correct things for 2005. So weíre busy putting as much effort, like everyone else, into next year to try and return to return to fighting at the front but yeah, it has been disappointing but you keep moving on.

Q: And your analysis to todayís running? How are you looking? 
SM: Still a bit early to tell at the moment because obviously on Friday you donít know what condition tyres people are running and what fuel loads they are running but a fairly normal Friday. Weíll see what happens tomorrow.

Q: Mike, two different drivers finishing the season, compared to the two that started. What does that say about Toyotaís year? 
Obviously weíve had a difficult and frustrating year. We havenít had the results that we wanted at the start of the year. I joined last December and I think our level of performance didnít come as a great surprise to me. We knew what we had to do to improve the team and a lot of that has involved work back in Cologne in the factory, in the way that we work there and thatís inevitably going to take time. Itís a process Iíve done before and I have to say Iím very comfortable with where we are. But we still have to do the best we could this year and obviously we havenít had results we wanted. In terms of drivers, certainly the last change, with Jarno becoming available, given that he was going to be a driver for us next year, wasnít something that we expected and the ability to have him in the team is something that is very useful to us. Obviously very direct feedback from some of our competitors who are obviously much more competitive than we are and thatís obviously very useful feedback. Itís been a season of change for us and with the drivers thatís reflected that, but we have to make the decisions to make sure we get set up to be in the best position at the start of next year because one thingís for sure, if this seasonís been disappointing, next year canít be.

Q: Youíve had a year, as you say to get your feet under the table, youíve got two top drivers for next year, when will Toyota start to deliver, do you think? 
MG: Well it has to start delivering from the start of next year. Thereís absolutely no doubt about that and Iím very confident weíre in a position to do that. You canít make the step to the top in one step. Itís far too difficult to do that, and the teams you are racing against are far too good to allow that to happen but Iím very confident we will make a significant step forward.

Q: What about todayís running? Jarno seemed to be pretty consistent on the long runs. Are you reasonably happy with where you are? 
MG: Yeah, I think all the drivers did a good job today and Jarno, in particular, has added a lot to the team and heís very happy with the car. Obviously it was a difficult first race for him in Suzuka with no running before raceday but he still did a good job and heís confident and happy with the team and itís definitely lifted the whole team.

Q: Pat, youíve moved forward, at least, one place in the World Championship, probably just the one place. Youíve won a Grand Prix, youíve had pole, youíve had a few podiums and yet thereís a slight feeling of disappointment about Renaultís season. Do you look at it that way or are you quite pleased with 2004? 
Iíll always be disappointed if we havenít won the championship, thatís what we do it for. Itís right but there seems to be a lot of perception that we havenít had a good year but of course, we have. As you say, weíve won a race, been on the podium, weíve moved up, not just one place in the championship but actually a lot closer on points. It hasnít been an unsuccessful season. I think within Renault one of the things I like about our team is we are very self-critical. We donít try and hide our feelings from the public and the press. A lot of things havenít met our expectations this year but that just makes us try harder. It certainly hasnít been an unsuccessful year and I think any team that finishes third in the championship, and letís remember itís not quite over yet, should be proud of it.

Q: Your car number seven hasnít scored any points since France, seven races ago. For team of your calibre, your level, that canít be allowed to happen. In retrospect is that a big error, allowing that to happen? 
We didnít allow it to happen, we certainly didnít intend it to happen. There are several things this year and I certainly would say it is a year of missed opportunities. There were races - Canada, Indianapolis, Spa Ė races where we could have had an extremely good result. In Canada, I think we were really in with a shout of winning that one and right up there in the other two. Reliability in a couple of cases and an accident in one let us down. Yes, it is true that one of the cars really hasnít had a very great second half to the season. You say why do you let that happen; you donít let that happen. You are trying as hard as you can to get both cars up there all the time.

Q: Whatís your analysis of Jacques performance in his two races so far. Obviously he was caught out by the extraordinary circumstances in Suzuka, but over the two races, whatís your analysis? 
Well, I think thatÖI guess I didnít know Jacques particularly well before he came to drive for us. Iíd spoken to him a few times and you may remember a few years ago he was quite high on the list of possible Renault drivers, so that time we were speaking quite a lot. Certainly the perception, I think, largely through the press is that he is very laid back and a little bit undisciplined and Iíve found that to be completely untrue. The guy works very hard and I always respect people who do work hard. It has been difficult for him and the first tests that we did at Silverstone, he was taking a while to get into things and it sort of woke me up a little bit when he said well, OK, thatís not a great time, but it is nearly two seconds quicker than Iíve ever gone round here before. And when you think that was only a year ago, thatís a measure of the progress thatís been made. Some of the things I think heís found quite hard. Physically he has found it hard because no matter how much training you do, thereís nothing like driving a racing car. He has had to get used to different tyre characteristics which I think heís probably now got used to. We sent him down to Jerez last week to do a bit more work with that and today we have seen a pretty good performance from him. So itís been hard for him but I think heís a guy with quite a lot of ability.

Q: Talking to your drivers throughout the season, the mantra has been Ďitís a tricky car to drive.í Is making the í05 car a less tricky car to drive a big priority for you? 
PS: No, the big priority is to make it quicker. It is true that our 2004 car is more difficult to drive than the 2003 car, but equally itís quicker and if I went to Fernando and said Ďwhat do you want, an easy car to drive or a quick car?í I think I would know the answer.

Q: Ross, I believe you ran a 2005 car spec car recently, what was the feedback from the drivers and what did you learn from it? 
RB: It is not strictly a 2005 car, itís a car which we have modified to achieve the performance levels which we think we will have in 2005. It wouldnít comply to the 2005 regulations but itís a sort of muletto of bits and pieces that put it at the performance level. I think we got exactly what you expect when you reduce the downforce by 15-20 percent: less grip, more tricky to drive initially, so for the first day, the drivers were finding it a little bit of a handful but once they readjusted their reference point, then it was fine. The reason for doing it is to have some meaningful development on tyres and engine management and things like that. Itís been very useful in that respect. I think the tyres are at a very early stage. We donít have a tyre yet which can do a complete race. It would be pointless to try and develop a one race tyre with the car we have now. We need to develop a one race tyre with the car we think we will have next year.

Q: You said your car has 15 percent less downforce. What sort of amount lost would you be happy with by the time you get to Melbourne? How much of that do you expect to have clawed back, percentage wise? 
RB: Well thatís where we would hope to be. When we put a 2005 package on the wind tunnel model we lost nearly 30 percent. Weíre gradually getting that back. We would be pleased if we get to 15 percent less than where we are now.

Q: Can I just ask you the rest of you if thatís the target youíve got? 
PS: Well I think if Rossí target is 15 percent we will go for 10. 
SM: Yeah, weíre the same. We lost almost exactly the same. How much we get back is the big question. Itís obviously a long way away, but then so is Melbourne, but at the moment, because of the changes to the bodywork, particularly the diffusers, there are fundamental restrictions on how much expansion you can get, so no matter how much you work away with it, it will be never be anywhere near what you had before. 
MG: If Rossís if 15 and Patís ten, Iíve got to go for zero. Obviously weíre all doing the work and pushing very hard. It a very key area, itís an area where we have been doing a lot of development because itís where Toyota have been behind and so itís the key area of development on the chassis for next year.

Q: Back to Ross again, youíve ticked just about every box there is to be ticked this year. Rubens said yesterday he doesnít expect any presents in going out to try and win his home Grand Prix but it would complete the picture for a totally dominant 2004. How are you going to do it, whatís going to happen? 
RB: There is obviously a lot of people trying to stop us doing it, so I think itís going to be a challenging weekend. We are very pleased with the car and tyre performance today. We started the session a little bit out of shape, the car was a bit tricky to begin with but the engineers and drivers dialled it in pretty quickly and when track cleaned up a bit the whole thing was working well and we had some very encouraging runs in the second session with fuel and race tyres. But it looks like Rubens and Michael are going to be very close this weekend. Rubens is very determined to correct his record in Brazil, it would be fantastic if you could. But Michaelís determined to stop him and I would be disappointed if he wasnít. There is no team orders and they are free to race so itís going to be a fascinating weekend.

Q: You mentioned team orders, when the championshipís still open, I think Iíve right in saying your policy is to let them race up until the final pit stops and then to hold stage. As itís the last race and the championship is already wrapped up, are they racing to the flag on Sunday? 
RB: Well, the only reason we apply any management is to preserve the cars. We have a good finishing record and that doesnít come by accident. We donít want the drivers abusing the cars any more than they have to. It is important that they finish the race, so I donít think we will change our policy because itís the last race. But they are free to race and thereís plenty of potential.

Click here for the second part of the Press Conference - Questions from the floor

Related Releases:

Technical Directors from Ferrari, Toyota, Williams and Renault speak to the press about the new rules for 2005 - Part 1 - Part 2 (22 October)
The FIA announces the 2005 Regulation Changes (22 October)
FIA President Max Mosley speaks to the press
(10 September)
The FIA submits three proposed packages to the Technical Working Group
( 6 September)
Proposed measures to reduce the performance of Formula 1 Cars
(16 July)

Check out the Formula 1 Regulations Page

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