F1 2017 · Mexico GP

Mexico Grand Prix Thursday Press Conference Transcript

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?

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: (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: (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.

 

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