Q: Sebastian, we’re heading into race five, what’s the mood in the Ferrari camp?
Sebastian VETTEL: Good.
Q: You’ve got a lot of upgrades coming this weekend. Do you need a faster car or a more driveable car? What are you hoping for from these upgrades?
SV: Well, we hope to improve the car obviously. We introduced some bits in Baku already last race and another set of new parts here. Obviously we want to make the car faster here and there. I think we were reasonably quick but not quick enough overall to put the cars on the front row at every event. We’re lacking a little bit, but I think overall the package is promising. We know that we have a strong car; we’ve struggle a bit to put it together, so to answer your question, probably a bit of both.
Q: It’s clear that you have a big fight on your hands, particularly with Mercedes. How is the team reacting to that compared with previous seasons, from an internal perspective?
SV: Well, every year is different. As I said, the spirit is good, the team is in good shape, so we’re looking forward to come here, we’re confident about the parts we’ve brought here, we are introducing a new engine as well, so we’ve got some stuff that wee think should help us to be stronger than the last races. And as I said, the spirit is good. Comparing to previous years, at this point last year we were in a better place, we had won some races and overall we’d been more competitive, but nevertheless I think the spirit is as good or better than last year.
Q: Before I open this up to the floor, it’s the UN’s global road safety week, something that all of you guys contributed to earlier on in the year when you helped produce a video. I’ve got a question to each of you, which is: what can everyday road users learn from Formula One drivers.
SV: Obviously we try to go as fast as we can, which is not a good idea on the roads, so my initial response would be ‘not that much!’ But we are very professional, we try to obviously control every situation that we are in, and I think we are very lucky that we can push ourselves to the limit on the race track, so there’s no need to try to do something funny or odd outside the track. I think, as much as we respect ourselves on the track, you should respect other people that are participating and trying to get from one place to another. The road, or the track, you’re not on your own. That’s something that you hear many times from racing drivers at any time they raced in Formula One or other categories, that they respect the other people that raced with them. In the same way, you should respect other drivers that share the road with you.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Livio Oricchio – Globoesporte.com) To Sebastian. You said in February your feeling about the new car was very good since the first moment. You got the fastest time after eight days here. What happened that you didn’t get in the races the same good performances – and do you believe you can repeat this weekend what you experienced here in February and March?
SV: The honest answer is we don’t know entirely. Obviously the car was really good in testing. We arrived in Australia and we struggled a little bit to feel the same. I think the first four races for us have been a little bit up-and-down. There were stretches where the cars felt really good and other parts where the car hasn’t – but deep down we know that the car is strong. So, we are trying to put the bits together and trying to understand. We haven’t found the silver bullet – but in the last ten years I never found the silver bullet so I don’t think it exists. It’s really getting down to the detail, trying to understand more and more, trying to understand the conditions that we face, and trying to obviously improve and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Now, this weekend will be interesting for us because obviously we had such a good feeling and it’s not so long ago. I’m pretty sure I remember how the car felt and it will be interesting to see how it behaves the next couple of days. But I’m quite confident if we can get to that level then we should be very competitive. As I said, on top of that, we have some new stuff, so let’s see. I can’t give you an exact answer.
Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Question to all five please. It seems very possible this could be the last time we have the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona. It seems a race at Zandvoort, a Dutch Grand Prix, could replace it in the future. I’d just like to know what you think about the prospect of an F1 race at Zandvoort and what you would miss about this place?
SV: It would be a shame for Carlos. For the rest of us, we’ve been here many times and I think we’d still do the testing but it’s a nice venue, it’s a nice time of year to come here, so it would be a shame. Maybe we could go somewhere else in Spain. Maybe they could build him a race track close to Madrid. Easy for you as well…
(Phil Duncan – PA) Sebastian, you’re already 35 points behind in the championship race. How imperative is it you win on Sunday. Question to Valtteri as well: do you think Lewis views you as a genuine rival for the championship?
SV: Yeah, I wasn’t aware but I knew we were behind. At this point of the year, it doesn’t really matter by how much. I think it’s quite straightforward, we need to start scoring more points. The later we start doing that, the worse it looks. The sooner, the better. It’s pretty straightforward to be honest.
VB: I think that’s something you’re better to ask Lewis – but I would guess so.
Q: (Ian Parkes – New York Times) Seb and Valtteri, after pre-season testing, as drivers, you guys generally say that you won’t know where you are as a driver, where the car is at, the team as a whole until after the first few Grands Prix of the season. We’ve had those first few Grands Prix now so could you kindly provide an assessment of where you feel you’re at at the moment on the back of those first few races, what you feel your chances are of winning the world title?
SV: I think that first when we were testing we were ahead. Second we were going testing I think we were a match. First race we were behind, second race slightly ahead, third, fourth race behind both in qualifying and race so at the moment we are slightly behind but we also know that it’s not a long way and then things could come our way so that’s why I said it before, the spirit is good, everybody is fired up and willing to fight and therefore I believe our chances also are as good as anybody else’s.
Q: (Luis Vasconcelos – Formula Press) Traditionally this is not a Grand Prix where we see a lot of overtaking but this year DRS is a lot more powerful than before. Can we look forward to quite a bit of overtaking this year on Sunday?
SV: Yeah, I think we will see some. It depends on the race, obviously, but I think we should see some, we should definitely see more here than if we go to Zandvoort. It’s just true, no? It’s like Monaco isn’t it?
Q: (Lennart Wermke – Bild) Seb, Frankfurt’s playing in the Europe League semi-finals tonight. Will you watch the game and could it provide some extra motivation for you if Frankfurt makes it to the final?
SV: Yes, yes. Yeah, I will be watching, of course. Yeah. Obviously for Frankfurt it’s a huge achievement already to be in the semi-final. Anything can happen. Obviously it’s not easy but yeah, I’m rooting for them as many others will so…
Q: It’s been reported in the media about the future of the Brazilian Grand Prix and it’s been speculated that maybe a move to Rio is on the cards).
SV: Yeah, I wasn’t aware that it’s going to happen. I heard some rumours but I think it’s a shock. I think Interlagos is a great place, a lot of history. I think the old track at Interlagos is even better than the current one but I couldn’t think of anything other than maybe the track being a little bit short that Interlagos is almost missing. Yeah, I’m really looking forward to the last race we have there. Who knows, in the future, if we go back? It’s a great place, so it’s a real shame. I’m sort of a fan of hanging on to old things. It would be nice to go back very soon. Maybe have two races in Brazil, since the crowd is usually quite amazing.
Q: (Oliver Reuter – Express, Cologne) Seb, you compared your Ferrari with a Rubik Cube. Are you confident that the Ferrari guys are so clever that you can fit all the parts in the right direction? Did you try it yourself and are you confident that they can fix it this weekend?
SV: You mean the Rubik Cube or the car? The car I’ve tried, the Rubik Cube, yeah, I’ve tried as well. Easy, sub-two minutes. Yeah, I think we have a lot of clever people on board. As I’ve said before, I think this track will be interesting for us because the car was really working well pre-season so we will see how it works this weekend and how it feels in comparison but yeah, we’re working flat out, trying to make sure that we have the fastest car on the grid and we win all the races that are left.