Q1-What did you think of the Austin track
GA-Absolutely Fantastic, I think the whole weekend was really good A brand new facility and it just stood up well to it, stood up well to everyone’s expectations, the race was good, the track from a drivers point of view was excellent, its got the challenges that was enough for the drivers to show their skill and allow the good drivers to come to the top. Great facility, great people, I really loved it.
Q2-Speaking of the technical side of the track, the new tracks are always trying to bring corners from old classic tracks, do you think they were able to blend these together better than others?
GA- Yes, I think that’s the right idea, because everyone has this preconceived idea of certain tracks—the esses at Suzuka, the complex at Silverstone—there’s always something there that’s good, and if you can tie that altogether it’s a good thing to do. I think this is the first track they have actually achieved that. Its like a rollercoaster as you can see, blind corners, blind apexes, and that’s what the drivers love, because driving around some of the new tracks is a bit routine, just stop and go tracks while this has got everything in it, that makes them raise their game you get them excited to race.
Q3-With it being a drivers track, do you think the drivers that excelled this weekend, Hamilton & Vettel, Do you think the track suited there style more? Because Alonso its right up there with them in talent but he did have his struggles.
GA- To be honest the Ferrari is not what it should be and I have to pat Alonso on the back. If he wins the world championship, he will have won the world championship, if Vettel wins the WC he would have won it in the Red Bull and there’s a slight difference you know, not taking away from Vettels talent in any way, he would have won 3 WC in a row, which is a pretty tough task for anybody, but for a 25 year old its exceptional. I think those 3 drivers on the podium are the 3 best drivers we’ve got. Yes Alonso was a little far away from them, but I think the car just held him back a little bit in Austin.
Q4-What are the struggles of Ferrari, sometimes they show pace, they keep talking about the temps in the tyres & Alonso seemed to take a while to get full grip in the car, do you think that’s where he’s losing his time, or do you think it’s an actual overall lap time the cars not capable of?
GA-I think the overall single lap time is not there either. They do lack basic performance. They also have, in my opinion, an aerodynamic characteristic that’s a problem. If you look in qualifying they’re normally further off the pace than they are in the race and I think they have a bit of a problem with the DRS wing. If the airflow doesn’t reattach itself well enough, that affects the diffuser, the under floor at the back of the car, in qualifying you can use it every where, you have to use it everywhere to get the extra lap time out of it but in the race you can only use it in the DRS zone which is why I think they are better in the race than qualifying. With the whole car I’m not sure the concept is quite right, there’s a few bits and pieces on it that lose that little bit of general performance, if their going to be able take the race in Brazil and take the championship, they really have to try to bring something that will allow them to qualify at front of the grid because the guys at the front are winning the races and you can’t make up for that.
Yes you can’t damage control yourself to the end can you.
GA-Exactly although it could rain, he might come to the top, and this year he’s had a couple of opportunities for that and he’s done it, so you never know in Brazil if it’s a wet weather weekend which there talking about anything can happen…and I don’t have my coat with me.
Q5.Between the McLaren’s and the Red Bull what would you say were the positives & negatives in the performance realm, they were obviously running really close in lockstep of each other and from my viewpoint it looked like the Red Bulls were suffering from a little more under steer than usual.
GA-Well I think that hurt the Red Bulls through the fast complex after turn 1 it didn’t look like they could keep the car on line, and obviously on a new track it’s dirty off line and although you might have 1% under steer which is nice to have it takes you on the dirty bit of the track which means you get less grip. I think Vettel in the race was only about 9th quickest in that section, and that’s where he was caught up by Hamilton, on the rest of the track he was quickest, but unfortunately he got caught there in the DRS detection Zone when he was tripped up by a back marker, and suddenly the McLaren’s past.
In Abu Dhabi they changed Vettels car setup before the race and started from the pit lane, their normal way is to actually run the car for lap time, run a lot of down force, try and qualify the car on pole, and they get away at the beginning of the race, but their always slow on the straights, their lap time is better, and I thought in Abu Dhabi they did the sensible thing they went half and half, he was quick on the straight and he still had a good car. I thought they would run that here because of the type of track it is, it means if you do get caught and you don’t get on the pole, there’s a big long straight that gives you the advantage to come back again, he didn’t have that advantage in Austin, got caught by Hamilton, and he was scuppered then.
Again, the balance of the car wasn’t great, but his objective is to stay ahead of Alonso and the championship is his, he doesn’t have to win but as long as the Red car is behind him he’s alright