Formula One: Press conference transcript from the German Grand Prix

German Grand Prix Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic
Sebastian Vettel answers a question in the Thursday German Grand Prix press conference.

Published on 7/21/2011

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Here is Thursday’s transcript of the FIA press conference from the German Grand Prix, including Timo Glock (Virgin), Nick Heidfeld (Renault), Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), Michael Schumacher (Mercedes), Adrian Sutil (Force India) and Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull).

Q: Timo, earlier this year, you called for some sort of change of direction with the Marussia Virgin Racing team. Are you happy with recent developments?

Timo Glock: To be honest, on track, definitely in terms of the performance of the car, I think we are not where we want to be, but in terms of changes for the future, I am happy. The commitment the team made and the announcement of the partnership with McLaren are a positive sign for the future. At the moment, operating on track, we are getting the maximum out of our package, more than 100 percent sometimes, and it is a bit unfortunate that people don’t see it that we are doing a good job at the back, but that’s how it is. We have to make the best for next year.

Q: When would you expect to see improvement, then? Not until next year?

TG: It is difficult to say. Depends on how quickly we can really start in terms of looking into this year’s car. If we find quick improvement, I think we can manage to bring an update at the end of the year, but it is too early to say. I just hope we can do a proper job in terms of the development for the 2012 year, and if we have something for the 2011 year, it would be great.

Q: Nick, we understand the team has recently upgraded its wind tunnel from 50 percent to 60 percent. Has that held up things, and are you expecting now to see progress?

Nick Heidfeld: Yes, definitely, it slowed things down a bit, but in the long term, it is definitely a benefit. After we changed that, already we understood more and saw a few more directions we could develop into. We are actually bringing some bigger parts for the Nürburgring race here onto the car which hopefully will work straight away. The figures look good, but it is quite big, so it is going to be interesting to see the data from the circuit. I hope even more than usual we will have dry conditions, as in the wet it will be more tricky to find out.

Q: It is interesting to hear from some people that you are still considered a stand-in driver for Robert [Kubica]. Obviously, you would like to hold on to your drive for next year. What do you need to do?

NH: Well, as always in Formula One, you just do the best job you can. I try to deliver on the circuit, and then you hold talks and see how it goes. So far, I think the season has gone quite well. We have had some problems over the last couple of races but were still able with the team to hold on to some points. We try to fight Mercedes--but not Sebastian, he is a bit too far away--but trying to beat Mercedes. They just overtook us on the last race, and that’s what we are targeting.

Q: Adrian, your thoughts on the team’s and your performance at this halfway juncture in the championship?

Adrian Sutil: I would say a difficult start to the season, but we knew that after the winter test. Now we are creeping up, getting better and better, so I think the next half of the season is going to be our season. That’s what we are fighting for. It is not too bad. We wanted to have a bit more points, of course. I think we missed a big opportunity in Montreal and also at the last race in Silverstone. The cars were running fine. We were both [Sutil and Paul Di Resta] in the points, but then we had a little issue in the pit stops, and strategy didn’t work out so well. But the potential is there. You can really feel we are really close to the Q3. Sometimes we are able to go into Q3, and then the race pace is there as well. Not too unhappy, but we have to show it on track again and score a lot of points for the next few races.

Q: What does it mean for you to be racing here, your home Grand Prix? It could be a wet weekend. A huge number of fans are expected, and a quarter of the field is coming from the host country.

AS: Yeah, the Nürburgring for me is something special. It is the home of motor racing here in Germany. It is so beautiful, and it is a real historical, old circuit, and the atmosphere is very special anyway all around this area. I did my license here, my race license in the Nürburgring, as well many years ago. It is a place where I always like to go. My family also is close to this place, and so it is my real home Grand Prix.

Q: Did you learn sledging here, like, as Nick said, he learned to sledge here as well?

NH: And bicycle.

AS: Not yet, no, no. A lot of rain here, that’s normal, so you need to take shorts, you need to take rain jackets, probably winter jackets altogether. Your suitcase is always very big here.

Q: Michael, recently the message coming from Mercedes seemed to be very, very positive, very optimistic. The recent upgrades seemed to give you, both drivers, and the management, as well a lot of hope. What are your feelings about it?

Michael Schumacher: Certainly, we very much look forward to this weekend. Despite the upgrades, in particular hearing that we have almost sold out Nürburgring weekend. Ticket sales are going very well. Coming here as the German national team, Mercedes and us two drivers, it is going to be a very special weekend. I have lots of good memories from this place, and with the recent updates, we hope to be able to improve our game and give something to our fans here. The weather, as you pointed out before, is going to be a subject, and it is going to be interesting, but listening to our guys in terms of upgrade and positioning where we could be, coming back to the rules as they exist right now, it will be interesting to find out what that means to the individual teams and where that is going to move us. So lots of things to look forward to, and it is going to be an exciting weekend.

Q: Everyone is waiting for your first win since your comeback.

MS: Me, too.

Q: How far away is it?

MS: I don’t think we are in a position yet to talk about winning races. We are on the way. We steadily improve, although maybe results don’t show it, but if I see in terms of the organization how we equip ourselves, how we move forward, what’s the actions for the future, I am very optimistic, to be quite honest. It wasn’t initially a long-term project for me when I signed up, but after a while, I understood it is going to be, and there is nothing that you can rush through. You have to progressively step up, and that’s what we are doing.

Q: Sebastian, your first home Grand Prix as world champion. What does that mean to you?

Sebastian Vettel: Generally, after winning the championship last year, coming here, it is not that different from two years ago or last year in Hockenheim. It is always great, first of all, to have the opportunity to race in your home country, in front of your home crowd. We are six drivers now, so we all share that feeling this weekend, and I am looking forward to it. Many times, people talk about extra pressure or things that could slow you down, but to be honest, I think it is more positive than anything else to have people in the grandstands, people outside the paddock and inside the paddock as well, support you and trying to push you forward to allow you to find maybe this extra tenth or two around the lap.

Q: With the results of the last three Grands Prix, you have been a winner, McLaren has been a winner, and Ferrari has been a winner. The regulations have slightly changed as well. Are you going to find out this weekend, or is it going to be next weekend in Hungary, where the true performance is and where the true position is?

SV: I think we have seen the true performance throughout the season so far already. We have had enough races to judge. Last weekend, unfortunately, we were discussing or we were talking more about rules and rule changes rather than the racing. But from here, it should be clear right from the start, so there is not a lot to talk about in that regard, and we focus on racing again. I think it has been fairly tight all year, especially, as you said, the last three races with three different teams winning, so for here, it is difficult to say who will be strongest. We are here to find out, but I think we have a good chance. We seem to like the track. We had a very good race two years ago, very, very good race pace, so we will see. Since then, things have changed. I think we have learned a lot. At this stage, everything looks fine. We are as confident as we can be, and I, in particular, am looking forward to the race on Sunday.

Q: Nico, first of all, I believe you were meant to drive the W196 around the Nordschleife this morning or maybe yesterday. Did it happen, and what was it like?

Nico Rosberg: Yeah, it was this morning. It was a very, very special experience for me to drive the car in which [Juan Manuel] Fangio had his first win in a Mercedes in 1954 and around the Nordschleife. It was just a part of it, but still it was very, very nice. Even I must say I didn’t know what to expect. To drive the car was fun. It feels like a go-kart, and the position is cool. The gear shifting was very easy to shift and everything, so it was great. The only thing was the driving position, which was very strange. A big steering wheel and the pedals completely right and left, as there was the big gearbox in the middle, right between your legs, so it was quite strange.

Q: Like the question to Michael, what about the progress of Mercedes and also driving for virtually the national team this weekend?

NR: Of course, all that comes together. As I say, this morning, to see the history of the team and then to drive the Silver Arrow here in the Nürburgring in front of the home crowd is a great experience. For us, performance-wise, this weekend is about consolidating our upgrade that we brought to Silverstone, so there are another few bits and pieces just to make sure that is working well, and so, as Michael said already, we are genuinely optimistic that we can move forward from here and that we are going to progress. That’s why I hope I can put in a very good result here at home.

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