F1 – 2016 GRAND PRIX OF EUROPE – Friday Press Conference. TEAM REPRESENTATIVES – Frédéric VASSEUR (Renault), Roberto BOCCAFOGLI (Pirelli), Eric BOULLIER (McLaren), Gene HAAS (Haas), Toto WOLFF (Mercedes), Claire WILLIAMS (Williams)
If I could start with you Eric: you had both cars in the points in Monaco a couple of races ago but it was a tougher race for you in Montreal. How do you reflect on the team’s performance in Canada?
Eric BOULLIER: We know obviously that some track layouts are suiting are package, chassis, power unit, and some others are not. Clearly you have a long straight line in Montreal and downforce level obviously different from the other track layouts, so you have to specifically design your downforce levels there. Conditions were better for us on one lap on Friday and Saturday but the race was a bit difficult and we had also a slow stop due to a technical issue. But I think we are still on the move and proving every weekend that we are improving by bringing more updates and I think this is a positive.
Well, where do you go from here? IN terms of development, the drivers want you to keep pushing for 2016, but is the prudent thing to focus on 2017 now?
EB: I think you still have to mix both of them. We don’t want to stop developing this year’s car. Even if there is a strong change for next year into the technical regulations I think we can still carry over some of the development we are having now.
Thank you. Gene, if I could come to you: Esteban Gutierrez appears to be growing in confidence while Romain Grosjean has struggled a little bit more in recent races. How do you explain the shift in performance between your two drivers?
Gene HAAS: I think a lot of it is just the learning curve of trying to get the tyres to work. We’ve struggled with tyre temperatures. We’ve had issues when the Safety Car comes out that once the tyres come out of their optimum temperature we just lose pace rather quickly. So that’s probably the biggest problem – trying to maintain the tyre temperatures, especially when you’re in back of the pack where you’re always going to be a few seconds off the leaders and that differential makes a huge impact on how hard the tyres are worked and also their temperature.
You had an emphatic start to the season, but your last points finish was in Russia and after a strong start to the campaign do you feel that you are now starting to lose out in the development race?
GH: No, not really. Actually, I think the team is coalescing together quite well. There’s no more scrambling to figure out why this didn’t work or that didn’t work. We had a lot of problems with the simple things like radio communications and electrical boxes and at the last few races we don’t have those issues anymore. So they’re starting to sort out how the cars work, what it takes to put them together. So I think I feel very, very comfortable with the progress the team is making.