Q: Is there any evidence the current contract negotiations are weighing on Nico’s mind?
TW: No, first of all he had a brilliant adviser who is pretty experienced in negotiating good contacts, and that was very clever because he took himself out of it and I don’t think it affects him at all.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Chris Lines – AP) Question for Roberto. There were reports from some of the teams that the damage on the tyres today from the kerbs, getting cuts and that kind of damage on the tyre. Could you tell me, did you notice anything here in this circuit damage-wise that was different to what you would get in a normal practice session.
RB: We saw during the season some cuts which were, I just want to underline, cuts with no air loss. We told it to FIA as a normal procedure because we normally say, we normally tell FIA when we see something on our tyre which could mean something strange on the track. We simply told FIA. FIA made their checks, you know what was going on afterwards and… nothing strange.
Q: (Ben Edwards – Channel Four) Question for Toto and for Eric. Can we have a summary of today’s running? It’s the first time we’ve been to this Baku street track, so what kind of feedback are you getting from the drivers? Is it as we expected? How’s it going to be in terms of setting the cars up for tomorrow and are we likely to see positions change quite a lot for tomorrow when we get into qualifying, do we think?
TW: For us it went pretty well. Immediately you realise when you put the car down and you just hit the sweet-spot or not. Today that was the case. The track has everything: it has that high-speed straight line, we’ve seen more than 350km/h, that’s pretty exceptional, and then the very narrow part through the old city. It’s still a matter of getting the tyre in the right window mechanically and aerodynamically – and that has functioned pretty well for us. I personally find the track very exciting: it’s something new and certainly very challenging for the race, in terms of virtual safety cars and safety cars. Probably strategy’s going to play quite a crucial role on Sunday.
EB: Well first, the drivers didn’t complain, so that means it must be good. And I agree with Toto: it looks a fantastic place. The general feedback from the paddock is very positive. I think you know with the tools we have at home now, the simulation tools, we can see the car was more or less set up for this track. We see there is huge track evolution: this is the first time we are running on this track, the tarmac is very slippery. Couple of glitches this morning obviously but this is normal when we hit a new venue. But I think globally it was a positive day. It is a track where over the weekend there will be huge track evolution, long straight lines so favouring the higher power PUs, so I think the show on Sunday will be good, will be great. You could see a lot of cars went off in the runoff, so that means it is going to be a challenge as well for the race as well on Sunday.
Q: (Christian Nimmervoll – Motorsport Total.com) There is the long straight at the end of the circuit; is slipstreaming between teammates going to be an issue or Saturday, or something that you might consider?
FV: I think that will be difficult to manage, because you will disadvantage one of your two drivers so I don’t think anybody will play this kind of game.
CW: Nothing to add.
GH: Well, I talked to the drivers a little bit. They really like the track, they like the high speed straightaways. I don’t know so much about slipstreaming as much as it is getting your brakes to work, very very high speeds going into a left hand, right hand turn, you have to get that right and I think that’s really where they’re going to pull a lot of their times, getting the brakes to work.
TW: Since I have been in motor racing in the early nineties, I have never seen slipstreaming between two teammates work for both of them in any category so I don’t see that really.
Q: (Silvia Arias – Parabrisas) Question to Claire; Claire I would love to know… you have been given a big honour just a few days ago, coming from the Queen. I would love to know how important that is for you and what it really means for you and if you ever expected anything like that?
CW: No, I’m still a bit speechless about it to be honest. I never expected it and it is a real honour to receive an award in the Queen’s birthday honours. But from my perspective, it’s a team effort, we always say that at Williams. I wouldn’t have been able to have done what I’ve done without the support of all seven hundred people at Williams, so the honour is for everybody at Williams, not just for me.. I’m just the figurehead that gets to run it after their name but is an enormous privilege and I’m delighted that we have it.