Q & A with Stefano Domenicali
|By Jonathan Noble
||Sunday, September 28th 2008, 18:08 GMT
Q. The passion of the team is one of its strengths, on this occasion it seems to have got the better of it.
Stefano Domenicali: The question was related to the fact that in the last couple of races we had some problems with the pitstops, even if there were differences in each case. For instance, Kimi was a completely different story. Historically, during the last ten or 12 years, there were always problems, statistically during the pitstops. I remember very well problems with Michael and Rubens.
So it's not true that we have more mistakes than in the past. Unfortunately, we shouldn't have them, but that's another story. I was saying that sometimes where the situation is more tricky, the fact that the emotion is part of the characteristic of the team, sometimes you may consider that as a week point if you consider the fact that you made a mistake, but this is not related to the fact that we had more mistakes this year than in the last couple of years
Q. Is it related to the pressure of the situation you find yourself in, you're at the end of the championship now, you looked like you were going to get a one-two finish here and then suddenly this thing turned. It was important to get Felipe out before Lewis...
SD: In that moment you have to consider that there were so many cars coming in and of course, you try to be quick, you try to find the right slot in order for the car to be released, so it was a difficult moment. If you should wear the overall of the guy who has to manage that, I don't think a lot of people would say that they want to do it. We have to have a lot of respect for these guys, who are not really top drivers but part of us, that they are doing this job. It is very difficult and they have a lot of pressure.
Q. Kimi seemed to be like a switch, he wasn't that quick in the first few laps and then suddenly the performance came in. What was behind that?
SD: I think in that respect maybe at the beginning the pressures were a bit too low and then when the pressures came up to the right level, he was able to push. He got fastest lap and he was catching up with Lewis, because at the end of the day, the strategy was going in the right direction, and today it was really a shame that we got this result because today is really a black day, I would say, because the best car is the last on the result (sheet). Sometimes you have to consider that the safety car is mixing up the situation of the race, but this time it was too much.
But once again, I don't want to discuss the situation that may arise in the safety car conditions, because that's unpredictable. Sometimes they are going in the right direction and sometimes in the wrong direction. In that respect, Renault did very well with the safety car as I said before, and congratulations, they won the race. Unfortunately we didn't get the result that we wanted and not only we wanted, but we had in our hand, because we saw the performance of the car yesterday, we saw the performance of the car in the first stint of the race, it was really only the stint where we had…
Now the objective that we have was clearly, we have three races to go, we will approach the last three races with the fact we can do first and second every time, because we have the potential to do it so the target is very clear. It is not easy, but don't forget that we have raced a very difficult situation over the last couple of years, and we were sometimes able to win, sometimes unfortunately to lose but the motivation is still the same. The team is very strong, unfortunately you have the moments when I cannot say what we said but after two hours we were already motivated and looking forward to doing to Japan to attack again.
Q. Do you know what happened at the pitstop, because from the on-board it appeared that the green light was showing?
SD: Unfortunately there was a mistake, it was not an electronic system, it was run manually, because normally in that condition when there are a lot of cars coming in that safety car situation, it is better to have like a lollipop but instead of a lollipop you control the green light and unfortunately there was a mistake.
Q. Is it controlled by the same person that is doing the fuel?
SD: No, no, not the fuel, the same person who controls the pitstop.
Q. Will you stick to this system for the remainder of the season?
SD: We will analyse for sure what we did in the other pitstop… because it was a tense moment, again a guy was knocked down, no he's OK, no problem at all, but it's a very tense moment, so we preferred not to use for the other pitstop because we wanted to give a sign of less tension because it's a system that is trying to give as good performance as possible. That's the reason why we didn't use it for the others.
Q. At the first stops, was there a possibility of keeping Kimi out? Did you have enough fuel?
SD: No, unfortunately no. You don't know when you do a strategy, when the safety car is going to come out so unfortunately no.
Q. Will the person who was on the switch today be doing the same job in the next race?
SD: Oh yes, I don't think that's a good question because you have to have a lot of respect for the people that are working in this. You may have a lot of mistakes, you are doing a superb job, we are together, we win together, we lose together and in that respect the philosophy will not change for an unfortunate mistake.
Q. What's his condition?
SD: He was very bad of course, as you can imagine. The most important thing is that Felipe went to see him straight away, because of course he was sad and he said, OK guy, look ahead, as I said, always together.
Q. Was there a problem getting the rig out?
SD: Of course, you can imagine the tension moved the whole rig, so it was not in the right position, so it was quite difficult to get it out. There was no problem at the original stop.
Q. Some of the guys who pulled the hose out weren't wearing refuelling gear.
SD: To be honest, I don't know. I was looking at other things.
Q. Do you think the penalty was a fair one, bearing in mind there was a similar situation in Valencia?
SD: Yeah, the penalty was given to Felipe because it was an unsafe release because there was another car in the pitlane so that was the judgement of the steward. As we always said, we don't comment on the stewards' decision.
Q. People will say it's very similar to Valencia with a different penalty?
SD: I don't think so. It's completely different. In the way that you have to consider the manner of the car, the release, the movement of the car, the control of it, so I think it's a different story. I respect it, we respect the decision of the stewards.
Q. What is the advantage of the lights system compared to the lollipop?
SD: If you have that, the system allows you to have no reaction time of the guys. If everything is alright and there is no problem with the pit entry, you can go as soon as all the front and rear jacks and the refuelling rig has gone. There is no reaction time of the guys, that's the principal of the system. In this case it was completely different, it was like a lollipop situation.
Q. Don't you think that a lollipop is more physical in saying you can going or you can't?
SD: That's an opinion, I can accept that. It's like when you see a green light to go, that means that you have to go. It doesn't matter. The green was on because he had to go. If we didn't have the traffic light, we would have had the lollipop up. In that respect it didn't change the specific scenario that we have today.
Q. You said a moment ago that you have to finish one and two in the remaining three races; do you believe you have the performance of the car. Given where Kimi is now in the points standings, surely it means that he has to play back-up to Felipe.
SD: It's very clear that we have… I'm not sure if we have a mathematical… for sure, we need to be realistic and so it's very difficult and so I'm pretty sure he knows what he has to do and he will fight because he's part of the team so I don't have any doubt about that.