Saturday, November 17, 2012

Circuit of the Americas Press Conference: Stefano Domenicali

Stefano Domenicali- Scuderia Ferrari/www.Ferrari.com
This weekend Formula One makes its first visit to the Circuit of the Americas in Austin. Stefano Domnicali, Team Representative for Ferrari sat down with members of the media on Friday to discuss the circuit.

TEAM REPRESENTATIVE
Stefano DOMENICALI (Ferrari)

A question, first of all, to all of you: your overall impressions of the circuit and the challenge. What have you found? What do you think of it?
Stefano, good for Ferrari?
DOMENICALI: First of all, just to start in a different way: happy birthday to Christian, he’s getting older but with good results. No, I would say that everything has been said. For us, I don’t know. We are there. Today, it’s difficult to judge the performance because you never know the first day as we said with such a new track. But for me, the most important thing with regard to your question Bob, is that I’m sure it will be a great show for the Americans, because we need that in order to make sure that this is the first day of a long term days when we speak every day about Formula One. For me the most important thing from let’s say now, from this weekend onward, is really to make sure that our American friends speak about Formula One every day. In order to build up what is Formula One is all about. I think that being here in this condition, helped by what Martin was saying about the tires, makes very spectacular situation for everyone to… and I’m sure that will be the case on Sunday.

Thank you very much. Again, to all of you: the importance of a race in America for your sponsors. Perhaps you can talk about that. Different priorities for different people obviously. 
DOMENICALI: For us it’s the same. It’s the biggest market for Ferrari. It’s a very important market for our group with the brand of Chrysler and Fiat Cinquecento so it’s something that for sure… and as you can see we have a Ferrari Challenge series running during this weekend because we have a lot of clients, a lot of customers and as we all said, it really is imperative to stay here for a long time and to consider it as a starting point for something. We have the duty to, let’s say, teach to the American approach on the sport something different, and we need to make sure that with everything, we are able to convince this market, also from the sporting point of view, that Formula One is the future. And that has to added to the American sport that are very important, for sure.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR. 

(Tom Richter - TV Nova) I have a question for Stefano and Christian. Obviously this is a great event but we have the championship situation: two races to go, if you can please describe the moods in your respective teams and what prospects you see for the remaining two races.
DOMENICALI: For sure we know it is a difficult situation because we are behind but as I said to my people there is nothing to lose apart from doing the best job that we can and at the end of the day we will see where we will land. But we know we have a Sebastian that is very strong with a fantastic car and we need to make sure that we provide to Fernando the best car that we can and doing the best job that we can on the track. We have seen in the past that everything can happen so we need to believe on this up to the end. As we always said, the numbers will be done at the end.

Q: (Sarah Holt - CNN.com world sport) I just wondered, Stefano, if you'd like to state the case for Fernando, who's also had a brilliant season, because he's not had the fastest car, so I just thought that in contrast to the Seb stuff it might be nice...?
DOMENICALI: Well, I think that Fernando this year has, up to now, done an incredible season, maybe the best, up to now, considering above all the starting point that we had at the beginning of the season with the car. Without maybe something not connected to any kind of his fault, maybe the position in the championship would have been different at this stage. But that's the way it is, so we need to start from that, but for sure, Fernando's season, in terms of maturity, in terms of driving, is really - I would say - incredible and I rate this season so far, honestly, as one of the best of his career, considering the situation that he was in together with the team, at the beginning, above all.

Q: (Sarah Holt - CNN.com world sport) Regardless of what happens in the championship this year, it's really difficult to judge whether Seb or Fernando is the better driver of the two unless they're in the same machinery, I suppose.
DOMENICALI: We can do a Ferrari challenge because we have all the cars here, but that is part of Formula One. For sure drivers can make the difference but alone cannot really win. It's a matter of teamwork, it's a matter of a good performing car, a reliable car, good teamwork during the race in terms of strategy, good pit stops. It's all about this. This is really the best thing about Formula One I would say.

Q: (Kate Walker - Girl Racer) Speed are giving the NASCAR finale 30 hours of TV coverage this weekend. I think F1 is getting something like two and a half, so it is a bit of a problem for the dedicated motor sport fan.  
DOMENICALI: To be honest I have to say that I didn't know about that. I think that, for sure, in terms of quantity, there's not even a fight because it is impossible to fight in that respect. As I said at the beginning, we take this momentum to speak about Formula One because I don't think it's only a matter of having on one hand the main final and on the other hand one race in America but also it's a matter of growing the attention of Formula One and then maybe in the future, the hope is that if you have on the same day the two different events, we have it the other way around, meaning that we have done a great job in terms of promotion. That should really be our target at the moment.

Q: (Maurice Hamilton - Honorary) Formula One has arguably never been more competitive from the front of the grid to the back so driver talent is therefore the most important thing that you're looking for. We know that drivers with financial backing still play a part, certainly in the second half of the grid, the back half of the grid. I wonder if the front three can just give me their view on that and say if that's still an inevitable part of Formula One, despite the need to cut costs and perhaps Cyril could explain how important a driver with financial backing is to one of the smaller teams?  
DOMENICALI: I agree what Christian said but one point to add: the less chances that we give to drivers to test on the track, the more it's likely that we have drivers than can present themselves to a team with whatever you call it, with money to bring with them, and this is why we are so keen to have some more testing, also for them to make sure that they are able to show to everyone how good they are on the track, on top of how good they are in bringing money to the team.

Q: (Carlos Jalife - Fast Mag) I was talking to Mr Ecclestone yesterday asking about the Mexican Grand Prix and he said that it's hard because Texas has set a new standard. He said that no other country can run a Grand Prix if it has a facility that is less than this one that we see here in Texas. According to the world economic climate I would disagree but I would like to have your opinion on that.  
DOMENICALI: Well, I think that for sure that Bernie is pushing towards a high standard in all the places that we have to go to. I think it's the correct policy that he has to apply. Then it's a matter of negotiation, a matter to see what is at the end of the day the complete package in terms of the globality of the product that you're going to bring with a new venue, with a new Grand Prix. As I said, it's correct that we always try to be at the top and then it's a matter to see what we can really do but it's important to go in a place where there is a passion for Formula One, there's the money for Formula One, there's the interest, because in that respect, I have to say Bernie always has a good vision to anticipate certain things and we need to make sure that hopefully also in Mexico this will happen very soon. 

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