Spanish Grand Prix Drivers' Conference

Spanish Grand Prix Drivers' Conference

DRIVERS – Daniel RICCIARDO (RB), Carlos SAINZ (Ferrari), Fernando ALONSO (Aston Martin), Kevin MAGNUSSEN (Haas), Valtteri BOTTAS (Kick Sauber)

 

Q: Fernando, this is your 21st Spanish Grand Prix. Explain to us what makes Barcelona different for you?

Fernando ALONSO: We had a lot of tests here in the past. Now, we do them in Bahrain, but in the past Barcelona used to be all the winter tests in this place. We have millions of laps in Barcelona, also in the junior categories. Obviously a lot of things happened here in Barcelona as well. It's one of those races that we know all very well. For us, for Carlos, for myself, a lot more support in the grandstands. Family coming, friends are coming. So yeah, a little bit extra motivation this weekend.

 

Q: For many years, you had this place to yourself. And then, of course, Carlos joined in 2015. How different has it made the experience for you having two Spaniards on the grid?

FA: Well, I think it didn't change much. You know, it's super good to have two Spanish drivers, especially… Well, next year is going to be the 10th anniversary of being two. But, I mean, the support has been always incredible in the good years, in the bad moments as well. And, yeah, now with two, we have two possibilities, even though I think this year we have only one, with Carlos. I don't think that I will be able to fight for many big things but, yeah, I will try to do my best.

 

Q: Well Fernando, tell us a little bit more about performance. Both Astons back in the points in Montréal for the first time since Melbourne. If it's dry – and it's a bit of an if at the moment because the weather is a little bit indifferent so far this weekend – but if it's a dry race can you be competitive this weekend?

FA: Let's see. I think every race has been a kind of a surprise, sometimes for good, sometimes for bad. So we have to wait and see. Canada was one of the best weekends for us, a little bit unexpected after two bad ones in Imola and Monaco. So I think we have to wait and see the free practice, let's put it that way. I think we prefer wet Sunday at the moment because we are not totally sure about the performance in the dry.

 

Q: Alright, best of luck. Thank you. There'll be more questions for you later. Carlos, can we come to you now? Do you second everything Fernando's just said about racing at home?

Carlos SAINZ: Yeah, definitely. I think it's always been incredible, but maybe it's true the last few years, I think since I've been with Ferrari and Fernando has been back with Aston, and having that chance of podiums, I think the last few years, the attendance and the excitement of the whole country towards Formula 1 has increased again. I don't know if it’s to the levels of 2005, 2010 when he was fighting for the championship, but to a level that is really nice to see and gives us a lot of support and a really good mood to come into the track. Probably, the Netflix phenomenon also, you see younger generation fans, you see a lot more women coming to the track, which maybe in the past wasn't the case. And yeah, yesterday when I was in the roadshow in Barcelona, it was almost 50-50 girls and boys, you know, of very young age, all there cheering since 11 am, waiting for us to arrive at 6 pm. And the vibes and the atmosphere was incredible.

 

Q: What can you deliver for those fans this weekend on track? It was a difficult one for Ferrari in Montréal last time out. Can you bounce back this weekend?

CS: Yeah, we've made obviously our analysis because we expected to be more performing in Canada than we were. And unfortunately, we didn't get things right there with tyres, probably a little bit also with set-up, but we didn't get it right and we had an off weekend. I think in a calendar of 24 races, there are always going to be races where you perform at a really high level and other races where you don't get it right. But I think we've learned from it. And now we come to a much more normal track, one of the first Europeans after Imola. And this is where we all know it very well. We know the set-up. We know how to do the out lap, how to do the push lap, you know, and so hopefully we get it right and we are a lot more competitive.

 

Q: Alright. Good luck with that. Final one from me. I haven't asked you this question for five weeks, but what's the latest on your contractual situation for next year?

CS: The latest is that a decision will be taken very soon. I don't want to wait any longer. I think it's getting to a point where it's obviously taking space out of my head for quite a few weeks now and months and I think it's obviously time to make a decision. The decision will be taken soon. And yeah, so hopefully soon we will have things to talk about.

 

Q: Are you clear in your mind where you want to go?

CS: No, that's the thing. I'm still not sure one way or another. It's still something that I'm discussing with my team and brainstorming and obviously I need a couple of days back at home and before the Spanish Grand Prix. I've been at home, but you don't have you head in the future, you have your head in the Spanish Grand Prix. It's been a very hectic couple of weeks after Canada for me. So I haven't had time to really sit down and take a decision. And this is what I will target in the next few weeks.

 

Q: Alright. Thank you for that. Daniel, let's come to you next. Congratulations on a very strong weekend in Canada last time out. Do you feel that you're now happy with the car again?

Daniel RICCIARDO: Yeah, I mean, the result always helps. The feeling hasn't been too far off. I think it's just where I kind of crossed the line… where I crossed the finish line is what I'm trying to say, that always hasn't been where I obviously want to be. But I don't think it's been far off. Obviously, Canada, we started from Friday practice, we were on the front foot and we continued that all through the weekend. We hadn't had one of those weekends in a long time, or I hadn't, so it was nice just to start good and end good. The team's been great with updates, and I think the car has definitely made some steps forward. So I have confidence we can have more of those weekends in the next few and be there more consistently. So it was good for me, good for obviously the people who are pushing and know that I can do it. So yeah, personally as well, just to have a weekend like that, it was necessary, it was needed and it felt good for everyone.

 

Q: Well, let's bring it on to this weekend. The team is bringing a lot of upgrades here. Are you expecting a big bump in performance?

DR: We're expecting an improvement, yes. But relative to others, that's what we have to wait and see. Typically, Barcelona is a track where everyone comes with updates. I don't know yet if everyone is bringing them but in the past, this is the start of the European season, really, where everyone brings their best effort. So I know we will be a little bit quicker. But it's all relative, right? We've been strong, obviously, and nearly every weekend, the team's been getting some points. So for that to continue, that's obviously where we plan to be. But it's, again, see what everyone brings. But we're looking all right.

 

Q: Talking about where you plan to be, do you think you can challenge Aston Martin now? Is that the goal?

DR: It's the goal. I mean, obviously in Canada they jumped us in the race and had a little bit more than us on the Sunday, but I think we've definitely been a lot closer than we thought to them this year. And so, yeah, that's the mentality now moving forward. You know, it's not that sixth is locked in and that's it. Obviously you always have to be mindful of your competition, but our eyes are set ahead. Aston is a team that we would love to fight against more often. And we see ourselves being closer to them. So let's see, as I said, the updates. And if that is something realistically, we can be fighting them the next handful of races until the next round of updates.

 

Q: And Daniel, Fernando is the only one locked in for next season of the five of you. Where are you focusing your efforts in terms of negotiations?

DR: Well, I mean, Canada obviously helps. As I said, I needed a result like that. Obviously I would like to stay. So as I say, now that I'm back in that Red Bull family that's where… I really don't see myself anywhere else. So that's where I'd love to stay and continue. I also said, I think, before the weekend in Canada that, you know, I obviously want to earn it. Like I don't just want it to be like, ‘ Yeah. Yeah. OK. Stay another year’. I obviously want to be here because I know that I still belong here and can do can do performances like I did last week. So it's also up to me just to make sure that I can keep pulling it out. And in that case, then I'll be very happy to stay.

 

Q: Alright. Thank you, Daniel. Valtteri, why don't we come to you next? You've been busy since we last saw you, busy winning. Tell us more. Two wheels, not four.

Valtteri BOTTAS: It felt good because it's been a while. So yeah, I'm actually part of the people organising it. It's an event in Finland called Finland Gravel. It's a gravel cycling thing, like a whole weekend thing and there's a competition as well, and yeah, managed to win my course.

 

Q: First win since Turkey 2021.

VB: Correct. Like I said, it felt good.

 

Q: Well, it's definitely going better off track than on track at the minute. It seems Sauber had another difficult weekend in Canada. Both cars knocked out in Q1. Do you think the fast sweeps of Barcelona will suit the car better?

VB: It's hard to predict because the thing is, you know, it is so close, the margins are so small. But everyone is working flat out, you know, to understand what's going on, why we are not hitting the targets. And like I said, it's fine margins. So again, with some new bits specifically for this race, we should be in a better place. Obviously, yeah, there's been quite a few things going on in the team in terms of for a better future. So sometimes you might take a step back to take two steps forward. So that's part of the game, but I hope we're in better shape. That's all I can say.

 

Q: You mentioned targets. Why aren't you hitting the targets? What is it about the performance of the car that isn't stacking up?

VB: Fundamentally, there's nothing big wrong, it's just we just need to keep adding performance because many teams around us have made jumps. We've made jumps, but not big enough. But like I said, I think it's more for the future that the big goals are.

 

Q: Final one from me. Plans for next year. How are they developing?

VB: Developing? Yeah, still nothing really to add from the previous weekend. So, yeah, nothing has been confirmed or signed. But I think developing is a good word. But things are good because I can really now focus, you know, try to get those points that we haven't got this weekend. And the management is working on the background. Because I think everyone in the team would deserve some points this weekend.

Q: Alright. Best of luck with that. Kevin, coming to you now. Can we start by talking about Haas's aggressive strategy at the start of the race in Montréal? You were the only team to fit extreme wets. Did that reflect a change in mentality on the pit wall different to last year, for example?

 

Kevin MAGNUSSEN: I don't think so. I think it was more on the laps to the grid. The Intermediates just felt very, very difficult to get any grip out of. They were just ice cold and it didn't feel like we were going to be able to get them hot. So I felt my best bet was to put the Wet on. I thought it was going to be next to impossible to make it around the first lap on the Intermediate the way they felt on the laps to the grid. Honestly, it was just what we felt was right for us with the feeling we had with the car. I think luckily everyone else must have felt kind of similar to me on the Intermediates because the grip I had versus everyone else on the full Wet was very big. We had a very slow pit stop from Wets to Inter, so we lost all of the advantages that we had built, but it would have paid off with a normal pit stop. So it's extra annoying and frustrating to have such a slow pit stop when we're in a good position, but that's what happens.

 

Q: But you're over it now.

KM: Yeah, of course!

Q: Very frustrating. Look, what about this weekend then? It's a very different kind of racetrack here in Barcelona. Will it play to the car's strengths?

KM: I don't think so. I think we feel we're strong in low-speed corners and we feel quite efficient on the straight with the downforce levels we have. It's always like we seem to be just strong on tracks with long straights and this is a very high-speed track and I don't think that's a particular strength of ours. I think, as Valtteri said, it's very fine margins at the moment, but that can also mean that if you're a little bit weaker in some area, then it shows a lot. So, yeah, I think no matter what on Sunday, it feels like we have a chance even no matter where we start. it feels like we are good on tyre management and degradation is usually good for us and this is a pretty high-degradation track so maybe that can be a benefit. so we'll see. I think we're in the running no matter what.

 

Q: Good luck with that. And next year, contracts for you? How far down the road are you? What is the cork in the bottle? Why are things taking so long?

KM: He is. Carlos is the cork in the bottle. I think a lot of guys are waiting for him to make a move and then eventually all the other pieces of the puzzle will fall. That's the truth of that.

 

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Mara Sangiorgio – Skysport, Italy) A question for Carlos. Carlos, we know that Ferrari has been racing to get here the new updates. What can you expect as a team? Can they help you also for the qualifying?

CS: Yeah, like every other upgrade, it's hopefully a small increment in downforce that just helps us to be quicker everywhere. And obviously qualifying, race, but small, like all the upgrades that we're bringing this year. There's no magic bullets anymore in Formula 1, and all the upgrades that we're bringing are small. But hopefully it makes a difference, especially given how tight the field is now that Merc also seems like they've joined the battle. And us being within a tenth of McLaren and Red Bull pretty much every weekend. So any little help is useful.

Q: (Roldan Rodriguez – DAZN, Spain) A question to Fernando Alonso. We saw in Canada a very good result for Aston Martin. And the question is, can we think that Aston has a change of tendency, as the improvements that brings to the beginning of the season doesn't look like being good improvements on the track? We can say that now you have found a way to have a predictable car that allows you to be faster, consistent and to move forward?

FA: I would love to answer yes, but I think Canada is a very unique track with only long straights and heavy braking, very short corners as well. So yeah, I think Canada was good for us, but I think we have to wait two or three different circuits to really have an outcome of our understanding of the packages. So yeah, let's wait and see. I hope so.

Q: (Craig Slater – Sky Sports UK) Another question for Fernando. We're reading reports, Fernando, that Adrian Newey has visited the Aston Martin factory and had some talks with the team. Will you speak to him at all? Have you spoken to him? Do you plan to? Is there a role for you in persuading him to come to the team? And if you were, what would you say to him to sell Aston Martin to him?

FA: There are many questions on that. Yeah, I read the rumours, I read the news. But it's coming from the same source and the same websites of one week ago [saying] he was in Ferrari and it was the announcement at 12 o'clock before Canada race. So yeah, rumours are rumours.

Q: What would you say to him? Just the second part of that question.

FA: That keeps between him and me.

Q: (Albert Fabrega – ESPN LATAM) Carlos, I guess that a big part of your decision for your future is depending on 2026. I'm sure you have seen the draft of regulations and how the cars will be in the future and the new era. What do you think about these cars and the new regulations?

CS: Yes and no, just because... I think 2026, guessing now in 2024 who is going to be performing better is almost impossible. I think I used the term a bit of a lottery or a coin toss. To see who is going to be quicker in 2026, given that the regulation is so different, the cars are completely different, the chassis, the engine, it's almost impossible to predict who is going to be performing in 2026. And so then ‘25 becomes also important . At that stage, If I cannot predict ‘26 and I don't know who's going to be performing better, then ‘25 is important for me to know. And it is also the long term. It is also trying to understand the power unit side. It's trying to understand the team dynamics. All these factors come into play when taking a decision. And yeah, that's why it's taking long and it's taking time for me to find some time within myself to take the decision.

Q: (Mariana Becker – Bandeirantes Brasil) Let's come back to this race. Carlos, there are high expectations that Barcelona can actually reveal how the teams are in the championship because of the layout and everything? Do you agree with that? And what are you expecting to read from this special race here?

CS: I think Barcelona used to be a track where everyone used to say, if you're quick around Barcelona, then you're quick around everywhere. I think now Formula 1 has changed a lot because there's actually a lot more tracks like Monaco and Canada than there are like Barcelona because of how many street circuits they've added with the kerbs, bumpy layouts, the Monacos, the Singapores, the Canadas. Baku, Vegas, Mexico, there are so many tracks that are not like Barcelona anymore, while before, I think there used to be a lot of Barcelonas, a lot of European style of tracks. So I don't think it's anymore the case, the fact that Barcelona is dictating the rest of the year. I do think if you have a good car around Barcelona, normally it means you have a good car around Silverstone, around maybe Hungary or Spa. This, yes, but your good car in Barcelona for sure doesn't mean that you're going to be quick in Baku. So who knows?

Q: (Mariana Becker – Bandeirantes Brasil) What should you expect to read from here?

CS: From here, I expect really tight field and I expect a hectic Q1 and Q2, a bit like what we saw in Canada. I think the field is, like always at this stage of the year, getting tighter. And yeah, the top four or five teams were all within one or two tenths. Behind us, there's only two or three tenths margin to the RBs, to the Aston. So you cannot put a foot wrong, like we saw in Canada. I was out in Q2, together with Charles. So it just shows how tight it is and how qualifying is fundamental.

Q: (Roldan Rodriguez – DAZN Spain) A question to Carlos. It's been 13 years since the last Spanish win here in Barcelona. Fernando made it. Ferrari, the possibility to win here is there. It's one of the teams that we expect to be in the front? And I would like to know how good it would be for you to win here at home with Ferrari?

CS: Yeah, I think I cannot describe how important or how special that win would feel because I think you can know all the adjectives and feelings that would go through my mind, head and body, you know, if I win here on Sunday. Do we have a chance? I think so. I think there's always a chance. But I prefer to wait until Friday practice to really say how big that chance is because If we see the dominant Red Bull of Bahrain, the chance is very low. If we see a tight field like in Imola, where we were a tenth or two off pole, but only within a tenth or two, or like in Miami with the McLarens, or if we are dominating like in Monaco… You know, it's almost impossible to say right now. So, given also other teams are bringing upgrades and the pecking order is probably going to change a little bit, I prefer to wait until Friday to really assess if we have a proper chance of winning.

Q: (Mara Sangiorgio – Skysport, Italy) A question for both Spanish drivers. We are in Spain. It's an exciting day for Italy-Spain, too. Your prediction for tonight?

CS: Spanish guy in an Italian team and we have a team dinner tonight with a big screen. So yeah, there's a few Spanish in that team and it's going to be fun to watch with all of them. Obviously, I'll support Spain and I think we will win 2-1 with a goal, a late goal.

FA: Same prediction. Spain will win.

Q: Score, Fernando?

FA: 21-3!

Q: (Diego Mejia – Fox Sports, Mexico) Fernando, you were speaking earlier about the understanding of the car from you, from the team. But after nine races, which would you categorise as the car's strengths, maybe the areas where you see the most potential? And also, if this track in its current configuration is as telling as it was in the past about a car's overall performance?

FA: Yeah, about the overall performance as Carlos said that in Barcelona now is a track that can help to understand or to guess what is going to happen in another four or five tracks in the championship but there are many other types of circuits that maybe Barcelona is not so interesting anymore. About the car and the understanding: I think we have clear ideas of what we have to improve. Obviously I will not share here with everyone. I think it is quite obvious for everyone that qualifying has been our strength this year and race pace has been a little bit weak. The straight-line speed and the DRS effect is quite strong also this year in our car but there are a lot of weaknesses as well that we are identifying now with the new package as well, so yeah I think we're in a good place.

Q: (Craig Slater – Sky Sports) Carlos, you say you are still to make up your mind. You may be choosing possibly between a manufacturer or works team and a customer team. You know from your Renault days that being at a manufacturer isn't a guarantee of winning anything. Do you think the gap between customer teams and manufacturer teams, given how McLaren are doing, is as close as it's been for some time?

CS: Responding to that question yes it looks closer, but there are so many other things involved in my decision not only that.

Q: (Ian Parkes – New York Times) Carlos has touched on the mental anguish he's kind of going through at the minute on making a future decision. To the rest of you, just how difficult, how mentally difficult is it when you're in a situation like that where you're either having to make a decision about your future or you're waiting for a decision to be made about your future?

DR: The camera went straight to me, so I'll take it. Yeah, it's tough. It's tough because as Carlos touched on, there's not really just one thing behind a decision. There's so many… It can be very taxing. Of course, you need to give it the time required because it's your future and it's your career and obviously something you work very hard for, but also as he touched on, at some point you just want to make the decision and kind of move on. But yeah, it's tough because you can't take it lightly. It's one of those ones. I guess we all go through it. We've all been through it in some way, shape or form. But I think it means a lot to us and that's why we obviously put so much weight on it.

KM: Yeah, I think, you know, not knowing your future is, of course, not a comfortable situation. I think this job has a big effect on your life in general, not only you as a driver, but your whole family and your whole year is dictated by being in Formula 1 when you're driving. So I think that's the biggest thing for me, not knowing how life looks in half a year's time or so. But I think I've been in this situation many times before. I've been out of Formula 1 a few times before and you know life outside is also pretty good. So, when I was younger I had a lot a lot of fear of losing this, which I don't think you need to have. I think it's a very big privilege, I love driving these cars, I love racing in Formula 1, but I think I'm much more relaxed about things now than I was in the past. We're very early in the year, so in that way it’s a different situation than I've tried before. I think all the decisions will be made I think likely in the next weeks or so it's pretty early. But we'll see how it all ends up.

VB: Yeah, I think like Kevin said, it's not that late in the season. I think it gets more difficult if it gets beyond the August break and later into the season and still having that unknown. I think that's more difficult. But obviously, over the years, you learn to deal with it yourself. You learn to still find that focus for the weekends and that right energy. And yeah, it's not my first rodeo either. So we'll be all OK.

Q: (Alex Kalinauckas – Autosport) Daniel, It's been nearly half a season that you've been team-mates with Yuki Tsunoda. I just wondered in that time, can you tell us how have you found working with him and sort of results wise? Has things perhaps been tougher than you might have been expecting as a pair or about what you were expecting?

DR: It's always hard, especially when you have a new team-mate… Obviously I did a few races with Yuki last year, but yeah, at this point you can't underestimate anyone. I've been in this sport long enough to know that. So yeah, it's never that, well, this driver surprised me because there's not really any more surprises. I think as well, the level now is so high. we're familiar with these cars. So I think, look, he's having a great year. Absolutely. I think he's been driving really well. It's, let's say, a challenge that I've welcomed, you know. I've had certainly a few more probably low weekends this year than he has. Obviously, you try and turn that around. But I also want to be pushed. I want, obviously, to see where my potential is and where that lies. So I do like having, obviously, someone alongside me. that's strong. But as I said, I don't think there is... There are no weak team-mates anymore. I think it's been that way for a while. He's good, I think. Technically as well his feedback's been good. i think we've been very aligned this year. I think when I joined the team last year I definitely had a few different opinions on maybe where the car should be or how I wanted it set up. I think we've definitely come a lot closer now. So I think that's also probably helped give the team some clear direction. We're both obviously pushing the same way. He's obviously signed next year. He's there again. So, see what obviously happens for me, but it's a good a good six months so fa and I've liked a lot working with him.

Q: (Luke Smith – The Athletic) Carlos, I have a question for you. You mentioned about the dominant Red Bull of Bahrain potentially returning. How indicative are these next four races on more normal tracks going to be in terms of how that gap at the front is closed up between you, McLaren and Red Bull?

CS: Yeah, I think we call them normal tracks, but they're not so normal anymore. We don't go to them as often as we used to, so it's very difficult to understand whether it will be a pattern or not, but I always have felt like the Red Bull tends to perform really well in the medium-high speed tracks, also rougher tarmacs like Bahrain or now Barcelona. So yeah, I think they're going to be the team to beat. But I think also McLaren is very strong in high-speed corners like here and now they are not weak anymore in low-speed corners. We need to see how that upgrade from Mercedes performs in Barcelona because they were, by fact they were the quickest in Canada. And then we need to see if Ferrari can find the form of Monaco and with a bit of an upgrade maybe be also good in high-speed tracks and tyre management. That's why I say the field is extremely compact and extremely unknown. So it's very difficult to judge until Friday, even FP3, who's going to be the quickest one, which is actually pretty exciting for everyone.

Q: (Adrian Rodríguez-Huber, Agencia EFE) Questions for both Carlos and Fernando. All the Spanish fans would obviously love to see you both on the podium, and both of you would like to be there. But I want to know, where do you think the other one of you is going to end up on Sunday?

FA: Then you can bet, if we get it right. I don't know. I hope Carlos has a chance for the win. And as he said, I think If we go back two races ago in Monaco, Ferrari was, you know, the quickest there. It’s very different than Monaco, but, you know, it could be a possibility. So, yeah, I wish, you know, to see him on the podium at least and hopefully a win.

CS: For Fernando, this year has been a bit more difficult, obviously, for some reason that obviously I don't understand. But yeah, hopefully a top five, I think even Aston's results lately, also Canada, I think they were a bit quicker. How was Barcelona last year?

FA: Seventh.

CS: Seventh. I don't know. I think top five for both would be ideal. I think I have a better chance of being on the podium, obviously. But let's see. I wish we have a successful weekend for both.

Q: (Taylor Powell – Motorsport Monday) Question to all five. This weekend is the first of three consecutive race weekends. In the past, that has flagged concerns about team personnel being put under strain. As drivers, what is your stance on three race weekends in a row? And would you like to have more input in future calendars?

VB: I think, you know, the triple header in Europe, for me, it's still feasible. It is, of course, a really hard load for some team personnel who are doing the longest hours in the team but it's nothing new. We've had doubles and triples for some time and I think the teams are more and more prepared to do that with some circulation in terms of some of the staff etc. So, from a driver's side, for me it's OK, it's not a problem. But I know that it's tough for some, but manageable if you do it right. But for that you need the team support to make sure that people stay healthy and not to work silly, silly hours.

FA: Yes, similar comments, but I think it's not too bad being in Europe, and I think the teams are now quite well prepared for these kind of challenges. Yeah, I think it was tough at the beginning of the year for me, much more than now. I think Japan, Australia, China separated with one week in between, it was even harder, I think, for team personnel.

Q: (Ronald Vording – Motorsport.com) Two questions to Carlos about the ‘26 car. Firstly, you've mentioned how tough the current cars are physically with the ride height and the stiffness of it. The FIA has mentioned that element for ‘26. So, how confident are you that it will improve then? And the second part is that multiple drivers, including Lennon Norris, have raised their concerns about the field getting more spread out again and that longer stability would be good for the entertainment of F1. What's your take on that?

CS: Regarding the first question, the FIA and the teams seem relatively, no, they seem very confident that the new regs will improve the ride and the ride heights situation that we're going through right now with this current generation and the lower back pain and physical implications that that has for our bodies. So I guess we just need to trust them in that sense, because it is a question that was raised and we were concerned about for the long term. And then the second question was… Sorry, I forgot. I think it's no secret that when you bring such a different power unit that we're bringing in ’26, plus such a different aero, tyres, weight, concept of car, I think it's natural that the field will spread again. At the same time, they seem to have really tightened up those regs to make sure no one does anything special. But we kind of said the same about ‘22 and look what happened. So they seem to be always tightening, tightening it up and see if it works. I don't know. From what I've seen, it just seems to me a bit exaggerated what we're trying to do in 26, everything,  regarding power unit, aero, we're trying to play around too much with things and manipulating downforce here and there. 50% hybrid and combustion, I don't know. It seems extreme, and I'm curious to see what they come up with. But if it has managed to attract Audi as a manufacturer, make Honda stay, it's also good for F1. So let's see.

Q: (Carlos Miguel – Diario Marca) Here in the Spanish Grand Prix, you stay in the hotel and the guy for the reception talks to you, says, ‘come on machina, vamos a ganar. Come on you, go to win’. Is it extra pressure for you? Or extra motivation and energy?

FA: Well, it is a motivation, I think. It's good and it's nice to see the excitement for the race and how much support we get from, as you said, from the airport when we land until Monday. So, yeah, I think it's just an extra motivation. You want to do well not only for yourself and for the team, but also for the people in the grandstands, for the people at home watching TV. You know, if you have to pick one race to have a mega result, you pick this one. But at the same time, you know, as you said, when they tell you, ‘go and win today,’ you know, in a way you feel a little bit sad that you cannot answer the truth, you know, or this is not a sport where…  This is not football that I will run more than the opponent or I will just, you know, do something extra because I want to please everyone on the grandstand. I'm doing always my 100% and the result is what it is. And it's difficult in Formula 1 to give that extra, that other sports, you know, maybe your home crowd can give it to you.

CS: Yeah, I personally love it. I think it just puts me in a better mood when I see people cheering me and giving me that positive energy. Just makes you smile more, makes you laugh more, gives you just higher motivation. As Fernando said, it's not like we have a magic button to press in the car to suddenly go faster. But it's still one of my best circuits. Where I've statistically scored better points is Barcelona. And maybe there's a reason why. Yeah, I hope it can give us a bit of an edge in that sense.

Q: (Cristóbal Rosaleny – Radio Marca) Fernando, Mike Krack recently said that the AMR24 is a quite hard to drive car, a quite tough car to drive. You always explain very well what happens behind the wheel. Could you please give us a bit of a detail of how you feel that toughness?

FA: No, of course not. If not, I will give all the information to everyone. So we keep it for ourselves. But yeah, these cars are, you know, when you put more and more downforce they became a little bit more critical in some situations. You need to get used to that or just, you know, mitigate a little bit with set-up changes or other things, better understanding of the upgrades that maybe you bring to one race and they need a little bit more time to really adapt that new aero performance to a different circuit or different set-ups. Then you hit maybe a weekend with a Sprint format. So then you have only FP1. There is no time. So you are always a little bit running behind the upgrades. When you start understanding and maximising that package, another new package is coming. So you reset things. So that's one of the difficulties that we faced last year already with the ‘23 car. We started to face this year on the ‘24. But I think, as I said, before Canada, since three weeks, or let's say after Imola, there is a very clear picture, black and white. So finally, I think we have a good plan ahead.

Q: Just one final one from me before we go. Carlos, I'm going to direct this one at you. The Apple Formula 1 film has a release date – 25th of June next year. You were very visible on the grid at Silverstone last year with the actors. I just wanted your thoughts on the release date and how excited you are to see the film?

CS: Yeah, I was visible because it was a coincidence that they were walking towards my car. It's nothing like I'm suddenly going to be starring in the film or anything like that, sorry to say, but yeah, I'm excited because they showed us a trailer of what they're trying to do and the technology that they're using. And it's spectacular what they are managing to do, and how they are managing to actually give the viewer a very interesting point of view of Formula 1. So, i'm excited. It's still a year so we have plenty of time to talk about it in the future but I cannot wait to see what they come up with.


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