FIA Press Conference: Singapore
It’s the night race, the one we all love and the track which is considered to be one of the most challenging circuits on the Formula 1 Calendar – the Singapore Grand Prix.
In this post, you can see the FIA Press Conference: Singapore which took place earlier today – featuring 6 different drivers which have been split into Part 1 and Part 2.
PART ONE – FIA Press Conference: Singapore
Drivers: Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Jolyon Palmer
Question – Fernando, these 2017 Formula One cars were intended to be more physical. Everyone seems to have coped fine so far but is this the race that the drivers are expecting to be really tough?
Fernando Alonso: “Probably, yes. I think this one and the next one is Malaysia, will be the two races that will be more demanding physically, but as you said, I think there was more news in the winter than what actually we got when we went into the cars so I think it will be OK and no big problems for anyone.”
Question – And what news of you? Are you happy with the direction things are going with the McLaren? What have you been telling the team this past month or so?
Fernando Alonso: “Not much.”
Question – Any idea when we will have some news from you?
Fernando Alonso: “As I said, I will think what is the best option and as I have said many times, whatever I do next year, it is because I want to win. I will not be around in any series to be fighting for the top 10 or top 15, nothing like that.”
“There are many options out there that I am studying and that I am looking at. As I said, Formula 1 is my only priority and I will wait and make a decision on that before making decisions on other series.”
“At the same time, I want to give time to my team after the last three years, with struggles we went through together, to have time for them to make decisions and to see the future, next year’s car and not make any decisions without them making their decision first. So, I am relaxed and happy – we’ll see what’s going on in the next few weeks.”
Question – Thanks. Lewis – World Championship leader at the moment and also like Fernando, a two-time Singapore Grand Prix winner. You’ve had four years without this guy in your face at Grand Prix Races, battling you for wins. Is it too strong to say that you have missed those battles and you do believe that he might be battling with you again next year?
Lewis Hamilton: “I hope that he has got a car to fight with us next year, I think that only adds to the spectacle and the challenge. We want to see the best drivers and the best teams up there and it’s been a shame not to have McLaren where they have historically have been.”
“I do hope that whether it’s with McLaren or wherever Fernando happens to be next year, that he has the chance to be up there, fighting with us.”
Question – Obviously a massive weekend for you in Spa and Monza and particularly that win in Monza – with an all-time record on poles. Speaking of poles, it’s pretty critical here. I think it’s seven of the last eight Singapore Grand Prix races that have been won by the pole sitter and the only exception is you, when you broke down that time in your last race here with McLaren, so would it be too strong to say that your focus this weekend is on that single lap and perfect execution on Saturday?
Lewis Hamilton: “I’ve not really put any thought into it yet. The work goes into it today. I think qualifying, of course, helps and if that’s the case, you can’t really overtake here plus the cars are wider too.”
“Positioning is going to be very important so getting the car set-up right so you can execute in qualifying I guess is one of the key matters.”
Question – There is the feeling that you might be up against a bit more here compared to spa and Monza from the Ferrari side and possibly Red Bull as well…?
Lewis Hamilton : “I think that Red Bull will be fast this weekend and it’s knowing that it’s not going to be the easiest of weekend potentially but man, I’m coming into this with positivity and with the plan of winning this race.”
“This is still regardless of if that is the case with others potentially having a little bit more downforce – whatever it is, we have worked hard and we can understand the car and come here with full attack.”
Question – Thank you for that. Jolyon, there has been a fair bit going on behind the scenes in Formula One in the last few weeks, particularly with Renault and the teams it’s going to supply in the future – what does that all mean for you?
Jolyon Palmer: “Well firstly, I’m just focusing on the job I’m doing so I try to not pay any attention to that sort of thing. For me, I have seven races this year to try and do the best I can.”
‘Obviously, it has been a bit of a tough year – the last two races were much better and even if they didn’t show in the end, the performance has been there or thereabouts so hopefully the car will be better on these tracks and we can finally get some points.”
Question – Your role is pretty critical now in that very tight midfield Constructors’ battle. You’ve had, I think, five retirements and four times this year, you have been the first car to retire in a Grand Prix. Has it stopped you from showing what you can do in Formula One?
Jolyon Palmer: “Yes, because clearly, when the car is not working – you can’t drive it and you can’t try to score some points.”
“I think there have been a few places, Silverstone for example, I didn’t even start the race and that was quite a strong race for us. Baku, I think 11 cars finished and I think a Sauber got the points and we broke down again after five or six laps. Definitely – it’s not been ideal and to have that level of reliability problems and also in practice sessions – to lose so much puts you on the back foot all weekend.”
“Every time something happens, we are finding out why, learning from it and we keep getting different problems but hopefully we can put a stop to that now and we’re going to have a good car, good reliability and good performance so I can finally show what I can do and score some points.”
PART TWO – FIA Press Conference: Singapore
Drivers: Lance Stroll, Daniel Ricciardo and Kevin Magnussen
Question – Kevin, a good record here with points on your previous two visits. You and Romain both looked good in Monaco as well so is there some optimism at Haas this weekend, especially given the tight midfield points battle that you’re in?
Kevin Magnussen: “Yeah, I’m quite positive about the weekend but to compare with…. Monaco was quite OK for us but a lot of things have changed since then.”
“Other teams have been developing so have we and it’s going to be difficult to say that we’re going to be as competitive as them but we’ll see – I’m positive.”
Question – We talked in part one of the press conference about the importance of qualifying here in Singapore. Amazingly, you’re the only non-Sauber driver yet to reach Q3 – without engine penalties I mean, presumably that’s a massive priority for you this weekend?
Kevin Magnussen: “Yeah it is. We’ve had the pace a couple of times but just had some issues with the car and reliability problems that meant the times that we thought were actually strong enough to do it – we didn’t.”
“It’s not something I think about too much, it’s more the points that count for me and it’s something that I would like to happen – I’ll let it happen when it does.”
Question – Daniel, coming to you. New, go-faster haircut is it?
Daniel Ricciardo: “It’s pretty aerodynamic. I won’t take the top-off, it’s a bird’s nest up there.”
Question – Front row of the grid the last two years here at Singapore, last three years on the podium, does the car you have this year allow you to dream of more than that?
Daniel Ricciardo: “I think so, I believe so. We’ve certainly gotten stronger and stronger and I think the high downforce circuits we’ve been pretty good at but we’re now getting better.”
“I think, also, looking at the last race – on the low downforce circuit we had really good pace on the Sunday which was a little surprise to us. With that, coming here – with a few updates as week, we should be there.”
“It doesn’t seem like these sort of circuits, this year, are a strength of Mercedes either so I think it could bring Ferrari and us into that battle – I hope at least, it’s going to be a tight and exciting race.”
Question – Looking ahead to 2018 and the question of progress – what progress will satisfy you next year?
Daniel Ricciardo: “You know, we want to win. We want to win more and more. We’ve fortunately got one this year and I believe that we can win another and then obviously next year, start accumulating more and obviously fight for a title.”
“That’s what we really want, yeah – we’re going in that direction and progress has been good so I think we’ve got to keep that going to Abu Dhabi and then making a strong step across winter for a strong start in 2018.”
Question – Lance, you’re the youngest ever front row starter in Monza last time out and a solid run to seventh from there, how did you enjoy life in the fast lane and was seventh the maximum?
( How was dropping from 2nd to 7th a solid run?)
Lance Stroll: “I enjoyed the weekend and it was a really solid weekend, Saturday, Sunday – especially Saturday. That was really the highlight of the weekend if you ask me.”
“In the wet, it was a good opportunity and we really pulled it out of the bag and that was great. I enjoyed that. I don’t think that seventh was the maximum – I think fifth was possible with the pace we had.”
“I got squeezed at the start by Lewis and I had to back out. I was then boxed in by Esteban who managed to get around the outside of me so that wasn’t perfect. The pit stop I think took 4.4 seconds so mathematically, we were supposed to get in front of Esteban or at least have a shot, but that didn’t happen and on top of it we lost a position to Kimi so it wasn’t a perfect race.”
“We were pretty compromised by being stuck behind Esteban throughout the race, that is racing and you do face adversity so it was still a great result and if could continue scoring solid points like that we will be really happy as a team.”
Question – On some tracks this year, you’ve been right there from the get-go. Is that just a question of feeling or is it something more technical that that and from what you know of Singapore – do you think this is likely to be another one?
Lance Stroll: “It’s a bit of both. It’s a combination of driving, feeling and the car as well. I don’t know here in Singapore – it’s a bit different everywhere.”
“Generally, yeah – I quite enjoy the street circuits – Monaco, Baku, it’s all fun and when there’s a consequence when you make mistakes, I think it makes it a lot more exciting.”
“Obviously, it’s frustrating when you do hit the wall and stuff and I’m not saying that but I do like the buzz of being close to the walls and the whole rhythm you have to get into on a street circuit.”
“I know that this is not our kind of track and we’ve seen over this season that low downforce, long straights and slower corners – that’s really been our strength and with the higher downforce, we’ve struggled.”
“I’m positive that with the whole team and everyone, we’ve thought of solutions to improve for this weekend and we’ve just got to see what happens.”
More photos from the press conference.
Photos – Kym Illman F1