FIA Full Press Conference (Brazil) – Including Kimi Raikkonen About Felipe Massa Retirement
Here is the FIA Press Conference from Brazil featuring questions and answers and including classic Kimi Raikkonen when asked about Felipe Massa’s retirement.
PART ONE: DRIVERS – Felipe Massa (Team – Williams), Lance Stroll (Team – Williams), Marcus Ericsson (Team – Sauber)
Question – Felipe, here we are again, and once again we know this is a swansong. Do you mean it this time?
Felipe Massa: “Yeah! Actually this is my second retirement race in Brazil, but this time it’s the last one for sure in Formula One, so definitely really looking forward to another amazing feeling to race at home and really enjoying the track that I grew up at here for my last time in a Formula One car. So, really looking forward and really hope that we can have a nice race and a nice result to finish it off.”
Question – What’s been the highlight of this bonus season for you in Formula One and how do you see the Williams team going forward from this point?
Felipe Massa: “Not amazing highlights to be honest. So the way we started the season it was not the same way we finished the season. Definitely the car was more competitive at the beginning than at the end, so development-wise it was not great, I would say, this year.”
“But I think I definitely enjoyed driving the car after all these rules were changed from last year to this year. I think it’s a lot of fun to drive these cars, a lot more downforce, I definitely enjoyed it a lot.”
“Unfortunately, I was a little bit unlucky in some races that I would have scored massive points but I couldn’t, not because of my fault but because of some issues we had in the car. I expect maybe a season that would have been a little bit more competitive than how we were. But I definitely enjoy, having fun by driving the car.”
“I’m happy that I’ve been able to take the best out of this car when I didn’t have any problem. So it was a season that I definitely enjoyed. It would be nice to remember this season, I mean the way you drive this car, for my career some years in front, nice to come back and remember this way you are driving this car.”
Question – And the second part of the question about where the Williams team goes forward from here?
Felipe Massa: “I think it’s definitely important to change a little bit some ideas for the car, but I think that’s the way Williams is doing for next year. So having a car that’s a little bit more different – the way they are developing the car, the way they are working the car – so I really hope they can achieve that from next year to the future.”
Question – Thank you very much, Felipe. Lance, in the points at four of the last six grands prix and now into the top 10 in the drivers’ standings. Some great runs, lots of great starts, but would it be fair to say that qualifying is where you are going to be putting the bulk of your effort in preparing for 2018?”
Lance Stroll: “Yeah, it’s been a good run. We’ve scored quite a few points in the last few races. I’m really happy about how that’s gone.”
“For sure, qualifying we still need to adjust a few things. It’s mainly been little mistakes here and there and not being able to capitalise on our full potential. But I think with time and experience and analysing bits and pieces we can improve in that and I believe that with the people I’m working with and the team that we can address some of those issues and definitely improve on them in the future.”
“But definitely when it comes to races and the points we’ve scored, I’m extremely proud of the job we’ve done and we’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing.”
Question – You will have a new team-mate next season. What profile are you looking for: someone young, someone experienced, or should the team take a gamble?
Lance Stroll: “It’s up to the team at the end of the day. My job is to drive my car. I mean I was hoping for Hamilton, but he’s not really available these days. I’m just kidding. It’s completely up to the team. Like I say, my job is to drive my car and they’ll take care of the rest.”
Question – Marcus, you’ve out-qualified your team-mate at the last three Grands Prix but you’ve yet to get that breakthrough point. It looked like it could be on in Mexico; you were in positions for many laps until the breakdown. This race worked out pretty well for Sauber last year so have you targeted this weekend for the result?
Marcus Ericsson: “Yeah, I mean we always go into a weekend aiming to try and score points. I think Mexico was a really good weekend for us and we’ve had quite a few good weekends now in a row.”
“Very unfortunate I think in Mexico with the Safety Car, it came out with absolutely the worst possible timing for us, before that we were running in the points for the whole first part of the race. It was a good feeling and it was a good opportunity for us but we were just unlucky with the safety car. But then we had the breakdown as well. Hopefully here it’s new opportunity that we can take advantage of.”
“This track should not be worse for us than the last two. We’re looking forward to it. We still need to obviously maximise what we have.”
“It’s still a handicap with the old power unit so it’s going to make it more difficult. But as we’ve shown on the last two weekends, if we get everything right on the car side we can still take the fight to some of the midfield cars, so that’s what we need to do again this weekend and then we see here in Brazil everything can happen with the weather.”
“Usually the races here are very eventful and that’s why we need to take the opportunity.”
Question – Well, you mentioned the weather. It looks like we could have some rain again this weekend. One of the talking points is that the organisers have cut some more groves into the surface. So tell us about this place in the wet and what those grooves might do?
Marcus Ericsson: “I think it’s a fun track to drive in the wet. Obviously we saw last year that it does get a lot of standing water, so that’s the only problem really.”
“So if that’s helped a bit this year I think it will improve. Like I said, it’s a fun track to drive both in the dry and the wet. I wouldn’t mind a bit of mixed conditions during the weekend, I think that would spice things up.”
PART TWO: DRIVERS – Kimi Raikkonen (Team – Ferrari), Esteban Ocon (Team – Force India), Brendon Hartley (Team – Toro Rosso)
Question- Brendon, congratulations, World Endurance Champion, once again, for the second time with Porsche. How did it feel jumping back into a WEC car after the Formula One, and how are you rationalising this very unusual life experience that you’re going through at the moment.
Brendon Hartley: “Yeah, it was actually surprisingly tricky to jump back into the car. I thought I was going to feel right at home – it’s been my home for the last four years – but it took a couple of laps for it to feel comfortable again.”
“The seating position’s quite different from Formula One, having a roof over your head, different perspective – but yeah, after five laps I felt back at home.”
“In terms of rationalising things, I guess I’ve tried to not overthink it and I’ve just… yeah… even winning the championship hasn’t really sunk in. I haven’t really had time to reflect. It probably helps that I’m just going from one weekend to the next.”
“I think this is my sixth race in a row. It won’t be until I get home at the end of the year after all the racing’s over that I’ll be able to reflect and fully understand what’s just happened to me.”
“I’m well aware that making my Grand Prix debut and Le Mans victory and World Endurance Championship… I mean they’re all amazing things but at the moment I’m just trying to take one step at a time and try to stay focussed and catch up on as much sleep as I can.”
Question – It sounds like you’re set for a full season of Formula One next year, although obviously not official yet, but now you know a bit more about it, will your experience of working with a major motor manufacture like Porsche, do you think it will help Honda developing with Toro Rosso, taking that whole relationship forward?
Brendon Hartley: “I don’t know.”
“What I do know is, from working with Porsche the last years, it made my transition quite smooth to Formula One because it’s a similar amount of people involved; very similar structure in terms of engineering; pressure – I mean driving at Le Mans for Porsche, there’s a big amount of pressure on your shoulders, so I guess all of those things I’ve learnt to deal with, so that was obviously very helpful going to Austin.”
“Obviously there were a lot of other things to learn in Formula One and I’m well-aware that there’s still a lot to learn but yeah, I think the good thing for me is that I’ve been involved in the past also with other Formula One teams and development and the project at Porsche, I was very heavily involved in the development on every level, so at least I have some experience from that point of view, yeah.”
Question – Esteban, Force India confirmed fourth in the constructors’ championship, it’s your first full season but you’ve obviously played a key part in that. What does it mean for you, given the quality of the opposition you’ve faced this year?
Esteban Ocon: “It’s been a great season for us. Of course securing the fourth place, it’s an amazing achievement with two races to go.”
“Thanks to the team, I would like to thank everyone. I can’t thank everyone in here but a few key people: Andy Stevenson, Andrew Green, Tom McCullough, Otmar, I would like to thank everyone there for the great season we’ve had. Hopefully we can finish the last two races very well like we did before and start the next one as high.”
Question – Some interesting numbers about you: you’ve out-qualified Pérez at the last four races in a row; you’re the only non-Mercedes driver to start in the top six for the past four races, and you’ve led Pérez for 137 of the last 138 racing laps. So, is that in line with your expectations of yourself at this stage of the season, and how do you move forward from here in 2018?
Esteban Ocon: “Yeah, I’m here to push. I’m here to challenge Sergio for sure, it’s been a very close season with him, fighting with really little margin, that’s what we have been doing so far this season – but arriving a second time on the tracks where I’ve driven before, with the Manor, helps me a lot with my experience, and also finishing all the races has helped me and I feel much more comfortable now than I’ve been feeling at the beginning of the season, so it’s great.”
Question – Kimi, ten years on – we all remember it very, very well from that dramatic day when you won the World Championship here in Brazil, probably the widest smile you’ve had as a sportsman at least. Can you share some special memories of that day?
Kimi Raikkonen: “It’s a long time ago. Obviously it was a great day but it wasn’t just about the day, it was the whole year. Obviously it ended on that day but there were some great moments, some not very nice moments but in the end it worked out OK and I was very happy with it but – I don’t know – I haven’t really thought about it too much; obviously after that, yes, but not for a while because it doesn’t really change my life today, thinking about it.”
“I don’t really try and make a big story out of it.”
Question – This year, you’ve had a very good car and kept developing it very effectively so where does it go from here for Ferrari? You’ve talked a lot this season about a few fine details here and there which have been the things that have stopped you but tell us a bit about that, where the team goes forward next year and what your personal ambition is in 2018?
Kimi Raikkonen: “Obviously I want to be fighting at the front every weekend, to be able to fight for the championship next year.”
“I think we started pretty badly – we were not really where we should have been – a personal feeling on my side – we’re not really happy where the setup was and it took quite a long time to figure it out and then since then it’s been better but then we had too many DNFs for many different reasons but I think, as a team, we’ve come a long way from year to year and also from last year, made a good step, obviously not enough for what we want but as Ferrari we want to win both championships.”
“But I think we had all the tools this year, we just need to tidy up things and not make mistakes nor have issues on any side, not from our side as drivers or from the team side.”
“These are just small things which in the end played a big part this year, who won the championship and which way it went but I think we have all the people, we have the tools and we have a great car.”
“There are still two races to go and even though the championships are done we try to do the same work we always do and try to win races and then, obviously, we start from zero next year so hopefully we will be up there.”
BONUS Question: (Gustavo Faldon – ESPN Brasil) Kimi, Felipe Massa is retiring; you were his teammate for quite a while. What can you say about him? How was your relationship and do you feel like he helped you win your title ten years ago?
Kimi Raikkonen: “He’s retiring again, so let’s see if it actually happens or we will see him in the first race next year.”
“I always had a good relationship with him, great atmosphere when we were at Ferrari together. We won two championships for the team as teammates and I think it was a great time.”
“Obviously it was very fast, very good but I wish him all the best if he ends up (not) racing in F1 anymore. We will see what comes in his life in the future.”