Thursday press conference - German GP - Pt.2
Thursday FIA press conference from Hockenheim with Nico Hulkenberg, Mark Webber, Timo Glock, Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher.
Drivers: Nico Hulkenberg (Force India), Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing), Timo Glock (Marussia), Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing), Michael Schumacher (Mercedes).
Questions from the floor
Q: (Frederic Ferret - L'Equipe).
Question to all the German drivers - have you ever been to Hockenheim camping, and what are your memories there?
I haven't been camping myself but two years ago, last time we've been here, we've been to the campsite to visit the fans, so yeah, there have been plenty of fans and obviously the atmosphere was very special. I don't know if you have been there already but if you haven't then you should go - I think you will get a beer for sure. So, yeah, it's a good atmosphere, a good vibe, so I think the people come here and enjoy the whole weekend. Hopefully the weather is not like Silverstone this week, otherwise it will be quite poor for them.
Q: (Kate Walker - Girl Racer).
I have a question for all of you please, a driver's career is full of highs and lows; I was wondering if you could tell me how you keep your motivation, how you keep your focus in the low periods, so that you can get back up to the highs?
It's really normal in sport, y'know? Sport is all about highs and lows and the lows that are the difficult ones. I for myself have learned to push through them and come back stronger, and that's motivation alone: you want to come back on the other side even better than before and do a very great job.
Adversity comes with the territory. If you have a very low ambition and set your goals very conservative then it might be a bit more stable but when you want to achieve great things or special things, there's going to be some adversity along the way and getting back up from the canvas is part of the rules and sometimes our failure is part of success: we need to have that [failure] to be successful.
In our sport we are privileged to drive these cars and for us it is a big excitement to be involved in this sport and it's natural that you want to do the best that you can do. 'It doesn't matter what happened yesterday' is something that you learn very quickly. It only matters what you do at the moment and you might do in future. That's what it's all about. I guess it's a school that you go through in the early days in karting and that's what you grow up with. Partly it's a character that you have or build up, so to all of us I guess it's very natural.
I think in generally we had that question yesterday from a fan as well. For me it's quite easy. Every day is a new possibility and it's very easy for me to motivate myself. We are in the greatest championship in motorsport and there is no reason to not be motivated.
Q: (Simon Cass - Daily Mail).
To anyone who wants to answer this: it's Lewis's 100th Grand Prix this weekend. I'm just wondering what you've made of Lewis's time in the sport up to now, what impact he's had, how you rate him as a competitor and just generally whether he has made the best of the advantages that he's had up to now?
I think a happy 100th, then, and you'd better ask him whether he feels he has done the best or not. You'd better ask him whether he feels he has done the best.
He's certainly been a contender in the championships for many years, so he's one of the stars that we have around. We are, for the fans, so-called gladiators and that's what the fans want to see: to give it all and maybe sometimes exceed limits and to establish yourself. He's been through that in good ways so I think for all of us he's a very serious competitor and it's good to have people like him.
Q: (Elmar Dreher - DPA).
Nurburgring is suffering a lot of economical problems; your comment on that, and what does racing at Nurburgring mean to you, especially as we might not see it there any longer?
I think generally it would be a shame to lose the race. I hope it's not going to happen. For me, it was great, every time, to race at the Nurburgring and I hope we stay there for a bit longer. I have great memories there, so I hope they can sort out the problems.
Yes, equally there is a lot of history relates to the Nurburgring track and race for all of us German drivers. We just wish the situation well and hope that solutions will be found and we will be back there as soon as we can.
I think it would be a real shame to lose Nurburgring as a race. Obviously we hope that the Nurburgring recovers quickly, it's one of the most traditional races we have on the calendar so it would be a big loss, similar, for the Italians, to if we lost Monza for instance.
You could buy it.
Yeah, you could. Your wallet is bigger than mine, so you could buy it.
Yeah, it's a sensational little track and obviously you have the big circuit out the back. I think the Nordschleife is a track which has to stay in the same configuration and stay open for ever. It's such an amazing... one of the most famous bits of tarmac around the world. It's just a beautiful, beautiful circuit, the long track. Obviously the short track is also pretty good but let's hope it continues on the calendar. It's a great little venue.
Q: (Matt Coch - pitpass.com).
Mark, at Silverstone you were saying that you'd sort out your contract later on, then two or three days later it was signed. What happened, what changed, why was it so fast?
Well, because I'm not going to tell you guys I'm going to do it in two days, am I? Obviously we get ready to announce things when we're ready, and there comes a date when 'let's announce it', OK, done. For me to keep the situation calm, the tactic worked OK. We have to deal with this stuff in lots of different situations, on many different aspects of our stuff out of the car, and this was just one of them in contractual sense. Pretty straightforward really: stay at Red Bull, move on.
Q: (Heikki Kulta - Turun Sanomat).
Sebastian, you have 104 points less compared to last year after nine races. How much different is your feeling?
104! No, it's different, of course. Obviously we had an incredible year last year, good start, a lot of points, a lot of wins. This year we've had two DNFs and all in all, I think it has been a tricky season. Obviously a lot of guys and a lot of cars that are very competitive, so naturally I think it's a different season so far but feeling-wise, I feel as happy as last year really, so looking forward to this weekend, but I think we have a long season ahead of us.
Q: (Sonya Kreye- Speed News).
Sebastian and Michael, you took part in the charity football match yesterday. I wanted to know how important it is for you to support kids and maybe also the youth in general?
Obviously we do this many times a year, not just the only time here in Germany together with the Nazionale Piloti team, with a couple of drivers which is always nice. For us, in a way, just to play some football but obviously if we can help, in that case, yesterday evening, help little kids. It's always nice to combine those two things, so we obviously try to raise as much money as possible, to give them a big push. As I said, it's something we do many times throughout the season, a couple of times, and the more drivers who participate the better it is as well. It would be even better if we had more drivers on board, but so far I think it's very important to have... Nico is playing sometimes, Michael is playing... to have a couple of good drivers playing as well.
It's a beautiful combination. We love the sport, we love soccer and to do something that you enjoy doing at the same time we were able to give a little bit of entertainment to the fans, quite a few thousand people wanting to see us and they pay for all these charity functions that we do in many parts of the world, particularly yesterday here in Germany it's certainly been nice for us, to do this at home and see quite a few friends that you have made throughout the years, in different areas, whether it's from the movie business or in other sports. It's good to hook up again and see them and have a little bit of social contact again but the most important thing is to help kids and people in need.
Q: (Livio Oricchio - O Estado de Sao Paulo).
Michael you drove on the old circuit here in Hockenheim; can you make a comparison between the old circuit and the new one from the driver's point of view, car point of view, the challenge?
The old track was obviously mainly about straights and braking, some riding kerbs at the chicanes. It had been a challenge in a certain way but now we have a more normal race track. Do I prefer one or the other? Both were interesting. The main focus and the most enjoyable part for us was when we had the new stadium area, entering the Mercedes Motodrom, seeing all our supporters, that, by the way, is sold out completely. That is obviously beautiful.
Q: (Livio Oricchio - O Estado de Sao Paulo).
Mark, is there any clause in your contract that if you become World Champion it will change the terms of the contract?
It's not really the forum to talk about what's inside my contract.
Q: (Udo Doering - Darmstaedter Echo).
How stressful or demanding is a Friday for a Formula One driver, and has this unusual season changed anything in your work on Friday?
Friday is one of the most demanding days. It starts quite early with engineering meetings and then you have all the testing all day long, so there's a lot of preparing technically for the weekend, for Saturday and Sunday. That's the most important period of the weekend. What else? That's it really, a lot of technical stuff.
It is certainly the most busy time that we have in the weekend. We come in early and we leave the latest of all the weekend and there's a lot of driving, but there's a lot of analysing and a lot of discussions with the engineers because that's your main focus, the way you prepare the weekend. In between you may have some functions as well, so it's the most heavy duty that we have to perform.
Q: (Gary Meenhagan - The National).
Michael touched on the stadium section of the track; I was wondering if you could talk about how it feels to come into that section with the fans around there?
I think it's one of the best sections we have in the whole calendar, because it's packed full of people. In the past, you were somewhere racing in the woods all by yourself and then you came back to the paddock area, to the Motodrom where the people were. I think it's still incredible today: to turn right and then all of a sudden drive into a kind of stadium makes it very special for us. Hopefully we will see a lot of German flags this weekend and have a great atmosphere.
I had one of my most memorable experiences in the stadium, because it was my father's last race in DTM and I sat on the roof of one of the DTM cars with him to wave goodbye to all the fans and everything, and it was absolutely ram-packed full house and the atmosphere and everything was incredible, and that was one of the days when I decided wow, OK, I want to do this one day.
Q: (Matt Coch - pitpass.com).
There's lots of history at this circuit; I was wondering if any of you guys has been out to the Jim Clark Memorial at what was the old turn two/three/four?
Yeah, I went out to the memorial when I raced in F3000 in 2000. Yeah, he was obviously an amazing driver with amazing respect for all the people who watched him race. I went out to pay my respects. It was amazing in those days. Obviously they raced different categories, not just in Formula One, they did other categories in between the main championship if you like. It was a sad way for him to go, but obviously a lot of great men lost their lives in those days. It was an amazing circuit out the back there too, obviously very high speed, very risky for all of us. Yeah, I've been out there to check it out.
Q: (Vanessa Ruiz - ESPN Radio).
A non-track related subject, but I hope that at least one of you will want to talk about it: sometimes there seems to be a lot of public interest in your personal lives. How much does that concern you and do you have second thoughts before going out at night, do you think of ways of not attracting the photographers' attention or something like that?
It's part of the job, you know, so you get used to it and it's OK. Sometimes it can be nice, sometimes not so nice. I was at Goodwood recently and I put on my hoody and sunglasses and walked around the whole festival, just by myself, to experience it and not to be recognised and that was very nice also, for a change. So it depends.
I think you learn to deal with the situation. In the end I also think it's up to us, as Nico just described, to do normal things, to lead normal lives. I think in the end it's not that much of a problem. I think it depends largely on who you are, how you act. If you go out, if you go somewhere, then there might be people that recognise you. OK, then you sign something, you do a picture, you talk to them. It's also nice and gives you a lot of energy, but as I said, I think it's very personal and individual how you handle the situation. Ask Lewis. Everyone has different interests, I guess.
Indeed, you would chose places to go or not to go, depending on your wishes. Myself, I'm obviously more focused on living a quiet and private life, so would rather avoid lots of people. If you go to places where it's full house, you know what to expect. If you go there for a function, it's one thing. If you go there for a private event then that is very often difficult and very often I simply inform myself and chose places where to go and try to have a calm and quiet moment, because we all love our privacy, we all want to enjoy life to the point that we can, but we then have to accept that it's not always the perfect combination but what kind of life is perfect? It doesn't exist, but it's probably as perfect as it can be for me.