(Conducted by Glenda Kozlowski, TV Globo)
Sebastian Vettel, you just broke two records.,.
Sebastian VETTEL: No, please start with him. Start with Mark.
Q: OK! Mark Webber, that’s your last race in Formula One, today is a very emotional day for you. You have over 200 races in your career.
Mark WEBBER: Yeah, it was a very good finish to my career, a good fight with all the guys I’ve enjoyed fighting with for most of my career: Seb, Fernando, Lewis, Nico, all the guys who have been in the window for the last five or six years. I want to thank the team, I enjoyed the last few laps. It was a very nice way to finish. I want to thank everyone in Australia. I wouldn’t be here where I am without the support in the early days. It’s been a thoroughly enjoyable career. A great journey, one of which I’m proud of, and there’s been so many people who have played a special role in my career. They know who they all are – thank you very much if you are watching and…yeah… enjoy watching Formula One next year with these guys, but off to Porsche and looking forward to it.
Q: Sebastian, so, you just made [equalled] two records, the most consecutive wins – nine – and the highest number of wins in a single season: 13. So, what do you feel?
Sebastian VETTEL: Well, I’m actually quite sad that this season comes to an end. I think the last couple of races, really since the summer break, to win every race is unbelievable. The car has been phenomenal. Just kept getting better. I think today was a very interesting race. I had a poor start but then I was able to come back straight away in the first lap, build a gap which was nice to control then. But in the pitstop, obviously, I was waiting for my tyres again. I think it was a bit of a confusion going on because we had both cars coming in at the same time. Fortunately I got all the tyres in time ready to go. Mark was behind and then, yeah, the last laps, very difficult with the rain because you could see the fog is coming, [then] it’s leaving, so it was very difficult to judge but yeah, for sure, extremely proud. Big, big thank you to the team, big thanks to Renault. I think there’s a couple of guys that stand out. First of all Mark, obviously it’s his last race, we’ve been team-mates for a very, very long time. After all we didn’t have the best relationship but I think we always had tremendous respect for each other. And together I think we’ve been very, very successful for the team. And then there’s one other guy, he’s working on my car. His name is Tom Batch and unfortunately he’s leaving so farewell Tom, all the best for the future, and who knows, maybe we’ll meet each other again in the future.
Q: Fernando, since Singapore this was your first podium. Now the season is over and today was a tough race because like he said, the rain came and gone, came and gone. A light rain all the time. So how was it there?
Fernando ALONSO: Well it was a difficult race for everyone, unfortunately the rain didn’t come: I think we were more competitive in wet conditions but again, it seems as if it’s going to rain in any moment but it didn’t, so it was a shame for us but at least we’re in the podium, so ending the season on a high and hopefully for next year we start with a completely new direction and a positive trend. I’m looking forward.
Q: I know you’re missing Felipe Massa. Today was his last race with Ferrari.
FA: It was a shame, sad that he had this drive-through because I think the podium was very close for Felipe today. When I saw him fourth I said this would be a very good celebration for him. Sad for this race but happy for the last four years: he has been an amazing team-mate – inside the circuit with very competitive skills and also like a person. We build a friendly relationship in the last four years, a lot of time together. We’ll see him in the paddock next year with different colours but always he will remain a very good man.
Q: Sebastian, lots of things really to talk to you about but just tell us about the race – give us some idea. Bit of a voyage into the unknown for all three of you in terms of tyres as well but also the start, the pitstop…
SV: Yeah, obviously we didn’t have any dry running, which was quite exciting when we started: bit of an adventure to find braking points, etcetera. Start was obviously quite bad for me. I had lots of wheel-slip and didn’t get the initial launch off the line as good as I was hoping for. Nico passed me straight away, Fernando was closing in. I was lucky that as soon as I got on the KERS I could recover a little bit and then it’s not a long way to Turn One – which helped today. So, lost the position, saved some KERS for the end of the lap. Was hoping to get him back up the hill which worked well, so I managed to get back in the lead straight away and was basically benefitting I think from Nico probably a little bit slower than the cars behind – Fernando and Mark – so I could open a gap and control that for more or less the rest of the race – until we came in for the second stop, which was a last minute call. I think we were afraid of a safety car at that stage. I came in, hoping everybody was ready. I think I had three wheels on the car but I was waiting for the front right. For some reason, last year and this year, it seemed to be the front right that… yeah, they let me wait for a little bit. I saw that obviously Mark was queuing behind me and I wanted to go and there was a bit of chaos in the pitlane but it was obviously fine to get the right tyres in the end, get out again and I still had a bit of a gap. We obviously lost to Fernando at that stage, both of us, but was still able to have a little bit of a gap and control that until the end which was very helpful to get through traffic and with the rain coming in and going – you could really see it from the car. The fog was coming and the rain clouds. You didn’t know how strong the rain was and, yeah, in the end it was fine all the time to stay on dries but a little harder rain and it could have been a different story so, yeah, lucky to get away with that.
Mark, a great end to your Formula One career. I hope you’re happy with it as well. How did it go?
MW: Yeah, I was happy with today. Tricky grand prix for all of us as you say, straight into dry conditions for a Sunday afternoon race. Maybe it’s what Bernie should do! He should just have Sunday afternoons mate, just turn up for Sundays and just race from there because it was a pretty good start to the grand prix, I think, all of us getting into the groove with no dry running: challenging for the teams and the drivers. So we all got there in the end. Both Seb and I had tough starts, I was happy to lose only to Lewis actually. I had a good little scrap in the first lap: Fernando and Lewis were having a good battle and then we settled into it. It looked like the Mercedes were struggling to hold the tempo of Fernando, myself and Seb, so we had to clear the Mercs as best we could. And then it was coming up to Fernando, so, managed to pass Fernando as well. There was some really nice moves and some good racing and I think for the team to get a one-two today with obviously not their cleanest day in the pitlane – which we can let them off every now and again, because they’ve had a superb season in the pitlane – so we gave the red guys a sniff but we managed to respond each time. Very proud to have raced with these guys at the end. I mean I raced pretty much all four or five of them at some stage in the race today – apart from Seb, obviously who was a little bit down the road – but the pace… it was a good battle for all of us. It’s been a real pleasure for me to finish today’s race like this. Yeah, and also to finish on the podium with arguable the two best guys of the generation we’re in at the moment. I hold them in very high esteem. I’m happy with the finish and I’m happy to go and do something different now. It was a special day for myself, all the people that helped me get here. Australia. And the team, of course, had a nice car to finish. Renault as well, a 1-2 for them, last time with the V8s. Lots of things which are special, so thank you very much.
Fernando, obviously a good result for you. As Glenda said on the podium, first time on the podium since the Singapore Grand Prix. Nice to go out with a podium?
FA: Yeah, definitely. I think to finish the season on a high is always better. We missed this podium finish from many races and today we had a chance. Obviously maybe with rain conditions, a wet race, maybe we had a little more performance than on the dry but at the end to finish behind the two Red Bulls today is the maximum we could achieve and I’m happy for that. The last race for Mark as you touched on now. We will miss him, that’s for sure. A great driver and a great person. Last race also for Felipe in Ferrari, which we wanted to help in whatever way to try to celebrate a podium finish with Felipe or something but he get a drive-through unfortunately. But, y’know, mixed emotions today but happy to finish 2013 which has been an amazing year in terms of fighting and the number of points we achieve, I think. We didn’t win the championship, which is the goal every year and for next year we reset again, start from zero and new motivations.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo) Mark, what will you miss most and what won’t you miss most?
MW: What will I miss most about Formula One? I think there are some special circuits which we race on: obviously Suzuka, Spa, Monte Carlo, Silverstone, even here to a degree. There are some really nice circuits which, when you have the car in the window, particularly in qualifying, there’s not much that can please a driver more than having the car on the edge and having yourself on the edge in the ultimate machine and that is something which I will miss. But you also have to respect that you want to make sure that you’re getting the best out of yourself in that scenario. If you think you’re a little bit off, then it’s not as rewarding as it once was. I will miss those scenarios. I will miss, I think, also the perfection that goes on in this game, especially with a team like Red Bull, the amount of work that goes in, the details. It’s quite inspiring to watch the relentless approach with the work, that’s something which I’ve learned a lot and I will take it to future challenges around the corner. What I won’t miss: looking to pull the travel back down a little bit, spending a bit more time with my people that helped me to get to where I am. I’m not young but I’m not old, I’m in the window, it’s a good time for me to get that balance, a little bit less intensity in the private life and also in the professional life. It doesn’t mean that I’m not going to be pushing hard with Porsche, obviously. I will be pushing very hard with those guys but in this game, you need to be on it all the time and I’m finding that more and more difficult. It’s a chance for me to finish strongly, which I’ve done. That’s some of the things I’ll miss. I think I answered that right.
Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) Mark, what is your schedule now, are you going to take some holiday, just like retire or are you working for Porsche as soon as possible?
MW: No, I’m going to have a few weeks out, for sure, doing nothing. I love putting the fire on at home, chopping some wood, putting the fire on and maybe a bit of red wine and chill out with some chocolate. Also my Tasmania Challenge is on which I can’t get to this year, it’s just too busy to get to my charity event, so I hope that goes well for everyone taking part. It starts on Wednesday but I just can’t get to Tasmania from here, it’s just been a relentless year and quite difficult so I’m looking forward to just having a bit of a break. For sure there is some Porsche stuff in the background. Obviously there is a chance I can do some stuff with them before the year is out, which Red Bull have been very good with and then it will be a steady loading into January as it will be for all of us.
Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action Australia and National Speedsport News) Mark, tell us about taking your helmet off on that last ever lap and savouring it? Your eyes seem to be tearing a bit; maybe that was just the wind in your eyes.
MW: Yeah, it was the wind, Dan, I was tearing at that time. Look, it’s not easy to get the HANS device system away from the helmet so I spent half a lap trying to get the left hand side off, so I finally got it there but the cars are bloody noisy with no helmet on, I know that much, so it was really noisy, all the vibrations and you can hear lots of things that you don’t want to be hearing with the helmet on, that’s for sure. It was good to get it off, obviously the marshals, the fans, to see… in this sport, it’s not always easy to show the person that’s behind the wheel. We can in lots of other sports but in Formula One we’ve always got the helmet on so it was nice to drive back with the helmet off. Only time you’re seen with the helmet off is on the podium if we have a good day which we did both, so nice to get it off. In the last sector, I got it a little bit jammed, so I think the marshals were a little bit worried that I couldn’t turn left but in the end, no it was fine, it was a nice moment to come back, a little bit of a different touch to bring the car back.
Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport) Sebastian first, when did you tell your team that you wanted to come in? Was it because of a potential safety car, and to Mark, do you think it would have been better for you if the team had left you out for one more lap and then go in, because you obviously had to wait for Seb?
SV: I didn’t decide to pit. Obviously with the weather it was critical, we were trying to go as long as possible because we didn’t know… when it starts to rain and you pit one lap before, you lose a lot of time because you have to come in again to fit inters (intermediate tyres). So basically, I was told, exit of turn 12, box if I can. I had enough time to get ready. Arguably the team was on the limit and obviously they were preparing a stop for both cars so they had to get both set of tyres out, mine and Mark’s, and I think it was just a little bit of a rush, because I think the team was afraid of a safety car. Obviously I didn’t know what was going on around the track; the team is obviously able to monitor much better… to see the whole track, whereas I’m very good at judging what’s going on where I am right now but not five, six corners down the road. I think that was the reason why I got called in but unfortunately it got a bit messy.
MW: I got the pit call quite early in the lap, they were worried about a safety car as well. I think Maldonado had been off or something had happened. When I braked for the pit lane line, I looked on the big screen and I could see that Seb was in the box, saw on the TV that he was pitting and I thought ‘I hope it’s a replay’ but it wasn’t. When I got over the top, he was in the bloody box so I thought ‘shit, we’ve got a bit on here now’. In that case, mainly we were losing time, that’s the biggest thing but then just the rear jack guy remembering to get out of the way. Obviously I’m going to stop but I have to wait for him to move out of the way so I thought it was obviously a complete surprise, uncharacteristic of the team to do something quite tricky and risky, when there wasn’t a huge amount to risk but it turns out obviously that there was an issue at the start of Seb’s stop which snowballed into me and then we had the little Spanish lion on the back of me again, so it was a good recovery but the team… I’m sure they want to do that part again. In the end, we recovered well and cool heads…
Q: (Cristobal Rosaleny – Car and Driver) Seb and Fernando, Mark is going to take off some weeks for relaxing but you have to race next year and Formula One is changing a lot next year. What are you going to do until Christmas?
SV: Nothing. Obviously there are some things you have to attend to in December which is also nice, but mostly try to relax. Obviously Mark is retiring from Formula One but he’s not retiring from racing so, as he said, he will obviously get ready, probably has a little bit less pressure because the season maybe starts in a different way but I think for us it’s the same thing as the previous years. Obviously a lot of changes for next year but in terms of rhythm it is probably largely the same. Potentially you start a week or two earlier in January, to prepare the tests a little bit more. Equally, you can’t prepare so much because you need to wait for the first day on track, to know and see where we are.
FA: Obviously until Christmas time we are quite busy at Ferrari with some events with the sponsors and there are many activities in Maranello around Christmas time with the people working there at Ferrari, with their families etc and we will use those days while we are already in Italy to spend some time on the simulator and to do some work, looking at next year’s regulations. Christmas time will probably be the first time that we completely stop, so until the 21st of December, I think, we are on, still.
Q: (Flavio Vanetti – Corriere della Sera) To Fernando and Sebastian: Seb, what do you feel having reached Alberto Ascari’s record with nine victories in a row, a driver who comes from the distant past of Formula One, and to Fernando, do you feel more optimistic for 2014 after this result?
SV: Well, I think it is very very difficult for me to realise probably now and in the next couple of weeks what we have achieved again, and in particular this year at the end of the season. I think in terms of a certain record with Alberto Ascari you can’t really compare it, it’s at a completely different time. If you consider the fact that in the fifties the races were much longer and there were a lot of things that were breaking down, much more than nowadays where it’s very professional, reliability is exceptionally good for everybody. I think his record still stands out a lot. So at the end of the day, as I see it now, it’s just a number but hopefully one day, when I’ve got less hair and chubby then it’s probably something nice to look back to.
FA: Nothing changed, to be honest. I’m still optimistic for next year because I trust my team, I trust Ferrari preparation and philosophy for the 2014 car. We will be a contender, always, even this year when we haven’t been competitive and we only won two Grands Prix, we were off the podium for the last six or seven Grands Prix etc, we finished second in the World Championship, so with whatever the car that Ferrari do, normally, better or worse, you are a contender. That’s my optimistic point for next year, not because today we are on the podium or not on the podium.