Toto: “This year, the equation has changed”

Toto: “This year, the equation has changed”

Q: It was a great race here 12 months ago between your two drivers. This year, though, it seems you’ve got Ferrari breathing down your neck. How much of a restriction is that on your freedom to let your drivers do the race they want to do?

TW: First of all, it’s true, we have great memories of the race last year. But this year the equation has changed because clearly, looking at the first three races, Ferrari is back and they looked very strong this afternoon in the long runs. We will still follow the principle of letting Lewis and Nico race but there could be a situation where you just need to be aware that there is a new competitor. It’s not as easy – we don’t have the gap anymore like last year and this needs to be considered.

Q: Can you just drill down a little bit more into what we saw today? Obviously, you were quickest with the two cars in Free Practice 2. But looking at the long runs, at times it even looked, if anything, that the Ferrari was a shade faster?

TW: Yes. The Ferrari looked the quickest car out there in Free Practice 2. Very stable, quick lap times… we just need to get our act together and analyse it. This is Friday – Sunday is going to be the important time.

Q: You just say you don’t have the gap as last year and this has to be considered. Is this because perhaps you’re slightly worried that your drivers may be getting too side-tracked by the competition with their team-mate? Perhaps maybe they should be concentrating a bit more on the threat from Ferrari?

TW: No. That has no correlation. The point is that when you have a gap like we had last year, it is easier to compromise on race strategy sometimes because you want to assure you are keeping as neutral to the two of them as possible and sometimes that is not the quickest race. You have seen the situation in Malaysia where the two cars have been stuck up behind each other at the pit stops because we wanted to mirror the race strategy. It could be that we simply split the strategies, if needed, just to make sure that, if you are wrong with one of the strategies, at least the other car is able to achieve a good finish, or win the race.

Q: In Formula One talk of succession planning. I was wondering, the extent to which you think continuity is important for success – and whether or not you each have succession plans in place for your own eventual departures for the team or the sport?

TW: The trouble is others do your succession plan. I hope there is no succession plan in place for me yet!

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