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Belgian Grand Prix
Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
31, 01, 02 September 2012
Length of lap: 7.004 km (4.352 mi)
Total number of race laps: 44
Race length: 308.052 km (191.410 mi)
Most wins (constructors): Ferrari (16)
Fastest lap 2011: Mark Webber Red Bull 1:49.883

Last Race

Hungarian Grand Prix

Hungaroring Circuit

1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren
2 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus
3 Romain Grosjean Lotus
Fastest Lap
Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:24.136
Pole Position
Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:20.953

2011 Cars images

Spanish GP, Catalunya Circuit - Race. F1 image 2011 (HD PHOTO)
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes MGP W02
Spanish GP, Catalunya Circuit
Formula 1 image 2011 (Photo 1920x1280)
Turkish GP, Istanbul Park Circuit - Race. F1 image 2011 (HD PHOTO 1920x1280)
Lewis Hamilton & Jenson Button, McLaren MP4-25
Turkish GP, Istanbul Park Circuit
Formula 1 image 2011
Chinese GP, Shanghai International Circuit - Race. F1 wallpaper 2011 (HD PHOTO 1920x1280)
Fernando Alonso. Ferrari 150° Italia
Chinese GP, Shanghai International Circuit - Race.
Formula 1 image 2011

Q&A with Stefano Domenicali

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Three days after launching his team's 2008 contender, Stefano Domenicali, newly promoted Director of the Gestione Sportiva faced the press on the first day of the team's traditional media get together at Madonna di Campiglio

Stefano what was your feelings about your new responsibilities
Stefano Domenicali: Clearly it is an extraordinary and important responsibility so it is a must on my part to thank our president Luca di Montezemolo and our managing director Jean Todt for this decision. Clearly there is a lot of responsibility but I want to tackle with the spirit that I've always had over the years, so my convention is that concentration, work, a positive approach vis-?-vis all that is to be managed is for the good of the team. From a personal point of view, I'm not changing, I'm the same person as I was before and this is my way of being. Clearly, with this new task, there are maybe some times during which due to my new job, I will have to be slightly different. However the spirit with which I approach this new responsibility is exactly the same. As for the values and principles of our team, they are always the same and each one of us defines them vis-a-vis ones own being, one's own character, personality. This is a fundamental point on which you can be sure of.

We have heard president Montezemolo say that the goal that he would like to achieve in 2008 is to have eight World Championships out of ten. With this goal, do you feel forced to win?
SD: Well, correctly our president must set some ambitious goals but these are goals which I have to say are part of the challenges that Ferrari has always tackled. We always set out to be competitive, obviously, but with the goal of having to win because this is our way of approaching the sporting challenge, since we are speaking about Formula One, so clearly it is a further responsibility on me, but I have always felt that because we have, vis-a-vis ourselves, this is a challenge that each one brings forth, vis-?-vis ourselves. It is something shared by all the persons in the team, shared by our drivers, our partners who invest a lot in us. It is also thanks to them that we can race because let's not forget that we can compete in the World of Formula One thanks to their financial support, thanks to their technological support, without which we could not go on by ourselves and so we would not have managed it without them. Of course it's a responsibility that we have to tackle day-by-day, the fact that we are ambitious, and we are ambitious in all the activities in which we work.

When we speak about changes within the rules in the near future. What is the Ferrari position concerning this issue?
SD: I think that Formula One must be a stimulating activity, stimulating from all points of view, the technology point of view in terms of research, in terms of the show, but obviously it must be fully aware of the fact that since we are speaking about an important business, some mechanisms of reference cannot do without the fact that even if we have all the major car manufacturers involved there are some limits, some financial limits that we have to consider. This is an issue which we have to focus on. I repeat: let's not forget that Formula One has always been the top formula and we have to work with this in mine, but we should not exclude anything, we only have to reason without bringing forth ideas which after two days or after two months may become counter-productive to Formula One. And if you think about Formula One, and yes, attention to costs is fundamental for the future, and I repeat that of this there is no doubt of this. However, at the same time we have to tackle some other themes, topics, other issues, the fact that we have to be closer to people. Let's not forget the passion that Formula One conveys to fans throughout the world, to all those who those who see the sport, especially as far as we are concerned, who watch Grands Prix on TVs or at the race tracks, and I think that's important and I think we have to focus on this show side of the race tracks, because we should not lose track of the goals of this wonderful sport.

Do you think that Ferrari should intervene with the FIA so as to simplify their approach?
SD: Firstly, the FIA was able to manage really, really complicated situations in the past in a timely manner and in a rapid manner when you consider the difficulties and the problems that were involved. This is an issue which the world of Formula One must work on together, we must set the goal of improving this point. The FIA, over the last few years, has changed a lot, it has grown but it is now tackling a mix of characters and of teams that means that the people who must take decisions within the FIA must take decisions within a structure that can allow them to decide rapidly. The FIA is aware of this. We have tackled the issues in the recent meetings and I am convinced that from this point of view there is going to be a change within the FIA.

How can you ensure that there will not be another issue like that of Stepney?
SD: I believe that from a certain view, teams and Ferrari is among them, have done a lot in terms of industrial security, so using one's own know-how to protect one's own procedure and to protect this within the heritage of one's own firm. But this I think is a problem which is different. Here we are speaking about persons, who, due to the role, due to the responsibility that they played within the organisation, there are no procedures which may work. It is an issue of betrayal of values. It was an issue of respect the principals of loyalty, sporting loyalty. There are no systems which may work. Once you have a relevant position within any organisation then it's a problem of loyalty, it's a problem of values which you must have within yourself. This is one issue. As for the safety and protection of our know-how, that's an issue on which Ferrari has invested a lot and continues to invest because clearly we do not want to lose grip of the needs of being secure.

You mentioned earlier that you have several tasks to tackle. In your mind or in your heart, as a team principal, should Formula One be so ecologically-orientated or so cost-conscious or should you just follow the spirit of racing fans, and how do you see that?
One does eliminate the other, meaning the spirit of fans and the fact that racing doesn't exclude the correct attention which must be paid to the environment, and we also have to thank Shell because together we are also working on this specific issue. Not only does it show interest in the environment in general but it is an interest in research and that goes back to the fans, so the idea of achieving the highest performance. Of course, with the new rules we have to focus on other issues, on lubrication and fuels. I'm speaking about technology. It's an evolving world. I have to thank all of our partners, AMD for example, because as for the technological development of the world we must always be present. Formula One has always been the top from this point of view, so I don't think that the attention regarding cost which is right for all those who work in this field, should be in contrast with the sporting spirit of the passion being transmitted to us by our fans.

How can you avoid situations similar to the ones that took place between Alonso and Hamilton at McLaren, because Massa, in the last press conference at Interlagos did not seem to be too happy with this situation. Do have a strategy for the two drivers, is there a way to protect the interests of both drives in the team?
SD: One of the fundamental factors for the success of the last few years, not only of last year, has been having been able to manage our drivers because it is clear that in the spirit of the driver, each one wants to be the strongest and it is correct to be so, but this must be implemented within the team spirit, and from this point of view I have to say that Felipe last year did an extraordinary job. It wasn't easy for a driver, in general, to make himself available to the needs of the team to be able to win a championship. So I think that one of the strengths of Ferrari has been the fact that we've always well defined the rules with the drivers and there's been a great professionality on the part of all the drivers who respect the needs of their teammate but also the need for coming first, and it's correct for them to have this desire.

What will Michael Schumacher's role be this year?
SD: As you know, Michael is still part of our group and we are obviously extremely and extraordinary happy for this. He's going to give us his skills as he has done over this last season, with closer contact with the team, especially with the team in the future, and clearly, he gives us his experience and also, in view of the rules on traction control, I think he has given and he will give an important contribution.

In your new role, is there something that you will change from the start in Ferrari's organisation, not huge changes. Do you think there's going to be a priority to bring back relations with McLaren back to normality?
SD: Let me answer that first one of the major inspirational ideas within our team has always been the dynamic stability over the years, the dynamic stability, and of course, I'm going to implement the same principal, so the basic structure is correct in terms of organisation, it was laid out correctly and we will work on it, and we have approached it radically as far as our organisation is concerned. However, I repeat, as for the principles underlying how we work, I think that we are starting from a structure which is well-defined and we have already made some changes but they are more operational changes and not aesthetic changes.

As for the relationship with McLaren, well clearly my major role is that of looking to the present and of looking into the future but as in all things in life, one cannot forget that certain things have happened. One of the principles that I was making reference to and which we must consider when we speak about the relationship in general is the principal of loyalty and as far as this issue is concerned, I think that we have always maintained value at the highest possible levels within our group. Of course, it's important for the good of Formula One to work with all major players. Of course we will see with whom we are going to speak with McLaren in the future, but I repeat, I think for the good of Formula One we have to look into future. It's difficult because there are some wounds which take time to heal. However, I think we have to look into the future.

Do you consider yourself the spiritual son of Jean Todt, can you go through your relationship, and are you expecting to use your old methods?
SD: As for the second question, yes, it's correct for me to do so, it's correct that when some responsibilities are given to a new person, this person must be himself so in other words, I won't follow Jean Todt's approach but I'm going to follow my approach because I'm the person responsible for it and I'm going to do as I've done in the past, trying to learn. And I have to say that I've been lucky to always have had important examples starting from Jean Todt but also from our president. So starting from their reference, I have to be myself and work in the best possible way with my collaborators.

Do you think this season will again be just a battle between Ferrari and McLaren?
SD: We have some rules changes and also major changes. We must think that all our opponents have made a step forward so McLaren surely remains one of the strongest adversaries and opponents. I think that from a more general point of view, the fact that Alonso and Hamilton have been divided, especially from the manufacturers' title, this is something that does not go the advantage of McLaren but this is their problem for the manufacturers' title, but we have to respect everyone, we have to respect Renault because last year I think they focused more than any others on the development on the car for this year, the 2008 season, because they realised that they could not compete for the World Championship and obviously now have their goals with Alonso within the team. So I expect from Renault a significant step forward, just as I expect BMW and other teams may grow. Clearly, we must fully understand how the drivers are going to exploit best their means in a different context without traction control, which is perhaps the most important change that's going to have an impact on how the car is to be managed by both the driver and also by the teams. So with respect to everyone, major caution on our part because all teams are going to grow.

You mentioned earlier that as far as McLaren is concerned, you should look to the future; does that mean that it's not forgotten but it's forgiven. Is that the case? Can you start from a clean sheet paper?
SD: The wounds are difficult to heal because of the context in which they came out. However, it is my responsibility, from an operational point of view, to look into the future, so when you burn your fingers you do not get close to the fire until you have learned how to manage the wind. So we will see what their approach is going to be in future, but my goal is looking into the future for the good of Formula One, for the good of Formula One because I think that what came out last season was not good for Formula One. What was positive was that the world reacted, the FIA reacted in the right way. This was positive.

How are you going to work with Felipe and Kimi? Do you have any specific strategy with the two drivers from the start of the season?
SD: The principles that we have are clear rules within the team and to define that in certain situations, certain scenarios, the rules must be well defined and these are the same that we implemented last year so we have our drivers who start on an equal basis, they are going to play it out with their own chances of victory in the same way in which we started last year, no changes from this point of view.

One of McLaren's companies together with Microsoft have developed the new electronic unit to be used this year. Are you happy about this and is it possible that McLaren may have a slight advantage?
SD: Let me say this: Jean Todt is already clear on our position from this point of view. From my point of view, this should not become an excuse for us. It will mean that we will have to work more intensely, more decisively because this is a fact. Full stop. It's there, it's in the car so this new parameter must be used at best in a car. It may be a time issue, a resource issue, we're going to have to invest resources and time and immediately because if they eventually should have an advantage as I think they will for the simple reason that they know the basic structure, but this should not become an excuse for us. We must work, we must work, we must work.


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Flash news

Barcelona day three

1. Jenson Button, Brawn BGP 001, 1:19.127
2. Felipe Massa, Ferrari F60, 1:20.168
3. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber F1.09, 1:20.217
4. Timo Glock, Toyota TF109, 1:20.410
5. Fernando Alonso, Renault R29, 1:20.863
6. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull RB5, 1:21.165
7. Nico Rosberg, Williams FW31, 1:21.324
8. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India VJM02, 1:21.545
9. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso STR4, 1:21.569
10. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren MP4-24, 1:21.657


2012 Race Drivers

Sebastian Vettel
Mark Webber
Lewis Hamilton
Jenson Button
Fernando Alonso
Felipe Massa
Michael Schumacher
Nico Rosberg
Kimi Räikkönen
Romain Grosjean
Paul di Resta
Nico Hulkenberg
Kamui Kobayashi
Sergio Perez
Daniel Ricciardo
Jean-Eric Vergne
Pastor Maldonado
Bruno Senna
Heikki Kovalainen
Vitaly Petrov
Pedro de la Rosa
Narain Karthikeyan
Timo Glock
Charles Pic

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