Can I start by asking all of you to pick our personal highlight moment from the 2017 Formula 1 season?
Maurizio Arrivabene: Hungary, for different reasons. Then I have to say also Monaco. Monaco was a quite good race. But Hungary in my opinion was the best. I have to add also Brazil, because in Brazil, when the championship was gone, I think the team demonstrated character and also they reacted quite well and so, if I have to make a choice, Brazil finally, for the reasons I described before.
Maurizio, five wins and five poles, that’s more than Ferrari have managed for quite a few seasons now. So is there satisfaction in that or sadness that the title slipped away from you in September and October?
Maurizio Arrivabene: Of course the number of pole positions and so on they are important somehow but the most important is the championship. The good number that we have at the moment is demonstrating the good job of the overall team but the fact that we were not able to win the championship means that it’s not enough, so we have to push forward to next year to do it better.
A final question from me: if you think back 12 months to when we were here in Abu Dhabi and think about how much has changed in the sport since then, and then project forward to November 2018, where do you think Formula 1 will be at that point.
Maurizio Arrivabene: I think we have for sure a good sign of renovation, of commitment, demonstrated by the new commercial rights holder, so for sure we have some positive news. For sure, we are focusing a bit more our attention on the spectators – television and also the spectators at the track. They are quite proactive but the problem is to find the right balance between team needs and commercial needs, talking in general. But I think we have a good sign that they are telling us that the future could be a good future for Formula 1.
Ysef Harding – Xiro Xone News) For all three, we often ask the drivers this at the end of the season, but what do you have planned for the end of the season and what will you look forward to in the short time we’ll have off before next season?
Maurizio Arrivabene: I thought that Toto was giving some information about what they are doing, but he is smart enough and didn’t give us any information, unfortunately. Having said so, I agree that there is not anymore an off-season. We are working all the time, especially when you have to work on the gap that we still have, so you have certain people, the people that they are all year at the track, for example, the guys who are working during the grand prix, they are taking a bit of vacation, not that much, and all the others they are still working on the new car.
Maurizio, what about you, you’ve got a Finn in the car, do you want one on the car?
Maurizio Arrivabene: I’m quite neutral. I’m waiting for a decision. What is quite funny is that Zak said that the fin was interfering with the rear win, and in the meantime he said he would like to have more commercial space. So somehow he is removing the fin and doesn’t have any more that commercial space, and on top he needs to find space for the number, so I think there is something wrong here.
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Maurizio, talking about the Finns…
MA: You have Bottas too!
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Yes, but do you think Kimi is the unluckiest driver on the grid after 94 races without a single victory?
MA: I don’t trust on luck or not luck, even if I’m Italian. I trust on fact and fact means points. Bad luck or good luck is not influencing this. Sometimes it could be in terms of perception or because maybe other drivers are crashing on his car, the final reality is the points you are scoring and this is what is making a driver good or bad. We are happy about the performance of Kimi, by the way, otherwise we are not confirming him.
Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines) Maurizio, given where you ended last season, being contenders for the championship and then losing it, how would you summarise the season and what can you realistically aim for next year?
MA: To summarise the season, if you want to have a quick summary and want to use the example of the glass of water – don’t like wine – mid-season we were thirsty, and end-of-season we were using the water because we take a pill because we have a bit of headache – and that’s the summary of the season. Apart from that I think the team was pushing pushing, really hard. They were working well. We have certain circumstances that they were not in our favour. I have to say congratulations to Mercedes. They won and they deserved the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships. For next year we try to do our best to be better.
Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines) Referring to James’ question earlier on about Liberty, etc., what was the one key standout point that they brought to Formula One this year, in each of your opinions, and also, what is the one major point you’d like to see them bring out next year?
MA: As I said at the beginning, they focus their attention on ‘spectacularisation’, to go nearby the spectator at the track, and also TV spectator. They demonstrate a lot of enthusiasm and commitment. Now, I think, for next year, we have a meeting in December where they’re going to present what they have in mind, and at that stage we can have a conversation with them and eventually a suggestion. I don’t want to suggest anything without knowing what they have in mind – I would like to talk about what, until today, I think they were doing. For sure they’re pushing. It depends on what they want to do in the future. First year, it’s normally easy, because you start from a certain point: you have a lot of expectation and you go up. The second year, you have to prove you are solid and you are looking forward at least for the future. And the future is not one year, it’s at least, normally in the company, it’s a three-year plan.
(Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Question for Maurizio: I would like to ask you which is the strength about your rival that you want to be in your team? And for Christian, if you are a little bit surprised that Sebastian made some mistakes. I mean Singapore and Mexico.
MA: I think, how you tend to respect the team that have won four Constructors’ Championships and four Drivers’ Championships. It’s normal that they are strong. For that I have a lot of respect but it could be even better if we’re able next year to fight with them and finally to win! Having said so, I think one of the strengths of Mercedes, apart from the brand they’re representing, how the team is organised, it’s also their habit to win. Sometimes you are going to have a pole position and it’s becomes an event. Pole position must become a habit and not an event. This is what I mean for a habit to win. It doesn’t have to be perceived as an event, the victory, or the pole position. It must be the natural result of the work that you are doing. In this way, I have a lot of respect for this guy but in this way, we know what we have to do for the future in our side.