Ahead of the formal Team Principals’ Press Conference this afternoon, an array of leaders from teams in the midfield (and right at the back in the case of Clare Williams) were on stage in the late morning sunshine to answer questions in the Fan’s Forum. For an event that previously has been regarded as a photo opportunity, there were some interesting revelations:
Following the usual soundbites of ‘Melbourne has been an outstanding place to the start the season. I enjoy coming here, the fans are some of the best in the world’ as remarked by McLaren’s Team Principal Zac Brown, it was when the forum was opened up to the crowd that events became interesting.
Renault’s Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul commented on the way Netflix’s Drive to Survive portrayed his relationship with Red Bull’s Team Principal Christian Horner:
‘It’s a show, it’s not reality it’s depicting reality. It’s one of those things which is exciting for the fan and Formula One but I’m a little sad that this is what people get out of Formula One, Red Bull and out of Christian and myself but yeah it was a hell of a season. It will be interesting to see what season 2 has to offer – especially between us.’
Another question up for discussion was ‘if you could pick any driver past or present who was your favourite?
Clare Williams: Nigel Mansell ‘still a good friend of our team. He moaned and moaned but he knew what he wanted and he moaned for a reason and kept everyone on their toes….my God he could drive a Formula One car.'
Zak Brown: Ayrton Senna ‘He was unbelievable, never got a chance to meet him which was unfortunate but that’s what got me into Formula One. Kind of, when he was finishing with Lotus in ’88 when he dominated with Prost, that was the era in which I fell in love with Formula One.'
Guenther Steiner: Niki Lauda ‘When I was a kid I watched him being a race car driver and for me he just has got it, he never gives up… I hope he fights what he is doing now and comes back soon.'
Cyril Abiteboul: Alain Prost (which was met by laughter from the crowd…as if he could choose anyone else). ‘ It’s amazing how wise, how passionate he remains, how such a competitive spirit he has in whatever he does still today.
This was a very unguarded, open and honest forum…here’s hoping we get more of the same in the formal press conference room later on today.