The speed you displayed in preseason testing carried through in the season opener in Australia. Can that speed carry into Bahrain, a very different track in a very different environment?
“That’s something we’re going to find out. I think the car will be ok in Bahrain. We went well there last year, so hopefully it’ll be another good one for us. The big update for everyone will be in Barcelona, where it will be interesting to see more of the pecking order for the season.”
How did the car feel throughout the Australian Grand Prix – from practice and qualifying and on into the race?
“It felt very good. I was very happy with the balance, and very happy with the car we had all weekend long.”
The midfield has been tight since Rich Energy Haas F1 Team joined Formula One in 2016. But this year it appears tighter than ever, as evidenced by just a half-second separating the seventh-place car from the 15th-place car in the second round of qualifying in Australia. What is your take on this year’s midfield battle?
“I think it’s the right battle for Formula One. It’s super exciting to look at the midfield, where the gap is very tight and you never know who’s going to end up on top.”
While Mercedes and Scuderia Ferrari are still firmly ensconced in first and second of the Formula One pecking order, how close do you feel Rich Energy Haas F1 Team is to knocking on the door of third-best Red Bull?
“I think we’re a bit further away from Red Bull than we were hoping. I’m afraid the gap could open during the year because of the resources they have. We’ll definitely try to give them as hard a time as we can, to please both Rich Energy and ourselves.”
For the second straight year, Rich Energy Haas F1 Team leaves Australia with many pointing to the team as being the best of the midfield. How satisfying is that, especially considering you’ve done it with a different rules package compared to last year?
“It’s very good. I’m very happy with the work that’s been done during the winter and very proud of everyone at our bases. They nailed the new rules. We’re happy with our car, happy with what we’ve got and we’re looking forward to the season.”
Is there a specific portion of the Bahrain International Circuit that is more challenging than other aspects of the track?
“Turns one and two are pretty challenging. It’s a busy hairpin with big braking. Then you really want to go early on throttle as you’ve got a long straight line. Turn two is always a bit tricky on the rear end.”