Barcelona delivered Rich Energy Haas F1 Team’s first double-points finish of the season and its eighth since joining Formula One in 2016. Scoring points is always good, but how much of a shot in the arm was it for the team to have a strong weekend from beginning to end that yielded some tangible results?
“I think it was good. The car felt good from FP1, and that’s important. The first free practice always gives you the first clear idea of how the weekend is going to go. It went really well in Barcelona. We were happy with that, and we could get the tires to work nicely. In the race, the pace was pretty good. I think at one point we were faster than a Red Bull, which is very good for us. Obviously, the safety car didn’t help us, but the car felt really good.”
You were able to sample all of the upgrades for the Haas VF-19 from the opening practice of the Spanish Grand Prix on Friday right through to the checkered flag on Sunday. How much of a difference did these upgrades make, and how impactful were they in achieving your first points-paying performance of the season?
“The upgrades worked great because our pace was very close to that of Red Bull. That’s amazing. I still believe without the upgrade we would have finished seventh, but maybe not so close to the top teams because our main issue since the start of the year has been getting the tires to work, and we did that in Barcelona. That’s where the performance came from.”
Getting the tires into the proper operating window and then keeping those tires in that operating window had been the team’s challenge prior to the Spanish Grand Prix, but that didn’t seem to be a problem in Barcelona. What made the difference?
“I guess the difference was made by the track layout and the energy going into the tires with the high-speed corners, and the higher track temperatures really helped us. We know where we need to get. We know our windows are correct, but now it’s a question of how do we get them into the window at every race.”
Can what you learned about the Haas VF-19 and its relation to its tires carry over to Monaco?
“It’s a good question. I think the team’s going to keep working hard in the background and make sure we get the tires into the window in Monaco. If that’s the case, we’re going to be very competitive again.”
Rich Energy Haas F1 Team has proven strong in qualifying this year, placing both its cars into the final round of knockout qualifying in all but one race this year. Knowing how important qualifying is at Monaco, is that the team’s best asset to secure another points-paying performance?
“Yes, definitely. In Monaco you want to be in the top-10. You want to be as high as you can on the grid to be able to get a good result. Monaco qualifying is going to be important. Hopefully, tires are not holding us back, as that’s something that can clearly hurt us a lot. But when it works, it really works.”