In the series’ most recent race in Belgium, Rich Energy Haas F1 Team returned its cars to a single aero spec. After running its two cars in different aero specs in the three races prior to Belgium, how helpful was it to have both cars theoretically bringing back the same data?
“Well, I don’t think we had a choice for the low-downforce races, but I was actually quite happy with the package. We’re working in a good direction as a team. I think we now have a really clear understanding of what’s happening and what we need to do for the future, so that’s positive.”
The summer shutdown is always welcomed by the Formula One industry, but how good was it to get back in your racecar at Spa? And more specifically, what do you want to achieve in this last stretch of races before the season concludes?
“I really enjoy jumping back in a car – it’s a great feeling, especially at Spa-Francorchamps. It’s one of the most amazing circuits in the world. That was super cool. Obviously, you come fresh from the summer break, which always helps, but I really enjoyed it. For the final stretch of the season, we’ll try to get every opportunity we can. It’s not always going to be easy to be in the points, but every time we can, we will try.”
Monza, like Spa, is a circuit steeped in the heritage of Formula One, with the Italian Grand Prix also marking the end of the European schedule. As a driver, are you able to appreciate and soak in the atmosphere at such iconic venues, and do you feel some of the newer events on the calendar, such as Singapore, Austin and Abu Dhabi are developing a level of history and heritage for themselves?
“Spa, Monza, Monaco, Barcelona and Silverstone – they’re very historic tracks where we feel the history. Some of the new tracks are getting there. I feel Austin is great, Singapore is great also. You can now tell that Formula One has been there over a few years – that people get a sense for it and really enjoy it.”
The Tifosi are a renowned part of the spectacle at the Italian Grand Prix with their passionate support of the home team, Scuderia Ferrari. How would you describe your fan base and what are your own fan highlights from being in Formula One?
“The fans are great. They really give you a lot of support and admiration. Obviously, the Spa weekend was very hard for everybody, but the whole motorsport community came together – drivers, teams, marshals, officials and fans. It was really something unique. The fans are important, and they can really help you through tough times. It’s always great to have them.”