While you’re finishing the 2019 season and simultaneously preparing for the 2020 season, the new technical regulations for 2021 have finally been announced. The 2021 cars will look different and perform different. What is your take on the 2021 car’s aesthetics and its expected performance?
“I think they look cool. I think they look futuristic without being away from what Formula One has been known for as a racecar. I’m very happy with the way they look. Performance-wise, we’ll need to wait and see what the track brings, and if it’s got all the desired effects. Generally, I’m pleased with what I’ve seen so far.”
All of these changes should allow a trailing car to keep roughly 85 percent of its downforce compared to the 45 percent of downforce a trailing car gets with the current regulations. Can you explain how this added downforce will allow you more of an opportunity to attack and, ultimately, pass the car in front of you?
“At the moment, every time you get behind a car you lose a lot of downforce, then you slide. It’s something you expect, but then the surface of the tires overheat and you completely lose grip. You can’t attack. If we don’t lose so much downforce then, hopefully, the tires won’t overheat as much, and therefore we’ll be able to stay closer and get more passing. That’s the idea and it should be OK.”
The potential downside to the 2021 rules package is that the cars get 25 kilograms heavier, going from 743 kilograms to 768 kilograms. Does this mean that while the on-track action will theoretically be closer, will the speeds be slower than they are now, or will teams eventually refine their racecars enough to where they are faster than the car of today?
“Formula One cars are the fastest on Earth, so I think if we lose a couple of seconds a lap, but for better racing, I don’t think that’s the end of the world. We’ve got to see the big picture here.”
Interlagos appears to be a very physical track, and heat often plays a role in the performance of the car and the driver. Considering these variables, how do you attack the track?
“São Paulo is one of my favorite tracks on the calendar. I think it’s really good and I’m very much looking forward to going there. It’s an anti-clockwise layout, so it does affect your neck, especially on Friday, but the body adapts very quickly. I’m looking forward to the weekend.”