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HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX

2020/07/19 15:10:00

In four full seasons of Formula One competition, Romain Grosjean has continued to showcase the speed and consistency that was a hallmark of his highly decorated junior career. Collecting championships and numerous race wins as he ascended Europe’s ultra-competitive open-wheel racing ladder, Grosjean’s talents have continued to impress with the Frenchman joining Haas F1 Team in 2016.

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2020 Hungarian Grand Prix – Preview

14 July 2020
You saw the checkered flag for the first time this season at the Styrian Grand Prix finishing P13. Specifically, what areas of the car had improved in race trim compared to what you experienced the week before in the Austrian Grand Prix? “Compared to last week, I think the cooler track temperatures helped us to get the temperature of the car under control. We still have some work to do on that point, but obviously it was better. We also learned from the set-ups, we changed things from the first week to improve. The car behaved okay for the race. We’re still not as fast as we want to be, but we’ve made some good progress. We now have a solid base from which to start working on for Hungary.” The Hungaroring is another relatively short track, not too dissimilar from the Red Bull Ring. What are the main characteristics of the circuit and what’s the key to a good run there – both in qualifying and then in the race? What do you need from the car in order to be competitive? “Yes, it’s a short circuit, but it’s different in the way that the straight-line is much less important. You can run maximum downforce on the car – that should help the characteristics of the VF-20. You need good tire management over your qualifying run and for the race as well. It’s normally very hot in Hungary at this time of the year. You need to have a car you can trust going into all those fast corners through the middle sector. The last two corners are also very important in order to get a good lap time. That’s actually where I lost pole position back in 2012, I didn’t go as fast as I should have on the last two turns – that’s where you can gain some good time.” You have a mixed history at the Hungaroring in Formula One – tending to either score points (including a third-place podium in 2012) or DNF. Do you think about that history and those results when you start preparing for the weekend or is it a clean-slate each time? “For me, Hungary holds two good memories. Obviously, there’s my first time being on the front-row in qualifying from 2012 – my best qualifying slot to-date. Then in 2013 I should have won the race, but I had a couple of drive-through penalties, but I still finished sixth despite the 50-second penalty. I got home and the next morning my son, Sacha, was born. Hungary’s normally the time of year we celebrate my first son’s birthday. I love the atmosphere there, love the fans, love the circuit. It can be hard on you, it’s a tough one, as I said, it’s very hot normally. But let’s see where we can go this weekend.” Hungary represents the third and final leg of the opening triple-header to start the delayed 2020 season. Knowing there are at least two more triple-header stints

2020 Styrian Grand Prix – Preview

8 July 2020
How was it adapting to the new working environment and off-track structure in what was a very different Formula One event at the Austrian Grand Prix last weekend? “Somehow it was different, yes, the atmosphere was not the same, but on the other hand, everything else was the same as we were focused on working with the engineers trying to find the best set-up on the car. Similar and different at the same time.” What positives can be gleaned from last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix and how do you personally reset mentally ahead of the next race? “Our Friday long-run pace was good. It was in line with some of our competitors who finished in the top 10. We need to understand exactly what happened and why we couldn’t repeat that on Sunday. We just need to ensure that a positive Friday translates into Sunday when it counts.” Is it a benefit that we head straight into another race weekend, giving an immediate opportunity to try new things, or would you have preferred more time to digest the data from the Austrian Grand Prix? “Yes, I think it’s great that we can try new things. We’re eager to try different things on the car and to see how we can improve. It’s great that we’ve got a lot of races coming. We’ll keep improving and keep getting better at it.” We’ve seen a glimpse of the 2020 pecking order – was there anything that caught your eye, and do you expect the same teams to be in similar positions? “I think for the next race – yes, the pecking order will be the same. McLaren was the one that surprised me, they did a good job. We may see something different in Budapest, and maybe at Silverstone again. Two races at the same track, we may see the same order, with more races at different tracks things could change.”

2020 Austrian Grand Prix – Preview

29 June 2020
Looking at the positives of the unexpected time away from racing you’ve experienced, what stands out for you personally? “Obviously the time spent with my wife and my kids, that’s been great spending so much time together. I also launched my esports team and started racing on the simulator for fun – it’s been a lot of fun.” There’s been a lot of talk about ‘preparedness’ with regards to the Austrian Grand Prix. Where do you stand on how ready you are to get back behind the wheel and compete – both mentally and physically? “I think physically I’m better than I’ve ever been. Obviously, the neck is the hard one to keep going. Mentally I’m also very much ready. I’m very eager to go racing. We haven’t had the chance to drive our car like some of the other teams, but I don’t think that will be an issue when we get back to racing in Austria.” Do you feel back-to-back races at the Red Bull Ring provides a valuable opportunity to benchmark the performance of the VF-20? “No, because it’s only one race track and one layout – a particular one too at the Red Bull Ring. I don’t think we can assess how the car behaves after the two races in Austria. I do hope it’s going to be working well there so we can start our season on a high.” How much of a buzz do you get from the fans on a Grand Prix weekend and how do you try and replicate that acknowledging that we head into a period of ‘closed-door’ races without fans on-site? “It’s going to be very different. We’re going to miss the support of the fans and miss seeing them in the grandstands. We’ll miss the enthusiastic atmosphere they bring to a weekend. It’ll be strange, it’ll be different, but everyone will adjust and get used to it. We’re going racing, which is important for everyone, so then hopefully we can open the doors to the public very soon and get back to normal.”

2020 Australian Grand Prix – Preview

9 March 2020
Reflecting on testing, and the fact it was two days shorter than previous years, what was the impact of that condensed running on your test preparations? “I thought it was both interesting and exciting. We had a lot of laps to do in a short amount of time. On my first day of testing I did 158 laps of driving and I certainly felt it in my body a little bit. It’s also good after the winter to get a lot of mileage done. I did enjoy the condensed element.” How much input do you as a driver have in setting the test-plan for each day and does that evolve over the pre-season test based on your time accumulated in the new car? “First of all, we have to discover the new car. We have to try to see what the positives and negatives are. Then we work on the test program. Obviously, it’s going to evolve a little bit over the running days, subject to any issues we have and the time of any changes, as well as how much running we want to do. It’s really a team effort between the engineers and the drivers to see what the best thing is to do and what we want to test to be ready for the season.” The Australian Grand Prix hasn’t rewarded you particularly well over the years – the notable exceptions being 2016 and an incredible sixth place finish on Haas F1 Team’s debut, along with five top 10 qualifying starts. What are your thoughts on the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit and why the race has produced mixed results for you over the years? “I love the Albert Park circuit and I love Australia and the city of Melbourne. To me it’s one of the best races of the season. I’m happy to go down to Australia every year. I’ve had some good qualifying sessions there, I’ve always been pretty much in the top 10, with a couple of exceptions. The races, yes, my luck hasn’t been good in Australia. I’ve got the feeling things will be different this year and I’m looking forward to it.” Melbourne is celebrating its 25th anniversary as a Formula One venue – what’s your first memory of watching Formula One in Melbourne, and other than your own personal highlights there, what other moments in Formula One stand out for you from Melbourne’s heritage? “I don’t remember a lot of races from Melbourne, I guess because of the time difference when I was younger. I do remember, I think it was Sebastien Bourdais’ debut, every car was dropping out and he got into the top six. He didn’t even finish the race, he retired something like two laps from the end but was still classified in seventh. Australia in the past has always been quite entertaining because cars were having issues and the reliability was not as good as it is today. There were always a lot of retirements and so you
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