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2018/10/21 19:10:00

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USGP 2018 – Advance

12 October 2018
In joining Haas F1 Team, you took a leap of faith in the vision Gene Haas had for an American Formula One team. What has it been like to be a part of this endeavor and what makes Haas F1 Team different from other Formula One teams? “I’d say it’s a great adventure. When I met with Gene and Guenther for the first time, I felt that they knew what they were talking about. I wanted to be part of that journey. I’m very pleased with how it’s gone. In our third year now, things are as good as they can be. We’re fighting for fourth in the constructors’ championship, which is quite crazy.” Haas F1 Team has accomplished a lot in less than three years in Formula One. Can you talk about the team’s growth this year and, specifically, how it has outperformed compared to last year? “We’ve made a good step this year. I think 2017 was maybe the year where we underperformed, but in 2018 we’ve come back to the route being planned out since the start of the team. The team has been growing a lot and improving in every single area. There’s still room for improvement, which is amazing to know and to see.” You’re racing for an American team in the United States Grand Prix. Because of that, does walking into the paddock at COTA and driving out of the garage and onto the track take on greater significance or give you an added sense of pride? “It’s special. It’s like when I’m in the French Grand Prix, I get an extra feeling, something special. At COTA, it’s the same thing. You expect a lot of fans to be coming and cheering for you. You can see them there wearing the Haas colors, T-shirts, caps, scarfs, whatever. It’s just great to know that it’s not always about, say, Lewis (Hamilton) or Max (Verstappen), but that it’s about Haas F1 Team as well.” Formula One returned to the United States after a four-year absence when it raced at COTA in 2012. You participated in that race. What was the industry’s reaction to Formula One’s return to America? “I didn’t know what to expect the first time we went to COTA in 2012. Obviously, many people still had in mind the 2005 grand prix at Indianapolis. When we came back though, it was probably the biggest attendance of the season that year. It’s always packed. It’s a great circuit with a great atmosphere. I love going there.” When you first competed at COTA, what did you think of the venue? “It was very nice and very well organized. The city is great. There are a lot of bars and concerts going on in the city, and people came from all over the country to see the race. It was amazing.” You equaled your career-best Formula One finish (second) at COTA in 2013. Talk about that race and any moments that stand out, particularly the start where

Japanese GP 2018 – Review

8 October 2018
“We need to analyze what happened with the Virtual Safety Car restart. I was right on my delta time and Perez, when the gap was 2.4 seconds before, overtook me straight away. We need to check and see if there is not a problem in the system there. I thought I had done the job on my side. We did our best. We had a few technical issues on the car, which didn’t make our life easy. I think without those, we clearly had the pace to be in front of all those guys. Onto the next one.”

Japanese GP 2018 – Advance

3 October 2018
Haas F1 Team confirmed its driver lineup before the Russian Grand Prix, with you and Magnussen returning for another season. How helpful is it to have your future set and not a distraction as you battle for fourth in the constructors’ standings? “It’s always good to know what your future’s like. For us, it’s great that it’s been confirmed. It’s a positive thing. We’re looking forward to the future.” Haas F1 Team has made great strides from last year to this year. How much of that is attributable to having a consistent driver lineup, and do you expect that to deliver continued dividends in 2019? “There is the driver lineup, which is important, and there is the engineering group, which is getting stronger and stronger and gaining more experience. Altogether, that means today we’re in a much better situation.” You go from one of the smoothest tracks in Formula One – the Sochi Autodrom – to one of the roughest tracks in Suzuka Circuit. How does the weathered asphalt of Suzuka change your preparation in comparison to what you did for Sochi? “Sochi is a particular racetrack – not one of my favorites. Suzuka is definitely my favorite. I always look forward to going there. We want to do well everywhere. We’re going to fight as hard as we can everywhere to get those points and try to beat Renault.” After two straight races where the softest tire in Pirelli’s lineup was used – the Pink hypersoft – we’re back to a more traditional White medium, Yellow soft and Red supersoft tire combination. After struggling to sort how much longevity you could get from a set of hypersofts, is it advantageous to get back to a tire lineup you know well where each tire compound is only a step away from one another in terms of grip level? “I don’t know. We’ll find out in Suzuka. Definitely the hypersoft is a great qualifying tire, but not such a good tire for the race.” You’ve been quoted as saying that Suzuka is your most favorite track in the world. Why? “It’s always difficult to say exactly why. I think it’s the flow, the corners, the high-speed nature of the track. There’s a risk, as well, with all the gravel and the narrow parts of the circuit. Overall though, it’s not one thing, and sometimes you don’t know why you like something, you just do.” You led 26 laps in the 2013 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka before finishing third. Those are the most laps you’ve led at any Formula One venue. Talk about that race and how you were able to run out front for so long. “I was fourth on the grid and made a really good start. I led from the first corner. Then Red Bull played its strategy. They put one car on a two-stop (strategy) and the other on a three-stop strategy. We led 26 laps, but we lost position to them. It was great, though. I

Russian GP 2018 – Review

1 October 2018
“I was very disappointed with that. I thought I drove a good race. I’d been struggling a bit for pace all weekend, but I felt in the race things got better. I was happy to keep Marcus (Ericsson) behind and then fight with the Renaults and overtake them. Then I realized I was only P11. I guess the Red Bulls started at the back, but after five laps they were already top-six. The Saubers were very fast, and the Force Indias were fast. We all just kept our positions. Unfortunately for me, two cars came by.”

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