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AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX

2020/03/15 07:10:00

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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2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Preview

25 November 2019
Abu Dhabi is the season finale, and it’s also the finale of Haas F1 Team’s fourth year. It’s been a tumultuous one, but as the adage goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. With the adversity the team has faced this season, do you actually feel stronger going into 2020 because of how this year’s experiences have forced the team to adapt and troubleshoot? “Yes, the team is getting stronger year on year. Obviously, we had three years where we improved each season. This year – our fourth – it’s been a disappointing season in terms of performance. That doesn’t mean that all the work we’ve done behind the scenes isn’t great. As I’ve said many times, the team has been working very well and we’ve got the maximum, if not more than the maximum, of the car most of the time. We need to see the positives, and that’s that we’ve gotten stronger. We’ve been able to analyze more and we’ve been able to get ready for 2020.” Did this year produce a silver lining in relation to next year in that when it comes to car development, you know which direction not to go in 2020 and that you’re also part of a team that is a little more battle-tested? “Yes, I think this year was positive in that we’ve learned where not to go. We’ve learned what we need to look for. We’ve learned that communication needs to be key. This year, the feeling was that from Barcelona, things obviously didn’t go as expected. Maybe if we’d reacted earlier, things could have been different. That’s something we’ve learned this year and, as I’ve said, that’s the first time we’ve been in this situation. It’s not easy to adjust and to know what to do, but now we’re much better prepared for the future. I’m very much looking forward to 2020.” What is the first thing you’ll do to begin the offseason? “I’m going on holiday with my wife. We haven’t had the chance to spend as much time together as we’d have liked. Then after our holiday, we’re into Christmas with the kids and so on. We’ll be spending two weeks off with them and making sure they get the time back from their daddy ,which they didn’t get with all the traveling we have.” When it comes to your physical training, do you take a little break during the offseason or is the offseason a time where you ramp it up? “I like to ramp it up, to push it hard. Obviously, knowing your body is very important, and you know that rest is part of training. So, I will take some rest, but I love training and I love activity in the winter. I go cross-country skiing, hit the skating rink, I train on the bike and in the gym. I work on getting fit for the new season, making sure I’ve not left anything on the side when it comes to being ready

2019 Brazilian GP – Preview

11 November 2019
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.”

2019 United States Grand Prix – Preview

29 October 2019
As a driver for the only American team in Formula One, what’s it like to compete in the United States Grand Prix?  “It gives me a lot of pride. It’s a great pleasure. Obviously, having an American team in Formula One returning in 2016, 30 years since the previous one, it was big. Every year we see great support in the United States. I have the French Grand Prix as a home race, but also the United States Grand Prix is a very special one. I’m very much looking forward to it. We see a lot of support. Even though it’s not always been our best race, in terms of results, we always give it the maximum we can. We’ll do the same again this year and, hopefully, make our fans proud.” This weekend, your team owner, Gene Haas, will have his Formula One team competing in Austin, Texas, and his NASCAR team, Stewart-Haas Racing, competing three hours north in Fort Worth, Texas. How much do you pay attention to the goings-on with Stewart-Haas Racing, and how helpful is to have a team owner who is so well versed in motorsports?  “I pretty much follow all the NASCAR results. It’s very exciting and the team’s been doing well this year. Obviously, the playoffs is the time it gets very sexy, but I’m always keeping an eye on Stewart-Haas Racing. Having Gene Haas, knowing racing, knowing how it works, helps us a lot. He understands things cannot always go directly as we would like, and he’s been very helpful in our building of the Haas team. Obviously, NASCAR and Formula One are different, but he gets the big picture, and that is helping us a lot.” Since Haas F1 Team’s debut, you’ve talked about wanting to drive a stock car. Thursday at COTA, you’ll finally get your chance, with instruction from three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart. Do you have any idea what it will be like to drive a 3,200-pound (1,451-kilogram) Ford Mustang around COTA? “No, not really. I think we just need to slam the brakes a bit earlier than we do with a Formula One car. We’ll see how the engine responds to throttle application. I can’t wait. The sound of it’s going to be great. I think it’s going to be a good experience. I think having Tony Stewart helping us and giving us advice is going to be bloody amazing.” What’s the closest thing to a stock car you’ve driven, and when was it? “I guess it would be the Ford GT1 car I drove in 2010 in the FIA GT1 Championship.” 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 you managed to get away from the dominant Red Bulls. “The start was very special. I had a really good one. The Red Bulls were so much faster than we were. I

2019 Mexican Grand Prix – Preview

22 October 2019
Typhoon Hagibis altered the Japanese race weekend schedule, where for only the fifth time in Formula One history, qualifying was held on the same day as the race. How did this change your preparation for the race and what effect did it have on team personnel as they had a jam-packed Sunday readying cars for qualifying and the race? “I actually enjoyed it quite a lot. Having qualifying and the race on the same day – yes it was a busy Sunday, but it was pretty cool. For me, it was quite a good Sunday. I enjoyed the schedule. I thought it was cool. For the crew, though, it was hard work having to jump from qualifying debrief straight into the race.” You achieved a degree of social media notoriety for making a model of the six-wheeled Tyrrell P34 in your hotel room on Saturday in Japan as track activities were canceled due to Typhoon Hagibis. What is the appeal in model cars and that one in particular, and were you surprised at how much attention your build generated? Will you take up Jody Scheckter’s offer to go visit the original? “Yes, I’ll contact Jody and see if I can visit the original. It’s obviously a very special car with its history, and unique looking with its six wheels – not something you see often in Formula One. I made the model to pass some time on Saturday. We knew it was going to be a long, rainy day. I was a bit surprised as to how many people liked the idea. I’ve been building models for a long time. I’ve built a few Formula One models, some LMP1, Super GT, rally cars. I think it’s a nice way to spend some time and it gets your brain somewhere else. I enjoyed the day building it.” Mexico City’s notoriously high altitude means very low air density, and combined with Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez’s equally notorious slick surface, does the Mexican Grand Prix pose an even greater challenge to Haas F1 Team to get the Pirelli tires into their proper operating window and also keep the tires in that window? If so, what kind of adjustments can you make in your driving style to try and minimize this issue? “Mexico’s been a tough one for us since our first year back in 2016. We’re just going to keep working on it and keep trying to improve our results there. It’s going to be a challenge. Obviously, the altitude is the same for everyone, but it looks like it’s impacted us quite a fair bit in the past. Maybe this year we’ll have a better understanding and we can get everything to work. Let’s see where we can go. We know it’s going to be a challenge. It’s always been our hardest track, but we’re ready for that challenge. Anything we can learn, we’ll take it.” The Mexican Grand Prix is back-to-back with the following weekend’s United States Grand Prix. What will you
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