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APRIL 29th 2018 – AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX

2018/04/29 13:10:00

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Azerbaijan GP 2018 – Advance

23 April 2018
You’ve had the pace this season, but not the results. Does knowing the capability of the car and team allow you to persevere and look ahead to the next race because it provides the next opportunity to get the results you want? “Yes. I think the car is really good, and the team has done a good job. We haven’t had much luck yet. We’ve had three races where we were looking at points, and three times where we haven’t scored. Knowing that we’ve got a good baseline and a good car is very exciting. I know it’s going to come our way at some point. Hopefully, that’s going to be in Baku.” The Haas VF-18 has proven quick, thanks in part to its Ferrari engine and also to its overall balance. What are your expectations of the car at Baku City Circuit, which melds two different tracks into one layout? “Baku is definitely a different circuit from the rest. There’s that massive long straight line – where top speed plays a key role – and then you’ve got the very twisty part around the castle, where the balance needs to be good. It’s going to be a good challenge. It’s not a race where we were very competitive last year. It’ll be interesting to see how much progress we’ve made. It’s a really exciting grand prix – a lot can happen. There are always good opportunities, so we’ll try to get them there.” Three races into 2018 and we’ve seen two Scuderia Ferrari wins and one Red Bull win with defending champion Mercedes still looking for a win. It seems there’s parity among the big-three teams, as well as throughout the midfield. What is your take on the competitiveness of this year’s Formula One field? “I think this year it’s been pretty good. There’s a nice battle at the front, then there’s quite a significant gap, then there’s the midfield battle, where one race it’s the Renault that’s the fastest, the next one it’s a Toro Rosso, another race it’s the Haas or maybe the McLaren. That makes it super exciting. We need to get everything super right – down to the last tenths of a second – to be qualifying in front of the others and race from there. It’s pretty exciting. Obviously, the front is a different situation, where Mercedes hasn’t won yet, but they’re still up there fighting really hard.” It appears that the fight for the top of the midfield is wide open. Can Haas F1 Team be best of the rest? “I’m hoping so. We’re working on that. If we do achieve that at the end of the season, it would be amazing.” What needs to happen for Haas F1 Team to maintain the speed it has shown early in the season through the rest of the Formula One calendar? “It’s development of the car, bringing updates, and making sure we exploit the platform 100 percent as much as we can. That’s really what

Chinese GP 2018 – Review

16 April 2018
“We made a ballsy strategy going on the ultrasofts to mediums. Unfortunately, the misfortune kept going with me because I knew from the safety car in the middle of the race – when I was on the very long stint on the medium – we were not going to pit. I knew it would be very difficult at the restart, and it was. I tried to hang on to P11 as long as I could but, eventually, the two Force Indias passed me. We came in for another set of ultrasofts for the last 10 laps. They were encouraging as there was very low degradation, and the car felt really good. I knew things were going to be very difficult at the safety car, though.”

Chinese GP 2018 – Advance

10 April 2018
Finding and then holding onto the tires’ proper operating window proved a challenge last year. How has it been so far this year? “It’s still a challenge and it’s still really what makes the car go fast or not. We put a lot of effort into that, and we’ve got some good people helping us to make sure we do that right.” For the first time in recent memory, Pirelli isn’t bringing a sequential set of tire compounds. There’s a jump between the Yellow soft tire and the Purple ultrasoft, with the Red supersoft not a part of Pirelli’s lineup. How drastic is the difference between the soft and ultrasoft, and will you miss that gradual change between compounds? “I guess it’s going to open strategies, especially if there’s quite a lot of degradation on the ultrasofts. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do. In China, the weather can be challenging – it can be cold or hot. A lot will depend on that.” Overtaking, or a lack thereof, has been a topic of late. What would you like to see happen to encourage more overtaking during a race? “I think that’s something Formula One is working on. Clearly, it’s not easy to overtake, but we know that Melbourne’s one of the trickiest circuits to overtake on. I don’t think we need to jump to conclusions. We can wait a few races to see how it goes.” Are expanding the DRS zones one way to increase overtaking opportunities? What are the pros and cons to that? “There are no cons, only pros. You just go faster in a straight line, and yes, it’s a way to do it, clearly.” When you’re behind another car, what does the “dirty air” or turbulence from that car do to your car? How does it affect the feel of your racecar? “You lose downforce, as if you have a smaller wing on your car. You slide more, and when you slide more, the tires overheat. When that happens, the grip goes even more, which means you slide even more. It’s a cycle. That’s basically what’s happening. Normally, you lose a bit more of front end than rear end. Generally, it just feels like you’re on a lighter downforce package.” So, after talking about operating windows for your tires and DRS zones for overtaking, how does Shanghai shape up in terms of finding the right tire balance and being able to overtake? “Overtaking in China is always pretty good – it’s always exciting. The balance is really difficult to find because there’s a lot of demands on the front tires, which makes it tricky. One of the main concerns is trying to find a way to get the best from the front tires.” In six career Formula One races at Shanghai International Circuit, you’ve had three point-paying finishes and all of them came from a top-10 starting spot. It shows how important qualifying is, but it also seems to showcase your talents. Is

Bahrain GP 2018 – Review

9 April 2018
“It was always going to be difficult starting from the back of the grid. I didn’t really have a good first lap, but after that I came back through the field quite nicely. If I hadn’t lost my bargeboard I’d have finished potentially seventh or eighth. That was a problem – losing parts as we’re just running on track. On those two laps, the car was absolutely undriveable. We had to pit to remove the part, so that was the end of the story.”

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