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2019/12/01 14:10:00

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 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

2019 Japanese Grand Prix – Preview

7 October 2019
Even though your race result in Sochi was suboptimal, you had a good weekend with pace throughout practice and qualifying. Can the momentum and key learnings from Sochi be applied at Suzuka? “Yes, I think so. I mean, we will keep working hard, keep trying to improve the car, learn as much as we can, and do the best job that we can. Suzuka is a great circuit and we’ve always been quite competitive there. I’m hoping it’ll be the same again this year.” How helpful was the team’s speed in Sochi for company morale, where the effort that’s been put forth throughout the summer finally paid some dividends? “It was great that we were competitive all weekend. The car felt good from FP1, which usually gives you a clear representation. Obviously, it was then painful to watch the race from hospitality, but it was really good to see that Kevin was managing to keep some fast cars behind with good pace. It was good.” You’ve been quoted as saying that Suzuka is your most favorite track in the world. Why? “It’s probably in the nature of the circuit. It’s high speed – there’s no room for mistakes – which is becoming more and more rare nowadays with the new circuits. There’s elevation to go with that speed, and it’s just a different shape from all the other tracks being a figure-eight with the bridge and the tunnel.” Beyond the racetrack, what is most often talked about at Suzuka is the passion its fans have. Can you describe the atmosphere at the track and the fervency Japanese fans have for Formula One? “Japanese fans absolutely love Formula One. It’s probably one of the only races on the calendar where you see the grandstands full from Thursday onward. Their passion for Formula One is huge, and they have a huge respect for it. It’s very special to see. You can tell it’s a big event when we go there.” When you leave Japan you’ll be gearing up for Haas F1 Team’s home race – the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. Where do you want Haas F1 Team to be heading into that event? “It’s going to be good. It’s always a race we’re looking forward to. Obviously, it’s a busy week in Austin with a lot to do, but it’s always a good weekend. Let’s hope the car is competitive there. We haven’t been very successful in Austin in recent years, but I’m hoping that this year it’s going to be better and that we can have a good race. We want to show the fans we can do the job.”
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