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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.”

2019 Russian Grand Prix – Preview

24 September 2019
Haas F1 Team will run its latest aero spec at Sochi, which is a blend of old and new. Can you explain how the run of car-to-car comparisons over the summer allowed you to get a better understanding of what has been affecting the performance of the Haas VF-19 so that, ideally, you have an improved showing in Sochi? “We’ve brought updates during the year on the car, and those updates haven’t really been working as expected. So, we’re really trying to understand where the correlation from the wind tunnel to the track is. That’s why we’re going to try a different setup, a different aero package on the car, and see if we can actually get a clear understanding and prepare as good as we can for 2020.” While these car-to-car comparisons Haas F1 Team has run in past grands prix are unconventional, it has provided data in real-world conditions. Has this at least helped paint a more accurate picture of why the cars are performing the way they are as opposed to an open test where you can only simulate race conditions?  “Yes, it’s been really good to compare cars in those conditions. The feeling was very much in line with what we’ve seen. So, that has been really good to be able to do.” With Haas F1 Team being one of the smaller teams in Formula One, does this also allow the team to be more nimble and more open to trying things in an effort to improve itself? More specifically, could a big team have tried as many things as Haas F1 Team did in the same period of time or would bureaucracy have gotten in the way? “No, I think generally in Formula One, the bigger you are the more power you’ve got, the more resources you’ve got. It’s great that we can try a few things and, obviously, maybe the decision goes faster, but we’re still a fairly young, small team in comparison to others. Obviously, when we have an issue, because we have less people, it just takes a bit longer to understand and analyze. We’ve seen with Mercedes earlier in the year how quickly they could react to a car that wasn’t well born at the first winter test, then they were super competitive in Melbourne.” Haas F1 Team recently announced that it would retain its driver lineup for 2020. You’ve been with the organization since its debut in 2016 and have had a large hand in its success. When the team as a whole faces the kind of adversity it has this year, is it satisfying to be able to continue to work to find a solution and, ideally, see those efforts pay off next year when you’re back in a racecar that was designed with your feedback? “I started my story with Haas back in 2016. I’ve been there since day one. Obviously, this year’s been a rough year – probably our toughest one since the beginning. It’s good that

Haas F1 Team confirms Grosjean for 2020 season

19 September 2019
Haas F1 Team will enter the 2020 FIA Formula One World Championship fielding a retained driver lineup of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen. Grosjean and Magnussen will be partnered together at the American outfit for a fourth straight year as the team prepares for its fifth season competing in Formula One. Grosjean joined at the inception of the squad in 2016 with Magnussen signing on from 2017. The duo has combined to score a total of 166 points since pairing together in 2017 and last season their joint efforts helped Haas F1 Team to finish fifth overall in the constructors’ championship with 93 points – the Kannapolis-based outfit’s best placing to-date. “Experience, and the need for it, has been one of the cornerstones of Haas F1 Team, and with Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen racing for the team in 2020, we continue to have a driver lineup that offers us a solid platform to continue our growth. Their understanding of how we work as a team, and our knowledge of what they can deliver behind the wheel, gives us a valued continuity and a strong foundation to keep building our team around. It’s been a tough year for us in 2019 with the fluctuation in performance of the VF-19, but our ability to tap into our combined experiences will help us learn, improve, and move forward as a unit in 2020,” said Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team. 2019 has proved to be a testing campaign for Haas F1 Team with Grosjean and Magnussen scoring just 26 points heading into the weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix – the team currently placed ninth in the standings with seven rounds remaining. Their first season together in 2017 saw Grosjean and Magnussen amass 47 points – scoring Haas F1 Team’s first double-points finishes along the way in Monaco and Japan. This allowed the team to equal its eighth-place finish in the championship from its debut season in 2016. Fifth in the points followed in 2018 including the squad’s best overall race finish at the Austrian Grand Prix, with Grosjean taking the checkered flag fourth followed by Magnussen in fifth. Grosjean’s fifth consecutive season with Haas F1 Team in 2020 will also mark the 33-year-old Frenchman’s ninth full-time season competing in Formula One. With 10 career podium finishes to his credit and a veteran of 157 Grand Prix starts, Grosjean scored all 29 points for Haas F1 Team in its inaugural 2016 season and has totaled 102 of the team’s overall points tally of 195. “I’ve always stated that it was my desire to remain with Haas F1 Team and keep building on the team’s accomplishments,” Grosjean said. “Having been here since the very beginning and seen the work both Gene Haas and Guenther Steiner put into the team to make it competitive, I’m naturally very happy to continue to be a part of that. To finish fifth in the constructors’ championship last season in only the team’s third year of competing was something

2019 Singapore Grand Prix – Preview

16 September 2019
What are the challenges of the Marina Bay Street Circuit and how do you overcome them? “The main challenge is that we live by the night, so you don’t get much sunlight. That catches up with you a little bit by the end of the week.” Singapore is one of only three night races on the Formula One schedule, but it’s also the original night race. Do you like competing at night?  “I like it. I think it’s really good fun, and it looks good on the TV footage. Seeing that snake of lights through the city is really cool. In terms of spectating, I think it’s really good. You can enjoy the day in Singapore and then watch the race in the evening.” Because the Singapore Grand Prix is at night, is there a heightened sense of speed? “Not really, it doesn’t change much. The lights are really well done. For us, it’s almost easier to have almost the same light throughout the circuit.” Singapore’s layout forces drivers to run close to the track’s walls for the majority of a lap. While the margin for error is always low in Formula One, is it even lower at Marina Bay Street Circuit? “That’s a definite yes. It’s like Monaco. There are a couple of laps in qualifying where you really push your luck and the limits. The rest of the time you need to respect the circuit.” There are 23 turns at Marina Bay Street Circuit, the most of any Formula One venue. Which ones are the most treacherous and why? “All of them. It’s really a challenging track. There isn’t any particular corner that is harder than any other. They’re really all very challenging.” Between the bumpy track surface and the heat, how physically taxing is the Singapore Grand Prix and what do you do to prepare for it? “It’s definitely the hardest circuit in terms of temperature, heat, concentration and length. The race normally goes to the two-hour time limit. That’s a big challenge with Singapore. I don’t really do anything special to prepare for it. I just keep my routine and try to go there as fresh as I can.”
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