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2019 Hungarian GP – Advance

30 July 2019
What are your expectations for Hungary? Does the tighter track pose more of a challenge for Rich Energy Haas F1 Team or can it benefit the Haas VF-19? “We don’t really know how it’s going to go. We take everything race-by-race at the moment. For now, we’re in an experimental time as the car has been quite tricky to understand. At some tracks where we thought we’d do well, we did not, and other tracks where we thought it was going to be a bit more tricky, things actually worked better. So, let’s just go race-by-race. Hungary is one of my favorite races of the year. I love the fans there, I love the circuit, the atmosphere, and it’s always the summer. It’s right before our summer break, so you know you can really go flat-out then recharge your batteries. I’m looking forward to going there.” A lot of grip, a lot of braking and a lot of high-energy demands all conspire against tires at the Hungaroring.  What do you need to do to manage the tires and get the most out of them? “They don’t get much rest in Budapest, that’s for sure. There aren’t many high-speed corners, which doesn’t put too much energy into them, but there’s no rest either, and temperatures can be really high. It’s a good challenge on tires, and getting them to work nicely in the window.” You’re constantly turning the wheel at the Hungaroring and with the slower speeds, very little air flows into the car. Combined with the normally high temperatures experienced in Budapest, how physically demanding is the Hungarian Grand Prix? “It’s a tough grand prix because of the heat and a lack of straight lines. There’s a lot of action behind the steering wheel. The g-forces aren’t as high as they can be at some other places, but it’s a tough grand prix. I like the challenge.” In seven career Formula One starts at the Hungaroring you’ve finished in the top-10 four times, with a best finish of third in your first race there in 2012. What makes it such a good track for you? “I’ve always enjoyed the Hungaroring. I was on the front row in 2012 also, my best grid start ever. Obviously, in Formula One you rely a lot on the car, so I guess I must’ve had some good cars there. I also scored my first pole position in GP2 there in 2008. I’ve always had a good feeling there, and I’ve always enjoyed driving there.” Considering the amount of work the team has put into sorting the Haas VF-19s finicky nature, how important is the shutdown for Rich Energy Haas F1 Team personnel to take a break and come back refreshed for the final nine races of the season? “I think for everyone it’s important. It doesn’t matter if you’re leading or fighting, it’s draining. We’ve been racing now for four months, every other week, so everyone needs a bit of a rest. Summer break

2019 German Grand Prix – Advance

23 July 2019
You went back to the Melbourne aero spec at Silverstone and you’ll run it again at the Hockenheimring. What did you learn from reverting back to that aero package and how did it compare to the aero spec you ran in Austria? “It was a good test to do. It was a tough call from the team, but a good test. When we brought the upgrade in Barcelona, I wanted to revert back on the Friday evening. For me, the feeling was not so good from the rear end, especially through medium- and high-speed corners. The feeling hasn’t been good in those corners since then. Going back to the Melbourne package, the car felt a lot better in those regions. It shows that something was not working as expected. Now the aero guys are looking into it, but we know it’s been our weakness. Obviously, that launch package has some limitations also. It has less downforce, but it has better stability.” Last year’s German Grand Prix proved to be a breakthrough race for you as you finished sixth and rattled off two more top-10 finishes afterward – and three more if you count the original outcome from the Italian Grand Prix. How helpful can just one positive result be in securing better finishes? “It doesn’t change much, to be fair. I go to Hockenheim with the same objective as always. I’m always trying to do my best, get a good race and be proud of what you’ve done. If it’s a top-10, great. But if it’s not, you’ve given your maximum.” The subject of bringing back refueling during Formula One races has seemingly gained some more momentum as FIA president Jean Todt has recommended it as a way to potentially improve the racing. What are your thoughts on refueling and how would it affect what you do behind the wheel, specifically as the car stays relatively light since it never really runs a heavy fuel load? “I am for refueling, I think it’s a positive to get the car faster and lighter. It makes it more demanding on the drivers. I believe also it could open some strategy. Driving a heavy car is not amazing. If we have lighter cars due to refueling, it’ll be better and also easier on the tires.” As GPDA (Grand Prix Drivers’ Association) director you’ll represent the drivers at the next meeting between the FIA, Formula One and teams as regulations for the 2021 season are discussed. Do you bring multiple insights to the table or do you look to gather a consensus opinion from your counterparts to present at the meeting? “We have an agenda as the GPDA. We have points we want to move forward. We’re very clear and all the drivers are involved. We’ll bring those points forward and answer as many questions as we can.” Is there anything specific pertaining to the 2021 regulations that you would like to see enacted? “There’s a wish from all the drivers to see better

2019 British Grand Prix – Advance

8 July 2019
The season has been a challenging one for the team, especially these last two races. Is the challenge with the car replicating the issues you’ve endured, or is it a matter of just finding a consistent form from practice to qualifying to the race? “We haven’t really had a good weekend, in total, for a long time. Our race pace in Friday practice these last few weekends hasn’t really been amazing. Unfortunately, things then get confirmed in the race. The thing is to have a car that’s fast in the qualifying sim and on the long runs so we have something we can work with going into the race and feel confident. That hasn’t been the case in the last two races, and every time we’ve gone into a race, I’ve had the feeling that it’s going to be complicated and, unfortunately, it has been.” Despite the results, a massive amount of time and energy is being invested by team personnel into finding a solution to better the car’s performance. As one of the main faces of the team, is one of your roles beyond driving keeping the team motivated and focused as all of you prepare for the British Grand Prix? “Yes, very much. Everyone is working very hard. Obviously, it’s not a situation that anyone’s happy with. We want to make it better, we want to do better. So yes, everyone is motivated. We’re all working together. We’re all a part of it, from drivers and engineers to the mechanics and the team principal. It’s the first time in four years we’ve found ourselves in this situation, but it happens to every single team. We will get there.” Silverstone is one of the fastest tracks in Formula One, but it’s not necessarily from long straights but rather from long, flowing corners. Can you describe the feeling of speed you experience at this power circuit? “It’s definitely a really beautiful lap around Silverstone. There are a lot of corners, which were corners in the past but are now kind of straight line, at least in qualifying – turns one, nine, 10, 11 and 12. They’re super high-speed, really enjoyable. It’s always tricky to really explain the feeling we get. You’re just feeling the g-forces and the downforce. You’re being completely compressed into the seat to take the corner. Knowing the car can do it is just amazing.” The British Grand Prix is a home race for the majority of the Formula One industry, yet its future at Silverstone remains a bit uncertain. Whether it is from a historical perspective or a logistical one, do you view Silverstone as one of those iconic Formula One venues that needs to remain on the schedule? “Yes, I think Silverstone’s a great track. It’s got a lot of history. I would love to see it remain on the calendar. Obviously, I don’t decide, but it’s one of the races you enjoy going to, with good fans. It’s a beautiful event.”

2019 Austrian Grand Prix – Advance

25 June 2019
How helpful is it to have back-to-back grands prix where the same tire compounds are being used? More specifically, is there carryover in tire data between France and Austria since the tires are the same? “Yes, I think so. It’s always good to have consistency in what we use. It will help us to use the previous findings into the next week. When we change that lineup, it’s a bit harder.” Does the Red Bull Ring’s quick yet compact layout lend itself to getting the tires into their proper operating window and, just as importantly, keeping them in that window? “I won’t say too much. So far things haven’t been amazing, so let’s find out when we go there.” You come into the Red Bull Ring with three straight top-10 finishes in the Austrian Grand Prix, specifically, fourth last year, sixth in 2017 and seventh in 2016. While past performances aren’t always indicative of how you’ll perform in this year’s car, does it at least provide a mental advantage in that you know what you need out of the car to be successful in Austria? “I’ve always enjoyed the Austrian Grand Prix. I’ve always had a good feeling there. I’m looking forward to going back there. I’m hoping the car’s going to work well. It’s a great place with a great atmosphere during the weekend. I’m hoping we can get back in the points.” Rich Energy Haas F1 Team earned its best collective result in last year’s Austrian Grand Prix when you finished fourth and Magnussen finished fifth. It was more than a best-of-the-rest result as you were just one position shy of the podium, and it remains your best finish with the team. How was that result achieved?  “Last year in Austria we were fast from the first timed lap in free practice. The car felt really good over the whole weekend. We even managed to beat a Red Bull in qualifying, which was quite incredible. In the race we were best of the rest, then got a bit lucky with a few cars retiring in front of us. We took advantage of that. It was a good weekend and the car worked really well right from the start, which always makes your life a lot easier.” Your teammate describes the Red Bull Ring as a short, roller-coaster ride. How do you describe it and how are you able to generate such high speeds on such a compact track? “I agree with Kevin’s comments. It’s a very tight, tiny lap – just a minute and four seconds or so. It gives you a good feeling. It’s up and down with good corners. I’ve always enjoyed driving there a lot.”
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