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Chinese Grand Prix 2019 – Advance

8 April 2019
One thousand grands prix – that’s quite a number. From May 1950 at Silverstone to April 2019 in China, Formula One has seen an incredible transformation. What’s it like to be a part of this sport and a participant in such a milestone event? It’s great. I’ve been following Formula One for a long time – not since the 50s, obviously – but I’ve been in love with the sport since the early 90s. Reaching 1,000 races for Formula One is very impressive. When they started, I’m sure they didn’t think it would come this far. It’s pretty impressive. It’s going to be a great grand prix in China. I’m looking forward to the event and, hopefully, some good luck. What was it about Formula One that first made you a fan of the sport, and how old were you when you began following Formula One? I was around seven years old when I really began to follow Formula One. I was watching Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna racing. It was great to watch. My dad was passionate about racing cars, but as soon as I saw it, I fell in love with the sport. It was the look of the cars, the sounds, the speed – I loved all of it. When did you transition to just being a fan of the sport to wanting to actually be a part of the sport? For a long time in my career, I was driving because I loved it. It was more for fun than thinking, ‘I would make it to Formula One.’ When I won the GP2 Asia Series, that’s when I thought, ‘Well, why not?’ If I could win GP2, which was just one step below Formula One, I knew there could be a good chance there. That’s really when I realized I could make it to Formula One and have a chance. There are only 10 teams and there are only 20 drivers. How hard is it to stay in Formula One? It’s a tough sport. You need to be on top of your game every year. There are youngsters winning Formula Two every year, and they want to step up to Formula One. Experience is not something you can buy, which is great when you have some. It’s one of the most unique jobs in the world. Rich Energy Haas F1 Team is still the youngest team in Formula One, and the Chinese Grand Prix marks just its 65th grand prix. Yet in just four years, the team is battling at the top of the midfield with the Formula One establishment that has decades more experience. How are you doing it? The team is doing really well. I remember from day one when we started, I thought we were up to speed. Now from where we are, I see we weren’t up to speed at the time. The team’s been growing year-on-year and we’ve established ourselves as a very strong team. Once again, this year we have

Bahrain GP 2019 – Advance

26 March 2019
The speed you displayed in preseason testing carried through in the season opener in Australia. Can that speed carry into Bahrain, a very different track in a very different environment? “That’s something we’re going to find out. I think the car will be ok in Bahrain. We went well there last year, so hopefully it’ll be another good one for us. The big update for everyone will be in Barcelona, where it will be interesting to see more of the pecking order for the season.” How did the car feel throughout the Australian Grand Prix – from practice and qualifying and on into the race? “It felt very good. I was very happy with the balance, and very happy with the car we had all weekend long.” The midfield has been tight since Rich Energy Haas F1 Team joined Formula One in 2016. But this year it appears tighter than ever, as evidenced by just a half-second separating the seventh-place car from the 15th-place car in the second round of qualifying in Australia. What is your take on this year’s midfield battle? “I think it’s the right battle for Formula One. It’s super exciting to look at the midfield, where the gap is very tight and you never know who’s going to end up on top.” While Mercedes and Scuderia Ferrari are still firmly ensconced in first and second of the Formula One pecking order, how close do you feel Rich Energy Haas F1 Team is to knocking on the door of third-best Red Bull? “I think we’re a bit further away from Red Bull than we were hoping. I’m afraid the gap could open during the year because of the resources they have. We’ll definitely try to give them as hard a time as we can, to please both Rich Energy and ourselves.” For the second straight year, Rich Energy Haas F1 Team leaves Australia with many pointing to the team as being the best of the midfield. How satisfying is that, especially considering you’ve done it with a different rules package compared to last year? “It’s very good. I’m very happy with the work that’s been done during the winter and very proud of everyone at our bases. They nailed the new rules. We’re happy with our car, happy with what we’ve got and we’re looking forward to the season.” Is there a specific portion of the Bahrain International Circuit that is more challenging than other aspects of the track?  “Turns one and two are pretty challenging. It’s a busy hairpin with big braking. Then you really want to go early on throttle as you’ve got a long straight line. Turn two is always a bit tricky on the rear end.”

Australian GP 2019 – Advance

11 March 2019
Rich Energy Haas F1 Team tested at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya for eight days over a 12-day span. How did it go and how did it prepare you for Australia? “It went very well. The most important thing was to get a good feeling in the car early on. When you get that good feeling, you know the car is well born. That’s important to start the season – to be able to start on a high. It went well. Reliability, we had a few issues, but we’ve been working well to sort them out. I believe we’re now ready to attack the first race in Australia. Obviously, there’s always more and more you want to do, but then it’s becoming circuit-specific. Now it’s about getting the baseline setup in Melbourne and then fine tuning for Bahrain, China and so on.” Did testing provide a glimpse of where Rich Energy Haas F1 Team stacks up to the competition, or will it only be known after a handful of races? “I think we’ve got a first idea, but it’s really difficult to read too much into it. I’d rather wait for the first few races to know where we are.” How would you describe the VF-19, especially in comparison to last year’s car? “It’s very sexy. It’s a beautiful car. It handles very well. The feeling in the car is better than it was last year. I think the team has done a really good job on its understanding of the new front wing and getting ready for the season to start. I’m really looking forward to driving the car on different kinds of circuits.” The new rules package essentially consists of simplified front and rear wings and less intricate, repositioned bargeboards – all of which were done to minimize a car’s aero wake and promote passing. After two weeks of testing, do you feel we’ll see more passing this season and, specifically, more passing in the Australian Grand Prix? “I don’t know. I haven’t had the chance to follow another car yet. The Australian Grand Prix is always a race where there’s very little overtaking. It’s just the nature of the circuit. It’s such a great grand prix, it almost doesn’t matter. Kevin (Magnussen) was very enthusiastic when he followed another car, but I haven’t had that chance. The only thing I noticed is when you don’t use the DRS, you feel very slow on the straight compared to when you do use it. Therefore, we could see a fair bit of overtaking with DRS. Again, we’ll need to wait and see.” Rich Energy Haas F1 Team’s debut in the 2016 Australian Grand Prix was pretty remarkable, with your sixth-place finish the best debut for any Formula One team since 2002 when Mika Salo finished sixth for Toyota, also at the Australian Grand Prix. Can you describe that moment and what it meant for you and the team?  “It meant a lot. It was a result we were clearly

Romain Grosjean’s Soccer Coin partnership unique in F1

15 February 2019
Rich Energy Haas F1 Team driver Romain Grosjean’s new partnership with cryptocurrency firm Soccer Coin is the first of its kind in Formula One. Not only is the Frenchman the first F1 driver to endorse a cryptocurrency, but the deal has been administered entirely using Soccer Coin’s virtual currency. The idea to introduce cutting-edge finance technology to Formula One appealed to Romain, who worked as a banker in Geneva to support his early racing career. “I enjoyed my time in the bank and I’ve followed the markets and taken a keen interest in what’s going on ever since. I have followed cryptocurrency for a long time and I am a big fan of it,” Romain explained. Romain will race with the Soccer Coin logo on his Bell helmet in 2019 after being convinced by the firm’s vision for a new type of digital transaction network. “As soon as I spoke to Soccer Coin, we were very quickly on the same page. I love the thought of being able to use cryptocurrency to buy football tickets, to exchange your seat, to buy merchandise or drinks, basically everything, without having to use your wallet. “For now the focus is soccer. But I believe there are big opportunities in other sports and places where the product can be used more generally. “It’s a challenging time for financial markets and cryptocurrency too, but I love the concept. I thought it was cool and I wanted to be the first driver in Formula One to have a partnership of this type. “I’m fully happy to be paid in cryptocurrency. That wasn’t a problem for me because it shows I am confident about it and I believe in the project. I look forward to working together with Soccer Coin to help make this a next-generation thing.” Launched in 2018, Soccer Coin is a digital infrastructure for the exchange and storage of data, allowing fast transactions. Beyond applications in soccer, it’s a product with the potential to benefit all areas of sport, from national and club level, as well as to support welfare and environmental projects. Soccer Coin founder and CEO Andreas Heigl said: “We are delighted to have the support of Romain as we begin a crucial year in the development of Soccer Coin. Together we aim to take soccer to the next millennium with a new crypto-payment system that is global, fast, secure and unique. “Romain understands the possibilities in this field and his natural enthusiasm for the concept makes him the perfect partner as we develop the next phase of the project.” Soccer Coin joins Richard Mille, Christian Roth, Seier Capital and Bell Helmets as partners of Romain Grosjean in 2019. For more information about Soccer Coin, visit soccer-coin.com.
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