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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.”

2019 French Grand Prix – Advance

17 June 2019
We’re now a third of the way through the 2019 season. Can you provide an assessment of where Rich Energy Haas F1 Team stands in relation to your goals and where it stands in relation to its counterparts? “I think it’s been an interesting year – not the one we were hoping for at the beginning. We’ve got a very good car. We’ve had some very good races, but we’ve also had some bad luck and a car that’s been very complicated to use sometimes. So, our performance has been a bit up and down, which is not what we were looking for after last year where we were very consistent. We’re working really hard trying to understand that and to get the best from the VF-19.” The team’s last series of upgrades to its Haas VF-19s came in early May at the Spanish Grand Prix. How have they performed, or after competing at back-to-back city circuits in Monaco and Montreal, will France be a truer test of how the upgrades are performing? “The upgrades have worked well from Barcelona onward, and I think they work well everywhere. France will definitely be a circuit where the aerodynamics are more important – more so than Monaco and Montreal – so yes, it will be a good test. Again though, our main focus is getting the whole package working, meaning tires and so on.” You’re coming up on a slate of five races in seven weeks, beginning with back-to-back grands prix in France and Austria. Is this the make-or-break part of the season for teams? “Yes, it’s an important part of the season with a lot of races in a row. It’s five times 25 points to take, which is quite big, so I guess it’s an important part of the season.” Beyond the continued understanding of this year’s Pirelli tire lineup, is there a specific area of improvement you’re targeting in these next few races?  “We just have to keep learning, keep improving and keep getting the relationship with my engineers better and better. It’s only seven races we’ve done together as a new group. Obviously, when the tires are working things are smooth and easy, but when they’re not, things are very complicated.” The French Grand Prix is your home grand prix, and last year was the first time you actually had a home grand prix. What was that like and how will that experience help shape your routine for this year’s race? “Last year was a very good experience. I really enjoyed my time at Le Castellet and the support from the fans. I’m looking forward to this year again. I’m hoping for a better result, as last year was not the race I wanted. So, let’s hope it’s a good weekend, a good race, make sure we don’t spend too much energy outside the track, but on the other hand, I want to share a lot with the fans.”

Canadian Grand Prix 2019 – Advance

2 June 2019
You trialed the latest Ferrari engine in Monaco. How did it perform and what are your expectations for it as you prepare for a more power-sensitive track in Circuit Gilles Villeneuve? “In Monaco, it’s very difficult to know what your engine’s doing, or what the power difference is, so I’m really looking forward to driving in Canada. I believe it’s a good step, and that should be clear in Montreal.” The tire compounds you ran in Monaco will be the same for Montreal. Considering these three compounds are the softest available from Pirelli, will they allow you to extract the kind of performance you want out of them, as the team has historically been able to make the C3, C4 and C5 compounds work? “We did really well in Monaco, and I didn’t know what to expect in getting the tires to work. Obviously, we got them to work very nicely, and performing really well in qualifying with Kevin, and managing 51 laps on the softs in the race on my side – which was pretty amazing. We had a really good pace. So, I believe it’s going to be OK. We need to wait and see, but I’ve got hope that we’re going to get them to work.” Rich Energy Haas F1 Team is coming off back-to-back points-paying finishes with its runs at Barcelona and Monaco. After struggling in Bahrain, China and Baku, do you feel you have a handle on what you need to marry the characteristics of the Haas VF-19 with the Pirelli tires to get the best out of both? “Now we’ve got a clear idea of what we need to do in terms of tires. We’ve been working really hard, so we know exactly where the window is. Now the question is how to bring the tires into that window. I think we’re getting better and better at that. Things should get a bit smoother, and I still believe we’ve got the fourth-fastest car on the track.” Qualifying remains Rich Energy Haas F1 Team’s strong suit. Considering how tight the midfield is again this year, is qualifying perhaps even more important than the actual race since it has so much influence in the outcome of the race? “Well, it really depends on the circuit. In Monaco, definitely, qualifying is key, but in Canada and other tracks, it’s a bit less important. Obviously, the higher up the grid you are, the better it is, but the race can always bring a good surprise if you haven’t qualified where you want.” Only four points separate fifth place from ninth place in the constructors’ standings. Can you provide some insight into the level of competitiveness in the midfield this year through the opening six races of 2019 and how you see it playing out through the summer stretch? “The midfield this year is super, super tight. Three tenths of a second in qualifying can put you in P6 or P7 or even P15. It’s very exciting. It’s a
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