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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

Monaco Grand Prix 2019 – Advance

20 May 2019
Barcelona delivered Rich Energy Haas F1 Team’s first double-points finish of the season and its eighth since joining Formula One in 2016. Scoring points is always good, but how much of a shot in the arm was it for the team to have a strong weekend from beginning to end that yielded some tangible results? “I think it was good. The car felt good from FP1, and that’s important. The first free practice always gives you the first clear idea of how the weekend is going to go. It went really well in Barcelona. We were happy with that, and we could get the tires to work nicely. In the race, the pace was pretty good. I think at one point we were faster than a Red Bull, which is very good for us. Obviously, the safety car didn’t help us, but the car felt really good.” You were able to sample all of the upgrades for the Haas VF-19 from the opening practice of the Spanish Grand Prix on Friday right through to the checkered flag on Sunday. How much of a difference did these upgrades make, and how impactful were they in achieving your first points-paying performance of the season? “The upgrades worked great because our pace was very close to that of Red Bull. That’s amazing. I still believe without the upgrade we would have finished seventh, but maybe not so close to the top teams because our main issue since the start of the year has been getting the tires to work, and we did that in Barcelona. That’s where the performance came from.” Getting the tires into the proper operating window and then keeping those tires in that operating window had been the team’s challenge prior to the Spanish Grand Prix, but that didn’t seem to be a problem in Barcelona. What made the difference? “I guess the difference was made by the track layout and the energy going into the tires with the high-speed corners, and the higher track temperatures really helped us. We know where we need to get. We know our windows are correct, but now it’s a question of how do we get them into the window at every race.” Can what you learned about the Haas VF-19 and its relation to its tires carry over to Monaco? “It’s a good question. I think the team’s going to keep working hard in the background and make sure we get the tires into the window in Monaco. If that’s the case, we’re going to be very competitive again.” Rich Energy Haas F1 Team has proven strong in qualifying this year, placing both its cars into the final round of knockout qualifying in all but one race this year. Knowing how important qualifying is at Monaco, is that the team’s best asset to secure another points-paying performance? “Yes, definitely. In Monaco you want to be in the top-10. You want to be as high as you can on the grid to be able

Spanish Grand Prix 2019 – Advance

7 May 2019
How important is it for Rich Energy Haas F1 Team to put a complete race weekend together at Barcelona, where the speed its shown since testing is carried through practice, qualifying and the race so that you achieve your ultimate goal of scoring points? “Well, it’s always very important, but at the minute the most important thing for us is to get the race pace back. We need to get the car where it should be. The last three weekends haven’t been good for us. The car’s got a lot more potential than we’ve been able to extract. The most important element is not the result. It’s to understand how to make the car go faster.” How helpful is it to go back to Barcelona where Rich Energy Haas F1 Team has the most data of any track in Formula One simply because you spent two weeks testing there before the season even started? “It’s important to go back to Barcelona because it’s our first European race and we’re bringing big updates on the car. It’s a track with high energy, so I’m not too worried about getting the tires to work, in theory. It’s interesting, as we definitely got them to work in winter testing, going back there and seeing if we can still get them to work will be a good test, because we know the car should be fast there.” Does Barcelona allow teams to reassess where they stand because of what they learned in preseason testing and how it’s translated to the first four races? “Yes, but you also know everyone’s going to bring big updates, so it’s almost like everyone’s going to have a B-car, therefore the standings could be a bit different. I think it’s important that our updates go in the right direction. It’s important, as we know what we can do there. We’ll see if we can repeat that and understand where our race pace has gone.” Barcelona was repaved prior to last year’s preseason test. How has the new surface evolved and what are your expectations for your return to the track in much warmer conditions, specifically in regard to tire management? “I have no expectations. We’ll see what’s coming. Normally, the first feedback is quite accurate, so I’m hoping it’s a good one, but I go with no expectation.” What are you feeling inside the racecar when you’re unable to get the tires into their proper working range? Is it a combination of an actual lack of grip and also a lack of confidence in what you can expect from the tires? “It’s a lack of grip and a lack of consistency. The latter makes it so that you can’t have any confidence because you can’t push the tire to its limit. If you do go above the limit, which is very low, it’s a big lock-up or you go off the track. If the tires don’t work, the car can be as good as you want, but it’s just
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