2019 French Grand Prix – Advance
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.”