2019 German Grand Prix – Advance
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 racing and more racing, not just a couple of teams dominating the whole field. That’s something I can share. It’s quite obvious. It’s definitely something drivers want to push forward.”