Recent Formula 1 races have brought much talk about track limits and track design. Do you feel there should be more consultation with drivers on such topics?
“Yes, I think so. I think track design is very important for the show, and to the drivers and fans. Obviously, some tracks have been absolutely amazing while others have been a little less attractive as such. I think maybe there could be a way where we all work together and make sure that things could get better. We’ve seen tracks like Mugello which are absolutely amazing, where it’s a bit old style, and I think there’s merit to look at those circuits for reference.”
The Nürburgring, while new to some of the field, is a track you’re familiar with – notably for your third-place podium finish at the 2013 German Grand Prix. Is real-world track experience an advantage in this day-and-age of simulators, and if yes, how specifically?
“To be fair, 2013 was a very long time ago, so I’m not really sure that’s an advantage. I don’t really remember the track more than that. So, obviously it’s going to be a bit of challenge to learn it. I haven’t had the chance to do it on the simulator. I’ll just have to go with my memory. I know it’s a mega track. The biggest challenge there will be the weather.”
Going back to that 2013 German Grand Prix – was it a case of job well done coming away with a trophy or is it a case of what might have been in terms of challenging for the win that day?
“I was very happy with my weekend, but I should have won the race. It was pretty clear I was going to win the race until the safety car. Yes, a podium finish is always mega, but missing out on the win was a big thing – I really had a big lead. No hard feelings though, it was a good race on a great track, and obviously a podium in Formula 1 is always super good.”
Describe a lap of the Nürburgring and what the highlights will be there in terms of hustling a modern-spec Formula 1 car around it.
“I think the biggest challenge in a modern Formula 1 car will be sector one, because of the weight of the car and the camber and so on. The first hairpin, there’s that big drop at the apex, then turn three is a long corner combined with turn four. It’s obviously hard on the tires. The second sector is much more flowing with mid to high-speed corners. The bottom hairpin, which actually looks like a bulb, it’s really mega going up flat-out. The last two corners are very important for lap time, with the chicane and final turn, it’s quite open and quite wild. I think it’s going to be a pretty cool place to go racing.”