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2020 Styrian Grand Prix – Preview

8 July 2020
How was it adapting to the new working environment and off-track structure in what was a very different Formula One event at the Austrian Grand Prix last weekend? “Somehow it was different, yes, the atmosphere was not the same, but on the other hand, everything else was the same as we were focused on working with the engineers trying to find the best set-up on the car. Similar and different at the same time.” What positives can be gleaned from last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix and how do you personally reset mentally ahead of the next race? “Our Friday long-run pace was good. It was in line with some of our competitors who finished in the top 10. We need to understand exactly what happened and why we couldn’t repeat that on Sunday. We just need to ensure that a positive Friday translates into Sunday when it counts.” Is it a benefit that we head straight into another race weekend, giving an immediate opportunity to try new things, or would you have preferred more time to digest the data from the Austrian Grand Prix? “Yes, I think it’s great that we can try new things. We’re eager to try different things on the car and to see how we can improve. It’s great that we’ve got a lot of races coming. We’ll keep improving and keep getting better at it.” We’ve seen a glimpse of the 2020 pecking order – was there anything that caught your eye, and do you expect the same teams to be in similar positions? “I think for the next race – yes, the pecking order will be the same. McLaren was the one that surprised me, they did a good job. We may see something different in Budapest, and maybe at Silverstone again. Two races at the same track, we may see the same order, with more races at different tracks things could change.”

2020 Austrian Grand Prix – Preview

29 June 2020
Looking at the positives of the unexpected time away from racing you’ve experienced, what stands out for you personally? “Obviously the time spent with my wife and my kids, that’s been great spending so much time together. I also launched my esports team and started racing on the simulator for fun – it’s been a lot of fun.” There’s been a lot of talk about ‘preparedness’ with regards to the Austrian Grand Prix. Where do you stand on how ready you are to get back behind the wheel and compete – both mentally and physically? “I think physically I’m better than I’ve ever been. Obviously, the neck is the hard one to keep going. Mentally I’m also very much ready. I’m very eager to go racing. We haven’t had the chance to drive our car like some of the other teams, but I don’t think that will be an issue when we get back to racing in Austria.” Do you feel back-to-back races at the Red Bull Ring provides a valuable opportunity to benchmark the performance of the VF-20? “No, because it’s only one race track and one layout – a particular one too at the Red Bull Ring. I don’t think we can assess how the car behaves after the two races in Austria. I do hope it’s going to be working well there so we can start our season on a high.” How much of a buzz do you get from the fans on a Grand Prix weekend and how do you try and replicate that acknowledging that we head into a period of ‘closed-door’ races without fans on-site? “It’s going to be very different. We’re going to miss the support of the fans and miss seeing them in the grandstands. We’ll miss the enthusiastic atmosphere they bring to a weekend. It’ll be strange, it’ll be different, but everyone will adjust and get used to it. We’re going racing, which is important for everyone, so then hopefully we can open the doors to the public very soon and get back to normal.”

2020 Australian Grand Prix – Preview

9 March 2020
Reflecting on testing, and the fact it was two days shorter than previous years, what was the impact of that condensed running on your test preparations? “I thought it was both interesting and exciting. We had a lot of laps to do in a short amount of time. On my first day of testing I did 158 laps of driving and I certainly felt it in my body a little bit. It’s also good after the winter to get a lot of mileage done. I did enjoy the condensed element.” How much input do you as a driver have in setting the test-plan for each day and does that evolve over the pre-season test based on your time accumulated in the new car? “First of all, we have to discover the new car. We have to try to see what the positives and negatives are. Then we work on the test program. Obviously, it’s going to evolve a little bit over the running days, subject to any issues we have and the time of any changes, as well as how much running we want to do. It’s really a team effort between the engineers and the drivers to see what the best thing is to do and what we want to test to be ready for the season.” The Australian Grand Prix hasn’t rewarded you particularly well over the years – the notable exceptions being 2016 and an incredible sixth place finish on Haas F1 Team’s debut, along with five top 10 qualifying starts. What are your thoughts on the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit and why the race has produced mixed results for you over the years? “I love the Albert Park circuit and I love Australia and the city of Melbourne. To me it’s one of the best races of the season. I’m happy to go down to Australia every year. I’ve had some good qualifying sessions there, I’ve always been pretty much in the top 10, with a couple of exceptions. The races, yes, my luck hasn’t been good in Australia. I’ve got the feeling things will be different this year and I’m looking forward to it.” Melbourne is celebrating its 25th anniversary as a Formula One venue – what’s your first memory of watching Formula One in Melbourne, and other than your own personal highlights there, what other moments in Formula One stand out for you from Melbourne’s heritage? “I don’t remember a lot of races from Melbourne, I guess because of the time difference when I was younger. I do remember, I think it was Sebastien Bourdais’ debut, every car was dropping out and he got into the top six. He didn’t even finish the race, he retired something like two laps from the end but was still classified in seventh. Australia in the past has always been quite entertaining because cars were having issues and the reliability was not as good as it is today. There were always a lot of retirements and so you

2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Preview

25 November 2019
Abu Dhabi is the season finale, and it’s also the finale of Haas F1 Team’s fourth year. It’s been a tumultuous one, but as the adage goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. With the adversity the team has faced this season, do you actually feel stronger going into 2020 because of how this year’s experiences have forced the team to adapt and troubleshoot? “Yes, the team is getting stronger year on year. Obviously, we had three years where we improved each season. This year – our fourth – it’s been a disappointing season in terms of performance. That doesn’t mean that all the work we’ve done behind the scenes isn’t great. As I’ve said many times, the team has been working very well and we’ve got the maximum, if not more than the maximum, of the car most of the time. We need to see the positives, and that’s that we’ve gotten stronger. We’ve been able to analyze more and we’ve been able to get ready for 2020.” Did this year produce a silver lining in relation to next year in that when it comes to car development, you know which direction not to go in 2020 and that you’re also part of a team that is a little more battle-tested? “Yes, I think this year was positive in that we’ve learned where not to go. We’ve learned what we need to look for. We’ve learned that communication needs to be key. This year, the feeling was that from Barcelona, things obviously didn’t go as expected. Maybe if we’d reacted earlier, things could have been different. That’s something we’ve learned this year and, as I’ve said, that’s the first time we’ve been in this situation. It’s not easy to adjust and to know what to do, but now we’re much better prepared for the future. I’m very much looking forward to 2020.” What is the first thing you’ll do to begin the offseason? “I’m going on holiday with my wife. We haven’t had the chance to spend as much time together as we’d have liked. Then after our holiday, we’re into Christmas with the kids and so on. We’ll be spending two weeks off with them and making sure they get the time back from their daddy ,which they didn’t get with all the traveling we have.” When it comes to your physical training, do you take a little break during the offseason or is the offseason a time where you ramp it up? “I like to ramp it up, to push it hard. Obviously, knowing your body is very important, and you know that rest is part of training. So, I will take some rest, but I love training and I love activity in the winter. I go cross-country skiing, hit the skating rink, I train on the bike and in the gym. I work on getting fit for the new season, making sure I’ve not left anything on the side when it comes to being ready
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