One thousand grands prix – that’s quite a number. From May 1950 at Silverstone to April 2019 in China, Formula One has seen an incredible transformation. What’s it like to be a part of this sport and a participant in such a milestone event?
“It’s great to be part of this sport. It’s been my dream since I was a child. I’m looking forward to celebrating the 1,000th grand prix in China.”
What was it about Formula One that first made you a fan of the sport, and how old were you when you began following Formula One?
“My dad was racing in Formula One when I was a child, so I was looking up to him. Formula One became my passion. It’s very much heritage from my dad. I was very young when I went to my first Formula One race – probably not even a year old – but I’d have been around five or six years old when I first realized just how cool it was.”
When did you transition to just being a fan of the sport to wanting to actually be a part of the sport?
“I’ve known ever since I was a child that Formula One was what I wanted to do. It’s always been my ambition and my goal to be a part of the sport.”
There are only 10 teams and there are only 20 drivers. How hard is it to stay in Formula One?
“It can be tough. I’ve had a bit of a rollercoaster career myself, at least in the first few years of my Formula One career. Once you get settled in the sport and you get a certain amount of experience, that can help. I’ve now done four seasons in Formula One, this being my fifth year, so I’m pretty settled in Formula One. I don’t think about that aspect anymore.”
How do you see the Haas VF-19 performing in Shanghai following a weekend of two parts in Bahrain, with strong qualifying pace but slower than expected race form?
“We had very strong qualifying pace but, unfortunately, the race pace wasn’t as strong, which was very disappointing for the whole team, of course. Fortunately, we had the test after the race which will have allowed the team to evaluate and, hopefully, find some answers from our weekend.”
You come into Shanghai with back-to-back top-10 finishes in the Chinese Grand Prix. In fact, your eighth-place drive in 2017 earned your first points as a Rich Energy Haas F1 Team driver. Do those past performances give you added confidence leading into this year’s race?
“Each race is different every year. You come with a different car, a different package. It’s not like you can look at past results and say that it gives you confidence, as such. I guess some tracks suit you better than others, but I wouldn’t say China is a standout, really. It’s a pretty standard race. We’ll go about it in the normal way to try and get the best possible result.”