What are your expectations for Hungary? Does the tighter track pose more of a challenge for Rich Energy Haas F1 Team or can it benefit the Haas VF-19?
“It’s hard to say, really. We were strong in Monaco – that’s a pretty low-speed track, as is Hungary – but obviously not quite like Monaco. We’ll see when we get there. It’s pretty hard these days to make too many predictions.”
A lot of grip, a lot of braking and a lot of high-energy demands all conspire against tires at the Hungaroring. What do you need to do to manage the tires and get the most out of them?
“You try and keep the rear tires – the tire surface temperature – in control with the throttle. You manage those temperatures as well as you can. That’s the main thing.”
You’re constantly turning the wheel at the Hungaroring and with the slower speeds, very little air flows into the car. Combined with the normally high temperatures experienced in Budapest, how physically demanding is the Hungarian Grand Prix?
“It’s very physical because you don’t get many breaks. You’re always turning on the steering wheel. You’re always active in the car. Every track has its own characteristics. Hungary is a pretty enjoyable track to drive, even though it’s such a small and twisty circuit.”
Considering the amount of work the team has put into sorting the Haas VF-19s finicky nature, how important is the shutdown for Rich Energy Haas F1 Team personnel to take a break and come back refreshed for the final nine races of the season?
“I think it’s important. For us drivers it’s OK, but for the engineers, and especially the mechanics, they don’t get to see their families much during the year. They spend a lot of time together as a team, which is good in some ways as it gets them very close, but it’s a long year and they work crazy hours. It’s very good for them to get some time off and really completely switch off from Formula One.”
What will you do for your own well-being and self-preservation during the summer shutdown?
“It’s good for us as drivers, mentally, to get that time off, but we don’t need it as much as the guys in the garage.”
Work continues on the 2019 car and directions are being determined for the 2020 car, but an overview of regulations for the 2021 car has been revealed. What are your thoughts on the 2021 car, which features a new ground effect design that includes a much simpler front wing?
“I have an interest in it, but I feel it’s hard to really know what’s happening. I’ll wait to see what actually gets determined for 2021.”