How helpful is it to have back-to-back grands prix where the same tire compounds are being used? More specifically, is there carryover in tire data between France and Austria since the tires are the same?
“I guess there will be a little bit of a carryover, but the tracks are slightly different, even though we’re using the same tires. It’s not like we can carry over everything.”
Does the Red Bull Ring’s quick yet compact layout lend itself to getting the tires into their proper operating window and, just as importantly, keeping them in that window?
“I don’t think we can say we understand the full picture yet. We’re very much taking each race as it comes and trying to get the best out of each opportunity.”
Rich Energy Haas F1 Team earned its best collective result in last year’s Austrian Grand Prix when Grosjean finished fourth and you finished fifth. It was more than a best-of-the-rest result, as the team was just one position shy of the podium. How was that result achieved?
“We were strong in the Austrian Grand Prix – stronger than the rest of the midfield. We were actually pretty close to matching Red Bull, in qualifying at least. In the race, Red Bull had a lot more pace than us, but then both Mercedes failed to finish, so you need a bit of luck, as well. We had a perfect weekend from a team performance perspective.”
You’ve described the Red Bull Ring as a short, roller-coaster ride. Despite its relatively short length, you’re able to generate some significant speed. Is the Red Bull Ring kind of your ideal track, where you can push the limits time after time in search of more and more speed?
“The Red Bull Ring is a good little circuit. It’s a little bit unique. It’s a very small area. It kind of reminds me of a go-kart track in that you can basically see the whole track from the grandstands. It’s quite nice and compact, but still with some fast corners and long straights, giving some opportunities to overtake. When I’ve raced there, it’s been entertaining. It’s a fun little track.”
Your father, Jan, has made 21 starts in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the most recent of which took place less than two weeks ago. How often do you talk to him about the race and the appeal of Le Mans?
“We talk about Le Mans a lot. It’s obviously his job at the moment, and has been for the last 21 years. It’s basically been a part of my life, as my dad has been racing there for so long. I’ve always followed it closely for that reason, of course. I’ve grown a passion for Le Mans, as well. It’s a dream of ours to do Le Mans together, and to do it in a competitive way.”