While these car-to-car comparisons Haas F1 Team has run in past grands prix are unconventional, it has provided data in real-world conditions. Has this at least helped paint a more accurate picture of why the cars are performing the way they are as opposed to an open test where you can only simulate race conditions?
“It opened our eyes to the fact that the new packages haven’t delivered and that the old package was probably the best one. That’s good and important to learn for the future. We’ll correct it, I’m sure.”
With Haas F1 Team being one of the smaller teams in Formula One, does this also allow the team to be more nimble and more open to trying things in an effort to improve itself? More specifically, could a big team have tried as many things as Haas F1 Team did in the same period of time or would bureaucracy have gotten in the way?
“I do think so. We’ve had a setback this year. The team has over-delivered in three years considering how small the organization is and how limited we are on resources in comparison to these other teams. We’ve delivered more than could be expected for three years. Now we’ve had a year where we haven’t delivered as well, but I see that just as a one-off. I see how the team is working in the background and I’m very confident for the future. I’m confident the team will get back to over-delivering.”
Haas F1 Team recently announced that it would retain its driver lineup for 2020. You’ve been with the organization since its sophomore year in 2017 and have had a large hand in its success. When the team as a whole faces the kind of adversity it has this year, is it satisfying to be able to continue to work to find a solution and, ideally, see those efforts pay off next year when you’re back in a racecar that was designed with your feedback?
“It’s a really valuable learning experience. There’s no secret that we’d all prefer to be running at the front and fighting for points every weekend getting great results. We’re not currently there or in that position. It’s interesting to be part of the process in getting out of our current situation. I’m really looking forward, and I believe we will get back to the strong form the team’s shown from the last three years. As I said before, we’ve over-delivered massively, and I think a lot of people forget how small an organization this is and how different this team is compared to the other teams on the grid. The fact that we can look back over three years, where we’ve been fighting teams like McLaren and Renault, and beating teams like Alfa Romeo, Racing Point, Williams – I think that’s incredible. It’s just a matter of time before we get back in that position, I’m sure.”
Your feedback will again prove valuable this weekend at Sochi as this hybrid aero spec is utilized throughout the race weekend. What do you need to feel in the racecar to best take advantage of the track’s characteristics?
“You just want as much downforce as you can get. You want the most consistent aerodynamics you can get on the car. Once you start having issues with aero, then that transfers into everything else. You could say the whole car gets infected. You then start compensating on the mechanical side, as well. You compromise other areas of the car to try and help the aero. It can get like a downward spiral. Hopefully, we can extract a bit more out of the package in Sochi and find a more consistent base for the car to deliver.”