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 for winter testing then Melbourne.”