How important is it for Rich Energy Haas F1 Team to put a complete race weekend together at Barcelona, where the speed its shown since testing is carried through practice, qualifying and the race so that you achieve your ultimate goal of scoring points?
“Well, it’s always very important, but at the minute the most important thing for us is to get the race pace back. We need to get the car where it should be. The last three weekends haven’t been good for us. The car’s got a lot more potential than we’ve been able to extract. The most important element is not the result. It’s to understand how to make the car go faster.”
How helpful is it to go back to Barcelona where Rich Energy Haas F1 Team has the most data of any track in Formula One simply because you spent two weeks testing there before the season even started?
“It’s important to go back to Barcelona because it’s our first European race and we’re bringing big updates on the car. It’s a track with high energy, so I’m not too worried about getting the tires to work, in theory. It’s interesting, as we definitely got them to work in winter testing, going back there and seeing if we can still get them to work will be a good test, because we know the car should be fast there.”
Does Barcelona allow teams to reassess where they stand because of what they learned in preseason testing and how it’s translated to the first four races?
“Yes, but you also know everyone’s going to bring big updates, so it’s almost like everyone’s going to have a B-car, therefore the standings could be a bit different. I think it’s important that our updates go in the right direction. It’s important, as we know what we can do there. We’ll see if we can repeat that and understand where our race pace has gone.”
Barcelona was repaved prior to last year’s preseason test. How has the new surface evolved and what are your expectations for your return to the track in much warmer conditions, specifically in regard to tire management?
“I have no expectations. We’ll see what’s coming. Normally, the first feedback is quite accurate, so I’m hoping it’s a good one, but I go with no expectation.”
What are you feeling inside the racecar when you’re unable to get the tires into their proper working range? Is it a combination of an actual lack of grip and also a lack of confidence in what you can expect from the tires?
“It’s a lack of grip and a lack of consistency. The latter makes it so that you can’t have any confidence because you can’t push the tire to its limit. If you do go above the limit, which is very low, it’s a big lock-up or you go off the track. If the tires don’t work, the car can be as good as you want, but it’s just not going to work. Confidence is key in Formula One, but when your tires don’t work, there’s no chance you’ll have some.”