Haas preview the European GP

Having spent time in the simulator, Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez reckon they are as prepared for Baku as they can possibly be…

Romain Grosjean
How do you prepare for a venue you’ve never been to before?

“We had a session on the simulator, and that’s about everything you can do.”

How does the simulator compare to actually being in a racecar, at speed, at a circuit?
“The simulators are getting better year after year, but it’s still not a real racecar.”

Is the simulator most used for understanding a circuit’s layout and braking points, or is it more involved than that?
“It’s more involved than that. There’s a lot you can do with a simulator, which is great, but nothing is as good as being in the car out on track. On the simulator, you can try a few different setup ideas for direction. You can also try different philosophies and updates you’d like to try on the car later in the year and before you prepare them for actual racing.”

Haas F1 Team is new, so it doesn’t have any notes from last year. But at Baku, no one has any notes from last year. Do you feel that Baku is perhaps the most level playing field because it’s new for everyone?
“In some respects yes and in others, no. The more experience you have as a team, the better prepared you are for new tracks and different layouts. On the other hand, no one knows what to expect from Baku, so that’s going to be interesting for us.”

Baku is projected to be the fastest street circuit in Formula One, and its layout is amid a historic section of the city. Is there a current venue you can compare it to?
“It’s going to be very interesting to go to Baku. It’s certainly a circuit that’s very different from everything we’ve been used to. We’ll have to see how it goes in real life.”

Despite having only seen Baku City Circuit on a simulator, do you have a favorite part, or a part you’re most curious to see in person?
“I think the old part, alongside the castle, will be quite interesting.”

Describe a lap around Baku City Circuit.
“There are very long, straight lines and a lot of 90-degree corners with low curves. There’s a very high section up to the castle and down again to the last corner, which will be quite interesting.”

Esteban Gutiérrez
How do you prepare for a venue you’ve never been to before?

“The simulator has been very important. It’s been quite an experience. Baku is a very challenging track and I really enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to getting there in person.”

How does the simulator compare to actually being in a racecar, at speed, at a circuit?
“It’s completely different. The feeling is not exactly the same, but it’s useful to learn the track – the corners and its angles. It gives you a little bit of an idea of how the curbs will be and a bit of the philosophy behind the car’s setup.”

Is the simulator most used for understanding a circuit’s layout and braking points, or is it more involved than that?
“It’s a bit more than that. Mainly, it’s the circuit layout and some knowledge of the car’s setup, which is crucial to get all the systems working properly. It gives us an idea on the approach we should have.”

Haas F1 Team is new, so it doesn’t have any notes from last year. But at Baku, no one has any notes from last year. Do you feel that Baku is perhaps the most level playing field because it’s new for everyone?
“I feel that it will be a bit more level, but that doesn’t clear the fact that as a team we have a bit less experience overall. That makes it complicated to predict things, because when you have more information and more experience, you can make better predictions. It will be interesting to get to know Baku and its characteristics and see where we stand. No matter what, we’ll approach it in a positive way and try to extract the maximum amount from our car at this new circuit.”

Baku is projected to be the fastest street circuit in Formula One, and its layout is amid a historic section of the city. Is there a current venue you can compare it to?
“I cannot compare it to anything. From what I saw on the simulator, it’s a completely different racetrack. It’s really going to be quite a challenge, and I think that’s going to make things interesting for everybody. I liked it in the simulator, so I hope it’s going to be like that in reality.”

Despite having only seen Baku City Circuit on a simulator, do you have a favorite part, or a part you’re most curious to see in person?
“I didn’t know anything of Azerbaijan before the race was announced, but then I did a little bit of research to try and learn about the country and Baku. I’m looking forward to seeing it and enjoying the area.”

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