Haas preview the Austrian GP

Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez look ahead to the upcoming Austrian GP, which takes place at the Red Bull Ring…

Romain Grosjean
Most drivers are creatures of habit, where a similar routine is followed no matter the venue. With Austria marking the beginning of a six-race European stretch that takes us all the way through August, how helpful is it to have some uniformity in that your changing room is the same, your hospitality unit is the same, your debriefing room is the same, etc., because all of our trucks will be at all of these races?

“It’s good that we’ve got all of our own stuff with these races. We have very good equipment. Everything we have is brand new. Not too much really changes on a race weekend though, even on the fly-aways. We just came from Baku, and that was very well organized.”

You’re a family man and Geneva is home. How valuable is this stretch of races because the travel time to each venue is so much less intense, allowing you more days at home?

“We’ve been traveling a lot. It’s good to be able to come to the European races. You can arrive at the track on Thursday morning and be home by dinner time on Sunday, which is good for my kids. With the back-to-back that we just had, they were obviously asking ‘Where’s daddy?’, so it’s good to have shorter stints away. It also allows us a bit more time to prepare our fitness. You don’t have to get used to jetlag and you know more of the food you’re going to be eating. It really helps us reach our peak performance.”

Because the travel is less intense, does this summer stretch of European races allow you to ratchet up your physical training, or does it simply allow you to get into more of a routine?

“We’ll look to step it up now. When we’re traveling and dealing with time-zone changes and so on, it’s definitely important to keep a routine and still focus on training. We have a bit more time now that we’re on the European circuit. The three-week summer break will also allow us to work hard on fitness. You start with a good level and then you have to work to maintain it. Summer’s great because it’s a bit easier. You can do a lot more outside, which I enjoy.”

Are there any marathons or triathlons you have coming up on your schedule?

“Not at the moment. They all clash with race weekends. For now, I have nothing else planned. The next step is to try a triathlon, but I’m not quite ready. It’s something I’ll be working toward long term.”

What is your favorite form of exercise? Is it running, cycling, weightlifting, or is it more about what you feel like doing on a particular day?

“A lot of it depends on the day and the weather. For example, if it’s 30 degrees (Celsius) then I’m cycling, for sure, not running. It also depends on what time I have available. I like playing tennis as well. Sometimes it’s good to challenge yourself and do something quite hard. It can give you a boost for the next race.”

After a handful of races where there were cool temperatures, the previous race at Baku City Circuit brought much warmer temperatures. Warm weather seems to allow the team to find a better working range for the tires, and more quickly. Is this the case and, if so, why?

“Yes, I think that’s the case. I’m hoping that we get a good summer and that we don’t have to focus too much on colder weather and trying to get the tires to work. It was a shame about the race in Baku that we had to have the extra pit stop. I think we could have scored points. We were looking pretty good up until that point. Some of the races we’re now going to should be better for us. We still need to work on getting the best out of the tires when it’s cold. We have some graining issues as well, but we’re still a brand new team and we haven’t had many options to try different things. We’re going in a good direction even though we haven’t scored points in a while. I still think everything is going the way it should and when it eventually all comes together, it’s going to be great.”

The rear tire graining we saw at Baku – was this a result of the hot weather or the fresh asphalt of a new circuit or a combination of the two?

“There are a few explanations for graining. When it’s cold it can happen when the tires are sliding too much. If the car balance was not perfect at the beginning of the race, it can happen. We’re working on the data to see what happened.”

The Red Bull Ring is a relatively short circuit, but its layout covers a wide range of conditions. Is it akin to some other tracks in Formula One, or is it unique?

“It’s a funny place to race being in the middle of the mountains. The circuit is very short. The lap time is almost like Monaco. There are some overtaking opportunities. I like going there, and the surrounding area looks a lot like Switzerland.”

What is your favorite part of the Red Bull Ring?

“I quite like the middle sector. There are medium- to high-speed corners. The track, in general, has two very different parts. You’ve got turn one and turn two, which are very similar. Both are 90-degree turns with big braking and long, straight lines. You’ve then got the second part which is more flowing.”

Describe a lap around the Red Bull Ring.

“You start with big braking into turn one, a 90-degree corner. It’s very important to go early on the power. There’s then a long straight line going up to turn two where you brake very late into the corner, and there’s a change of camber. You go flat again after that to turn three. Again, tricky braking there as you’re going downhill. Then you’ve got a double-left corner, medium- to high-speed turns. The last couple of turns are the same as you go up the hill and then down again. It can be pretty tricky, but if you get the grip under the car and a good balance, it can be a lot of fun to drive.”

Esteban Gutiérrez
Most drivers are creatures of habit, where a similar routine is followed no matter the venue. With Austria marking the beginning of a six-race European stretch that takes us all the way through August, how helpful is it to have some uniformity in that your changing room is the same, your hospitality unit is the same, your debriefing room is the same, etc., because all of our trucks will be at all of these races?

“It is more comfortable to have the same consistency on the places where we work and also where we rest – the changing room, the hospitality. I think when a team has its own hospitality designed for its own needs, that allows us to have a good space to work and a good environment as well. I really like the facilities of our team at the track, so I’m really looking forward to having that consistently though the next few races.”

Because the travel is less intense, does this summer stretch of European races allow you to ratchet up your physical training, or does it simply allow you to get into more of a routine?

“It allows me to get more into the routine. Another fact is that jetlag doesn’t play much of a role. Since there’s less travel time, we can be more efficient and start our training program as soon as we get back from each race weekend. It just makes it more comfortable.”

Are there any marathons or triathlons you have coming up on your schedule?

“My training focuses on what I need for racing. Training for a marathon or triathlon is obviously good, but it’s also good to have time for the body to recover. You want to arrive at each race with as much energy as possible, so the training has to be balanced between the amount of traveling and work we have to do.”

What is your favorite form of exercise? Is it running, cycling, weightlifting, or is it more about what you feel like doing on a particular day?

“I actually do a little bit of everything. I do running, cycling, weightlifting, tennis as well. I sometimes do karting, which I take as training as well. It depends on the schedule. It is hard to have a rhythm of doing something the same every day. I find it more interesting to make some variation and make it a little bit fun as well.”

After a handful of races where there were cool temperatures, the previous race at Baku City Circuit brought much warmer temperatures. Warm weather seems to allow the team to find a better working range for the tires, and more quickly. Is this the case and, if so, why?

“With the warm temperatures, the tires’ working range neutralizes a bit though the grid. When temperatures are more normal, tires are easier to handle. It’s as simple as that.”

The rear tire graining we saw at Baku – was this a result of the hot weather or the fresh asphalt of a new circuit or a combination of the two?

“It’s actually a combination of the two because the asphalt is quite greasy when it’s new. It’s quite smooth too. It was pretty unusual to have so much graining, but the combination of warm weather and a new track contributed to that.”

The Red Bull Ring is a relatively short circuit, but its layout covers a wide range of conditions. Is it akin to some other tracks in Formula One, or is it unique?

“It’s quite unique because it’s a little bit old school and has a lot of fast corners, which I enjoy a lot. It’s a pretty short circuit – not many corners – so the times are pretty tight, and very competitive in qualifying. It’s an extra challenge to make everything as perfect as possible, or as close to perfect as possible.”

What is your favorite part of the Red Bull Ring?

“I love the two fast corners to the left on the infield, which makes it very interesting, and also the last part when you enter into a very high-speed corner after the backstraight, followed by a banked corner. It’s pretty nice to go through there. The wind makes some effects because you have the trees, which are pretty high, so the wind is flowing in some parts of the circuit in a different way than in others, so it makes it a bit more challenging in that way.”

Describe a lap around the Red Bull Ring.

“You arrive into turn one and it’s a bit uphill. The first corner is a medium-speed corner, a bit on the tight side, with the exit curb pretty particular. They put this sausage curb there, which doesn’t allow us to cross a lot, so it’s a little bit like a street circuit where you don’t have a lot of margin to play on the exit curb. The longest straight of the circuit goes into turn two, which is uphill as well with very hard braking. It’s a very slow-speed corner, pretty tight. It’s important for braking and traction because you arrive at a very high speed and, obviously, the brakes are important there. You arrive a bit downhill into turn three, which is a bit of a longish corner, pretty interesting exit, not a lot of margin to make a mistake because you’ll go into the gravel. Then you approach turn four and turn five, which are the two fast corners on the left, which I enjoy a lot. I love them. You enter into turn four and it’s a blind corner. You exit using all the curbs, preparing for the next corner, which basically makes it one corner altogether – a very, very fast one. Then you come into the backstraight. You arrive into turn seven, which is a very high-speed corner. You enter with a lot of speed and almost no braking, and that prepares you for the following corner which is straight away and has some banking. It’s pretty interesting and also pretty fast. Then you arrive into the main straight. It’s a pretty short circuit.”

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