Haas preview the Bahrain GP

Despite scoring points in Haas’ debut race, Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez admits there is still a lot of hard work ahead…

Romain Grosjean
Q: Haas F1 Team now has its first grand prix under its belt. Obviously, Australia went very well for you. What can you take from it and apply to Bahrain?
RG:
“It went better than expected, to be fair. It was a difficult weekend with the weather, and a tricky qualifying session for everyone. Sunday is the day you really want to perform, and we did very well. The car was reliable and it went to the end. The strategy was perfect. Since day one the car has shown huge potential. We showed that in Australia. With barely any setup work, we put it on the track and managed to hold on to sixth at the end of the grand prix.”

Q: Haas F1 Team seems to handle adversity extremely well – be it with technical issues during the second week of testing at Barcelona and when you endured a pit lane collision in practice Saturday at Australia. From your perspective, how well is this new group of personnel working together?
RG:
“Very well. Since winter testing, everyone on the team has worked as if they’ve been working together for several years. That’s what people were seeing from the outside and that’s what I saw from the inside. FP3 in Australia was a good example. They changed the floor of the car in just over 25 minutes, which was amazing. They managed to get the cars on track every time. There were no mistakes. Of course, everyone can improve and get more used to everything but, generally, there’s a very good feeling in the team. It’s a good group of people.”

Q: With wet weather Friday at Australia, it compromised the team’s ability to work on the car’s setup for the race. The weather in Bahrain is usually pretty consistent, and that means consistently dry. How helpful will a full weekend of consistent weather be for you and the team?
RG:
“It would be very helpful. We need to get more running. We need to get more mileage and further our understanding of the car. We have a long list of things we want to try and do, and things to improve. It’s a lot of work but, on the other hand, it means we can improve the car by a big chunk. I always like to keep things positive. If we can do a lot of that in Bahrain, the car will improve and that means we can keep working on better results.”

Q: How did the addition of a third tire option impact your strategy for Australia, and what impact do you think it will have on your tire strategy for Bahrain?
RG:
“I think it’s pretty cool, actually. It opens more strategy, more thinking, probably more work on the pit wall trying to find out which is the best tire to go on. It’s more work on Friday to see the condition of each tire, to see the tire life. We could see different people at the front at different grand prix.”

Q: From testing in Barcelona to your home in Geneva to racing in Australia, and then back home before going to Bahrain, what do you do to physically and mentally combat the fatigue that comes with being in so many drastically different time zones in the span of a month?
RG:
“Your body gets a bit of a shock. There are a few techniques, a few things you need to do. Of course, physical preparation is important. The rest is lots of sleep. You need to be prepared for your next time zone as early as possible. Bahrain is pretty close to Geneva in terms of time, so that’s cool. Australia is always a tough one because it’s 10 hours ahead, but you learn to live with it.”

Esteban Gutierrez
Q: Haas F1 Team has its first grand prix under its belt. How did it go and what can you take from Australia and apply to Bahrain?
EG:
“As a whole experience it was a positive weekend, apart from the unfortunate incident we had during the race. We did a very good job as a team. Obviously, scoring points leaves a lot of confidence for the whole team, but still we have plenty of work to do. I think, in general, we can go to Bahrain making our next step forward as a team. In both organization and communication, there has not been much time for the team to breathe because of the hard work in building the car and testing in Barcelona and then the first grand prix. Hopefully, we can consolidate things and get everything done and try to make the best of our potential.”

Just in case

Q: Haas F1 Team seems to handle adversity extremely well – be it with technical issues during the second week of testing at Barcelona and when your teammate endured a pit lane collision in practice Saturday at Australia. From your perspective, how well is this new group of personnel working together?
EG:
“We can be very proud of what we have achieved and how we have reacted, considering that we are a new team, but still we have plenty of work to do. Those things will come with experience, and it’s something we’re improving on each time we’re on the track.”

Q: With wet weather Friday at Australia, it compromised the team’s ability to work on the car’s setup for the race. The weather in Bahrain is usually pretty consistent, and that means consistently dry. How helpful will a full weekend of consistent weather be for you and the team?
EG:
“It will be very positive because we can finally work and experiment a little bit with the car and its setup. Unfortunately, we have not been able to do that. It’s quite impressive that even though we have not been able to experiment a lot, we have a very good base line. So, I’m really looking forward to getting to know more of the car to experiment more and really work on the best direction for our setup. Bahrain will help us a lot to get more consistent running, more laps in practice and hopefully a smooth weekend.”

Q: How did the addition of a third tire option impact your strategy for Australia, and what impact do you think it will have on your tire strategy for Bahrain?
EG:
“We keep experimenting a lot trying to get to know the tire compounds and how they act in different circumstances. It has made the races and the weekend interesting because there is more strategy from each team to choose its own tires that fit better for them.”

Q: From testing in Barcelona to your home in Mexico to racing in Australia, and then back home before going to Bahrain, what do you do to physically and mentally combat the fatigue that comes with being in so many drastically different time zones in the span of a month?
EG:
“The most important thing to do is to continue with a rhythm of training. Experience has helped me deal with jet lag, so it’s not really a problem. I try to arrange my schedule the best way possible so I minimize the amount of travel and the amount of places where I need to go. I just try to find the best balance and the best compromise for all my responsibilities.”

Just in case

Q: Explain a lap around the Bahrain International Circuit.
EG:
“There is a very big braking into turn one, which I enjoy a lot after a very long straight. Then it’s a very tricky exit out of turn one into turn two with a lot of lateral load, trying to get on power having come from a very slow speed corner. Picking up the throttle, it’s pretty tricky. Then you go into turn four and there is a lot of change on the surface of the track. The angle is going off to the exit, so you really need to prepare a lot in order to have a comfortable exit and good balance in the car. Then you come into turns five, six and seven –the fast corners. Then you arrive at the hairpin. Down into turn eight, it is very tricky because here the wind conditions are affecting the car a lot and sometimes you have a headwind and it makes it very easy to make that corner. But when you have the wind coming from the back, it makes it very tricky to brake downhill and then come around the hairpin and get a good exit. Turns nine and 10 are some of the trickiest and technical corners of the season.

You brake with a lot of lateral load, so here the brake balance settings are very particular to any corner in any track on the calendar. Then you come down into the back straight, you have a medium, high-speed corner which I enjoy a lot – it’s turn 11. You go up and you have a fast corner to the right which should be turn 12, then you arrive into turn 13, right-hand corner, coming from very high-speed corner. It’s very important to find a straight line in braking and then go and throw the speed in because it’s quite high speed. I’d say it’s a medium- to high-speed corner where you can gain a lot of advantage with a good apex speed. Then you come down to the last corner, which is the preparation of the long straight. It’s a bit tricky because you have a nice angle on the exit, pretty different. When you come into the curb you have a small change of the track angle, which makes it very, very nice. Now, I’m looking forward to getting there and driving.”

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