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Ромен Грожан:
Finding and then holding onto the tires’ proper operating window proved a challenge last year. How has it been so far this year? It’s still a challenge and it’s still really what makes the car go fast or not. We put a lot of effort into that, and we’ve got some good people helping us to make sure we do that right. For the first time in recent memory, Pirelli isn’t bringing a sequential set of tire compounds. There’s a jump between the Yellow soft tire and the Purple ultrasoft, with the Red supersoft not a part of Pirelli’s lineup. How drastic is the difference between the soft and ultrasoft, and will you miss that gradual change between compounds? I guess it’s going to open strategies, especially if there’s quite a lot of degradation on the ultrasofts. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do. In China, the weather can be challenging – it can be cold or hot. A lot will depend on that. Overtaking, or a lack thereof, has been a topic of late. What would you like to see happen to encourage more overtaking during a race? I think that’s something Formula One is working on. Clearly, it’s not easy to overtake, but we know that Melbourne’s one of the trickiest circuits to overtake on. I don’t think we need to jump to conclusions. We can wait a few races to see how it goes. Are expanding the DRS zones one way to increase overtaking opportunities? What are the pros and cons to that? There are no cons, only pros. You just go faster in a straight line, and yes, it’s a way to do it, clearly. When you’re behind another car, what does the “dirty air” or turbulence from that car do to your car? How does it affect the feel of your racecar? You lose downforce, as if you have a smaller wing on your car. You slide more, and when you slide more, the tires overheat. When that happens, the grip goes even more, which means you slide even more. It’s a cycle. That’s basically what’s happening. Normally, you lose a bit more of front end than rear end. Generally, it just feels like you’re on a lighter downforce package. So, after talking about operating windows for your tires and DRS zones for overtaking, how does Shanghai shape up in terms of finding the right tire balance and being able to overtake? Overtaking in China is always pretty good – it’s always exciting. The balance is really difficult to find because there’s a lot of demands on the front tires, which makes it tricky. One of the main concerns is trying to find a way to get the best from the front tires. In six career Formula One races at Shanghai International Circuit, you’ve had three point-paying finishes and all of them came from a top-10 starting spot. It shows how important qualifying is, but it also seems to showcase your talents. Is there something about Shanghai that plays to your strengths? No. Shanghai is a tricky track because it’s very different from the early stages in the year. It’s a front-limited circuit, meaning that the car needs to work well with front tires. If it doesn’t, then it gets very tricky. Overtaking in Shanghai is not impossible. There’s the long backstraight with DRS helping overtaking maneuvers. In general, if the car is good in qualifying, the race should be quite good. If not, then in the race you’re going to struggle. If you qualify in the top-10, you should finish in the top-10. If you’re not, then it’s harder. I’ve had good cars in Shanghai, therefore I’ve been able to score points. What is your favorite part of Shanghai International Circuit and why? I like the high-speed corners at (turns) five and six. It’s just an amazing part. Is there a specific portion of Shanghai International Circuit that is more challenging than other aspects of the track? Yes, turns one, two and three. It’s very challenging. There’s a lot of demand on the front tires, and it’s not easy to find the perfect lane. Then being up on the backstraight, that long right-hand side corner, going onto the throttle, as well, is important because you’ve got one-and-a-half kilometer of straight line. You need to be as early as possible on the power. Explain a lap around Shanghai International Circuit, especially now after having competed there with the faster, current-generation car. The biggest difference with the current-generation car is the entry speed into turn one, the minimum speed between turns five and six, and the braking at the end of the straight lines, which is very late. Those are the spots where you really feel the difference in the current cars.
Кевин Магнусен:
Finding and then holding onto the tires’ proper operating window proved a challenge last year. How has it been so far this year? The tires are different for this year, but it’s still no less of a challenge. It’s the biggest thing about performance. For the first time in recent memory, Pirelli isn’t bringing a sequential set of tire compounds. There’s a jump between the Yellow soft tire and the Purple ultrasoft, with the Red supersoft not a part of Pirelli’s lineup. How drastic is the difference between the soft and ultrasoft, and will you miss that gradual change between compounds? It’s an interesting tire situation. It’s not one that I’ve experienced before. I think it will be an exciting thing for the race. Who knows, it might be that the ultrasoft is fine as a race tire but, theoretically, it shouldn’t be a race tire – it’s a qualifying tire. The top-10 will be starting on it, so it’ll spice the race up a little bit. Overtaking, or a lack thereof, has been a topic of late. What would you like to see happen to encourage more overtaking during a race? I think it’s all to do with the tracks. We see some tracks where overtaking is all fine. Of course, it has to do with the aero on the cars, but some tracks are fine, so it’s not always bad. Are expanding the DRS zones one way to increase overtaking opportunities? What are the pros and cons to that? It’s not something I think about, to be honest. When you’re behind another car, what does the “dirty air” or turbulence from that car do to your car? How does it affect the feel of your racecar? You lose downforce in the slipstream of another car. With some cars you lose front end, some you lose rear – good cars you lose just overall and not as much. Our car is alright. So, after talking about operating windows for your tires and DRS zones for overtaking, how does Shanghai shape up in terms of finding the right tire balance and being able to overtake? Shanghai is a really good circuit to overtake. It always offers lots of opportunities. You finished eighth in last year’s Chinese Grand Prix to score your first points for Haas F1 Team and your first points since the 2016 Singapore Grand Prix where you finished 10th. How rewarding was that finish and did you feel that it vindicated your move to Haas F1 Team? I don’t think it was only that. In Australia, I had a good feeling being with the team. Of course, it was good to start scoring points early on in the season. What is your favorite part of Shanghai International Circuit and why? My favorite part is turns seven and eight – the fast ones in the middle. It’s a pretty good section of the track. Is there a specific portion of Shanghai International Circuit that is more challenging than other aspects of the track? Turns one, two and three. It’s a pretty unique place, where you enter so fast and then have to stop the car in the corner all the way down to low speed. Explain a lap around Shanghai International Circuit, especially now after having competed there with the faster, current-generation car. It just has a unique flow with lots of opportunities to overtake.
Гюнтер Щайнер:
China marks the second part of the season’s first slate of back-to-back races as the series heads straight from Bahrain to China. With both being flyaway races, how difficult are the logistics of moving a team across continents when you only have two days to pack up from one venue and arrive at another? It’s not easy. It’s challenging, especially at the beginning of the season. It’s more difficult because you have a limited amount of spares, so you need to be very careful what you send to Bahrain and that you’ve got enough to go on to China. It’s not easy having a back-to-back at the beginning of the season, but we always say we’re the best, and that’s why we need to get it done, and that involves people working hard. Finding and then holding onto the tires’ proper operating window proved a challenge last year. How has it been so far this year? It is still a challenge. I think we know a little bit more, but a lot of it is down to experience. We’re building up our data base. It’s still the biggest engineering project we have to sort out on a weekend. For the first time in recent memory, Pirelli isn’t bringing a sequential set of tire compounds. There’s a jump between the Yellow soft tire and the Purple ultrasoft, with the Red supersoft not a part of Pirelli’s lineup. How drastic is the difference between the soft and ultrasoft, and will drivers and their engineers miss that gradual change between compounds? I would say it’s not a big issue – you just adapt to it. How big the delta will be – we’ll just find that out when we get to the track. This is what you’ve got. There are big deltas normally between an ultrasoft and a hypersoft anyway. So, I don’t think it will be a problem. It is, for sure, always an engineering challenge, but whatever we put on there, it is always difficult to get them to work and get the best out of them. Overtaking, or a lack thereof, has been a topic of late. What would you like to see happen to encourage more overtaking during a race? We shouldn’t judge a season after just a couple of races. I would like to see at least four races under our belt, because we shouldn’t jump to a conclusion after the early races of the season. Working to make the cars more overtaking friendly – it’s a good idea, but also we should avoid knee-jerk reactions. Are expanding the DRS zones one way to increase overtaking opportunities? What are the pros and cons to that? I think it betters the situation, but it’s marginal. It will never make up for having a car that is better suited to overtaking. Yes, it enhances the overtaking opportunities, but it does not drastically change them or better them. Another DRS-related change to aid overtaking that’s being discussed is outfitting cars with a larger rear wing flap, thereby creating a larger effect when DRS is activated. What are your thoughts on that idea? Again, we shouldn’t judge after just a few races. I think if it is done with plenty of notice to change aerodynamic devices, I’m okay with that. Normally, when we make decisions to implement them quickly, we’ve always created more problems than benefits. So, let’s study them properly, let’s think about it, and then do something or do nothing. When your drivers are behind another car, what does the “dirty air” or turbulence from that car do to their car? How does it affect their racecar? Following another car, basically the front wing gets no air, therefore you lose front-end downforce, which makes you understeer everywhere. So, after talking about operating windows for your tires and DRS zones for overtaking, how does Shanghai shape up in terms of finding the right tire balance and being able to overtake? To find the tire operating window is always difficult. It’s a challenge at every racetrack. Normally, our car likes it better when it’s warm, so China is not likely to be one of our favorites. We will try hard to get them to work.


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