Friday 29 June 2018

2018 Austrian GP: FIA Team Members' Press Conference.

TEAM REPRESENTATIVES – Christian HORNER (Red Bull Racing), Toto WOLFF (Mercedes), Toyoharu TANABE (Honda), Franz TOST (Toro Rosso)

Tanabe-san, we’ll start with you. Your sitting between your current team partner and you future partner. Just tell us, why Red Bull from next season?

Toyoharu TANABE: I’m not involved very much in contractual discussions, so I’m not sure how many options we had for our future PU supply. But in reality we will be in a good position, because Toro Rosso and Red Bull are already linked, centralised in Red Bull Technology. That works very well for us, I believe, because we don’t need to discuss Team A or Team B individually. So we centralize our discussion into the Red Bull group. I hope it will help our task for next year.

You say it’s a good position for Honda, but Red Bull has been winning races this year, so isn’t it a lot of pressure on Honda next year. ?

TT: Yes, it is. But we already have a lot of pressure and stress supplying PUs in the Formula 1 series. We are working very closely with Toro Rosso and of course we have pressure. Then, Red Bull and I respect their success in the Formula 1 series so we have another pressure but we supply same spec of course, that is the regulation, and I would like to work very efficiently with these teams.

Thank you. Christian, it’s a lot of pressure on Honda but is it also pressure on Red Bull, returning to a works partnership deal?

Christian HORNER: It’s a positive. We had the option to change or the option to stay where we were and having looked at the progress that Honda have been making over recent months, having had the benefit of looking at the progress of Toro Rosso and how Toro Rosso have worked with Honda. It’s been really very, very encouraging and for us we see it as extremely low risk and of course the upside is what we’re interested in, in terms of what is the potential and I think the commitment, the resource, the facilities that Honda have available to them is really exciting for us. And to be the focal point of attention with the two teams is a fantastic position for Red Bull to be in. We’re certainly very excited about what the future holds and very much looking forward to working with our colleagues from Honda.

We saw you last week in the press conference, just after the news had been announced, but what’s next? What’s part of the immediate process of working with Honda?

CH: Well, as has been explained we’ve got this construction where we have Red Bull Technology, which is the engineering centre effectively and which will have a large amount of interface with Honda. Red Bull Technology already supplies transmission components to Toro Rosso. It’s at an embryonic stage. Obviously discussions are already starting to focus on 2019, but we have been extremely encouraged and impressed by the collaborative nature that we’re finding. That’s certainly refreshing and we’re looking forward to a new era for Red Bull Racing. We’ve had 12 years with our current partner and we’ve enjoyed an awful lot of success. We’ve had highs and lows but the time was right to make this move. I think it’s an exciting time for the team and for Red Bull.

Thank you very much. Franz, you’ve had works status this year with Toro Rosso and Honda. Is the news of the Red Bull partnership for next year good news or bad news for your team?

Franz TOST: Fantastic news. We are very much looking forward about this. I think a company like Honda, which is so well know overall, has to win races and with Toro Rosso that’s difficult as we don’t have the infrastructure for winning races in Formula 1 and therefore Red Bull Racing is absolutely the correct partner. Toro Rosso will profit out of this because the synergies between Red Bull Technology will increase. We will have next year the complete rear end from Red Bull Technology. Therefore, I am convinced about this, we will also improve our performance. Currently we are very much involved in all the bench tests and everything. Although we are very low, limited with resources and so on, it’s really a lot of work on our side and in future this is being done by Red Bull Technology, which means we have resources for other performance differentiators, which is quite important for Toro Rosso. In the end I think all three partners will get the most out of it and will profit from this co-operation.

Toro Rosso have enjoyed really some strong races this season – namely in Bahrain and Monaco – but you’ve also has some tricky races at times too, so what are your expectations for this weekend’s race here in Austria?

FT: After some races, which were not so good, especially the last ones where we were involved in crashes and so on, I hope that here in Austria we are coming back to the successful part and I am positive about here in Austria and the next few race. We brought some new upgrades on the aerodynamic side. As it looks it works quite well and as we know Honda brought the new upgrade already in Canada and therefore I think that we have quite a competitive package. And looking to FP1 I think that we are able to be at least with one car in Qualifying 3.

Thank you. Toto, a similar question to you. Mercedes has really dominated at this circuit in the V6 era. A strong start in FP1 as well, with first and second. Is that form you are expecting to see continue for the rest of the weekend?

Toto WOLFF: The Friday has been giving little indication as to how the weekend goes in the last few races. It is more a learning process. Team have introduced either new upgrades on the power unit or upgrades on the chassis side and therefore it’s about mileage and understanding and working on various set-ups. I’m happy how it went. Austria was a kind track on us in the past. Lots of power up the hill. But you can see that the new reality is there are three teams capable of putting the car on the front and winning races and just a few hundredths or tenths between us and I have no doubt that tomorrow in qualifying that story will continue.

Both of your drivers were praising your power unit that you introduced a week ago in the battle among those top three teams and Lewis said yesterday there was an upgrade on the chassis side as well. Can you just explain, aerodynamically, what work you have been doing on the car?

TW: Yes, we were supposed to introduce the new power unit in Montréal and we weren’t quite sure whether it matched our reliability standards and you could see that once everybody introduced their upgrade we fell behind. A track that suited us, suddenly we weren’t good enough anymore. Then we brought the next step to Le Castellet and directly the drivers felt the difference between an engine that was in there for seven races and a brand new one. The same applies now to the chassis side. We have tried to compress what we had in terms of aero development and bring it at once, so the whole concept… there is this little change in concept in our aero development and so far the drivers seem to be happy with it. It is a necessary step. Red Bull and Ferrari are not going to rest on their laurels. We keep pushing each other from race to race, from upgrade to upgrade and even if you can put on another 50 milliseconds for the race you will do it, because that might be the difference between pole position and P3.


Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Toto, based on what you have seen from Honda’s recovery from their time with McLaren and the prospect of what they could bring to Formula 1 as a race-winning engine manufacturer, what are your thought on that, and how important is it for Formula 1?

TW: First of all, as a Formula 1 fan, we all remember the glorious years of Honda in the sport and I have no doubt that they can come back to that situation. For us, as Mercedes, it is extremely important that we have top brands in Formula 1, be it OEMs that have joined the sport as engine suppliers or be it multinational and global brands such as Red Bull, and the more we can attract the better for all of us and the better for the sport. I have also no doubt that they will be competitive. Franz mentioned it before, the collaboration will make another step between Toro Rosso, Honda and Red Bull for next year. And with Red Bull’s technical capabilities and resource they will certainly be of great assistance to make the power unit progress. This is certainly the right step forward, looking from the outside, for all parties. It was important for Red Bull to have a works status. Long term probably the best chance to win a championship. Maybe short term, more work to do. But long terms, from where I sit, absolutely the right decision. Looking forward to tougher fights and tougher battles with Red Bull Honda.

Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines, Christian, I believe internally the conundrum at the moment is SOS – Spielberg or Silverstone. When do you Danny’s contract extension? What are the chances here and what are the chances in Silverstone?

CH: Well, things are progressing well with Daniel. I expect things to be concluded prior to the summer break. But our priority had been firstly to get the engine situation sorted and now things are progressing with Daniel. Our intention is to retain both drivers and I’m sure during the next couple of weeks we’ll be entering into the finishing straight to get things concluded prior to the summer break.

Q: (Ralf Woodall - l’Equipe) Question for all of you. We’re in the middle of a triple-header. I’d like to know how challenging it is for you to have these three grands prix back-to-back and how are you organising yourselves?

FT: That’s a real big challenge, because going from the South of France to Austria and then to England is a big challenge, especially from the logistics side, because as we know, we are now in holiday time. That means there is a lot of traffic out there and we have a lot of problems on the borders because of the checks which they make over there. I hope they will not lose too much time, the trucks over there, and I am worried about coming in time to England. I was not worried from France to Austria because here we have everything under control – but once it’s going to Belgium, to England, then it’s a little bit difficult. If, for example a truck strike or something like this. I think this is at the absolute limit and I hope this will not be the case any more in the future because people are really working day and night in this three weeks.

Christian, your thoughts on the triple-header.

CH: It’s certainly expensive, for moving cars, parts, people in such short succession. You’ll see here we have a different hospitality facility. The usual Energy Station just simply wouldn’t have been possible for it to complete the triple headers, so, of course, there’s cost associated with that. There’s a drain on resource because obviously an awful lot of components going backwards and forwards to the UK. We’re fortunate that the final race of the triple header for us is where the team is obviously based. Obviously harder for teams not based in the UK – but it’s certainly tough. On the upside, it’s three home races in three weeks. Our engine had its home race last weekend, it’s obviously the team’s home race this weekend and obviously next weekend it’s our local race up the road in Silverstone. So, yeah, it’s pretty insane how busy it is.

Toto, something you agree with as well? Very difficult for Mercedes?

TW: Yeah, similar for us. Obviously, it’s our home race here as Austrians, then a home race in Silverstone, then a home race in Hockenheim thereafter. If you a hundred years back, then another one! But you have to understand where Liberty comes from. We have the football world championships that happens at the moment, then obviously when that goes towards the semi-finals and the finals it’s becoming more and more difficult so this year needs to be compressed. It’s not something I guess they particularly enjoy to do and for us, like my colleagues said, it puts stress on the organisation. Many of us won’t be seeing the families a lot in these three weeks. It’s not perfect – but it is what it is.

And Tanabe-san, what’s it’s like from a power unit manufacturer point of view?

TT: Yes, so we have a lot of those things between the race and the race. We need to maintain the PU ready. So we removed the PU from the chassis and maintain some of the parts and then ready to go for the next race. So logistics, and then also the workload, is tight. Then, the distance between the races in one week is similar but some difficulty with three races in a row.

Q: (Peter Vamosi – Toto, last week Susie was promoted to team principal of Venturi team in Formula E. Can you give some advice for her how to make a successful team. And if you both will have a race weekend together somewhere in the world, who will take care of the kid?

TW: You’re laughing – but it’s a serious problem to figure out the logistics since she has been involved in Venturi we cross each other at home. Obviously, I try to be as modern a dad as I can be in supporting her – but it’s a great challenge for her. She’s found a very good partner to join up with Gildo [Pallanca Pastor] and she always had the aspiration of doing something entrepreneurial after her racing career, and here she goes. Now, when I’m at home talking about Formula E I have to close the door, so she is not able to listen. But it’s good fun, we enjoy the banter between us and… we’ll see how it works, family-wise.

Q: (Julien Billiotte – AutoHebdo) Question to Christian. There have been some reliability issues with the latest spec of the Honda engine. Is this a source of Red Bull moving forward – or are you using Toro Rosso as a sort of a test bed and pushing for performance?

CH: I think reliability has improved enormously over the last… certainly this season with Honda. We’re not exactly sitting comfortably in our own situation with our current supplier. So, of course, performance and reliability are both things that have to go hand-in-hand with the regulations that we have. I’m sure it’s an area where that Honda are working together very hard on, together with their performance. We’re confident that things are very much moving in the right direction.

Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines, To the three team principals. In political terms, they normally give an incoming president one hundred days before they start commenting. Liberty has now had 500 days since they completed the purchase of Formula One’s commercial rights. How would you summarise their first 500 days as owners of the commercial rights?

Toto, why don’t you take that one first?

TW: That’s very kind of you. Obviously with every new change of regime, the style changes, and we have all been used to Bernie’s way of doing things and lots of credit to him for having built-up the sport. We all wouldn’t be sitting here if he wouldn’t have been as visionary and powerful in the past in building Formula One. Now, with the new ownership, it’s not one person any more than makes the decision but a broader group of people and the transparency that has kicked-in is refreshing and makes things easier to deal with. And then obviously we, as a sport, face tremendously challenging times. Like any other sport, the way sports are being broadcast has changed, and will continue to change and we are all having the challenges of seeking additional income, and that has been equally difficult for Liberty. But they have been trying things: some good, some bad… or some less good but I think overall we’re all in the same boat. We want to see the sport grow, we want to see revenue grow and, bottom line, we can all understand that there is a financial reality that needs to be respected. The top teams are spending too much and we need to get that under control. In so far, summarising, I would say it was positive.

Christian, your 500-day summary.

CH: Yeah, I think there have been some very good things. I think Liberty are very much fan-focussed, so things like access to content for opening up digital media, social media. I think the engagement with fans, creating a better experience trackside. I think the promoters, certainly the teams, have found that there’s a different approach, a different attitude regarding that side of the business. I think what’s by far Liberty’s biggest challenge is how to address the future, how to address 2021. I think the problem, and the risks that I see, is if the FIA and the promoter aren’t fully aligned, we end up with compromises and vanilla-type regulations. I think there needs to be a real clarity going forward as to what the sport is going to be, what are the regulations going to be, that both parties ultimately have to buy into? Liberty have paid $8billion for this sport. They’ve got to turn it into something that’s even more attractive. That’s fantastic racing, obviously there are cost issues, there’s revenue issues that need dealing with. The FIA, obviously as the governing body, they’ve got to be fully-aligned with that, and what concerns us is discussions of where things are going with engines, where things are going with chassis regulations. Everything seems to be getting watered down somewhat from what the initial concept is. So, I think the next 500 days are going to be very telling for life, post-2020.

Franz, your thoughts on Liberty so far?

FT: I can only see positive aspects from them, and I’m also convinced that they are going in the right direction for the future of the sport, because it’s important that Formula One will be changed, from the cost side and what they want to do is absolutely the right thing, to come down with the costs. Whether it’s a cost cap or whether it’s regulated by the sporting and technical regulations is another question. Then, to distribute the money in a fair way, not that some teams get everything and others nearly nothing. They will come up with a new technical regulation for the chassis as well of from the engine side – I think from the engine side should be finished soon, and they will also change the sporting regulation and, so far, all the topics which are being discussed are going in the right direction. They brought in a new attitude for the media, they’re concentrating on the social medias are being preferred more and I think all of these aspects together are important, that Formula One will go in the right direction. Because what we need is not a two-class society like we have now: three teams and the rest of the world. No, it needs ten teams that are close together. Or at least four or five teams are fighting for the championship, fighting for race wins, and this must be the goal, otherwise Formula One is not interesting in the future. I think Liberty Media understood this and they are going in the right direction. I can only support them.

Q: (Luke Smith – Christian, with your engine plans sorted and your driver line-up for next year nearing completion, will the next goal to be resolved be Carlos Sainz Jnr’s future? And can you see him staying in the Red Bull fold if there isn’t a seat available at the top team?

CH: Well, all of these things are obviously interlinked in some way, shape or form. I think the whole driver market is waiting for Toto’s driver to kick that off. I’m hoping… at Silverstone are you finally going to get your finger out, sign a contract? He’s worth it. Come on, he’s worth every penny. So as soon as Toto signs his contract, yeah, two contracts, that then will cascade throughout and Carlos Sainz will just be a mechanism within that so it’s all down to Toto really.

Q: Part of the question there was can you see Carlos staying within the Red Bull family if Daniel stays with you?

CH: I thought I’d successfully managed to swerve that question! Look, Renault have a desire to keep Carlos. It really depends whether we have a requirement for him or not. Our intention is to retain both drivers so once that’s clear then we will sit down with Carlos.

Q: (Ian Parkes – New York Times) Toto, your car seems to be more subject to the vagaries of any given circuit this season than perhaps potentially in the past. Do you fear that continuing this season and potentially undermining your title challenges or do you feel that at this stage of the season you have a better understanding of it and you will be able to limit the losses at certain tracks where you are generally weaker, shall we say?

TW: You’re right. We’ve seen in the past oscillations with all of the teams but ours were pretty obvious and visible. The fast tracks were the ones that suited us more and then once we came to Budapest or Singapore or Monaco these were our weak ones and I think we’ve made some progress, we’ve addressed the problem and we’ve identified the issues but obviously every car has a certain DNA and has evolved over the years and you don’t want to undo the positives of the car, just to optimise the car in the slow speed. And insofar as we are looking at things, Monaco was a good step in the right direction. We didn’t fall off the cliff like we last year and now we have… the next proof is going to be Budapest, pretty soon, to see how we go but definitely it has become more of a challenge, because Red Bull traditionally was on the other side of the curve but they have progressed tremendously on the fast tracks and are now a competitor pretty much everywhere and the same for Ferrari.

Q: (Daniel Horvath – ) Christian, did you have any sleepless nights before making the decision to switch to Honda or was it an easy decision to make, considering their recent gains?

CH: I think, in the end, obviously we were waiting to see the outcome of the second round of engines which were introduced in Montreal and in the end it was a very straightforward and logical decision for us and one that was very much driven by engineering and certainly there was unanimity within our senior technical group, that this is absolutely the right way to go.

Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines, Toto, can you allow Porsche to hold the outright record at the Nordschleife or could you imagine yourselves building a Formula One car to challenge that?

TW: Funny that you say that, I thought about that this morning when I saw the time. It’s obviously incredible, what they have achieved, 5m 19s is almost a minute faster than Bellof did in a sport car, one and a half minutes faster than what I thought of doing and it ended up in tears. I’ve spoken with the guys this morning and they’ve said it’s just unbelievable, it’s like flying a spaceship around the track. It would be interesting to put a Formula One car on the Nordschleife and see what it does but it’s pretty more my spin than a realistic idea that somebody’s going to finance.

Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines, Can’t afford it?

TW: No.

Q: (Maria Reyer – To Christian and Toto, there won’t be a German race next year, and Austria still has a contract to 2020 I think. What are your views on the future of these particular two races and do you think Austria is maybe the more important than Germany?

CH: I think Austria is naturally far more important than Germany and very good that we have a Grand Prix here for years to come. It’s always been surprising, the last few years, that there hasn’t been more support at the German Grand Prix, especially with German world champions, German teams and hopefully at Hockenheim this year there will be a good turnout. I remember going there in the Schumacher time when the places were packed. Hopefully the fans get behind the racing, we have a great crowd. If the stadium is full in Hockenheim it’s one of the biggest atmospheres that Formula One can produce. Yeah, it’s a shame that it’s not on the calendar but what’s encouraging is there’s so much competition for races on the calendar these days that races like Germany are struggling to have a continued presence.

TW: Well obviously from an Austrian standpoint I’m very proud that Red Bull or Mr Mateschitz have created such a fantastic infrastructure around Spielberg. It’s not only on the track, you look can look at everything: the hotels are first class, the options for entertainment are really great and the variability is what makes Formula One and I think if you look at this race and these three races now, the back-to-backs: we’ve been in the south of France in Le Castellet, now we are in the mountainous area in Austria and we go to traditional classic Silverstone and that is great for Formula One. To your question on Hockenheim, obviously for us it’s not an easy situation because we would like to have a German race for our fans in Germany and all the Mercedes staff but you need to draw a line between operating a team and getting involved in race promotion, as far as it comes back to Mercedes as a team and this is what we’ve done. And the reason why we have a little bit of a hangover in Germany is maybe because the Germans have been so successful. We had seven years of Schumacher dominance and pretty soon thereafter four years of Sebastian winning it all and maybe you have to go through a bit of a dip to recover.

CH: Like the football!

TW: Like the football.

Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Toto, just going back to what Christian was saying about the 2021 rules. Do you share his concerns that if the FIA and F1 don’t completely agree on things it could be watered down or vanilla and if there is anything missing, what more would you like to see from them?

TW: Traditionally, if you look at the objectives, Christian and mine are maybe a little bit different. We would like to have a little bit more emphasis on the power unit and Christian on the chassis but that maybe changes, but I think transparency and a clear path is important.  We need to know what’s happening in 2021, what the regs look like on the power unit side and on the chassis side in order to get things moving and avoid a cost escalation, a cost rush last minute. That is important. I hope that with next week’s meeting, we have a little bit more understanding and input and then we see where it ends up.

Thursday 28 June 2018

2018 Austrian GP: FIA Drivers' Press Conference.

DRIVERS – Daniel RICCIARDO (Red Bull Racing), Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN (Ferrari), Kevin MAGNUSSEN (Haas), Sergey SIROTKIN (Williams)


Q: Daniel, it’s Red Bull’s home race and off the back of a number of competitive showings in recent weeks from the team are you expecting another strong performance here?

Daniel RICCIARDO: Yep, yeah, I am. I think we’ve had good pace… I think this year in general we’ve had good pace on pretty much all layouts we’ve been too. I think the races we have finished I think fifth has been the worst on track finish, so we’ve been there, if not on the podium, then close to it. A few bits of damage last week I think, which cost us the chance of a podium, or cost us a podium I believe, but generally we’ve been strong. In ’16 Max got a podium here, ’17 I did, so hopefully for the fans both of us can manage to get on there on Sunday.

Q: Now that’s this weekend but obviously a big story so far this year has been talk about your future and last week in the Friday press conference, Eric Boullier admitted that there had been some preliminary talks between you and McLaren. Just how serious has the interest been from other teams in you, and does that delay you making a decision about your future or are you close to making one?

DR: Of course there has been a bit interest. Personally, I want to get something done, ideally before the summer break. More from a personal point of view. I want to go on break with as clear mind, so it feels like a break. I think it was a few years ago when I was making the transition from Toro Rosso to Red Bull, that all happened during the break and it wasn’t a fun August break for me, so just from that I would like to get something done. Obviously with Red Bull they’ve committed to Honda, so they’ve kind of got all the cards on the table, so I know what I’m getting there, and things are starting to get to a point where I know what’s what and hopefully I’ll have something soon for everyone.

Q: Thank you. It would be unfair just to ask Daniel that question, so Kevin, moving on to you, how does your future look with Haas at the moment?

Kevin MAGNUSSEN: Yeah, no news. They have an option on me and so I don’t think there is much chance of me going anywhere else but we’ll just take it as it comes, there’s no stress at the moment.

Q: Kimi, a question you get every year, how does your future look right now?

Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN: Same as always, every year. We’ll see. 

Q: No news about your future then, but this year you’ve looked comfortable on Sundays and it was your fourth podium of the season last weekend, but you’ve admitted that Saturday didn’t quite go to plan. What have you and the team got to do to make sure Saturdays run a bit more smoothly?

KR: Just do better. Better results obviously and be more further up. Obviously that makes the Sundays a lot easier, especially most of the races it has been very difficult to overtake. The last race was a lot different on that side, so it was also more fun. I think we have been pretty decent all the way through in qualifying, part from the last part, or the last runs, so just need to tidy up a bit.

Q: Kevin, we’ll come back to you after the future talks. You have more points now than you had in the last two years combined in Formula 1. Haas has shown some really impressive pace but not always taken all the opportunities, so how high are you aiming this year?

KM: That’s difficult to say. On a good weekend our car is good enough for fourth best team and I think what we have to do is eliminate those bad weekends. When it’s good, it’s good enough for fourth and yeah, Renault are pretty far ahead in the points, but it’s still a pretty long season, but they seem to be very consistent and perhaps too consistent for us this year. But we will do our best. As we see at the moment, from fifth down to eighth it’s not that spread out, it’s very close, so hopefully we can fight for fifth.

Q: Thank you. Sergey, thank you for waiting and welcome to the press conference. It’s your rookie season and it probably hasn’t gone quite the way you envisaged at the start of the year. Have you been able to enjoy the way this season has gone so far?

Sergey SIROTKIN: For sure, it didn’t really go in a way we all really hoped in the winter. So, for sure in some terms I could enjoy it a bit more, a bit more fighting for the points, fighting for good results, fighting at least other cars on track, which unfortunately sometimes we are not able to do now. But, you know, it’s a different challenge. The challenge, how I look at that, is the work back at the factory, where I feel like I can play my role. I can play my role in trying to the united with the team, be one of them, work with them, to get over the difficult moments and to get success after it. I still do enjoy this side of the story, but for sure it’s not really how we came into the winter tests and how we tried to approach it. But we are where we are now and I still try to enjoy just the fact of being here. I try to enjoy racing. I think as soon as you start to think too much about where you are, how far you are in the field, that’s the point where it becomes difficult. So far now I just try to focus on something that I really like to do and something where I can play my role in the team and help them to get over. It’s a different enjoyment but it’s still enjoyment.

Q:  You mention the work back at the factory but right now we’re in the middle of three consecutive races. Is that something that makes it hard to see progress for Williams when it is that relentless?

SS: Yes and no. Obviously this race is going to be a tough one for us. You saw that on the results that the Williams wasn’t that strong already [here] last year and I would expect that it is not going to much easier for us than Paul Ricard last week. That’s probably like the more negative bit but the good bit is that in the next few weeks we have some good things coming on the car, which we have been working on for quite a while now. I don’t want to be too optimistic but we all have high hopes for those bits.


Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Kimi, I know you get plenty of questions about your future, but there was a link earlier in the week suggesting that McLaren might be interested in your services. I know that a while ago you suggested that you would be happy to see out your career with Ferrari or would you entertain the prospect of continuing in F1 with another team?

KR: I don’t know really. I said, I think it was 2007 already, that I would finish Ferrari and obviously at some point it didn’t look like that and now it looks like that again. You never know what comes after and this and that, but we will see. As always a lot of talk and I’m not really happy to comment on those. We’ll see at some point what happens, including me. Let’s wait and see.

Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action and Speedsport) Kimi, in France, with Vettel on the back foot, you were free to run your own race. Was that more fun, to be able to race for yourself and not have to play a team strategy?

KR: I don’t… how you tried to ask it is probably a bit wrong. I think really it comes to how the circuit was and how we could race against each other and actually overtake. If you take a couple of recent races, you haven’t been able to overtake really; everybody has been pretty much following each other. I think in that part, for whatever reason, we were able to race than say a couple of races before. Obviously what happened in the race, we were racing two different between ourselves so it was all normal. I don’t think that really made it certainly different, him being in front of me or behind. I think it was the case of actually being able to overtake and race wheel to wheel with people, that was the most fun for a while.

Q: (Péter Vámosi – Daniel, have you ever thought on a shoey with Prince Albert in Monaco, because Christian Horner told you do this on the team radio?

DR: Taking it back! It’s good memories. I might start celebrating again actually, it feels good. He was pushing for me to do one with Prince Albert, but the problem is that I live there, in Monaco, and I just thought if he doesn’t like it then maybe I’d have some residential problems, so better that I play the game and be respectful.

Q: (Andrea Tajthi  – My question is for Kimi. It seems that your wife means to starts to collect your podium caps. She already has a third place and second place caps. Do you want to also give here a first place cap also, in the near future?

KR: Obviously, I’m happy to give it, if we get it, but the cap is not the reason to try to win or not to win. We keep trying and hopefully we’ll get there.

Q: (Daniel Horvath - Question for Kevin. Kevin, we are almost halfway through the season and it seems like it is your strongest year so far in Formula One. How could you evaluate your season so far?

KM: Yeah, I think it’s been a pretty good season so far. The car is better this year than last year. I don’t think… well, in Formula One I haven’t had this good and competitive a car since my first year with McLaren. It’s really good. It’s a lot more fun going racing when you know you have a car you know can fight for points and top fives on a good day. So yeah, I’m enjoying it a lot. I think part of the reason… obviously, the car is better but this is my second year with Haas as well, and it’s the first time in my career, my whole career, even before Formula One that I’ve spent a second year in the same team. It’s a big advantage knowing everyone, and more so just having that experience together. So, y’know, every race when you go into the race preparing, you can look back at a race that you did with the same people, and almost the same car. There’s a lot of experience there in the second year that is a big advantage as well.

Q: (David Croft – Sky Sports F1) Question for Kimi, really simple one Kimi, have you or any of your representatives had a chat with anyone at McLaren regarding the possibility of driving for them next season, whether you’re interested or not.

KR: I spoke to them, for sure, but in the past a lot obviously when I used to be there. Like I said, I have zero interest to get involved in all the nonsense, in my view.

Has anyone had a chat regarding next season?

KR: You would like to know, would you? You can take it as you want. I don’t think you anyhow ask our opinions about a lot of stuff you guys write, so, it goes either way, you can put yes or no. You usually write what you decide yourself, whether it’s true or not!

Q: (Ian Parkes – New York Times) Question for Kimi and Daniel. Given where we are at in the season at the moment, it’s already beginning to look like a two-horse race in the drivers’ title. Do you guys feel that’s the case or do you feel you’ve still got a genuine shot at winning this championship with the right car, the right circumstances.

DR: I feel… I still feel we’re in it, to be honest. For sure, we’re still a little bit a long way from it, if you know what I mean, from a points perspective. But I feel we’re more in it than we have been the last four years I’ve had with the team. Four? Five? Whatever! As I touched on earlier, we’re going to circuits that we didn’t think we’d be on the podium, and we’re getting a podium, or having the pace for it, so I know we’re still going to have to take a penalty in the next few races, and we’re still on the back foot in some areas – but I feel on performance alone, we’re closer than we ever have been. That’s still giving me a bit of hope and confidence. There’s still a long way to go. And obviously, the team’s pretty aggressive with updates. So all we need is a couple more to give us an extra bit here and there and we could probably start to creep back inside it. Like always, you get one win and all of a sudden it’s ‘you’re back in the fight, you’re back in the hunt’. If we got a win and the top guys had a bad weekend all of a sudden, we’re the talk of the town again.  I think it’s still too early to count us out.

Kimi, do you still feel like you’re in the title race this year?

KR: If you purely take the points, for sure. If you count how many points there are left, for sure, yes – but obviously we’ve got, not the ideal things happening in a couple of races where we didn’t finish, so that put us in a little bit trickier position – but apart from that, we’ve been pretty OK. So, we keep doing, and try to stay out of any issues and to put things solid, as well as we can. It’s going to be a long way still – but of course with the two small issues have not been ideal but it’s not a disaster.

Q: (Zsolt Godina - Daniel, what do you think about Red Bull’s partnership with Honda, and how does it affect your decision regarding the future?

DR: I think in short it probably won’t have an effect on what I choose to do. I think just now, as I touched on now, it gives me a bit more clarity of the direction the team’s going. As I said, they’ve pretty much got everything now laid out in front of me and it’s really up to me to understand, I guess, what I think of it. I see the pros with the decision, obviously, the chance to start something new with Honda and yeah, so, I guess it’s now for me to think about. In a way, it’s a good thing that they have made a decision. We’ll see. Hopefully in a few weeks.

Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Daniel, if you could pick your own team-mate who would be ideal for you?

DR: I know the answer you want, right? Kimi! Or Valtteri! Just pay me the €200 later. Shall I answer it seriously? I don’t know. No idea. But you can write that if you like. Sell more papers in Finland!

Q: (Peter Hlawiczka - To all four drivers. Third DRS has been added here – do you think it will improve overtaking, and will it affect your setups in some way?

SS: I mean, of course it will give an extra bit of possibility, at least to maintain the gap to the car ahead a bit easier, if we are talking for one, two three laps, or whatever. In other occasions, like in places where you probably wouldn’t be close enough to do the move, like down into Turn Three, Four, whatever it is now. It will probably, with the extra DRS, you get a possibility to get within a reasonable distance to the car ahead and then try a move. Again, I didn’t race with F1 here last year so I don’t know exactly how it was. I take whatever it will be?

Kevin, the midfield battle is very tight. Do you think an extra DRS zone is going to affect that?

KM: Yeah, I think it was already… it wasn’t the worst circuit for overtaking already, so I think that whole… the longest straight on the track, which is already a pretty long straight, with DRS is probably going to be fairly easy to overtake here. We’ll see.

Kimi, your thoughts on an extra DRS zone. As you said in France, we had more overtaking last week.

KR: Yeah, I mean half of the track is DRS, so it should make it pretty easy. I don’t know if it’s too easy or not. Obviously we want overtaking but there must be a point where it’s kind-of artificial overtaking. But let’s see.

Daniel, your thoughts.

DR: Nothing much more to comment. I don’t see a negative with it at the moment. It should be OK , unless, as Kimi touched on, unless it’s really easy. Then it might take a bit out of it. I think, for now, I see it as a positive. I don’t think it will affect the setup. I don’t think so. Not much will change – probably just more overtakes during the race.

Q: (Aldona Marciniak – Przeglad Sportowy) Sergey, you’re stepping out of the car for FP1 and last year you were the one who was stepping in for Friday, for Renault, so could you give me both perspectives: on the one hand, what is the approach of the driver who’s in the car only on Fridays every few months; and the second one, the one you have right now, how do you feel giving the car to Robert tomorrow?

SS: Yeah. Considering how it is getting in, for sure it’s not easy when you don’t drive the car consistently; every time you jump in, on the one side you know that the team expects a good job from you straightaway. Straightway there are some tests to do, some developments going on and you need to perform as the team wants you to perform, but at the same time, as you’re not in the car that often it still needs a bit of time to get in and find a rhythm. Looking back from the other perspective, obviously Robert will take over tomorrow. I would say… talking to him, I think that’s exactly what he thinks about it and how he looks at that. Again, it’s exactly the position I was in last year so I perfectly know how he feels there but again, it’s still disadvantages and advantages so it depends on how you look at it.

Q: Part of that was how much does it impact on the rest of your weekend?

SS: For sure it’s never ideal to lose track time, especially for me in my first year. Even like last year, when I jumped in, even though it’s a short track with not too many corners I think we all found it quite difficult, quite difficult to get the rhythm and to properly understand it so for sure it’s not ideal but I’m in this position so I have to do the best from where I am.

Q: (Giovanni Messi – News Formula Uno) Kevin, you have been running a great season until now, especially against your teammate, Romain. How can you explain to us this kind of difference during this year and especially if you think you can continue in this way?

KM: Yeah, as I said before, this year we’ve got a good car and especially in terms of consistency from race to race it’s not only been good at one or two races this year. Last year our car was good here at this race and it was good in Australia and it was OK in a few other races but then it was a very up and down and difficult to understand. This year we’ve got a car that is a little bit easier to work with, little bit easier to get to that top level and yeah, I think that’s the kind of consistency that we needed and we’ve got that this year. In terms of Romain, I think he’s had a pretty tough year so far but he’s a very quick, intelligent driver so I’m sure he’s going to get back.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – Daniel, we have been hearing concerning Max’s contract with your team; especially the financial side, we have never read it, probably it must be true. If you decide to go to Red Bull, to stay there, will you request the same exceptional conditions the team offers to Max in the last contract, considering that you are more efficient in terms of results last year and even this year?

DR: Obrigado. Obrigado. Means thank you. I guess, to be honest, what I… I appreciate what you’re saying. I guess what I chose to negotiate is confidential, I guess. One thing I will say is that this year, obviously since I’ve been with the team, but this year the results have showed and having a couple of wins and again Monaco makes me smile when I just say that but it was a big achievement for me, especially after what happened a couple of years ago. There’s been some important boxes which I feel I’ve ticked this year which obviously can help me out in discussions and moving forward with my career so yeah, but I guess financial stuff, I’ll keep behind the closed doors. But yeah, I’m happy with where I’m at and with what I feel I can bring to the table.

Q: (Louis Dekker – NOS) Daniel, I know your team likes Budapest, Singapore but could you say the Red Bull Ring fits your car or is it just a circuit like the others, difficult, too many straights?

DR: I think, from my little bit of understanding about aerodynamics, I think the extra DRS zone will take a little bit of that – I guess, obviously – the drag away but I think that kind of minimises the deficit in some ways so I think I’m right in saying that that probably doesn’t hurt us too much. And then obviously the second, third sector is more corners than power-related. I think the last couple of years we’ve had a pretty good car here and I think this year should be no different, potentially even better, let’s see. Yeah, on paper it’s probably still not as good as a Budapest or a Singapore for us but a win? Who knows but at least aiming for a podium should be somewhat realistic.

Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Kevin, you’ve mentioned the improved car that you’ve got for this year. You’ve seen, first hand, the resources that the likes of McLaren and Renault have got available so when you compare that to your team, how proud does that make you of the job that your guys have done, and does it make you a bit surprised to see that McLaren, if anything, is slipping back this season?

KM: It makes me proud, for sure. It’s an impressive thing for such a small team to be competing against the likes of Renault and McLaren, beating Williams and even Force India is quite a bit bigger than us. So yeah, it’s something to be proud of and it’s a good job from the little team that we’re in. I would say I’m quite surprised, as well, especially with McLaren. I think when I was there it was very clear that it’s a great team, a very big team and yeah, beautiful team when I was there. I’ve lost touch with them, I don’t talk to them any more, I don’t know the problems they’re facing at the moment but it’s a shame, for sure. I’m happy for us that we can compete with them and beat them at times but for sure, it’s not where they belong.

Q: (Louis Dekker – NOS) Do you think this year this lap can be done in 59.9s?

Q: Daniel, you’re smiling, have you gone under 60s in the simulator?

DR: No, that seems optimistic. What was pole last year, 1m 02s was it? Maybe if we had a hyper (soft tyre), maybe but no, the DRS will obviously give us a bit but I think to get more than 2s on such a short lap already, that seems cool but a bit optimistic. Yeah.

KR: I don’t know. I guess everybody looks but is it going to happen? I don’t know. For sure Daniel said the DRS will give you free lap time. I don’t know yet. We’ll see.

Q: Sergey, have you had time to do this track in the simulator and get a lap time?

SS: I don’t think we’ll be able to do it under six anyway but it’s good to aim for, for sure.

KM: I don’t think so.

Q: (Luke Smith – Kimi, Daniel said he would like his future sewn up by the summer break. Do you have a deadline in your mind, when you know what you’ll be doing in 2019?

KR: No, I think I’ve been there so many times so… For sure, before next year I will know. It’s a pretty normal situation on my side.

Wednesday 27 June 2018

PREVIEW: World RX brings the magic to Sweden

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Media
Sweden’s majestic Holjes Motorstadion awaits the FIA World Rallycross Championship competitors. Dubbed ‘The Magic Weekend’, the iconic forest venue hosts round six of the 2018 campaign, Swecon World RX of Sweden over three days with racing starting on Friday afternoon (29 June – 1 July).

Defending champion Johan Kristoffersson arrives on home soil at the top of the standings following four victories from the opening five events – including a commanding performance in Hell, Norway last time out – but his rivals are determined to turn the tables on last year’s Holjes winner.

Second-placed Sebastien Loeb will be fired-up to fight back in Sweden after missing out on the final for the first time this season in Norway. The Frenchman was a podium visitor at each of the opening four rounds this year, and in both of his previous starts at Holjes. His campaign, and that of team-mate Timmy Hansen should be helped by the introduction of new Peugeot 208 WRXs which are due for this event, Team Peugeot Total promising both chassis and engine upgrades.

Norwegians Petter Solberg (PSRX Volkswagen Sweden) and Andreas Bakkerud (EKS Audi Sport) are hot on Loeb’s heels, with the trio separated by just three points as they pursue Kristoffersson for the championship lead. Solberg, surprisingly, has only once reached the podium in Sweden and is eager to break his 2018 duck after all too often seeing his scintillating speed go unrewarded this year. Bakkerud, by contrast, has never finished lower than third in four appearances – taking a famous win two years ago.

The transformation that takes place at Holjes for the World RX event is quite remarkable, as a tiny village in the heart of the Varmland forest – counting a population of less than 200 – welcomes more than 45,000 enthusiastic fans for a feast of high-octane rallycross action. Once again, the event marks the midway point of the World RX season, with the championship then taking a five-week break before resuming for its second half at Trois-Rivieres in Canada.

The significance of heading into the summer riding a wave of positive momentum cannot be underestimated, and home heroes Mattias Ekstrom (EKS Audi Sport) and Hansen (Team Peugeot Total) are determined to put on a show as they strive to close the gap to the top of the leaderboard. Ekstrom won at Holjes in both 2014 and 2015, while Hansen is twice a podium finisher at the track.

Amongst the 17 Supercar entries will be six Swedes, with Hansen’s brother Kevin (Team Peugeot Total) and Olsbergs MSE pairing Robin Larsson and Kevin Eriksson completing the sextet. The younger Hansen is edging ever-closer to the podium, and following a breakthrough weekend in Hell – getting both cars into the semi-finals for the first time in 2018 – OMSE will arrive on home turf with the top six in its sights.

In addition to the permanent competitors, two-time DTM champion Timo Scheider returns to the fray, having last competed in World RX – and reached the final – in South Africa back in November. The German will pilot the ALL-INKL.COM Munnich Motorsport Seat Ibiza he drove in selected outings in 2016.

Johan Kristoffersson, PSRX Volkswagen Sweden, said: “Winning at home was one of the most special results of my career at Holjes last year, and all I can do is try to repeat that this weekend. Competing in front of so many thousands of fans is unbelievable – when you see the flags everywhere, the atmosphere is just through the roof. I love it. Petter [Solberg] and I both think there is a bit more to come from the car still, so this is exciting, and I think we will need it – for sure the competition is getting closer.”

World RX Managing Director for IMG, Paul Bellamy commented: “Holjes is one of the most popular events on the World RX calendar, and for good reason. The ‘Magic Weekend’ is a spectacular fusion of awesome on-track entertainment and off-track atmosphere, with the fans’ passion and enthusiasm for the sport truly a sight to behold. With Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson leading the championship, the spectator banks are sure to be a sea of yellow-and-blue and if recent rounds are anything to go by, the action will be non-stop. With the forecast for wall-to-wall sunshine and the racing in World RX hotter than ever, we look forward to another ‘Magic Weekend’ at Holjes.”

Paul Coates, General Manager – Motorsport, Cooper Tire Europe, said: “With a sixth-gear straight, quick changes from gravel to asphalt and the jumps, this is one of the most exciting and demanding tracks of the season. This means the Cooper rallycross tyres have to withstand a lot of extreme forces but with the use of advanced materials and a specific construction, the tyre can not only take the force of landing a jump but quickly takes the sudden braking and cornering forces as well.”

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Media
European Rallycross Championship – Supercar
A capacity 30 drivers are signed up for the third round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship for Supercars, with early-season pace-setters Reinis Nitiss and Anton Marklund locked in battle, separated by just three points following a victory apiece to-date. Both have previously finished inside the top four at Holjes at World RX level, so their rivalry can be expected to intensify this weekend as they duel it out for honours. Denmark’s Ulrik Linnemann is third in the championship, with Holjes favourite Peter Hedstrom, from nearby Torsby, currently fourth.

RX2 International Series presented by Cooper Tires
As in World RX, there is a Swede at the summit of the standings in the RX2 International Series presented by Cooper Tires, with Oliver Eriksson leading the way approaching the mid-point of the campaign following success at Silverstone and a close second place in Hell. The OMSE ace – younger brother of World RX star Kevin Eriksson – is pursued by Sondre Evjen, Vasiliy Gryazin and Guillaume De Ridder, who won last time out and ascended the podium for the first time at Holjes in 2017. A record-breaking 30 cars will take to the grid this weekend.

European Rallycross Championship – TouringCar

Following a theme, a full grid of 20 cars will contest the third and final round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship for TouringCar. Steve Volders’ commendable consistency has propelled him to the top of the title table arriving at Holjes. Jan-Emil Wilsberg and Daniel Lundh are tied for second, just five points in arrears, with the evenly-matched pair having each reached the rostrum once. Daniel Holten’s victory in Hell catapulted the Norwegian up the rankings to fourth. Round one winner Fredrik Salsten remains in contention as the first title of the year is decided. This will be the last event for TouringCar as a European Championship, the FIA having decided to discontinue the category.


Grönholm RX aims to be more competitive in Sweden.


GRX Taneco are making the short journey to Holjes for the sixth round of the 2018 World Rallycross championship. The Swedish circuit is one of the most popular on the calendar for many drivers and fans alike. 

The two Hyundai i20 Supercars have proven to be competitive since their April début. 

GRX Taneco are the leading privateer outfit, placed fourth in the Team standings, a mere 98 points from the Peugeot Sport factory team (in 3rd). 

The Holjes circuit lies close to the Norway border, 200 km from Karlstad. The circuit is 60% asphalt and 40% dirt. It measures 1,210 metres long and has a very fast bend that leads into to the season’s biggest jump. The lap record stands at 41.448s.

Grönholm continued his unbroken semi-final run in Norway, and looks to continue the run in Sweden. “We’ve been competitive since the start of the season and we put in another good performance in Norway," said Grönholm. "Since then, we’ve been working hard for the Swedish race." 

Niclas Grönholm made it through the heats in the last two seasons while Timur Timerzyanov has qualified for the semi-final in Sweden three times since the World Championship began in 2014. Before the inception of the world championship, the Russian took three victories at Holjes in the European championship, in the Supercar (2012) and D1A (2009 and 2010) classes. 

Timur Timerzyanov
"Holjes is a great, very fast track. This is a huge event with a fantastic atmosphere and is perhaps my favourite race of the season," Grönholm added. "I hope we demonstrate our speed once again and close in on the factory teams.”

Timur Timerzyanov failed to qualify for the semi-final in Norway, due to transmission failure. The Russian aims to have a stronger weekend in Sweden.

“Holjes is a magical weekend, a race apart in the championship, a bit like Monaco in Formula One," said Timerzyanov. "Everyone wants to win here where the atmosphere is incredible, with so many fans present."

"We’re working really hard to put in some great performances,” the Russian added. 

Niclas Grönholm is seventh in the driver standings, and Timur Timerzyanov, 12th, they boast a total of nine semi-final qualifications and two final appearances since the start of the 2018 World RX season.

Mercedes-AMG F1 FEATURE: Tackling the Triple-Header.

PHOTO CREDIT: Auto Motor Und Sport
Formula One has embarked on the first triple-header in its history. Three races in two weeks, meaning F1 fans are experiencing more racing than ever before. But, at the same time, the triple-header presents a number of challenges for teams, especially when it comes to logistics. 

How much equipment does an F1 team bring to a race? 
When F1 teams pack for a race, they follow the same rule that we all know from our summer holiday: bring everything you need, but pack as light as possible. Every non-essential piece of equipment sent around the world creates unnecessary costs for the team. However, at the same time, competing in F1 requires a lot of equipment and items to be transported to races. For a European round of the F1 schedule, the team will usually travel with several vans and 27 trucks. Nine of those are race trucks that carry about 45 tonnes of race equipment; the other 18 trucks carry the motorhome. 

What kind of equipment does the team bring? 
While the pit buildings provide the basic layout for the garages, that's about it. Everything else - from the wall panels to the engineering station - is part of the equipment teams bring and set up. Nine trucks and numerous vans carry all of the equipment that is used in and around the garages - for example car parts, the PETRONAS fuel lab, the engineers' office, driver rooms, 160 wheel rims, IT racks and support material - from floor cleaner to tool boxes. For the triple-header, the team uses two different garages. The garage from France will travel straight to Silverstone, while Austria will mark the return of one of the five sea freight garages of the team. This one was last used at the Chinese Grand Prix and arrived back in Brackley three weeks ago, where it was serviced before it was shipped to Austria and is now being built to be ready for this weekend. In addition to the garages and the race equipment, the team brings its motorhome to all European races. The motorhome has many uses, from hospitality and event space to offices and meeting rooms. It offers up a total floor space of around 540 square meters across three floors (180 square meters each). In total, the motorhome is made up of 30 containers that are transported across Europe from race to race. 

PHOTO CREDIT: Auto Motor Und Sport

How long does it take to set up the motorhome? 
In preparation for a regular race weekend, it takes a crew of around 30 people three days to construct the motorhome - time, the team simply doesn't have during the triple-header. So, for both Austria and Silverstone the crew has been doubled to a total of 60. Disassembling the motorhome in France started shortly after the race and was finished on Monday afternoon, less than 24 hours after the chequered flag had fallen at Paul Ricard. It took the fleet of 18 Mercedes-Benz Actros trucks 14 hours to transport the motorhome to its next destination, Spielberg in Austria. The so-called 'grid' (the metal framework that is used as the foundation of the motorhome) was the last part to be disassembled in France. However, the grid is also the first part that was needed for construction in Austria. So it was loaded into four Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans, which are faster than the big trucks to make up a bit of time on the journey. Thanks to the bigger crew in Austria, building the motorhome shouldn't take much more than a day to complete. Setup started on Tuesday in the early afternoon and followed the same process as at every race, despite the need for additional speed. The team started by measuring the exact space of the area where the motorhome will be positioned, using highly-accurate lasers to level the foundation grid. Once the grid had been built, the 30 containers were installed. In addition to connecting the walls and floors, the electrics and the air conditioning systems also need to be connected. In total, about two kilometres of cabling are hidden behind the wall panels of the motorhome. 

How are the pit garages set up? 
For a regular race, a crew of between 25 and 30 team members start with the initial set-up work, which includes building the garage and setting up the race trucks which house the engineers' office and driver rooms as well as the tyre storage, a doctor's office and other areas. For the triple-header, additional personnel have been drafted in to help with the setting up of the garages. They arrived in Austria on Friday and started the build process on Saturday. The race team joined them on Tuesday morning to finish the garage construction, so the mechanics can start working on the car by 15:00. The set-up work on the engineers' office started on Wednesday in the early morning and will be finished by nightfall, so the engineers can start working in their office on Thursday morning. 

What's the biggest logistical challenge of the triple-header? 
The triple-header creates a lot of challenges, but the biggest one is traffic. The schedule is already extremely tight if everything goes according to plan and all the trucks arrive on time. If they are stuck in traffic and run late, it can very quickly become impossible to stick to the original schedule. In order to minimise the time spent on the road, there are two drivers on every truck so they can take turns behind the wheel. For the almost 24-hour long drive from Austria to the UK, an additional driver is required. The first two drivers will take the trucks from Spielberg to Ghent in Belgium where a well-rested driver will take over, cross the channel using the Eurotunnel, and drive the truck to Silverstone. 

What about the triple-header challenges for team members? 
While the triple-header will push the team to its limits, it's expected to have a smaller impact - both mentally and physically - than the late-season flyaway races. However, the triple-header will contribute to people being more fatigued later in the season. The main priority to battle that is sleep. Fortunately, there is just a one-hour time difference between the races, so the effect of jetlag will be minimal. In addition to sleep, physical activity and a healthy diet are helpful in maintaining and consolidating stamina.