Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: Having introduced some new parts to Alex’s car over the last couple of races, we are now in a position where both cars can run with the upgrades. Although the weather in Silverstone, and the Sprint format in Austria were not ideal for testing, we have seen enough encouraging feedback to be confident that we have taken a step forward. With the weather likely to be warm, dry and stable this weekend, we’ll look to use Friday’s running to get Nicky up to speed with the new parts and also to continue to understand how best to exploit the performance of the new package.
For this event, Pirelli have brought the middle of their compound range, a combination that we used frequently at the start of the season, most recently in Miami. The next two races will also use these compounds and so it is important that we reacquaint ourselves with this combination quickly.
The circuit was resurfaced ahead of last year’s event and, in damp conditions, led to some tyre graining. We will need to see exactly how the surface has aged in the last 12 months, but this process and the better weather forecast for this year should mean that graining is much less of an issue. Instead, the high track temperatures and high circuit energy is likely to lead to tyre overheating, which will need to be managed during the race.
This time of the season – the second consecutive back-to-back pair of races – is a very busy period of the year for everyone. The introduction of a major upgrade has challenged the whole team, but this challenge has been met with enthusiasm and professionalism and, as a result, we head into the final races before the summer shutdown in a good position and ready to push on into the second half of the season.
Nicholas Latifi: I’m super excited to get to France because it’s the first race where I’m going to have the upgrade package. We’ve seen some positive signs from it on Alex’s car so far, so I’m looking forward to getting my first taste. Hopefully it can bring us that extra bit of relative pace that we’ve missed and put us more in the fight. France has a unique track layout with lots of run-off areas, so track limits might be a bit of an issue as it was in Austria. More than anything I’m looking forward to continuing the development of the car and hopefully we can get some good data going forward.
Alex Albon: I'm looking forward to France now that we have Austria under our belt and more information and data available for the team to analyse. Hopefully we can keep pushing and working on the car, exploiting its performance and get a good result in France. The track is quite a mixed circuit with generally medium to high speed corners, so will be a good opportunity for us to see what the car can do.