Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: Having damaged Alex’s car at the race start last weekend, coming straight into a Sprint Event is logistically difficult. However, we have been able to repair or replace much of Alex’s car such that we can continue to understand the updates during FP1 on Friday. There is very little time to change the car before it passes into Parc Ferme at a Sprint Event and so we will need to be bold going into FP1 if we are to continue to push the performance.
The layout of the circuit is more challenging than is perhaps apparent from the track map, with the tight low-speed corners contrasting heavily with the faster infield corners at T6/7. The significant elevation changes add to the challenge and make some of the braking zones tricky. Finally, the kerbs are very tempting for the drivers but can damage the cars if they are abused.
The weather forecast is for relatively cool conditions, which should make setting the cooling level ahead of qualifying more straightforward than it might have been in more usual hot conditions. Even so, setting the cooling level for the race on Friday afternoon remains a tricky risk-reward game, which all teams must face.
Although Alex was involved in a big crash last weekend, he was protected by the car and is fully fit to face this weekend. Nicholas had a strong weekend in Silverstone and will be looking to build on that experience and push the baseline FW44 to its limits before he gets to try the updated package in France.
Nicholas Latifi: I’m looking forward to getting going in Austria with the second Sprint race weekend of the year. I’m a fan of these weekends as it’s exciting to change up the normal format. We’re carrying some good momentum after a positive weekend at Silverstone. I’m looking to hit the ground running and as always that FP1 session will be crucial. We have plenty of data around that track from before, so I expect us to be in good shape. Hopefully we can take advantage of the difference in format that the Sprint event produces and have a solid weekend.
Alex Albon: It’s obviously disappointing we didn’t get to properly test the new upgrade last week, however looking forward to Austria, I know the team has been working hard to make the repairs, so we’ll be ready to test it further and gather more data. With the sprint race it does limit our practice time, but it will be good to get back out there and see what we can do with the car.