Yuki Tsunoda

“Testing in Bahrain went smoothly and produced plenty of information about the car. We identified some limitations, some positives and negatives, all of which will be very useful for this weekend’s first race. There are some areas of the package in which I feel definite improvements compared to last year’s car, while there are other areas we still have to work on. Overall, it was a good test in which we did the most mileage of all the teams, with a mix of long runs and performance runs and so far, reliability looks good. That was an issue for us at the start of last season, so it’s encouraging to see an improvement and we need to keep that momentum going into this weekend.

With last year’s car we lacked some downforce, particularly noticeable at high speed where the car would slide a lot, and so we struggled to save the tyres. In this area, I noticed a significant improvement with the new car. The tyre spec has changed for this year and in last week’s test I could feel that they behave differently, especially on a long run, so we have to adapt to that, which I think is the case for everyone. Degradation seemed quite high, but I did most of the running in hot conditions in daylight, while this weekend at the same track, the important times will be at night and therefore cooler.

In terms of the PU, I was pleased to see last week that if I suggested something after one session, it was already better in the next one. Everyone is working well as a team and pulling in the same direction.

Now I’m really looking forward to going racing again. This year, my aim is to perform more consistently over the whole weekend, which will then produce a better performance in the race. There have been a few changes as I have a new trainer and some of the engineers are also new to me, but I feel well prepared personally and my aim is to keep moving forward from where I was at the end of last season. As usual, I will be giving 100 per cent”.


Nyck de Vries

“I’m definitely feeling ready for this first race of the year. In October last year, I kind of knew I would be on the grid, so the lead-up and preparations have been long, and I’ve been looking forward to this moment, not only for the past five, six, seven months, but pretty much a lifetime, so I definitely feel like I am as ready as I can be!

Testing was really good. We completed a lot of laps in which we were able to execute our programme, learn a lot about our package and test many different things. There was plenty of information to digest and put together in time for this weekend and it’s hard to get a good read on where we sit because the midfield seems very tight, but hopefully we can be up there. I think two tenths in lap time will put you up and down the order a lot, and it will probably swing round a little bit from weekend to weekend, so it is challenging but we’ll obviously do our best.

I only had one test in last year’s car but it’s clear that this one is a bit of an evolution. If you look across the grid, everyone tried to optimise their package a little bit and so did we. My honest feeling about it is that, because the rules remain the same, fundamentally, there isn’t a huge difference between the two cars. I’ve had to adapt to working with a new PU supplier to the one I’ve been with in the past. It’s obviously always a little bit different in the way they work, but it’s not miles apart and it’s fairly straightforward.

How will I feel on the grid, starting my first full F1 season? You know, when you’re in the car and when the engine is fired up, you’re actually quite alone and it’s very quiet, just you and the car alone, so I don’t think it will feel much different than any other time you’re on the grid waiting for the lights. It’s just another car really. I don’t think that will feel much different. It’s more the whole circus around it which probably feels a little bit different during the weekend and in the days before, but otherwise, I’ve done many starts, so this is going to be another one”.