“For the past two races, through no fault of my own, I haven’t got past the first lap, but I’ve reset my mind, ready to bounce back strong in Suzuka. Since arriving in Japan, we’ve been busy with various promotional events, getting a great welcome from the fans. I’m very much looking forward to this weekend. If I’m honest, I’ve actually been looking forward to it since the end of last year’s race! It’s definitely very special, and the way I felt there was completely different to all the other Grands Prix, with so much support from the fans there. It was incredible, and I can’t wait to be back there again. As an event, it will be the best of the year for me.
“I’ve been racing in Suzuka since 2016 in Formula 4, and so I’ll meet many people from my past there this weekend. There’ll be plenty of drivers I used to race against in Formula 4 who are now professional racing drivers based in Japan, competing in Super Formula and Super GT. We still have a good relationship, and I often do some online gaming with them. There are lots of people I would like to invite, but I can only bring a few of them into the paddock. I’m staying in Japan for a few more days after the race and am going to make time to meet friends outside of the racing weekend, which is better as I need to focus on my work during race week.
“It’s good for the whole team that Liam has experience at Suzuka, maybe even more than me in the higher categories. By this weekend, Liam will have raced in three Grands Prix, so he will have more knowledge, and we’re expecting a good team performance. The upgrades we introduced in Singapore seem to work, so maybe we can aim for the top ten or top eight. We need to score more points, and the entire team is working towards that goal, with everyone pushing each other forward to try and achieve it.”
“I was really happy to pick up my first F1 points in Singapore and get a tough race distance under my belt. Now I’m excited about Suzuka, which I know pretty well, as I’m racing in the Super Formula championship this year. It means I’ve tested and raced there quite a few times and I absolutely love it. Obviously being a Formula 1 track, when I first drove it, it was a pretty cool experience. It’s very iconic as well. More of an old-school style of circuit, with grass around the whole track and not much room for error.
“The Super Formula cars are fun to drive and are as close to Formula 1 as anything is, but in quite a unique way because it’s not the same feeling as a Formula 1 car. The car in Super Formula is very, very light and super agile to drive, with very high downforce, so it’s very enjoyable. But Suzuka is going to be very different in a Formula 1 car.
“I have been commuting to Japan this year because of my reserve roles in Formula 1, but I have spent a lot of time there. The food is amazing, and the culture is really cool. I’ve honestly enjoyed it a lot. The fans, even in Super Formula, are amazing and very passionate about racing. Motor sport, in general, is at a very high level. Obviously, having a Japanese team-mate in Japan, Yuki’s going to have an incredible amount of support, but having raced there this year, I’m super excited to hopefully see some of those Super Formula fans there as well.
“I’m hoping that we can be strong there, and it helps to know the track reasonably well. I’m expecting it to be very different to drive in a Formula 1 car, but I’m excited to go there. I think, in a Formula 1 car, it’s one of the best circuits you could drive.”