As the final countdown to the new Formula One season begins we’re taking a look at what’s being said by the drivers ahead of the Australian Grand Prix. Today we’re running through world champions Red Bull, Mercedes and Team Lotus.
“We want to go racing again.”
“We know what it feels like to start the season in Australia, it’s a special place with a special track – it’s one of the few cities that lives Formula One for the week, so I’m looking forward to it.
“It was an exciting winter and the time around Christmas was important to calm down, but since February we have been back in the rhythm. It’s nice to look back at last year and at what we achieved, but we’re all looking forward now and focussing on the new car and season. It all starts from zero again; we’re excited, we’ve had enough of testing now and we want to go racing again.”
“This is the best winter we’ve had.”
“As an Australian I’m looking forward to Melbourne being the first race. We’ve done a huge amount of testing and a lot of work has gone in to the cars – now we’ll put them through their paces at Albert Park and lots of questions will be answered.
“It’s going to be an eventful weekend, especially as the weather can be a bit hit and miss. We’ll learn a lot about the tyres, which will play a huge role. O hope I can improve my luck there, as it hasn’t been incredible since my first GP in ’02. I hope to get my best results and there’s every indication we can do that. This is the best winter we’ve had – let’s hope we can carry it in to the first event.”
“We are well prepared.”
“We are well prepared. All of the hard work over the winter will start to come together over the first few races and then we will know more about the position we are in, and what still needs to be achieved as Formula One never stands still of course. I feel very ‘at home’ with the team after one year of working together and this experience has really benefited our pre-season preparations.”
“It’s a cool venue for the first race.”
“I love visiting Australia and Melbourne is one of the most chilled-out cities on the calendar so it’s a cool venue for the first race of the season. I’m travelling out early to get acclimatised to the time zone and am looking forward to training by the beach and relaxing in St Kilda in the evenings.
“We’re in good shape. The team and car have progressed a lot over the winter, we’re pleased with the performance from our upgrades and the car is handling well. Our aim is to make a good step forward from last season and I am confident that we will be able to achieve this.”
“I think we’re going to have a really good year.”
“As Melbourne is now the start of the season it will be very exciting. The Australian fans are great people and the city always has a carnival atmosphere because the race is right in the middle of town. The track itself is a semi-street circuit so it’s tricky. It evolves a lot throughout the weekend as the rubber builds up and traction and grip improves.
It’s a difficult track to overtake on and whether we get an opportunity to make the moveable wing really work for us there is still open to question. Whatever happens I’m really excited about getting back to racing and with the steps forward we have taken this year I think we’re going to have a really good year.”
“I think [the moveable rear wing] will have a big part to play strategically.”
“It was a strange feeling the first time we used the moveable rear wing, because you suddenly have about 15% less drag and therefore a lot more speed. The more you use the wing the more you get used to it and its effect on the car’s behaviour. We can use it wherever we like in practice and qualifying but in the races it’ll only be when we’re within one second of the car ahead and in the designated area so I think it will have a big part to play strategically. We’ll see how it improves the actual racing, but I hope it will make a difference.”