Abu Dhabi Grand Prixview
November 25, 2019
“It’s the last race of the season so it’s a special weekend. It’s going to be very important for all of us at Toro Rosso as we want to finish as high as possible in the Constructors’ Championship, I’m also in with a chance of ending up as the best driver from outside the top three teams in the Drivers’ classification. We want to end the season in a good way, not just for our pride, but also because where you finish in the championship has an impact on our development work and our performance level for next season. Our championship fight adds to the excitement this weekend, although I can imagine that ‘exciting’ might not be the right word to describe how Franz feels about it! There’s always something a bit sad about the final round, as it means we won’t be racing again for around three and a half months. It’s something that will dawn on me on Sunday night, the sense that the season is over.
Here at Yas Marina, I’ve won the GP2 feature race, but I’ve been less successful in Formula 1. All the same, I really like this track, especially the last sector which is very technical. It has a nice flowing rhythm. I like it also because it’s nice and warm when we come from the cold in Europe, and the fact I clinched the GP2 title here means it brings back happy memories. Of course, the race takes place at night so it’s a bit cooler in the cockpit, not that it is anywhere near as demanding as the Singapore night race. It can be a complicated race, and you have to manage the car very well because the conditions are not straightforward, so I can’t wait to get there and end the season on a high. Whatever happens on Sunday, I will be happy about how this season has gone, particularly my return to Toro Rosso in the middle of the year, and I will never forget my first visit to an F1 podium after coming second in Brazil. But I will also enjoy having some time off once the racing is over. I will spend some time with friends and family in France for a couple of weeks around Christmas time, as I had hardly had any time to see them this year because my work schedule was so busy. After that, I’ll start training seriously, going to Red Bull’s training camp in the States from the end of December to be as well prepared as possible for next season. The best way to enjoy the winter break is to do well in the last race of the year and that’s another reason to work really hard on this final weekend in Abu Dhabi.”
“I like coming here and have good memories of winning the GP3 title in 2013 with a victory in the feature race, knowing I would be joining Toro Rosso the following year. It was a great moment, obviously and very happy days. This last race will be another opportunity to get a good result to end the season on a high. I always enjoy the Yas Marina track, to be honest, even though it has those huge run-off areas but still, the configuration itself is quite interesting. We can play around with the lines quite a lot there. The third sector is pretty challenging. We race under the floodlights, which is cool and I enjoy the whole business of racing at night. The track provides a few overtaking opportunities too and I will push as hard as I can to have a good race to end the year. The last round in Brazil was simply brilliant for the team, even if personally, in recent races, I haven’t got the results I was looking for. You fight and give your best but sometimes it doesn’t work. The last race of the season is always exciting. Exciting and even a little bit sad because it’s like a huge chapter of your life has just closed. Then comes a short break before it all starts again. It’s time to go home and sort your personal things which maybe you’re not used to anymore, so you have to learn how to live a normal, everyday life for the first couple of weeks, then you start enjoying normal-day life and then it’s back to racing. It’s the same every year. I will stop training for a few days, but generally I like keeping busy so I will do a lot of boxing over the winter with my trainer and maybe some karting. I’m never fully inactive. I don’t just lay on the sofa all day long. I can’t do that because then I get lazy.”