“I am looking forward to it a lot. Last year we had a reasonable weekend there in what was Formula One’s first visit to the Circuit of The Americas, but this year I think there’s potential for a lot more. In 2012 the track surface was new and temperatures were quite cool, so we struggled to find grip and also to get the best set-up as we learnt the new circuit. This year we have all the data from last time, we’re expecting warmer temperatures and I know both the team and myself are working really well together to extract strong performance from the car.
“It’s quite a balanced circuit in that you don’t need one particular thing over another for the car to perform well, but it should be a circuit where the E21 can go strongly once again. Last year the challenge was finding the level of grip we wanted and I expect this to be a challenge again. The tyre allocation is quite hard so you really have to work the tyres to get them in the best performance window. We expect warmer temperatures this year which will help and the track surface will have changed a bit from the very new surface we had last time. All in all, I think we have potential to go quite well.
“My first visit (to America) was for the race last year and I definitely like the USA. It’s such a big country and I know I’ve seen only a very small part of it. Since last year I’ve bought myself a Harley Davidson, so visiting Austin last year must have made an impression! I’ve had it customized so maybe I’ll have to ride it around the US sometime in the future. As well as great motorbikes, we saw so many enthusiastic fans last time which was really great.”
“We missed out on a podium in Abu Dhabi, but it’s clear that the car had the pace to be there. That’s where we want to be as that’s where you get the most points. It would obviously be fantastic if we could get both of our drivers back on the podium before the end of the season, and if they could both be there in Austin I’d be a very happy man.”
“There are certainly no particular features of the circuit that give us cause for concern. The layout has a similar feel to Korea in many aspects, with high speed change of direction in the opening sector, a long straight in the middle sector, and low speed traction events combined with a long continuous curve in the final sector. It’s a circuit we should be comfortable with by all accounts. Given what we’ve seen recently and after analysing all the data from Abu Dhabi, there’s no reason to say we shouldn’t be right in the hunt to take the challenge to Red Bull.
“As per the previous season, Pirelli have been very conservative in their allocation of the hard and medium compound for this race. On our first visit to the circuit last year, the tarmac was extremely smooth as you would expect from a newly laid surface, which naturally presented a bit of an unknown quantity in terms of tyre performance; the particular challenge being in generating tyre temperature.
“The uncertainty this time around lies in how much the tarmac will have matured over the past 12 months. In principal, with some of the bitumen having now worn away we should be left with a rougher surface which will allow more energy to be put through the tyres, thereby alleviating the aforementioned warm-up issues. Given the early running times and also the seasonal aspect of when we visit Austin, track temperatures can be relatively low during the morning practice sessions but rise significantly during the afternoons; an additional consideration to factor in when preparing practice strategies. We’re hopeful of a slightly warmer welcome this year, and the forecast seems to be in our favour.”