A FAMILY AFFAIR
We’re back racing at the Hockenheimring – and indeed, in Germany – for the first time in two years. Last year’s event was cancelled, but a German Grand Prix is making a much-welcomed return to the calendar this weekend and we say it’s Zuper that #F1istZurück!
Hockenheimring, 29-31 July
It’s the final race before the Summer Shutdown – and it’s a big one! Not only does this year’s Formula 1 Grosser Preis von Deutschland herald the return of F1 to Germany after a one-year break, it will also be contested by four German drivers and four Mercedes-powered teams, of which Manor Racing is one. So with Pascal Wehrlein in the cockpit and Mercedes-Benz Hybrid power under the skin, this is something of a home race for our team. Well, we’re part of the family at least. Here’s what we have to say about our ‘family affair’.
Pascal, a big moment for you this weekend, competing in your very first home Grand Prix. How does that feel?
“It’s amazing – a dream come true. Ever since I was a little boy, visiting the Hockenheimring for the first time with my parents, this has been my goal – to race in Formula 1 – and here, at this racetrack. It will be a really busy week of PR, events, and of course racing, but I can’t wait to get started.”
Made all the more special by racing with a Mercedes-Benz-powered team, of course?
“Absolutely. I have been part of the Mercedes-Benz family for a few years now and it’s a real honour to be racing with them here. We have a group of Mercedes HPP engineers and mechanics within Manor Racing and, together with Silverstone, this is our team’s home race. It is also great that Mercedes-Benz and the German drivers are such a big part of the grid as it’s really important that we keep fighting for the German Grand Prix – it’s such a fantastic part of F1’s heritage.”
The Hockenheimring is the home circuit of Mercedes-Benz. How would you characterise it?
“The Hockenheimring is a nice technical challenge – high downforce, with long straights demanding plenty of power and mixed with low-speed corners, so a real compromise set-up is important. We recognise our limitations right now in terms of our aerodynamic performance, but I’m hoping we can have a strong race and show some improvement having introduced our most recent developments last weekend. It would be nice for the whole team to end the first part of the season with a good race and for me to have some special memories of my first home Grand Prix.”
Rio, there has been a huge amount of support for you in recent weeks. How much are you looking forward to racing in Germany this weekend?
“Yes, everyone has been incredible and my sincere thanks for that. The team have been very supportive and also the fans, so I’m really happy that I will be racing here. It’s a big weekend for the sport, returning to Germany – the home race of our powertrain partner – and also the final race before the summer break, so I intend to put all the speculation regarding my future to one side and concentrate on the racing here in Hockenheim. We’re working as hard as possible on the future behind the scenes, but that’s where I want to keep that side of things for this weekend.”
It’s two years since you last raced here in GP2. Is this a track you enjoy?
“The thing I remember most about this circuit is the noise! The atmosphere is fantastic, especially through the stadium section. It’s a track where straight-line speed counts, so I think the spotlight will be very much on Mercedes-power this weekend. I hope we can contribute to a positive performance for our powertrain partner here and get the most from the package we have and the developments we introduced for the first time in Hungary. As always, I’ll be giving it my best shot.”
Dave, one last push by the team before the summer break?
“Yes, the team will certainly have earned their stein of beer on Sunday evening! In the meantime, it’s a busy weekend ahead and one that we need to maximise. We want to end the first part of the season on a high note, and in particular, get our latest car developments working well so we can make good use of them when we start racing again after the break. Germany is Pascal’s home race and that of our powertrain partner Mercedes HPP, so naturally we’ll be keen to deliver the best possible performance in front of the ‘family’.”