There’s no two ways about it, we left Brazil with a heavy heart last Sunday. But we’re also racers, so we don’t stay down for long. We’ve picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off and we’ll come back fighting in Abu Dhabi next weekend.
While there’s little chance of a weather intervention, there is every hope of ending the season on a positive note at least. Lady Luck may have given us a swerve in Brazil, but let’s not forget that we’ve made a major step forward this season and there’s reason to be very proud of our 2016 performance overall.
Development Driver Jordan King returns to the cockpit this weekend for his second planned FP1 session, in tandem with his own season finale in GP2 Series.
2016 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Yas Marina Circuit
Pascal, little point dwelling on Brazil; it is what it is. The question is, what’s in store for the season finale?
“We just have to do our very best and see where that gets us. I think we have to be realistic about what is possible in Abu Dhabi, but that shouldn’t stop us fighting all the way to the finish.”
What will the perfect weekend look like for you?
“Over the last couple of races we have seen what a difference three solid practice sessions makes to our qualifying and race preparation. We have to get everything right, and at the same time, identify every little advantage and opportunity. If that happens, we have shown four times this year that we can make it into Q2, and a better starting position can make a big difference in the race. Brazil happened, so the chance to show more of what we have achieved together this year is what we are targeting.”
Esteban, your ninth and final race of a season that has been fast and furious for you. Also, your final Grand Prix with Manor Racing L.
“It’s gone by so quickly but it feels like I have learned such a lot in a very short space of time. I haven’t had a full season’s perspective, but even since Spa I have seen how much the team has grown and how these experiences will strengthen Manor Racing for the future. I don’t want to say too much about beyond Abu Dhabi for now, as this race needs our full focus. Brazil was heart-breaking for many reasons – for me and the team – so let’s keep pushing and bring all the hard work to a positive conclusion.”
Pole position, fastest lap and a podium finish for you here last year in GP3. We’re not expecting you to repeat that performance, but we know you like this track. What can you achieve in your Manor Racing swansong?
“I will forever be grateful to Manor Racing for giving me the opportunity to begin my F1 career, so my objective is to help put a smile on everyone’s faces on Sunday afternoon. Getting both cars to the chequered flag with one last strong performance under our belts is my target. It maybe won’t change the situation in the Constructors’ standings, but it will be a measure of what the team has done well so many times this season.”
Dave, describe the mood at Manor Racing over the past week since Brazil?
“Well clearly we were all very disappointed with the outcome on Sunday evening in Brazil. But, you know what? When you look at it in the cold light of day, I’m really proud of the guys. I thought the team did a fantastic job in the race; we were genuinely running with both cars in the top 10 early on, we had everything covered on the pit wall during all the chaos and the guys did a textbook job of dealing with the red flags. It’s just that, come the final restart, we weren’t quite quick enough and probably needed another two or three laps to pull it off. That’s racing and we’ll have a good go at reversing things in Abu Dhabi.
“We’re also pleased to welcome Jordan back to the cockpit for his second planned FP1 session. He’ll be taking over Esteban’s car on Friday morning and we have a busy programme of testing items lined up for him again.”