That’s week one of testing done and dusted for you; what can you take away from Jerez?
At the moment we’re definitely happy. We’ve shown the strength within this team through all the hard work that’s gone into getting the car here, bouncing back from the issue on Tuesday and then going out there and following up 97 laps yesterday with a further 62 today; it’s a huge accomplishment for everyone involved. Proving reliability at this stage is crucial and every lap is precious, as this is going to be a seriously challenging year for every team. I’m feeling very positive after these tests and every day on track is another step forwards, but there are so many challenges ahead of us in the coming weeks and months that we just have to take those steps one at a time.
What have you learned about the W05 this week?
Everything is a little bit different. The tyres feel a little bit better than last year. They’re more durable. You can do perhaps 30 laps and you have a lot less wear, although they can still overheat like any tyres can. We’ve lost the effect of blown diffusers and the lower rear wing element which is a pretty big amount of downforce to recover, so when you get on the power the rear end is a lot less stable with more wheel spin thanks to the greater torque. Through the gears, where in the past you may have used second or third gear through a corner, you’re now using fourth or fifth. Things like the brake-by-wire system and the dashboard on the steering wheel all need fine-tuning, as they’re pretty new concepts. Then you have the turbocharger, the ERS… it’s so complex; far beyond what we’ve ever had before, and as a driver you have more functions to juggle than ever before.
What are your thoughts on the new era of Formula One so far?
The issues every team has had so far demonstrate just how difficult these new regulations are for every team and that anything can happen; no matter who you are. It’s the most demanding experience any of us have had in a very long time – perhaps ever – which makes these early days hard work. That said, I just love driving Formula One cars. It doesn’t matter if it’s a V10, V8 or V6; so long as it has lots of power I’m always going to love it. At the end of the day we’re racing drivers; our job is to be able to drive pretty much anything fast!