Singapore Formula One Grand Prix Pre-Event Conference.

By: Myanna Wedes.

The press conference for the upcoming Singapore Formula One Grand Prix has concluded with some interesting insight from the key drivers featured: Lando Norris, Daniel Ricciardo, Lewis Hamilton, Romain Grosjean and Robert Kubica. With one contract re-signed we had another concluding at the end of 2019. Grosjean and his fellow teammate Kevin Magnussen have been re-signed for 2020 and it is exciting news for the pair who have a great working relationship. Grosjean “Looking forward to many more races under the Haas brand. You never know what happens next year. The team has worked really hard and obtained some good understanding from the drivers feedback. It was similar to the 2017 car. I have the confidence that we will bounce back, to which level, we will never know. To a point to fight for some fun races.”

The cameras were shooting at a rapid rate when Robert Kubica decided to leave his current team and look elsewhere for another opportunity. He took a lot of time and energy to recover. Since he came back, he would like to stay. His goal is to remain in Formula 1. Kubica: “I have to do what will bring me back a bit of joy for racing. This season has been very tough from a performance point of view and demanding. Being back in Formula 1 after a long time away is not easy. I have to say thanks to the team for the opportunity. I will see what the future will bring”.

In a total comparison, Lando Norris is looking to improve at Singapore. He is a happy young lad with a smile on his face as Daniel Ricciardo revved him up with a ten second rule that he would break and start laughing. No doubt, the Australian Renault driver was spot on with the laughter and redness appearing rapidly. When these two get together, they are a bundle of fun. Norris has been in Singapore the longest out of the grid and has been acclimatising with cycling, running and learning the circuit to the best of his ability. In comparison, Hamilton has been told not to run due to the haze in the air causing grief for locals and at levels that are slightly concerning. If anyone was to get sick first, Norris believes it would be himself though he will keep everyone on notice. If anything, the British driver is aiming high after his result at the last race was taken away. A fifth place finish was feeling like winning when unfortunately unluckiness struck his McLaren. Norris: “As much as I have been annoyed and disappointed, especially at Spa, last lap, I was on for my best result and at the moment for the team, we have not had the best weekends in a row. It has been tough for me. Little bit annoyed but in the end of the day, we have been working hard. It happens. It was not in my control, not in my engineers control. This happens in Formula 1. Personally, I have been here since last Thursday and getting used to the humidity.” The concentration you need on track is key and Norris is aware of this element. He wants to be hopeful. Monza was not the best for them and not the easiest track for them. He is hoping to be stronger.

On the other side of the garages, Daniel Ricciardo was happy with his result from the last race. It was a big result. Canada was the stand out. Spa was a positive weekend and the Monza result stellar. Ricciardo: “It is nice as a driver to the get the result and also for the team. I made an emphasis after the race that I tip my hat to the engine guys. On a power circuit to get a result like that was a pat on the back for them. In terms of Singapore, I think, the last few races we perform better on the lower downforce circuits. Monaco is similar here. We do have potential to be good on this circuit as well. I definitely think we can put it together. We may just have to work harder for it. It is a fun one. Physical and bumpy”.

Lewis Hamilton agrees with Norris that it is one of the toughest races. It shifts between the Red Bull and Ferrari manufacturers. He anticipates they will be strong. Hamilton: “We are just focusing on ourselves. We have not performed that well particularly though come away with not bad results. In terms of the heat, definitely on the radar. Not the hottest race we have seen so far. But of course, if the rain comes, it could change”. Hamilton is aware of the Mercedes positive and negative points. He is prepared for hard racing and is not worried about the haze. The same can be said for all drivers in the press conference who are not phased with the air quality. In fact, they are more focused on tyres, track temperatures and performance.

We are expecting some hard racing this weekend at Singapore. Norris, Grosjean, Hamilton, Ricciardo and Kubica are all in agreeable that they want to push one another. Fair racing and pushing limits. Ricciardo: “If there is a bit of touching, obviously I saw the replays of Monza, certainly it was tight and on the edge. It is a tough one. I think we are doing a good job of controlling it: tempers and emotions. Unless you are in the car and our position with our point of view, it is hard to get it perfect every time”. This type of racing is a good aspect for the sport because the drivers want to challenge one another. I think we will see more of this with new events as well. Hamilton made comment that he likes going to new events and also Ricciardo who feels fortunate for travelling to places in this job. Vietnam is an exciting one and the drivers are looking forward to racing there. It is important to bring more fans to the sport and going to these destinations is certainly going to help grow the sport. Old versus new was brought up. Hamilton: “It has been great to have new circuits and keeping historic ones, those are the people in Italy, makes the atmosphere or the UK for example. I think adding new circuits, it is good to go to new territories and expand the reach in the sport. I would prefer a street circuit that can be taken down (referring to India where a circuit was built and they no longer race there).

Overall, Ricciardo said it beautifully: “I have discovered some beautiful places because of the calendar. I have never been to Vietnam so I am excited”.

Credit: Bearne / XPB Images. (L to R): Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren and Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Renault F1 Team in the FIA Press Conference. 19.09.2019. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 15, Singapore Grand Prix, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Preparation Day.