11 May 2016
Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain
We’re back in Barcelona for Round 5 of the 2016 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, the Spanish Grand Prix. Familiarity breeds ‘content’ this week because the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is such a known quantity to all of the teams. It’s a real barometer track in that it’s fairly representative of the more traditional road courses F1 encounters during the European phase of the season. If your car works well here, that’s a good sign. We catch up with our drivers Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto, and Racing Director Dave Ryan, to see what the weekend has in store for Manor Racing.
Pascal, at long last, a track you are more familiar with. Based on that prior experience here, what do you love about the Barcelona circuit?
“Yes, it will be nice to get straight into the programme here without having to think about acclimatisation. Although I didn’t race here in my early single-seater career, it’s a track we know well from testing and its characteristics are very familiar to us, so it will be relatively easy to see how our new developments are working.”
Tell us about those track characteristics?
“It has a bit of everything for a driver, which I like. There’s a good mix of fast, medium and slow speed corners, frequent changes in direction and a nice long start-finish straight, all of which make it really interesting to drive. The track is quite abrasive so with the tyre allocation here we’ll need to focus on managing degradation. I hope we will see some good progress here this weekend.”
Rio, welcome home! Kind of.
“Yes, Indonesia is my real home of course and I try to go back there at every opportunity, but the reality is that it’s a long way when we’re racing in Europe, so I have a base here in Barcelona for the next few months. I really like it here; the weather is good and it’s a really cool city with plenty of interesting places for me to train. My trainer is Spanish so he knows all the best places and I know the area like the back of my hand now.”
Four races in, how are you feeling about your debut season?
“I feel good about the season so far. I’ve had a bit of bad luck but generally the first few races have been positive for me. I feel quite happy with the way I’m learning and developing with each new race, particularly in terms of my pace. You learn to put the disappointments to one side and use it as extra determination for the next event. So I’m ready to get stuck into the weekend here. It’s a track I know really well so we should be up to speed quite quickly and able to get a good impression of how our package works here.”
Dave, what’s new for Europe?
“As is the case up and down the pit lane, we have some new developments that we’ll start to introduce here this weekend - a new bodywork package, floor, new front and rear wings, together with some other less visible items.”
What are your expectations for the upgrade and the next phase of races?
“We hope the developments will enable us to start optimising the car in a few areas and that they will contribute to a more efficient package. We’ll begin the process of evaluation this weekend before making any hard and fast predictions but we’re optimistic that we will see the first signs of progress after a lot of hard work by the team over the course of the first few races.”