2013 Formula 1 Shell Belgian Grand Prix Preview –
Dr Mallya, despite a difficult couple of races the team remains fifth in the standings. What is the focus going forward?
We are approaching the second part of the year in the same way we approached the first half. We know the car is mechanically sound and the drivers have been happy with it, so we need to unleash its potential. Getting on top of the new tyres is certainly a challenge and an area we are focussed on, but it’s the same for everyone. With nine races to go and a close battle in the championship it’s vital that we are competitive on all tracks.
Do you feel confident that the team can recapture its form in time for Spa?
Tyres have played a very important role this year from race one onwards. We were on top of the tyre game up until Silverstone and then in Germany and Hungary we have struggled with the new tyres. We need to get on top of that and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to. We just need time and I’m quite optimistic that we will come back strong.
Spa is a track that always seems to suit this team. What are you expectations for the weekend?
Spa is a track that we love! As I have said, the car has to be competitive on all tracks, but if I concede that Hungary was not ideally suited to us, by the same token Spa and Monza have traditionally been our stronger tracks. So that gives me a little bit of a morale boost in saying that once we are on top of the game, we should restore our competitive position.
Paul on Spa
Paul Di Resta gets ready for the second half of the season.
Paul, how was your summer break?
It was very good! I had the chance to put in a bit of training, relax and spend time with my family and friends at home. It was important to make sure I come back stronger for this second part of the season. It’s going to be a very important period and I wanted to make sure I can face it in the best condition and with my batteries fully charged.
After some difficult races before the break, are you and the team ready to bounce back?
I don’t want to let this Championship get away from us. We started off really well and there is no reason why we can’t keep doing that. We have missed some opportunities lately and that allowed our rivals to close in, but I have faith in the team and I know everyone is working hard for the races ahead.
So are you confident for the second half of the season?
We need to get the car working for us like before. In Budapest it was difficult to drive, but sometimes you get those tough weekends. Since then we have regrouped and analysed the previous races properly and hopefully this weekend will be a fresh start. We usually do well in Belgium and everyone is determined to get back to the situation we had at the start of the year when we seemed to be punching above our weight.
Adrian on Spa
Adrian looks forward to his favourite race of the season.
Adrian, are you feeling refreshed from your summer break?
We travel so much during the year so it’s nice to have a quiet period to just stay at home and relax. I spent most of the time in Switzerland and did quite a lot of training. I’m coming back feeling fresh and ready for the big challenge we have in the second half of the season.
You always say that Spa is your favourite track so you must be looking forward to this weekend…
I think it’s the favourite for most drivers. It’s a real pleasure to drive there and I’ve had some good results. The high-speed corners are a really nice challenge and there are lots of overtaking opportunities. Plus, there is always the unknown of the weather and a good chance of rain.
How are you approaching this weekend?
It is important we regain the speed we showed earlier in the year. We are going towards some tracks that should suit our car better and it’s important that we get back to scoring points at every race. I am ready to do my part by taking the opportunities when they appear and helping the team move forward. I have good memories of Spa and I would like to add some more.