In Albert Park two weeks ago Lewis Hamilton made it six wins in a row as he laid down the gauntlet for his title rivals in the first race of the season. It was his first race for his new team TornadoF1, who Lewis’s previous victory had stolen the Constructors Championship from last season. We talked to TornadoF1 boss TobiasF1 in Malaysia last weekend at the FF2M event at Sepang.
FF1M.COM : Welcome Tobias, so we sit here with Tornado top of the Constructors Championship after the first race. I guess it’s fair to say you’re happy with how the weekend went?
TobiasF1 (T): Very much so of course. Going into a new season is nervous for all teams but even more so when a completely new era of FF1M beckons. So to win the first race of FF1M’s comeback is amazing and to also maximise all the points we could achieve during the race. Lewis had a fantastic qualifying to get 3rd considering the customer engine disadvantage. However, I knew our car would be stronger in the race as the difference between works and customer teams is neutralised. Going into the race, the goals for Lewis and Daniel was to win and score points respectively. We achieved both those results which was nothing I could ask more for thanks to both drivers having a clean race. Overall, couldn’t be happier.
FF1M : What are your aims for the rest of the season?
T : I think that any team that wins the first race of the season on merit has to be considered a title challenger and that is exactly what we aim to do for the rest of this season. In this sport, you never really know whether or not your team will ever win the title and so when an opportunity arises such as this, you have to make full use of that. Even if it does mean in future seasons you may not be at or close to the top. For Lewis, he’ll be aiming for his 3rd drivers championship absolutely. Then for Daniel, it’ll be again much like his first season, a learning curve. Hopefully he can learn a lot from Lewis and keep on developing as a driver and perhaps come the end of the season, he can be scoring podiums and pull off a shoey or two.
FF1M : Who do you see as your biggest challenger?
T : There are many big challengers this season. In Australia, Rosberg and Raikkonen, before his race ending puncture, were the most pronounced threats in that race. We had to get that 1 stop strategy bang on and get through the traffic as swiftly as possible. Along with those two, I think you also got to add Alonso and Vettel in the mix even though they didn’t really show their hand that race, especially Alonso who made many mistakes. However, even the best drivers such as himself can have a horror show and I am certain he’ll bounce back from this. As for constructors, even though our team are favourites, it will be very tough to convert those expectations. FJR have two drivers that can comfortably finish high in the points despite their bad luck, Willows have Alonso, Shake n’ Bake have Vettel and SCM (Gui) have Rosberg and the works Ferrari power unit. Any one of those drivers or constructors along with ourselves could win this season with the right strategy, effective car development and good fortune. To add to that, the competition being so close is unlike any other we have seen with equal cars. Just look at qualifying for example with the top 20 being separated by just 1 second. That is mental.
FF1M : We now head to Brazil, Interlagos what are your thoughts on the venue?
T : Brazil, Interlagos is one of my favourite tracks and Grand Prix to watch and drive on. However, in all honesty I like it more as a season finale as it always provides an unpredictable race and especially when an undecided title hinges on it, it adds to the drama massively and tension is at an all time high. Obviously last season it went horribly wrong for us losing the constructors thanks to Mr Sutil’s antics. You live by the sword and die by the sword in this sport and we just had to pick ourselves up after losing by two points and come back stronger.
FF1M : Any other comments?
T : Nothing much else to say other than that as the best driver pairing on the grid, I am confident we can carry forward our strong race pace this for many races this season. Qualifying will always be tough for us being a customer so I’m not expecting many if any pole positions this season. This I don’t mind in the slightest though as points are won on Sunday. Thanks again for the interview and I’m already focused on getting the best result we can in Brazil.