Team Principal Fred Vasseur looks to Mexico, reflects on Austin and talks pit stops and potential.
What are the targets for Mexico?
For all of us, points are the target, as ever. For our engineers and drivers, maximising the use of the tyres and making the most of our potential are the particular goals. For our drivers, it’s having fast and consistent performances in qualifying and the race. The Mexican Grand Prix is an impressive event so we want to see impressive performances from everyone involved.
What was your take on the team’s performance in the United States Grand Prix?
We showed a decent performance but my expectations are high and I know better was possible. There were areas where we had issues and neither driver drove a perfect race. I really want to see us collectively maximising every opportunity in every regard for the next three races. Next year we clearly should have a more competitive car; this year is about getting to a place where we are confident to maximise our full potential.
The team has made strong progress in operations, particularly in pit stops. Was this one of the goals of the year?
At the start of the season we realised that our on track performance would be limited by the development we could realistically put on the R.S.16. The basis of the package had not moved forward significantly from 2015 so we would always be fighting the tide. However we did think we could make big gains by optimising operations. We have improved in all areas: tyre management, race operations, strategy and also in pit stops. Our mechanics have worked very hard in tough conditions and have had the energy to solidly improve. You can see it in the results and it will continue to pay off next year.
Are the 2017 plans on target?
We are on target with timing. The power unit is already on the test bed and aero is underway. Of course we don’t know what the other teams are doing, but we are relatively okay in our own programme. Things are progressing as expected. We will naturally have a rush in the next three months to push to be ready to go testing, but everyone is motivated to get every last tenth they can.