Ahead of the 2016 Hungarian Grand Prix, JWGP caught up with UK based Brazilian driver Felipe Nasr to discuss his season to date, his views on the halo device and future regulation changes, along with a view on his plans for 2017 and beyond.
- As we head towards the mid point in the F1 season, how would you rate your performance so far?
Felipe Nasr: In absolute terms it might look not good, relatively to last year it is not good, but when you look deep into it I think it is a good performance. Together with the Team we managed to do some very good races.
- How have you developed as a driver from 2015-2016?
FN: Learning, the popular saying goes, never exhausts the mind! I can say that, I am more excited every day with the developments we have made and those that we have in the pipeline.
- From a driver’s perspective can you explain the impact of the challenges Sauber have faced in 2016?
FN: We are a big family and whenever one part of it is suffering, we all suffer together. One impact in one point reverberates everywhere.
- How do you approach a race weekend? What motivates you?
FN: Besides the physical preparation a lot of mental focus. The motivation comes from the fact that I am living my dream: to be a F1 driver one of the 22 chosen ones.
- What would you say are the key strengths of the 2016 Sauber? Which of the circuits left on the calendar do you expect the car to suit?
FN: We have a good project base from 2015 and with the proper modifications the car can be competitive and score points. We have one update now in Hungary and other packages in races 13 and 14. We are all positively waiting for that.
- What would you like to see from your team through the remainder of 2016?
FN: The same enthusiasm and commitment that they showed until now.
- What do you think of the 2017 regulation changes? Do you think they will improve racing? Have Sauber started working on the 2017 car?
FN:It is in the F1 DNA to keep changing and improving. For sure the races will have another balance of power, here at Sauber we have not given up on the 2016 car, but we have already thoughts about what the 2017 car will be.
- What is your position on the Halo system? Do you think it is the right solution? Is this the right direction for the sport?
FN: A solution has to be found and I am sure that the best one will be chosen.
- Looking ahead to 2017, you will be out of contract with Sauber, are you talking to other teams on the grid? If so which?
FN: I have a contract with Sauber until the end of the year, I have to think about the here and the now. Why not to continue here in 2017, after putting so much effort together?
- Have the team kept you informed regarding commercial developments to secure the future of the team? Do you believe they will find a solution?
FN: As I said before we are a family and we have to be honest and talk about everything between us, I can assure you that the solution is already there.
- Brazil has a strong heritage in motorsport, how important is the continued fan support to you? What do you think about rumours Interlagos may disappear from the calendar?
FN: Brazil also has a very strong tradition about rumours, it is not the first time that the end of Interlagos is announced. I am sure that in the end everything will be arranged.
- How would you describe the F1 paddock atmosphere?
FN: Competitive, highly competitive all the time!
- Can you give a bit of background as to your Banco do Brasil relationship? how did it come about? what does the partnership mean for you and prospective future developments?
FN: Banco do Brasil started sponsoring me when I still was racing in GP2. They wanted to diversify as they were heavily concentrated on Volleyball. For them it was a very good move and they are very happy both in the promotional and commercial aspects, Motor Racing opened a lot of new opportunities for them and their products all over the World. For me they are fundamental for future developments and plans.
- What do you think of racing series such as Formula E or WEC? Would you consider a drive in either of these series after Formula One?
FN: Formula E has [seen] a lot of success and WEC has always been one of the stepping stones of Motor Racing. They are both options for my racing career after F1.
JWGP would like to thank Felipe Nasr for taking time out of his Hungarian GP preparations for this interview. Thanks also to Carlos Lua for facilitating our time together. All the best to Felipe Nasr and the Sauber F1Team for the Hungarian GP and the remainder of the season.