08.12.22 NL Blog
Abu Dhabi GP: The story behind my weekend
F1’s summer break is done for another year and I’m feeling revitalised for a return to the track – starting this weekend at Spa.
Although I got the chance to switch off for a few weeks, I was still busy travelling. I headed home to Canada to see my family and friends, and then my girlfriend and I spent some time in Crete and Poland which was nice.
The break came at a good time because we’re well over half way through the season and the second part of the year is going to be busy with the schedule and where the races are geographically. It’s good for everyone in the team to catch their breath and refocus for what’s to come.
When you’re getting back into an F1 car after a break, there’s not many better places to do it than Spa. It’s right up there with Silverstone as one of my favourite tracks. It’s a very fast and flowing circuit and it comes with a lot of history. It’s a track that requires a lot of commitment and you need to get up to speed very, very quickly.
This year the challenge will be slightly different because there’s been some major renovations to the track. Some of the corners have been resurfaced, some new gravel traps have been installed, barriers have moved back, and they’ve changed some of the exit curb profiles as well.
I haven’t seen the changes for myself yet, but whenever they put a gravel trap in a place where there’s a lot of Tarmac run off, I’m up for that safety improvement and I think all the other drivers on the grid will be too. There’s been some big shunts at Spa over the years and nobody likes that.
Putting the gravel in is also a move that will make the track limits debate much, much easier for everyone. It brings a ‘risk versus reward’ situation into play and that’s always interesting.
The other thing to look out for at Spa is the unpredictable weather. Last year’s GP was eventful and then very uneventful on race day because of the torrential rain. But with the way our team has been looking this year, when it has been raining, we tend to be able to outperform the base pace of the car itself.
So, if the conditions are damp, that could be an advantage for us. And the new technical directive from the FIA about how they enforce the floors could also bring some of the other cars closer to us.
But we’ll have to wait and see. The goal across the remaining 10 races is to work hard and try to maximise the package we have. And that process continues in Belgium.
All times local
Get free exclusive newsletter updates, behind the scenes videos, images and loads more!