Let’s have a chat with Pierre…
You’re about to start your first full season of Formula 1. How does that feel?
PG: It’s a big year ahead and I’m super excited about it all, starting testing and then the first race isn’t that far away. I just want to smash it for the 21 races that we have ahead of us.
How are your approaching the season?
PG: I always want to be the best and try my hardest. It’s true that this is F1 and, even if in the last few years I’ve been fighting for wins, podium finishes and titles, this year that might be a little bit more complicated! But it doesn’t change my aim of always doing the best I can with the equipment I’m given.
A year ago, you were the reigning GP2/F2 champion, but there was no room for you in F1.
Did you ever think the opportunity to be a Grand Prix driver had passed you by?
PG: No, I never lost hope and I always believed in hard work and the fact my results would speak for themselves. Winning races and taking the title in the GP2 championship in 2016, I knew one day it would pay off for me. I was quite calm about it last year and I felt that if I concentrated on my goals, having a good season in Japan it would come. I always believe in myself and as long as you put in the work, you get your reward.
You are working with Honda this year and last year you raced for a Honda team in Japan.
Was that something that can help you now?
PG: Any experience of working with a different team is useful and I did learn a bit about the Japanese way of doing things, but this is a completely different set-up, so it’s not a big advantage for me.
What do you think of the halo?
PG: I think we will all get used to it. From inside the car, it doesn’t change much for us.
What do you expect from winter testing?
PG: Brendon and I have four days each and I hope we can manage good mileage and maximise our time on track, getting through a lot of work. We need to find the right direction to work in and get comfortable with the car. Having Honda with us is also a big change and we just need to get plenty of track time to be ready for Melbourne.
The French GP is back on the calendar this year…
PG: I never went to see the races at Magny Cours, but I remember watching it on television. It’s the perfect moment to come back. So to have it in my first full season is great. I’m really looking forward to the energy and the atmosphere from having a home race.