September 28, 2021

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Tribuna Expresso: Great Games | David Coulthard: “Verstappen is 100% focused. He knows he has to go there for consistency. I think McLaren can win 2021 races.”

What remained on the grid of the Portimão track in its infancy in 2020?
My test times tell me that whenever altitude changes occur on a trajectory, it gives the pilot a whole new dimension. I was at Portimão to test tires, as well as with DTM, and I knew immediately riders would love the track. And they loved it, really liked it. I think their enthusiasm also has an effect on the home watching the race, because the fans imagine what it would be like to drive with these cars. So what we had in 2020 was a path that gave us a great and exciting prize, and it was a huge challenge for the riders and everyone’s very happy to be back here. Besides, it is a wonderful country, with amazing people, and wonderful community. All this adds up to a very good start to the season, with very balanced fights between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen in Bahrain and Imola and there is real enthusiasm for what is coming this season.

Last season, the track had new asphalt that ended up creating some problems with the riders’ grip. This shouldn’t be an issue this year, can we see riders more comfortable and have a more exciting race?
Yes, the same thing happened in Istanbul, where the pilots complained about a lack of a grip. But the truth is, they were probably two of the best races of the year. What we want is to challenge the pilots. If the car travels on rails, like trains, then all we had was the performance of the car. But when drivers have to look out for that performance, I think it’s something they really like. The track is developing and drivers are having more experience this year, and engineers already understand the track better.

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Data that was missing a year ago and that left everyone more expected.
Yes exactly. Formula 1 is a data-driven world. In 2020 there was simulation work, and now the emulator is already using real data.