F1 2021
Round 13

#DutchGP Race Setup

nl Zandvoort

It's finally here... A race weekend at home with Max Verstappen. Everywhere we travel on the Formula 1 calendar, we've been feeling the support from all of the Dutch fans over the last two and a half seasons of our partnership.

#DutchGP Race Setup

Cancelled in 2020, all of us at Honda are thrilled to be racing in the Netherlands. After an unusual race weekend last week in Belgium, we'll be hoping for a bit more of a straight-forward event here in Holland where we can hopefully deliver a good result for the home crowd.

Toyoharu Tanabe
Toyoharu Tanabe
Honda Racing F1
Unusual circumstances last Sunday in Spa, we took the win with Max in our fiftieth Grand Prix with Red Bull Racing and also picked up points with Scuderia AlphaTauri. In the end, our result all came down to Saturday’s qualifying which proves the importance of doing everything to the best of our ability in every session. We have now made the short journey by road to Zandvoort, for Max’s home race and the second part of this triple-header. It will be the first time Formula 1 has raced here since 1985 and the track presents some interesting challenges: its beachside location means there is usually a strong wind blowing in from the sea and the track itself features some unusual corners, with steeper banking than at any other tracks on the calendar, while generally the track is quite narrow. For our first visit to Zandvoort in the current era, we have done a lot of detailed preparation with both teams and plenty of simulation. Therefore starting on Friday, we will see how that matches up with actual data from running on the track and then work as quickly as possible on optimising our PU calibration to best suit the conditions. The grandstands will be a sea of orange in support of Max and we will be doing our best to ensure that he is able to give them the result they want, while also paying the same level of attention to our other three drivers.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen 33
Red Bull Racing
It’s not how you expect to win a race and not the way we wanted the weekend to go but a win is a win and the points are still important for both championships and we have to maximise every opportunity. Of course as drivers we all wanted to race and put on a show for the fans but it was clearly not an easy decision and the lack of visibility meant it just wasn’t safe in the end so we have to respect that. I'm really looking forward to the race at Zandvoort. It will be special to have a race in the Netherlands in front of my home crowd but also as a driver it’s a good challenge to go to a new circuit and find the limit in an F1 car. It was amazing to see so many fans supporting us in Austria and Belgium and I hope we can put on a good show for everyone in the grandstands this weekend. As for the track, it might be a little hard to overtake on but for single lap performance I think it’s going to be rewarding. The qualifying laps will be very quick there so any mistakes will be really costly. After the race was cancelled last year this year will be even more special and of course it would be amazing to win on another home circuit in front of the Orange Army. I’ve only done one race at Zandvoort and it was in a Formula 3 car. At that time I was known as ‘the son of’ but it’s going to be the other way around now [laughs]. The track has of course changed since then, with a few corners adjusted. Already in the F3 car, the corners were really enjoyable and they were pretty fast so I’m excited to race again in the F1 car with even more grip. I’ve also been there a few times with Red Bull for show runs in an old f1 car, so I have driven a few laps on the updated track in an F1 car which could be useful on the first few laps.

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez 11
Red Bull Racing
My Team did an incredible repair job in Spa so now I just want to repay them with a result this weekend. What they did was so impressive, it just shows how hungry everyone is at Red Bull Racing Honda. The teamwork and the way everyone jumped on the car without giving up on a chance of repairing it in time made me extremely proud and it was amazing to witness it in the garage. For sure it’s tough to stay focused during the red flag period, especially when your car is in a million pieces. It is quite challenging, and then it’s not certain if the race will even happen so it’s really important to stay in the zone. You just have to be prepared at all times because you never know what can happen, this is the key. Max did a really good job in qualifying on the Saturday and it was great that he was able to score some valuable points and close the deficit to Mercedes. Yeah it’s been a while since I took part in a race [laughs] so I am looking forward to when the lights go out this Sunday, that’s for sure. I really hope that Zandvoort is the race that brings us back to the podium and we are pushing hard as a Team to make sure that happens. I’ve only driven the track on the simulator but my initial thoughts are positive and so I’m really looking forward to experiencing the real thing now. I think this kind of track layout in a Formula One car is going to be a pretty good challenge and I just hope we can all have a great race and put on a show for the fans.

Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly 10
Scuderia AlphaTauri
It doesn't matter that Formula 1 is the most high-tech sport in the world, no one can control the weather. It was a real shame that we couldn’t race, especially so for all the fans who turned out and waited patiently. And for us it was also disappointing because we had a strong weekend up to that point, with another sixth place on the grid. I was convinced I had a chance of doing something really good in the race.
At least we don’t have long to wait to race again, so I will take the positives from our Spa performance and transfer them now to Zandvoort. I raced there in 2012 in Formula Renault 2.0, so quite a long time ago! The track layout has changed a lot since then and I’ve experienced it on the simulator. I think the whole weekend should be an amazing experience, being the first Dutch Grand Prix since Max has been in Formula 1. It’s going to be an interesting weekend, a replay of Monaco in some respects, as the straights are very short and the track itself is very narrow, so overtaking will be particularly complicated. That means Qualifying will be especially important and, as we seem to perform quite well in that respect, it could turn out to be a good thing for us. Another factor is that being by the sea, we can expect to find a dusty track surface on Friday, with sand blowing onto the asphalt, so conditions will evolve over the weekend.

Yuki Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda 22
Scuderia AlphaTauri
Racing in Japan, you get used to driving in the rain, but the visibility on Sunday in Spa was just too poor to race. I was looking forward so much to my first race in a Formula 1 car on that circuit, as part of my learning experience in my rookie year, but ultimately safety is the most important factor. From what we could tell in free practice in Belgium, our team still looks competitive in the midfield, so now we get to go again in the Netherlands and see what we can do.
I have never driven at Zandvoort, in any category. Since they have modified the track layout, it should be a new experience for all the drivers, not just the rookies like me. It looks unusual from the simulator, with a lot of banking, which is quite steep and that will need good skills to maximise in terms of carrying speed into the next part of the track. I think I am quite good at adapting reasonably quickly to a track I have never seen before. But I must make sure I don’t lose any track time through mistakes, because it will be important to learn as much as possible in free practice. Also, in Zandvoort, the track walk will be even more useful than usual, because the simulator cannot give you a complete picture of what a new circuit is like. The simulator helps but the walk gives you a full picture.

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