F1 2021
Round 20

#QatarGP, Race Setup

qa Losail International Circuit

Round 20 of this 22 race season see's Formula 1 venturing to another new track this weekend, in Qatar. The Losail international circuit, having played host to Moto GP, now opens its doors to the F1 paddock as the championship battle hots up.

#QatarGP, Race Setup

Arriving at a new track teams rely heavily on simulation data, hoping they can make a good start to the weekend during Friday Practice. Getting up to speed around the 5.4km circuit will be important, with no time to waste in the scorching desert.

Both our teams are locked in crucial battles in the Constructors' Championship, and the fight between Max and Lewis has had F1 fans glued to the action. After a somewhat deflating weekend in Brazil last time out, we'll be hoping to finish this triple-header strong and bring home a good result with all four cars.

Toyoharu Tanabe
Toyoharu Tanabe
Honda Racing F1
The Brazilian Grand Prix was somewhat disappointing for both our teams, but now we are focused on the next race, the last round of this final triple-header of the season in Qatar. The Losail circuit will be a new experience for all the F1 teams. It is one of the longer tracks on the calendar at 5.4 kilometres, with mainly fast and medium speed flowing corners and its main straight is particularly long at over one kilometre. We’ll be racing under floodlights in a desert setting, something we are well used to from other tracks in Middle East.

With no actual track data, we have carried out plenty of simulation work ourselves and along with our two teams and we will have to wait until the start of free practice on Friday to see how well we have prepared. It will be crucial to optimise the settings quickly, based on actual running data from practice, therefore it’ll be another very busy weekend for both engineers and mechanics. There are only three races to go now, and we’ll be trying our very best at all time to ensure we have nothing to regret come the end of this tough competition.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen 33
Red Bull Racing
Yes it was a tough weekend, in general we were a little bit off pace to Mercedes but nevertheless we only lost a couple of points so it’s not too bad. Of course I would always like to win but we had a good battle and to come home in second is okay. We’ve got three races to go so it’s all about pushing and doing everything we can as a Team to maximise performance on track.

I think I’ve only been to Qatar once for a prize giving so I’m looking forward to going back. It’s a new track and we’ve obviously never been there so I’m excited to see how it’s going to be driving the track, hopefully we can perform well there. It always looks cool when we see Moto GP race there!

It’s hard to say at the moment but let’s see when we get there. I’ve driven it a little bit on the simulator to understand the corners but it will be good to see the track in real life. The practice sessions will of course be very important for everyone to get up to speed and understand the car set up.

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez 11
Red Bull Racing
Yes, we were very unlucky on Sunday to miss the podium, it was basically just down to bad luck. But this is racing, and these things happen so there is no point dwelling on it, I just need to move on and look to Qatar and getting back on the podium there.

I think we will do a deep analysis as a Team and Qatar is going to be a very different track to Sao Paulo so things will change. Hopefully we can be a lot stronger there, across the whole weekend. For me also, it is nice to be back to the normal qualifying format to see how we line up in terms of outright pace.

I think we will be competitive over there and hopefully give them a hard time. It is a really fast track, with a lot of downforce required so we will see how quick we can be. I don’t remember driving there very well, it was a long time ago so I don’t believe there is much advantage for me! There are three races remaining of the season and still so much to play for. Brazil was a very fun race so let’s hope for the same this weekend.

Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly 10
Scuderia AlphaTauri
After Brazil, we are still in the fight for fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship but it was a pretty tough weekend. It was nice to be back in Sao Paulo and all the media were keen to remind me that I finished second at Interlagos the last time we were here. No podium this time, but after poor starts in both Sprint Qualifying and the main race, to manage to come back to seventh and enjoy some good overtaking moves was a positive result and a boost as we head to the next round. I’ve driven the Qatar track on the simulator and watched the MotoGP races from there. On the sim it looks really interesting as it seems there are a lot of high speed, fourth, fifth and sixth gear corners and I think it will be quite physically demanding because of all the high-speed sections. It’s the sort of track I like, with lots of fast corners where you can really push the car to the limit of its aero abilities, so it should be very interesting.

Yuki Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda 22
Scuderia AlphaTauri
I enjoyed my first visit to Brazil and discovering another new track was very interesting. Interlagos is certainly unique with a great atmosphere and fans as passionate as in Mexico. But on the track, things did not go as smoothly as I would have wanted. Although I think I did quite well in terms of adapting to the track, it was quite tricky to go into Qualifying after just an hour of practice. Then in Sprint Qualifying I got a bad start and in the actual Grand Prix it was really difficult to drive the car because of the damage from the incident with Stroll. So, I’m pleased that I can try and do better right away with Qatar in just a couple of days. In some ways I expect Qatar might be the easiest of these three races for me in the sense that I will be on equal terms with the rest of the field as no one has ever raced there before. On top of that, the actual layout looks more straightforward than Mexico and Brazil so should be easier to learn quickly.

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