Speaking to The Checkered Flag, Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team reserve driver Sam Bird talks about his F1 role, the new Formula Renault 3.5 car, and gives his take on the new multi-manufacturer era of the DTM.
Is the DTM a championship you would be interested in joining in future?
“Obviously I keep a keen interest in what the Mercedes drivers are doing. It's an extremely professional series, the Formula 1 of tin-top racing. It's like driving a single-seater, so it's definitely something that I would love to consider.”
After doing GP2 for two years, you are now driving in the Formula Renault 3.5 championship, which has a new car for 2012. What is it like?
“It's got a DRS and Michelin tyres. It's a little bit slow in a straight line, but the minimum speeds are quite a bit higher than GP2, so it will be interesting to see if we are as quick as GP2 around Monaco.”
Were you surprised by the pace shown by the likes of Robin Frijns and Artur Pic? Did you expect yourself and Jules Bianchi to fight it out amongst yourselves?
“I think it was always going to be a really tight championship this one; there are a lot of good young drivers in it. Obviously different teams have a different handling on this new car, some teams are more up to speed than others, so it's a case of us improving ours to make sure that we get on top of it as quick as possible.”
Does it get frustrating sitting on the sidelines during grand prix weekends?
“Mercedes are really good to me and they keep me very, very busy during the weekend. I get to do some very cool things: I get to work on the simulator when I'm back at home, I get to do filming days, demo days, and its great to be a part of one of the leading brands in the world.”
What was it like to see your work come to fruition in China with Mercedes first win?
“To know that there has been thousands of hours going into that car and that my testing and my work on the simulator has helped develop and make this car was very special. I felt very, very proud, proud of the way I've done, proud of the way everyone in the company had worked extremely hard.”