Formula 1

2024 Australian Grand Prix – What the Teams are Saying ahead of the Weekend – Part 2

6 Mins read
Credit: Andy Hone / LAT Images

The 2024 FIA Formula 1 World Championship rolls into Albert Park for the Australian Grand Prix this weekend, and everyone will be looking to end the remarkable winning streak of Max Verstappen, who has won nine races in a row including the opening two Grand Prix of the year.

Oracle Red Bull Racing have secured one-two finishes in both the Bahrain and Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, and only the fastest lap point eluded them last time out. 

Heading into the weekend, hear what those from the MoneyGram Haas F1 Team, Williams Racing, the Kick Sauber F1 Team, Visa CashApp RB and the BWT Alpine F1 Team have to say.

#27 – Nico Hülkenberg – MoneyGram Haas F1 Team

“We‘re happy about scoring our first point of the season in Saudi Arabia. Everyone saw how much effort it takes for midfield teams to fight for a top 10 result and teamwork was definitely the key.

“Now I’m looking forward to Melbourne, I have many positive memories about Albert Park and the special atmosphere around it. For sure, it’s going to be a very tight fight for every position again.”

#20 – Kevin Magnussen – MoneyGram Haas F1 Team

“I think Saudi Arabia was another positive weekend, although on paper the Jeddah circuit probably wasn’t the best for us with the high-speed characteristics of it. We were still relatively competitive, especially in the race I had very good pace relative to others at the end, which is our focus this season. We still haven’t concluded that we’ve solved our issues from last year yet, we need to do some more races, but it was another positive sign that we’ve made progress in that area. We got a point out of it with Nico, so I’m looking forward to pushing hard for more.

“It’s always special coming back to Melbourne, I’ve got special memories from there from my first race in Formula 1. Coming back, you always have in your mind that it was the first race of the year for so many years, and that’s a special feeling. It’s a cool track as well, it’s still a very high-speed track, and it’s become more so with the changes recently but there are some slow-speed corners as well so I’m looking forward to seeing how we go there. Hopefully we can still be competitive on race day and go for more points.”

Kevin Magnussen is hoping to score his first point of the season this weekend – Credit: Mark Sutton / LAT Images

#2 – Logan Sargeant – Williams Racing

“I can’t wait to go racing again in Melbourne this weekend. The fans create such an incredible atmosphere that makes this race special. My plan is to find a good rhythm on Friday and build on that throughout the weekend.

“We know there’s very little that separates the midfield, but as a team we’re aiming to find that extra edge to push ahead.”

#23 – Alexander Albon – Williams Racing

“I’m excited to be back in Melbourne; it’s always a great vibe around the city and the fans are very passionate about racing. I’m looking forward to getting back in the car and testing out how the FW46 goes around Albert Park as Melbourne has always been a good track for us, so I’ll be interested to see if it’s still a strength.

“Hopefully we can do a good job this year and learn more about how our car performs with its changes in characteristics. It’s one of the best and most enjoyable tracks that we go to and the fans always put on a good show, so I’m very excited.”

Alexander Albon finished just outside the points last time out in Jeddah – Credit: Williams Racing

#24 – Zhou Guanyu – Kick Sauber F1 Team

“It’s good to be back in Melbourne this week: I have great memories from racing here in the past two years, and from the whole weekend experience: the Chinese community in this city is quite large, and I could feel their support from the grandstands – it’ll be a first taste of what we can expect in Shanghai in just over a month.

“After the first two races, I am motivated and hungry for good results: we finished just outside of the points in Bahrain, and showed solid race pace in Jeddah before my race was compromised. That’s in the past now, we have thoroughly investigated what happened, and we have hopefully been able to solve the problem.

“I’m looking forward to being back on track this weekend, picking up things where we left them in Bahrain – and improving from there.”

#77 – Valtteri Bottas – Kick Sauber F1 Team

“I’m delighted to be back in Australia – it’s no secret this is the closest to a home race for me now, and I want to have a good result to repay the love I am shown! The support and the energy of the fans is incredible – it’s great to be here, and you experience it right away, from the moment you step in the Melbourne Walk.

“The race in Jeddah was a tough one for the team, but we have been working hard this past week, away from the track, to get on top of the issues that didn’t allow us to extract the full potential of our car.

“This is a really cool track and I have enjoyed racing here in the past: I won here in 2019, so I have good memories, and I’m even more motivated to bring back a good result this weekend, proving our direct competitors we too are valid contenders in the battle for points. If we start the weekend on the right foot, I’m positive we can achieve that.”

Valtteri Bottas feels the Australian Grand Prix is the closest thing he has to a home race – Credit: Sam Bloxham / LAT Images

#3 – Daniel Ricciardo – Visa CashApp RB

“Alright, Australia race week! I’m home, feels great, it’s warm, it’s sunny, can’t wait, let’s get the season going, race 3, Melbourne, looking forward to it. Gonna put together a strong showing, a good one.

“I feel it, I feel it in my Australian veins. Looking forward to it, fast long circuit, Albert Park here we come. Let’s go baby!”

#22 – Yuki Tsunoda – Visa CashApp RB

“Hi guys, it’s Yuki here, I can’t wait for Melbourne. I love the place, love the track, the fans as well, medium-high speed corners, couple of slow speed sections in the last sector, so it’s a bit of a mix. I scored points last year, so I have good memory, so hopefully I can do it again this year.

“I was incredibly busy between Saudi and Melbourne. Went to a couple of sim sessions for preparation. That was good, went very well as well, so to be honest, it’s hard to predict how we can perform there, but I’m sure if we can do it perfectly, maximise our performance, that’s what we focus for and see how it goes for the results.

“Do my best and hopefully we can go through Q3 again and score points. That’s the main target. See you at the track!”

Yuki Tsunoda is eyeing the top ten in Melbourne – Credit: Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images

#10 – Pierre Gasly – BWT Alpine F1 Team

“I’m definitely feeling ready for the next opportunity in Melbourne this weekend. It has not been the start to the season that we wanted, but, in reality, it was one we expected to be challenging and that has proven to be the case. I was in Enstone for a couple of days last week. It was good to spend time with many different people and to discuss a few things on how we can improve. I also took some time at the whole team debrief to say a few words on my feeling inside of the car. I see so much hunger and motivation in everyone at the team to improve our situation. We’ll keep chipping away and we have Australia this weekend to keep understanding more about what we have in our hands.

“Albert Park is a cool venue for Formula 1. It’s always an amazing weekend with the atmosphere and the fans’ passion for motorsport. That’s what makes it very special. It’s a temporary track, which does bring different challenges. It can be quite low grip at the start of the race weekend before track conditions improve so it’s a place where you build up lap-time carefully. I’ve always enjoyed racing in Melbourne and I cannot wait for the race weekend to get started.”

#31 – Esteban Ocon – BWT Alpine F1 Team

“With each race it brings a new opportunity, and we head to Australia with renewed optimism to try and take the fight to the teams around us. We know the limitations of our current package and we know we must be at the top of our game every time we go out on track. Not just from my side from behind the wheel, but also from the team’s side with strategy, pit-stops and optimising the set-up. The field this year is so tight and – as we saw at the last race in Jeddah – points are extremely valuable and can very quickly change the overall complexion of the championship.

“Albert Park is a fast and fun track to drive and it presents a unique challenge on the Formula 1 calendar. The circuit has all the characteristics of a normal street track, but it uses the perimeter roads of a public park. The street track element means the walls are close in some areas and there’s very little margin for error. As the roads are used for regular traffic throughout the year, the track surface can be a bit bumpy and the speed ramps up each session as the track rubbers in. The weather in Melbourne can also be unpredictable with four seasons in one day, so we’ll need to stay alert and be ready to react.”

It has been a poor start to 2024 for Esteban Ocon and Alpine – Credit: BWT Alpine F1 Team
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Long time motorsport fanatic, covering Formula 1 and the occassional other series. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter at @Paul11MSport.
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