America, we're coming to get you! We're heading across the Pond this week to Austin, and the first of three races North and South of the continent. We can't wait to lap up everything that the Lone Star State has to offer. Speaking of laps, we also have development driver Jordan King making his FP1 debut with us on Friday.
Pascal, your first time racing in The Americas. What are you most looking forward to?"
Pascal Wehrlein: "Always the racing, but I'm really excited about heading to the US, Mexico and Brazil. The cities are really cool - places I really want to visit and explore - and the circuits are a mix of new and traditional. So it's going to be fun."
Starting with Austin then, what do you make of the Circuit of the Americas?
PW: "I like the look of the section from Turns 12-15 - very much like the stadium section at Hockenheim, so that gets a thumbs-up before I've even started running there. I think the sensation of heading through the start-finish straight and up the steep hill to Turn 1 is going to be really cool as well and then there are some other sections that are reminiscent of other circuits, like Silverstone, so it seems that it has a bit of everything. The weather can be quite mixed there - judging by what I saw there last year - so it will be interesting working with the tyres I think. I can't wait."
Esteban, a good day's work for you in Japan last time out. What's the plan for Austin?
Esteban Ocon: "More of the same, I hope. I'm really getting into a good rhythm now. At first it was not easy, stepping into a new car mid-season, but every race things are improving and when we have a nice run-up to race day, I can really show what I can do. So, yes, another strong weekend in Austin would be good."
What's on the rest of the Austin 'To-Do' list?
EO: "Yeah, it looks pretty amazing. It's the Live Music Capital of the World, so I'm hoping to experience that a little bit before the hard work starts for the weekend. And the Texas BBQ looks good too. I'll give that a try, for sure!"
So, Jordan, the big FP1 debut. What does this opportunity mean to you?
Jordan King: "First of all, I'd like to thank the team for making this possible. It's another big step in the right direction for me, after two really positive tests in the MRT05 which paved the way for this opportunity. It's a dream come true, but at the same time I have a job to do in the car on Friday and I want to make sure I give the team plenty of quality feedback and data to help with their USGP challenge."
Tell us about your programme.
JK: "There's quite a lot to cram into 90 minutes. I'll be exploring the balance of the car and correlating that with the team's simulation work. There'll be some new components to evaluate, along with the tyre specifications for this event. I'll also be learning the circuit and getting up to speed with the car, which has been developed quite a bit since I last drove it at Silverstone. I can't wait!"
Dave, another new venue for Pascal and Esteban, Jordan running in FP1. Quite a busy weekend for the race team in Austin?
Dave Ryan: "Yes, both race drivers will be looking to get the American rounds underway with a nice smooth weekend in Austin and we've done a lot of work since Japan to make sure that's possible. It will be good to give Jordan his first FP1 session. He's done a really great job in his Development Driver role and this opportunity was a planned part of his programme with us. We look forward to getting his feedback and this further opportunity to appraise his performance in the MRT05."