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Singapore GP: FIA Drivers Press Conference


Group 1: George Russell, Zhou Guanyu, Logan Sargeant, Kevin Magnussen and Lance Stroll.

I feel we should start with the man of the moment. Zhou Guanyu, you have just re-signed with Alfa Romeo for 2024. The news has just broken. Can we get your thoughts?
Zhou Guanyu: Yeah, firstly, very happy to be obviously continuing with the Alfa Romeo team. And I feel like the work that has been done in the past and also the trust between the team also from my side is being extremely, let's say, well and transparent together. So just very happy to be finally announced in Singapore. I think last year I announced here as well to continue for this season. So yeah, really happy and exciting for where the team is heading and to be taking more into this project, you know, for the future. So yeah, hopefully we can start off the weekend in a good way.

Start off this weekend in a good way, but what are your ambitions for 2024 with the team?
ZG: We're going to be taking part into the future development on next year's cars. I mean, the team is already starting on that project. But knowing me, staying in the team, I can definitely put a lot more effort into that and guiding together the guys at the factory, with Valtteri, together, to make sure that everything is heading in the right direction and to improve the weakness of the car and remain all the strong points. So yeah, I really feel, you know, getting everything done here, we can really focus on just continuing improving as a team, as a group of people, and from my side, just really happy to be able to settle more into Formula 1 and of course, next year we have the home race, so I've been waiting for that for two years already.

That's going to be special isn't it?
ZG: I mean, it's a nice place, and I think it will be forever a memorable weekend for me in Formula 1, because I grew up obviously watching, in 2004, the first race. Back home in China, it's 20 years and now we're heading back next year. So it's going to be amazing just to catch up with the fans and with the people in the home crowd.

Now, what about this weekend? You were taken out last year in this race, so we couldn't really see what you could do. What are your expectations this year?
ZG: Yeah, I remember that. I was actually waiting a lot on the marshal post, knowing the pit lane was literally one minute walk from that. But yeah, obviously last year was not great, I haven't finished the Grand Prix here. So this year, I'm really looking forward to the new layout, first of all, and on the other hand, I do feel that we have some package here, so hopefully it's working correctly, for us a step stronger to our main rivals, competitors, and yeah, finish the weekend off in a nice way together.

Good luck this weekend. And congratulations again on the new deal. George, can we come to you? Just before we came on air, you were telling us about a Padel competition last night. It's getting pretty competitive among the drivers. Who were you with?
George Russell: Yeah, it's getting very competitive and bumping into a few familiar faces. We reached out to the Padel, the local Padel court here, to see if we could get some courts after hours. The first night we did it was totally fine. The second night they said it's sold out after hours and when I arrived there I had Lance playing on the court next to me, then there was Lando and I playing and then on the other court was Pierre and Antonio Giovinazzi. So Lando and I had a good battle. Three-two in sets to team Russell, so I was happy with that one.

Good day at the office. And of course you've been busy since we last saw you at Monza. You took in the Rugby World Cup as well. What was that experience like?
GR: Yeah, it was great to see the opening game of the rugby. It's a sport I follow a lot. I've always been to the Six Nations in the UK. I would have loved to have seen England play but didn't get the chance to do that. But I was there with Ineos, watching the All Blacks and France go head-to-head and I was sat next to Richie McCaw. So that was a good experience, obviously a rugby legend, and hearing his views on the game and getting to know him.

Alright, well, let's bring it onto this weekend. Zhou mentioned the changes to the track. What are your thoughts on what's been done since last year?
GR: I think it's going to make the race a bit more exciting. I think Singapore is a really great circuit to drive, but it's a little bit challenging to race on. And historically, it's only really been Turn 5, which has been an overtaking opportunity, whereas now I hope maybe into the new Turn 16 there'll be another chance. It'll make it slightly easier physically for us, because it was obviously the longest race of the season in terms of time duration. So I think the track will probably be nine seconds or so quicker this year. So a bit shorter on Sunday. But as I said less fun in quali, should be better for the race.

What about the race? It was a difficult one for Mercedes last year. And if you look back through the history books, it's a race where the team's fortunes have fluctuated quite a lot. So what can we expect from you this weekend?
GR: Last year, we had a really fast car and unfortunately we didn't make the most of it during the weekend. But I think it's so close at the moment between ourselves Ferrari and McLaren, Aston Martin are fluctuating in performance. Hopefully, we can close the gap slightly on Red Bull here, on the high downforce circuit. So I think it is that battle for P2 on the road. But you're going to have to nail every single detail because it's going to be by the smallest of margins.

Thank you, George. Logan, if we could come to you now. First time racing in Singapore. How excited are you?
Logan Sargeant: Yeah, definitely. I love a night race to be honest and I feel like it's a track... When I first started playing the F1 game a long time ago, this was the track I always came to. I don't know why. But it's exciting and I've always wanted to drive here. So I think it's going to be a special weekend.

Now, the heat and the humidity are well documented. How have you been preparing physically?
LSa: Well, I've been preparing as much as I can in hot rooms. I feel, I don't know, maybe I already have a little advantage from Miami. But, no, I think for the most part, it hasn't felt too bad yet. I think considering it's at night as well, it'll be OK, I'm sure. I might change my mind come Sunday afternoon. But no, I think it'll be OK. But we've definitely been prepping for it slightly differently.

And what about the car's performance? It's been quick at Zandvoort and at Monza, two very different racetracks. Now that we're back at a high-downforce circuit are you confident?
LSa: Well, I mean, if you look at the circuit on paper, it's not ideal for us. You know, those corners that have been removed from the last sector honestly, you know, play in our favour, but we're not too sure. We'll be positive about it, try to get the car in a good window. We were quick in Zandvoort, which was high downforce. So hopefully we can keep that going and try to find some pace here.

Now Logan, what about 2024 with you? The guy on your right has just been confirmed. So the game of driver musical chairs is coming to an end. What have you been told by Williams? What have you got to do to stay with the team next year?
LSa: Yeah, I think, you know, from the team side and what I want to see from my side is just constant improvement throughout, from now until the end of the season. You know, just keep making steps forward. And I feel like I have made steps forward, you know, starting to deliver laps when I need to in qualifying and, you know, just being more controlled and comfortable. So I feel like as long as I keep doing that, keep coming into these weekends as well prepared as I can. The goal is just keep making steps forward.

Final one from me. Are they your team-mate's shoes that you're wearing? Because of course Alex Albon has just come out with a new range.
LSa: These are Jordans, so I'll probably just stick to these. But yeah, he has dropped some merch, which is cool. But I'll stick to my J's.

Alright. Well, Alex, if you're listening. Thank you and good luck to you, Logan, on your first weekend here in Singapore. Kevin, coming to you now. Painful race last time out for Haas, at Monza. You and Nico Hulkenberg, finishing 17th and 18th. Were your issues worse than you were expecting at that track?
Kevin Magnussen: Yeah, I think we were the weakest that we've been this year, I think, in Monza. It was super difficult for us in both qualifying and the race. So yeah, tough one to swallow. But we know that we have been lacking in development throughout the year, I think we started the year in a decent spot, you know. We were able to squeeze into the top 10 once in a while. And, you know, other teams have just made bigger improvements. Williams have made a big step forward. And, you know, obviously McLaren has made a massive step. But we're waiting for that step for us. You know, I think there's some interesting stuff going on in the background that we might be able to bring to the car this year. And I'm excited to see those things get to the car and try it out.

There's talk of a B-spec car coming for Austin. Can you confirm that?
KM: No, I don't think I can confirm that. But it's certainly, you know, a lot of stuff that we're trying to bring to the car. Whether it's B-spec or not, I don't know. But it's a lot of stuff and it's exciting.

In time for Austin?
KM: Hopefully. I don't know exactly when it's due to arrive, but hopefully sooner rather than later.


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