Thursday Press Conference – 2018 Russian Grand Prix
From Left To Right – Marcus Ericsson, Valtteri Bottas, Sergey Sirotkin, Charles Leclerc
Race Weekend: 2018 Russian Grand Prix
On Thursday, the press conference was held prior to the 2018 Russian Grand Prix and here, you can see what some of the drivers had to say about the race weekend, answering questions from the media.
Press Conference – 2018 Russian Grand Prix
Question: Marcus, Sauber announced this week that Antonio Giovinazzi will be racing next season but you’re going to be remaining with the team in 2019, so just give us your reaction to the news about what’s happening next year.
Marcus Ericsson: “Yeah, it’s obviously disappointing to be not racing. It’s all you want to do; you want to race. It’s not good news for me, obviously. Still, I’m happy to be able to continue my relationship with the team but then yeah, let’s see.”
“I want to race still, so I’m looking at different options on how to keep doing that and looking at everything really, what I can do, in what series and what it could be – but it’s still a bit early.”
“It’s quite fresh, this news, so I need to look at my options. Overall, of course, I would like to stay.”
Question: You said on social media ‘it’s not the end of the story – just the start of a new chapter’ but does it feel like it’s the end of the Formula One chapter, in your eyes?
Marcus Ericsson: “No. My goal is still to come back into Formula One. I think for 2019 that’s not going to happen but hopefully after that there will be possibilities to come back.”
“That’s still the goal, to come back to Formula One.”
Question: Sergey, moving onto you next. You raced here in what was GP2 but this will be your first Russian Grand Prix as a Formula One driver – so it must be a special weekend for you.
Sergey Sirotkin: “It is. It’s going to be special, for sure. Obviously being here almost every year, since F1 came here, I raced here in GP2 but it’s all quite different form being here as a race Formula One Driver.”
“I can feel it already now, it’s a lot of attention, a lot of support, which is very nice to feel as a driver, it’s very nice to feel especially in the situation we are this year. I mean, it’s a lot more activity, it’s a bit of… y’know… I would say it’s a bit more difficult to manage all of that but I mean, I try to get the best from it, I try to get energy from it and keep going.”
“So, it is a pleasure to be here and race in front of the home crowd.”
Question: That’s the specifics of this weekend – but more generally, do you know what you’ll be doing in 2019 yet?
Sergey Sirotkin: “I definitely know what I want to be doing. I’m not sure I can guarantee something right here, right now, but, I mean, I think it’s quite obvious, with the way everything is developing, I think it’s quite obvious what I want and it’s something that should happen quite soon.”
“Yeah, I have no guarantees right now, right here, but at the same time I’m not too much worried about the future, let’s say.”
Question: Valtteri, this will be Sergey’s first grand prix here in Formula One and this was the scene of your first Formula One victory for Mercedes last year – so does it bring back special memories, returning to Sochi?
Valtteri Bottas: “Definitely. You never forget the first time. It was a good memory and it will be nice to be back here. Strong track normally.”
“I’ve had pretty decent races so in that way it’s a nice approach to the weekend.”
Question: You had more wins after this win here during last season but 2017 was the last time you won a grand prix. How do you go about turning that around this weekend?
Valtteri Bottas: “No wins for me this year yet but there’s still a bit of the season left and I come here with only one thing on my mind and that is being on the pole and winning the race.”
Question: Charles, you’ve a few weeks now to digest where you’ll be racing next year, and you called it a dream come true, to be moving teams. Can we ask, in those dreams, have you started thinking about your first grand prix victory yet?
Charles Leclerc: “No, not yet, it’s still very far away. First of all, I have to finish this season on a high, which is for now the main importance to me.”
“There are still six races to go, so I’ll first try to focus on that. Obviously, it’s a dream come true to be racing for Ferrari next year – but I’m trying to take it out of my mind to focus fully on the end of this season.”
Question: Focussing on that then, what is it you want to do with Sauber in these final six races. What are the things you still need to learn and work on ahead of your move?
Charles Leclerc: “I think you can always improve. To learn, I still think I can learn in everything. So there is still a lot to learn. The target for the end of the season is to try to keep our form.”
“It’s not going to be easy, because, as the team already mentioned, we started to focus, or the team started to focus, on next year’s car and I believe some of the other teams are still pushing a little bit to gain some positions in the championship – so it’s not an easy situation to be in, but we will try to keep our form.”