Three questions for Gary Paffett.
Major changes to the regulations.
Gary, what do you think are the biggest challenges this year?
Gary Paffett: The first challenge will be to get real mastery of the cars. We have a completely new car this season for the first time in several years. At the same time, there have been some relatively major changes to the regulations concerning the aerodynamics, the suspension, the downforce and the tyres. This means that we must first get an understanding of the car and how to extract maximum performance from it. After that, we have to make sure that we get this performance on a consistent basis.
That applies not only to the car but also to us drivers. If you want to win the championship, you have to constantly be amongst the front-runners. It’s a tough challenge, as there are a lot of competitive drivers on the grid, but we have to try.
A lot of strong drivers.
This year, there are a lot of race winners and potential title contenders in the squad. In Edoardo, you’ve added another over the winter. Does that present a problem?
Gary Paffett: That’s right, we have a lot of strong drivers. The team has kept growing over the last two years and has got steadily stronger. Consequently, there are more drivers who have set themselves the target of winning the championship. But I regard this as very positive development.
We have a squad of drivers who spur each other on. This usually means that we are able to get the most out of the car and out of ourselves. What also matters is that we have built up a very strong team spirit over the last two years. So at the start of the season, we’ll be doing our best to beat our team-mates with fair tactics and to boost our own chances in the title fight. But when the time comes, we will work together as a team and support the driver who has the most points.
Mercedes have the best line-up
Looking at Audi and BMW now, which of them has the stronger driver line-up?
Gary Paffett: That’s a good question. At BMW, Marco Wittmann is on a good run. He’s been champion twice in the last three seasons and always puts in a solid performance. As for the other drivers, it’s a mixed bag. Audi have lost Edoardo, but overall I believe they have the better squad compared to BMW. In Mattias Ekström and Jamie Green, they have two of the favourites for the title, but some of their other drivers are also capable of winning races. Personally, I believe that Mercedes have the best line-up, with Audi in second place.