What does the return to Formula 1 with Renault Sport Formula One Team mean to you?
It’s an incredible feeling and it means so much. It’s not only a Formula 1 drive but it’s a top drive. Renault Sport will be fighting for world championships in the future, it might have a build-up phase, but they’re here to win and that’s a goal I share. I can’t believe I’m now a part of it.
How much of a rollercoaster has the last few years been for you?
It’s been character building! I had a season in 2014 with McLaren and I felt it went quite well pitched against a past World Champion. To be replaced the following year was tough even if the line-up the team used was very strong. I had been racing every year since I was six so to sit to the side certainly wasn’t part of my plan.
Do you have a point to prove on your Formula 1 race return?
Hopefully I’ll prove many points. I’m extremely motivated after a whole year away. I’ve been sitting on the sideline during the races for so many weekends and I’m hungry to come back and prove my worth. I’ve raced my whole life and I’m extremely hungry and keen to get in a race car again and even more so with Renault Sport!
What have you done to ensure you were race-ready in case any opportunity came your way?
Without racing last year I actually had more time to train and I feel very fit because of that. I’m physically ready. I’ve not had a lot of time in a race car but the time I had, I felt good. I was always surprised at how quickly I re-adapted to driving after time out of the car. I was pretty much immediately on the pace when I tested the Porsche Le Mans car and I’ve been on it whenever I’ve been in an F1 car. I’m ready.
It’s an exciting new project but there’s a lot to be achieved in a short time; how can you aid this process?
I have a lot to give. I’ve been connected to a top Formula 1 team for five years and three of those were in Formula 1 in driving and testing capacities. Despite just one season racing, I’ve got good experience. I can’t wait to get started at a great project such as a Renault factory team. I’m pleased to be a part of it.
What’s your previous history with Renault?
I’m familiar with the brand as I’ve raced in the junior categories such as Formula Renault 2.0, and was 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 series winner.
In my mind that’s a nice connection to have and I remember my seasons in World Series by Renault well and they were great experiences. I hope to add to those great experiences through 2016 and beyond.