INTERVIEW

Daniil on his season so far

The championship has reached its climax, and now Formula 1 is on traditional 4-week summer holidays. About time to take a look back and summarize on the past five months. Daniil had his say on his season so far and his expectations about the upcoming races.
— Daniil, which feelings do you have after the first part of the season?
— The season opening was quite promising. I believe that in general, we had many promising weekends, but we just didn't manage to get the maximal outcome. It was either technical issues, or I got in trouble during the first lap, which happened twice, what prevented us from scoring more points. Many times we had minor issues here and there which damaged us big time. But in situations like that, you just need to be patient. Sooner or later, the result will come: we have all the necessary ingredients. So, we just need to continue doing our work, trying to have cleaner Saturdays and Sundays and the reward will be there. Everything is under control, and you need to be pleased with your job, enjoy doing it. That's the recipe.
— So, there's no need to change the approach?
— No. Globally, no changes are necessary as the only thing we really need is a clean weekend, without any issues. If all the pieces of the puzzle are in place, it's quite simple in fact. I'd put it like that: it's much easier than it may seem to someone, who's not involved. Everything works well, so yeah, no need for significant changes. Our pace is good, and results would be good as well.
— In which mood the team goes on vacation?
— We're good. Need to tackle a couple of things to make sure we have more stability with the engineering staff. I won't' say more at the moment, but hopefully, in the second part of the season, we'll be stronger in this area. Talking about the attitude, we don't have any problems with that. Everyone is motivated and working hard so we have all the reasons to believe that the second part of the season would be better for us.
— In previous season Toro Rosso didn't have the latest spec of the engine. Now it's not an issue anymore. How is that important?
— Yeah, it helps us be more optimistic about the future knowing that we'll be capable of fighting for points in every race without any exceptions. Every weekend we would arrive at the circuit understanding that we can have a good race. Such opportunities should be used.
— You participated in the testing session in Hungary. Were you able to understand the car better?
— Those tests were rather important for the team. Engineers will analyze the data, and it would be interesting to know which conclusions they make afterward. I hope we'll see the effect already in Spa.
— What makes you feel optimistic about the remainder of the season?
— Talking about my side of the garage, I believe we show some good pace in qualifying. Especially during the weekends, when we managed to get the car into the optimal performance window. Setting up the car is a real challenge this year because of the very sensitive aero, which is now a major component. That is something we fail to do properly on some occasions, and it may lead to dramatic consequences. But in general, whenever we have a clean session, the pace is high on both Saturdays and Sundays. And this is something that makes us feel optimistic. Again, we just need to try and have a clean weekend, and the rest will be there.
— Any changes in the form of the team compared to the opening rounds of the championship? On the first couple of rounds, it was easier to get into the Q3, while on the recent weekends the pace of the car doesn't always allow you to do that.
— Yeah, in this aspect it was easier during the season opening. But I can't say that our form has changed a lot. You can see some teams performing better at certain tracks. McLaren has improved a lot compared to the start of the season, and you can notice it by their results. Sometimes it's Williams or Haas who are to show some strong performance, but we are more stable in this aspect. Keeping in mind that some circuits fit our rivals' cars better, we can see that our form is still there. We are more stable, fighting for Q3 on every weekend. That is good, and it makes us anticipate points finish on every round.
— Are there any circuits fitting the car more in the second part of the season?
— I believe we'll have a good chance to show ourselves already in Spa. Probably it would be tougher in Monza because high top speed on the straights is not our joker. But after that, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia: we should be competitive on all of those tracks. Our car is best at the braking and on the slow circuits with a couple of fast corners. We keep developing the car, our competitors make progress as well, so there are chances on any circuits. Every race is a new challenge.
— Do you have a plan for your vacation?
— No exact plans. I'll stay home first. Then I will spend a couple of days by the sea and after that will start preparing myself for Spa and Monza. All cool. Just need to recharge, which is important. Although honestly speaking, I'm not that tired. Not at all like in the previous year. The only thing to regret is the fact that we didn't have the reward we deserved for our efforts. But like I said earlier, you just need to believe in yourself, and everything will be there one day. The team needs a break, but as for me, I'd love to get behind the wheel as soon as possible.