A FAMILY AFFAIR
We’re back racing at the Hockenheimring – and indeed, in Germany – for the first time in two
years. Last year’s event was cancelled, but a German Grand Prix is making a much-welcomed
return to the calendar this weekend and we say it’s Zuper that #F1istZurück!
Hockenheimring, 29-31 July
It’s the final race before the Summer Shutdown – and it’s a big one! Not only does this
year’s Formula 1 Grosser Preis von Deutschland herald the return of F1 to Germany after
a one-year break, it will also be contested by four German drivers and four Mercedespowered
teams, of which Manor Racing is one. So with Pascal Wehrlein in the cockpit
and Mercedes-Benz Hybrid power under the skin, this is something of a home race for
our team. Well, we’re part of the family at least. Here’s what we have to say about our
Pascal, a big moment for you this weekend, competing in your very first home Grand
Prix. How does that feel?
“It’s amazing – a dream come true. Ever since I was a little boy, visiting the
Hockenheimring for the first time with my parents, this has been my goal – to race in
Formula 1 – and here, at this racetrack. It will be a really busy week of PR, events, and of
course racing, but I can’t wait to get started.”
Made all the more special by racing with a Mercedes-Benz-powered team, of course?
“Absolutely. I have been part of the Mercedes-Benz family for a few years now and it’s a
real honour to be racing with them here. We have a group of Mercedes HPP engineers
and mechanics within Manor Racing and, together with Silverstone, this is our team’s
home race. It is also great that Mercedes-Benz and the German drivers are such a big
part of the grid as it’s really important that we keep fighting for the German Grand Prix –
it’s such a fantastic part of F1’s heritage.”
The Hockenheimring is the home circuit of Mercedes-Benz. How would you characterise
“The Hockenheimring is a nice technical challenge – high downforce, with long straights
demanding plenty of power and mixed with low-speed corners, so a real compromise
set-up is important. We recognise our limitations right now in terms of our aerodynamic
performance, but I’m hoping we can have a strong race and show some improvement
having introduced our most recent developments last weekend. It would be nice for the
whole team to end the first part of the season with a good race and for me to have some
special memories of my first home Grand Prix.”
Rio, there has been a huge amount of support for you in recent weeks. How much are
you looking forward to racing in Germany this weekend?
“Yes, everyone has been incredible and my sincere thanks for that. The team have been
very supportive and also the fans, so I’m really happy that I will be racing here. It’s a big
weekend for the sport, returning to Germany – the home race of our powertrain partner –
and also the final race before the summer break, so I intend to put all the speculation
regarding my future to one side and concentrate on the racing here in Hockenheim.
We’re working as hard as possible on the future behind the scenes, but that’s where I
want to keep that side of things for this weekend.”
It’s two years since you last raced here in GP2. Is this a track you enjoy?
“The thing I remember most about this circuit is the noise! The atmosphere is fantastic,
especially through the stadium section. It’s a track where straight-line speed counts, so I
think the spotlight will be very much on Mercedes-power this weekend. I hope we can
contribute to a positive performance for our powertrain partner here and get the most
from the package we have and the developments we introduced for the first time in
Hungary. As always, I’ll be giving it my best shot.”
Dave, one last push by the team before the summer break?
“Yes, the team will certainly have earned their stein of beer on Sunday evening! In the
meantime, it’s a busy weekend ahead and one that we need to maximise. We want to
end the first part of the season on a high note, and in particular, get our latest car
developments working well so we can make good use of them when we start racing
again after the break. Germany is Pascal’s home race and that of our powertrain partner
Mercedes HPP, so naturally we’ll be keen to deliver the best possible performance in
front of the ‘family’.”