WEC - What the Drivers said on Thursday in Bahrain  | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile
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WEC - What the Drivers said on Thursday in Bahrain 

04.11.21

The first press conference of the 8 Hours of Bahrain weekend, the final race of the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship, saw six drivers answering questions ahead of the first free practice session

Neel Jani no92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR-19

 

“Well, I think this weekend, the heat obviously is less of an issue. So, for us, rear tyre degradation was a big thing, especially in the first four hours last weekend. We think the first three hours will be hard, and then it will just get better and better. And in terms of pace, obviously also just getting quicker and quicker. So, we do think we will see quicker lap times this weekend just due to the nature of track temperature. 

“Well, I guess that's the mystery in what Ferrari want to show or what they want to do.

I think in the end it seemed last weekend, like they started to struggle with the heat a bit. Also, when I heard from some AM category Ferrari drivers, tyres were a bigger issue for them. So, we do think the pro cars will also find some pace this weekend.

“Michael and Kevin won the race last year here the eight hours and I'm pretty sure he followed the race. We'll try some new things here. Obviously, having had the race last weekend, we can give him a bit more driving time in free practice just to get him up to speed. But, as I said, he knows what he is doing.”

“Our main target is just to stay ahead of 51 because that will give us the title in the Drivers’ Championship and then for the manufacturers championship obviously it gets a bit more complicated. All four cars will count this weekend, because it's one point difference in each the manufacturers and driver championships. So, it will be interesting.” 

 

Sebastien Buemi no8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010-Hybrid

 

“Yes, there's not much to think about really. I think for us, the only opportunity is to focus on pole position and winning the race.  The rest will not be in our in our hands. 

“So, I think it's quite clear that we will do everything we can.  We basically have nothing to lose, so at the end, let's say even if we were to have a DNF it's not going to change the face of the world. So, we need to go all out and just do the best we can and that's it. 

“So, we will take risk and be aggressive and if it rewards us then it's amazing. If not, then we look forward to next year.” 

 

Jose Maria Lopez – no7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010-Hybrid

 

“We’re definitely not taking anything for granted; it's going to be a long hard race. So, we have to get focused and do our best. Of course, winning the last race here last weekend gave us a little bit more oxygen, a little bit more comfortable situation. But still, I mean, looking at the past and looking how endurance racing. You can’t take anything for granted that we will go and race and do our best.

"As a as a driver and as a team member, achieving the team manufacturers championship is obviously the main goal. We know how hard and difficult the competition is with our sister car because you have amazing drivers, friends as well. But always the competition is very strong on track.  I don't really want to think about the championship, I just want to go and race. But it's always nice to win the championship. 

“Of course, last year was a different scenario. We kind of missed Le Mans but we had the World Championship. This year we won Le Mans on but still, when you get here it is always a very important thing to achieve. So, we really want that, but we will go through the race and see what happens.”

 

Kazuki Nakajima - no8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 Hybrid

 

“First of all, many, many thanks to everyone who has supported me for all of my career, especially Toyota, Toyota Gazoo Racing, all of my teammates and all the fans. 

“I have to say, of course, as a race car driver, I wanted to continue racing forever. But in the WEC we were facing a new era, which is going to be a great time with a lot of competitors coming. So, in a way I was wishing that I could have continued racing, but at the same time, we are looking for many changes and one big task is to develop the new generation.

"In the end, our view was that it's right time to make a change now to be ready for the new competition. I'm, of course, sad to leave here as a racecar driver, but also, I'm looking ahead to the future.”

 

Charles Milesi - no31 Team WRT Oreca 07-Gibson

 

“I think last weekend was a great race for us, especially after free practice which was not very easy for us. I think we turned around things quite good during the race. I think we'll just need to be on the same dynamic for this weekend, and hopefully, everything will be going alright.

“We are in our rookie year for sure, but when you look at how the team is working, and the people we have, it's not really a surprise that we're able to fight with the best teams out there. I also think the regulation changes helped a bit, the team adapted quite quickly with the Goodyear tyres, the aero changes. We try to work quite a lot. From my point of view, I think this year was really the opportunity for me.

“We are leading the championship by five points. We just need to be on the right dynamic for this race and everything should be okay. We just need to keep our heads down and we need to be making no mistakes.”

 

Anthony Davidson - no38 JOTA Oreca 07-Gibson

 

“Retirement was a pretty easy decision to come to actually at 42 years old. You know, it's not the first time that people have retired in that age. 

“I remember speaking to David Coulthard a long time ago when he retired and I asked him, how do you know? How do you know when it's time to retire? Because as a young driver back then you're obsessed with it, you live and breathe racing and I could never imagine getting to that stage where you didn't want to drive a racing car anymore. He just looked at me and went ‘when you know, you'll know. It just It comes to you’. 

“I think it was probably my last year at Toyota where I started to feel like that. Life gets more complicated the older you get. Family comes along and you want to spend more time at home and I'm a family man, I love my time at home with my kids, and you start weighing up all the different options and you start realising there is more to life than just motor racing. And at that moment, that's when you realise that it is just a sport, it is not completely your world anymore.

“I always tended to look at the negative side. I don't know about anybody else, but I was I was always hard on myself overly critical. I'm a very self-analytical person anyway, and I was overly critical on myself and really focus mainly on negatives when you're going through it. But now I'm stopping I can look back at that career I've had, and you look back and all you remember the good times and I never realised that would be that way.

“Now it's kind of looking through rose tinted glasses and it's a nice feeling actually.”