Dani Clos Q&A: Im taking a lot of positives from this test 16 Nov 2011
Just two days after competing in the final GP2 race of 2011 in Abu Dhabi, Dani Clos was back on track at Yas Marina, testing for HRT and becoming the first-ever Spaniard to drive for a Spanish Formula One team. And after completing 68 laps in the F111, 23 year-old Clos was happy with his progress...
Q: How did you enjoy being back in a Formula One car?
Dani Clos: It was great to step back into an F1 car; its been three years since I drove with Williams. Obviously things have changed a bit in Formula One in these three years but that experience still helped me as I wasnt starting from scratch. Despite that, it did take me a few laps to settle down and start driving comfortably. To have this opportunity to drive a Formula One car and do it with a Spanish team is twice as satisfying. Firstly I had to get used to the car quite quickly which wasnt a problem and then acclimatise to the different compounds. Once we got over this obstacle we could focus on doing a proper job and, overall, Im very happy with how the test went.
Q: What surprised you most about the car and how does it compare to GP2?
DC: There are many differences between this car and a GP2 car, such as for example, power steering which makes things a little bit easier. But I would say that the toughest aspect to get used to is the different tyre compounds because in GP2 we use one per weekend and here you change from one run to another. The other notable differences are that this car has better braking and more aero. The engine only has 130 more horse power so that isnt such a huge difference. The feeling going through corners and braking with this is car is incredible.
Q: Are you pleased with your performance in the test?
DC: Yes, for sure. I think that both the teams work and my work were positive and, as a result, the times were good too. If we compare our times to last weekends we were pretty close. Ive taken a lot of positives out of this test and am very happy with the end product. I also think the team is happy with the performance so I hope to have set a solid base for the future.
Q: Are you ready to take the step into Formula One racing?
DC: You never stop learning even once you have made it to Formula One, so I still have a lot to learn. But I do think Im prepared to take the step. Ive got a lot of experience in GP2 and have achieved good results there. But there are many factors that decide whether a driver makes it into F1 or not. Its not impossible and I would love to be involved at some level, if its not as an official driver then as a test driver, whilst also competing in another category. Continuing in GP2 is more than a valid option and I think that I can also achieve great things there.
Q: Having been with HRT on the inside, how do you see next years project?
DC: Working with them has been a great experience. The human and technical group they have is good and next years project looks very promising. I think they are changing their car, headquarters and a few other things which will make the team more stable and attractive. Without a doubt these changes are for the better. From what I have seen they seem very ambitious and they are there to make it.
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