Miami Grand Prix: FIA drivers’ press conference

Today’s press conference with Sergio Perez, Oscar Piastri, Logan Sargeant, Valtteri Bottas, Lance Stroll and Lewis Hamilton.

Question: Logan, nice to have you with us. It’s your home race. Just tell us how excited you are? How busy are you? Was the past week something for you?
Logan Sergeant: It’s been busy. Obviously I have three, which is nice, but this one is at home. But they are always busy weekends leading up to the race. But it was fun. Yesterday I had the whole day off, just to hang out with friends and family, and get on the boat for a bit. So yeah, I’m feeling relaxed and excited to be racing at home for the first time in a while.

Q: A little more pressure to perform at home?
LSa: I do not think so. I think every race in Formula 1 brings a lot of pressure. It certainly feels like a more relaxing weekend, you know, staying home, being able to eat whatever I want when I’m home, having my friends, having my parents there. And yes, it just feels a little different, different from normal, but in a good way.

Q: And in terms of performance, do you think the track will play to the car’s strengths?
LSa: Well, look, I mean it was extremely tight from the bottom of the midfield to the back, but overall this track should definitely suit us better than China, which is a good step in the right direction. But you know, we have our work to do. It’s a sprint weekend and that always makes it tough. We have to get it right the first time, and hopefully if we do that a little bit better than others, we can put ourselves in a good position. But that’s how it is most weekends now. So we just have to try to have a clean and good weekend as best we can and hope that this leaves us in a good place.

Question: Okay. Good luck with that. Thank you, Logan. Checo, can we come to you next? You started this race last year on pole. How confident are you going into the weekend?
Sergio Perez: I think the last few weekends have been good. I think the upgrade we introduced in Suzuka should perform better in places like this. It will also be very interesting to see on a completely different track to the one we have been to so far. We’re still in the early stages of the season, so it’ll be interesting to see where we stand compared to everyone else in this spot. Last year qualifying went well, so I think we can do well here.

Q: What about off-track now, Checo? This week the news came that Adrian Newey is leaving Red Bull Racing. Can we start with your reaction to that news?
SP: Yeah, it’s clearly, I would say, not ideal. Someone like Adrian has been great for our team and our organization. And he’s clearly also a very good friend of mine in the time we spent together. But at the end of the day there are moments in life… I think he spent 20 years at Red Bull. I think he probably wants to do something else. And it’s fair. I think Red Bull is in a great place. It has a very good, very strong organization with Pierre, with Enrico, with Ben. I think the whole aero group is very strong and we are only looking forward to the future. I think you’ve seen in the past that these big teams, big names, if they leave, they’ll always be around, it doesn’t matter. It’s not down to one individual, it’s a whole organization and I think Christian has done a great job preparing for the next generation of what’s going to happen with Red Bull.

Question: Okay, thanks for that. Lewis, can I update you on this Adrian Newey news? This time next year he will be a free agent. How much would you like to see him at Ferrari in 2025?
Lewis Hamilton: A lot.

Q: What do you think he would bring to Ferrari?
Left: Well, I mean, Adrian is known for… He has such a great history and track record. And you know, he’s obviously done a fantastic job over his career in dealing with teams and the knowledge that he has. And I think he would be a great addition. I think they already have a great team. They are already making huge progress, moving forward and their cars are faster this year. But yes, it would be a privilege to work with him.

Q: And on a personal level, how excited would you be to work with a man of his experience?
Left: Terribly.

Question: Okay. Look, what about this weekend, Lewis? Last time in China it was a weekend full of extremes for you. Do you think you’ll find a bit more consistency with the car this weekend?
Left: Yes. The team has worked hard. We have an upgrade here, a little upgrade here this weekend. I’m so excited to see the developments come through. And I think hopefully we’ll have a car that works a little bit better. So it will undoubtedly still be a challenge. But I’m really excited to be here in the United States. The weather is incredible. It will be a challenge in terms of temperature, tire grade and things like that. But yes, we are happy with it.

Question: Good luck this weekend. Lance, I’m coming to you now. It was a good race here for Aston Martin last year. How confident are you going into the weekend?
Lance walk: Yeah, I mean, I hope we can be stronger this weekend. You know, the teams in front of us have certainly been very strong in the first part of the season. But yes, I hope we can get a good result.

Q: And a quick one, just throwing it back to China. It was a controversial incident behind the safety car. Daniel Ricciardo in particular is not happy. Can you give us your thoughts on what happened?
LSt: Yeah, I mean, you know, it’s history now. I’m focusing on this weekend. I don’t really want to go into it too much. It was a shame, for sure. You know, I tried to have a good race too, and it was a very unhappy ending, but I just focused on Miami now.

Question: Have you spoken to Daniel?
LSt: Not for this room. Those things happen behind closed doors.

Question: Okay. Good luck this weekend. Thank you, Lance. Valtteri, I’m coming to you now. First of all, you have a new race engineer this weekend in Miami. What is the reason behind the change?
Valtteri Bottas: I think that’s more of a question for the team. Yes, it was quite a sudden change. It’s obviously a sprint weekend, so it won’t be easy working with a newcomer, but we’ll obviously try to make the most of it. But yes, he gets a lot of support. But yeah, it’s quite a sudden change.

Q: Just to be clear, does this change have your blessing?
VB: I think it’s part of the kind of rebuilding for the team. Some people leave and some people join. And of course, yes, many of those decisions are out of my hands. And yeah, so I don’t make those decisions.

Question: Okay. And since we were in China, Nico H├╝lkenberg has been confirmed as one of Sauber’s drivers for 2025. What was your reaction when you heard the news?
VB: Of course, the timing is quite early and a bit surprising, but the driver market is clearly starting to move, and that makes some sense. He’s German and Audi has made it pretty clear that they want a German driver, so that’s all good. Let’s see what happens next.

Q: And what happens next for you?
VB: Don’t know. It’s clear that when we speak to multiple teams, some conversations are more advanced than others. So we’ll see.

Question: Okay, thank you. Good luck this weekend. Oscar, thanks for waiting. McLaren is making some updates this weekend. How excited are you about them?
Oscar Piastri: Hopefully it should be a good step forward. That’s always what you want from updates about the car. Obviously on a sprint weekend it becomes a little bit harder to get the most out of it because you only have one practice session, but yeah, it should hopefully be a decent step forward. I think we had some upgrades last year in Baku, the race before Miami, and we had a shock here last year. So we’ll have to wait and see if we like this circuit, because last year we chopped and changed quite a bit. But yeah, hopefully it does what it’s supposed to do and that would be good.

Question: What is it supposed to do? How big will the jump be, do you think?
ON: I think it will be quite a step forward. I think we’re trying to stay on last year’s trajectory. But you know, as you get closer and closer to the limit of these cars and these rules, obviously it becomes more and more difficult to do. So we’ll see. But yeah, I think the upgrades we made last year have always worked well. So yeah, hopefully we can have a similar effect this year.

Questions from the audience

Q: (David Croft – Sky Sports F1) Lewis, let’s come to you, if we may. When you sat down with John Elkann and he said ‘come to Ferrari’, and persuaded you to come to Ferrari and said ‘what would your wish list be?’ If he said that, what would your wish list be? Was Adrian Newey part of that? Did you ever think that possibility would be there? And now that you’re here, what do you think are the chances that you could work with Adrian Newey in the future?
Left: I mean, these are all private conversations. So if I were to make a list of people I’d like to work with, he would definitely be at the top.

Q: (David Croft – Sky Sports F1) What are the odds?
Left: I mean, I don’t know. We will see.