FINALLY BACK IN BUSINESS!
Exactly on January 5th this year's preparations began for the F3 season. It has been intense training months for Vesti only with Sundays free. Last year, Vesti gradually started the collaboration with "Hintsa Performance", which in the industry is said to be the best training institute in the world to help race drivers realize their full potential.
Luke Benneth, Managing Director, was truly accommodating from the very start and keen on helping me ;-) After some initial correspondence with my manager, he set me up for my first test at Hintsa with John Noonan, who is now my coach. We got to know each other quite well last year and this fall decided to go all-in on our joint project. I feel truly privileged that John decided to work with me and for me. We match each other perfectly on personality, level of ambition and expectations of each other. A driver and coach relationship is close and extremely important. It goes without saying that mutual respect and trust is paramount to really make it work and of course at the same time also be able to have fun together. It is very important to be able to switch from a high level of tension to pure relaxation. For three months now, we have basically been training in a kind of virtual reality world on a daily basis - meaning that John has been in England tracking and monitoring all of my activity online and in real-time. John has helped me lose weight and build my muscles in just the right places. I do not only feel lighter, leaner and stronger, I am all of that and my body data is there to prove it and back it up!! Knowing and having achieved this through 100 % commitment and hard work gives me an extra mental boost. I really have a lot to thank John for."
Vesti is not only being met by new physical training methods and challenges but is also part of a new team this year (ART). Vesti has had to adapt quickly to new surroundings, new people and changed workflows. Fortunately that transition has happened smoothly and with great satisfaction.
As with my coach, ART's CEO, Seb Philippe, has managed to read me well! My new engineer Amaury Lardon works structured and precise and knows how to keep things simple enough for me as to avoid my getting to deep into the tiniest details that I don't really need to know about. I have always been a bit of a geek, which can sometimes be my weakness! We have held a lot of meetings online and worked in the simulator in France. I have met a top professional team, with a very direct way of communication and that suits me really well. With an open and direct dialogue, you learn to be quite robust."
For the first time, the collaboration with the team was tested during this weekend's official F3 test at the Red Bull Ring. Both on and off the track, everything had to be optimized with one goal in mind - that Vesti has a 100% right "package" and ready for the first race, which takes place in Barcelona on May 8th.
The test went well. Some results - if you look at the time alone - could have been better. For me, the most important thing was to try a lot of things and introduce the right routines in collaboration with mechanics and engineers and test myself in regards to my food intake, warm-up and work with my trainer. Come race day, communication with both team and my coach needs to be spot on. Once the season starts, there will be no time to rehearsing getting it right. Yes, there probably needs to be a little fine-tuning along the way, but mentally it is of utmost importance for me knowing that we have tested everything we possibly can on the car, BUT also sizing each other up BEFORE the green light comes on!"
What I love most about tests is helping to develop the car. It's super exciting! First day was strong for the team. Personally, I was best on the 2nd test day where I achieved greater consistency. During the test days we saw constant progress. We did not do any race runs, the weather was too unpredictable, so new and fresh tires were tested with various set-up changes. I look forward to building on our development until we are ready again in 14 days. The test in Austria was also very special to me because for the first time I officially tried on my new driving suit, helmet and wore the Mercedes logo with tremendous pride and saw my car completely finished. It was SO COOL! Being a racer is simply the greatest feeling in the World!"
The next test will be taking place at Barcelona on April 21-22nd.