- What can you tell us about the BR03 car, on which the first stage of SMP Endurance was held?
- The nuances are probably the same as any sports car. First of all, we are talking about settings. It takes some time to adjust to each track. For example, near Sochi there are several different options, since the route itself is high-speed with long straights.
- What was the reason for the accident during the race?
- We will need some time to deal with the suspension failure, because the car has proven itself well both in the past and in the season before last. On it we got to the finish line in all the races, and there were no problems with the suspension, engine or gearbox. Therefore, we were surprised by what happened, because the track here is flat without high curbs. It was the suspension that failed - the mount broke. We will definitely look for the reason, because in fact this should not have happened.
- Is the accident on the eve of the stage also associated with technical problems?
- No, there was a driver error. We haven't analyzed all the material that's available yet. But, when the team returns to the base in Moscow, we will definitely figure it out, because such excesses are always alarming both for the "stable" and for the pilots. You can not release the car at a distance, if there is no clear understanding of what caused the accident. We have some guesses, but I would not like to voice them prematurely. It is necessary to find the reason, because this is a car, including for future young people, who will train and study on it, prepare for more serious competitions.
- How problematic is it now to get parts on this car?
- So far, there are no difficulties. Everything has been purchased from us and is lying on the base. Except that there were some problems with the delivery of rubber due to the weather. Unfortunately, a giant traffic jam intervened on the M-4 "Don" highway because of a snowstorm that the whole country had heard about. If the rubber had arrived on time, everything would have been perfect. For this reason alone, one of the machines did not participate.
- Who, in your opinion, proved himself best in Sochi?
- It is difficult to give an unequivocal answer, because when you perform yourself, you do not particularly follow the opponents. You have other tasks: to set up the car, to communicate with your team, engineers, pilots, mechanics. Overall, it's a great series for a large number of new drivers and cars to emerge. After all, three participants can go on one car at once. It's cheaper and more interesting because the race is long and you always have to think about tactics. I am sure that SMP Endurance in the future will only gain momentum and win sympathy. It's one thing to have 50-minute races that include just 22 laps. You finish and then you don't do anything all day. Immediately you prepare for three hours. And at the end of the season, there will be a six-hour race.
- Do you follow the current season of Formula 1?
- It has just begun, but it is noteworthy that the third stage was held in Melbourne, where 12 years ago I won bronze. I think Red Bull is on top right now. It will be difficult to make them a real competitor to someone. They're just on a different level than Mercedes once was. Aston Martin is also of great interest. I think the team has more fans who want to watch the old man Fernando Alonso. And he shows excellent results and twice became the third. He has a great race pace. The Spaniard throws down the gauntlet of Ferrari and Mercedes. In turn, the drivers of these "stables" have something to work on, although in Melbourne George Russell and Lewis Hamilton showed the second and third time in qualifying.
- What are the prospects of other former Formula 1 drivers Daniil Kvyat and Nikita Mazepin?
- I don't know their programs. But Kvyat competes in LMP2 as part of the Prema Racing team. This is Daniil's first season there, and I think he will be pleasantly surprised by the level of the championship. This series is notable for the fact that they drive absolutely identical cars. Everything is decided only by the skill of pilots and engineers.
He also kicks off in the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans. This race also remains in the heart for life. The atmosphere and the track are simply unforgettable. We will watch its results. As for Mazepin, with him, as with Kvyat, we constantly communicate and correspond, exchange jokes and congratulations. As you know, Nikita in Russia has his own goals. I haven't discussed plans with him for a long time, but he has created a fund to help domestic athletes, which promotes in the country. God willing, everything will work out.
- In early March, the European Court of Justice allowed Mazepin to participate in competitions held on the territory of the continent, including formula 1. Is this a positive signal for domestic pilots?
- Of course, this is a big plus. I believe that this story teaches that even if you are under sanctions, you need to defend your rights and interests to the end. It is complete nonsense to ban him from entering the EU.
Will we be able to see Mazepin and Kvyat in SMP Endurance in the future?
- Why not. They could well participate in long races in Russia. Moreover, last year Daniil already played here for one of the teams. If Nikita has such a desire, he can definitely start both in BR Engineering and in the compositions of other teams. I'll ask him this question.