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Dec 21, 2021

EMERSON FITTIPALDI GIVES THOUGHTS ON F1 U.S. GRAND PRIX

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE AUSTIN GRAND PRIX?

Austin is a beautiful track. I'm very excited to have full capacity on the stands at the tracks. All the hotels and rental cars are sold out in the area. There is not a place to stay in Austin anymore - it's all booked.

The track has nice visibility for all the spectators, it has very good access to the race track. It's a well designed and very modern track.

There's many good places to watch from the bank where you can see a lot of the track.

Technically, if you go up the hill going to turn 1, it has a very wide breaking. There's going to be a lot of overtaking there. They will go downhill at very high speeds. It's very difficult. This section, with the downhill, uphill, has a lot of elevation. At the end of the main straight, you are going downhill and you have to break going downhill - it's very difficult.

It's a very technical track - very difficult to set up the cars to be quick on most of the lab around the track. It's a very special track and I like it a lot.

WHO WILL BE LOOKING TO HAVE AN ADVANTAGE ON A TRACK LIKE THIS?

The way it's looking at the moment, I can see that Red Bull and Mercedes are doing well. They do that everywhere. But I hope that on the Austin track, that McLaren can do good. They showed that on Monza, which also is a very fast track. McLaren was 1 and 2 in that race, and I hope they replicate that and do well on the weekend. I hope that Ferrari will be running strongly over there as well. It will be great if we have 4 teams running strongly that can compete.

The way McLaren has performed lately and the way Ferrari is looking at the last few Grands Prix, I think both of them are in a position to challenge Mercedes and Red Bull. It should be exciting for the spectators to watch a more competitive race.

WHO CAN WE EXPECT TO OVERACHIEVE AND SURPRISE IN THIS RACE?

I hope McLaren can do it. They are improving every Grand Prix. They are now coming to a point where they can be extremely competitive. I'm looking forward to seeing their car running strongly over there.

The track is very fast, and from what we saw on Monza, I think they have a good chance to do well. It can happen that they'll take pole position like in Monza.

THE WEATHER FORECAST ISN'T LOOKING GREAT WITH RAIN ON THE FORECAST. IS THAT AN ADVANTAGE FOR SOMEONE?

Again, I have to talk about McLaren and Lando Norris. They did great in the Russia qualifiers. The track was damp, it was not completely wet, but the conditions were difficult, and he was very fast.

McLaren could do very well on the wet. Lando Norris is very fast on the wet.

Should be interesting to see, as long as there is not too much water. The straight is very long on the track, and the more speed you have, the higher chances you have for aquaplaning when there's a lot of water. Aquaplaning is beyond the control of the divers. That was the reason they couldn't start the race in Spa.

When diving in the rain, you need some different skills and another setup on the car. The thing is, after the qualifiers, you cannot change the setup on the car anyway. But when you drive in the wet, everything kind of happens in slow motion. You have to be more soft on the brakes, easier on turning the steering wheel, you cannot have fast movements, because that will disturb the balance of the car. It's a different technique. You have to be gentle with the throttle coming out of the corners not to lose traction.

It [the rain] can be an advantage for the European drivers. They have learned to drive in the wet. In England, for example, it rains a lot and Lando Norris is very fast on the wet.Both Max and Lewis know how to handle the wet. They are both driving to win the championship. They will be driving over the limit in the wet. I was very impressed with Max's car control in Brazil. He was sliding the car at 45 degrees to control the car. I'm sure he has incredible car control, and that's something you need to have in the wet. Doesn't mean that Lewis doesn't have it. He has it as well. Should be very interesting to see.

WHERE ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MAX AND LEWIS?

They have two different styles of driving. Lewis is more determined to finish every race, and Max's style is different. He overtakes from the outside, from the inside. He is always very aggressive when overtaking people.

But as of now, I'm sure that both of them are aware that they have to finish every race to win the World Championship. That will change the style of driving a little bit. They are not going to take so much risk, because they need the points for finishing. If one of them doesn't finish, it could mean that the other one wins the championship.

Both have to finish each race now, and it has to be the strategy for both teams - have to finish in top three. That's why I think they will drive on the limit, but be careful at some points.

HORNER WAS OUT TALKING ABOUT ENGINE/MOTOR DOPING, BECAUSE OF MERCEDES PERFORMANCE. WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THAT?

You have to be looking for the "end" of the rules. Because the small things that make the big difference might be found on the limit of the rules. As long as they are inside the rules all is good.

There is so much focus on finding every inch of performance and handling. You see every little flap on the body, and they change before every race to get an advantage. It's part of the excitement of Formula 1, to be right on the limit.

There's a tremendous pressure on both teams at the moment, and I'm sure they will try to utilize the limit of the rules.

WHO HAS THE BEST CAR AND THE BEST TEAM?

Red Bull have the most consistent car this year in my opinion, and the most consistent performance has come from Max and the Redbull team.

The top teams, Ferrari, McLaren, Redbull and Mercedes all have very similar team effort. The performance on the track is different, but the team grit is similar.

Renault is another great organisation. They have a great team. Fernando is there. They are getting better and better, faster and faster. We cannot forget about them.

WILL LEWIS’ EXPERIENCE EDGE HIM IN FRONT OF MAX TOWARDS THE TAIL END OF THE SEASON?

Well I think I'm looking at it in a different way. I'm looking at their desire to win the Championship. Both have the desire. Max has been racing for 6 years in F1, and that's a lot of experience in F1. Lewis has won it 7 times, but Max is right up there. In my opinion, there is no advantage for either of them. It's all about the desire to win, and that's very strong in both of them for different reasons.

For me, Max has the best chance to win the Championship. He has been the most consistent this year. But how can you say that against a guy that has won 7 championships and also came from the back last season? It should be an incredible championship after so many years of domination.

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