At the FIA press conference in Sochi, Alexander Elbon spoke about his mood after the first podium in his career and commented on other events of the race in Mugello, including the accident that occurred during the restart of the race.
Question In Mugello, you first climbed the podium, and for you the Grand Prix of Tuscany was very successful. Can you tell us about your mood after the race?
Alexander Elbon: It was a good mood! I knew that we could have a good run in this race, but we ourselves made it harder for ourselves when we lost several positions at the restart. But the race itself was pretty good, so, of course, I was happy to climb to the podium.
Q: After the accident at the time of the restart, you were the first rider who received an official warning from the stewards for the unstable operation of gas and brakes on the start-finish line. Do you agree that something could have been done to prevent this incident? Or do you think the FIA should change the restart procedure?
Alexander Elbon: In fact, we sent them a letter with our reaction, since it is obvious that there was nothing strange or erroneous in my actions. It is clear that there was an “accordion effect”, which, in my opinion, was greatly influenced by the configuration of the track. We saw this in Baku, and in Mugello it was repeated: there is a long straight line on these routes, and you start accelerating at the last moment, since the slipstream works very effectively with cars of the current generation. Hence the consequences.
I don’t know if there is a way to make the start more secure. To be honest, I don’t know how this can be done. In addition, the safety car leaves us very little time to react to the situation. I think Valtteri Bottas had to wait until there were literally 10 car bodies left before the turn, so he did not have the opportunity to create a gap.
I do not blame any of the riders, how it happened, and it happened. The fact is that everyone tried to guess how Valtteri would go. Everyone tried to start accelerating even to the line at the moment when they realized which trajectory he would follow. There is no fault of the riders in what happened, you just need to somehow adjust the format.
Q: In your youth, you were a fan of the talent of Michael Schumacher – to what extent did his successful collaboration with Ferrari influenced you, your professional development, and helped to become the racer you became?
Alexander Elbon: Difficult question, although, of course, I admired the way Michael built the work with the team. We can say that in some sense I studied his approaches, because it is clear that his talent manifested itself not only on the track: he devoted a lot of time to working with engineers. When I was growing up, he was a model for me. He achieved high results precisely because of his work.
Q: You could have climbed the podium last year in Brazil and this year in Austria. Did you feel relief when you showed what you are capable of? Perhaps this will help you more confidently piloting every race weekend?
Alexander Elbon: Of course, I was very happy. As I moved towards this goal, I felt that everything was going in the right direction. Already in Spa and Monza, I felt more comfortable behind the wheel, the pace improved, so, of course, it was pleasant to climb the podium. But in my approach to piloting, nothing will change. I will continue to work with full dedication every weekend, trying to achieve the best possible results.