I can't wait!
August 24, 2006
It’s been a long time since I was last in touch and I have been enjoying the break since the Hungarian Grand prix, which to be honest was a race to forget for us at Ferrari. But in a way, it was not such a bad result in terms of the championship, as our main rivals also had a poor weekend, so that we are more or less back where we started before the Budapest weekend in terms of points, only with just five races to go. It was fortunate for us, but when you consider that earlier in the season, we had been a little bit unlucky but that last race saw Renault also get some bad luck.
After that race, I went home to Brazil for a week and then I went with my girlfriend to Miami to stay with some friends. Honestly, I think it was good to have a break from racing. I was not physically tired, but I felt it was useful to switch off and get some energy back and recharge your personal batteries for what is left of the season. Even though I was on the other side of the ocean, I kept in touch with the engineers back at the factory, because of course they were still working. In Miami, I spent most of my time on the beach doing sports and generally having a good time. I particularly enjoy jet-skiing which is great fun and of course it suits the main requirement for a racing driver – it involves an engine.
Even without any racing or testing, the team has been working hard and we can expect some improvements to the overall package on the car, which should bring us a small gain, but of course, we can be sure the other teams have also been working hard. In a way, Renault is under more pressure than us, but we saw already last year that even in this situation, they are capable of winning races, so I expect it to be very tight between us all the way to the last round of the championship. But the pressure is there for them as we are very close to them now in terms of points and that is when it gets tough and when you can make mistakes, as we saw in the last race. When I say mistakes, I don’t just mean from the drivers, because in Budapest we saw team errors too. In my opinion, Renault has more to lose than Ferrari, because they have led for the whole championship, all the way from the beginning in Bahrain and so for them to lose now would feel much worse for them. We have been second to them all year, so that if we win at the end, it would be a great bonus for us, fantastic.
Before coming out here to Istanbul, I ran the Formula 1 car on the streets of London, as part of a promotion for Shell. It was an amazing experience driving past famous London landmarks like the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. There were also some historic old Ferraris and some Ducati motorcycles taking part too. It looked like a typically English scene, because although it is the middle of August, the sky was black and I thought it was going to rain. They closed the roads and a big crowd turned out to watch. After that, I went to an English circuit called Snetterton, where I took Shell dealers for rides around the circuit in a Ferrari 430. It was my first time at this circuit, as my racing career, unlike so many of my fellow Brazilians, never involved a year in the UK, but I had some idea of what it was like from a computer game that features the British Touring Car championship.
So now it’s time to go racing again and I am really pleased that it is here in Istanbul as I really love this track. Last year, I ran competitively, although I was unlucky in that I was involved in a collision at the start and had to stop t change the nose on the car. It is really nice to drive here and it is a circuit that gives a lot of pleasure to the driver. The layout is fantastic and I especially like the quick left hander which is really nice. I can’t wait to get out in the car again!