Waiting for Suzuka
October 5, 2006
The end of the season appears to be coming all in a rush now as it seems like only yesterday that I was unfortunately parking my car at the side of the track in Shanghai and facing the racing driver’s worst journey, having to walk back to the garage. At least, as I managed to get the car to the end of the pit lane it was not exactly a very long walk!Even though it was a disappointing day, I enjoyed myself in the evening, attending a special F1 party which saw most of the other drivers also attend. From Shanghai, I went straight to Tokyo on Monday to start a couple of days of promotional work. I attended a function for a personal sponsor, Richard Mille who are a prestigious watch manufacturer in a town called Takamatsu. Then of course as we are in Japan, I attended a function at Bridgestone along with Michael. I did actually manage to get a bit of private time and I headed for the part of Tokyo famous for all its electronics stores, as I love all the amazing music players and gadgets they have here. I also met up with a Brazilian friend of mine who lives here at the moment as he is racing in the Japanese GT series. I actually only came to Suzuka this afternoon (Thursday) arriving by helicopter which is definitely the best way to travel in this country. My first job was my usual meeting with the media. The facilities are not exactly the biggest here, so we just do the interviews standing up against a fence at the back of the pit garage. I have been told that there has been some controversy in the press about some disagreement within our closest rival team, but it is not for me to comment on others. All I do know is that within the Ferrari team everyone is working in perfect harmony right now and that has to be a positive help for us. We are all one hundred percent motivated to have a good race here and also in Brazil.
The Japanese press are of course very interested in we drivers’ views that next year, Suzuka loses the Japanese Grand Prix in favour of the Fuji circuit. Personally, I love this Suzuka circuit. It is definitely one of my favourites and I love driving it as it is very technical and challenging. It is definitely a driver’s circuit and it is a shame not to be here next year, but I am not against change, so we should not judge Fuji until we have been there and driven around it. There is always a great atmosphere here at Suzuka and I think part of it comes from the fact it gets dark here very early and so from the late afternoon, all the work in the garages takes place under spotlights. It is unusual in other ways as it is probably the only time of the season that every driver and team boss stays in the same hotel, the Circuit Hotel, so we see rather more of one another than usual, as there is not a huge range of choice when it comes to places to eat.