Dubai - The days of putting my thoughts down after each race and talking about winning and being on the podium seem to be a long time ago at the moment and honestly, going over each race is currently more of a pain than a pleasure. But I’ve not given up hope and there were some bright moments in a very dark and wet Chinese weekend.
In Shanghai, we still were not competitive enough and we had also taken the decision to run without KERS which could have been more of a handicap, but in the rain on Sunday, we were very strong. I was able to make up several places and I was running at a pace similar to the guys at the front of the field. That was the plus side, but on the minus side, reliability let us down again and I was unable to finish the race. Back at the factory, we continue to push very hard to overcome these reliability problems. The electrical fault that forced me to stop at the side of the track was, once again, a failure we had neverseen before. It has to be said that luck doesn’t seem to be on our side at the moment, as it was a very small and stupid problem that made the car stop, because it was simply a faulty reading within the on board data that indicated to the control unit that the throttle should be shut down. So, even though there was actually nothing wrong, the car’s computer decided to shut down the throttle and I had to park it.
After Malaysia, we restructured the race team, with Chris Dyer, our head of race engineering, taking on more responsibility trackside and in China this worked well. Chris is very calm and patient when it comes to making decisions. Although, in reality, once we had decided I was on a one-stop strategy for the race, there were not that many decisions to make on my car. So, it is too early to say how the new organisation will work out and we must wait and see what happens in more complex race situations. I am sure Chris will do a good job.
Because of problems in Malaysia, we opted not to use the KERS and, given that we had a wet race, this had less of a negative impact on our performance than if it had been dry. But, even in the rain, KERS could have been useful down the straights. At the time of writing, I am not entirely sure whether or not we will have it in Bahrain. Back in the factory, a great deal of work has gone into working on the system since the race in Sepang, so I am hopeful it can help us in this race.
Currently, I am in Dubai, and tomorrow, I am making a stop in Abu Dhabi, attending events for Mubadala and Etihad, before arriving in Bahrain on Wednesday night. I have always gone well at the Sakhir circuit, winning for the last two years, so I hope this is a good sign. In more practical terms, we tested here during the winter and the car was not too bad to be honest and the tyres seemed to suit the package we have. I really do expect to be more competitive, especially if we have KERS, as it should be a significant advantage at this track. I hope that finally we can make life difficult for the other teams and fight for a very good result. I am very motivated, despite the difficult times until now. But change must come and hopefully that will start this weekend. It should be much hotter than we are used to here, but I don’t think that should be a problem to deal with.