To help Ferrari's aspirations
October 19, 2010
As you read this, I will have just landed in Incheon airport from Sao Paolo to begin what is a trip into the unknown for the world of Formula 1, namely the Gran Prix of Korea. I was at home in Brazil for about one week and I made good use of my time, getting as well prepared as possible for the final trio of races, which is going to be very important for me on a personal level to fight back after the disappointing outcome of the last two races in Japan and before that Singapore. However, more importantly, I will be trying to bring home a significant number of points to help the Scuderia in its fight for both championships.
I have experienced the new circuit on the simulator and first impressions are that is a very long track, which is why the race distance is just two more laps than at the last Grand Prix in Japan. It has a very long straight indeed and a mixture of high and low speed corners: we will therefore need to ensure that the F10 runs as efficiently as possible, delivering good top speed for that long straight, but also generating plenty of downforce. These characteristics mean that first impressions suggest it could be similar to the Shanghai circuit, although you also have sections - hard braking into slow corners - which are more similar to what we see in Bahrain. Will it suit the F10? Well, apart from when the Red Bulls have sometimes run away from the field, Ferrari has been competitive at most circuits and there is no reason to think differently this time. We have seen this year how important it is to get everything working well right from the start of Friday practice, running reliably to get through the engineering programme without any technical problems. That will also be the case this weekend, but in addition, the first few runs on Friday will be the first time we discover how accurate has been the simulation work we have done back at the factory. That will also be the time to discover the real grip level on offer from the track surface as this is something that is not so easy to do without actually putting a car on the track.
As for my aims this weekend, firstly we need to qualify well on Saturday and after that, in the race, I want to be in the middle of the battle for the Drivers' championship, fighting with those five drivers who are chasing the title, which is the best thing I can do to help Ferrari's and Fernando's aspirations as we head for the end of the championships. Korea will be the last of a trio of Far Eastern races and I would like to arrive back in Sao Paolo for my home race, with a good result in my pocket. I know that everyone in the team, at the track and the factory is completely pumped up for the challenge of these last three races and I am equally keen to give them my best shot.
As for Korea, I am looking forward to seeing it for the first time, because even though F1 does not give you much time for tourism, visiting new venues and experiencing new cultures is part of the fun. And as the sport's popularity around the world continues to grow, we seem to be visiting more and more new places. I hope there is a good crowd on the track and that Formula 1 puts on a great show for its debut there.