In a couple of days, it will be time for me to make the short trip from my home in Sao Paolo to the Interlagos circuit for the start of the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend. I can’t wait, because of all the races I had to sit out after my accident last year, this was the one I missed the most. I have been in Brazil since the Tuesday after Korea and it has been a busy time for me, part business and part pleasure, as I was at our home in the countryside last weekend along with all my family for my sister’s wedding. Now I am back in Sao Paolo for what is a long week of promotional and PR events, but I don’t mind as this is always part of the build up to your home grand prix. This afternoon I visited the Ferrari stand at the Sao Paulo Motors Show: it was nice to see a lot of enthusiasm for our cars on display. You can feel the excitement building as the weekend gets closer, even if we have had an even bigger event taking place with the election of Brazil’s first woman President earlier this week. Lula did a good job for Brazil over the last eight years and I hope this continues with our new President.
Even if this race is extra busy for me, I look forward to it as it is a fantastic feeling seeing all the home crowd making so much noise in the grandstands from Friday onwards, cheering me and the other Brazilian drivers. We have four Brazilian drivers on the grid this time, which will create even more interest with the crowd. For Lucas (di Grassi) and Bruno (Senna) it will be their first time racing F1 at home, but the fans here understand the sport well and know these guys are not in the most competitive cars so they should get to enjoy the weekend, because even if Bruno has a big name, the fans understand there is a limit to what he can do with the equipment he has and the same goes for Lucas. As a Brazilian driver, the crowd definitely gives you something extra and I have first hand experience of that, as my last three races here were very strong, so I hope that trend continues this time. I have won my home race twice and I would love to do it again, but it is very difficult to make predictions until we actually start practice. What we can say is that, in the past, even in years when our car was not so competitive during the season, we have gone well in Sao Paolo and I hope that will be the case this weekend. In general, in the last few races in Asia, our car has worked well which is encouraging, but it is also true that Red Bull won here last year and they are bound to be strong again. As the local boy, I can tell you there are no particular changes at the Interlagos circuit this year, which means it has it will have it’s own very special character as usual. I love the atmosphere here and I think in general it is a popular venue on the calendar: the race track itself is fantastic and usually provides good racing as you always see overtaking here. I hope it will be a nice weekend: in terms of the weather it is quite warm, in the mid-twenties, but there is no point looking too closely at the forecast, as it can change for better or worse very quickly here. All I will say is that when it rains in Interlagos, it rains a lot!
In terms of both championships, this is a very important race, but everyone at Ferrari will go about preparing for it just like any other grand prix, as you cannot change your approach. The important element will be reliability, so that we can get all our Friday work completed, before tackling the crucial qualifying, which will be very close, given how short the lap is here. As for the race, the first aim will be to make sure we finish and then we can see where we are at the flag.