I’m currently enjoying a few days at home in Monaco after what has been a very busy time since leaving Silverstone after the last race. Looking back briefly at the British Grand Prix, my result was not the best, but I came away from England feeling very encouraged by the performance of the 150º Italia over the course of the weekend. The race itself could have gone better, but as I explained before, from quite early on, around lap 20 or so, my car picked up a piece of debris in the floor, which affected my level of downforce and reduced my pace. That in turn meant I was using the tyres more than I should which impacted on the final result. However, in general our pace at Silverstone was much better than we had expected at this circuit and that is down to an excellent job from the team and those working back in the factory. So now I expect we can continue to move forward like this in the second half of the season. Okay, as from now the rules regarding the off-throttle diffuser go back to where they were, but the suggestion that our improved performance at the last race came from the rule change is wrong: when the engine mapping was changed, I would say we were losing maybe around four tenths of a second, depending on the track. But this lack of downforce should theoretically make it more difficult to get the tyres to work, especially the hard compound, but even in this configuration, Silverstone was the first time we were able to make the hard tyres work very well. As an example, just look at the first part of qualifying at Silverstone where I was third quickest, just a tenth of a second behind the fastest man, using the hard tyre. This means that our performance level was down to all the new components and updates we brought to Silverstone and was not connected to the rule change.
I have also spent a few days in Maranello, with a busy schedule both on the technical front and with promotional work. For two days, I worked in the simulator as well as attending meetings with the engineers and I also attended the annual meeting of the Ferrari dealers, coming from all the 58 countries where the Prancing Horse is present. On Friday, I drove our 3-seater F1 car at Fiorano for a promotional event: I have driven it before and it is definitely an entertaining experience, great fun. The best part is seeing the faces of the people as they prepare to get in the car. There is no other way to say it, they are simply very scared! I also had the opportunity to drive it with my engineers in the car, which actually is very good from a work point of view, so they can understand what it is we do in the cockpit, rather than just shouting at us to go faster all the time! I have to say, my race engineer Rob Smedley was very quiet, very nervous and shaking when he got out of the car J! I also took Pat Fry and Giuliano Salvi and then I also took my wife for a ride. She has been in it before and obviously enjoyed the experience although at the moment she has a rather stiff neck.
Looking ahead to next weekend’s German Grand Prix, it is an event I enjoy and I have been on the podium four times, although three of those have been at Hockenheim and then I have two additional podiums from coming second at the Nurburgring in the 2007 European GP, after leading Fernando in the McLaren for much of the race, and third again behind Michael and Fernando in 2007, my first ever podium in the career. It is an interesting circuit, with some unusual corners, uphill and downhill and slow turns in the modified first sector. So you need good downforce, but there are also some straights where straight line speed is important and based on what we saw from our aero package in Silverstone, I have high hopes that we can continue in the right direction in Germany. As for the championship, what can I say? As long there is a mathematical possibility there is always hope. I have said it so often, but it’s still true, that at Ferrari we never give up and we keep on fighting. The best strategy is simply to think about the season one race at a time, like we did at Silverstone. Now we need to keep the momentum this weekend and then immediately afterwards in Hungary, as that comes just one week later.