I can’t wait to get on the track!
March 13, 2012
This morning I arrived in Melbourne. The journey from Sao Paulo is very long: first you go to Santiago in Chile, then a long hop as far as Auckland in New Zealand, which is the final stop before we arrive in Australia. It’s funny: you lose a day because you cross the International Date Line heading West, and I’ll have to take the journey back the other way to get it back again! Today I had some rest after so many hours in an aeroplane and I tried to adapt quickly to the different time zone. My father is here with me: it’s always nice to have him alongside me at a race weekend. So we’ve arrived at the first grand prix of the year. I can’t wait to get started and I believe that wish is shared with all my fellow drivers. We racers miss competition like crazy and six days of testing are definitely not enough to satisfy our desire to race. I am very curious to see how things will go here in Melbourne. I believe it’s never been as difficult as this year to have a precise picture of the situation based on the winter tests alone: we will begin to learn the truth only in Saturday afternoon’s qualifying when we are all in the same conditions. I already said this last week in Sao Paulo: in my head is the thought that we can fight for the podium but that doesn’t mean that I don’t agree with what Pat Fry said in Barcelona. I know perfectly well that the tests didn’t go as we’d hoped because we had some very ambitious targets in terms of performance. We had some problems getting the best out of the exhaust system we had chosen and we had to go for a makeshift solution. That cost us precious time and obviously also a bit of performance. Only in the last two days could Fernando and I do some true and meaningful work on the set-up of the F2012. I remain convinced that this car has great potential: we must just find the way to get everything from it. We hope to start doing that as soon as this weekend at Albert Park! I like this city. There is a nice climate, hot as I like it: today it was over 30°C, a temperature very similar to Sao Paulo. The fans also have a lot of enthusiasm and it’s always nice to see so many Ferrari flags in the grandstands, which are as packed as this in few other circuits. According to the weather forecast, tomorrow evening it will freshen up a bit and there could be some rain on Thursday but it should stay dry for Saturday and Sunday. At this year’s tests we only had a couple of hours of running on a wet track on my last day at Barcelona so it’s hard to have an exact idea of how the car behaves in those conditions. I’ve never had much luck at Albert Park. I’ve only managed to finish the race in the points three times in my nine appearances at the Australian Grand Prix. One of those was on the third step of the podium two years ago. It would certainly be fantastic to manage that again but I know that it will be difficult. There’s a great field of competitors: it’s not just Red Bull and McLaren who are strong. Other teams from Mercedes to Lotus to Force India and Toro Rosso could have their say. Everything’s there for the taking, from the first laps in qualifying. One way or the other, I can’t wait to get on the track!