It’s been an incredible start to the season. Both in Bahrain and then again in Australia this weekend just gone, we showed we are competitive at the highest level and we can only be pleased and proud of what we have done so far, not just at the track, but also back at the factory over the winter. The F10 has proved to be very good, even on a semi-street circuit like Albert Park. It’s an easy car to drive, something I was aware of right from the very first test in Valencia and it is reasonably easy to find a good set-up for any type of track. On top of that, it is very consistent, in that its handling doesn’t change much between qualifying and the race. That should be a very important factor over the course of the year, as there is a world of difference between trying to do a quick time with a minimum fuel load on Saturday afternoon and starting the race with a full tank on Sunday. Add in the factor that the car is not too hard on its tyres – yesterday, both Felipe and I did 50 laps on the same set of soft tyres – and that completes the package. I’m not too sure exactly where we are compared to the others, but one thing’s for sure, we’ve definitely got off on the right foot.
I definitely didn’t think I’d be leading the championship after two races and this situation is way more than I had expected. In Melbourne, we made the most of a situation which, after the first corner, seemed to be compromised. We managed to increase our lead over those we reckon to be our main competition in the fight for the title. But there’s no time to relax, because in a few days time we will once again be on track for the Malaysian Grand Prix. The race is held on what is definitely one of my very favourite circuits: there are all sorts of corners and it’s a real joy to drive a Formula 1 car in Sepang, because you can really push it to the limit. I can’t wait to be racing in Malaysia for the first time at the wheel of a Ferrari. Our target? That’s easy, to carry on doing what we have done in the first two races. It won’t be easy, but we must trust in our ability to get the job done.
I've been in Australia for a couple of days already. I came directly here from Bahrain to relax a bit before the two consecutive races in Melbourne and Malaysia and now I'm ready for the season's second race. I stayed in contact with the team these days and I know that they worked hard in Maranello to get ready for the race. The one-two win in Sakhir gave us confidence and was a great result for the hard work during the winter on the track and at the works, but we can't take anything for granted. We have to stay with our feet on the ground, keeping calm and staying concentrated: in Melbourne we're starting from square one. Nothing has changed for me: there are four teams and eight drivers who can fight for victory and we have to give it our all to stay ahead of everybody else.
I like the Albert Park track. It's quite a technical circuit with some pretty interesting corners. Overtaking has never been easy and what is even more important now, like on all city circuits, is the result in the qualifying. We have to see how the tyres behave with different fuel loads and temperatures, which will be different from the ones we had during testing and in Bahrain. I think that many of us have given some hot headed comments immediately after the race in Bahrain. It's true that the race in Sakhir wasn't especially spectacular – although for us Ferraristi it was great and exciting – but it's too early to talk about changing the rules. We have to wait and see different races and check the situation, without being emotional. Something that confuses the fans is changing the rules all the time.
The weekend in Melbourne is one of my preferred ones for the atmosphere at the paddock and in the city. It's really special and it seems that everybody is following the event. There's lots of action on the track and it's good to see so many people on the grandstands. Let's hope we can provide a good show to our fans, for more great satisfaction.
Maranello - It’s really difficult to imagine a better start! Yesterday’s win in Sakhir, completed by Felipe’s second place, was a fantastic feeling for me. I’m so happy about this success and I think that I started to appreciate it even more last night. You know, when a race finishes it’s difficult to really get hold of the result’s value. Once back at the hotel I spoke to my family and my closest friends and I started to realise what had happened. This victory is a great way to start a long relationship like the one, which connects me to the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro. I’ve said it many times over the last months, but I want to repeat it: this will be the last team I’m racing with and I couldn’t hope for anything better to start the Championship. This is a result, which gives us a great deal of confidence.
I think the one-two win was the result of the preparative works during the winter. We were the team with the most miles on the clock during the tests and we did lots of simulation work, on the track and on the stands, and we can say that we showed up with almost 100% at the season’s first race. Naturally there’s always room for improvement, because our sport is the pinnacle of technology and innovation and anyway we have to work incessantly on the car’s development if we want to win. There wasn’t a specific area to work on, but as far as we could see in Bahrain the qualifying will be more and more important for the final result so we have to try to prepare the best possible way.
Now I’m relaxing a bit before the next race in Melbourne. I know that the team has a lot of work these days, preparing the transfer to Australia and then to Malaysia; I’m convinced that yesterday’s one-two win will make sure that the men and women know that the hard work over the last months has been repaid in the best possible way.
Sakhir - Dear friends of Ferrari.com: finally here we are! After two intense months, on an off the track, the Formula 1 season is about to start – my first season with the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro. I immediately felt at home with my new team and I can’t wait for the Championship, which will be extremely interesting, to start.
I arrived in Bahrain on Monday evening and there’s quite a difference between the climate here and in Europe, where it seems that winter won’t end. Here it’s hot, but it’s not humid, so it’s actually quite pleasant being outside. The climate will be an important factor during this weekend, because we’ll see how the cars and the tyres behave with very high temperatures.
During the tests in February we drove with no more than around 25°C while here the temperatures are over 30°C: we’ve got to understand how the tyres work under these conditions, also because last year’s points of reference are very relative. And if the new rules weren’t enough this first race is held on an extremely modified track compared to the previous editions. This morning I went around the track on a bicycle with my race engineer and I have to say that I found a very different, more guided track: this will not be the traditional stop-and-go track it once was. The lap time here will be the highest of all the tracks in the Championship, even higher than the one in Spa, which is a track with over seven kilometres. The new section is a series of corners with medium speed, requiring a higher downforce compared to the past and which will make the track more severe for the tyres. For sure there will be a reason to drive more on Friday morning, although we have to remember that the track will still be pretty dirty.
I know that there are great expectations from our fans for this start of the Championship. I can confirm that I feel that we are well prepared. The team has worked with great attention and dedication, and we could see the results: we’ve demonstrated a good level of reliability and also performance is on a level with the best. The F10 is an excellent car: I’ve said that several times; for me it’s the best car I’ve driven so far. This doesn’t mean that it necessarily is the best overall car and that we’ll win the title. What we could see during the tests is that there’s a great balance: a small bit is enough to make the difference – positive or negative. What’s for sure is that we’ll give it our all for a proper start of this Championship: this is my promise to all of you.