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.