We Spanish are going through a hot time at the moment. Last Saturday, in beating Paraguay, the country’s football team made it to the last four of the World Cup for the first time in sixty years and on Wednesday, we play Germany for a place in the final. I can’t wait to watch this match, in which there is no clear favourite, but that’s as it should be in a semi-final. Anyone who has made it to this stage of the tournament is definitely strong and deserves its place, so it is impossible to say who will have the edge. I think the key player for us will be Iniesta. Whichever way it goes, this has already been a great contest for us. The Tour of France has also got underway, the most intriguing stage race of the year. I will try and watch as much of it as possible, cheering on my friend Alberto Contador. I think he is favourite for outright victory and I’m not just saying that because of our relationship, but because I think everything is in place for him to get a hat-trick in the ‘Grande Boucle.’
It really is a great time for Spanish sport. In June, Pau Gasol picked up his second NBA title, yesterday, Rafa Nadal won Wimbledon for the second time, having already come out on top at Roland Garros, while Jorge Lorenzo looks to be flying towards the MotoGP crown. It is no coincidence that a generation of amazing athletes has grown up in a country that has changed so much over the past twenty years: starting at the end of the Eighties and then into the next decade, the number of sports facilities has increased by an incredible amount – you only need to look round even the smallest town to find football pitches, tennis and basketball courts everywhere and all open to the public – and the approach to sport has changed completely. What we are seeing now is the result of that investment and I think it is a strong enough basis for this success to keep on coming for a long time.
So now let’s turn to my job, which is also my passion: Formula 1. Currently, I am in Maranello to spend time with the team prior to the British Grand Prix. It is a crucial moment in the season, with three races coming up in the space of four weeks. We are ready, both on the technical front and physically. In Valencia, we introduced significant updates on the F10 and there will be more in Silverstone and the races after that. The development programme is intensive and I think we will see it produce results. We have also prepared very carefully from the physical point of view, given that the next events are all very close and one needs to be at a hundred percent all the time.
At Silverstone, we will discover a circuit whose final section has been modified. Along with the engineers, we have spent these few days studying all the characteristics of the new track layout, analysing the available information, including watching the motorcycle races held there a few weeks ago. On Thursday morning, again with my engineers, we will inspect the track to see everything in detail, looking especially for bumps on the racing line. The track seems reasonably similar to the way it was, with a lot of very fast corners, which will not suit us that much. However, it’s a fact that the configuration of the F10 seen in Valencia should give us a boost in these quick corners, so it is best to wait and see where we will be: I remain optimistic. Then, there is always a chance of rain playing its part at Silverstone. I would be very surprised to have a completely dry weekend and we will be ready to tackle any situation that comes our way.