Maranello - Let’s say that I’m not too thrilled about the sixth place, but considering the circumstances I‘m glad I gained these three points, the first of this season for me and for the Team. It wasn’t a start to the season as we had expected, but that’s how it went. Three points are not much, considering that the Championship’s leader won the race, but it’s still better than nothing. Finally bringing home both cars, we’ve made a small step forward. Now we’re ready to make the most important thing, hoping that it will enable us to fight for the top positions. The race at Sakhir was the hottest of the season. It was really hard work, but I didn’t have any problems: I really liked it, because that means that the hard preparations during the winter bears fruit.
The F60 did fine in Bahrain, although we lacked some speed. The set up was good, especially with the softer tyres. The trend seems to be confirmed that our cars run better with higher temperatures. A fifth place might have been possible, but we lost some precious seconds due to the small problem during the pit stop, otherwise I would have rejoined in front of Rubens, although then it would have been difficult keeping him under control. I fought with Glock’s Toyota, although I had the harder compound, but my car was faster on the straight; that was enough to keep him behind me.
I’ve been asked how many points we’ve thrown away in the first races. It’s difficult to reply, but most of all I don’t want to continue talking about the mistakes and the problems we’ve had. As usual we have to look ahead: the past is the past and we can’t change it. The most important thing is now that there is an important development of the car coming up. The Team works an awful lot to improve the performance for the next race at Barcelona, although we know that the others are doing the same. Let’s hope that we can make a bigger step forward than the other teams. If we manage to gain at least three tenths of a second, then we’ll be able to fight for more than just a sixth place.
Before we start thinking again about the Championship, we’ve got to see what we can do at Barcelona. It’s obvious that the situation is difficult, especially because there is a driver who won three out of four races. Obviously I won’t surrender, but we’ve got to get back on the podium as soon as possible and make the car faster so we’re able to fight for the win as of mid-season. These days I’m following one of my preferred sports: ice hockey. The world championships are held in Switzerland and Finland is playing at an ice rink close to my house. I hope my team will continue to win, as last night against Denmark, the first match I’ve watched. I’ll try to go to the stadium as often as possible: I know several players and I’m really enjoying watching them playing live.
Maranello - Unfortunately this was another difficult weekend for us. We didn’t gain any points in China either, because reliability let us down again. Friday was very difficult. The car’s set up was not bad, but we simply didn’t have enough downforce compared to the others. On Saturday some aerodynamic updates, Felipe had the day before, were added also to my car. Therefore the qualifying went slightly better than we had expected.
Unfortunately we opted not to use the KERS due to safety reasons, which had an impact on the performance in terms of a couple of tenths of a second. During the race I got stuck behind slower cars several times; that’s when a little bit of extra performance would have helped. It seems as if things never go the right way in the rain, but I still like driving in wet weather: it’s obvious that when grip and downforce are missing things are difficult.We’re without points, which doesn’t make life easy for us. But we’ve already been in much more difficult situations. The Team has to stay focused and give it everything. There will be several updates at Barcelona and after this race we’ve got to understand where we are compared to the others.
The upcoming weekend we’re in Bahrain, where we had several tests during the winter. The temperatures should be much higher here compared to the test sessions. Ferrari has won the races in the last two years here at the Sakhir circuit, but honestly I don’t think it’s possible this time. If we manage to have a flawless weekend this time, we can gain points and maybe even a place on the podium. Finally I want to say that I’m glad that Sebastian won the Chinese GP. He’s a nice guy and he drove a great race. He deserved this success.
Shanghai, April 15th - The Chinese GP is held earlier this year than it was its tradition and was moved from autumn to spring. The season doesn’t change a lot in what I’m aiming for: gaining points and maybe even winning. In the past this race has always been good to me. I won here in 2007 and I often gained a place on the podium. Obviously I hope to repeat that.
I know that things are slightly more difficult this year. We started on the wrong foot, although honestly, we deserved at least some points for what we’ve seen in terms of performance. It’s useless, as I always say, to cry over spilled milk. We have to look ahead and we have to try to improve. The season is still very long, although the Court of Appeal’s verdict will have an important impact. We’ve got to develop the car even more, now that we can’t test on the track. We have to make up and we’ve got some aerodynamic improvements already here at Shanghai. But we also know that the others will do the same. We’ll see how the situation will be on Friday, but I hope that we’ll be a bit closer to the front-runners.
After Malaysia I went back home to Switzerland. During Easter I went to Finland, where I spent some time with my family and friends. It was really nice to go ice skating, just doing something different for once. I’ll arrive in China on Thursday. The goal is the usual one, being ahead of everybody else, or at least on the podium. The rest doesn’t count for much.
Maranello, 7th April 2009 - Well, that was a really bad season start. It went wrong at Melbourne, it went wrong at Sepang and we left empty-handed. In Malaysia I could have gained some points on the dry track, but we knew that the rain was about to arrive at any moment. Friday’s lap times seemed quite good, but there’s always the unknown of the fuel loads the other teams have on board. And then we knew that the most difficult part was the qualifying, where we’re obviously suffering more than in the race. I was quite satisfied with my lap in Q3: that’s what we can accomplish at the moment. We’re missing grip and downforce and we’ve got to give it our all with what we have. There are some new features coming up and I know that the team is working very hard to anticipate the whole development.
The race was a lottery. We knew that the downpour would arrive sooner or later, but we never made the right choice as far as the changing weather conditions were concerned. During the first stop we decided to immediately put on wet tyres, because we expected some heavy rain in the next couple of minutes: it didn’t happen and the tyres were destroyed on the dry track. It really was a pity: obviously we didn’t have the best car, but it would have been enough for a good result.
There are many things we’ve got to get used to. For example the KERS can give much more on this track. At the moment we’ve still got some teething problems, I could see that by myself in Malaysia. On Friday the cockpit was filled with smoke at the end of P1, while on Sunday water infiltrated the KERS, which lead to the destruction of its insulation and I had to stop. At the start the KERS works really well, as we could see last Sunday. The next race is in China, but a couple of days before FIA’s Court of Appeal will decide about the diffuser. This decision will have an enormous impact on the Championship. We need more downforce and we’re working very hard on it. You just need to analyse the performance in the three sectors at Malaysia to understand that we’re loosing a lot compared to the best cars. You can see that especially in the middle section, where downforce is really crucial. We still don’t have any points after two races and this is a very difficult moment. We’ve seen other moments like this, but we know how to react and we’ll do it already at Shanghai.