Maranello - That’s it. My story with Ferrari ended last Sunday in Abu Dhabi: with the “Reds” I had the possibility to make one of my dreams come true, while now I’m looking ahead, waiting for new challenges. What’s for sure is that I’ll leave Maranello with lots of very nice memories. Over the last three years I’ve won nine races and a Drivers’ Title and I contributed to winning two Constructors’ Championships. I made many friends at Ferrari and we spent some great moments together. True, this year things didn’t go as we had expected, but in the world of racing you can always have a year where things go a little wrong. The package wasn’t competitive, but nevertheless we managed to finish fourth, just one point behind the third in the standings. We had problems with the car, but nevertheless we brought home some good result, starting with the victory in Spa. The team demonstrated that it knows how to react, what we could see after the bad start into the season.
We didn’t do well in Abu Dhabi, but we knew that gaining points would be difficult: this circuit has lots of corners and we were lacking downforce and grip. Furthermore we had problems on the kerbs, worsening the situation. When you start from the eleventh position and cross the line twelfth, you don’t have to say anything. The circuit’s structures are just breathtaking, but the track didn’t offer too many possibilities for overtaking and in the end the race turned into some sort of parade.
Now everybody is fully concentrated on the next season, as Ferrari has already been for several months. There will be further changes – refuelling won’t be allowed anymore and the front tyres will be thinner – but they won’t be as radical as this year. At the start of the races the single-seaters will be fairly difficult to drive with all the fuel on board and it will be crucial that we don’t stress the tyres too much. The qualifyings will be lots of fun, because we’ll drive with almost empty tanks in Q3. I’ve been racing for nine years in Formula 1 now. I still want to win races and titles, but I’ll only stay in F1 if I can find a team that can guarantee me a car I can use to fight for victory. Let’s see what will happen in the upcoming weeks.
Maranello - The race in Abu Dhabi will be my last Grand Prix with Ferrari and as usual I will give it everything to gain the best possible result. We’ll try to conclude this difficult year with a good result, hoping that it will be enough to gain the third place in the Constructors’ Championship, McLaren took over in Brazil. It will be difficult, because the competition is very strong. Furthermore in Brazil the two Titles have been assigned, so maybe there are certain drivers, who will risk a little bit more, as everything has been decided already. Our direct competitors are still improving their car, while we have been using the same car since the race in Hungary at the end of July.
There are many expectations as far as the Yas Marina circuit is concerned, but it’s difficult making any predictions, because we’re racing there for the first time. As far as we can see the organisers have done some great work and the circuit seems to me very interesting and challenging. Furthermore there will be a very special challenge, given the fact that we’ll start the race in sunlight, while it will end with artificial lights: this will definitely add some suspense.
As I wrote before, it’s time for me to say good-bye to the guys at Ferrari after three years together. I’m proud of the things we achieved, especially the Drivers’ Title in 2007 and the Constructors’ title in the same year and in 2008.
This season the car wasn’t as competitive as we wanted, but at least we managed to win one race and we gained a certain amount of points. Let’s hope we can conclude the season with something nice to be remembered!
Maranello - First of all I want to congratulate Jenson for winning the Championship: I know how he’s felling right now… He had a great start of the season, winning six out of seven races, while the second part was pretty difficult for him. But a Championship is decided by the points you gain as of March and he gained more than anybody else.
This year we didn’t have the possibility to fight for the World Title.
We didn’t have the right performance to fight for the win in every race. As we expected we had a difficult weekend also in Brazil, but without what happened on the first lap I would have been able to gain a place on the podium. We had some problem with graining in Friday’s free practice sessions, but we managed to improve the car’s set up, so that my lap times were competitive in the race. When there’s rain, the qualfying turns into a lottery. We were very fast with the super wets over the weekend and I was always amongst the top three. With the intermediates I lost some grip and it became more difficult for me. I still managed to gain the fifth position on the starting grid, which was a good position for the race. I had a great start, benefitting also from the fact that I had soft tyres, while the others around me were on the hard compound. I had a good exit in corner 3 and I tried to attack Webber, benefitting from the KERS: he suddenly changed his racing line and before I could even think I hit the grass with two wheels and damaged the front wing. In this moment my hopes for a place amongst the top three ended up in smoke.
I came back to the box and we changed the strategy to a race with just one stop. While I was in the pitlane I saw Heikki’s car in front of me with the hose stuck to his car, fuel came out and hit me even in the eyes. I was in a ball of fire for a second: I almost stopped to get out of the car and when it was over my eyes still hurt.
Unfortunately in the first part of the race I was stuck for a long time behind Grosjean: when he stopped I had a free track. All in all the sixth place is a good result, considering what had happened. Although I don’t like the fact that we lost points to McLaren in a race where they started behind us. Now we’re one point behind in the standings: everything can happen in Abu Dhabi and we’ll give it everything to regain the third place.
Maranello - Traditionally the Interlagos circuit has always been favourable to Ferrari and we really hope that this will be true also this year, although we know that it will be difficult. The crucial point will be the aerodynamic downforce, but at the same time it’s important to have a stable car while braking. The last corner is very important, because it leads onto the long uphill straight leading to the main straight: the KERS should help us a lot there.
There’s no doubt that this track is connected to the most wonderful memory of my career. Two years ago I won the Drivers’ title here in Brazil, but I did well many more times, gaining five times a place on the podium. Usually Brazil is the last race on the calendar, but this year we’ve one more, the one in Abu Dhabi. I really like the classic circuits like Spa and Suzuka. Maybe Interlagos is not as technical like the other two, but it’s very demanding nevertheless. We’re driving anti-clockwise, which is not very common and the weather conditions can change in a second.
My goal is to gain a place on the podium, which might not be easy. Every race things are more and more difficult for us, because the other teams continue improving their cars, while we have been using the same car for a couple of months. We have to be perfect and benefit from eventual weak moments of our competitors
I’ll celebrate my 30th birthday on Saturday. A place on the podium would be a great present, but as I just said, also our competitors have to contribute to it somehow. We’ll try to keep the third position in the Constructors’ standings. For my birthday celebrations I’ll wait until I’m back in Europe to celebrate with my friends and my family.
Maranello - At the Japanese GP we’ve made a step forward compared to Singapore, where we weren’t even able to fight for a place in the points: the fourth place was the best result we could reach and we have to be satisfied with it.
When the car stays the same it’s all about the circuit, which makes the difference, together with how the tyres work.
Having said that in Suzuka we never had the right downforce, as you could see by our performance in the first sector, while we were competitive in the second and the third. In the second part of the race we were pretty strong when we were using the soft compound.
In theory a fourth place is a great result, but as a team we need these five points, which enabled us to keep the third place in the Constructors’ standings. There was no possibility to fight for a place on the podium. We decided to start on the hard compound and I had some problems during the first stint. Then, with the soft compound, the goal was to catch Heidfeld and I was convinced that we could make it. Then there was the safety car and that’s where you usually hope gaining some position. But in Suzuka it was really difficult staying in the slipstream and at the restart I tried to see the end of the main straight to check if it was possible to overtake Hamilton, but it wasn’t even realistic to try.
There were many accidents in this race, but I think that this is very frequent in Suzuka. When you’re driving at the limit there’s always the possibility to make mistakes. And this is a track where you have to pay a high price for a mistake, due to the high speed and the narrow run-off areas. Having said that I really like Suzuka’s challenge: I was really happy to come back after such a long time.
We have to give it everything in the last two races to stay on the third place even if McLaren is getting stronger. It will be difficult to keep them behind us in Interlagos and Abu Dhabi. It’s difficult to say how the F60 will run on these tracks: we’ve had several surprises throughout the season. Naturally I’d love to gain a place on the podium in Brazil, also because I’m celebrating my 30th birthday there. It would be a nice present!
Maranello - The only positive thing from the Singapore weekend was that we both finished the race without any reliability problems. As far as the performance was concerned we were a bit in trouble as of the start of the weekend. As I’ve said many times before it’s impossible to predict anything before the start of the race weekend. We already understood on Friday in Singapor that it would be tough for us.
The car was very nervous and we didn’t have any grip at all.
In the end the situation gets more and more difficult. We stopped the car’s development quite some time ago, while there are other teams, who, for one reason or the other, improve their cars. Considering that the last two races were held on special circuits it was predictable that on a track with such a high downforce like the one in Singapore the improvements the others brought had a bigger impact. After the qualifying we knew that also the smallest goal, reaching the points, was something hard to achieve. We went for the hard compound for the first two thirds of the race, but the car didn’t have any grip. The situation was slightly better with the soft compound, but then it was too late and I don’t think that we could have gained more than one point.
Now we’re going back to Suzuka, where I drove a Ferrari for the first time. In Fuji I went onto the podium twice, but this one here is a different track: it’s very fast and demanding. I had one of my nicest wins there in 2005: I started from the back and took over the lead in the end. It’s a very demanding track for us drivers. The realistic goal is to reach a place in the points. We’ll give our best, but it will be difficult; as difficult as to defend our third position in the Constructors’ standings with McLaren catching up.
Maranello - I’m glad we’re going to Singapore. It’s a fantastic city, I like the food and I don’t mind that we race in the evening. Furthermore it’s another city circuit and the slower the circuits are this year the better we were, just look at Valencia and Monaco: there’s no reason, why it shouldn’t be the same in Singapore.
I still have a score to settle with this race. Last year, at the end of the race, I drove into a wall, when I was fighting for the fourth position against Glock. I really don’t like that memory. The first night race was great for all of us. Besides some parts of the run-off area the whole track is perfectly illuminated. There’s no difference to daylight. As on all tracks like this overtaking is almost impossible. The KERS will be an advantage, but it won’t make the difference like it did in Spa or in Monza.
If it’s true that the F60 is more competitive on slow tracks, than it’s also true that the other teams will show up with improvements; that’s why it will be more difficult for us. We have to try to use the package we have the best way possible and we need to find the best set up. If we attain perfection than we can fight for a place on the podium. This is our goal. We gained a place on the podium five times in a row and as of the race at the Nürburgring I gained the same number of points as the leaders in the standings. Let’s hope we can proceed like this until the end of the season. It would be great keeping the third place in the Constructors’ Championship, but it will be very difficult, too. Over the last four Grands Prix we had only one car in the points, but now we also need the second car’s contribution. I’m sure that thanks to his experience Giancarlo can make it.
I think that out of the four remaining races the one in Singapore suits Ferrari the best. If we want to win we need to be more than perfect and need a little bit of luck. But after the win in Spa it would be fantastic to have this feeling once again.
Monza - Before we arrived at the Italian GP I said that a place on the podium was our goal and that for reaching it we’d have to do everything 100 percent. My forecast was correct: we got out the car’s potential and me made it. The qualifying went very well. The
F60 was set up well and the KERS was lots of help: in Q3 I had one of the best laps this season and I was very happy. Third on the grid was very important for a good result. We knew that many had opted for a one-stop strategy. The difference between the two strategies is extremely small on this track and those who didn’t use the KERS had a valid option with the one-stop strategy.
I had a very good start, but because Hamilton wasn’t as fast I had to lift my foot and move to the left, where I touched the grass with two wheels. I managed to pass Sutil and that was the decisive move so that I was able to fight for the podium. We didn’t make any mistakes for the whole race: it was a piece of luck that we gained the third place, but in the end it’s the result that counts. It was a perfect weekend, because we couldn’t have done any better.
I’m really happy for another place on the podium, especially because we gained it in front of the numerous Ferrari fans: when you see all the flags of the Prancing Horse in the wind you understand how much passion there is. That was a great feeling for me.
The Brawns seem to be there again, fighting for the title, while Red Bull’s situation is more complicated. Webber and Vettel won’t give up, but they have to hope that the two Brawns will have some problems if they want to catch up. My goal is to help the Team keeping the third position in the Constructors’ standings and gaining as many points as possible.
The next race will be held in Singapore, where I didn’t finish the race last year. Nevertheless it’s a place I really like a lot. We have to do the same we did in Monza: trying to get the best out of the F60 and gaining a place on the podium for the fifth time in a row. The more the championship proceeds the more difficult it is for us, because the others continue developing their cars, while we don’t have any innovations coming up anymore.
These are very intense weeks: after the two consecutive races in Valencia and Spa now there is Monza on the calendar, this year's last race in Europe. In Belgium we won and we want to go on like this in the last races, trying to stay on the podium. It's one of the most important GPs of the year, because we race in front of our fans and it would be great to give them satisfaction. The success at Spa was very important for the team: I could see the guys in front of the podium and understood how much this victory meant for them, especially in such a difficult season. It was great for me to listen to the Finnish and the Italian national anthems after such a long time. And it would be excellent to repeat it until the end of the season. Racing in Monza in front of our fans with all the Prancing Horse flags in the wind is a fantastic feeling. I've never won a race in Italy, but I always liked racing at Monza. For me there's no extra pressure, but I know how much the team wants to have a great race here.
The track is the fastest of the season and the KERS should help us just like in Spa. You need to use the kerbs well and this wasn't the strong point of our cars over the last years. We'll see what will happen as of Friday. We didn't do the usual test on the track so it's difficult to say because the cars haven't used this aerodynamic set up so far. I'll have a new teammate, Giancarlo Fisichella. I always got along very well with him. He's one of the most expert drivers and we will give our best to help Ferrari keep the third place in the Constructors' Championship. The performance levels changed from one race to the next this year. There are team like us who stopped developing the car and others making pressure, because there are still several goals to reach. Looking back I'm happy because I'm the driver who gained the most points over the last races (25): who would have said that after such a start of the season?
It will be a difficult weekend, but I can promise the fans that we will give our best as usual.
Maranello - I really like to win and I love the Spa circuit. It was great coming back to win here at this track. After such a difficult season my goal was to gain at least one success with this car and we did it. This is definitely the most beautiful moment of the year!
The F60 wasn’t easy to drive with an empty tank, so after Q1 I though it might be difficult to get into Q3. But in Q2 I managed to drive a good lap qualifying myself for the next round. I drove well in Q3, but as the cars were all pretty close I couldn’t do better than position six on the grid. Saturday afternoon I had a really good feeling: I knew that I could fight for the win. Naturally the KERS helped us a lot at the start and when the safety car came in. That doesn’t change the victory’s value, but we enjoyed the first success with this car using the KERS.
I knew that the start would be crucial. Barrichello had a very slow start, which didn’t help me, but I managed to come out of the Source in third position and I was right behind Kubica at the Eau Rouge. Then I overtook him, but I took the first right-hand corner after the main straight too wide, holding second position. Then the safety car helped us. At the restart we knew that it would be crucial to keep the tyres and the brakes at the right temperature to attack Fisichella while exploiting the KERS. There was a moment when we were really close to colliding during the overtaking manoeuvre, but I could hold my line on the track. Once I had passed him and I was in the lead I knew that the main part had been done. We had more or less the same fuel loads and although he was very fast there weren’t any possibilities for him to attack me. Maybe it would have been easier if we’d had different types of tyres, but we crossed the line first. It was great listening to the Finnish national anthem on the podium again! I came very close to a win many times last year, but for some reason or another I couldn’t make it.
I’ll give my best to gain as many points as possible in the remaining GPs. It won’t be easy, because the other teams will show up with further developments, while we “froze” the F60, concentrating on the project for 2010. We have to try to give our best with what we have, trying to fight for a place on the podium. We’re very happy for our fans, who finally had a reason to celebrate. There’s no better way to arrive in Monza. I know that I’m repeating myself, but I want to say it again: it won’t be easy, but we’ll give our best to be on the podium again.
Maranello - I really enjoy winning, but even a third place can give you some good feelings. We started into the European GP from the sixth position on the starting grid, we had a good start and we managed to gain another place on the podium: we can hardly expect more than this. Our goal is to fight for a position amongst the first three teams and we’ve reached this goal. It was definitely one of my best weekends so far this year, together with the ones in Monaco and Budapest, obviously from a technical point of view.
This year the car runs very well on the city circuits and on the ones with slower corners. In Valencia I had a very good feeling since Friday’s first practice session, when we drove a lot with lots of petrol on board and we knew that if we could gain a decent result in the qualifying and had a good start we’d have the possibility to fight for a place on the podium – and that is how it went in the end. The F60’s race set up is better than the one for the qualifying; due to that fact we could be faster than Kovalainen’s McLaren during the middle stint: during this part of the race I was constantly informed about my own and Heikki’s lap times, giving 110%. The car was set up well and the speed was high enough to overtake him during the pit stop.
With the points we gained, we are still ahead of McLaren in the Constructors’ Championsip. This is our goal as a team, but it’s very difficult to reach, considering that we stopped developing this car, concentrating on the one for the upcoming season.
In a couple of days we’ll be on the track again for the Belgian GP. The main goal is to hold the standard of the last races, which means that we have to try to get on the podium again. I always loved racing at Spa where I’ve won many times since I started my career in the smaller racing series. I really like driving here: 44 laps might be not enough! Last year everything went up in smoke due to the rain at the end of the race and I ran into a wall: I set all on victory and I didn’t have anything to lose. This year the situation is slightly different, also because we don’t have a car that’s able to compete on the highest performance level. But we’ll give it our all - and even more - for a good result.
You need a very good set up for the car for the fast corners in Spa. Overtaking doesn’t happen very often this year so it’s very important to have a good qualifying. We’ll always have the KERS at the start.
Maranello - Finally we’re getting back to the track! This year the summer break was longer than usual and I had the possibility to recharge my batteries for the last part of the season. The first week of the break I dedicated to the Finland Rally, which was an experience I really enjoyed a lot, despite the outcome. It was really fun driving at the max in the Rally in my home country, seeing so many Ferrari fans there. Then I spent some time with my family and my best friends, doing some sport to keep me fit.
I’ll have a new teammate at Valencia. Instead of Felipe – and I want to wish him all the best for a speedy recovery again – there will be Luca Badoer. He has been the official Scuderia test driver for many years, and I’m glad that he finally got the chance to race a Ferrari. I really wish him good luck and I’m sure that we’ll work well together.
We got a good result in Hungary, which allowed us to climb back on the third place in the Constructors’ Championship. This is the Team’s realistic goal for the final part of the season. For myself I hope to win at least one race, after a third place in Monaco and a second at Budapest. In Hungary we seemed to be back to the duels we saw over the last two years, Ferrari vs. McLaren, but I don’t think that this will be the case at the European GP. We’re racing on a city circuit at Valencia, but with very different characteristics compared to the others and compared to Budapest, which is the fastest of them. This year we did quite well on tracks like this, just look at Melbourne - where I could have finished on the podium - Monaco and Budapest. Last year I didn’t end the race at Valencia caused by an engine failure. So this year I want to return and maybe even gain a place on the podium. This is our realistic goal, although we know that it will be difficult. The qualifying will be fundamental: it will be important to start from one of the front rows, maybe even from the clean side of the track. It’s really a disadvantage when you have to start from the dirty side of the grid on this track, because it’s never used during the rest of the year. It’ll also be important to have constant performance throughout the race: it’s easy to loose time with little mishaps. I’m expecting extremely high temperatures and humidity, which will make it all even more difficult for us during the weekend.
Maranello - They say that Hungary is somehow similar to Monaco: true, the corners are very slow, but the Hungaroring is definitely more “forgiving” than the track at the Principality, where the tiniest slip will almost certainly make you end up in the barriers. Having said that the next race will definitely be the most similar one to the one at Monaco. This year we gained a place on the podium at Monaco and this is our objective for Budapest: we were able to fight for the pole until the last moment and I think that if we had gained it, the race would have gone in a completely different direction. We’ll retry in Hungary, but it will be difficult. The F60 should adapt pretty well to the track, but we know that all the other teams have improved their cars considerably after the race at Monaco, so there will be fierce competition: we’ll get a better picture of the situation on Friday morning after the first free practice.
The qualifying’s result is really important at Budapest, because overtaking is even more difficult than usual: if you don’t start from one of the front rows you risk transforming the race into a long hot and difficult afternoon, without any hope for a good result. After two race weekends not really with summery weather at Silverstone and the Nürburgring there should be finally some high temperatures: our car is quite kind to the tyres compared to many others, which means that these conditions should help us more.
This year the tyre performance has varied a lot over the weekends.
The crucial point is the temperature and it’s clear that the perfect window to use them is really narrow; but it’s the same for all the teams, as we could see at the last races.
We’re at the tenth race of the championship, which has been very difficult up to now. We’ve been working hard to close the gap we had since the start between us and the leaders; naturally also all the others have been improving their cars. Furthermore with the fact that we can’t test this year during the championship it’s even more difficult to make up ground. How the season’s second part will go also depends on the decision of how to use the resources, because the work on next year’s car is now already in full swing.
After Hungary there will be a longer holiday than usual. The first week I’ll dedicate to the Rally in Finland, where I’ll drive a Fiat Grande Punto Abarth. After that I’ll relax a bit together with my family and friends, before starting with the preparations for the race at Valencia on 23 August.
Maranello - The curse that seems to follow me in Germany struck again. I finished both races, at the Hockenheim and at the Nürburgring, only a few times. The points I could have gained would have made a difference in the championship’s outcome. On Sunday we had the chance for a good result, but I left empty handed: obviously I’m not lucky racing there.
The F60 had some updates and the set up was pretty much ok, but we’re still paying a high price in terms of downforce as you could see in some sectors of the track. The qualifying was really difficult, because the grip was constantly changing, although the conditions were the same for everybody out there: in Q1 and Q2 it was really important to find the right moment to go onto the track, while in Q3, on the dry track, we decided to put lots of petrol in the car, because we didn’t have the possibility to be on one of the front rows. At the beginning of the race I was right behind Felipe and we both had the possibility to gain a good position. At a certain point, and we still don’t know exactly when, debris got stuck in the radiator and perforated it. On lap 14 I was asked by the pitwall to lower the revs and then, after the pit stop, I started losing performance right until the moment I had to stop. On lap 29 I collided with Sutil: he came out of the box while I was on my line; he tried to defend his position on the inside. The cars collided and he lost a bit of his front wing, while the side of mine was slightly damaged.
With these wide wings it’s quite easy to collide and break them. I went with Adrian to meet the stewards and we thought that it was a normal race accident, as indeed did the stewards.
The next race is in Hungary. Traditionally this is some sort of a home race for us Finns, because there are so many fellow countrymen on the grandstands. I’ll show up with a new rear wing, which worked really well on Felipe’s car and there’s the possibility that we’ll have further modifications. The F60 should run pretty well at the Hungaroring with its many slow corners; furthermore the temperatures should be slightly higher than at the weekend in Germany: it would be great to gain another podium.
Maranello - The statistics tell the opposite but I really like racing in Germany, especially at the Nürburgring. I gained the pole four times, but I could never win. Maybe I just wasn’t lucky enough here and at Hockenheim. Just look at the last race for example. I gained the pole position, but right after the start there was a downpour and the race was suspended. When it started again I was on third position with a perfect strategy, but then I had to retire due to a hydraulic problem.
Realistically this year our objective can’t be a win. We still have to make up ground compared to the leaders as far as the performance is concerned. That’s why the Team continued to work very hard over the last weeks to bring some new solutions to this race. The track should be better for the F60’s characteristics than Silverstone, but we’ll get a clearer picture during Friday’s free practice sessions. To be competitive you need a car with good traction, which is very stable while braking. It’s always difficult making predictions and promising something to the fans, but for us today a place on the podium is already a good result, considering that we’ve been there just once this year.
There are still nine races until the end of this extremely difficult season for us. Our objective has to be to give it our all race after race, without thinking that the leaders are so many points ahead of us. I really trust the Team’s work and its capacity to close the gap between us and the leaders.
During this longer than usual break I went to Finland to enjoy the summer there with my family and some close friends and played some tennis. I want to thank Ferrari for giving me the possibility to participate in the 1000 Lakes Rally with the Fiat Grande Punto Abarth at the end of July. It will be my debut in a championship rally. As we don’t have any tests during the season we’ve got plenty of spare time and it’s nice to participate in a race to keep busy. I already tested over the last days, but my approach remains the same: it has nothing to do with Formula 1, it’s pure pleasure.
Maranello - We had some pretty interesting improvements on the F60 at Silverstone, such as an improved front suspension and a new front wing. On such a fast track it was important to understand how much downforce we could have: we can say for sure that the car wasn't bad in terms of the set up, but we're still missing downforce to be able to compete with the leaders. Having said that, the developments go in the right direction.
The qualifying seemed very promising. I was very happy with my lap in Q2, but then, when I had refueled the car didn't go as good anymore. Starting from the fifth row my goal was to gain some points. This time I had a good start: the main straight is quite long, but it wasn't enough to pass Nakajima. I came on the grass and then I was on fifth position, impossible to gain more, because my first stint was too short. I couldn't overtake: in the fast corners at Silverstone it's very difficult to stay behind the car in front of you, especially when you have less fuel on board than the first ten cars on the grid. So I had a difficult race. In the end I gained one point. Better than nothing, but still a poor result. We are on position four in the Constructors' Championship and I think that this is our current value. We're out there fighting for third position, but the two teams on the top are still ahead of us in terms of performance.
After Silverstone we have two whole weeks to get ready as good as possible for the last two races before the summer break. The first of these two races is at the Nuerburgring. We'll get there with some improvements. It's a track with more slow corners and more braking points than the English circuit. We have to be more competitive, but it will also depend from the improvements the others can make. As usual.
I want to congratulate Sebastian for his great race. If the Brawns had some problems we could benefit: the next circuit is very different from Silverstone. We'll see how things go before we make any conclusions.
Maranello - There’s always lots of wind at Silverstone and it often rains, even in the summer. The track conditions are changing extremely quickly so that it’s difficult to find the right set up for the car. Usually, when you’re leading in the Championship, you hope for stable weather conditions, but this year it’s different and we try to consider this variable part of the fun of racing in England. For the first time we’re racing at Silverstone without any prior test sessions. The Team prepared some new solutions, which we will test on Friday morning: as never before this year it’s fundamental to exploit the three free practice sessions as much as possible. At Silverstone the performance in the fast corners is very important, where you need a high aero downforce. We hope that the new solutions will help us to improve in an area, which brought us into difficulties in Turkey. As I’ve said several times before we need to be patient: we’re improving thanks to the hard development work, but we’re still not able to fight for a win against the Brawns. I’m extremely confident and I’m convinced that after another couple of races we’ll have closed the gap between the leaders and us. I know that this is what our fans want from us and we’re giving it our all to succeed.
It will be a difficult British GP: a place on the podium would be a great result. Form me this is really significant track. This was almost the starting point of my international career in the minor Formula series and I always loved to race here. That’s why it’s a bit sad that this should be the last edition of the race, but I have to admit that I also really like Donington: I’ve won there too already….
Maranello - We definitely expected more from the Turkish GP and it doesn’t make any sense to hide it. We knew that the situation would be complicated compared to the previous race at Monaco, but after the good qualifying we didn’t think that the race would be so difficult. The start was decisive. At Istanbul, but also at Monaco, it makes it very difficult when you have to start from the dirty side of the track. And on both tracks the first corner is very close to the starting line, so we can’t even exploit the advantage of the KERS there. I lost a position when the lights went out and another one in the first corner. During the duel with Alonso I touched his wheel with my front wing and damaged it, loosing downforce. We changed the nose during the pit stop, but it was too late to improve. If that hadn’t happened maybe I would have gained a place in the points. We weren’t fast enough in the race, not only compared to the Brawn GPs and Red Bulls, but also compared to the Williams and Toyotas, also due to the high temperatures.
The Team is continuing with its hard work improving the car and closing the gap to the leaders: the situation is much better in slow corners, where we are really competitive, while we’re suffering in the fast ones. We don’t have any reason to give up, we just need patience; that’s what I’ve said before the race at Istanbul. We do have the potential to achieve a good result, I know it.
I hope that everything will work out at Silverstone, which is one of my preferred tracks. Ferrari has a good tradition in this race and it would be great to keep to that.
Maranello - Ferrari always went very well at the Turkish GP over the last three years, but this time Brawn GP is the great favourite, because they won five out of the six races so far. We’re closing the gap, but we’ve got to give it our all to get back in the lead.
It was great to be back on the podium at Monaco. The Team pushed very hard and it was a very nice reward to have both cars amongst the first four. The Monaco weekend was a step forward as far as the result is concerned, but we have to be patient: I know that our fans want to see us winning immediately, but we have to be realistic. We’re closer, that’s for sure, and we’ll have some updates in Turkey; but we know that the others work hard too. Compared to the Monaco track the Istanbul Park is a more conventional track and we have a more definite idea. I really like this track and it’s very demanding. There are all types of corners and blind spots to brake; everything you need for a beautiful race. This year’s cars have less downforce, but we’re using slicks: corner number 8 will be very exciting under these circumstances. I think that it’s the downforce we still have to make up ground compared to Brawn GP and Red Bull, but we’re heading in the right direction.
Now, almost half way through the season, I’m much more optimistic than I was at the start, especially with the steps we’ve taken in the last two races. We know that there are further improvements coming up, which makes me think positive about the future. Who wins five out of four races at the start of the season is in an excellent position to winning the title, but the Championship isn’t over yet. Everything can happen, although things have to change very soon.
Last Saturday I made my first experience in a rally on tarmac in Italy. I had lots of fun as far as the competition and the Italian fans’ support were concerned. It was a pity that the fun it didn’t last long.
Maranello - I wasn't too happy with the third place at the Monaco GP. For sure it was the best result in the last time, but that was nothing new to me and we knew that we could arrive on a place on the top. When the leaders in the Championship are so far ahead in the classification, in the end it's only a victory that counts. Being back on the podium is a nice reward for the whole Team.
The hard work of the last weeks finally bears some fruit, which is really positive for all of us. We know that we're on the right way now: there are still some minor things to be done but sooner or later we will win. We'll show up with further improvements of the F60 in the upcoming races and we hope we can then challenge the leaders even more, in the qualifying and in the race.
The Monaco qualifying is so much more important than on other tracks and we've almost done a perfect job: we missed the pole by 25 thousandsth of a second. Not starting from the first position means that it's very likely you won't win. Furthermore the second position on the grid doesn't help on this track. You start from the dirty side of the track and whenever I found myself in this position I always lost at least one position in the field, because the tyres spin a lot at the start. In fact Rubens overtook me, which was really a shame. If I had manaaged to stay beind Button I think I could have easily opened a gap. In the end it was difficult to fight for second position and then there was this story at the last pit stop, where we lost a couple of seconds, due to a problem with the right rear wheel. When I took up the race again I was further behind the Brazilian than before.
We brought home both cars and gained some important points. There were many things at Monaco we can be satisfied with.
I'll race in a rally in Italy next Saturday, in the Marca Trevigiana, and I want to thank the Scuderia that they gave me the possibility to take part in such a competition. I really enjoy myself and it will be my first experience on the tarmac after some tests on snow last winter. As I'm coeing from the race track it will be intersting to see what I will be able to do behind the wheel of the Fiat Grande Punto S2000 on the roads close to Treviso.
Maranello - It’s always a very special week, the one of the Monaco GP. It’s a unique track where the qualifying is more important than on the other tracks and we have to try to implement it in the best possible way, learning from the lesson we were taught recently.
I’ve never been very lucky during the two Monaco weekends as a Ferrarista, but I really hope that I can end this streak of bad luck. The F60 improved a lot at Barcelona and now a place on the podium is no longer a mirage. It will be very important to see how things go during the free practice session to understand if we made up some ground also on this track, like it happened in Spain. Last year we were able to place both cars in the first row and it would be a dream to repeat that. We’ll use the KERS also at Monaco: it might not have the same advantage as on other tracks, but anyway there’s a performance improvement.
I’m expecting faster lap times than in the past. In theory this year’s rules slowed the cars down in the fast corners, but due to the slicks we’re faster in the slow ones. To be ahead in this race you have to be absolutely perfect. We drivers know that you can’t loose your concentration not even for a second: the blink of an eye is enough and you end up in the wall. You need a 100% driver and a 100% car for the whole 78 laps if you want to win: that’s the only way to be successful.
Maranello - Sometimes motor sports is like that. You’re trying extremely hard to improve, but then nothing goes right, like it happened in Spain. An incredible series of negative moments and the wrong decisions made it a very bad weekend for me.
The only positive aspect is that the car’s performance has improved a lot compared to the last four races: the hard work over the last weeks is leading somewhere. Right from the start I noticed that the car had improved and that there was a great potential to be used; not just in the last race, but for the whole season. The qualifying was a bad thing. We took the wrong decision and paid an extremely high price. That was a terrible moment. Unfortunately the race was very short for me, but at least we could see that we were competitive. I had a good start, although it was difficult for me to see the light and I left when I saw that the other cars moved. I’m sure that I could have made some points, because the car went very well. I was about to pass Heidfeld on the first lap when the safety car came out and that possibility was gone. After that it was difficult to overtake, although I was faster. But I wouldn’t have finished the race anyway. The electronic control for the accelerator stopped working, due to a hydraulic problem and I had to stop next to the track. After five races I’ve got only three points. The fight for the Championship is really difficult now, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not motivated. I want to win again and I’m sure that we will do it. We’ll keep on working on the car to make it more competitive and especially more reliable. We could see already that hard work pays. The next race is at Monaco, where I had some great weekends, but it’s a very difficult race. It would be great to fight for a position on the podium, but this track is even more unpredictable than others. The qualifying will be even more decisive and one should not make even one mistake.
Maranello - It’s a bit more than a year ago that I won my last Formula One race. At Barcelona in 2008 I had my best weekend with Ferrari: pole position, victory and fastest race lap. Since then I came very close several times – I’m thinking of Magny-Cours, Montreal and Spa – but for one reason or the other I could never make it. Having said that, a driver never looses the lust for winning and I want to have that feeling again as soon as possible.
After four races outside Europe it’s always very nice to come back to the Old World. Furthermore I really like the Circuit de Catalunya a lot, also because I could win here already twice in my career. I really liked hearing from the Team that the new aerodynamic package’s first signs are positive. It will be really interesting taking the car out during Friday’s free practice sessions. We drove on this track back in March this year, but it’s always really difficult to understand from the tests, who’s really strong in the field. Furthermore many cars have changed quite a lot since then. With the new aerodynamic package we’ll have more downforce compared to the first four races, but also almost all of the others will show up with some updates. We’ll see who has done better work.
Aerodynamic efficiency is crucial at the Circuit de Catalunya for a good lap time. It’s a very demanding track from a technical point of view and you need a good car to be competitive. A good qualifying will be important to avoid getting stuck in the field with all the risks coming with a situation like this at the start; we paid our price for that at Bahrain. Overtaking is never easy at Barcelona, but now we’ll see if the KERS can help to make it easier. On such a track it might make the difference, especially at the start.
Until now we gained only three points. The sixth place at Bahrain was a decent result, but now we have to reach much higher. I spent some days at home in Switzerland. I trained and followed the ice hockey world championships, which are held in Switzerland this year. Obviously I’m shouting for Finland. Monday night we played very well and we won against Canada: this match showed that you should never give up and fight right until the end. This is what we’ll do at Ferrari.
Tomorrow I’ll go to London for the opening of the new Ferrari Store on Regent Street. On Thursday I’ll fly to Spain. It will be a very interesting weekend.
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.
Maranello, 31th March 2009 - This was the first race of the championship in many years, where we haven’t gained any points, not even one. Obviously this is not the best way to start; to be honest it’s quite frustrating, but we can’t do anything about it now. We have to work to improve. Also last year things didn’t go well in Melbourne for us and then we won at Malaysia. Today, just like last year, everything can change in a second.
The whole weekend at Melbourne was very disappointing for me, it was maybe one of the worst weekends of my career. Not just didn’t we gain any points, but we didn’t even have the fastest car on the track. There are many things to do now, but I know that I can rely on a great Team working in the right direction. On Saturday morning I lost a lot of time during the free practice session, because of a problem with the car’s hydraulic system. That was a real shame. Every lap counts; these days even more, considering that we can’t have any test sessions during the season.
The best aspect of the weekend might have been the KERS; it worked really well at the start, although I couldn’t use it 100 percent, because there was not enough room. But I had a very good feeling with it. As I said before, we weren’t as competitive as we expected to be. I wasn’t surprised by the Brawn GP: we could already see during the tests how fast they are. Now they’re the favourites and we’ve got a tough competition ahead of us. Before the start of the season I said that we had to wait for a couple of races to see how things are. Now there’s Malaysia. It’s a more normal track compared to Melbourne. The championship is completely open. We’ve done just one race and even if I had preferred to start on the right foot, there are still many left. For
any predictions, we have to wait until we get back to Europe.
I’ve always liked the Sepang circuit and I’ve won there twice, the last time was last year. I like driving there. It’s very demanding, the weather conditions are tough, it’s hot like in a Finnish sauna. I don’t know how competitive we will be, because the cars have changed quite a lot compared to last year, but we’ll give it our all to win!
Maranello, March 23th 2009 - I enjoyed this winter break more than usual. I spent most of the time with my family and friends in Switzerland and Finland, but I mainly trained very hard and in a different way to be ready for a very demanding season. Amongst other things I’ve taken part in two rallies in Finland with Fiat’s Grande Punto S200: I really had a lot of fun, but it also was a good training for the upcoming races. And now it’s time to get serious.
It’s difficult making predictions, considering the many rule changes this year. Ferrari was very competitive during the tests; but we’ll do the F60’s countercheck at Melbourne, when we’ll all meet in the race with the same fuel at the same time. Only then we’ll see how strong we are and maybe we’ve got to wait for a couple of races to have a clearer situation. Albert Park is a very particular circuit, just like the city itself is very special: maybe we’ve got to wait until Malaysia to see which teams will be ahead.
As usual I can’t wait to start a new season. Putting on the helmet and racing is something worth living for. The number of tests has been limited, but I had fun anyway to work on a completely new car. It seems that a really long time has passed since the last race in Brazil, also considering all the changes of the car: it will be really interesting to see how its development will evolve. When things go well you’re having more fun, but we still haven’t raced this year, so it’s really a bit too early to say anything. We hope that everything will be the way we expect it to be. There’s a lot less of aerodynamic downforce than last year, so we’ll be slower in the fast corners, but the car will have much more grip in the slow ones, due to the slicks. Therefore the lap times haven’t changed a lot. I can confirm that I like the F60 more than last year’s car.
It’s much more fun to drive and it reminds me more of the cars I was used to some year ago. The KERS is something very interesting and easy to use: I hope that it will make overtaking easier. From the first test the whole Team was positively surprised by how well the KERS works. Everybody is expecting more overtaking now, but I think it’s still a bit too early to say what will happen and if the lower downforce will help when you’re in a slipstream. It’s always a good thing for a driver and a team to have a good start into the season, especially when we remember how the last two seasons ended as far as the Drivers’ Championship is concerned: I won with one point in 2007 and my teammate was one point short in 2008. That means that every point counts. Two years ago I won in Australia, while we had several problems last year. Our goal is to immediately gain some good points.